The book of marvels and travels
The Book of Marvels and Travels · John Mandeville · Könyv · MolyThe Book of Marvels and Travels. John Mandeville. In his Book of Marvels and Travels, Sir John Mandeville describes a journey from Europe to Jerusalem and on into Asia, and the many wonderful and monstrous peoples and practices in the East. Written in the fourteenth century, the Book is a captivating blend of fact and fantasy, an extraordinary travel narrative that offers some revealing and unexpected attitudes towards other races and religions. It was immensely popular, and numbered among its readers Chaucer, Columbus, and Thomas More. There are giants and pygmies, cannibals and Amazons, headless humans and people with a single foot so huge it can shield them from the sun.
And of the Ypocras Daughter, transformed from a Woman to a Dragon. Of the dry tree; and how roses came first into the world. Of the cruelty of King Herod. Of the Mount Sion. Of probatica piscina; and of natatorium siloe. Of the head of Saint John the Baptist; and of the usages of the Samaritans.
I have to be honest and say that I had never heard of this work, at least so far as I can recall, until I found a used copy of it in the bookshelves of my local Goodwill. But I'm very happy that I found it! The text is fascinating in its own right as it presents us with the perspective of an Englishman of the 14th century looking at, examining, and perhaps actually exploring the wider world around him, including a great diversity of cultures and geographic locations. This makes it interesting as both a historical work -- a real firsthand perspective that touches on these interesting topics -- and also a study in psychology and sociology, as we view his views of these various cultures. The work is, as I learned through the introduction and notes which accompany this addition, also important for the effect it had on European thought in the years leading up to and somewhat after the discovery of the Americas by Europeans. I recommend this book to those with a love for history and culture. So, clearly "John Mandeville" did not go everywhere he claims, since he saw wooly chickens and people with no heads and so on and so forth.
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Sir John Mandeville is the supposed author of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville , a travel memoir which first circulated between and The earliest surviving text is in French. By aid of translations into many other languages, the work acquired extraordinary popularity. Despite the extremely unreliable and often fantastical nature of the travels it describes, it was used as a work of reference— Christopher Columbus , for example, was heavily influenced by both this work and Marco Polo 's earlier Travels. In his preface, the compiler calls himself a knight, and states that he was born and bred in England, in the town of St Albans. Common theories point to a Frenchman by the name of Jehan a la Barbe or other possibilities discussed below.
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