Home  »  The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile Kt  »  Of the Temple of our Lord. Of the Cruelty of King Herod. Of the Mount Sion. Of Probatica Piscina; and of Natatorium Siloe

Sir John Mandeville. Marvellous Adventures. 1895.

Chapter VIII

Of the Temple of our Lord. Of the Cruelty of King Herod. Of the Mount Sion. Of Probatica Piscina; and of Natatorium Siloe

AND from the Church of the Sepulchre, toward the East, at 160 Paces, is Templum Domini. It is a right fair House, and it is all round and high, and covered with Lead. And it is well paved with white Marble. But the Saracens will suffer no Christian Man nor Jews to come therein, for they say that none such foul sinful Men should come in so holy a Place: but I came in there and in other Places where I would, for I had Letters of the Sultan with his great Seal, and commonly other Men have but his Signet. In the which Letters he commanded, of his special Grace, to all his Subjects, to let me see all the Places, and to inform me fully of all the Mysteries of every Place, and to conduct me from City to City, if it were needed, and buxomly to receive me and my Company, and to obey all my reasonable Requests if they were not greatly against the Royal Power and Dignity of the Sultan or of his Law. And to others, that ask him Grace, such as have served him, he giveth not but his Signet, the which they make to be borne before them hanging on a Spear. And the Folk of the Country do great Worship and Reverence to his Signet or Seal, and kneel thereto as lowly as we do to Corpus Domini. And Men do yet full greater Reverence to his Letters; for the Admiral and all other Lords that they be shewed to, before ere they receive them, they kneel down; and then they take them and put them on their Heads; and after, they kiss them and then they read them, kneeling with great Reverence; and then they offer themselves to do all that the Bearer asketh.

And in this Templum Domini were some-time Canons Regular, to whom they were obedient; and in this Temple was Charlemagne when that the Angel brought him the Prepuce of our Lord Jesus Christ of his Circumcision; and after, King Charles had it brought to Paris into his Chapel, and after that he had it brought to Peyteres (Poitiers), and after that he had it brought to Chartres.

And ye shall understand, that this is not the Temple that Solomon made, for that Temple endured but 1102 Year. For Titus, Vespasian’s Son, Emperor of Rome, had laid Siege about Jerusalem to discomfit the Jews; for they put our Lord to Death, without Leave of the Emperor. And, when he had won the City, he burnt the Temple and beat it down, and all the City, and took the Jews and did them to Death,—1,100,000; and the others he put in Prison and sold them to Servage,—30 for one Penny; for they said they bought Jesu for 30 Pennies, and he made them more cheap when he gave 30 for one Penny.

And after that time, Julian the Apostate, that was Emperor, gave leave to the Jews to make the Temple of Jerusalem, for he hated Christian Men. And yet he was christened, but he forsook his Law, and became a Renegade. And when the Jews had made the Temple, came an Earthquaking, and cast it down (as God would) and destroyed all that they had made.

And after that, Hadrian, that was Emperor of Rome, and of the Lineage of Troy, made Jerusalem again and the Temple as Solomon made it. And he would suffer no Jews to dwell there, but only Christian Men. For although it were so that he was not christened, yet he loved Christian Men more than any other Nation save his own. This Emperor made enclose the Church of Saint Sepulchre, and walled it within the City; that, before, was without the City, long time before. And he would have changed the Name of Jerusalem, and have clept it Ælia, but that Name lasted not long.

Also, ye shall understand, that the Saracens do much Reverence to that Temple, and they say, that that Place is right holy. And when they go in they go bare-foot, and kneel many Times. And when my Fellows and I saw that, when we came in we did off our Shoes and came in bare-foot, and thought that we should do as much Worship and Reverence thereto, as any of the misbelieving Men should, and have as great Compunction of Heart.

