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Pilgrim of Bordeaux, 333 CE

Pilgrim of Bordeaux, 333 CEAn anonymous pilgrim from Bordeaux visited the Holy Land in 333 CE. He traveled through Northern Italy and the Danube valley to Constantinople, through Asia Minor and Syria to Jerusalem, and then back by way of Macedonia, Otranto, Rome, and Milan. He recorded his impressions in The Itinerarium Burdigalense, the first description of the Holy Land by a Christian.

He described Jerusalem at length-

Thence to Jerusalem – miles xii.

Total from Caesarea Palaestina to Jerusalem 116 miles, 4 halts, 4 changes.

There are in Jerusalem two large pools (piscinae) at the side of the temple (ad latus templi), that is, one upon the right hand, and one upon the left, which were made by Solomon; and further in the city are twin pools (piscinae gemellares), with five porticoes, which are called Bethsaida ( John 5-2-18). There persons who have been sick for many years are cured; the pools contain water which is red when it is disturbed. There is also here a crypt, in which Solomon used to torture devils.

Here is also the corner of an exceeding high tower, where our Lord ascended and the tempter said to Him, ‘If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence.’ . And the Lord answered, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, but him only shalt thou serve.'( Matt 4-1-11). There is a great corner-stone, of which it was said, ‘The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.’ ( Matt 21-42; cfr. Ps 118-22). Under the pinnacle (pinna) of the tower are many rooms, and here was Solomon’s palace. There also is the chamber in which he sate and wrote the (Book of) Wisdom; this chamber is covered with a single stone. There are also large subterranean reservoirs for water and pools constructed with great labour. And in the building (in aede) itself, where stood the temple which Solomon built, they say that the blood of Zacharias (Matt 23-35; cfr. Luke 11-51) which was shed upon the stone pavement before the altar remains to this day. There are also to be seen the marks of the nails in the shoes of the soldiers who slew him, throughout the whole enclosure, so plain that you would think they were impressed upon wax. There are two statues of Hadrian, and not far from the statues there is a perforated stone, to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart. There also is the house of Hezekiah King of Judah.

Posted in: Byzantine Period

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