De situ terrae sanctae is a short 6th-century report of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Its author is identified in a 9th-century manuscript (Codex Vaticanus 6018) as a German archdeacon named Theodosius.
The work includes a list of places and routes, and occasionally commentary on relevant biblical passages, combining the genre of itinerarium with stories reminiscent of a modern travelogue. It was compiled after 518 and before 530, as the author is aware of the construction work done under Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491–518), but not of that done under Justinian I (r. 527–565).
Theodosius' additional sources
Tsafrir (1986) has argued that the topographical information in the work is based on maps used by tour guides, also reflected in the Madaba Map of the same period. The author inserted additional information based either on his own travels or on accounts by other pilgrims.
The text is divided into 32 sections or paragraphs.
- Sections 1–6, 27 and 32 have the character of an Itinerarium.
- The holy sites in Jerusalem are described in sections 7–11, 17, 21 and 31),
- interspersed with descriptions of holy sites in Asia Minor (12–13, 15, 26), Egypt (14), the Jordan Valley (18–20), Phoenicia (23) and Arabia (24).
- The biblical geography of Jordan is given in section 22,
- a biblical geography of Paradise in section 16.
- A list of provinces in the Holy Land is given in section 25.
- Three sections are short narratives: on Urbicius and the Seat of Mary (28), the Sassanid Persians in Dara (29), Eudoxius on Melitene and Susa (30).
Survival, manuscripts, and modern editions
Notable manuscripts include codd. Guelferbytanus (Weissenburg 99) (8th/9th c.), Haganus 165 (8th c.), Vaticanus 6018 (9th c.) and Parisinus 4808 (9th c.).
The text was edited by T. Tobler (1865), T. Tobler and A. Molinier (1879), J. Gildemeister (1882), J. Pomialowsky (1891) and P. Geyer (1898). It has also been translated into a number of European languages. English translations include those by J. H. Bernard (1893) and J. Wilkinson (1977).
- Tobias Nicklas in: C. R. Moss et al. (eds.), The Other Side: Apocryphal Perspectives on Ancient Christian “Orthodoxies” (2017), p. 26.
- Tsafrir, Yoram (1986). "The Maps Used by Theodosius: On the Pilgrim Maps of the Holy Land and Jerusalem in the Sixth Century C. E.". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. 40: 129–145.
- C. Jenkins in: A. P. Newton (ed.), Travel and Travellers of the Middle Ages (1926), 47–49.
- T. Tobler, Theodori liber de situ Terrae Sanctae, St. Gallen (1865).
- T. Tobler, A. Molinier, Itinera Hierosolymitana et descriptiones Terrae Sanctae, Geneva (1879).
- J. Gildemeister, Theodosius: De situ Terrae Sanctae im ächten Text und der Breviarius de Hierosolyma vervollständigt, Bonn (1882).
- J. Pomialowsky, Theodosius de situ terrae sanctae, Petersburg (1891)
- P. Geyer, Itinera Hierosolymitana, Vienna (1898), republished in CCSL 175 (1965), 113-125 (addendum in CCSL 176, 852f.).