Uusin numeroVanhat numerotArvostelutToimitusJulkaisijatHakukone

 

Andreas Sylvest Wille

A MEDIEVAL WORLD-VIEW AND ITS RELATION TO LITERARY AUTHORITIES IN A LATE MEDIEVAL PILGRIMAGE ACCOUNT

Introduction

Travel accounts reflect a certain understanding of the world, a worldview. Around the World in Eighty days implies an understanding of the world as a globe. The dominant worldview of a given time has a crucial impact on the travels undertaken. In Christianity a combination of belief in the Incarnation, the granting of indulgences, and the cult of relics is an immediate explanation to the custom of visiting the places consecrated by the presence of Christ. From the eight century on, when the practice of imposing a pilgrimage in lieu of public penance was introduced, the number of pilgrims increased, so that throughout the Middle Ages pilgrimages were organised on a grand scale and provided for by special ecclesiastical and civil legislation. [1]   As a consequence the most widespread form of travel in medieval Europe became the pilgrimage.

In 1480 and 1483, the Dominican friar Felix Fabri made two pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The later is elaborately represented in the account Evagatorium. [2] He explains in lively detail the hazardous journeys. Through a daily log he kept on his journeys, the reader is involved in the story of how he travelled, whom he met, and what he saw. In lively detail he explains the many events on the extended journey that took him from Venice to the Holy Land from the Holy Land through the Arabian Desert to Mount Sinai, from Sinai through Egypt, a visit to Cairo and by sail back from Alexandria. After returning to his home in Ulm, Southern Germany, he wrote what was later to be characterised as the most elaborate and personal pilgrimage account of late medieval times; the Evagatorium. It was never awarded with a popularity comparable to other pilgrimage accounts such as e.g. the Travels of Sir John Mandeville; nevertheless due to its richness in details and its personal style, the Evagatorium offers the modern reader a unique possibility to understand the worldview, and its relation to literary authorities, in the account of a highly educated late medieval friar. The era in which Fabri lived is characterised as a transition between late medieval Catholicism and a dawning “natural” science. Fabri finished his account only a few years before Columbus set sail and discovered a new continent and about the same time as Copernicus claimed that the earth revolved around the sun: two events of a crucial impact on present day’s perception of the geographical world, but unknown to Fabri. How did a late medieval friar describe the world? What were the literary sources for his description of the geographical world? And how did he solve the possible discrepancies of the literary authorities?

Today, science and religion are in many ways seen as contradictory to each other. Presumably not many people of today would be able to unfold a world-view on the spot, and hardly without running into contradictory statements. Nevertheless, I presume that most people experience the world as being meaningful and orderly. This meaningfulness is experienced despite, as an example, the sensory experience of sunsets, which are contradicted by our belief in the authoritative natural science telling us that, in fact, the earth revolves around the sun, thereby creating the impression of a sunset.

In an attempt to answer the above stated questions, I will examine the literary authorities in Fabri’s presentation of the geographical world, foremost in his description of Jerusalem as the centre of the world, secondly in relation to a broader understanding of the geographical world. Finally, I will analyse the relation between different, and often contradictory, literary authorities in Fabri’s description of the physical world.

Before I will deal with these questions, a brief introduction to pilgrimage accounts as a literary genre is needed. Comparative studies have shown that pilgrimage accounts are highly influenced by one another. Copying from former accounts was customary when writing one’s own account. In that sense pilgrimage accounts present a great uniformity in their contents. [3] In addition to this, another characteristic in medieval pilgrimage accounts is that national origin plays an inferior role to social position and status of education. When it comes to the stylistic appearance of the accounts from late medieval times, they are characterised by a pronounced subjectivism and an emotive descriptive power that is unknown to the sobriety and observing character of the early medieval accounts. These literary features of pilgrimage accounts in general make the analysis of a single pilgrimage account an important source for a broader understanding of the late medieval period.

In the Evagatorium these characteristics of the late medieval pilgrimage accounts are visible to an extent not seen in any other account. Fabri involves himself in the descriptions of a journey that makes it an exhilarating and intriguing account to read.

The Centre of the Earth

The Evagatorium presents the reader with detailed information about the world seen through the eyes of Fabri. It reveals a notion where the world is seen as having a centre, Jerusalem, and a periphery. Fabri thus demonstrated a notion of the place of origin of himself and his fellow pilgrims as the periphery of the world. In an extensive description of a procession to the Holy Sepulchre and other places within Jerusalem that were considered holy, Fabri explained with thorough details the nature of those holy places, their meaning and his perception of them. After having venerated the Church of Calvary he stated:

So in this place we rejoiced with exceedingly great joy that we had come from the outermost parts of the earth to the middle thereof safe and sound, and after we had offered praises to God we received indulgences (†). [4]

This quotation reveals a perception of Jerusalem, more specifically Calvary, as the centre of the Earth and the place where Fabri comes from as the outskirts of the world.

