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E06104: The Itinerary of the so-called Pilgrim of Bordeaux lists several tombs in the Holy Land of biblical personages, almost all from the Old Testament. Written in Latin, probably in Bordeaux (south-west Gaul), shortly after 333.

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posted on 2018-08-08, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Pilgrim of Bordeaux, Itinerary

The itinerary lists all the stages of the journey from Burdigala (Bordeaux) to Jerusalem. It names many sites in Palestine associated with biblical heroes, but does not describe any cult activity. Among other sites, it mentions the following tombs which are identified as those of biblical figures, several of them clearly monumental:

Joseph in Sichem (587)
Ibi est monumentum, ubi positus est Ioseph in uilla, quam dedit ei Iacob pater eius.

'Here is a tomb in which Joseph is laid, in the estate which Jacob his father gave to him.'

Isaiah (and king Hezekiah) in Jerusalem, outside the city gate, near the Mount of Olives (595 )
Inde non longe quasi ad lapidis missum sunt monumenta duo monubiles mirae pulchritudinis facta: in unum positus est Isaias propheta, qui est uere monolitus, et in alio Ezechias rex Iudaeorum.

'Not far from thence, about a stone's-throw, are two notable tombs of wondrous beauty; in the one, which is a true monolith, lies Isaiah the prophet, and in the other Hezekiah, King of the Jews.'

Rachel, Ezekiel, Asaph, Job, Jesse, David, and Solomon in and around Bethlehem (598)
Item ab Hierusalem euntibus Bethleem milia quattuor super strata in parte dextra est monumentum, ubi Rachel posita est, uxor Iacob. Inde milia duo a parte sinistra est Bethleem, ubi natus est Dominus Iesus Christus; ibi basilica facta est iussu Constantini. Inde non longe est monumentum Ezechiel. Asaph, Iob et Iesse, Dauid, Salomon, et habet in ipsa cripta ad latus deorsum descendentibus hebraeis litteris scriptum nomina supra scripta.

'On the road, on the right hand, is a tomb, in which lies Rachel, the wife of Jacob. Two miles from thence, on the left hand, is Bethlehem, where our Lord Jesus Christ was born. A basilica has been built there by the orders of Constantine. Not far from thence is the tomb of Ezekiel, Asaph, Job, Jesse, David, and Solomon, whose names are inscribed in Hebrew letters upon the wall as you go down into the vault (cripta) itself. '

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah in Hebron (599)
Inde terebinto cebron milia ii, ubi est memoria per quadrum ex lapidibus mirae pulchritudinis, in qua positi sunt Abraham, Isaac, Iacob, Sarra, Rebecca et Lia.

'Two miles farther there is the terebinthus of Hebron. Here is a monument (memoria) of square form built of stone of wondrous beauty, in which lie Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah.'

Lazarus (596).
Inde ad orientem passus mille quingentos est uilla, quae appellatur Bethania; est ibi cripta, ubi Lazarus positus fuit, quem Dominus suscitauit.

'A mile and a half to the eastward is the estate called Bethany. There is a crypt (cripta) in which Lazarus, whom the Lord raised, was laid.'

Text: Geyer & Cuntz 1965. Translation: Stewart 1887.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Joseph, Old Testament patriarch : S00277 Isaiah, Old Testament prophet : S00282 Ezekiel, Old Testament prophet : S01493 Job, Old Testament Patriarch : S01191 David, Old Testament king of Israel : S00269 Solomon, Old Testament king of Israel : S0

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

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Bordeaux Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré


The Pilgrim of Bordeaux visited Palestine in 333 as he/she dates their visit to the consulate of Dalmatius and Zenophilus, which took place in that year.


The Itinerary lists a few churches, all of them constructed by Constantine, but none is associated with the cult of any saint. The tombs of Old and New Testament personages listed in this record are presented as important biblical sites rather than places of cult. Interestingly, they are referred to in the same way as the tombs of two personages from classical history, Euripides (604) and Hannibal (572: confused with Hannibalianus, a member of the Constantinian dynasty). Only later do we have evidence that some of these biblical tombs attracted Christian cult.


Edition: Geyer, P. and Cuntz, O, (ed.), Itinerarium Burdigalense, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Chistianorum, series Latina 175; Turnholti: Typographi Brepols editores pontificii, 1965), 1-26. [A conflation of separate earlier editions by Geyer and Cuntz.] Translation: Stewart, A., Itinerary from Bordeaux to Jerusalem (London, 1887).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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