This Temple is 64 Cubits of Wideness, and as many in Length; and of Height it is 120 Cubits. And it is within, all about, made with Pillars of Marble. And in the middle Place of the Temple be many high Stages, of 14 Steps of Height, made with good Pillars all about: and this Place the Jews call “Sancta Sanctorum;” that is to say, “Holy of Holies.” And, in that Place, cometh no Man save only the Prelate, that maketh here Sacrifice. And the Folk stand all about, in diverse Stages, according as they be of Dignity or of Worship, so that they all may see the Sacrifice. And in that Temple be 4 Entries, and the Gates be of Cypress, well made and curiously bedight: and within the East Gate our Lord said, “Here is Jerusalem.” And in the North Side of that Temple, within the Gate, there is a Well, but it runneth nought, of the which Holy Writ speaketh and saith, “Vidi Aquam egredientem de Templo;” that is to say, “I saw Water come out of the Temple.”

And on that other Side of the Temple there is a Rock that Men call Moriach (but after it was called Bethel), where the Ark of God with Relics of the Jews were wont to be put. That Ark or Hutch with the Relics Titus led with him to Rome, when he had discomfited all the Jews. In that Ark were the 10 Commandments, and Aaron’s Yard (or Rod), and Moses’ Yard with the which he made the Red Sea part, as it had been a Wall, on the right Side and on the left Side, whiles that the People of Israel passed the Sea dry-foot: and with that Yard he smote the Rock, and the Water came out of it: and with that Yard he did many Wonders. And therein was a Vessel of Gold full of Manna, and Clothing and Ornaments and the Tabernacle of Aaron, and a square Tabernacle of Gold with 12 Precious Stones, and a Box of green Jasper with 4 Figures and 8 Names of our Lord, and 7 Candlesticks of Gold, and 12 Pots of Gold, and 4 Censers of Gold, and an Altar of Gold, and 4 Lions of Gold upon the which they bare Cherubim of Gold 12 Spans long, and the Circle of Swans of Heaven with a Tabernacle of Gold and a Table of Silver, and 2 Trumpets of Silver, and 7 Barley Loaves and all the other Relics that were before the Birth of our Lord Jesu Christ.

And upon that Rock was Jacob sleeping when he saw the Angels go up and down by a Ladder, and he said, “Vere Locus iste sanctus est, et ego ignorabam;” that is to say, “Forsooth this Place is holy, and I wist it nought.” And there an Angel held Jacob still, and changed his Name, and called him Israel. And in that same Place David saw the Angel that smote the Folk with a Sword, and put it up bloody in the Sheath. And on that same Rock was Saint Simeon when he received our Lord into the Temple. And on that Rock he set Him when the Jews would have stoned Him; and a Star came down and gave Him Light. And upon that Rock preached our Lord oftentime to the People. And out of that said Temple our Lord drove the Buyers and the Sellers. And upon that Rock our Lord set Him when the Jews would have stoned Him; and the Rock clave in 2, and in that Cleaving was our Lord hid, and there came down a Star and gave Light and served Him with Clearness. And upon that Rock sat our Lady, and learned her Psalter. And there our Lord forgave the Woman her Sins, that was found in Adultery. And there was our Lord circumcised. And there the Angels shewed Tidings to Zacharias of the Birth of Saint Baptist his Son. And there offered first Melchisadech Bread and Wine to our Lord, in Token of the Sacrament that was to come. And there fell David praying to our Lord and to the Angel that smote the People, that he would have Mercy on him and on the People: and our Lord heard his Prayer, and therefore would he make the Temple in that Place, but our Lord forbade him by an Angel; for he had done Treason when he made slay Uriah the worthy Knight, to have Bathsheba his Wife. And therefore, all the Provision that he had ordained to make the Temple with took Solomon his Son, and he made it, and he prayed our Lord, that all those that prayed to Him in that Place with good Heart—that He would hear their Prayer and grant it them if they asked it rightfully: and our Lord granted it him, and therefore Solomon clept that Temple the Temple of Counsel and of Help of God.