Fabri demonstrates a variety of different ways of perceiving physical locations and phenomena in the world. This becomes clear in his discussion of the exact place of the central point of the Earth. Fabri describes a big, round opening in the high vaulted-dome ceiling of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There was a way up to the top of the dome from the outside of the church. At the top of the vault there was a platform built over the hole where audacious pilgrims could stand in order to verify that their bodies cast no shadow when the sun shone directly overhead. A member of Fabri’s party readily conducted the experiment and stated that when he had stood in the exact centre of the platform, he had not cast a shadow. This was by regarded some as proof that it was the centre of the Earth. But to Fabri it gives birth to this comment:

But I do not see the fact that the sun shines at mid-day directly above men’s heads so that their bodies cast no shadow is more true, and certain proof, that the spot where it does so is the middle of the Earth, for I have read in several books about many places where at certain times men’s bodies cast no shadow… [5]

He quoted a number of both classical and Christian authorities to substantiate his claim. Foremost among his examples are Ptolemy’s maps, saying that there are many such places in these maps in both Asia and Africa and that none of these places are regarded as the centre of the Earth. Fabri didn’t deny Jerusalem as the centre of the earth, but he denies the explanation thereof, and is thus showing a problem that other contemporary travellers would also have to solve: the discrepancies in literary authorities in explaining the physical world. His knowledge of the maps of Ptolemy made it impossible for him to accept the experimental approach of his fellow pilgrim. Yet his Catholic belief made it impossible for him to abandon the concept of Jerusalem as the centre of the Earth, as seen in the first quotation from the Evagatorium above. The account does not present a smooth and unproblematic notion of Jerusalem as the centre of the world, but reveals Fabri’s notions, which consist of diverging perceptions that merge and interact. The few scholars that have dealt with his account have not ignored this tension in Fabri’s presentation.

Iain Macleod Higgins touches briefly on the matter in his article Defining the Earth’s Center in a Medieval “Multi-Text”. [6] He claims that Fabri’s discussion of the location of the centre of the Earth is remarkable in the sense that he demonstrated fractures between the Catholic belief in the Bible as the only authority for understanding the physical world and the contradictory statements of a dawning natural science and cartography. According to Higgins, Fabri’s Evagatorium diverges from other medieval travel accounts by discussing Jerusalem as the centre of the Earth, as seen in Fabri’s comments on his fellow pilgrim’s attempt to “prove” the exact place of the centre of the Earth.

Higgins states, however, that Fabri is remarkable because he was stating an anthropological reflection on the human need to think of oneself as being in the centre of the world, and is thus referring to a remark by the friar concerning a certain antipodes-theory, [7] which claims that the centre is everywhere; a theory that Fabri was rejecting by referring to St. Augustine, and called it vulgar (vulgi imaginatio). [8] From this response Higgins concludes that Fabri quite surprisingly shook off the authority of science and took a position that differed little from Jerome’s a millennium earlier, declaring that Jerusalem is the world’s centre according to Scripture. [9]

According to the glosses of Jerome, the centre of the Earth became confirmed with biblical references whereof the most important ones were in Psalm 74.12, [10] and the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 5.5, [11] and thus legitimised the perception of Jerusalem as the centre of the Earth. To Fabri, these, together with Genesis 2.9, Leviticus 26.11, and Deuteronomy 7.21, [12] constituted the biblical references that legitimised the status of Jerusalem as the centre of the world. The three last-mentioned biblical references are only found in the Evagatorium and are by Higgins interpreted as allegorical assertions.

