Skip to main content

The Casale Pilgrim: a Journey Into Jewish Visual Representations of the Holy Land

As part of the International Medieval Congress 2018, join us for this free talk about the Casale Pilgrim and Jewish travel writing.

Travel has been a ubiquitous feature within the Jewish world. Whether as merchants, scholars, pilgrims, or refugees, there have always been Jews on the move. The medieval world saw a rise in pilgrimage, making it one of the most studied medieval subjects. Jewish travel has been accompanied by a small, largely understudied but rich body of Jewish travel writing. Amongst these is the Casale Pilgrim, an illustrated pilgrimage through the Holy Land, dated 1597–8.

Leeds University Library Special Collections possesses the only known copy of the Casale Pilgrim. The manuscript comprises 85 illustrations and offers an artistic interpretation of Jewish holy sites.

This talk will shed light on the manuscript and its unique status within the tradition of Jewish travel literature. We will explore what sites remained important to Jewish travellers (and readers) at the close of the 16th century. We will draw links between the captions and visualisation of Jewish sacred space and how these sites were described and depicted. The talk will also compare the Jewish visual tradition with Christian and Islamic traditions.

The speaker, Marci Freedman, completed an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds before completing her PhD at the School of Arts, Languages & Cultures at the University of Manchester. Her research areas include textual and intellectual history, with a focus on Jewish travel literature, and knowledge exchange between Jewish and Christian cultures.

Please note seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.