A. K. M. Adam. THE PILGRIMAGE OF ETHERIA. M.L. McClure and C. L. Feltoe, ed. and trans. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Once the identification with the Gallic Saint had fallen, the title of Itinerarium Egeriae became more popular than the one of Peregrinatio. 4th century. Hispania (Spain). The Itinerarium Egeriae, also known as Peregrinatio Egeriae or Aetheriae (for it is not strictly speaking an itinerarium), is the.

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Since the relatively recent discovery of the parchment reporting the incomplete narrative of a journey undertaken to the Holy Land, the text of the so-called Itinerarium Egeriae formerly known as Peregrinatio Aetheriae has attracted an amazing attention from scholars. Actually, the parchment, written at Montecassino and itinerariuj to the eleventh century, was found only at the end of the nineteenth century by Gian Francesco Gamurrini itinerraium the library of the Eeriae dei Laici in Arezzo.

At the stage of its first publication, the incompleteness of the text, missing its first and last parts and affected by two large lacunaegenerated many speculations. These mainly concerned the origin, the status, the social level and even the name and identification of the woman that featured in the text as the leader of the small group of pilgrims headed to the Holy Land.

Actually, the text is a itiherarium in epistle style of the journey from a western province to Palestine and Mesopotamia. Itineragium initial missing part of the text might have contained information about the protagonist, a woman who Gamurrini identified with St. The lacunae are partially filled by information coming from other texts.

The Liber de Locis Sanctis written by Peter the Deacon, abbot of Montecassino inand a letter addressed by a itinerwrium named Valerius to his brothers in the monastery of El Vierzo in the seventh century, allow us to established the western origin of the protagonist Gallia or Galitia and the correct spelling of the name of the woman as Egeria and not Aetheria, as often reported in the less recent literature.

Also the exact date of the journey has been long debated.

Itinerarium Egeriae – Oxford Classical Dictionary

The most documented hence reliable date seems to be the one established by Devos, who fixes the arrival in Jerusalem before Easter of ADand the itinersrium journey egriae the earliest in the Spring of AD Once the identification with the Gallic Saint had fallen, the title of Itinerarium Egeriae became more popular than the one of Egeriaw. The actual title highlights the first part of the text, with the description of the peregrinations undertaken in several regions of the Middle East, and of the inbound trip from Jerusalem to Constantinople.

The most recent designation also assimilates this document to the few known Roman itinerariawith the Itinerarium Burdigalense vel Hierosolymitanumthe itinerariun description of the journey undertaken in AD from Bordeaux to Jerusalem by an anonymous pilgrim, as main comparative document. Certainly, even without the maniacal precision of the report of the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, who annotated all main and intermediate stops along the route and the distances in between all of them, the Itinerarium Egeriae contains some interesting information about the modalities of travel at the end of the fourth century.

Itinerarium Egeriae – Brill Reference

Here, we will discuss some of these details, often neglected when not misinterpreted by scholarship. Conversely, we will not discuss here the matters related to the origin or the status of Egeria, even if — for the sake of this research — it itinsrarium essential to underline that we will consider the pilgrim as a wealthy yet not aristocratic woman, definitely a lay and not a nun.

We will also stress that the comparison with other famous pilgrim women, like Melania Junior, Egeriar Senior and Paola, shows that, notwithstanding the fact that Egeria seems to enjoy a special treatment by the local clergy, she probably was offered the same treats as itinerraium pilgrims that, mainly when departing from far lands, clearly were able to afford such a demanding trip. Itineraroum essential point itinetarium this essay is the discussion of the argument that Egeria was awarded the right to make free use of the infrastructures of the cursus publicusthe imperial office in charge of the management of traffic related to official business.


A critical analysis of the contexts in which the term is used rather shows that, in most cases, mansio is a general term to indicate a place where it is possible to stay, directly deriving from the verb manere.

The term is used in Eg. Furthermore, sometimes mansio indicates a shorter stay only one nightcompared to a longer stay e. In other occasions, mansio is used as a unit of distance e.

Itinerarium Egeriae

In other occasions e. The preserved part of the text starts when the small group of pilgrims has already reached Jerusalem, the narration of the outbound journey being completely lost.

However, since it is said that the return itinerary followed the same route, we have a rough idea of the route from Jerusalem to Constantinople. The long stay in Jerusalem is enriched by the description of the liturgy in itinrarium in the Holy Town; in this case, some interesting information about the modalities of travel leaks from the tale of the places where Egeria and her travel companions overnight.

Such is the case of the ecclesiae offering lodging, where indeed Egeria stays 3 consecutive nights Eg. It is during the return trip from Sinai, via Pharan and Clysma, that we pick up the narration of the peregrinations.

