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Arculf (later 7th century) was a Frankish bishop who toured the Levant in around 680. Bede claimed he was a bishop (Galliarum episcopus). According to Bede's history of the Church in England (V, 15), Arculf was shipwrecked on the shore of Iona, Scotland on his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was hospitably received by Adomnán, the abbot of the island monastery from 679 to 704, to whom he gave a detailed narrative of his travels. Adomnán, with aid from some further sources, was able to produce De Locis Sanctis ("Concerning the sacred places"), a descriptive work in three books dealing with Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and other places in Palestine, and briefly with Alexandria and Constantinople. Bede learned of this and spoke about him in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Many details about Arculf's journeys can be inferred from this text.

Modern references[edit]

Arculf appears briefly as a character in the novel Justinian by H. N. Turteltaub (Harry Turtledove).

See also[edit]

Chronological list of early Christian geographers and pilgrims to the Holy Land who wrote about their travels, and other related works

Late Roman and Byzantine period
  • Eusebius of Caesarea (260/65–339/40), Church historian and geographer of the Holy Land
  • Anonimous "Pilgrim of Bordeaux", pilgrim to the Holy Land (333-4) who left travel descriptions
  • Egeria, pilgrim to the Holy Land (c. 381-384) who left a detailed travel account
  • St Jerome (Hieronymus; fl. 386-420), translator of the Bible, brought an important contribution to the topography of the Holy Land
  • Madaba Map, mosaic map of the Holy Land from the second half of the 6th century
  • Anonimous Pilgrim from Piacenza, pilgrim to the Holy Land (570s) who left travel descriptions
Early Muslim period
Medieval period

External links[edit]

  • Catholic Encyclopedia: Arculf
  • De locis sanctis[dead link] (English; J. R. Macpherson translation, 1895)
  • Adomnán (1895). Pilgrimage of Arculfus in the Holy Land (about the year A.D. 670). Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society.

Further reading[edit]

  • Meehan, D (ed.) Adomnan's 'De Locis Sanctis' (Dublin, 1958).
  • Woods, D. ‘Arculf's Luggage: The Sources for Adomnán's De Locis Sanctis’, Ériu 52 (2002), 25-52.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Arculf". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.