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E00504: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to Ascalon (Palestine), where he saw a well where three Egyptian brothers and martyrs, whom he does not name, were buried (they are presumably *Ares, Promos, and Elijah, three Egyptian martyrs of Ascalon, S00196). Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

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posted on 2015-05-15, 00:00 authored by robert
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 33

First recension
Ingressi sumus in Ascalona. Ibi est puteus pacis in latitudine maior, in modum theatri factus, in quo usque ad aquam per gradus descenditur. Ibi requiescunt tres fratres martyres aegyptii; propria quidem nomina habent, sed uulgariter aegyptii uocantur.

'We entered Ascalon. There, on the main cross-street, is the Well of Peace. It is built like a theatre, in which one goes down by steps to the water. There rest three brothers, Egyptian martyrs. Each of them had a name of his own, but they are usually called "The Egyptians".'

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

Text: Geyer 1898, 180 and 210. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 144, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Arēs, Promos and Ēlias, martyrs in Palestine, ob. 309 : S00196

Saint Name in Source

tres fratres martyres aegyptii

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 - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


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 names of these martyrs are known from Eusebius (see E00390). The shrine is recorded on the mosaic map of Madaba (E02524).


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). Further reading: Maraval, P., Lieux saints et Pèlerinages d'Orient: Histoire et géographie, des origines à la conquête arabe (Paris: Cerf, 1985), 303.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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