Friday, 9 July 2010

Itinerarium Egeriae...

Does anyone know where I can purchase a relatively cheap Latin copy of the Itinerarium Egeriae? I have tried Amazon and Abebooks but the ones listed there are rather out of my price range (why are most of the books I want so expensive? I missed a great opportunity at Pendlebury's a few weeks ago - they had a second-hand Liddell & Scott Greek lexicon for £30 - most of them are around the £100 mark, but I didn't have the money then, and it's gone now), and I don't know where else to look.

Egeria was a 4th century nun (this is the traditional theory) who went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to experience Pontifical Liturgy there. I first encountered the Itinerarium, which is the diary of her experiences, when studying Late Latin at university. Her style is quite simple, but I wouldn't recommend Egeria for her style as much as what she says. I noticed one or two grammatical solecisms the last time I read it (maddeningly I can't find any of my old annotations of the text though) - which is interesting, considering the emergence of Romance languages (I wonder if this was indicative of the time generally?), but the content is fascinating - particularly, I found, the references to the Lucernarium, and the position of the Bishop's throne behind the Altar in the apse of the church. Here is another interesting liturgical sample from the Itinerarium:

Et diacono dicente singulorum nomina semper pisinni plurimi stant respondentes semper: kurie eleuson, quod dicimus nos: miserere Domine, quorum voces infinitae sunt.

Which can be rendered:

And the names of each of the many little ones standing by being said by the Deacon, they respond always with countless voices: Kyrie Eleison, whereas we say: Lord have mercy.

As Fortescue says, the Kyrie is not the last remnant of the old Greek Liturgy in Rome - it was a late addition from the East, which is interesting in the light of what Egeria says (do read it). It is sad that so little of the Roman Liturgy is Greek. Apart from the Kyrie we have the Trisagion on Good Friday, but that's it. I would personally rather have the Scriptures chanted in Greek than Latin, but there we are...

1 comment:


    If you have the patients for reading of a screen there is a mountain of Latin and Greek lit. online