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Traveler's accounts of their journeys and the lands they visit are important sources in understanding the past.
As outsiders, travelers often note aspects of a culture that are too commonplace for local commentators to mention. More than this, travelers often provide some insight into how their own society understood itself in relation to other cultures.
Throughout the Internet History Sourcebooks Project, there are a large number of travelers' accounts. The goal of this page is simply to bring them together. Since I expect users to be interested in the more general phenomenon of outsider descriptions, some other accounts that are not strictly traveler's accounts have have been included.
- Sayed Z. El-Sayed: Hatshepsut's Mission to Punt [At TAMU]
- Josephus (37- after 93 CE): Complete Works [At CCEL]
Includes Antiquities of the Jews, The Jewish War and Against Apion
- Accounts of Ancient Mauretania, c. 430 BCE- 550 CE
From Herodotus, Strabo, and Procopius of Caesarea
- Accounts of Meröe, Kush, and Axum, c. 430 BCE - 550 CE
From Herodotus, Strabo, Dio Cassius, the King of Axum, and and Procopius of Caesarea.
- Greek Reports of Babylonia, Chaldea, and Assyria
Includes accounts of Semiramis and Nitocris, Marriage customs, and the Persian conquest.
- Ancient Accounts of Arabia
Accounts from Herodotus, Strabo, Ammianus Marcellinus
- Greek Reports of India & Aryavarta from Herodotus.
- Reports of the Etruscans, c. 430 BCE - 10 CE from Herodotus and Livy.
- Reports of Minos and Knossos from Plutarch and Herodotus.
Herodotus (c.490-c.425 BCE): The Histories 440BCE [At MIT] [Full Text][Chapter length files]
- Herodotus (c.490-c.425 BCE): The Histories 440BCE [At this Site, formerly ERIS][Full Text][Ascii Text in one file]
- Herodotus (c.490-c.425 BCE): On Libya, from The Histories, c. 430 BCE
- Herodotus (c.490-c.425 BCE): Hellenes & Phoenicians, c. 430 BCE
- Herodotus (c.490-c.425 BCE): Egypt after the Persian Invasion, Book 2 of The Histories, [At Tufts]
- Herodotus (c.490-c.425 BCE): On the Customs of the Persians [This Site]
Aristotle (384-323 BCE): The Constitution of Carthage, c. 340 BCE, from Politics
- Polybius (c.200-after 185 BCE): Rome at the End of the Punic Wars [History, Book 6]
Includes an extended comparison of Rome and Carthage.
- Xenophon (c.428-c.354 BCE): Anabasis, or March Up Country or Persia Expedition, full text
- Pausanias (fl.c.160 CE)
- The Periplus [At Internet Archive, from CCNY]
Written by a Greek resident of Alexandria in Egypt during the first century BCE, this text is one of the oldest surviving accounts of the countries on Africa's east coast. A map gives some idea of the size and scope of Africa and of the author's journey.
- The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century, complete.
- Strabo: Geography: Book XV: On India
- Egypt under the Roman Empire, excerpts from Strabo (64/3 BC- c.21 CE): Geography and Oxyrhynchus papyri.
- Arrian: Anabasis Alexandri: Book VIII (Indica)
- India and the Mediterranean: Bibliography
- Claudius Ptolemy (C.127-148 CE) : The Geography [At Lacus Curtius/Kansas]
The entire text, with maps, is being put up on the web.
- Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE): The Germans, c. 51 BCE
- Roman Sources on the Jews and Judaism, 1 BCE-110 CE [This Site]
Texts from Josephus, Augustus, Claudius, Strabo and Tacitus.
- Pliny the Elder: The Natural History [Lacus Curtius] [In Latin]
- Pliny the Elder: The Natural History [At Chicago] [17thCent English version]
- Pliny the Elder : Natural History 6.96-111. (On India)
- Tacitus: (b.56/57-after 117 CE)
- Sidonius Apollinaris [c.431-c.489 CE]: "Country House Life in Gaul" and "A Visigothic King",
- Liutprand of Cremona (c.922-c.972): Report on Mission to Constantinople, 963. full text
Liutprand of Cremona (c.922-c.972): Report on Mission to Constantinople, 963, excerpts.
