The Other Marco Polo: The Fascinating Travels of Sir John Mandeville Which Were Read
|About the Book|
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville is a 14th century travel book that tells of Sir John Mandevilles real or imagined adventures in the East. Although questions remain about whether Mandeville actually existed or ever left England, The Travels of SirMoreThe Travels of Sir John Mandeville is a 14th century travel book that tells of Sir John Mandevilles 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. Mandevilles travel tales were similar in style to Marco Polos, 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 Mandevilles 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 Khans 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.