And without the Gate of the Temple is an Altar where Jews were wont to offer Doves and Turtles. And between the Temple and that Altar was Zacharias slain. And upon the Pinnacle of that Temple was our Lord brought to be tempted of the Enemy, the Fiend. And on the Height of that Pinnacle the Jews set Saint James, and cast him down to the Earth, that first was Bishop of Jerusalem. And at the Entry of that Temple, toward the West, is the Gate that is clept “Porta Speciosa” (the Gate Beautiful). And nigh beside that Temple, upon the right Side, is a Church covered with Lead that is clept Solomon’s School.

And from that Temple towards the South, right nigh, is the Temple of Solomon, that is right fair and well polished. And in that Temple dwell the Knights of the Temple that were wont to be clept Templars; and that was the Foundation of their Order, so that there dwelled Knights and Canons Regular in Templo Domini.

From that Temple toward the East, a 120 Paces, in the Corner of the City, is the Bath of our Lord; and in that Bath was wont to come Water from Paradise, and it droppeth yet. And there beside is our Lady’s Bed. And fast by is the Temple of Saint Simeon, and without the Cloister of the Temple, toward the North, is a full fair Church of Saint Anne, our Lady’s Mother; and there was our Lady conceived; and before that Church is a great Tree that began to grow the same Night. And under that Church, in going down by 22 Steps, lieth Joachim, our Lady’s Father, in a fair Tomb of Stone; and there beside lay some-time Saint Anne, his Wife; but Saint Helen had her translated to Constantinople. And in that Church is a Well, in manner of a Cistern, that is clept Probatica Piscina, that hath 5 Entries. Into that Well Angels were wont to come from Heaven and bathe within. And that Man, that first bathed him after the moving of the Water, was made whole of what manner of Sickness that he had. And there our Lord healed a Man of the Palsy that lay sick 38 Year, and our Lord said to him, “Tolle Grabatum tuum et ambula;” that is to say, “Take thy Bed and go.” And there beside was Pilate’s House.

And fast by is King Herod’s House, that made slay the Innocents. This Herod was over-much cursed and cruel. For first he made slay his Wife that he loved right well; and for the passing Love that he had to her when he saw her dead, he fell in a Rage and out of his Wit a great while; and then he came again to his Wit. And after he made slay his 2 Sons that he had of that Wife. And after that he made slay another of his Wives, and a Son that he had by her. And after that he made slay his own Mother; and he would have slain his Brother also, but he died suddenly. And after he fell into Sickness. And when he felt that he should die, he sent after his Sister and after all the Lords of his Land. And when they were come he had them commanded to Prison. And then he said to his Sister, he wist well that Men of the Country would make no Sorrow for his Death. And therefore he made his Sister swear that she should make smite off all the Heads of the Lords when he were dead; and then should all the Land make Sorrow for his Death, and else, nought. And thus he made his Testament. But his Sister fulfilled not his Will. For, as soon as he was dead, she delivered all the Lords out of Prison and let them go, each Lord to his own, and told them all the Purpose of her Brother’s Ordinance. And so was this cursed King never made Sorrow for, as he had supposed. And ye shall understand, that in that Time there were 3 Herods, of great Name and Fame for their Cruelty. This Herod, of which I have spoken, was Herod the Ascalonite; and he that made behead Saint John the Baptist was Herod Antipas; and he that made smite off Saint James’s head was Herod Agrippa, and he put Saint Peter in Prison.

And, furthermore, in the City is the Church of Saint Saviour; and there is the left Arm of John Chrisostome, and the greater Part of the Head of Saint Stephen. And on that other Side of the Street, toward the South as Men go to Mount Sion, is a Church of Saint James, where he was beheaded.

