Author: bohnerc (page 1 of 2)

Fabri GIS Map

Medieval Travel Map (Hereford Mappamundi)

Legend:

Light blue = Ulm

Light green = Memmingen

Pink = Innspruck

Orange = Balzano

Dark blue = Ad Scalam

Yellow = Bassano

Dark green = Treviso

Purple = Venice

Medieval Travel Map (Writing)

Initially, I had some trouble locating my points on the Hereford Mappamundi because the writing isn’t readable on the map. However, once I found out how the countries were laid out, I was able to approximate where they would’ve most likely landed on the Hereford map. I wasn’t able to include all of the points that I plotted on the modern map. Unfortunately, the points became too close together as Fabri’s route entered Italy to plot on the Hereford Mappamundi which could’ve contributed to some of the differences in the shape of Fabri’s route. The first major difference I noticed between the modern map and the Hereford map was that on the Hereford map, Fabri’s route looks much more direct than it does on the modern map. On the modern map, Fabri’s route is less direct and winds through the mountains. Because of the lack of physical features and details on the Hereford map, it was harder to depict the more specific aspects of Fabri’s journey and the route appears to be an almost perfectly straight line from Ulm to Venice. The Hereford map depicts rivers and lakes, with debatable accuracy, but it doesn’t illustrate any mountain ranges. Considering that nearly half of Fabri’s journey takes place within the Alps between Austria and Italy, the lack of mountains contributes to how different his journey looks on the Hereford map compared to the modern GIS map. The lack of mountains also made it more difficult to illustrate an accurate depiction of Fabri’s route and contributed to how straight the route looks on the Hereford map. Additionally, on the Hereford map, Fabri’s route looks horizontal because East is positioned at the top where North would be on a traditional modern map. On the modern map, Fabri’s journey looks vertical, as if his journey is taking him down the map. However, this is mostly due to each map’s differences in orientation, as the modern map is oriented with North towards the top, unlike the Hereford map.

The Book of Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Joppa

Felix Fabri has finally arrived in Joppa after a long sea voyage. It’s the fourth of July and the sun has just risen. Fabri describes the fish swimming “on top of the sea” and mentions that one fish looks like it has the face and ears of a dog (36). Fabri spends a lot of time in this passage focusing on describing his physical surroundings. He spends almost a whole page describing the way the ocean glistened, how the towers looked against the sky, the color of the land, the people, etc. His attention to detail is staggering, almost overwhelming at some points. Fabri also spends some time describing the people he sees. He calls the locals Saracens and seems to observe them almost as you would an animal. His tone is similar to that he used when describing the local Italians before.

Fabri describes to us the preparations that are being made for his journey to the Holy Land. He’s waiting on the boat in which he arrived until he can meet with the Moorish lords of Joppa. He’s waiting with several of his traveling companions, as they cannot leave the boat until they are officially greeted and welcomed by the Moorish lords. However, the Moorish lords have yet to arrive and have sent their servants ahead of them to prepare the area. Fabri is quite intrigued by these servants (the same men he calls Saracen). However, he doesn’t portray them in a very flattering light. Instead, he uses descriptions and anecdotes that portray them as different and suspect.

When the Saracen servants first arrived, Fabri notes that they “skirmished with one another in sport, mounted on their mules, as if they were fighting” and ran frantically “to and fro” (36). His descriptions of the Saracens seem detached and almost condescending. He writes as if he is seeing some strange creature instead of a group of human beings. For example, at the end of the passage, Fabri begins telling an anecdote. He notices that the Saracens are going in and out of some caves above the seashore. Fabri writes that these are the caves into which he and his companions “will be driven” after the Saracens officially welcome them (36). He is puzzled by the behavior of the Saracens and says that he and his companions watched them go in and out “all day long” but they could not guess what was going on (36). That is, until “to the offense of our noses, we discovered; for they had defiled those places with ordure” (36). Now, Fabri is staying on a ship that is hundreds of feet from the shoreline. He observes the Saracens from afar, unable to approach them or even yell to them from his position on the ship. The likelihood of him being able to smell some offensive odor al the way from the shore is very low. Fabri, throughout his travel narrative, has consistently painted people he’s found foreign or different from himself in unflattering lights. This passage seems to be an extension of that.

The Book of Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Venice

Felix Fabri describes Venice as a beautiful and wonderful city, full of old stone and great architecture. Fabri calls Venice, “the mistress of the Mediterranean, standing in wondrous fashion in the midst of the waters, with lofty towers, great churches, splendid houses and palaces” (21). He makes these observations as he and his traveling companions float along the Grand Canal. This section is much more descriptive than his other entries, implying that he has a greater appreciation for architecture than natural scenery such as mountains. Fabri also describes Venice as “famous, great, wealthy and noble” (21). His admiration for the city is quite obvious when compared to his previous descriptions, which lacked such enthusiasm. His previous descriptions differ in other ways as well. For example, he was previously more focused on the people he came across and the churches and festival days of the locals.

Fabri notes that they are staying in the inn of St. George and that he’s stayed there before. He calls the innkeepers by name, Master John and Mistress Margaret, as well as describing them in warm and friendly terms. Fabri writes that the inn is completely inhabited by German speakers, quipping that “no word of Italian was to be heard in the house” (22). Fabri informs the reader that he and his companions arrive at the inn by boat and had to hike up sixty-two steps with their luggage. He also goes on to list off all twelve of his traveling companions, their titles, and personality traits. In a very interesting section, Fabri spends a while describing the innkeepers’ dog, who by his account, loves all Germans and dislikes Italians.

Fabri’s description of the German-loving dog isn’t just fascinating, but it’s also very revealing. Fabri writes that the dog greets all Germans with “joy”, but “when Italians or Lombards, Gauls, Frenchmen, Slavonians, Greeks, or men of any other country except Germany […] he becomes so angry you would think he was gone mad” (22). Aside from it being impossible that a dog could know whether someone was German or not on sight alone, this reveals that Fabri has a very strong sense of nationalism and prides himself in being a German. He even goes on to say that this dog is proof that Germans and Italians will never agree, stating that “each nation has a hatred of the other rooted in its very nature” (22). Fabri goes on to insist that humans restrain their feelings of hatred with reason, but animals can’t deny their nature which includes a hatred for other countries. This particular view of nationalism is very aggressive and confrontational. While most other travel narratives define themselves and other people through religion, Fabri divides people based on where they are from. Fabri’s insistence that it is natural to hate people of other nationalities is a little bizarre, but helps explain his disdain for people living in the Italian countryside and Italians who can’t speak German. Maybe Fabri’s vehement nationalism stems from existing conflicts. It would be interesting to contextualize this information with the contemporary political climate.

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