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 Booked (Esra's cattery, Switzerland)

Exeria Donalbai*PT

  • Date of birth : 03/05/2024

    Sex : Female

    Color : Black silver blotched with white

    EMS : NFO ns 22 09

  • The first female traveler in history, native of Gallaecia. Author of a famous travel book, the Itinerarium Egeriae, a collection of Latin texts that narrate her pilgrimage from Gallaecia to the Holy Land between the years 381 and 384. Presented in epistolary form, the manuscript documents the long itinerary through a series of letters offering facts, anecdotes and interesting details of the places visited. It is much more than an informative guide; It is a human chronicle in which the author expresses her feelings in each situation and describes with empathy the treatment she receives from the people she meets. Another peculiarity of Egeria's writing is in some details of the incipient management of the intrigue, anticipating contents that will later be resolved by maintaining interest in following the story in successive installments.

     The story is addressed to a group of women mentioned with the expression "dominae sorores", a common formula to refer to friends and colleagues and some experts consider it the first text by a Galician writer.

     Of noble ancestry, wealthy economic position and remarkable culture, in her writings she reveals herself as a woman of deep religiosity but also, in Egeria's own words, of unlimited curiosity.

     She visited the Holy Places (Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Constantinople), on a long trip, between 381 and 384, collecting her impressions in her book, which had some diffusion due to its detailed narration. She crossed southern Gaul (today France) and northern Italy; she crossed the Adriatic Sea by boat. She arrived in Constantinople in the year 381. From there she departed for Jerusalem and visited Jericho, Nazareth and Capernaum. She left Jerusalem for Egypt in 382, visiting Alexandria, Thebes, the Red Sea and the Sinai. She then visited Antioch, Edessa, Mesopotamia, the Euphrates River and Syria from where she returned via Constantinople.

     Egeria took advantage of the facilities of public roads and also of the privileges reserved for important families, such as safe conduct, which allowed her to resort to military protection in the particularly dangerous territories she passed through . The bishops and ecclesiastical officials also came out to receive her with respect. Furthermore, from her writings it is inferred that she must have had a charismatic personality because she attracted hermits, soldiers and neighbours with her empathy. In the text she is grateful for the continuous gestures of hospitality that she received and expresses her feeling of emotional identification with all of them.

     She used to use the mansio, or post houses, as accommodation, or on other occasions taking advantage of the hospitality of the monasteries established in the East for years, but still almost unknown to the West.

     There is no record of the date, place and circumstances of his death.

     Egeria entered history as the writer who anticipated the flowering of travel literature and epistolary narration by several centuries.

     In the context of Galician culture, the magnitude of this work has allowed the author to be considered a reference figure in the history of Galicia and in the Gaiás Center Museum of the City of Culture of Santiago de Compostela she was defined as " The first travel writer of the Iberian Peninsula and a symbolic reference for the vindication of women in Galicia." Together with the Treatises of Priscillian, Egeria's book constitutes one of the first literary germs that are part of the history of Galician thought.

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