Hundreds of pilgrims set out from Europe to the Holy Land between 385 and 1099 A.D. Of all these, only eighteen wrote descriptions which have survived. The majority of these texts have been newly edited in recent years, and provide essential background material for the history of Christianity in the Holy Land as well as for the archaeology and geography of the Holy Land in the Byzantine and early Arab periods.In this book the eighteen texts have for the first time been studied together in an order related to recent datings of documents, and wherever possible have been related to recent archaeological work. The Revd John Wilkinson discusses the date and authorship of the texts, studies the physical conditions of travel in the Byzantine period, and traces the development of Christian prayer in the Holy Places.The texts are presented in translation and are accompanied by full notes dealing with literary or historical matters. A special gazetteer groups together all notes concerned with archaeology or topography. There is a chronological list of sources, bibliographical notes and besides the gazetteer, there is a general index and an index of persons and there are over forty maps.
John Wilkinson first became acquainted with Jerusalem in 1961 when he went there as a tutor at St George's College. Since then he has lived there for seventeen years. He is an Anglican priest, and was a canon of St George's Cathedral, Jerusalem, and Director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. After writing Egeria's Travels Wilkinson went on to translate into English all the pilgrim texts in Latin and Greek till 1189, now collected together in Jerusalem Pilgrims and the Hakluyt Society's publication Jerusalem Pilgrims during the Crusades. He has now leaped ahead to 18th century Jerusalem, and with Mzia Ebanoidze has translated Timothy Gabashvill's pilgrimage.