A Voyage Beyond the Seas (1346-1350).

Poggibonsi (Fra Niccolò of).

Book ID: 31537


4to. xlviii, [1], 143 pp., [1 errata], 18 figures including a frontispiece portrait and 1 map, tables, contemporary half-calf with marbled boards, title gilt on raised spine, original wrappers preserved, marbled endpapers, biblio, index, lower spine lightly rubbed, otherwise copy in mint condition, translated by Fr. T. Bellorini & Fr. E. Hoade, Franciscan Press, Jérusalem, 1945.


Niccolò da Poggibonsi was a Franciscan monk, who made a famous pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1345–50, which he described in Italian in his Libro d’oltramare. Niccolò, departed for Venice, from where he embarked on a sea voyage to Cyprus. He sojourned for some months on the island in the service of King Hugh IV. He then left for Jaffa, and from there visited the shrines in Jerusalem (where he served for four months in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) and the myriad holy sites of Palestine. He went as far as Damascus intending to visit “Babylonia” and “Chaldaea” (probably Baghdad), which he never did.
He left by ship from Beirut and stopped in Egypt, where he visited Alexandria, “Babylonia” (probably Fustat, Old Cairo), New Cairo, and the places in Sinai mentioned in the Old Testament. There he also visited the ancient Monastery of Saint Catherine. He continued north to Gaza and there turned back towards the Nile delta, where he took a ship from Damietta to Cyprus.
In Cyprus he boarded a ship for Italy. The ship followed an adventurous course, taking him by the Anatolian coast of Ottoman Empire, to call in the port of Tripoli, and near Poreč on the Adriatic, where he was captured by brigands but managed to escape. He arrived safe in Venice late in 1349 and went to Ferrara, where he was detained until the spring of 1350, when he finally, after five years of wandering, returned to Poggibonsi.
The Libro d’oltramare was translated into German around 1467 by Gabriel Muffel of Nuremberg, who was probably working out of Passau. An illuminated manuscript (Egerton 1900) of the German translation from 1467, purports to be a description of Muffel’s visit to the Holy Land in 1465. The earliest manuscripts of Niccolò’s Libro are unillustrated, but the Egerton 1900 has 147 miniatures.

© 2024 Folios limited. All rights reserved.