Biblical Archaeology Review 33:1, January/February 2007

Past Perfect: A Pilgrim on Mt. Sinai

Biblical Archaeology Review

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land started in earnest during the reign of Constantine (306–326 A.D.), the emperor credited with converting the Roman empire to Christianity. One of the earliest pilgrims was a woman named Egeria. Very little is known of this pious woman. She wrote about her experiences in a prayerful letter in Latin to her “beloved sisters,” leading many scholars to the conclusion that she must have been a nun. Unfortunately, only about four months of her travels were preserved among the fragments of her letter that survived—and even these have now been lost. However, they were copied at Monte Cassino in an 11th-century manuscript called the “Codex Aretinus.” The manuscript disappeared until the 19th century, when it was found by Italian scholar Gian-Francesco Gamurrini in the monastic library at Abrezzo, Italy. Below is an excerpt from Egeria’s visit to Mt. Sinai.

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