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E00467: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to a basilica of holy *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), its hospices for pilgrims and the sick, and the basilica of *Sophia (personified Holy Wisdom, S00705), all in Jerusalem. Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

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posted on 2015-05-05, 00:00 authored by robert
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 23

First recension
De Sion uenimus in basilica sanctae Mariae, ubi est congregatio nimia monachorum, ubi sunt et xenodochia uirorum ac mulierum, susceptio peregrinorum, mensas innumerabiles, lecta aegrotorum amplius tria milia. Et orauimus in praetorio, ubi auditus est Dominus, ubi modo est basilica sanctae Sofiae ante ruinas templi Salomonis sub platea, quae discurrit ad Siloam fontem secus porticum Salomonis.

'From Sion we went to the basilica of saint Mary, with its congregation of many monks, and its hospices for men and women. In catering for travellers they have a vast number of tables, and more than three thousand beds for the sick. We also prayed in the Praetorium where the Lord's case was heard, what is there now is the basilica of saint Sophia which is in front of the ruins of the Temple of Solomon, below the street which runs down to the spring of Siloam outside Solomon's Porch.'

There follows the description of specific places and objects related to Jesus life, which could be seen in the basilica.

The second recension follows the text of the first without important modifications.

Text: Geyer 1898, 175 and 206. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 141, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Sophia, personified Holy Wisdom : S00705

Saint Name in Source

Maria Sofia

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • 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 - Places Named after Saint

  • Hospital and other charitable institutions

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.


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



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