A remarkable feature of Palestinian hagiography is the way in which it unfolds before our eyes a long succession of holy monks, like the paintings in its churches, 1 and presents the great monks of the Judean desert - Euthymius and Gerasimus, Theodosius and Sabas - as the successors of the Egyptian ascetics - Anthony and Arsenius. Euthymius, who arrived in the Holy Land around 403, was the distant inheritor of Arsenius' charismata; Sabas inherited the charismata of Euthymius, and died in 532. From the beginning of the fifth century to the middle of the sixth, monastic sanctity continued uninterrupted in pure Orthodoxy. However, this simple linearity is no reflection of the much more complex history of hagiographic texts produced by monks in the Holy City or its surrounding desert, if we restrict ourselves to those lives preserved in Greek, the first significant work within the genre of narrative monastic hagiography is the Life of Saint Melania, 2 written shortly after 439 in what was then the true centre of Palestinian monasticism, namely, the Holy City itself. At the other end of the period, we find the brilliant flowering which characterised the Justinianic age; the life of Saint Theodosius by Theodore of Petra, and the Monachikai historiai by Cyril of Scythopolis, written in honour of the monasteries in the desert or on its edges, which had become so powerful. 3 In the intervening period, over more than a century, there is no life preserved in Greek from this milieu, and this hiatus is so considerable that one might hesitate before speaking of a true history of Palestinian historiography in the fifth and sixth 262centuries. The Life of Melania, on one hand, and the Monachikai historiai, on the other, appear to be isolated monuments.