Map of the Holy Land

This medieval map of the Holy Land is oriented with east at the top, and shows Palestine from Damascus in the north to Hebron in the south. The scribe filled the blank areas of the map with a series of inscriptions, taking the text mostly from a popular account of the Holy Land written sometime between 1274 and 1285 by Burchard of Mount Sion. Burchard travelled extensively, convinced that one’s understanding of the events of the Bible was enriched when one saw where they took place. He wanted the reader to follow in his footsteps, to see the places of the Bible through his eyes. The belief that such places – particularly those associated with the life and death of Christ – were not merely of historical interest but were inherently sacred was not universally accepted within the Christian church, but the existence of maps such as this, and the long and complicated history of pilgrimage, attest to a lasting belief that parts of the world are especially imbued with the spirit of the place.

 

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In Latin, on parchment (three membranes, glued together); 405 x 2150 mm