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E00506: The Piacenza Pilgrim, in his account of his visit to Gaza (Palestine), mentions the tomb close by of *Hilarion (anchorite in Palestine and Cyprus, ob. 371, S00099). 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
Gaza autem ciuitas splendida deliciosa, homines honestissimi omni liberalitate decori, amatores peregrinorum. Ad secundum miliarium Gazae requiescit sanctus pater Hilario.

'Gaza is a lovely and renowned city, with most noble people distinguished by every kind of liberal accomplishments. They are welcoming to strangers. Two miles from Gaza is the resting-place of the saint father Hilarion.

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

Text: Geyer 1898, 180 and 211. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 144, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hilarion, anachorite in Palestine and Cyprus (ob. 371) : S00099

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

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 story of the theft of Hilarion's body from Cyprus and its burial at Maiuma (which is close to Gaza) is told in Jerome's Life of Hilarion (E06769). The tomb is probably recorded on the mosaic map of Madaba (E02524: this section of the mosaic is heavily damaged).


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: Elter, R., and Hassoune, A., "Le monastère de saint Hilarion: les vestiges archéologiques du site de Umm el-`Amr," in: C. Saliou (ed.), Gaza dans l'Antiquité Tardive: Archéologie, rhétorique et histoire (Salerno: Helios, 2005), 13-40. Maraval, P., Lieux saints et Pèlerinages d'Orient: Histoire et géographie, des origines à la conquête arabe (Paris: Cerf, 1985), 303-304.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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