Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Melania Senior
(928 words)

Patron, teacher, gnōstikos, ascetic, aristocrat, pilgrim, scholar, mother, wife, loyal friend, estate manager, humble servant – Melania the Elder (c. 341–c. 410 CE) embodied all of these overlapping and at times contradictory roles during her extraordinary life. She was born in Spain in 340 or 341 CE into the gens Antonia, a wealthy, politically connected, aristocratic family. Her grandfather, Antonius Marcellinus, was consul in 341 CE, and her husband, whom most scholars identify as Valerius Maxi…

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Drake, Susanna, “Melania Senior”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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