Another scholar also dealing with Fabri’s perception of Jerusalem, Dorothea R. French, [13] describes Fabri’s account as “…the most elaborate and highly developed discussion of Mount Calvary as the allegorical centre of the Earth to appear in pilgrimage literature between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries.” [14] French focuses on the development of the symbolic meaning of Jerusalem, which she links closely with the development of the medieval biblical readings sensus literalis and sensus allegoricus. She sees these two perceptions as evident in pilgrims’ guides, iconography, and Christian cartography. [15] In conclusion, she claims that Fabri was rejecting the sensus literalis, to which she ascribes the dawning natural science, in favour of the sensus allegoricus, to which she ascribed his theological explanations derived from the Bible. [16] These two articles by Higgins and French are, to the best of my knowledge, the previous research done on Fabri’s Evagatorium concerning the relation between secular science and sacred geography. Both base their work on a partial translation into English from late nineteenth century. [17] In the following article, I will take a closer look at the Latin version in order to shed new light on the relation between the literary authorities in his account. First, I will look at Fabri’s descriptions of the holy places in and around Mount Calvary, and argue for the theory that his descriptions derive from a figural interpretation of the theological meaning of the holy places. Secondly, I will look at a description of the ocean as the periphery, and thirdly, I will show how Fabri relates biblical references, antique mythological literature and natural science in his presentation of the physical geographical world.

“Figura” in the description of the theological meaning of Jerusalem

According to Erich Auerbach, figura is a notion that is appearing in texts from the early centuries AD to the late Middle Ages. [18] Auerbach sees it as a specific Christian interpretation of biblical characters. Christ is seen as a figura, and Old Testament characters, such as e.g. Jonah, Isaac, Moses and others, are seen as prefiguring Christ, which means that those individuals are seen as historical characters whose symbolic meaning are fully revealed in Christ. Both the pre-figuration and the figura are acknowledged as historical truths: beyond the chronological setting, a connection is established between two historical events without questioning the authenticity of either of them. The historical events are thus awarded with a position as “real prophesy”. The aim of this way of interpretation is mainly to interpret Old Testament characters in the light of the New Testament.

The difference between figura and allegoria is the fact that in the former, both parts of the concept are given historical authenticity, whereas in an allegorical interpretation only the first part is given historical authenticity, and the latter part is seen as fully abstract. In a figural interpretation Old Testament characters, such as Moses, who strikes water from the rock, [19] and Jonah, who is spit out of the whale, [20] are seen as prefiguring the baptism of Christ.

Keeping this in mind, I will now turn to the source itself. After having entered the very rock of Mount Calvary, the place where the Cross is said to have been placed, Fabri described the theological meaning of the Grave. The quotation picks up right after the first quotation above, where Fabri was describing the Church of Calvary as the centre of the Earth:

No one was here who could withhold himself from tears and cries: for who could have so hard a heart that it would not be rent in that place where Christ our God cried with a loud voice as He hung upon the cross; where likewise He prayed for those who had crucified Him, promised Paradise to the thief, commended His deeply-sorrowing mother to the care of John, and drank the vinegar mingled with gall; when He said that all was finished, yielded His spirit into the hands of the Father, and breathed His last; where the soldier pierced His side with his lance, bringing forth blood and water. Lo, devout pilgrims, it was here that Abel was slain by his brother, Isaac was bound for sacrifice by his father, the brazen serpent was set up by Moses, the paschal lamb was slain according to the Law, God was slain by man, Jesus was crucified in the flesh, thy King was hung upon the cross, thy Lord was condemned to death, the meek and lowly and innocent was drenched with blood; offering Himself both as the priest and as the sacrifice. [21]

The descriptions of the theological meaning of the Holy Sepulchre and Calvary demonstrate a tendency to locate and understand Old Testament characters among the events of the crucifixion in the light of the New Testament. Understanding these statements figuratively would mean that both the Old Testament characters and Christ are being acknowledged as historically accurate, and would link the Old Testament events closely together with the event of the Crucifixion. This becomes even more evident when taking a closer look at the terms used by Fabri. In his use of the word suspensus for the brazen serpent that was set up by Moses, he linked it to the crucifixion of Christ where he likewise used the word suspensus, even though the verbal form in Numeri 21.9 of the Vulgate for the brazen serpent is posuit. The same figural approach can be seen in his description of the Grave:

In this sepulchre, in this tiny hut, did the eagle renew its youth, the lion roused up its cub, the phoenix renewed its life, Jonah came forth unharmed from the whale’s belly, the candlestick was clad with gold, the tabernacle of David, which had fallen down was set up again, the sun shone forth after being behind a cloud, the grain of wheat, which had fallen into the earth and died, became quickened, the stag again put forth his horns, Samson bore away the gates and broke from his guards, Joseph was brought forth from prison, shaved, gaily dressed, and made lord of Egypt. The sackcloth of Christ Jesus was cut away; He was clothed with gladness, and besides all this, our toilsome pilgrimage, our weary wanderings are here ended and brought to rest. Here, then, I pray you, let us lay aside our pious plaints of sorrow, our clouds of grief, and let us draw a quiet breath in happiness: Let us who have followed our Redeemer to his tomb with sorrow, now take part in the joy of His glorious resurrection. Come, then, gather yourselves together, knights and kind pilgrims, enter the most Holy Sepulchre and see with your own eyes, feel with your own hands, touch with your mouth the place where the Lord lay. So we joyously went in, one after another, into the most precious sepulchre of the Lord Jesus, kissed the most holy bier, and received entire and plenary indulgences (††) for all sins. [22]

