De Viris Illustribus (Jerome)

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Jerome by Theodoric of Prague, c. 1370 Meister Theoderich von Prag 002.jpg
Jerome by Theodoric of Prague, c. 1370

De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) is a collection of short biographies of 135 authors, written in Latin, by the 4th-century Latin Church Father Jerome. He completed this work at Bethlehem in 392-3 AD. [1] The work consists of a prologue plus 135 chapters, each consisting of a brief biography. Jerome himself is the subject of the final chapter. A Greek version of the book, possibly by the same Sophronius who is the subject of Chapter 134, also survives. Many biographies take as their subject figures important in Christian Church history and pay especial attention to their careers as writers. It "was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men." [2] The book was dedicated to Flavius Lucius Dexter, who served as high chamberlain to Theodosius I and as praetorian prefect to Honorius. Dexter was the son of Saint Pacianus, who is eulogized in the work. [3]

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Jerome 4th and 5th-century Catholic priest, theologian, and saint

Jerome was a Latin Catholic priest, confessor, theologian, and historian, commonly known as Saint Jerome. He was born at Stridon, a village near Emona on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia. He is best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin, and his commentaries on the Gospels. His list of writings is extensive.

Bethlehem Municipality type A in Palestine

Bethlehem is a city located in the central West Bank, Palestine, about 10 km south of Jerusalem. Its population is approximately 25,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate. The economy is primarily tourist-driven, peaking during the Christmas season, when Christians make pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity. Rachel's Tomb, an important Jewish holy site, is located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.



Listed below are the subjects of Jerome's 135 biographies. The numbers given are the chapter numbers found in editions.

Jerome's account of his own literary career, UOL

At the conclusion of De Viris Illustribus, Jerome provided his own biography as the latest example of the scholarly work of Christians. In Chapter 135, Jerome summarized his career to date:


  1. "This work [De viris illustribus], as he reveals at its start and finish, was completed in the fourteenth year of Theodosius, that is, between 19 January 392 and 18th January 393." A.D. Booth, "The Chronology of Jerome's Early Years," Phoenix 35 (1981), p.241.
  2. Louis Saltet, "St. Jerome," Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: 1910.
  3. "Irondequoit Catholic Communities - - Pacian". Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  4. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, chapter 135.

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