Cicero or Cyprian in Hieronymian Hoodoo? (Vita Hilarionis 12, 3)1
Neil Adkin University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A nun of Gaza was the object of sexual attentions from the swain next door, who endeavoured to win his heart-throb with magic spells fetched specially from Memphis. The tale is told in ch. 12 of Jerome’s Life of St. Hilarion, whose intervention broke the magic. An edition of this work was published in 1975 by Antoon Bastiaensen, who qualified his text as “critico”2. In fact however this recension was based merely on earlier editions. In Bastiaensen’s own edition the swain’s thaumaturgics are described as follows: subter limen domus puellae portenta quaedam verborum et portentosas figuras, sculptas in aeris Cyprii lamina, defodit (12, 3). Here Bastiaensen failed to identify a source for Jerome’s particular phraseology3.
1 Texts are cited according to Thesaurus Linguae Latinae: Index librorum scriptorum inscriptionum2, Leipzig 1990, and its online Addenda at http://www.thesaurus.badw.de/pdf/ addenda.pdf. 2 C. Mohrmann, A.A.R. Bastiaensen, J.W. Smit, L. Canali and C. Moreschini, Vita di Martino, Vita di Ilarione, In memoria di Paola, Milan (Vit. Sant. 4) 1975, 69. 3 The words portentosas figuras… in aeris Cyprii lamina evince the influence of Apuleius according to S. Weingarten, “Jerome and the Golden Ass”, in E.A. Livingstone (ed.), Studia Patristica 33, Louvain 1997, 385 with n. 12; cf. ead., The Saint’s Saints: Hagiography and Geography in Jerome, Leiden and Boston (Anc. Jud. Early Christ. 58) 2005, 93-4 (“Shared images”).