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Bede, Holy Places 5.3-5.9


The “venerable” Bede was one of the great historians of the Early Middle Ages. Descended from an Anglo-Saxon family of status, he was a Benedictine monk at the monasteries of St. Peter and Paul in Northumbria, in what is today northeastern England. Besides his magnum opus, Church History of the English People, his diverse and erudite literary production included the short account of the Holy Land, an early work of Bede’s written during his priesthood at Hexham. This passage describes the natural terrain from the Judaean hills west to the coast as far as Caesarea. Here Bede depends fully on the account of Adomnán, the abbot of Iona who had visited his monastery a few years earlier, and this passage was copied by Peter the Deacon, who wrote his Holy Places some 450 years later.


Circa Hierusalem aspera ac montuosa cernuntur loca. Hinc quoque septemtrionem versus usque Arimathiam terra petrosa et aspera per intervalla quaedam monstratur, valles quoque spinosae usque ad Thamnicam regionem patentes. Ad Caesaream vero Palestinae ab Aelia quamvis aliqua reperriantur angusta et brevia aspera loca, praecipue tamen planities camporum interpositis olivetis. Distant autem LXXV milibus passuum.1

Textual Note

Ed. Fraipont 1965


Around Jerusalem one sees that the land is rough and mountainous. From there to the north up to Arimathia the terrain proves to be rocky and rough in certain areas, and the valleys extending as far as the Thamnic region are full of thorny vegetation. But from Aelia to Caesarea Palestinae, although here and there can be found rough spots over narrow, short stretches, by and large the plains are flat, with olive trees spread about. The distance is 75 miles.

Translation Note

Trans. J. L. Rife

Works Cited

  • 1 Bede, Bedae venerabilis de locis sanctis, in Itineraria et alia geographica, ed. I. Fraipont, repr. 2013, Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 175 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 245–80, ch: 5, section: 3-9.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record


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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Bede, Holy Places 5.3-5.9,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published October 19, 2022,


Joseph L. Rife, “Bede, Holy Places 5.3-5.9.” 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: Bede, Holy Places 5.3-5.9

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, “Bede, Holy Places 5.3-5.9
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Bede, Holy Places 5.3-5.9

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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