Pilgrims who visited the Holy Land between the IV and VII century

THE ANONYMOUS PILGRIM
OF BORDEAUX (333 A.D.)
The earliest Christian description of the Holy Places

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Map I: Europe 

Map I: Europe


General map
showing the complete itinerary
of the Bordeaux pilgrim


click on any locality name in the map
to view the corresponding
section of the text

Introduction

This itinerary (also known as Itinerarium Burdigalense) is the earliest description left by a Christian traveler in the Holy Land. The journey was made in 333 A. D. when Flavius Dalmatius and Domitius Zenophilus were joint consuls. The name of the author is not known to us, but it is generally assumed that the author was a native of Bordeaux (France), because the itinerary starts from there.

The Latin original text is written in the simple and lean form which is typical of the Roman Itineraria. It consists mostly of a list of localities and their distances. Localities are subdivided into cities, halts and changes; in these places the traveler could remain for a while, rest, have dinner, or just change the mount and keep going on.

Having passed through Milan and Sirmium, the traveller arrives in Constantinople; from there, he crosses to Asia reaching for Palaestina and in particular Jerusalem. The last part of the itinerary starts from Heraclea, in Hellespontus, and arrives again in Milan passing through the city of Rome.

Some historical and philosophical interests is shown by the author in comments and additions seldom made to the itinerary, but a greater concern in Jewish and Christian memories is apparent when the pilgrim enters the Holy Land.

Because the anonymous pilgrim travels in Constantinian times, he witnesses the establishment of the first imperial basilicas in Palestine: namely in Jerusalem (near the Holy Sepulcher and on the summit of the Mount of Olives), in Bethlehem, and at Mamre (Terebintus). Many Christian traditions about the Holy Places are here referred to for the first time ever; some of them are still kept in our days. You are invited to discover them by yourself, going down very attentively into the text presented hereafter.

Numbers in brackets from [549] to [617] correspond to the commonly adopted subdivisions of the text, and constitute links to a file containing a copy of the original latin text. A book icon () will work instead as a link to a file containing all biblical texts related to the itinerary.

The English translation is by Aubrey Stewart (Palestine Pilgrim's Text Society, 1887), with few additions and amendments.

The Text: Incipit
An itinerary from Bordeaux to Jerusalem, and from Heraclea (Eregli) through Aulon (Valona), and through the city of Rome to Milan. (follows)
Pages: Home | Previous | Next <> Maps: Europe | Asia | Palaestina | Jerusalem

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