Research Group for Medieval Philology
The Research Group Presents

Books, Travels, and Liturgies: Strategies of Compilation, Ritual Commemoration, and the Use of History in the Itinerarium Egeriae and Codex 326(1076), Stiftsbibliothek Einsiedeln

Klazina Staat (Ghent University) discusses compilations of itineraria and liturgical descriptions.

Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 326(1076) (s. ix/x), fol. 67r (detail)
Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 326(1076) (s. ix/x), fol. 67r (detail)
Stiftsbibliothek Einsiedeln

The Christian notion of pilgrimage, traditionally understood as a journey to a holy place that is performed as an act of religious piety, often implies a close link between travel and ritual. This is evidenced, for example, by pre-modern pilgrimage accounts: travellers (often the narrators) explicitly mention when a liturgy performed at a place abroad differs from what they are used to, and authors/compilers sometimes combine the accounts of pilgrimages (itineraria) with the extensive descriptions of the liturgy performed at a certain holy site. This paper focuses on two of such compilations of itineraria and liturgical descriptions: the late-fourth-century Itinerarium Egeriae (with Egeria's report on her journey to the Holy Land and her description of the Jerusalem liturgy) and the ninth/tenth-century codex 326 (1078) from the Stiftsbibliothek Einsiedeln (including on ff.67r-97v ten routes through Rome and a description of a contemporary liturgy from Rome). Scholars have usually paid attention to one of the two elements (the itinerarium/a or the liturgy), but not the two together. Based on the assumption that the combination of an itinerarium and liturgical text was considered meaningful in Late Antiquity and Middle Ages, I will first provide a more detailed analysis of the internal construction of the two compilations, showing how the itineraria and liturgical texts string together at the level of the physical form of the writings (i.e. the codex) and in terms of their narrative/textual content. Secondly, I will discuss the function of the compilations, arguing that both the travel descriptions and the liturgical texts are aimed at ritual remembrance through movement, inspiring the audiences' re-experience of events in the biblical and post-biblical Christian history by the visiting of holy places, be it in reality or in the imagination. Third, I will discuss the use of Jewish and classical history in the two writings and show that each of them make a different use of the non-Christian past when mapping the pilgrimage in physical space. N.b. The Einsiedeln codex can be viewed here: https://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/sbe/0326//bindingA.