Burchard of Mt. Sion, Description of the Holy Land 1.3

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Context

Burchard of Mt. Sion was a Dominican friar from Magdeburg in Lower Saxony who wrote the the most important description of the Holy Land from the 13th century. The earliest and longest account of his pilgrimage, which grew particularly popular during the 14th-18th centuries, described his long trip from northern Germany to the Levant, where he stayed from 1274 to 1284, shortly before the fall of Acre, the last Crusader stronghold in the Holy Land, in 1291. The content of his description is based upon personal experience, research into ancient writings and earlier itineraries, and close study of scripture. In this passage near the beginning of his work, Burchard outlines the regional designations of Palestine, amalgamating Biblical, Roman, and contemporary conceptions of space.

Text

Post istam quartam Syriam, scilicet Syriam Phenicis, sequitur Palestina, que Philistiim proprie nιιncupatur, quia tres sunt, ut sequitur, Palestine, que tamen omnes sunt Syrie magne partes. Prima Palestina est, cuius metropolis est Jerusalem, cum omnibus montanis suis usque ad mare mortuum et usque ad desertum et Cades Barne; secunda, cuius metropolis est Cesarea Palestine sive Cesarea maritima, cum tota terra Philistiim, incipiens a predicta Petra Incisa sive Castro Peregrinorum, et se extendens usque Basan contra austrum. Tercia est, cuius metropolis est Bethsan, sita sub monte Gelboe iuxta Iordanem. Hec quondam Scythopolis dicebatur. Ista Palestina dicitur proprie Galilea sive campus magnus Esdraelon.

Textual Note

Laurent 1873

Translation

After this fourth Syria, i.e., Syria of Phoenicia, comes Palestine, which should properly be called Philistim, because there are three Palestines as follows, but all three are parts of Greater Syria. Palestine I is that province whose capital is Jerusalem, together with all its mountainous country, as far as the Dead Sea and the desert and Kadesh Barnea. Palestine II is the one whose capital is Caesarea Palestinae or Caesarea Maritima, together with all the land of the Philistines, beginning at the aforementioned Petra Incisa or Pilgrim’s Castle, and reaching eastward to Bashan. Palestine III is the one whose capital is Beth Shan, located below Mount Gilboa next to the Jordan. This city was formerly called Scythopolis. This Palestine is properly called Galilee, or the great Plain of Esdraelon.

Translation Note

Trans. J. L. Rife with ref. to Pringle 2018

Bibliography

  • 1 Burchard of Mt. Sion, Burchardi de Monte Sion descriptio terrae sanctae,Burchardi de Monte Sion descriptio terrae sanctae, in Peregrinatores Medii Aevi Quatuor: Burchardus de Monte Sion, Ricoldus de Monte Crucis, Odoricus de Foro Julii, Wilbrandus de Oldenborg… Editio Secunda accessit Mag. Thietmari PeregrinatioPeregrinatores Medii Aevi Quatuor: Burchardus de Monte Sion, Ricoldus de Monte Crucis, Odoricus de Foro Julii, Wilbrandus de Oldenborg… Editio Secunda accessit Mag. Thietmari Peregrinatio, ed. J. M. C. Laurent, 2nd ed. (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1873), 1–100, ch: 1.3, p: 22. Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record Link to Worldcat Bibliographic record
  • 2 Burchard of Mt. Sion, Burchard of Mt. Sion OP: Description of the Holy Land (1274-85),Burchard of Mt. Sion OP: Description of the Holy Land (1274-85), in Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187-1291Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187-1291, trans. Denys Pringle, Crusade Texts in Translation 23 (London: Routledge, 2018), 241–320, ch: 1.3, p: 244. Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record Link to Worldcat Bibliographic record

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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Burchard of Mt. Sion, Description of the Holy Land 1.3,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, last modified June 14, 2021, https://caesarea-maritima.org/testimonia/202.

Bibliography:

Joseph L. Rife, “Burchard of Mt. Sion, Description of the Holy Land 1.3.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife and Phillip I. Lieberman., edited by Joseph L. Rife et al.. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2021. Entry published June 14, 2021. https://caesarea-maritima.org/testimonia/202.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Burchard of Mt. Sion, Description of the Holy Land 1.3

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife and Phillip I. Lieberman, editors, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Burchard of Mt. Sion, Description of the Holy Land 1.3
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Burchard of Mt. Sion, Description of the Holy Land 1.3

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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