And from that Church, a 120 Paces, is the Mount Sion. And there is a fair Church of our Lady, where she dwelled; and there she died. And there was wont to be an Abbot of Canons Regular. And from thence was she borne of the Apostles unto the Vale of Jehosaphat. And there is the Stone that the Angel brought to our Lord from the Mount of Sinai, and it is of that same Colour that is the Rock of St. Catherine. And there beside is the Gate where through our Lady went, when she was with Child, when she went to Bethlehem. Also at the Entry of the Mount Sion is a Chapel. And in that Chapel is a Stone great and large, with the which the Sepulchre was covered, when Joseph of Arimathea had put our Lord therein; the which Stone the 3 Marys saw turn upward when they came to the Sepulchre the Day of His Resurrection, and there found an Angel that told them of our Lord’s uprising from Death to Life. And there also in the Wall, beside the Gate, is a Stone of the Pillar that our Lord was scourged at. And there was Annas’s House, that was Bishop of the Jews in that Time. And there was our Lord examined in the Night, and scourged and smitten and violently entreated. And in that same Place Saint Peter forsook our Lord thrice ere the Cock crew. And there is a Part of the Table that He made His Supper on, when He made His Maundy with His Disciples, when He gave them His Flesh and His Blood in Form of Bread and Wine.

And under that Chapel, 32 Steps down, is the Place where our Lord washed His Disciples’ Feet, and the Vessel for the Water is there yet. And there beside that same Vessel was Saint Stephen buried. And there is the Altar where our Lady heard the Angels sing Mass. And there appeared first our Lord to His Disciples after His Resurrection, the Gates closed, and said to them, “Pax vobis!” that is to say, “Peace to you!” And on that Mount appeared Christ to Saint Thomas the Apostle and bade him assay His Wounds; and there believed he first, and said, “Dominus meus et Deus meus!” that is to say, “My Lord and my God!” In the same Church, beside the Altar, were all the Apostles on Whit-Sunday, when the Holy Ghost descended on them in Likeness of Fire. And there made our Lord His Passover with His Disciples. And there slept Saint John the Evangelist upon the Breast of our Lord Jesu Christ, and saw sleeping many heavenly Privities.

Mount Sion is within the City, and it is a little higher than the other Side of the City; and the City is stronger on that Side than on that other Side. For at the Foot of the Mount Sion is a fair Castle and a strong that the Sultan had made. In the Mount Sion were buried King David and King Solomon, and many other Kings, Jews of Jerusalem. And there is the Place where the Jews would have cast up the Body of our Lady when the Apostles bare the Body to be buried in the Vale of Jehosaphat. And there is the Place where Saint Peter wept full tenderly after that he had forsaken our Lord. And a Stone’s Cast from that Chapel is another Chapel, where our Lord was judged, for there, at that Time, was Caiaphas’s House. From that Chapel, to go toward the East, at 140 Paces, is a deep Cave under the Rock, that is clept the Galilee of our Lord, where Saint Peter hid him when he had forsaken our Lord. Item, between the Mount Sion and the Temple of Solomon is the Place where our Lord raised the Maiden in her Father’s House.

Under the Mount Sion, toward the Vale of Jehosaphat, is a Well that is clept “Natatorium Siloe,” the Pool of Siloam. And there was our Lord washed after His Baptism; and there made our Lord the blind Man to see. And there was a-buried Isaiah the Prophet. Also, straight from Natatorium Siloe, is an Image of Stone of old ancient Work that Absalom had made, and because thereof Men call it the Hand of Absalom. And fast by is yet the Tree of Elder that Judas hanged himself upon, for Despair that he had, when he sold and betrayed our Lord. And there beside was the Synagogue, where the Bishops of the Jews and the Pharisees came together and held their Council; and there cast Judas the 30 Pence before them, and said that he had sinned betraying our Lord. And there nigh was the House of the Apostles Philip and James the Son of Alpheus. And on that other Side of Mount Sion, toward the South, beyond the Vale a Stone’s Cast, is Aceldama; that is to say, the Field of Blood, that was bought for 30 Pence, that our Lord was sold for. And in that Field be many Tombs of Christian Men, for there be many Pilgrims buried. And there be many Oratories, Chapels and Hermitages, where Hermits were wont to dwell. And toward the East, an 100 Paces, is the Charnel of the Hospital of Saint John, where Men were wont to put the Bodies of dead Men.

And from Jerusalem, toward the West, is a fair Church, where the Tree of the Cross grew. And 2 Mile from thence is a fair Church, where our Lady met with Elizabeth, when they were both with Child; and Saint John stirred in his Mother’s Womb, and made Reverence to his Creator that he saw not. And under the Altar of that Church is the Place where Saint John was born. And from that Church is a Mile to the Castle of Emmaus: and there also our Lord shewed Him to 2 of His Disciples after His Resurrection. Also on that other Side, 200 Paces from Jerusalem, is a Church, where was wont to be the Cave of the Lion. And under that Church, at 30 Steps of Deepness, were interred 12,000 Martyrs, in the time of King Cosrhoes that the Lion met with, all in a Night, by the Will of God.

Also from Jerusalem, 2 Mile, is the Mount Joy, a full fair Place and a delicious; and there lieth Samuel the Prophet in a fair Tomb. And Men call it Mount Joy, for it giveth Joy to Pilgrims’ Hearts, because that there Men see first Jerusalem.

Also between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olivet is the Vale of Jehosaphat, under the Walls of the City, as I have said before. And in the Midst of the Vale is a little River that Men call Brook Cedron, and above it, overthwart, lay a Tree that the Cross was made of, that Men went over on. And fast by it is a little Pit in the Earth, where the Foot of the Pillar is yet interred; and there was our Lord first scourged, for He was scourged and villainously entreated in many Places. Also in the middle Place of the Vale of Jehosaphat is the Church of our Lady: and it is of 43 Steps under the Earth unto the Sepulchre of our Lady. And our Lady was of Age, when she died, 72 Year. And beside the Sepulchre of our Lady is an Altar, where our Lord forgave Saint Peter all his Sins. And from thence, toward the West, under an Altar, is a Well that cometh out of the River of Paradise. And wit well, that that Church is full low in the Earth, and some is altogether within the Earth. But I suppose well, that it was not so founded. But because that Jerusalem hath often-time been destroyed and the Walls broken down and tumbled into the Vale, and that they have been so filled up again and the Ground raised—for that Reason is the Church so low within the Earth. And, nevertheless, Men say there commonly, that the Earth hath so been cloven since the Time that our Lady was there buried; and Men yet say there, that it waxeth and groweth every Day, without Doubt. In that Church were wont to be black Monks, that had their Abbot.

And beside that Church is a Chapel, beside the Rock that is called Gethsemane. And there was our Lord kissed by Judas; and there was He taken by the Jews. And there left our Lord His Disciples, when He went to pray before His Passion, when He prayed and said, “Pater, si fieri potest, transeat a me Calix iste;” that is to say, “Father, if it may be, do let this Chalice go from me:” and, when He came again to His Disciples, He found them sleeping. And in the Rock within the Chapel yet appear the Print of the Fingers of our Lord’s Hand, when He put them in the Rock, when the Jews would have taken Him.

And from thence, a Stone’s Cast toward the South, is another Chapel, where our Lord sweat Drops of Blood. And there, right nigh, is the Tomb of King Jehosaphat, of whom the Vale beareth the Name. This Jehosaphat was King of that Country, and was converted by an Hermit, that was a worthy Man and did much Good. And from thence, a Bow’s Draw toward the South, is a Church, where Saint James and Zachariah the Prophet were buried.

And above that Vale is the Mount of Olivet; and it is clept so for the Plenty of Olives that grow there. That Mount is more high than the City of Jerusalem is; and, therefore, may Men upon that Mount see many of the Streets of the City. And between that Mount and the City is but the Vale of Jehosaphat that is not full large. And from that Mount rose our Lord Jesu Christ to Heaven upon Ascension Day; and there sheweth yet the Shape of His left Foot in the Stone. And there is a Church where was wont to be an Abbot and Canons Regular. And a little thence, 28 Paces, is a Chapel; and therein is the Stone on the which our Lord sat, when He preached the 8 Blessings and said thus: “Beati Pauperes Spiritu:” and there He taught His Disciples the Pater Noster; and wrote with His Finger on a Stone. And there nigh is a Church, Saint Mary the Egyptian, and there she lieth in a Tomb. And from thence toward the East, a 3 Bow Shot, is Bethphage, to the which our Lord sent Saint Peter and Saint James to fetch the Ass upon the Palm-Sunday, and rode upon that Ass to Jerusalem.