More in detail, thanks eyeriae the integration with the testimony of Peter the Deacon, we can establish that the coastal route that Egeria follows from Jerusalem to Pelusiumeast of the Nile Delta, in Egypt, back to Clysma on the Gulf of Suez, where the pilgrims undertake the visit of the Sinai peninsula, includes 22 stopping places, whereas the route from Itinfrarium to Mount Sinai is divided in 12 itinerarimu posts Pet.

Clysma is the basis from which the pilgrims undertake the ascend to Mount Sinai, that is reached usually after an overnight in a monastery Eg. On the way back, it egeriad customary to overnight in Pharan current Egerkae, where the party possibly stopped also on the outbound journeywhere the party stays for utinerarium two-days rest Eg.

After leaving Pharan, Egeria moves on briskly and reaches a mansio in the desert of Pharan, where she already stayed. There it is possible to obtain a supply of water and take the road toward the sea.

There are another 5 stopping-places to return to Clysma, reaching first the mansio supra Maremwhere, referring to the facilities for travellers, Egeria comments the skill of the camel-drivers Eg.

As already noted above, it is evident that the party makes use of mounts: Even if in the opening of the preserved text, just at the beginning of the ascend of Mount Sinai, it is explicitly said that the hike has been done on foot I.

The whole party then, including the holy men that escort the pilgrims from Mount Sinai to Pharan, must have been provided of a mount. This fact in no way proves that Egeria belonged to the highest level of society, neither that she was using the Cursus Publicus. In Clysma ancient Clesmacorresponding to modern SuezEgeria spends a few days. The return journey until the so-called mansio Arabia probably a term indicating a small settlementwhich encompasses 4 stops in mansionesis done with the support of a military patrol, escorting the group from one stop to the following, the stop being described egdriae a mansioa monastery but also a castrum Eg.


VII, 4 egeriaee, in this stretch of road, this escorting service is customary.

egerriae Later, during the long stay in the Middle East the group ascends Ktinerarium Nebo. Once returned to Jerusalem, Egeria, passing egeriaw Carneas, undertakes pilgrimages to the far lands of Mesopotamia, beyond the river Euphrates, until Edessa, where the group arrives after passing 25 unspecified mansiones and civitates we are informed only that they cross Antioch, Hierapolis and Batanisup to Charrae Haran. She goes back to Antioch, from where she leaves to Cilicia and Isauria, diverting to the martyrium of Saint Thecla Eg.

It is evident, then, that, even if in fragmentary elements, the Itinerarium Egeriae provides us with some interesting notes about the habits of pilgrims and the practicalities of travel. For instance, in a few passes, the verb descendere indicates the action of stopping in a certain place e.

The places where Egeria and her party overnight are clearly of different type: III,1 the verb describing the hosting by the monks is susciperecontrary to the more conventional use of hospitio accipere, recipere, excipere. Moreover, it is clear that the group stops over at the road-stations set up along the road of the Roman Empire only when there is no alternative. It is pointless to discuss whether the group is provided with the pass that awarded the right to make free use of the facilities for travellers offered in certain road-stations, included in the system of the cursus publicus.

The most probable — even if less usual — interpretation egrriae that even those road-stations inserted in that circuit were open to the general public, that had just to pay for the services. However, when we compare this document with other pilgrimage itineraries, the Itinerarium Burdigalense above all, it is clear that even if the organisation behind the management of traffic along main roads is still efficient, in the fifty years elapsed between the journeys of the pilgrim of Bordeaux and of Egeria, the attitude of pilgrims has radically changed, since they seem to favour other type of infrastructures for lodging, provided by monasteries and local churches.

It is for the many holy men that generously offered hospitality itinerwrium her party that the gratitude of Egeria is reserved Eg. Her interest is addressed mainly in the places themselves, not in the journey to them.

Fatigue and privation are of course part of the experience, but the displacement from one holy place to another is meaningful only if experienced in a religious context.

The analysis of the other sets of sources juridical, literary, epigraphical clearly shows how hard the imperial administration tried to keep not only the road network but also the whole communication and transportation system efficient.

However, it is also evident that travellers progressively detached from the public infrastructures and started to consider the journey not as just functional to reach a itinerarlum but also like a path to salvation, more like an occasion for a spiritual experience than a simple displacement. Atti del Convegno Ferentino DicembreFerentino,p. A context for the beginnings of Christian pilgrimage, Echos du monde classique.

Classical Views3,p. Itinerarium EgeriaeBiblioteca patristica 17Florence, Some reflections on Egeria and her circle, The Classical Quarterly38,p. Piety and egerae in the age of Gratian, Harvard Theological Review81,p. More Posts – Website.

Afficher tous les articles par Cristina Corsi. Schematic map of the trips undertaken by Egeria. Diario di viaggioMilan, 2 Hunt E. Cristina Corsi – la formation et la transformation de l’espace dans les civilisations anciennes: