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E00471: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to a basilica of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) in a portico by a pool, and to the church of *Isicius (probably Hesychios, priest and saint of Jerusalem, S00261), outside the walls; both at Jerusalem. Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

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posted on 06.05.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski, Bryan
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 27

First recension
Reuertentibus nobis in ciuitatem uenimus ad piscina natatoria, quae habet quinque porticus, ex quibus una habet basilicam sanctae Mariae, in qua multae fiunt uirtutes ... Item exeuntibus nobis ad portam maiorem uenimus ad sanctum Isicium, qui ibidem in corpore iacet, ubi etiam et panes erogantur ad homines pauperes et peregrinos, quod deputauit Helena.

'Returning inside the city, we came to a swimming pool, which has five porticoes, and to one of them is attached the basilica of saint Mary, in which many miracles take place ... Then, going out to the great gate, we came to the tomb of saint Isitius [Hesychius?], whose body lies there and where Helena provided for the distribution of bread to the poor and strangers.'


Second recension
Reuertentibus nobis in ciuitatem uenimus ad piscinam natatoria, quae quinque porticus habet; et in uno earum est basilica sanctae Mariae, ubi multae fiunt uirtutes ... Item exeuntibus nobis a porta iorem uenimus ad locum, ubi requiescit sanctus Ysicius. Ibi etiam erogantur pauperibus panes, quos deputauit beata Helena.

'Returning inside the city, we came to a swimming pool, which has five porticoes, and in one of them is the basilica of saint Mary, in which many miracles take place ... Then, going out to the gate Iorem, we came to the tomb of saint Ysicius (Hesychius?), whose body lies there and where blessed Helena provided for the distribution of bread to the poor '


Text: Geyer 1898, 177 and 208. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 142, lightly modified.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E00471

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Hesychius (?), otherwise unknown saint whose church in Jerusalem was mentioned c. 570 : S00261

Saint Name in Source

Maria Isicius

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

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

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 pool, with its five porticoes and a basilica of Mary, was (at least for our pilgrim) clearly the pool of Bethesda, which according to John 5:2 had five porticoes. Whether our author saw five porticoes still standing in the sixth century, or conjured them up in his mind, is less clear. Isicius/Isitius is a shadowy saint; but he is presumably the same man as the presbyter Hesychios, associated with Jerusalem and recorded with feasts in September and November in the Georgian calendar of Ioane Zosime (E03874, E03875, E03935).

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).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports