Women figure prominently in modern studies of late antique Christian pilgrimage, as accounts of their travels provide a wealth of information about the logistics, demographics, and practices of pilgrimage during this period. However, scholarly attention toward women within late antique economies of pilgrimage lends to an impression that women were disproportionately represented within these economies. Indeed, modern studies are more likely to cast women than men as pilgrims, partly as a result of increased interest in recovering women’s lives and in material practices. This impression intersects with assumptions about the types of travel that qualify as pilgrimage, dependent on overstated distinctions between travel for the sake of study, generally associated with elite men, and that taken with the goal of engaging in ritual or physical locations, construed to be more appropriate among women and the non-elite. This article attempts to disentangle these layers of discourse by considering distinctions modern scholars make regarding religiously motivated travel, the construction of hierarchies of religious activity dependent on ancient tropes of gender and class, and the activities of prominent women within the emerging pilgrimage landscapes of fourth- and fifth-century Palestine.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 89-117
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.