And in coming down from the Mount of Olivet, toward the East, is a Castle that is clept Bethany. And there dwelt Simon the Leper, and there lodged our Lord: and after he was baptised by the Apostles and was clept Julian, and was made Bishop; and this is the same Julian that Men call to for good Lodging, for our Lord lodged with him in his House. And in that House our Lord forgave Mary Magdalene her Sins: there she washed His Feet with her Tears, and wiped them with her Hair. And there served Saint Martha our Lord. There our Lord raised Lazarus from Death to Life, that was dead 4 Days and stank, that was Brother to Mary Magdalene and to Martha. And there dwelt also Mary Cleophas. That Castle is well a Mile long from Jerusalem. Also in coming down from the Mount of Olivet is the Place where our Lord wept upon Jerusalem. And there beside is the Place where our Lady appeared to Saint Thomas the Apostle after her Assumption, and gave him her Girdle. And right nigh is the Stone where our Lord often-time sat when He preached; and upon that same shall He sit at the Day of Doom, right as He Himself said.

Also after the Mount of Olivet is the Mount of Galilee. There assembled the Apostles when Mary Magdalene came and told them of Christ’s Uprising. And there, between the Mount Olivet and the Mount Galilee, is a Church, where the Angel spoke to our Lady of her Death.

Also going from Bethany to Jericho was sometime a little City, but it is now all destroyed, and now is there but a little Village. That City took Joshua by Miracle of God and Commandment of the Angel, and destroyed it, and cursed it and all them that built it again. Of that city was Zaccheus the Dwarf that clomb up into the Sycamore Tree to see our Lord, because he was so little he might not see Him for the People. And of that City was Rahab the common Woman that escaped alone with them of her Lineage: and she often-time refreshed and fed the Messengers of Israel, and kept them from many great Perils of Death; and, therefore, she had good Reward, as Holy Writ saith: “Qui accipit Prophetam in Nomine Meo, Mercedem Prophetæ accipiet;” that is to say, “He that taketh a Prophet in My Name, he shall take the Meed of a Prophet.” And so had she. For she prophesied to the Messengers, saying, “Novi quod Dominus tradet vobis Terram hanc,” that is to say, “I wot well, that our Lord shall give you this Land:” and so He did. And after, Salmon, Naasson’s Son, wedded her, and from that Time was she a worthy Woman, and served God well.

Also from Bethany go Men to the River Jordan by a Mountain and through Desert. And it is nigh a Day’s Journey from Bethany, toward the East, to a great Hill, where our Lord fasted 40 Days. Upon that Hill the Enemy of Hell bare our Lord and tempted Him, and said, “Dic ut Lapides isti Panes fiant;” that is to say, “Say, that these Stones be made Loaves.” In that Place, upon the Hill, was wont to be a fair Church; but it is all destroyed, so that there is now but an Hermitage, that a manner of Christian Men hold, that be clept Georgians, for Saint George converted them. Upon that Hill dwelt Abraham a great while, and therefore Men call it Abraham’s Garden. And between the Hill and this Garden runneth a little Brook of Water that was wont to be bitter; but, by the Blessing of Elisha the Prophet, it became sweet and good to drink. And at the Foot of this Hill, toward the Plain, is a great Well, that entereth into River Jordan.

From that Hill to Jericho, that I spake of before, is but a Mile in going toward River Jordan. Also as Men go to Jericho sat the blind Man crying, “Jesu, Fili David, miserere mei;” that is to say, “Jesu, David’s Son, have Mercy on me.” And anon he had his Sight. Also, 2 Mile from Jericho, is River Jordan. And, an half Mile more nigh, is a fair Church of Saint John the Baptist, where he baptised our Lord. And there beside is the House of Jeremiah the Prophet.