- Saga of Harald Hardrade, 11th century [At OMACL]
- The Discovery of North America by Leif Ericsson, c. 1000 from The Saga of Eric the Red, (1387)
- Eirik the Red's Saga [At Project Gutenberg]
- Marco Polo (1254-1324): On the Tartars [i.e. the Mongols]
- Marco Polo (1254-1324): Description of Kinsay [Hangchow].
- "Sir John Mandeville": On Prester John, c. 1366. The full text of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville is available. [At Project Gutenberg]
- WEB Medieval Travel Writing [A Hong Kong University]
An informative course web page that focuses on ways to think about travel writing.
- WEB Old World Travelers
Pilgrims and Missionaries
- The Itinerary of the Anonymous Pilgrim of Bordeaux (Itinerarium Burdigalense) - 333 CE. [At Christus Rex]
- Egeria: Description of the Liturgical Year in Jerusalem: Translation 4th Century [At Oxford]
- Egeria: Travelogue, Translated by M.L. McClure, The Pilgrimage of Etheria, (New York, 1915) [At Yale]
- Arculf, as related by Saint Adamnan (c.624 - September 23, 704 CE): De Locis Sanctis (On the Holy Land), 670 CE [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
A description of the East told to him by a Frank bishop Arculf, whose ship was driven ashore near Iona on the way back from Jerusalem.
- Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book V [Chapters 15-17 summarize Adamnan's Locis Sanctis]
- Huneberc of Heidenheim: The Hodoeporican of St. Willibald, 8th Century
The Hodoeporicon is the only narrative extant of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the eighth century, forming a bridge between the works of Adaman/Arculf (670).
- Rimbert: The Life of Anskar, the Apostle of the North, 801-865
- Bernardus Monachus (865) [no etext as yet]
- Daniel (1106-1107): The Pilgrimage of the Russian Abbot Daniel in the Holy Land, 1106-1107 A.D., annotated by Sir C. W.Wislon (London, 1895) [At Holy Fire]
- William Rubruck: The Journey of Friar William of Rubruck (1253-1255) [no etext as yet]
- John of Plano Carpini: The Journey of Friar John of Plano de Carpini (1245-1247)
- Bar Sauma (c. 1278-1313): The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church. Translated by E.A. Wallis Budge, London: The Religious Track Society, 1928. [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- John of Monte Corvino: Letter to the Minister General of the Friars Minor in Rome, c. 1280
- John of Monte Corvino: Report on China, 1305.
- Margery Kempe: The Book of Margery Kempe: Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. excerpts.[At luminarium.org]
- Anonymous: Guide-book to Palestine. (c. 1350). Translated by. J. H. Barnard. London: Palestine Pilgrims Text Society, 1894. [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- Margery Kempe (1413-1415): Book of Margery Kempe. (Text--Butler-Bowden translation of Chapter 26-34, 37-41)[At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- John Poloner (1422): Description of the Holy Land (c. 1421), based on the translation of Aubrey Stewart from the Tobler text. London, 1894. [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- Felix Fabri (1480 & 1483-84): The Book of the Wanderings of Felix Fabri (Circa 1480-1483 A.D.) trans. Aubrey Stewart. 2 vols. London: Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 1896 [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- Pietro Casola (1494): Canon Pietro Casola's Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Year 1494. trans. Mary Margaret Newett. Manchester: The University Press, 1907. [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- WEB Traveling to Jerusalem [University of Southern Colarado]
A great site that focuses on vistors' accounts of Jerusalem. It is adding, bit by bit, many of the texts published by the Palestine Pilgrims Text Society.
- Robert Bedrosian: China and the Chinese according to 5-13th Century Classical Armenian Sources, with extended excerpts. [At Virtualscape]
- Geoffry de Villehardouin: Chronicle of the Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople
- Jean de Joinville: Memoirs of St. Louis [At Virginia]
Early Modern European Travelers (16-17th Centuries)
- Vasco da Gama: Round Africa to India, 1497-1498 CE
- Privileges and Prerogatives Granted by Their Catholic Majesties to Christopher Columbus, 1492 [At Yale]
- Christopher Columbus: Selections from Journal, 1492.
- Christopher Columbus (1451-1506): Letter to King and Queen of Spain, prob. 1494 or here [At AmericanRev]
- Amerigo Vespucci (1452-1512): Account of His First Voyage, 1497
- Fra Soncino: Letter to Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, Regarding John Cabot's First Voyage, 1497 CE
- John Cabot (c.1450-1499): Voyage to North America, 1497
- Hans Mayr: The Voyage and Acts of Dom Francisco, 1505-
- Ferdinand Magellan's Voyage Round the World, 1519-1522 CE
- Cortes: Letters from Mexico [no etext as yet]
- Diaz: The Conquest of New Spain [no etext as yet]
- Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America, 1542, translated and annotated by Cyclone Covey (1963, copyright not renewed), full text [At ibiblio]
"The semi-official report to the king of Spain by the ranking surviving officer of a royal expedition to conquer Florida which fantastically miscarried."
- Francis Pretty: Sir Francis Drake's Famous Voyage Round The World, 1580
- Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618): The Discovery of Guiana, 1595
- Edward Haies: Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Voyage To Newfoundland, 1583
- Will Adams: My Coming to Japan, 1611
- Richard Hakluyt: Discourse of Western Planting, 1584 [At American Revolution]
- Thomas Hariot: A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of VIRGINIA, full text, [At Project Gutenberg]
- Samuel de Champlain, Voyages, excerpts, 1604 [At American Revolution]
- WEB Discovers' Web [At Tue.nl]
Includes a List of Online Primary Sources
- WEB Columbus and the Age of Discovery A splendid, and searchable, collection of over 1100 text articles on Columbus and the encounter of two worlds.
- WEB Columbus Navigation Homepage
With maps of the various voyages.
- Hsu Kuang-chi: Memorial to Fra Matteo Ricci, 1617
- St. Francis Xavier: Letter from India, to the Society of Jesus at Rome, 1543
- St. Francis Xavier: Letter on the Missions, to St. Ignatius de Loyola, 1549
- St. Francis Xavier: Letter from Japan, to the Society of Jesus at Goa, 1551
- St. Francis Xavier: Letter from Japan, to the Society of Jesus in Europe, 1552
- Mendez Pinto: The Woman with the Cross, c. 1630
A Chinese Christian woman.
- Père du Halde: The Chinese Educational System, c. 1575 CE?
A report by a Western observer, with examples of Chinese Civil Service examination question.
- Père du Halde: Teaching Science to the Manchu Emperor, c. 1680
- Père du Halde: The Manchu Emperor and Chinese Music, c. 1680
- Père du Halde: Chinese Punishments, c. 1680
- Père Gerbillon: A Visit to a Lama, c. 1690
- Henry Timberlake (1601-1603): A True and Strange discourse of the traveiles of two English pilgrimes: What admirable accidents befell them in their journey to Jerusalem, Gaza, Grand Cayro, Alexandria, and other places [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- England, India, and The East Indies, 1617
Various sources inlucding a letter from Great Moghul Jahangir to James I, King of England.
- François Bernier: An Account of India and the Great Moghul, 1655 CE
- A Visit to the Wife of Suleiman the Magnificent (Translated from a Genoese Letter), c. 1550
Modern European Travelers (18th Century)
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762): Dining With The Sultana, 1718
- John Woolman (1720-1772): Journal, full text,
Journal of an 18th century English Quaker and his travels among Friends in America.
- Sir William Eton: A Survey of the Turkish Empire, 1799
Modern European Travelers (19th Century)
- Richard Francis Burton: Terminal Essay, from his edition of the Arabian Nights
- Richard Francis Burton: A Pilgrimage to Mecca, 1853
- Alexander Kinglake: Eothen or Traces of Travel Brought Back from the East. London: J. Ollivier, 1844. [At Project Gutenberg]
- Mark Twain: Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrim's Progress (1869) [At Virginia]
- Edmondo de Amicis: One Day in Morocco, c. 1870
- Charles Warren:: The Survey of Western Palestine (1884)[At TempleMount]
- Charles James Wills: A Persian Wedding, 1885
- S. G. W. Benjamin: Life in Persia, 1885
- Colonel L. du Couret: Justice in Arabia, c. 1890
- Samuel G. Wilson: New Year's Calls and Gifts, Persia 1895
- Eustache de Lory: The Persian Bazaars, 1910
- George E. Thompson: The Great Market of Tripoli, c. 1890
- Sir William Bentinck: On Ritual Murder in India , 1829, excerpts
- Mountstuart Elphinstone: Indian Customs and Manners, 1840
Includes graphic account of suttee.
- Sir Monier Monier-Williams: Camp Life in India, 1850
- Charles Creighton Hazewell: British India, The Atlantic Monthly, November 1857, [At The Atlantic, subscription required]
- Sir Monier Monier-Williams: The Towers of Silence, 1870
The Parsee's in Bombay.
- Field Marshal Lord Roberts: When Queen Victoria Became Empress of India, 1877
- Rev. Arthur Male: The Hill of Bones, Afghanistan 1878
- Commodore Matthew Perry: When We Landed in Japan, 1854
- Francis Ottiwell Adams: The Schools of Japan
Description from the mid 19th century
- Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904): Writings on Japan [At ibiblio]
- Alice M. Bacon: How Japanese Ladies Go Shopping, 1890
- Pierre Denis: The Coffee Fazenda of Brazil, excerpts. 1911
- H. M. Tomlinson: The Sea and the Jungle, 1912 [At ibiblio]
"Narrative of the voyage of the tramp steamer Capella from Swansea to Para in the Brazils, and thence 2000 miles along the forests of the Amazon.."
- The Medieval Jewish Kingdom of the Khazars, 740-1259
various contemporary accounts. Judah Ha-Levi (ca 1075-1141): The Kuzari, also known as The Book of Argument and Proof in Defense of the Despised Faith (Kitab al Khazari).
The entire first book of the Kuzari, a philosophical treatise written by the Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet, Judah Ha-Levi. It is written in the form of a dialogue, purportedly between the king of the Khazars and the representatives of various belief systems, culminating with a rabbi.
Benjamin of Tudela (1160-1173): The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela Critical Text, Translation and Commentary by Marcus Nathan Adler. [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- Abû Ûthmân al-Jâhiz: The Essays, excerpts, c. 860 CE
On the Zanj (Black Africans). Arab Muslim opinions.
- Ibn Fadlan. Risala 921 CE [At VikingAnswerLady]
Ibn Fadlan was an Arab chronicler. In 921 C.E., the Caliph sent Ibn Fadlan with an embassy to the King of the Bulgars of the Middle Volga. Ibn Fadlan wrote an account of his journeys with the embassy, called a Risala. This Risala is of great value as a history, although it is clear in some places that inaccuracies and Ibn Fadlan's own prejudices have slanted the account to some extent.
- An Arab Ambassador in Constantinople, (late 10th Century)
- Nasir-i-Khusraw (1046-1052): Book of Travels (Safarnama) [At Traveling to Jerusalem/U Sth Colorado]
- Glimpses of the Kingdom of Ghana, 1067 [At Internet Archive, from CCNY]
- Al Bakri: Description of Ghana [At Boston]
- Leo Africanus: The History and Description of Africa: Borno [At Internet Archive, from CCNY]
- Leo Africanus Description of Timbuktu [At WSU]
- Usmah Ibn Munqidh (1095-1188): Autobiography: Excerpts on the Franks, c.1175 CE.
- Usmah Ibn Munqidh (1095-1188): On Muslim and Christian Piety, 12th Century. [At Internet Archive, from CCNY]
- Usmah Ibn Munqidh (1095-1188): On European Piracy, 12th Century. [At Internet Archive, from CCNY]
- Ibn Battuta (1307-1377 CE): Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354
- Ibn Battuta (1307-1377 CE): Ibn Battuta: Malian Women, [At Internet Archive, from CCNY]
- Sidi Ali Reis (16th Century CE): Mirat ul Memalik (The Mirror of Countries), 1557 CE
A Turkish traveler's account of the world of India and the Middle East.
- Chinese Accounts of Rome, Byzantium and the Middle East, c. 91 B.C.E. - 1643 C.E.
- Ch'ing-Tsing: Nestorian Tablet: Eulogizing the Propagation of the Illustrious Religion in China, with a Preface, composed by a priest of the Syriac Church, 781 CE.
- Faxian: Account of the Buddhistic Kingdoms. [At Brooklyn College]
- The Hai-lu, a Chinese traveler's account of the West in the 18th century [At Brooklyn College]
- Li Ju-chen (1763-1830): The Land of the Great, 1828 [At WSU]
- Yan Phou Lee: When I Went to School in China, 1880
A late Confucian education.
- Kume Kunitake: Records of My Visits to America and Europe, 1871-1873
Printed Primary Sources
Dawson, Christopher, ed. Mission to Asia. Toronto: Medieval Academy Reprints/Univeristy of Toronto Press, 1980. [First pub 1995.]
