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Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Journey in the Holy Land 2.2-2.3


Wilbrand, born to a noble family of Oldenburg in northwestern Germany, had a distinguished ecclesiastical career as a prelate in the sees of Paderborn, Münster, Osnabrück, and Utrecht up to his death in 1233. He wrote an account of his travels to the Middle East in 1211-1212. During the first year of his journey, he served with Teutonic knights and royal envoys from Austria on an embassy from Otto IV, the German emperor, to Levon I, the king of Armenian Cilicia. During the second year of his journey, he visited Jerusalem and other sacred sites. This passage covers Wilbrand’s journey east from Acre to the Sea of Galilee, then back to the coast, and south to Caesarea, Arsuf, Jaffa, and Ramla. He mixes observations on both the early Christian associations and the contemporary state of these communities.


(2) Et relinquentes ad sinistram Sareptam Iudae, ad cuius differentiam altera Sarepta, de qua vos supra expedivi, Sydoniorum est appellata, veniumus Cesaream. Haec non est Cesarea Philippi, sed Stratonis, in qua beatus Petrus, cum in visione de omni immundo de reptili terre manducare iuberetur, sedem episcopalem ordinavit, et in ea presidens verbum fidei gentibus predicare incepit, per quod sua visio, de qua iam tetigi, adimplebatur. In hac hodie est sedes episcopalis. Ipsa vero civitas destructos habet muros. Tantum tempore treugarum inhabitabatur et tunc nostris obedire consuevit. In hac, ut quidam volunt, vidit Iesus hominem sedentem in thelonio, nomine Mathaeum, et dixit illi “Sequere me” etc. Hec distat ab Hakon spacio unius magne diete. Ab illo timore transivimus Arsun, que est civitas parva et destructa, tempore treugarum a nostris inhabitata, multos in finibus suis habens latrunculos sarrecenos. Et notate, quod hec civitates et dicte et dicende in perditione Terre Sancte a Sarracenis fuerunt destructe, preter Iaf, quam nostri tempore Henrici imperatoris—pro pudor!—perdiderunt. In qua filii Mammone nostris peccatis exigentibus XII milia Christianorum occiderunt et captivaverunt. Hec est illa Iopea, in qua beatus Petrus visionem supra tactam accepit, scilicet vas de celo missum, plenum omni reptili terre, quod angelus ipsum manducare precepit. Hec est etiam ilia, in cuius portu magi adorato Domino per aliam viam redeuntes navem nec velo nec remis munitam intraverunt. Qui illinc, ut supra plene scripsi, ad portum Tharsis miraculose sunt perducti. Hec civitas, sicut et relique, a nostris pace a paganis eis indulta inhabitari consuevit. Et distat a Cesarea unam dietam. (3) Illic ducatu nobis concesso relinquentes maritimam et incedentes versus meridiem transivimus terram verissime lacte et melle fluentem, et peragravimus Rammam.1

Textual Note

Ed. Pringle 2012


Leaving to the left Sarepta of Judaea, which in distinction from the other Sarepta (I addressed it above) is called of the Sidonians, we came to Caesarea. This is not the Caesarea of Philip but the one of Strato, in which St. Peter, when he was commanded in a vision to eat all the unclean things that creep on the earth, established a bishop’s seat. Presiding in it, he began to preach the word of God to the gentiles, and through this his vision, which I have just touched upon, came to be fulfilled equally in that place. In it there is today an episcopal city. In fact the city has its walls destroyed; it was inhabited only during the period of truce and only then became accustomed to owe allegiance to our people. In this city, according to some, Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting in the customs house and said to him “Follow me” etc. This is the distance of one long day’s journey from Acre. From there in great fear we passed by Arsuf, which is a small destroyed city, inhabited by our people at the time of truces and having many Saracen robbers within its borders. Note that these cities already mentioned or about to be mentioned were destroyed during the loss of the Holy Land to the Saracens, except for Jaffa, which our people lost—for shame!—at the time of the emperor Henry. In it the sons of Mammon killed or took captive 12,000 Christians on account of our sins. This is the Joppe where St. Peter received the vision touched upon above, that is to say, a dish sent from heaven full of all the creeping things of the earth, which the angel instructed him to eat. It is also the one in whose port the Magi, while returning home by another way after worshipping the Lord, embarked on a ship equipped with no sail or oars. From there, as I have written fully above, they were miraculously brought to the port of Tarsus. This city, and equally its remains, have customarily been inhabited by our people through a favor extended to them by those pagans. It is one day’s journey from Caesarea. (3) From there, after a guide was assigned to us, leaving the coast and advancing southwards, we passed over a land truly flowing with milk and honey, and we wandered through Ramma.2

Translation Note

Rev. Pringle 2018

Works Cited

  • 1 Denys Pringle, Wilbrand of Oldenburg’s Journey to Syria, Lesser Armenia, Cyprus and the Holy Land (1211–12): A New Edition, Crusades 11 (2012): 109–37, bk: 2, ch: 2-3.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Wilbrand of Oldenburg: Journey in the Holy Land (1211-12), in Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187-1291, trans. Denys Pringle, Crusade Texts in Translation 23 (London: Routledge, 2018), 61–94, bk: 2.2-3, p: 85-86.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Journey in the Holy Land 2.2-2.3,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published October 19, 2022,


Joseph L. Rife, “Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Journey in the Holy Land 2.2-2.3.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman and David A. Michelson., edited by Joseph L. Rife et al.. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2022. Entry published October 19, 2022.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Journey in the Holy Land 2.2-2.3

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman, and David A. Michelson, editors, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Journey in the Holy Land 2.2-2.3
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Journey in the Holy Land 2.2-2.3

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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