In this quotation the same figural approach is dominant. The mentioning of Jonah, David, Samson, and Joseph are clearly linked to the New Testament event of the resurrection. But more allegorical interpretations merge with the figural in the presentation through the mentioning of the eagle, the lion, and the phoenix. This could prove that the difference between a figural and an allegorical understanding would be vague. But from the following quotation, it will be clear that Fabri was aware of his use of figura, and that he was very much interested in locating Old Testament events physically to Mount Calvary. In a discussion of where Isaac was bound as sacrifice, he stated that it also took place within the precincts of the Holy Sepulchre:

Some would say that it was on Mount Seyr or Sardenai by Damascus. Others say that it was in Mount Morija, where Salomon after this built his temple. But it is more Catholic to say this and it makes more reason too, both as figura and as truth, that this was the place. [23]

Fabri himself was using the term figura and it is therefore plausible to read his descriptions of the theological meaning of the Holy Sepulchre as mainly figural. In the quotation above Fabri revealed an awareness of contradictory perceptions, as already seen in the discussion of the exact place of the centre of the world. Fabri was aware of diverging perceptions of the world, and argued for his own perception. In his presentation of Jerusalem, the Bible is the dominant authority in explaining the physical world. His biblical readings were predominantly figural, but his figural interpretation does not, however, restrict itself to Biblical matters. His perception of antique mythological literature and its relation to Christianity makes for similar hermeneutics as the figural interpretation. Antique mythical features are seen as anticipating of Christianity. It was seen as negative by Christians, while Christianity was seen as the positive truth, as seen in the following quotation where Fabri described differences between the Holy Land and the Greek Isles:

Just as the description of the Holy Land generates holy stories, so does the description of Greece, the sea, and the isles in it generate poetic fictions. For just as theological truths derive from the Holy Land, so did poetic fictions derive from Greece. And just as one God and one true man is revealed in the Holy Land, so did in these countries many people appear, and false gods. And just as the Holy Land had holy people at its disposal, so have these countries had the most revolting people, of which it indeed is loathsome for me to talk about, yet when I have overcome the disgust, I will treat the matter as it arrives. [24]

This quotation shows that Fabri juxtaposed the antique, mythological literature with the Christian. The antique and mythical anticipated Christianity, an idea that is underscored even further in a discussion of the meaning of the Valley of Joshaphat. Fabri explained the following similarity between the Holy City and Crete:

As before mentioned, this is the opening to Hell according to the Christians, for we believe that Hell is in the centre of the Earth, and that the Holy City is located in the mountains on top of it, just as the heathens considered Crete to be the centre of the Earth with Hell underneath it. Therefore did the tears from the idol, which was placed on top of the Mount Ida, run down to Hell as explained earlier. [25]

The quotation underscores Fabri’s understanding of the meaning of the heathen, antique literature as presupposing Christianity in a similar gesture as the figural, as seen in the relation between Old Testament characters and Christ in the New Testament from the previous quotations. It also demonstrates the before mentioned and more general feature in Fabri’s writing: the importance given to literary sources. For Fabri, the written, literary exposition constituted an authority not to be rejected, but one to be incorporated into his interpretation of the constitution of the physical world. Fabri’s description of the theological meaning of Jerusalem affects his perception of the physical world as well, and although the Bible was his major source in defining the centre of the Earth, it was not the only literary source to be taken into consideration. Considering a notion where the world has a centre, what consequences would that have to how the rest of the world is perceived? The question is of a more overall worldview. French combined her presentation with Jerusalem as the centre of the world with an examination of medieval cartography. In the first quotation of the article, we were presented with a notion where the place of origin of the pilgrims was considered to be the outskirts of the world. But in the very beginning of the Evagatorium there is a presentation of the three-parted nature of the sea, which can serve as a more precise understanding of a broader worldview in Fabri’s account.

