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Unformatted text preview: Journal Part One: Acceleration of Global Contact 1. The Book of John Mandeville 2. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Agreements with Columbus of April 17 and April 30, 1492 3. General History of the Things of New Spain 4. Journals 5. Edicts and Decrees _______________________________________________________________________ _ 1. The Book of John Mandeville John Mandeville Description of Document This curious work by an otherwise unknown person who claimed to be Sir John Mandeville, an English knight of St. Alban's, illustrates the Western European view of the same globe. First appearing in Europe around 1360, The Book of John Mandeville purported to be the firsthand account of this knight's trans-Eurasian adventures between 1322 and 1356/1357, in which he claimed to have served both the sultan of Egypt and the Mongol khan of China. There is every reason to conclude that this work is a fictional tour de force by a gifted author who masked his identity behind an assumed name and a fabricated place of origin. The author's name will likely never be known, and evidence from the book's manuscripts suggests that whoever he was, he probably came from northern France, not England. As far as his purported travels are concerned, scholarly consensus is that all of his expeditions were to libraries, where he discovered quite a few travel books from which he borrowed liberally. For example, the outline of Sir John's travelogue describing his supposed journey to India and China is lifted from the genuine travel account of the Franciscan missionary Odoric of Pordenone. Mandeville, however, amplified Friar Odoric's rather spare story by adding fables and tales from many other authors, by giving free rein to his own fertile imagination and sardonic wit, and by spicing his story with an impressive array of geographic and astronomical theories, many of them based on borrowed Arabic science. No matter the book's questionable origins, Mandeville's book, written originally in French, was widely hand-copied (about 300 manuscripts survive) and circulated in ten European languages by 1400. Between the late 1470s and 1515, it was mass-printed in eight languages. Indeed, it became late medieval Europe's most popular travelogue in an age noted for its fascination with world travel. Even if Sir John" did not travel to the regions he claimed to have visited, his work is historically important because it illustrates the manner in which Europeans of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries viewed the lands and peoples beyond their frontiers. Indeed, in many ways Mandeville was instrumental in shaping that vision of the outside world on the eve of Europe's overseas explorations....
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