Egeria: Diary of a Pilgrimage "Avoid the company of young men. Let long baited youths dandified and wanton never be seen under your roof. Repel a singer as you would some bane. It is a most mischievous thing for those who are weak owing to their sex and youth to misuse their own discretion and to suppose that things are lawful because they are pleasant. Sometimes the tone of the mistress is inferred from the dress of the maid. Seek the society of holy virgins and widows; and, if need arises for holding converse with men, do not shun having witnesses, and let your conversation be marked with such confidence that the entry of a third person shall neither startle you nor make you blush.
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McClure and C. Feltoe, ed. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, In the meanwhile we came on foot to a certain place where the mountains, through which we were journeying, opened out and formed an infinitely great valley, quite flat and extraordinarily beautiful, and across the valley appeared Sinai, the holy mountain of God.
And this place, where the mountains opened out, lies next to the place where are the graves of lust. The whole distance from that place to the mount of God was about four miles across the aforesaid great valley. For that valley is indeed very great, lying under the slope of the mount of God, and measuring, as far as we could judge by our sight, or as they told us, about sixteen miles in length, but they called its 1 Eng.
Bible, Kibroth-hattaavah, Num. We had, therefore, to cross that valley in order to reach the mountain.
Now this is the great and flat valley wherein the children of Israel waited during those days when holy Moses went up into the mount of the Lord and remained there forty days and forty nights. And so it was done. Thus, going from that spot where we had prayed when we arrived from Faran,4 our route was to cross the middle of the head of that valley, and so turn to the mount of God. Now the whole mountain group looks as if it were a single peak, but, as you enter the group, [you see that] there are more than one; the whole group however is called the mount of God.
But that special peak which is crowned by the place where, as it is 1 Exod. Bible, Paran. This is certainly very wonderful, and not, I think, without the favour of God, that while the central height, which is specially called Sinai, on which the Glory of the Lord descended, is higher than all the rest, yet it cannot be seen until you reach its very foot, though before you go up it.
But after that you have fulfilled your desire and descend, you can see it from the other side, which you cannot do before you begin to ascend. This I had learned from information given by the brethren before we had arrived at the mount of God, and after I arrived I saw that it was manifestly so. These mountains are ascended with infinite toil, for you cannot go up gently by a spiral 1 Exod.
By this way, then, at tha bidding of Christ our God, and helped by the prayers of the holy men who accompanied us, we arrived at the fourth hour, at the summit of Sinai, the holy mountain of God, where the law was given, that is, at the place where the Glory of the Lord descended on the day when the mountain smoked.
In that place there is now a church, not great in size, for the place itself, that is the summit of the mountain, is not very great; nevertheless, the church itself is great in grace. No one, however, dwells on the very summit of the central mountain; there is nothing there excepting only the church and the cave where holy Moses was. For although the holy mountain Sinai is rocky throughout, so that it has not even a shrub on it, yet down below, near the foot of the mountains, around either the central height or those which encircle it, there is a little plot of ground where the holy monks diligently plant little trees and orchards, and set up oratories with cells near to them, so that they may gather fruits which they have evidently cultivated with their own hands from the soil of the very mountain itself.
So, after we had communicated, and the holy men had given us eulogiae, and we had come out of the door of the church, I began to ask them to show us the several sites.
Thereupon the holy men immediately deigned to show us the various places. They showed us the cave where holy Moses was when he had gone up again into the mount of God,2 that he might receive the second tables after he had broken the former ones when the people sinned; they also deigned to show us the other sites which we desired to see, and those which they themselves well knew.
But I would have you to know, ladies, reverend sisters, that from 1 This word is still used in the Eastern Church for food which has been blessed by a priest, e. See Brightman, East. From thence we saw Egypt and Palestine, and the Red Sea and the Parthenian Sea,1 which leads to Alexandria and the boundless territories of the Saracens, all so much below us as to be scarcely credible, but the holy men pointed out each one of them to us.
HOREB Having then fulfilled all the desire with which we had hastened to ascend, we began our descent from the summit of the mount of God which we had ascended to another mountain joined to it, which is called Horeb, where there is a church. This is that Horeb where was holy Elijah the prophet, when he fled from the face of Ahab the king, and where God spake to him and said: What doest thou here, Elijah?
The cave where holy Elijah lay hid is shown to this day before the door of the church which is there. A stone altar also is shown which holy Elijah raised to make an offering to God; thus the holy men deigned to show 1 i. There, too, we made the oblation, with very earnest prayer, and also read the passage from the book of the Kings; for it was our special custom that, when we had arrived at those places which I had desired to visit, the appropriate passage from the book should always be read.
