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E00468: The Piacenza Pilgrim records the basilica of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030) outside Jerusalem, built by the empress Eudocia and containing the tomb of the martyr, and her tomb close to that of the saint; also the tomb of *George (soldier and martyr, S00259) at Diospolis, where miracles occur; all in Palestine. 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 25

First recension
Nam et modo ipsa fons Siloa infra ciuitatem inclausa est, quia Eudoxia imperatrix ipsa addidit muros in ciuitate. Nam ipsa muniuit basilicam et sepulchrum sancti Stephani et ipsa sepulchrum habet iuxta sepulchrum sancti Stephani. Inter sepulchra habet continuo gressus XX. Nam et ipse sanctus Stephanus requiescit foris portam, sagittae iactum unum ad uiam, quae respicit ad occidentem, quae descendit ad Ioppe et Caesarea Palestinis uel Diaspoli ciuitatem quae antiquitus dicitur Azotus, in qua requiescit sanctus Georgius martyr... In quo loco daemoniaci mundantur. Nam et in ipsa prouincia multas uirtutes ostendit beatus Georgius.

'Nowadays the fountain of Siloa is included within the city, because the Empress Eudocia herself added these walls to the city. She also built the basilica and tomb of saint Stephen. And her own tomb is next to saint Stephen's, with twenty paces between the two. Saint Stephen's resting-place is outside the gate. A bow-shot from the road, which leads westward down to Joppa, Caesarea Palestinae and Diospolis (which in ancient times was called Azotus), the resting place of saint George the martyr ... People possessed by demons are cured there, for in that district blessed George displays many miracles.'

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

Text: Geyer 1898, 176 and 207. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 141, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030 George, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259

Saint Name in Source

Stephanus Georgius

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

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism


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.


The basilica of Stephen was located at the supposed place of his martyrdom outside the north gate of Jerusalem. Our author in his account confuses Eudoxia, the wife of Aracadius, with Eudocia, the wife of Theodosius II, who built St Stephen's. He is also incorrect in writing that Diospolis, where saint George was indeed believed to be buried (see also E07916), was once called Azotus; Azotus was a completely different settlement on the coast, now Ashdod, while Diospolis (also known as Lydda, and now Lod) is inland.


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).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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