University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E00457: The Piacenza Pilgrim mentions the basilica of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) outside Jerusalem, formerly her house, from which she was taken from the body. Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

online resource
posted on 2015-05-01, 00:00 authored by robert
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 17

First recension
Et in ipsa ualle [Gethsemani] est basilica sanctae Mariae, quam dicunt domum eius fuisse, in qua et de corpore sublatam fuisse.

'Also in that valley [of Gethsemane], there is the basilica of saint Mary, which, they say, was her house, and the place at which she was taken up from the body.'

Second recension
In ipsa ualle [Gethsemani] est domus sanctae Mariae, de qua eam dicunt ad caelos fuisse sublatam.

'in that valley [of Gethsemane] is the house of saint Mary, from which, they say, she was taken up to heaven.'

Text: Geyer 1898, 170 and 203. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 83, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Piacenza Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Pilgrim of Piacenza

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



This Itinerary was written by an anonymous pilgrim to Palestine who started and finished his journey in Placentia. He visited the East probably not long after the earthquake in 551, since he presents the destruction of Berytus (modern Beirut) in this year as a relatively recent event. He certainly visited Palestine before the Persian invasion in 614, since in his account Jerusalem is under Roman administration. The Itinerary is extant in two recensions. The first one is shorter and generally closer to the original, but sometimes it is the second recension which preserves the original text. Moreover, the additions that can be found in the second recension, unfortunately difficult to date, bear an interesting witness to the development of the cult of saints. The Itinerary can be compared with an earlier pilgrim's diary written in the 380s by another western pilgrim, Egeria. The Piacenza Pilgrim's itinerary is less detailed than her account, but shows the development of the cultic practices and infrastructure which had taken place in the course of two hundred years: there are more places to visit, more objects to see, and more saints to venerate.


This is the church of the Sepulchre of Mary, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The second recension says that Mary was 'taken up to heaven', and omits the word 'from the body' which suggest that its author already believed in the bodily assumption of Mary. This belief is explicitly attested by Gregory of Tours, writing in approximately the same period: see E00369.


Edition: Geyer, P. (ed.), Antonini Placentini Itinerarium, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Chistianorum, series Latina 175; Turnholti: Typographi Brepols editores pontificii, 1965), 129-174. [Essentially a reprinting of Geyer's edition for the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 39, Wien 1898.] English translations: Stewart, A., Of the Holy Places Visited by Antoninus Martyr (London: Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 1887). Wilkinson, J., Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades (2nd ed.; Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 2002).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager