University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E00512: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to the sanctuary at Abu Mena (Lower Egypt) of *Menas (soldier and martyr buried at Abu Mena, S00073), renowned for its miracles. Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

online resource
posted on 2015-05-16, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 45

First recension
Descendentes per Aegyptum uenimus in ciuitatem Athlefi et perambulauimus usque ad sanctum Mennatem, qui multas uirtutes ibi operatur.

'Going down through Egypt we reached the city of Athlef, and went on as far as saint Menas, who performs many miracles there.'

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

Text: Geyer 1898, 189 and 217. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 149.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Menas, soldier and martyr Abu Mena : S00073

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 Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Piacenza Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

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 at martyrdom and death Unspecified miracle


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 sanctuary and cult of Menas are well documented both archaeologically and textually (for these, see the many database entries entered under S00073).


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: Grossmann, P, "Late Antique Christian Incubation Centers in Egypt," in: H. Brandenburg, S. Heid, and C. Markschies (eds.), Salute e guarigione nella Tarda Antichità: Atti della giornata tematica dei seminari di Archeologia Cristiana (Roma — 20 maggio 2004) (Vatican City: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 2007), 125-140. Maraval, P., Lieux saints et Pèlerinages d'Orient: Histoire et géographie, des origines à la conquête arabe (Paris: Cerf, 1985), 319-322.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity