Book Series Textes vernaculaires du moyen âge, vol. 28

John Capgrave

Rome 1450. Capgrave's Jubilee Guide

The Solace of Pilgrimes

Peter Lucas

  • Pages: xcv + 442 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:63 b/w, 1 col.
  • Language(s):English, Middle English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59467-5
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59468-2
  • E-book
  • Available

A new edition, with modern English translation, of John Capgrave's Solace of Pilgrimes, the ‘most ambitious description of Rome in the Middle Ages’.


“Lucas has produced a reliable and readable edition, which tracks closely to Capgrave’s Middle English spelling and orthography. The facing-page Modern English translation is crisp and accessible, whilst following Capgrave closely (…) Lucas’s edition fully updates and surpasses the previous edition of the Solace of Pilgrimes, published in 1911. Moreover, Lucas’s translation could make this an ideal teaching text.” (Anthony Bale, in The Medieval Review, 22.08.27)

"Die Neuedition des Solace of Pilgrims ist ein großer Gewinn nicht nur für den engeren Bereich der Romforschung, sondern für die Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte des späten Mittelalters." (Ralf Lützelschwab, in Sehepunkte, 23/9, 2023)


Peter J. Lucas, presently Honorary Research Associate in Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic in the University of Cambridge, is Emeritus Professor of Old and Middle English at University College Dublin.


The scene is Rome in the fifteenth century, Golden Rome, a magnet drawing pilgrims by its architectural attractions and the magnitude of its religious importance as the mother of faith. The Austin friar John Capgrave attended Rome for the Jubilee in 1450, including the Lenten stations, and his Solace of Pilgrimes, intended as a guide for subsequent pilgrims, was written up following the author's own pilgrimage. In three parts it covers the ancient monuments, the seven principal churches and the Lenten stations, and other churches of note, especially those dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The work has been described as the most ambitious description of Rome in Middle English. The present edition offers a new Text based on a transcription of the author's holograph manuscript. Parallel with the Text there is a modern English Translation. The illustrations, mostly from a period slightly later than the 1450 Jubilee, aim to give some visual clue as to what Capgrave saw. There is a full account of the multiple sources that he used, most of which is the product of new research. Following the Text there is a Commentary that aims to provide some background information about the buildings and monuments that Capgrave focuses on, and to explain and illuminate any difficulties or points of interest in the Text. Capgrave is an omni-present guide leading us towards what he considered an appropriate interpretation of the classical past as a foundation for the Christian present, which built on it and surpassed it.


Select Bibliography
Editorial Procedure

The Solace of Pilgrimes by John Capgrave OSA
Part I Ancient Rome
Introduction and list of chapters in Part I
ch 1 The original founders of Rome
ch 2 The gates, walls and towers of Rome
ch 3 The bridges of Rome
ch 4 The hills of Rome
ch 5 The 'palaces' in Rome
ch 6 The triumphal arches in Rome
ch 7 The cymyteries 'catacombs' in Rome
ch 8 Holy places and their pre-Christian names
ch 9 The Angulla Sancti Petri 'St Peter's Obelisk'
ch 10 Pagan temples turned to Christian use
ch 11 The Capitol
ch 12 The statue of the Dioscuri
ch 13 The statue of Marcus Aurelius at the Lateran
ch 14 The Coliseum
ch 15 The Pantheon
ch 16 Ara Celi
ch 17 The Mausoleum of Augustus
ch 18 The Septizodium
ch 19 The Circus of Tarquinius Priscus
ch 20 The Cantharus in the atrium in front of old San Pietro
ch 21 The 'pyramid' or tomb of Romulus
ch 22 The paleys 'temple' of Trajan
ch 23 The conch-shaped font where Constantine was allegedly baptized
ch 24 The place called Omnis Terra (= Monte Testaccio)
ch 25 The rulers of Rome from the time of Romulus to the last king Tarquinius
ch 26 The rulers of Rome from Tarquinius to the first emperor
ch 27 The emperors of Rome from Julius Caesar to Frederick II (d 1250)

Part II The seven principal churches and the stations for Lent
ch 1 San Pietro
ch 2 San Paolo fuori le Mura
ch 3 San Sebastiano
ch 4 San Giovanni in Laterano
ch 5 Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
ch 6 San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
ch 7 Santa Maria Maggiore
ch 8 The station at Santa Sabina
ch 9 The station at San Giorgio in Velabro
ch 10 The station at Santi Giovanni e Paolo
ch 11 The station at San Trifone
ch 12 The station at San Giovanni in Laterano
ch 13 The station at San Pietro in Vincoli
ch 14 The station at Santa Anastasia
ch 15 The station at Santa Maria Maggiore
ch 16 The station at San Lorenzo in Panisperna
ch 17 The station at Santi Apostoli
ch 18 The station at San Pietro
ch 19 The station at Santa Maria in Domnica
ch 20 The station at San Clemente
ch 21 The station at Santa Balbina
ch 22 The station at Santa Cecilia in Trastévere
ch 23 The station at Santa Maria in Trastévere
ch 24 The station at San Vitale
ch 25 The station at Santi Marcellino e Pietro
ch 26 The station at San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
ch 27 The station at San Marco
ch 28 The station at Santa Pudenziana
ch 29 The station at San Sisto Vecchio
ch 30 The station at Santi Cosma e Damiano
ch 31 The station at San Lorenzo in Lucina
ch 32 The station at Santa Susanna
ch 33 The station at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
ch 34 The station at Santi Quattro Coronati
ch 35 The station at San Lorenzo in Damaso
ch 36 The station at San Paolo fuori le Mura
ch 37 The station at San Martino ai Monti and the station at San Silvestro in Capite
ch 38 The station at Sant'Eusebio
ch 39 The station at San Nicola in Carcere
ch 40 The station at San Pietro
ch 41 The station at San Crisogono
ch 42 The station at San Ciriaco in Thermis
ch 43 The station at San Marcello al Corso
ch 44 The station at Sant'Apollinare
ch 45 The station at San Stefano Rotunda
ch 46 The station at San Giovanni alla Porta Latina
ch 47 The station at San Giovanni in Laterano
ch 48 The station at Santa Prassede and the station at Santi Nereo e Achilleo
ch 49 The station at Santa Prisca
ch 50 The station at Santa Maria Maggiore
ch 51 The station at San Giovanni in Laterano
ch 52 The station at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
ch 53 The station at San Giovanni in Laterano
ch 54 The station at Santa Maria Maggiore

Part III Other churches of note, especially those dedicated to our Lady
ch 1 Santa Maria Rotunda (= Pantheon)
ch 2 Santa Maria in Aracoeli
ch 3 Lacking
ch 4 Santa Maria sopra Minerva
ch 5 Santa Maria Annunziata
ch 6 Santa Maria in Transpontina
ch 7 Santa Maria in Palmis
ch 8 Santa Maria del Populo
ch 9 Santa Maria Antiqua
ch 10 Santa Maria in Cosmedin
ch 11 Santa Maria Imperatrice
ch 12 Santa Maria della Consolazione
ch 13 Santa Maria in Portico
Further chapters lacking

Index of Names and Places