The Oceans and the Continents

The description of the three oceans and the known world was dedicated to inform his fellow friars of his home convent, to whom he wrote the whole account, about the nature of the sea. [26] He described the sea as threefold by nature, consisting of the great sea, the greater sea, and the greatest sea. The great sea was the Mediterranean Sea, the greater sea the Pontic Sea, and the greatest sea the Ocean, which runs round the world according to Fabri. The oceans and the heavens are related to each other in the following manner according to Fabri:

Yet it seems marvellous, seeing that there is such a great number of rivers running there and so continual, so almost infinite a pouring in of waters, that the Ocean should not increase thereby. Nor is it less wondrous that though many rivers flow from it underground, and the stars draw a great part of its waters away, because the sun and the other stars do by their fierce fires draw away a very great abundance of water, and pour it round about all the stars to temper the fiery parts of them, yet by these copious draughts of the stars, the Ocean is nowise diminished, because as before mentioned, it takes in as much as it loses by these draughts. [27]

His remarks of the heavens and the stars drinking water from the Earth point at an Aristotelian perception of the world divided in two spheres: a celestial and a terrestrial. [28] In an Aristotelian world-view the heavens are hierarchically shaped shells with planets and stars. The heavens were revolving around the Earth in a perpetual circular movement. In the Middle Ages, the cosmology of Aristotle was combined with a Christian understanding of waters in the heavens so that beyond the sphere of the stars were the waters known from e.g. Genesis 7.12. The next passage is a careful description of geographical sites according to the maps of Ptolemy. [29]

The digression mainly refers to works by Aristotle and Ptolemy with only a few scattered quotations from the Bible. [30] The bible is still taken into consideration, but subordinated to the former so that his description of the oceans and continents is mainly of an Aristotelian conviction incorporated in a Christian understanding. From this point of view there seems to be a discrepancy in literary authorities between his presentation of the centre of the world and the periphery. In his presentation of the centre of the earth, the Bible was the main authority in explaining the physical world, but when it came to presenting the rest of the world, he mainly referred to Aristotle and Ptolemy. This furthermore indicates that Fabri was split between different authoritative texts in his attempt to describe the physical world, as also pointed out by Higgins and French.

Fabri’s Categorical Thinking

Higgins stated that Fabri was shaking off the authority of science, taking a stand that differed little from Jerome’s. [31] To French, the discrepancy stood between sensus literalis and sensus allegoricus and she argues that Fabri rejected the sensus literalis in favour of sensus allegoricus. [32]   Higgin’s conclusion is derived from Fabri’s discussion on the exact place of the centre of the world. Fabri referred to a certain antipodes-theory that he rejected by naming it vulgar, as earlier mentioned, and claiming that already St.Augustine denied the theory. To Higgins, that becomes evidence of Fabri making a regression and rejecting science. However, there is an anachronistic pitfall in asserting that what to the modern reader seems scientific also was considered scientific in medieval times. To Fabri, it certainly didn’t seem scientific, but quite the opposite, as seen from his characterisation of the theory. [33]

Neither does French’s characterisation of the discrepancy in the presentation of the two readings, sensus literalis and sensus allegoricus, in the Evagatorium, do justice to the account. Her use of the terms sensus literalis and sensus allegoricus seem to be a misinterpretation of the four senses of medieval exegesis. Sensus literalis and sensus allegoricus were the most important and dominant of the four senses to the medieval exegete. Throughout the Middle Ages, a changing emphasis on the two can be seen, but they were related to one another in a complex way, and cannot be understood separately. The medieval perception of Scripture as inspiration meant an understanding of the letter of the Bible as the place of the Spirit. The Spirit being the allegoria is contained in the letter and hidden therein. Thus Sensus literalis was perceived as good and necessary, because it contains the sensus allegoricus, and sensus allegoricus is derived from the sensus literalis. The allegorical reading can only be reached through the literal reading, which makes a choice between either sensus literalis or sensus allegoricus impossible. [34]

Indisputable, though, is the fact that Fabri’s account reveals a conflict between literary authorities in explaining the physical world. In a description of why seawater is salty I found systematised, categorical thinking where much conflicting evidence is correlated into several categories. The quotation comes from a digression explaining why seawater from the Dead Sea is saltier than normal seawater:

Now, even though Jordan and the other brooks bring sweet water into that place, it is straightway made exceedingly salty, saltier than the water of all other seas, forasmuch as it has a quadruple cause for its saltiness, to wit, a natural, a reasonable, a Catholic, and a Divine one. [35]