The oblation having been made there, we came to another place not far off, which the priests and monks pointed out to us, where holy Aaron had stood with the seventy elders, when holy Moses was receiving the law from the Lord for the children of Israel.
The passage from the book of Moses was read there, and one psalm, suitable to the place. Then, after prayer had been made, we descended thence. THE BUSH And now it began to be about the eighth hour, and there were still three miles left before we could get out of the mountains which we had entered late on the previous day; we had not, however, to go out on the same side by which we had entered, as I said above, because it was necessary that we should walk past and see all the holy places and the cells that were there, and thus come out at the head of the valley, as I said above, that is of the valley that lies under the mount of God.
It was necessary for us to come out 1 Exod. So having made the whole descent of the mount of God we arrived at the bush about the tenth hour. This is that bush which I mentioned above, out of which the Lord spake in the fire to Moses, and the same is situated at that spot at the head of the valley where there are many cells and a church. There is a very pleasant garden in front of the church, containing excellent and abundant water, and the bush itself is in this garden.
The spot is also shown hard by where holy Moses stood when God said to him: Loose the latchet of thy shoe, and the rest. Then, as it was late, we took a meal with the holy men at a place in the garden before the bush; we stayed there also, and next day, rising very early, we asked the priests that the oblation should be made there, which was done. Moses ascended into the mount of God and descended thence--so the holy men showed us each place that we came to in the whole valley.
At the top of the head of the valley where we had stayed and had seen the bush out of which God spake in the fire to holy Moses, we had seen also the spot on which holy Moses had stood before the bush when God said to him: Loose the latchet of thy shoe, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. They showed us the place where the camps of the children of Israel were in those days when Moses was in the mount.
They also showed us the place where the calf was made, for a great stone is there to this day, fixed on the very spot. Then, too, as we were going on the other side we saw the top of the mountain which overlooks the whole valley; from which place holy Moses saw the children of Israel engaged in dancing at the time when they had made the calf. They showed us where they all had their dwelling places in the valley, the foundations of which dwelling places appear to this day, round in form and made with stone.
They showed us also the place where holy Moses, when he returned from the mount, bade the children of Israel run from gate to gate. They showed 1 Exod. They showed us also the place which is called a Burning, because part of the camp was consumed what time holy Moses prayed, and the fire ceased. Now it would be too much to write of all these things one by one, for so great a number could not be remembered, but when your affection5 shall read the holy books of Moses it will more quickly recognize the things that were done in that place.
Moreover this is the valley where the Passover was celebrated when one year had been fulfilled after that the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt.
Bible, Taberah, Num. In the Coptic ostraca found in Egypt we have many parallel expressions; e. The place also was shown to us where the tabernacle was set up by Moses1 for the first time, and all things were finished which God had bidden Moses in the mount that they should be made.
At the very end of the valley we saw the graves of lust,2 at the place where we resumed our route, that is where, leaving the great valley, we re-entered the way by which we had come, between the mountains of which I spoke above. On the same day we came up with the other very holy monks who, through age or infirmity, were unable to meet us in the mount of God for the making of the oblation, who yet deigned to receive us very kindly, when we reached their cells.
So now that, together with the holy men who dwelt there, we had seen all the holy places we desired, as well as all the places which the children of Israel had touched in going to and from the mount of God, we returned to Faran in the name of God.
And although I ought always to give thanks to God in all things, not to speak of these so great favours which He has deigned to confer on me, unworthy as I am, that I should journey through all these places, although I deserved it not, yet I cannot sufficiently thank even all those holy men who deigned with willing mind to receive my littleness in their cells and to guide me surely through all the places which I was always seeking, according to the holy Scriptures.
Moreover, many of these holy men who dwelt on or around the 1 Exod. On the third day, hastening thence, we came to a station in the desert of Faran, where we had stayed on our outward journey, as I said above.
On the next day we came to water, and, travelling for a little while among the mountains, we arrived at a station which was on the sea, at the place where the route leaves the mountains, and begins to run continuously by the sea.
The inhabitants of Faran, who are accustomed to travel there with their camels, put signs in different places, and make for these signs when they travel in the day time, but the camels mark the signs at night. In short, the inhabitants of Faran travel more quickly and safely by night in that place, being accustomed thereto, than other men can travel in places where there is a clear road. Thus on our return journey we emerged from the mountains 1 Professor Flinders Petrie in commenting on this passage, tells me: "The route along the west coast is very truly described, and is striking after being some days entirely in the desert.
