Category: Felix Fabri (Page 2 of 6)

The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: The Landing of the Pilgrims from the Galley, and Their Entrance into the Holy Land (Travel Annotation #3)

This section of Felix Fabri’s account discusses his and the other pilgrims’ experiences, both positive and negative, during their time spent in The Holy Land. His description begins with their arrival in The Holy Land, which they all revere as “sacred earth” worthy of their kisses and adoration. Felix Fabri claims that their mere contact with The Holy Land grants him absolute remission of sin, and he says that “where there is a double cross, it means a plenary indulgence remitting both penance and sin…” Felix Fabri goes on to describe the difficulty the Saracens experienced when attempting to pronounce his name, saying that even an Italian-speaking Saracen could not properly pronounce the name ‘Felix.’ Fabri then recounts his stay in St. Peter’s Cellars, which he ultimately describes as extremely unpleasant. According to Fabri, the cellars were filthy and smelled rancid, but he copes with the poor living conditions by imagining what Jesus would say in response to a pilgrim’s bickering about such living conditions. Ultimately, he concludes that if Jesus could live his entire life as an outcast in unpleasant living conditions, a mere pilgrim should not expect or be entitled to anything better. He then recounts the arrival of merchants to the cellars, all of which sold pleasant fragrances and cleaning products that could be used to improve the cleanliness of his abode.

Despite its new-found cleanliness, however, St. Peter’s Cellars were unprotected and provided an entryway for anyone who wanted to enter for whatever reason. As a result of this, Felix Fabri and his roommates were extorted by an individual whom they believed was the land’s owner, but whose true identity remains unproven.

Felix Fabri goes on to describe other events that occurred during his time in The Holy Land, and he ends his account with a violent encounter that leaves him hostage in his cave for an entire day.

In this section, Felix Fabri makes fewer references to the Bible, biblical stories or other tales, presumably because he experienced many things whose descriptions are more enticing to his audience. This leads me to believe that much of Felix Fabri’s biblical rambling found throughout his account is used as filler in scenarios in which he did not have much experiential description to offer to his readers.

The double cross concept he mentions when describing his arrival in The Holy Land is confusing. Are the crosses he speaks of the same crosses that are used for crucifixion throughout the Bible? If so, does Felix Fabri actually witness posts of the same exact crosses that were used to crucify biblical figures, or do the people of Felix Fabri’s time continue the practice of crucifying criminals?

Felix Fabri’s disdain for black people is evident in his vile description of the Ethiopian intruders who enter his cave. He describes these particular intruders as “mischievous and vicious,” and he says that “they sat down before the door and sang all night long–howling, barking, and grunting like beasts, dogs, and pigs.” These are the only intruders whom Felix Fabri likens to animals. This description is comparable to the description of the extortionist, whom he describes as a “(hu)man” bearing arms, and he even assumes that he rules over the land upon which they were staying.

Was the term “Ethiopian” used to describe all people of African heritage, regardless of their country of origin?

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. 

The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Rama

Felix Fabri and his group of pilgrims arrived in Rama on the ninth day of July. I believe that they stayed in Rama for about eleven days according to Fabri’s log. Fabri speaks a lot of Rama prior to their arrival into the city. This is primarily in relation to the Governor of Rama and making an agreement with him to keep them safe from the Saracens and the Morse. When Fabri and the rest of his group arrive at Rama, Fabri begins by describing the beauty of the land around it. He describes the beautiful mountains and valleys and the land and bodies of water in the local area as a very beautiful place. He also goes on to say how when they are arriving close to the city, how they have to get off of their asses and leave them at the gate when they arrived. Fabri also describes how they were not allowed to ride through the city during the day on their asses and as a result had to carry their bags and leave their asses at the gate. Fabri also speaks about how Rama was known by Fabri and his group to have Saracens and Morse people near by who would occasionally enter into the city. As a result, one of the requests that Fabri had for the Governor of Rama was for protection from the Saracens and Morse people because they were simply passing through the city in while on their way to Jerusalem. While Fabri did not spare very much time describing the people of Rama, he did talk about the religious significance of Rama as well as the area around it. He also went on to list the articles that the pilgrims in his group were required to follow. When Fabri did describe a people or cultural group while in Rama, he spoke about the Saracen people. Fabri describes them are wandering desert residing people who are quick to violence and who do not hold many strong morals. Fabri describes the Saracen people in a very negative light and speaks of them as if talking about a wild and vicious animal that might attack him at any moment. It is very clear that Fabri and his group of Christians (Catholic I would assume) did not get along with the Saracen people in any degree. In my opinion this shows that religion played a very big part in that era and was one of the primary ways of distinguishing people groups who did not come from set countries at that time. It is also assumed by me from this information that it would have been around that time (give or take a hundred years) that religions started to become more competitive over believers and forced conversion started to become a big deal. When Fabri describes the city of Rama, I found it very interesting that he specifically spoke about having to pass through a small door into the city of Rama. The fact that he spoke about it led me to believe that that might not have been very common practice in that time period and as a result was notable even to Fabri. I also found it very interesting that Fabri spoke more about the religious attributes of an area and about why he did not trust people groups who were not Christian to the degree that he was, to be very interesting. When the Saracen people surrounded Rama and Fabri and his group were held there by the people, Fabri seems to be surprised regarding the prayer practices of the Muslim Saracen people. This is primarily expressed when he compares the fact that they pray immediately upon waking while he and his Christian group do not. This, to me at least, seems to allude to the possibility that while Fabri and his group do not agree and are in opposition with the Saracen people, that they are possible ignorant of the beliefs and practices of those same people whom they hate. In essence, that they hate the people that they know little to nothing about and act on that hatred and ignorance without taking the time to actually see the other group as people who happen to be different in background and beliefs.  

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