Fabri named four reasons for the saltiness of the Dead Sea. Each explanation has its reference. The first, the natural, refers to the works of Aristotle. The reasonable explanation refers to the contemporary philosophy, regarded as secular, and inspired by antique natural philosophy. The Catholic explanation refers to the New Testament, and the last explanation, the Divine, refers to the Old Testament. For the modern reader, these four explanations are not thorough or satisfactory. The notable feature is how Fabri managed to bring together various literary authorities through four explanations for the same phenomenon. It is only in this part of the pilgrim account that they appear together, but the next quotation clearly shows that it is fundamental to his way of interpreting authoritative writings. The next quotation summarises the reasons for the saltiness of the Dead Sea:

Natural philosophers, theologians, and the ancient poets allege different reasons for this saltiness. The natural and theological reasons are set forth in Part I., page 43; I have kept back the poetic cause until now. [36]

Fabri referred back to the previous explanations for the origin of the saltiness of the Dead Sea. He divided the four previous explanations into two categories: the natural and the theological. These two terms have, on several previous occasions in his accounts, been used to explain various phenomena. Fabri mentioned one more explanation, that of the poetical. To the poetical explanation, he assigned the earlier quoted reference of the differences between the Holy Land and the Greek Isles, so that the poetical cause included the antique heathen literature, which also played an important part to Fabri.

Fabri’s perception of the world is therefore a conglomeration of several authoritarian writings, which he incorporates into a few categories. According to his Catholic faith and trust in the Bible Jerusalem is perceived as the centre of the Earth. According to his knowledge of rediscovered works of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Ptolemy, and a belief in a “dawning” natural science, his perception of the continents and the oceans are mainly of an Aristotelian nature. Even ancient pagan literature is taken into account, all combined with a critical sense towards personal experiences of physical phenomena in the world. As a result, his Evagatorium becomes the witness of a medieval, religious individual’s attempt at integrating faith, knowledge, and sensory experience.

Published sources:

Evagatorium in Terræ Sanctæ, Arabia et Egypti peregrinationem, Fratris Felicis Fabri vol. I-III ed. Cunradus Dietericus Hassler, Stuttgart 1843-49.

Bibliography:

Auerbach, Erich (1938), “Figura”, Transfiguration no. 2, transl. by Anton Jørgensen, Copenhagen 1999.

French, Dorothea R. Journeys to the Center of the Earth: Medieval and Renaissance Pilgrimages to Mount Calvary, in “Journeys toward God”, ed. Sargent-Bauer, Kalamazoo, Michigan 1992. 

Higgins, Iain Macleod, Defining the Earth’s Center in a Medieval “Multi-text”, “Text and Territory, Geographical Imagination in the European Middle Ages”, ed. By Sylvia Tomasch and Sealy Gilles, Philadelphia 1998.

Khattab, Aleya, Das Ägyptenbild in den deutschsprachigen Reisebeschreibungen der Zeit von 1285-1500, Frankfurt am Main 1982.

Lubac, Henri de, Medieval Exegisis vol. I The four Senses of Scripture, transl. by Mark Sebanc, Edinburgh 1959.

Pedersen, Olaf & Kragh, Helge, Fra Kaos til Kosmos, verdensbilledets historie gennem 3000 år, Copenhagen 2000.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford 1997.

Wiegandt, Herbert, Felix Fabri, Galeere und Karawane, Pilgerreise ins Heilige Land, zum Sinai und nach Ägypten 1483, Stuttgart-Wien-Bern 1996.

Notes


[1] The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church , Oxford 1997, passim.

[2] Evagatorium in Terræ Sanctæ, Arabia et Egypti peregrinationem, Fratris Felicis Fabri vol. I-III ed. Cunradus Dietericus Hassler, Stuttgart 1843-49.

[3] Khattab, Aleya, Das Ägyptenbild in den deutschsprachigen Reisebeschreibungen der Zeit von 1285-1500. Frankfurt am Main 1982, p. 230.

[4] In hoc ergo loco singulari quodam gaudio exultavimus, pro eo, quod salute et prosperitate de extremis mundi partibus mundi medium attigimus, et laudibus Domino solutis indulgentias accepimus (†). Evagatorium vol. I p. 307-8.

[5] An autem hoc sit verum, et evidens signum, quod locus ille sit in medio terrae, ubi in meridie sol splendens sic directe super capita corporum, quod umbram corpus non reddit, non video. L egi etiam in pluribus libris de multis locis, ubi corpora aliquo tempore non reddant umbram… Evagatorium vol. I p. 307.

[6] Higgins, Iain Macleod, “Defining the Earth’s Center in a Medieval ‘Multi-text’ in Text and Territory, Geographical Imagination in the European Middle Ages, ed. Sylvia Tomasch and Sealy Gilles. Philadelphia 1998.

