1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Simeon Stylites, St
SIMEON STYLITES, ST (390-459), the first and most famous of the Pillar-hermits (Gr. στύλος, pillar), was born in N. Syria. After having been expelled from a monastery for his excessive austerities, at thirty years of age he built a pillar six feet high on which he took up his abode. He made new pillars higher and higher, till after ten years he reached the height of sixty feet. On this pillar he lived for thirty years without ever descending. A railing ran round the capital of the pillar, and a ladder enabled his disciples to take him the necessaries of life. From his pillar he preached and exercised a great influence, converting numbers of heathen and taking part in ecclesiastical politics. The facts would seem incredible were they not vouched for by Theodoret, who knew him personally (Historia religiosa, c. 26). Moreover, Simeon had many imitators, well authenticated Pillar-hermits being met with till the 16th century.
The standard work on the subject is Les Stylites (1895), by H. Delehaye, the Bollandist; for a summary see the article “Säulenheilige,” in Herzog's Realencyklopädie (ed. 3). On Simeon see Th. Nöldeke's Sketches from Eastern History (1892), p. 210, and the Dictionary of Christian Biography.
- (E. C. B.)