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E00507: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to the hospice of *George (soldier and martyr, S00259) close to Elousa (Palestine). 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 Bryan
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 35

First recension
Proficiscentes de ciuitate Elusa, ingressi heremum. Ad xx milia est castrum, in quo est xenodochius sancti Georgi, in quo habent quasi refugium transeuntes uel heremitae stipendia.

'Leaving the city of Elusa we entered desert. Twenty miles on is a fort, and in it the hospice of saint George which provides something of a refuge for passers-by and sustenance for hermits.'

Second recension
Proficiscentes de ciuitate Heulatia intrauimus heremum miliario xx. In quo est castrum, ubi est synodochium sancti Georgii. In quo habent transeuntes uel heremitae refugium uel stipendia.

'Leaving the city of Heulatia we entered twenty miles into the desert. There is a fort, and in it the hospice of saint George in which travellers and hermits find refuge and sustenance.'

Text: Geyer 1898, 182 and 212. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 145, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

George, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259

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 - secondary installation (fountain, pilgrims’ hostel)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Hospital and other charitable institutions

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


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.


For a possible identification of this hospice, see the comments in E02006.


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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