Saint NameMenas, soldier and martyr Abu Mena : S00073
Saint Name in SourceMennas
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries
Evidence not before551
Evidence not after614
Activity not before551
Activity not after614
Place of Evidence - RegionItaly north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
Egypt and Cyrenaica
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcPiacenza
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Piacenza
Major author/Major anonymous workPilgrim of Piacenza
Cult activities - PlacesBurial site of a saint - tomb/grave
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPilgrimage
Cult Activities - MiraclesMiracle at martyrdom and death
SourceThis 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.
DiscussionThe sanctuary and cult of Menas are well documented both archaeologically and textually (for these, see the many database entries entered under S00073).
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.]
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).
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.