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E00449: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to Sebaste (Palestine), with the tomb of *Elisha (Old Testament prophet, S00239). Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

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posted on 26.04.2015, 00:00 by robert
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 8

First recension:
Exinde ascendimus per alia loca Samariae et Iudaeae in ciuitatem Sabastae, in qua requiescit Heliseus propheta.

'From there we went up past a number of places in Samaria and Judaea to the city of Sebaste, the resting place of the prophet Elisha.'

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


Text: Geyer 1898, 164 and 198. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 135, lightly adapted.

History

Evidence ID

E00449

Saint Name

Elisha, Old Testament prophet : S00239

Saint Name in Source

Heliseus

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

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Pilgrimage

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified

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 tomb of Elisha in Sebaste is recorded by Jerome at the end of the fourth century(E06327). In Jerome's day, the bones of John the Baptist, a much more important figure for Christians than Elisha, were also believed to lie in Sebaste (see E05274, E05278 and E06327); but the evidence of our pilgrim, and also that of the Theodosius (E07913), shows that by the sixth century this was no longer believed to be the case.

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). Further reading: Maraval, P., Lieux saints et Pèlerinages d'Orient: Histoire et géographie, des origines à la conquête arabe (Paris: Cerf, 1985), 290.

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