This section of Felix Fabri’s account discusses his and the other pilgrims’ experiences, both positive and negative, during their time spent in The Holy Land. His description begins with their arrival in The Holy Land, which they all revere as “sacred earth” worthy of their kisses and adoration. Felix Fabri claims that their mere contact with The Holy Land grants him absolute remission of sin, and he says that “where there is a double cross, it means a plenary indulgence remitting both penance and sin…” Felix Fabri goes on to describe the difficulty the Saracens experienced when attempting to pronounce his name, saying that even an Italian-speaking Saracen could not properly pronounce the name ‘Felix.’ Fabri then recounts his stay in St. Peter’s Cellars, which he ultimately describes as extremely unpleasant. According to Fabri, the cellars were filthy and smelled rancid, but he copes with the poor living conditions by imagining what Jesus would say in response to a pilgrim’s bickering about such living conditions. Ultimately, he concludes that if Jesus could live his entire life as an outcast in unpleasant living conditions, a mere pilgrim should not expect or be entitled to anything better. He then recounts the arrival of merchants to the cellars, all of which sold pleasant fragrances and cleaning products that could be used to improve the cleanliness of his abode.
Despite its new-found cleanliness, however, St. Peter’s Cellars were unprotected and provided an entryway for anyone who wanted to enter for whatever reason. As a result of this, Felix Fabri and his roommates were extorted by an individual whom they believed was the land’s owner, but whose true identity remains unproven.
Felix Fabri goes on to describe other events that occurred during his time in The Holy Land, and he ends his account with a violent encounter that leaves him hostage in his cave for an entire day.
In this section, Felix Fabri makes fewer references to the Bible, biblical stories or other tales, presumably because he experienced many things whose descriptions are more enticing to his audience. This leads me to believe that much of Felix Fabri’s biblical rambling found throughout his account is used as filler in scenarios in which he did not have much experiential description to offer to his readers.
The double cross concept he mentions when describing his arrival in The Holy Land is confusing. Are the crosses he speaks of the same crosses that are used for crucifixion throughout the Bible? If so, does Felix Fabri actually witness posts of the same exact crosses that were used to crucify biblical figures, or do the people of Felix Fabri’s time continue the practice of crucifying criminals?
Felix Fabri’s disdain for black people is evident in his vile description of the Ethiopian intruders who enter his cave. He describes these particular intruders as “mischievous and vicious,” and he says that “they sat down before the door and sang all night long–howling, barking, and grunting like beasts, dogs, and pigs.” These are the only intruders whom Felix Fabri likens to animals. This description is comparable to the description of the extortionist, whom he describes as a “(hu)man” bearing arms, and he even assumes that he rules over the land upon which they were staying.
Was the term “Ethiopian” used to describe all people of African heritage, regardless of their country of origin?