Author: Wednesday (Page 1 of 2)

Medieval Map Assignment-Felix Fabri- Nuremberg Chronicles

This map is the un-named map of northern and central Europe in the back of the Nuremburg Chronicles. I chose this map because the majority of the first ten places that Felix Fabri travels in his first journey are located within central Europe and the Nuremburg Chronicles was made within ten years of Fabri’s first journey. This map, while a lot closer to modern maps than T maps and most mappemonde that were produced in Europe during the 15th century, is still not a perfect copy of the maps that we use today. One of the most notable aspects of the medieval map that I noticed was how closely all of the cities were placed to each other. While all of the countries and mountain ranges were in the same places in relation to each other that they would be on a modern map, the map was a lot more spread out in the northern Europe region while central Europe was a lot more clustered together. This would have been very important for anyone who would have been planning to make a journey from northern to central Europe using this specific map because it could lead to massive miss calculations when it comes to supplies and directions. While in modern travels, going a mile or two in the wrong direction would not have been that big of a deal, for travelers like Felix Fabri, it could mean the difference between reaching a safe place to rest and replenish and dying of starvation or dehydration. Another aspect of this medieval map that is different from modern maps and could greatly affect any travelers who attempt to use the map is the depiction of the Alps. While the maps layout of the area and relative shape of the mountain range is accurate, its depiction of the mountains as halving wide valleys between them and wide areas of relatively flat terrain where a person could, in theory, traverse easily through is not accurate. This would give a traveler the idea that the Alps could be easily passed through which could easily lead to the traveler getting lost, off course, or severely under supplied leading to their death. This issue is one that Fabri encounters on his journey. He runs into a castle at the top of one of the mountains in the Alps and, thinking that the mountain was too high to climb, goes around it and ends up heading in the wrong direction and very lost. While these are both reasons that this map probably should not be used when planning a journey through Europe, it is one of the more modern 15th century maps that I, personally, have seen. 


The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Mt. Carmel

Felix Fabri spends barely a day at Mt. Carmel. During his time there, he primarily recants the many biblical stories that make the mountain a holy and important site. Fabri also speaks somewhat of the land around the mountain. Fabri speaks of how the land of Carmel is the origin place of the Carmelite Friars as well as the location where the biblical prophet Elias killed the prophets of Baal according to 1 Kings in chapter eighteen. He also mentions the location of the burial sites of the Maccabee people and the brook of Kishon at the foot of the mountain. Fabri also makes brief mention of the relationship between the religious figures in the area in relation to the memory of Elias and the other biblical figures in the area. He also speaks how a man named Albert who was patriarch of Jerusalem when “Latin Christians held Siria” had friars wear copes with gray horizontal strips in homage to Elias. Fabri speaks of how this was the case up until Pope Honorius III changed the stripped cope to an all-white one due to the fact that it could not be proven whether or not Elias wore a grey stripped cope specifically. While this is unique in comparison to men like Marco Polo, it is not unique in comparison to other devote religious individuals. While Fabri’s recount of this specific area of the world is very short, it does give us a lot of background information on the significance of this area of the world, especially to anyone who is a devoted Catholic. While most of Fabri’s recounts are very clearly written for people who would already would have spent most of their time studying the bible, for instance a friar or priest, this specific account seems to have been written for anyone in comparison. I claim this primarily because, in this section, Fabri goes into detail about the history, biblical and religious, of this region of the world without any religious jargon aside from the word cope. He speaks of the beauty of the land and the history in a way that comes across as something he would recount to a religious congregation rather than something he would tell his other friar friends.  

The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Brixen

Felix Fabri spends little to no time in the town of Brixen, however he does speak of some aspects of the town including the fact that the plague was present there at the time of their journey through. Fabri states that their lordships were informed that the plague was in the area and so Fabri rushed through. Fabri does not speak of the land or culture of the region, though he does talk about how he had spent a night there before in his life and about how during his stay a rich bishopric died causing fighting to break out among the nobles. Fabri also speaks of a time when the Duke of Austria known as Sigismund, set it up so that anyone who passed through the region would be excommunicated immediately whether they knew it or not. Fabri also speaks of how there is a cathedral there that he finds particularly beautiful and about how he had someone in his order who chanted canonical for hours there. He also speaks of how the canon of the church asked them what kind of friars they were and when they told him that they were Mendicants Friars, he gave them good fat alms. This type of focus on the church aspect of his previous visit shows that not only does he have a high regard for this region but he also intends for his writings to be read by those who also hold a similar value to the church and their workings in the many areas of the world. 

The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Schneckenhusen

 Fabri spends one night in an inn in the village of Schneckenhusen while on his way to Innspruck. During his stay in the inn, Fabri speaks of some of the people that he sees. Primarily he speaks of a group of silver miners who speak of gambling, drinking, and their own entertainment. Fabri describes these men as suspicious which is later proven right. The next morning Fabri recounts how the whole inn was up in arms because the silver miners had robbed a group of people of all of their money. Fabri then goes on to speak of how he feared that those same miners would be waiting to rob him on the road. Fabri’s focus on the moral aspects of the men in the inn in which he stayed shows how even in that era, individuals had to be weary of anyone who could have poor intentions while on a journey. Fabri is then proven right to be suspicious of the men when he speaks of how that night they had robbed two people. Fabri’s focus on the intentions of those around his is put in contradiction with that of the two men who must not have been careful enough being that they were robbed. This shows how Fabri’s perspective of the areas that he is passing through are much different than that of others being that he was overly cautious in a way that others were not. Being that this is only Fabri’s second journey and he is traveling alone, he is right to be cautious and it is in his best interest to be. However, this may not have been the case for many or most others making similar journeys. 

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