So also did the children of Israel return from Sinai, the mount of God, to this place by the way they had come, that is, to the place where we left the mountains and reached the Red Sea. But while we turned back from this spot along the route by which we had made our journey out, the children of Israel marched hence on their own way, as it is written in the books of holy Moses. I desired therefore that we should go from Clysma to the land of Goshen,2 that is, to the city called Arabia, which city is in the land of Goshen.
The whole territory is called after the city, the land of Arabia, the land of Goshen, although it is part of Egypt. It is much better land than all the rest of Egypt. From Clysma, that is from the 1 Num. Red Sea, there are four desert stations, but though in the desert, yet there are military quarters at the stations with soldiers and officers who always escorted us from fort to fort. On that journey the holy men who were with us, clergy and monks, showed us all the places which I was always seeking in accordance with the Scriptures; some of these were on the left, some on the right of our path, some were far distant from, and some near to our route.
For I hope that your affection will believe me [when I say that], as far as I could see, the children of Israel marched in such wise that as far as they went to the right, so far did they turn back to the left; as far as they went forward, so far did they return backward, journeying thus until they reached the Red Sea.
Epauleum1 was shown to us from the opposite side, when we were at Migdol,2 where there is now a fort with an officer set over soldiers to maintain Roman discipline.
These escorted us thence, according to custom, to another fort, and Baal-zephon3 was shown to us, when we were at that place. Etham5 also was shown to us, which is on the edge of the wilderness, as it is written, also Succoth, which is a slight elevation in the middle of a valley, and by this 1 Epauleum. The Eng. Bible has before Pi-hahiroth. This is the place where the law of the Passover was received.
The city of Hero,3 which existed at the time when Joseph met his father Jacob as he came, as it is written in the book of Genesis, is now a come,4 though a large one--a village as we say. This village has a church and martyr-memorials, and many cells of holy monks, so that we had to alight to see each of them, in accordance with the custom which we had. The village is now called Hero; it is situated at the sixteenth milestone from the land of Goshen, and it is within the boundaries of Egypt; moreover, it is a very pleasant spot, for an arm of the Nile flows there.
Then, leaving Hero, we came to the city which is called Arabia, situated in the land of Goshen, for it is written concerning it that Pharaoh said to Joseph, In the best of the land of Egypt make thy father and brethren to dwell, in the land of Goshen, in the land of Arabia. The city of Rameses is now open country, without a single habitation, but 1 Exod. The LXX has Gen. Bible, Goshen.
For the "city of Arabia "? Thou see p. There is nothing there now except one great Theban stone, on which are carved two statues of great size, which they say are those of the holy men, Moses and Aaron, raised in their honour by the children of Israel. There is also a sycomore tree, which is said to have been planted by the patriarchs; it is certainly very old, and therefore very small, though it still bears fruit.
And all who have any indisposition go there and pluck off twigs, and it benefits them. This we learned from information given by the holy bishop of Arabia, who himself told us the name of the tree in Greek--dendros alethiae, or as we say, the tree of truth.
This holy bishop deigned to meet us at Rameses; he is an elderly man, truly pious from the time he became a monk, courteous, most kind in receiving pilgrims, and very learned in the Scriptures of God.
He, after deigning to give himself the trouble of meeting us, showed us everything there and told us about the aforesaid statues, as well as about the sycomore tree. This holy bishop also informed us how Pharaoh, when he saw that the children of Israel had escaped him, before he set out after them, went with all his army into Rameses and burnt the whole city which was very great, and then set out thence in pursuit of the children of Israel.
He dated her pilgrimage to about —, during the reign of Theodosius I. Meister argues that her language shows no evidence of Spanish dialect, but rather, suggests that she may have been from one of the well known religious houses of 6th century Gaul ; according to this theory her pilgrimage took place in the first half of the reign of Justinian r. He praises Egeria and identifies her as a nun, perhaps because she addresses her account to her "sorores" Latin for "sisters" at home. Travels of Egeria[ edit ] Egeria set down her observations in a letter now called Itinerarium Egeriae "Travels of Egeria". It is the earliest extant graphic account of a Christian pilgrimage. In the first extant part of the text, she describes the journey from her approach to Mount Sinai until her stop in Constantinople.
Egeria: Diary of a Pilgrimage
Jump to: navigation , search Egeria also known as Aetheria was a western European pilgrim , probably a nun from what is now Spain, who wrote of her pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the late fourth century. She recorded her experiences in a long letter to the nuns of her community. Of what is known of the life of Egeria comes from her writings. From details of her comparisons of the Red Sea to the "Ocean" it appears she came from the western coast of Spain or France. Her pilgrimage to the East likely took place between and As a tourist she differed greatly from present day tourists, whose interests are mainly of the secular world, in that the interests in her travels was only that of the Christian world. She writes of little of the pagan world around her.