Per la storia di talentum
Talentum is the transliteration of the Greek τάλαντον; the term moves from the meaning of “scale pan” or “scales” in the Iliad, to “quantity”, “weight” in Odyssey, to the generic meaning “monetary unit”. In Latin it is attested with the meaning of money. The term takes on a new meaning the parable of the talents in St Mark’s Gospel: the patristic exegesis understood these ‘talents’ as “capabilities”, “accomplishments”, with a similar meaning to the modern meaning of ‘talents’. In the first decades of 5th century, in Martianus Capella’s de nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii the term appears ([Pedia] utpote talentorum conscia), with a meaning which once again differs from the traditional monetary meaning. The translation of the term in this passage is problematic. It cannot be overlooked that at the same time as Martianus was writing, New Testament exegesis of the parable was flourishing. In this paper it will be shown that the author is intentionally referring to the contemporary debate about the parable, in particular to Saint Jerome’s work, also by means of the mention of the tale of Croesus and Darius, which is repeatedly and exclusively employed by Jerome. In the passage from Martianus, talentum is attested for the first time with Jerome’s metaphorical meaning, and the text of de nuptiis, studied reconsidering the Christian interpretation of the word talentum, reveals finally its complete sense.