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Adomnán, Holy Places 1.20


Adomnán (Adamnanus) was a jurist and hagiographer who served as the abbot of the monastery on the island of Iona in 679-704 C.E. His writings provide important testimony for the culture and religion of Early Medieval Scotland. Among them is an account of the Holy Land based largely on the itinerary of Arculf, the Frankish bishop who purportedly told the story of his pilgrimage in ca. 680 to his host Adomnán after wrecking on Iona. This passage from the first book on Jerusalem and its environs describes the natural terrain from the Judaean hills west to the coast as far as Caesarea.


Ab Helia septemtrionem versus usque ad Samuhelis civitatem, quae Armathem nominatur, terra petrosa et aspera per quaedam monstratur intervalla; valles quoque spinosae usque ad Tamniticam regionem patentes. Aliter vero a supradicta Helia et monte Sion qualitas regionum monstratur usque ad Cesaream Palestinae occasum versus. Nam quamvis aliqua reperriantur angusta et brevia aspera loca interposita, praecipue tamen latiores plani monstrantur campi interpositis laetiores olivetis.1

Textual Note

Ed. Bieler 1965


North from Helia up to the city of Samuel, which is called Armathes, the terrain proves to be rocky and rough in certain areas, and the valleys extending as far as the Tamnitic region are full of thorny vegetation. But from the aforementioned Helia and Mount Sion to the west as far as Caesarea Palestinae the regional character is different. For, although here and there can be found rough spots over narrow, short stretches, by and large the wide open, flat plains prove to be very pleasant, with olive trees spread about.

Translation Note

Trans. J. L. Rife

Works Cited

  • 1 Adomnán, Adamnani de locis sanctis libri tres, in Itineraria et alia geographica, ed. Ludwig Bieler, Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 175 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 175–234, ch: 1, section: 20.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Adomnán, Holy Places 1.20,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published October 19, 2022,


Joseph L. Rife, “Adomnán, Holy Places 1.20.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife., edited by Joseph L. Rife. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2022. Entry published October 19, 2022.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Adomnán, Holy Places 1.20

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, editor, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Adomnán, Holy Places 1.20
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Adomnán, Holy Places 1.20

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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