DE LOCIS SANCTIS, by BISHOP ARCULF, c. 670 C.E.
SANCTI ADAMNANI ABBATIS HIIENSIS
DE LOCIS SANCTIS EX RELATIONE
ARCULFI EPISCOPI GALLI LIBRI TRES,
Patrologia Latina, Vol. Lxxxviii, 779-781
SAINT ADAMNAN, ABBOT OF IONA, REGARDING
THE HOLY PLACES, FROM THE ACCOUNT OF
ARCULF, BISHOP OF GAUL, IN THREE BOOKS
Translated by Arnold vander Nat, 2001
Liber primus. Caput primum.
De Situ Hierusalem
BOOK I. CHAPTER I.
The Site of Jerusalem
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti, texere librum de locis incipio sanctis. Arculfus sanctus episcopus, gente Gallus, diversorum longe remotorum peritus locorum, verax index et satis idoneus, in Hierosolymitana civitate per menses novem hospitatus, et locis quotidianis visitationibus peragratis, mihi Adamnano haec universa quae infra exaranda sunt experimenta diligentius perscrutanti, et primo in tabulas describenti, fideli et indubitabili narratione dictavit, quae nunc in membranis brevi textu scribuntur.
In name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I begin to write a book about the holy places. Arculf, holy bishop to the Franks, with experience of diverse and very remote places, a witness truthful and sufficiently suitable, who lodged in the city of Jerusalem for nine months and in places he traversed with daily visitsto me, Adamnan, all these facts, which are very diligiently examined and which are produced below, and at first copied out onto tablets, by faithful and reliable narration he dictated, which are here written on parchment in shorter form.
De situ Hierusalem nunc quaedam scribenda sunt pauca ex his quae mihi sanctus dictavit Arculfus; ea vero quae in aliorum libris de eiusdem civitatis positione reperiuntur a nobis praetermittenda sunt. In cuius magno murorum ambitu idem Arculfus octoginta quattuor numeravit turres et portas bis ternas, quarum per circuitum civitatis ordo sic ponitur. Porta David ad occidentalem partem montis Sion prima numeratur; secunda, porta villae Fullonis; tertia, porta sancti Stephani; quarta, porta Beniamin; quinta, portula, hoc est parvula porta ab hac per gradus ad vallem Iosaphat descenditur; sexta, porta Tecuitis.
The things now to be described about the site of Jerusalem are a few of those things which saint Arculfus dictated to me; but those which are to be found in the books of others regarding the position of this city, are going to be omitted by us. In its large circuit of walls the same Arculf counted eighty-four towers and gates twice three, of which through the circuit of the city the order is laid out thus. The Gate of David to the western part of mount Sion is numbered first; second, the Gate of the fuller's house; third, the Gate of St. Stephen; fourth, the Gate of Benjamin; fifth, the Small Gate; this is a very small gate by which one descends through steps to the valley of Josaphat; sixth, Porta Tecuitis.
Hic itaque ordo per earumdem portarum et turrium intercapedines a porta David supra memorata per circuitum septentrionem versus, exinde ad orientem dirigitur. Sed quamlibet sex portae in muris numerentur, celebriores tamen ex eis portarum introitus frequentantur, unus ab occidentali, alter a septentrionali, tertius ab orientali parte.
This order then of the intervals of these same gates and towers is arranged from the Gate of David mentioned above through the circuit turned to the north, and from there to the east. But however the six gates in the walls are counted, nevertheless, the more famous of these are the entrances of the gates visited frequently, one from the western, a second from the northern, and a third from the eastern part.
Ea vero pars murorum cum interpositis turribus quae a supra descripta David porta per aquilonale montis Sion supercilium, quod a meridie supereminet civitati, usque ad eam eiusdem montis frontem dirigitur, quae praerupta rupe orientalem respicit plagam, nullas habere portas comprobatur.
In fact, the part of the walls with interposed towers which is alligned from the Gate of David described above, through the northern edge of mount Sion, which rises above the city at the south, all the way up to the front of this mountain, which looks back with steep rock to the eastern region, [that part] is proved to have no gates.
Sed et hoc etiam non esse praetereundum videtur quod nobis sanctus Arculfus de huius civitatis in Christo honorificentia praefatus narravit, inquiens:
But it is seen that this also is not to be overlooked, which saint Arculf narrated to us about this city, prefacing reverence in Christ, saying:
Diversarum gentium undique prope innumera multitudo quindecima die mensis Septembris anniversario more in Hierosolymis convenire solet ad commercia mutuis venditionibus et emptionibus peragenda. Unde fieri necesse est ut per aliquot dies in eadem hospita civitate diversorum hospitentur turbae populorum, quorum plurima camelorum et equorum asinorumque numerositas mulorum, necnon et bovum masculorum diversarum vectorum rerum, per illas politanas plateas stercorum abominationes propriorum passim sternit: quorum nidor non mediocriter civibus invehit molestiam, quae et ambulandi impeditionem praebent.
