This delightful collection of travelogues from the years c. 700 – 1697 catalogues the views of European travelers and pilgrims in the Middle Ages. Wright includes a series of brief accounts from early in this period from Bishop Arculf, Willibald, and Bernard the Wise. Narratives of Saewulf, Sigurd the Crusader, and Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela give the outlook of Christian and Jewish travelers. The work concludes with the lengthier accounts of Sir John Maundeville, Bertandon de le Brocquière, and Henry Maundrell.
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Wright’s Early Travels in Palestine provides a wealth of observations from several early travelers to the Holy Land. Culling information from sources as diverse as the dictations of the travelers themselves to the famed Norwegian Heimskringla, this remarkable travelogue contains narratives from the thousand-year period c. 700 – 1697. The earliest record is that of the Bishop Arculf, around the year 700. Willibald’s journey of 721-727 and the voyage of Bernard the Wise in 867 close out the first millennium records. The early Middle Ages are witnessed by the narratives of Saewulf in 1102-1103, Sigurd the Crusader, 1107-1111, and Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela from 1160 to 1173. The book of Sir John Maundeville, recording his travels of 1322-1356, marks the beginning of three lengthy accounts of later travelers. The journeys of Bertrandon de la Brocquière in 1432 and 1422 and of Henry Maundrell from Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1697 finish out the accounts. Tied together with an introduction by Wright and a handy index, this volume will make a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in the layout of the Holy Land as seen through the eyes of the Middle Ages.
Thomas Wright (1810-1877) was a British author and member of several learned societies. He was the co-founder of the British Archaeological Association and was made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London before his death. His numerous writings span many genres and areas of interest.