Pilgrims who visited the Holy Land between the IV and VII century


A monumental head
of the Emperor Constantine

Jerusalem in the Madaba Mosaic Map

The constantinian buildings (detail)

The Text: 7b. Jerusalem (second part)

Also as you come out of Jerusalem to go up Mount Sion, on the left hand, [592] below in the valley, beside the wall, is a pool which is called Siloe ( John 9:1-11) and has four porticoes; and there is another large pool outside it. This spring runs for six days and nights, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, it does not run at all, either by day or by night [ftn.1]. On this side one goes up Sion, and sees where the house of Caiaphas the priest was ( Mt 26:57-68), and there still stands a column against which Christ was beaten with rods [ftn.2]. Within, however, inside the wall of Sion, is seen the place where was David's palace. Of seven synagogues which once were there, one alone remains; the rest are ploughed over and sown upon, as said [593] Isaiah the prophet ( Is 1:2.4-8; Michah 3:9-12).

From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk towards the gate of Neapolis, towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate ( Matt 27:11-31). Here our Lord was tried before His passion. On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified ( Matt 27:33-37). [594] About a stone's throw from thence is a vault (crypta) wherein His body was laid, and rose again on the third day ( Matt 27:57-60; 28:1-10). There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine [pct 22] (iussu Constantini), has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church (dominicum) of wondrous beauty [pcts 23-24], having at the side reservoirs (excepturia) from which water is raised, and a bath behind in which infants are washed (baptized).

Also as one goes from Jerusalem to the gate which is to the eastward, in order to ascend the Mount of Olives, is the valley called that of Josaphat. Towards the left, where are vineyards, is a stone at the place where Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ ( Matt 26,36-50); on the [595] right is a palm-tree, branches of which the children carried off and strewed in the way when Christ came ( Matt 31:8). Not far from thence, about a stone's-throw, are two notable tombs of wondrous beauty; in the one, which is a true monolith, lies Isaiah the prophet, and in the other Hezekiah, King of the Jews.

From thence you ascend to the Mount of Olives, where before the Passion, the Lord taught His disciples ( Matt 24-25). There by the orders of Constantine a basilica of wondrous beauty has been built. Not far from thence is the little hill which the Lord ascended to pray, when he took Peter [596] and John with Him, and Moses and Elias were beheld [ftn.3] ( Matt 17:1-8). [follows]


1. The source of Gihon, which feeds the Siloe spring, is known for its intermittent, even if not weekly resting, flow. back

2. According to the gospel narrative ( Mt 26:67-68) Jesus was spat in outraged, struk and slapped, but not beaten with rods (flagelli) in Caiaphas' house. back

3. The pilgrim seems here to put on the top of the Mt. of Olives the Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-8) in place of the Ascension of Jesus (Luke 24:51). back

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