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E03526: Prosper of Aquitaine, in his Chronicle, records that *John of Lycopolis (ascetic of Egypt, ob. c. 395, S00102) had the power of prophecy. Written in Latin in Gaul or Rome, in the mid 5th c.

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posted on 2017-08-04, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Prosper of Aquitaine, Chronicle 1200-1201

Arcadio III et Honorio II
Iohannes monachus anachorita clarus habetur, qui ornatus prophetiae gratia Theodosium consulentem de eventu belli, quod adversum Eugenium movebat, victorem futurum praedixit.

'367 [years since the Crucifixion]
[Consulship of] Arcadius for the third time and Honorius for the second time [= AD 394]
John the monk is celebrated as an anchorite, he who, adorned with the grace of prophecy, when Theodosius consulted him about the outcome of the war which he was launching against Eugenius, predicted he would be the future victor.'

Text: Mommsen 1892, 463. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John of Lycopolis, 4th-century monk in Egypt : S00102

Saint Name in Source

Iohannes monachus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms Rome and region

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Monarchs and their family


Prosper of Aquitaine (ob. after 455) was active from the 420s to the 450s, producing religious polemics, collections of documents, theological treatises, poetry, and chronography. Prosper was originally from southern Gaul, and is known to have been living in Marseille in the late 420s. The once generally accepted belief that he subsequently moved to Rome, and even became an adviser to Pope Leo the Great, has been increasingly disputed in recent scholarship (for differing perspectives, see Markus 1986; Hwang 2009, 187-198; Salzman 2015); it is clear from his works, however, that he visited Rome, had contacts with the papacy, and had access to papal documents. Prosper first compiled his Chronicle in 433, and added continuations in 445 and 455. Like most late antique Latin chroniclers, Prosper began the original part of his Chronicle at the point where Jerome's Chronicle ended, in the late 370s (Prosper, Chron. 1166; p. 460 in Mommsen's ediition), but instead of simply appending his continuation to a text of Jerome's work, he produced his own version, which is shorter than the original but also contains additions by Prosper (we have not included separate entries for items in Prosper's Chronicle which simply reproduce entries in the Chronicle of Jerome). Prosper dates events in his Chronicle both by years since the Crucifixion and by consular years. For a detailed overview of Prosper's Chronicle, see Muhlberger 1990, 55-135.


The story of how John of Lycopolis prophesied that the East Roman emperor Theodosius would successfully defeat Eugenius, who had seized power in the Western Empire, is widespread in sources from the time in both Greek and Latin. It is likely that Prosper's immediate source was Rufinus' version of the Historia monachorum in Aegypto (E03558).


Edition: Mommsen, T., Prosperi Tironis epitoma de chronicon, in: Chronica Minora saec. IV. V. VI. VII., vol. 1 (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Auctores Antiquissimi 9; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1892), 385-485. Further reading: Hwang, A.Y., Intrepid Lover of Perfect Grace: The Life and Thought of Prosper of Aquitaine (Washington: CUA Press, 2009). Markus, R.A., "Chronicle and Theology: Prosper of Aquitaine," in: C. Holdsworth and T.P. Wiseman (eds.), The Inheritance of Historiography: 350-950 (Exeter: Exeter University Publications, 1986), 31-43. Muhlberger, S., The Fifth-Century Chroniclers: Prosper, Hydatius, and the Gallic Chronicler of 452 (Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1990). Salzman, M.R., "Reconsidering a Relationship: Pope Leo of Rome and Prosper of Aquitaine," in. G. Dunn (ed.), The Bishop of Rome in Late Antiquity (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 109-125.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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