“De Locis Sanctis” by Saint Adamnan, Together with Extracts from “De Virginitate” by Venantius, and Pages from Saint Augustine of Hippo, Senator Cassiodorus, and Others


The volume presented here, Latin 13048 in the collections of the National Library of France, contains several manuscripts dating from the eighth and ninth centuries. The first is the text of De Locis Sanctis (Holy places) by Saint Adamnan (circa 625‒704). Arculf was a seventh-century German bishop who is known as the earliest western European Christian traveler to the Middle East after the rise of Islam. Returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in circa 680, he was driven by a storm to the Hebridean island of Iona, where he related his experiences to the abbot of the monastery there, Saint Adamnan, who recorded them in the text known as De Locis Sanctis. Among the places that Arculf visited were sacred sites in Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee. He also visited Damascus and Tyre as well as traveled to Egypt where he saw the Nile River. Arculf drew plans of the churches of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and of other sacred sites, which are reproduced in this manuscript. Another text in the manuscript consists of excerpts from the poem De Virginitate (Virginity) by the Latin poet Venantius Fortunatus (circa 530‒circa 600). The latter poem was written in the late 560s for Venantius’s patron, the royal nun Radegunda (died 587). The poet’s praise of virginity is an important document for understanding the origins of female monasticism in early medieval Europe. The volume also contains pages from works by Saint Augustine of Hippo (354‒430), Senator Cassiodorus (circa 487‒circa 580), and other writers. The manuscripts were copied at Corbie Abbey, the Benedictine monastery in Corbie, Picardy, France.

Last updated: December 20, 2017