18 Pages

Itinerarium Egeriae: A Pilgrim’s Journey

ByVictoria Erhart

Itinerarium Egeriae is the name most commonly given to the surviving portion of a Latin narrative written late in the fourth century C.E., in which a woman writes to women friends about her experiences traveling through Egypt, Palestine, and Mesopotamia to visit sites with important biblical or early Christian associations. Although Egeria’s Itinerarium is mentioned in a seventh-century text and quoted in Peter the Deacon’s twelfth-century De locis sanctis (Book of the Holy Places),1 not until the late nineteenth century was the manuscript of the Itinerarium Egeriae identified.2 Dates for this pilgrimage range from late fourth century to mid-sixth century C.E., but the most commonly accepted dates are 381-83 C.E.3 The surviving portion of the Itinerarium Egeriae, estimated to be approximately one-third of the entire text, falls into unequal sections. The first section records the places visited, their Christian significance, and the prayers and scriptural readings appropriate to each location. The second portion of the Itinerarium Egeriae consists of a detailed description of the manner in which the Christian liturgy was celebrated in Jerusalem late in the fourth century C.E.