These pioneering lives are central sources for the major Christian monastic figures from St. Anthony, who died in 356, to St. Benedict (c. 480-c. 547). Shedding light on the men who were the founding fathers of monasticism in both the eastern and western areas of the Roman Empire, these accounts -- Athanasius's Life of Antony; St. Jerome's Life of Paul of Thebes, Life of Hilarion, and Life of Malchus; Sulpicius Severus's Life of Martin of Tours; and Pope Gregory the Great's Life of Benedict -- also illuminate the beliefs and values of their celebrated authors. Full of vivid incidents and astonishing miracles, all these works proved hugely popular and influential, and also inspired much of the visual imagery of the Middle Ages.
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