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Three pilgrimages to the Holy Land: English Translation

Denys Pringle translates the accounts of three twelfth-century pilgrims to the Holy Land, viz Saewulf, John of Würzburg, and Theoderich, into English (Corpus Christianorum in Translation, vol. 41). Modern readers now have the option to access these texts, not only in Italian (Corpus Christianorum in Translation, 35), but also in English. It illustrates the importance of these texts and of the edition published in 1994 by the recently deceased Prof. R. B. C. Huygens.

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This edition presents English translations of the accounts of three important twelfth-century travellers to the Holy Land, the Anglo-Saxon Saewulf and the Germans John of Würzburg and Theoderic, based on the edition of the Latin texts. Saewulf travelled to the Holy Land soon after its capture by the First Crusade in 1099. His travelogue, framed by accounts of his outward sea journeys from southern Italy to Jaffa and back to Constantinople, describes the buildings and holy sites of Jerusalem and its surrounding countryside as they appeared in the early years of the Frankish kingdom, before the major building works that characterized the short century of Christian rule over the city were fully under way. In contrast, the two German descriptions give more detailed accounts of the transformation that the city and surrounding landscape had undergone and of the new churches and monasteries and their artistic programmes that had been created by the 1160s and 1170s. The translated texts are preceded by an introduction placing the texts in their historical context and are accompanied by brief explanatory notes with bibliographical indications for further information.

The source texts of this volume appeared in Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaeualis as Peregrinationes tres (CCCM, 139), edited by R.B.C. Huygens. References to the corresponding pages of the Corpus Christianorum edition are provided in the margins of this translation.


Denys Pringle is Emeritus Professor in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. In addition to his four-volume corpus, The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (1993–2009), his more recent publications include a volume of translated texts, Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187–1291 (2012), and a book of collected studies, Churches, Castles and Landscape in the Frankish East (2013).

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