[7] The Antipodes-theory is a theory where it is assumed that people live on the other side of the globe with their feet opposite ours. Umberto Eco has emphasised in his book Serendipities that past traditional denial of the theory is not a denial of the Earth as a globe, but only a rejection of the hypothesis that man could live on the other side. Umberto Eco, Serendipities, Language and Lunacy, Columbia University Press 1998, p. 6-7.

[8] Evagatorium , vol. I p. 307-8. The reference to St. Augustine is De Civitate Dei, XVI, 9. This could only be read as a rejection of the idea of the other side of the globe being inhabited by man, not a rejection of the Earth as such being a globe. This corresponds to the argument in the above-mentioned book by Umberto Eco.

[9] Higgins 1998, p. 39.

[10] Psalm 74.12: “But thou, O God, thou king from of Old, thou mighty conqueror all the world over.” The wording in the equivalent Vulgate passage is Psalm 73, 12 according to LXX:“ Deus autem rex noster ante saeculum operatus est salutes in medio terrae.“ And according to the Hebrew: “Deus autem rex meus ab initio operatur salutes in medio terrae.“

[11] The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 5.5: “This city of Jerusalem I have set among nations, with other countries around her.” The Vulgate version: “Ista est Jerusalem, in medio gentium posui eam, et in circuitu ejus terram.

[12] Genesis 2.9:” …and in the middle of the Garden he set the tree of life.” Vulgate: “…lignum etiam vitae in medio paradisi.” Leviticus 26.11: “I will establish my Tabernacle among you.” Vulgate: “ponam tabernaculum meum in medio vestri.” Deuteronomy 7.21: ”…for the Lord your God is in your midst.” Vulgate: “…quia Dominus Deus tuus in medio tui est.”

[13] French, Dorothea R. “Journeys to the Center of the Earth: Medieval and Renaissance Pilgrimages to Mount Calvary” in Journeys toward God, ed. Sargent-Bauer, Kalamazoo, Michigan 1992.

[14] French 1992, p. 45.

[15] French 1992, p. 45.

[16] French 1992, p. 75.

[17] The Wanderings of Felix Fabri , Aubrey Stewart. Palestine Pilgrims Text society”, London 1896.

[18] Auerbach, Erich (1938) Figura, “Transfiguration” 1999 no. 2 transl. by Anton Jørgensen.

[19] Exodus 17.6.

[20] Book of Jonah  2.1.

[21] Nullus ibi erat, qui se posset a lacrymis et gemitibus continere; quis enim tam durum cor habere posset, quod non scinderetur in loco, ubi oculis suis videt scissam petram durissimam? Quis ibi non etiam alto gemitu fleret, ubi Christus Deus noster in cruce suspensus alta et magna voce emissa clamavit, oravit etiam pro crucifixoribus, latroni paradisum promisit, matrem moestissimam Johanni commendavit, felle et aceto potatus fuit, omnia ibi consummata esse dixit, spiritum in manus patris commendavit, et exspiravit; latus ejus miles lancea aperuit, sanguinem et aquam ibi fudit. Ecce, peregrine devote, hic Abel occisus a fratre, Isaac ligatus a patre, serpens aeneus suspensus a Moyse, agnus paschalis immolatus in lege, Deus occisus ab homine, Jesus crucifixus carne, rex tuus suspensus cruce, Dominus tuus condemnatus morte, mitis et humilis et innocens perfusus cruore, sacerdos et hostia offerens sese. Evagatorium vol. I, p. 299.

[22] I n hoc namque sepulchro et exiguo tugurio renovata est juventus aquila, leo catulum suscitavit, phoenix revixit, Jonas de ventre ceti illaesus exivit, vestitum est candelabrum auro, tabernaculum David, quod cecidit, suscitatum est, refulsit sol, qui prius erat in nubilo, vivificatum est granum frumenti, quod in terram cadens mortuum fuerat, cervus resumsit cornua, Samson tulit portas et evasit per custodias, Joseph eductus de carcere tonditur et decoratur et dominus Aegypti constituitur. Saccus Christi Jesu conciditur, et laetitia circumdatur, et cum his omnibus hic nostra laboriosa peregrinatio et taediosa evagatio finitur et quietatur. Deponamus ergo obsecro in hoc loco piisimas tristitiae querelas, ac nubila moeroris, (119 A) et in laetitia respiremus serenum, et qui funera redemtoris nostri prosecuti sumus cum dolore, nunc de ipsius resurrectionis gloria jocundemur. Venite ergo ac simul conglobemini milites et peregrini humani, sepulchrum sanctissimum ingredimini et videte, manibus tangite, ore contingite locum, ubi positus erat Dominus. Itaque cum laetitia ingressi sumus unus post alium in dulcissimum Domini Jesu sepulchrum, et loculum sanctissimum devotissime deosculati sumus, et indulgentias plenissimae (††) remissionis omnium peccatorum accepimus. Evagatorium vol. I p. 310.

