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The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

John Mandeville

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ISBN 10: 1450525954 / ISBN 13: 9781450525954
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

About this title


"The Travels of Sir John Mandeville" is a 14th century travel book that tells of Sir John Mandeville's real or imagined adventures in the East. Although questions remain about whether Mandeville actually existed or ever left England, "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville" provides a thorough compendium of medieval mythic lore which would be a great success throughout Europe for centuries to come. Mandeville's travel tales were similar in style to Marco Polo's, though history has judged the two men quite differently. Whereas Marco Polo has become a household word synonymous with bold explorations, Mandeville has been largely forgotten. This was not so during their lifetimes, when Mandeville was by far the more famous of the two. A copy of "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville"- but not Marco Polo - was in the possession of Leonardo da Vinci. Christopher Columbus, who fed his passion for distant travels on Mandeville's writings, was another famous reader. More telling, about 300 manuscripts (hand-written copies) of Mandeville survive, compared to only about 70 of Polo. Whether it is seen as a travel narrative or piece of imaginative (and brilliant) literature, "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville" was profoundly influential in its time. Long sections of the text describe places in relation to other places, such as the many routes out to and from Jerusalem, different ways to the Khan's court. Mandeville also describes the people he met of other religions. Mandeville was remarkably correct and impartial in his descriptions of the main tenets of Islam, Jacobite Christians, and Jews and how they differ from Catholicism. By far, Mandeville was one of the most tolerant Medieval minds, and his fascinating book is still well worth reading today.


By the standards of the 14th century, the writing style of the man who called himself Sir John Mandeville is so informal as to be nearly chummy: "He who wants to pass over the sea to Jerusalem, may go by many ways, both by sea and by land depending on the countries he comes from; many ways come to a single end. But do not think I shall tell of all the towns and cities and castles that men shall go by, for then I must make too long a tale of it." Historians remain skeptical as to whether the author really did journey to the Holy Land and Egypt, or hire himself out as a soldier to the Great Khan of China. Whatever the case, it is indisputable that he is one of the first modern travel writers, as we have come to know the genre, and that his book was considered authoritative in matters geographical throughout Europe--consulted by Leonardo da Vinci and Christopher Columbus alike.

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