Early Travels in Palestineby Thomas Wright
At different times from the seventh to the seventeenth century, nine daring explorers -- whose perilous and scarcely believable adventures are recounted in this book -- made their way from England and western Europe to distant lands in the Middle East. Their narratives of those trips are unflaggingly fascinating, providing insights into the Middle East as well as the farthest reaches of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Describing their surroundings and the attitudes of the people they met along the way are Arculf, a French bishop whose journey in the late seventh century allowed him to see nearly complete structures from the age of Rome; Bernard the Wise, who left Europe on his religious sojourn in the late ninth century -- when Saracens and Christians were engaged in hostilities; Sigurd the Crusader, who was present at the capture of Beirut in 1110; Benjamin of Tudela, a rabbi and merchant who recorded important information on trade and commerce; and Sir John Maundeville, an incredibly widely traveled (if not necessarily trustworthy) fourteenth-century writer whose trip produced a book that continued to be read long after his death. Other adventures included here are a knight in the service of the Duke of Burgundy; an Oxford scholar traveling to Aleppo in Syria; an early-eighth-century pilgrim; and an English merchant whose journey to the Holy Land provides detailed accounts of the disastrous storms he encountered before he reached Jaffa. Rich in personal experience and adventure, this volume will delight armchair travelers and appeal to anyone with special interest in these ancient lands.
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