Nearly a countless multitude of diverse people from everywhere is accustomed to meet each year in Jerusalem on the fifteenth day of the month of September to conduct trade by the transaction of mutual sales and purchases. Whence it becomes neccessary that for some days throngs of various people are lodged in the same host city, whose large number of camels, and of horses, and of asses, and of numerous mules, and also of male oxen, of bearers of different things, strews through these city streets the abominations of their various manures all over the place: the smell of which brings an intolerable annoyance to the citizens, and which give an obstruction to walking.
Mirum dictu, post diem supra memoratum recessionis cum diversis turmarum iumentis, nocte subsequente, immensa pluviarum copia de nubibus effusa super eamdem descendit civitatem: quae totas abstergens abominabiles de plateis sordes, ablutam ab immunditiis facit eam.
But amazingly, after the day mentioned above, with the withdrawal of the various beasts of the crowds, the following night an immense supply of rain-waters pouring forth from clouds comes down over this same city: which, wiping away all the abominables from the filthy streets, makes it washed clean from impurities.
Nam Hierosolymitanus ipse situs a supercilio aquilonali montis Sion incipiens, ita est molli a conditore Deo dispositus declivio usque ad humiliora aquilonalium orientaliumque murorum loca, ut illa pluvialis exuberantia nullo modo in plateis stagnantium aquarum in similitudinem, supersedere possit, sed instar fluviorum de superioribus ad inferiora decurrit. Quae scilicet caelestium aquarum inundatio per orientales interfluens portas, et omnia secum stercoralia auferens abominamenta, vallem Iosaphat intrans, torrentem Cedron auget; et post talem Hierosolymitanam baptizationem continuatim eadem fluminalis exuberatio cessat.
For, the Jerusalem site itself begins at the northern ridge of mount Sion, and so it is by a gentle slope downwards arranged thus by the founder God all the way to the lower regions of the northern and eastern walls, that the abundance of the rains is in no manner able to remain above in the streets, like a collection of standing water, but like unto rivers, it runs down from higher to lower. Which, of course, the flood of heavenly waters flowing through the eastern gates, and carrying away with it all the manure abominations, going in the valley of Josaphat, it increases the Cedron torrent. And after such a continuous Jerusalemish baptism the same flowing abundance ceases.
Hinc ergo non negligenter adnotandum est quanti vel qualis honoris haec electa et praedicabilis civitas in conspectu aeterni Genitoris habeatur, qui eam sordidatam diutius remanere non patitur, sed ob eius Unigeniti honorificentiam citius eam emundat, quae intra murorum eius ambitum sanctae crucis et resurrectionis ipsius loca habet honorifica.
From this, therefore, it is not lightly to be noted how much or what kind of honor this chosen and praised city may have in the sight of the eternal Father, who does not allow it to remain polluted very long, but on account of his Only-begotten, he very quickly cleanses the revered city, which inside the circuit of its walls has the venerated places of the holy cross and the resurection itself.
Caeterum in illo famoso loco, ubi quondam templum magnifice constructum fuerat, in vicinia muri ab oriente locatum, nunc Saraceni quadrangulam orationis domum, quam subrectis tabulis et magnis trabibus super quasdam ruinarum reliquias construentes vili fabricati sunt opere, ipsi frequentant: quae utique Domus tria hominum millia simul, ut fertur, capere potest.
Moreover, in that renowned place where once had been the magnificently constructed Temple, placed in the vicinity of the wall from the east, at this time, the Saracens fabricated in a crude manner a quadrangular house of prayer, constructing it with raised planks and great beams on top of certain remains of ruins; this they frequent; and this house is able to hold, it is said, three thousand men at the same time.
Arculfus itaque de ipsius civitatis habitaculis a nobis interrogatus respondens ait: Memini me et vidisse et frequentasse multa civitatis eiusdem aedificia, plurimasque domos grandes lapideas per totam magnam civitatem intra moenia circumdata, mira fabricatas arte, saepius considerasse, quae omnia nunc a nobis sunt praetermittenda, ut aestimo, exceptis eorum aedificiorum structuris quae in locis sanctis, crucis videlicet et resurrectionis, mirifice fabricata sunt, de quibus diligentius sanctum interrogavimus Arculfum praecipue de sepulcro Domini et ecclesia super illud constructa, cuius mihi formam in tabula cerata ipse depinxit.
Arculf, questioned by us about the houses of the city itself, said in response: I remember that I both saw and visited many buildings of the city, and I very frequently examined very many great houses of stone throughout the entire large city inside the surrounding walls made with wonderful skill, all of which are now going to be skipped over by us, I judge thus, except for the structures of those buildings in the holy places, namely, of the cross and the resurrection, which are wonderfully made, about which we questioned saint Arculf very diligently, especially about the sepulcher of the Lord and the church built over it, whose image he himself drew for me in a wax tablet. [End of chapter 1]