the company of young men. Let long baited youths dandified and wanton
never be seen under your roof. Repel a singer as you would some bane.
Hurry from your house women who live by playing and singing, the devil’s
choir whose songs are the fatal ones of sirens. Do not arrogate to
yourself a widow’s license and appear in public preceded by a host of
eunuchs. It is a most mischievous thing for those who are weak owing to
their sex and youth to misuse their own discretion and to suppose that
things are lawful because they are pleasant. 'All things are lawful, but
all things are not expedient.' No frizzled steward nor shapely foster
brother nor fair and ruddy footman must dangle at your heels. Sometimes
the tone of the mistress is inferred from the dress of the maid. Seek the
society of holy virgins and widows; and, if need arises for holding
converse with men, do not shun having witnesses, and let your conversation
be marked with such confidence that the entry of a third person shall
neither startle you nor make you blush. The face is the mirror of the mind
and a woman’s eyes without a word betray the secrets of her heart. I
have lately seen a most miserable scandal traverse the entire East. The
lady’s age and style, her dress and mien, the indiscriminate company she
kept, her dainty table and her regal appointments bespoke her the bride of
a Nero or of a Sardanapallus. The scars of others should teach us caution.
‘When he that causeth trouble is scourged the fool will be wiser.'"
--Letter of Jerome to Furia, ca. 394
The text now known as Itinerarium Egeriae,
the Travelogue of Egeria, was rediscovered by G.F. Gamurrini in 1884. It
is an incomplete text, beginning midway, missing sections in the middle,
and likely missing other lacuna along the way. Nonetheless, it is a very
revealing work, even as it stands, because it gives insight into Holy Land
pilgrimages in the very late 4th century to early 5th century AD.
What is known of the author is based on a scanty evidence in other sources
and internal evidence. She was likely from Galicia, of an educated class,
and possibly a consecrated virgin writing to other religious women, though
not everyone accepts this conjecture. Most scholars date her pilgrimage no
earlier than 381 and no later than 417. She references other texts that
can be dated to 390 and 404, though again, not everyone agrees on the
origins of the citations.
Part 1 (Chapters 1-23)--Several Pilgrimages
1-9: Journey to Mt. Sinai, the Giving of the Law
10-12: Journey to Mt. Nebo, Moses' Tomb
13-16: Journey to Carneas in Hauran, Job's Tomb
17-19: Journey to Edessa, Thomas the Apostle's
20-21: Journey to Carrhae, Abraham's House
22-23: Return Journey to Constantinople
Part 2 (Chapters 24-49)--The Liturgy in Jerusalem
24-25: Daily Office & the Sunday Liturgy;
26: Feast of the Presentation
27-28: Fasting in Lent
29-38: Lazarus Saturday, Holy Week
39-41: Easter & Eastertide
42: 40th Day After Easter
43-44: Pentecost and after
45-47: Preparation for Baptism
48-49: Feast of the Dedications
- What does it mean to go on a pilgrimage? Have you
ever been on one? Is it a necessary or important experience? Why or
- Can a special holiness be attached to a place?
Why or why not? What about an object?
- Is a schedule of prayer and worship a necessary
element of Christian worship?
- What would be the advantages of a yearly cycle of
Christian observance? What would be the disadvantages?
- Can one profit spiritually from traveling to meet
with and worship with Christians of renown?
General Content Questions
- Based on our reading, what would you conclude are
the interests and motivations of Egeria?
- What is the tone of her itinerarium?
- What does she think her readers will be most
- Why does she include certain details and not
- What informs her spirituality?