Fr Jacopo da Verona (14th century)

Fr Jacopo da Verona

Liber peregrinationis, 1335

Jacopo, an Augustinian friar, departed Verona on 7 May 1335 for the Holy Land. He embarked in Venice and reached Jerusalem in August of the same year, with stops in Otranto (Italy), Candia (Italy) and Cyprus. After going to Bethlehem and to the banks of the Jordan River, he visited Egypt and the Sinai. Following his return to Jerusalem, he crossed Galilee towards Damascus, from where he went on to Beirut. In the course of his travels he provides us with a description of the village of Capernaum, then in ruins, for which he held the Saracens responsible:

“Continuing beyond Tiberias for ten miles, I reached the city of Capernaum, which is now a large and pretty village. But it is inhabited by wicked Saracens who harass any Christians who go there. In this regard, the word of the Lord seems to have been fulfilled: ‘And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to hell.’ Indeed, in ancient times it was a great city, now it is a small town without fortifications.”

Vittorio Castagna, Liber Peregrinationis di Jacopo da Verona, Verona 1990, pp.139-140