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 Epistola Paschalis de Victoria

(639 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
‘Letter of Pascal of Vitoria’ Pascal of Vitoria Date: 1338 Original Language: Latin Description The letter sent by Pascal from Almaliq to his fellow Franciscans in Vitoria begins with a precise account of each stage of his journey from Avignon right through to the heart of Central Asia. The aim of his mission is made perfectly clear: to preach the Gospel ‘as much to Saracens as to schismatic or heretic Christians’ (ed. Wyngaert, p. 503). This is why he learnt Cuman and Uyghur during his journey, languages use…


(1,667 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
Itinerarium de mirabilibus orientalium Tartarorum; De rebus mirabilibus in variis partibus mundi; Odorichus de rebus incognitos; Libro delle nuove e strane e meravigliose cose; Les merveilles de la Terre d'Outremer; Incipiunt hic multe et diverse hystorie beati Odorici fratris Minoris de ritibus et condicionibus huius mundi et de martirio iv fratrum Minorum'Account'; 'The travels of friar Odoric of Pordenone' Odoric of Pordenone Date: 1330 Original Language: Latin Description The Relatio, roughly 60 pages long in modern editions, originally existed in two versions: the first, taken down at Odoric's dictation and written, as the scribe says, in simple and unembellished Latin (‘ nec curavi de latino difficili et ornato stilo, sed sicut ille narabat sic ego scribebam...’,…

Odoric of Pordenone

(534 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
Odorico da Pordenone, Odoricus de Foro Iulii, Odoricus de Portu Naonis, Odorico de Porto Naone de Friuli Date of Birth: Between 1275 and 1280 Place of Birth: Pordenone, Italy Date of Death: 1331 Place of Death: Udine Biography Most of what we know for sure about Odoric’s life comes from his own account of his travels in Asia. According to John of Viktring, his father was a mercenary in the garrison established in Pordenone by Ottokar II, King of Bohemia ( Liber, p. 113). He reportedly entered the Franciscan order at a very young age, and lived a life of asceticism in the for…

 Itinerarium fratris Willelmi de Rubruquis de ordine fratrum Minorum, Galli, anno grat. 1253 ad partes orientales

(1,798 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
Itinerarium Willelmi de Rubruc‘The journey of the Frenchman Friar William of Rubruk of the Franciscan order in the year of grace 1253 to the eastern parts of the world’, ‘The journey of William of Rubruck’ William of Rubruck Date: 1255 Original Language: Latin Description The long letter – about 150 pages in a modern edition – which Rubruck wrote to King Louis when he returned from Karakorum, contains several illustrations of the ambiguity of his ‘traveller’ status. He shunned the title ‘ambassador’ lest the notion of ‘official envoy’ sho…

Pascal of Vitoria

(401 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
Paschalis de Victoria, Pascal of Vittoria Date of Birth: Unknown; late 13th century Place of Birth: Spain, possibly Vitoria Date of Death: 1339 or 1340 Place of Death: Almaliq, Central Asia Biography Nothing is known of Brother Pascal’s life before his travels. There is much evidence that he was from Spain but, whilst Vitoria was definitely the location of the Franciscan monastery to which he belonged, it is not known whether it was also his birthplace. He left Spain around 1333, in the company of Gonsalvo Transtorna, for Avig…

William of Rubruck

(798 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
Guillelmus de Rubruc, Willelmus de Rubruk, Willem van Ruysbroeck, Guillaume de Rubrouck, Rubruck Date of Birth: Before 1215 Place of Birth: Rubrouck, near Cassel, France Date of Death: Uncertain; late 13th century Place of Death: Unknown Biography Most of our knowledge of William of Rubruck is based on the long letter he sent to King Louis IX in 1255, upon returning from the expedition to Mongolia with which the king had entrusted him. Born in Rubruck in the north of France, in 1215 at the latest according to Pelliot ( Recherches, p. 79), William was a Franciscan from the second gene…