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Art. 38, Les pelrinages communes que crestiens fount en la Seinte Terre: Introduction

ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

This item, dated 1258–63, offers a travel guide to Christian pilgrimage routes and destinations in the Holy Land. Heading south to Jerusalem from Acre via the coastline, it passes through Caesarea and Jaffa. Reaching the Holy City, the author dwells for a time on the places to be toured there, especially the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, with highlights of other churches, the city gates, the Mount of Olives, and so on. The route continues southward to Bethlehem and then stretches north, inland, to Nazareth, eventually returning to the coastline north of Acre, in Tyre and Sidon. By the end the traveler is pointed northward in the direction of Beirut.

The pilgrimage sites are often joined to biblical events, especially to places central to the Nativity and Passion stories. Several visual and tactile icons of Christ’s existence are named, such as a handprint upon a stone. The sites include Hebron, homeland and burial cave of the Old Testament patriarchs and their wives. Locations associated with the prophet Elijah and his New Testament counterpart, John the Baptist, are prominent in the itinerary, from beginning to end; these references draw on the traditional lineage of prophets proceeding from Elijah to the Baptist (Luke 9:7–9, John 1:25), to Jesus, and even to Saint George. See also the explanatory notes for Reasons for Fasting on Friday (art. 106).

Articles 38 and 39 are likely written by the same author. For related Anglo-Norman items, see ANL 334–35. Among English texts, this itinerary of Holy Land sites may be compared to that described in Mandeville’s Travels, dated 1357 (Seymour 1993, pp. 5–7), which exists in many forms in Middle English (see the several editions by Seymour listed in the bibliography). The best modern source on specific destinations in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem is the four-volume study by Pringle (1993–2009).

[Fols. 68va–70rb. ANL 336. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quires: 7–8 (fol. 70 opens quire 8). Layout: Prose in double columns. Edition: Michelant and Raynaud, pp. xxx–xxxi, 227–35 (no. 12). Other MSS: None. Translation: Pringle 2012, pp. 229–34.]

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