(texts of William of Rubruck and John of Plano Carpini)
Early Travels in Palestine; comprising the narratives of Arculf, Willibald, Bernard, Saewulf, Sigurd, Benjamin of Tudela, Sir John Maundeville, De La Brocquière, and Maundrell. Edited, with notes, by Thomas Wright. London, H. G. Bohn, 1848. Repr. New York, AMS Press, 1969.
Gingras, G. E. Egeria: Diary of a Pilgrimage. Ancient Christian Writers 38. New York: 1970.Jacob D'Ancona. The City of Light : The Hidden Journal of the Man Who Entered China Four Years Before Marco Polo. Translated by David Selbourne. New York: 2000.
-Highly controversial and dubious "primary source" relying as yet unproduced manuscripts.
Majeska, George, P., Russian Travelers to Constantinople in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. Washington, D.C.: 1984
Ricoldo da Montecroce, 1242 or 3-1320. Liber peregrinationis. French & Latin. Pérégrination en Terre Sainte et au Proche Orient : texte latin et traduction ; Lettres sur la chute de Saint-Jean D'Acre. Traduction par René Kappler. Paris : H. Champion, 1997.
Wilkinson, John. Egeria's Travels to the Holy Land. Revised ed. Jerusalem: Ariel Publishing House, 1981. 3rd. ed. Warminster, England : Aris & Phillips, 1999.
Bentley, Jerry H. Old World Encounters; Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times. London: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Debenham, Frank. Discovery and Exploration, an Atlas-History of Man's Wanderings. London: Geographical Products Ltd., 1960.
Franck, Irene M., and David M. Brownstone. To the Ends of the Earth; the Great Travel and Trade Routes of Human History. New York: Facts on File, 1984.
von Martels, Zweder. Travel Fact and Travel Fiction: Studies on Fiction, Literary Tradition. 1994.
Browner, Jessica A. "Viking" Pilgrimage to the Holy Land fram! fram! cristmenn, crossmenn, konungsmenn! (Oláfs saga helga, ch. 224.). Essays in History 34 (1992)
Campbell, Mary. The Witness and the Other World: Exotic Travel European Travel Writing 400-1600. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1988.
Elm, Susanna. "Perceptions of Jerusalem Pilgrimage as Reflected in Two Early Sources on Female Pilgrimage (3rd and 4th centuries AD)." Studia patristica 20 (ed. by E Livingstone)(1989): 219-223.
Howard, Donald. Writers and Pilgrims: Medieval Pilgrimage Narratives and their Posterity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.
Ousterhout, Robert, ed. The Blessings of Pilgrimage. Baltimore: University of Illinois Press, 1990.
Stone, Michael E. "Holy Land Pilgrimages of Armenians before the Arab Conquest." Revue biblique 93 (1986): 93-110.
Gumilev, L.N. Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom; the Legend of the Kingdom of Prester John. trans., R.E.F. Smith. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Humble, Richard. Marco Polo. New York : F. Watts, 1975, 1990.
Lynch, Joseph. "The pilgrimages of Fulk Nerra, Count of the Angevins, 987-1040." In.Religion, Culture, and Society in the Early Middle Ages: Studies in Honor of Richard E Sullivan. Edited by Thomas F. X. Noble and John Contreni. Kalamazoo MI: Medieval Institute, 1987,
McNeill, William H. "The Caravan World," in Reflections on World Civilizations - A Reader, Vol. I - Prehistory to 1600. eds., Ronald H. Fritze, James S. Olson, Randy W. Roberts. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.
Mezciems, Jenny. ''Tis not to divert the Reader: Moral and Literary Determinants in some Early Travel Narratives." In The Art of Travel. Edited by Philip Dodd. London, England; Totowa, N.J.: Frank Cass, 1982.
Moule, A.C. Quinsai, with Other Notes on Marco Polo. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957.
Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Precursors. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943, 1972
Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia: An Introduction to His Description of the World. B erkeley, University of California Press, 1960.
Seymour, M. C. Sir John Mandeville. Aldershot : Variorum, c1993.
Sykes, Percy. The Quest for Cathay. London: A. & C. Black,, 1936.
Wood, Frances. Did Marco Polo go to China? London: Secker & Warburg, 1995; Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 1996.
Early Modern Travelers
Dunn, Ross E. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, a Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century. London: Croom Helm, 1986.
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This page created 2/24/2001: updated 3/20/2007