Ex Libris Kirkland

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Subtitle Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
Editor Charles Dawson
First Written 1245
Genre Travel
Origin Mongolia
Publisher Harper & Row
My Copy First paperback edition
First Read February 07, 2010

Mission to Asia

So I read this mostly to read "The Journey of Friar William of Rubrick", a French priest who traveled to the Mongol court in 1253-3. Turns out it's a fun read. William writes an honest travelogue addressed to Louis King of France, and sneakingly funny in that thirteenth-century way. He makes his way across the known world to the Mongol territories, and along the way he: - suffers extreme cold, hunger and thirst, - discovers his translator is making things up instead of translating, - goes toe-to-toe with border ruffians - breezes by the edge of Prester John's kingdom, - refuses gifts of gold and silver at every stop, and - develops a taste for fermented horse milk. In short, adds himself to my list of travel heroes.

Noted on February 16, 2010

... our guide gave us cosmos [fermented mare's milk] to drink, and as I drank it I sweated all over from fright and the novelty of it, for I had never before drunk of it. However it struck me as being very tasty, as in truth it is.

Quoted on February 16, 2010

When we arrived among those barbarians, it seemed to me, as I have already said, as if I were stepping into another world.

Quoted on February 16, 2010

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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