Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Medieval Maps of Jerusalem - Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Cloister of the Redeemer Church
Last Friday I visited the Old City with a friend, and one of the places I went was a small museum in the cloister of the Church of the Redeemer, the Lutheran Church that was built in the Muristan in the late 19th century. The church is built on the site of the 12th century Latin Church of Mary, and it's very close to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the museum, there was a facsimile of a map from a medieval manuscript of a pilgrim's visit to Jerusalem late in the 7th century (ca. 670). The pilgrim was Arculf, a Frankish bishop who had visited the holy places.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica (online), the entry on Arculf:
Arculf, (flourished 7th century, Germany), bishop who was the earliest Western Christian traveler and observer of importance in the Middle East after the rise of Islām. Although he most likely was connected with a monastery, some believe he was the bishop of Périgueux, Aquitaine. 
On his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (c. 680),  Arculf was driven by storm to Scotland and so arrived at the Hebridean island of Iona, where he related his experiences to his host, Abbot St. Adamnan. Adamnan’s narrative of Arculf’s journey, De locis sanctis, came to the attention of the Venerable Bede, who inserted a brief summary of it in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Bede also wrote a separate and longer digest that endured throughout the Middle Ages as a popular guidebook to the Eastern holy places. 
Among the places Arculf visited were the sacred sites of Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee; Damascus and Tyre; and the Nile River and the volcanic Aeolian Islands (modern Eolie Islands). He drew plans of the churches of the Holy Sepulchre and of Mount Zion in Jerusalem, of the Ascension on Olivet, and of Jacob’s Well at Shechem. His records also include the first form of the story of St. George, patron saint of England.
This illustration is from a 9th century manuscript of De Locis Sanctis, Vienna, Austrian National Library codex 458, f. 4v. The circular area to the left is the Anastasis, the rotunda where the sepulchre itself is located. Outside the rotunda, to the right, is an enclosed rectangle which has the caption "Golgatha" above it - this is the traditionally accepted place of the crucifixion, according to Christian tradition.

Another illustration is found in a different manuscript.

I don't know which plan is original to Arculf or Adamnan, or closest to the original plan.

City of Jerusalem in the Madaba mosaic map. Damascus Gate and
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are both marked.

My last photo is of the roof of the current-day Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where monks from Ethiopia live.

No comments:

Post a Comment