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The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Sir John Mandeville

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Vale of Mamre, and some-time it was clept the Vale of Tears, because that Adam wept there an hundred year for the death of Abel his son, that Cain slew.  Hebron was wont to be the principal city of the Philistines, and there dwelled some time the giants.  And that city was also sacerdotal, that is to say, sanctuary of the tribe of Judah; and it was so free, that men received there all manner of fugitives of other places for their evil deeds.  In Hebron Joshua, Caleb and their company came first to aspy, how they might win the land of Behest.  In Hebron reigned first king David seven year and a half; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three year and a half.

And in Hebron be all the sepultures of the patriarchs, Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and of Jacob; and of their wives, Eve, Sarah and Rebecca, and of Leah; the which sepultures the Saracens keep full curiously, and have the place in great reverence for the holy fathers, the patriarchs that lie there.. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It took me quite awhile to read this odd book and I had to force myself to finish it. If I hadn't been reading it in tandem with The Novel: A Biography I suspect I'd have wandered away from it and not come back. When I'd finished it, I read the introduction, though, which helped me put the book in c

And if some men perhaps will not believe me about what I have said, and say it is all a fable … I do not really care. But let the man who will, believe it; and leave him alone who will not. … And so I am not going to stop myself telling you things that I know are true because of those who are ign

This is one of the strangest books I've ever read. It's a travelogue of a journey that almost certainly never happened - in which the geography is all wrong, the characters are improbable, and all manner of fantastic beasts come out to play. Almost nothing in it is true, but as a document it really

As far as medieval trave narratives go I suppose this one was pretty interesting. It recounts (often verbatim) many of the the peoples and monsters that appear in the writings of Pliny the Elder and St. Augustine. The second half of the book is far more interesting than the first. If you're not a lo

Before even opening the cover, this is an interesting little book. I say little, because it is a very small edition, with very small text -quite hard to read actually! This edition is published in 1886, and is part of "Cassell's National Library" - there is a list at the rear which puts this book in

(I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.)

I love a good travel memoir, the older the better. Did you know in the fourteenth-century, there were people in th

Sir John travels the known world of the 1300s for 34 years and this is his travelogue. No one today knows who Sir John was or whether he was a real person or a group but, hey, he travelled for 34 years! Who did that way back then and lived to write the tale? Sir John, that's who.
The first part of th

Michael Schmidt opens The Novel: A Biography making a case for this as a protonovel. The first person narrator, he points out, has a real and consistent personality; the various sources, from Herodotus to Prester John, are woven together seamlessly; there is a plot arc and our protagonist returns di

This book is two things.

1) A description of the many different routes to Jerusalem, and a detailed account of every tree and rock that was mentioned in the Bible. These parts of the book are pious, lengthy, and, admittedly, a bit boring.

2) A nice summary of fantastical peoples and places, pretty mu

The Travels of sir John Mandeville represent a mediaeval travelogue par excellence! Together with the Travels of Marco Polo and some other contemporary accounts (Vincent de Beauvais' and Odoric di Pordenone's), the Travels constituted the (then) knowledge of the world. Two characteristics stand out:

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