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E00415: The Piacenza Pilgrim mentions a church of *John the Baptist (S00020), in Neapolis (Palestine, modern Nablus). Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

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posted on 25.04.2015, 00:00 by robert
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 6

First recension
In qua [Neapolis] est puteus, ubi dominus a samaritana aquam petiit. Ibi facta est basilica sancti Iohannis; et ipse puteus est ante cancellos altaris et siclus ibi est, de quo dicitur, quia ipse est, de quo bibit Dominus, et multae aegritudines ibi sanantur.

'In it [Neapolis] is the well where the Lord asked the Samaritan woman for water, and a basilica of saint John has been built there. This well is in front of the altar-screen, and they have a bucket there which, it is said, is the very one from which the Lord drank. Many diseases are cured there.'

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


Text: Geyer 1898, 162 and 197. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 133 lightly adapted.

History

Evidence ID

E00415

Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Iohannes

Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

551

Evidence not after

614

Activity not before

551

Activity not after

614

Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Piacenza

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 - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Pilgrimage

Source

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.

Discussion

The church, mentioned in the passage, is dedicated to John the Baptist, but the healing power of the water seems to be attributed only to the fact that Christ drank it.

Bibliography

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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