Peregrinatio Egeriae

We have been reading some passages out of the Peregrinatio Egeriae, the travel diary of a woman traveling through the holy land. I had some trouble with a few phrases and wanted to share what I found out:

“Facta est ergo iuxta consuetudinem ibi oratio….” – Thus a prayer was made there according to custom…

This is a typically Classical use of the word “iuxta” and it means “according to.” However, later in the same text, this appears:

“Multi autem ex ipsis monachis sanctis qui ibi commanebant iuxta aqua ipsa….” – Also many of those holy monks who lived near that water…

Not only is the constant use of ipse/ipsa/ipsum a little unClassical, but this use of ‘iuxta’ is. Instead of meaning ‘according to’, it is (perhaps) paired with the ablative here. I say “perhaps” because the only surviving manuscript of this text comes to us by way of the 11th century at which point the accusative and ablative had joined together, so “aquam ipsam” may have been written “aqua ipsa.”


Pervenimus ergo ad summitatem montis illius, ubi est nunc ecclesia non grandis; in ipsa summitate montis Nabau; intra quam ecclesiam, in eo loco ubi pulpitus est, vidi locum modice quasi altiorem, tantum hispatii; habentem quantum memoriae solent habere.

We had reached the summit of Mt Nebo where there is today a small Church at the summit of Mt. Nebo, in which Church, in the same place where the pulpit is, I saw a place slightly higher, having such space as graves are accustomed to having.

Odd point #1 – The typical Classical way of saying “the top of a mountain” is ‘summus mons’, not ‘ad summitatem montis.’

Odd point #2 – Betraying the influence of Romance languages on the text, Egeria describes the Church as ‘non grandis’ (not large) instead of using the typical Classical word : parvus.

Odd point #3 – Once again showing the influence of the developing Romance languages, the text reads “pulpitus” instead of the Classical word, which is neuter, and thus “pulpitum.”

Odd point #4 – “hispatii” – Try looking this one up in your Lewis and Short or your Cassell’s and tell me what you find. The answer: nothing! Why? This seems to be a case of prosthesis – the addition of morphemes without changing the meaning. Think of various Spanish (or French) words which have “s + consonant” in the beginning, and then see that they have vowels before them. Espana, Escribir, etc. This is ‘spatium’ in Latin with an ‘hi’ added to the front. Apparently Medieval folks liked putting h’s on things – thus the same text also reads ‘hostium ecclesiae’, which is not ‘of the enemies of the Church’ (hostis, hostis n.), but rather ostium ecclesiae, ‘the door of the Church’ (ostium, -i n).

So, you can see just how badly the Medievals messed up Latin. Someone give me a copy of Augustine – I need some real Latin.

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One response to “Peregrinatio Egeriae

  1. Latin text and english translation can be found at this page :
    Also, latin text and french translation there :

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