This travel itinerary highlights different points of interest for those on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. The text describes a route that begins in Acre, one of the major pilgrim ports, continues down along the coast and turns inland towards Jerusalem. The bulk of the text treats the sites within Jerusalem and its environs, after which point the author again turns his attention toward Acre and the various points of interest on the journey to the inland Sea of Galilee. The text progresses in such a way as to mirror the pilgrim’s journey through the Holy Land; the distances between major cities is given in leagues, and the author highlights places of religious importance in each locale. The author offers short explanations and stories related to the lives of Jesus or the saints for each location he describes within Jerusalem, and while the author is primarily concerned with places of religious significance, he also mentions locations tied to secular events, such as the Battle of Hattin, and geographical features found along the way. Pilgrims are also warned of the dangers to be found on certain routes in the itinerary.
The manuscript into which the anonymous Pélérinage is found was copied in Rome in 1295. It also contains the Acre Continuation of the French language version of William of Tyre’s “History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea” and a letter from Pope Boniface VIII entitled “Constitutio contra christianos”. Directly after the Pélérinage text, the manuscript copyist inserted a colophon with the exact date of completion (although Boniface’s letter, in Latin, follows the dated colophon). The deluxe manuscript is beautifully illuminated with historiated initials and marginalia in inks of blue, pink, ochre, red-orange, green, yellow, and gold. The first initial in the Pélérinage contains the bust of a bishop.
Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, fr. 9082 (Rome, 1295)
Michelant, Henri and Gaston Raynauld trans.,Itinéraires a Jérusalem et Descritptions de la Terre Sainte: Rédigés en Francais aux XIe, XIIe, et XIIIe Siècles, (Paris: Libraries de la Sociêté, 1882).
Sumption, Jonathan. The Age of Pilgrimage: The Medieval Journey to God. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2003.
Page compiled by Anna Lukyanova