[23] A lii tamen dicere volunt, quod in monte Seyr vel Sardenai prope Damascum sit factum. Caeteri dicunt, quod in monte Moria, in quo Salomon post ea templum construxit, sit factum. Sed nostrum dictum magis est catholicum, et rationi consonum, ut figura et veritas, etiam quoad locum, convenientiam haberent.Evagatorium, vol. I p. 318.

[24] S icut enim descriptio terrae sanctae complectitur sacras historias, sic descriptio Graeciae, maris et insularum ejus fictiones implicat poeticas. Nam sicut in terra sancta exortae sunt veritates theologicae, sic in Graecia ortae sunt fictiones poeticae. Et sicut in terra sancta apparuit unus Deus et homo verus, sic in terris his apparuerunt plures homines, dii falsi. Et sicut terra sancta habuit homines sanctos, sic terra illae habuerunt homines spurcissimos, de quibus quidem taedet me dicere, sed superato taedio occurrentia de his tangam. Evagatorium vol. III, p. 270.

[25] E x quo patet, quod ibi est os inferni, secundum Christianos, quia credimus, infernum esse in centro terrae, et civitatem sanctam supra in montibus locatam esse in terrae (B) medio, sicut gentiles et poetae aestimaverunt, Cretam insulam esse mundi medium et sub ea esse infernum. Ideo in Ydo monte de Ydolo ibi posito fluebant lacrymae usque in infernum, ut patet fol. 17.A.P.II. Evagatorium, bd. II  p.158.

[26] Evagatorium vol. I pp. 107-114.

[27] Mirum autem hoc videtur, cum tantus numerus fluminum illuc currentium sit fluctusque tam perpetuus cursus, tam fere infinitus, quomodo inde non augeatur oceanus? Nec minus mirum cum multa ex eo procedant subterranea flumina multam quoque partem illius stellarum haustus auferat, quia sol et alia sidera de eo maximam abundantiam aquarum suis intensissimis ignibus hauriunt, et circum omnia sidera fundunt eas, ut ea temperentur, quae de se sunt ignea, nec per siderum copiosissimum haustum et attractionem oceanus minuitur, quia ut dictum est, tantum recipit, quantum per effluxum et haustum perdit. Evagatorium vol. I p. 108.

[28] Pedersen, Olaf & Kragh, Helge, Fra Kaos til Kosmos, verdensbilledets historie gennem 3000 år, Copenhagen 2000, p. 84.

[29] Ptolemy’s Cosmographia, containing 32 maps of the world was printed in Ulm, which had no less than 200 printing-houses between 1470 and 1490. Wiegandt, Herbert Felix Fabri, Galeere und Karawane, Pilgerreise ins Heilige Land, zum Sinai und nach Ägypten 1483, Stuttgart-Wien-Bern 1996. p. 328. It is therefore likely that Fabri was referring to an edition of Ptolemy’s maps from his hometown.

[30] Gen. 7.11, Psalm. 23.2, Psalm. 103.9, the Book of Job 38.8.

[31] See the reference in footnote 8.

[32] French 1992, pp. 74-75.

[33] As earlier mentioned in connection to footnote 10 Fabri characterised the antipodes-theory as vulgar, and referred to St. Augustines rejection of the antipodes-theory in De Civitate Dei. Augustine does not reject the idea of the world as a globe as much as he rejects the idea that the other side of it would be populated by mankind. De Civitate Dei , XVI, 9.

[34] Lubac, Henri de,  Medieval Exegisis vol. I The four Senses of Scripture , transl. by Mark Sebanc, Edinburgh 1959, pp. 225-227.

[35] Quamvis autem Jordanis et alii torrentes aquam dulcem loco inferant, statim tamen salsissima efficitur, ultra omnes aquas salsas cauterorum marium, quia quadruplicem causam habet suae salsedinis, scilicet naturalem, rationalem, catholicalem et divinalem. Evagatorium vol. II p. 157.

[36] S alsedinis autem ilius causas alias ponunt naturales philosophi, alias theologi, alias poetae antiqui. Causae naturales et theologicales patent P.1 fol. 43. Causa autem poeticalis est huc reservata. Evagatorium vol. II p. 532.