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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XVIII: The aftermath of the Crusades,   pp. [unnumbered]-666 PDF (24.0 MB)

Page 649

methods of recruitment and the countries of their origin. He devotes much
attention to their military education, their tactics and strategy, war ruses,
and implements of war. He was struck by the centraliza tion of authority
throughout Syria and Egypt in the hands of the sultan of "Babylon," though
that title was not hereditary. Lannoy's description of the river Nile with
its periodic inundation is illuminat ing, and his notes on the land of Prester
John to the south are interesting. He says that the sultan does not allow
Christians to go to India by way of Upper Egypt and the Red Sea for fear
that they may contact Prester John and persuade him to deflect the course
of the Nile from Egypt. 
 The particulars on the roads and towns of the Holy Land are very much in
the nature of a travel guide, which Lannoy compiled mainly for the benefit
of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, he assured the European
Christians that the holy city is not invulner able, with its low walls and
poor castles. Turkey is represented in his work by some reflections on the
position of Gallipoli. This peninsula is employed by the Turkish armies as
a landing place and a strong military base in Europe. It should be wrested
from Ottoman hands in order to serve as a strategic point for intercepting
the passage of Turkish soldiers into Greece. 
 Lannoy's attention was devoted primarily to Egypt and the Holy Land, though
he did not overlook Turkey altogether. This position is clearly reversed
in the work of Bertrandon of La Broquière, who also acted for the
duke of Burgundy in his eastern embassy of 1432— 1439. He left Venice
on a pilgrim ship and landed at Jaffa after touching several seaports in
the Morea as well as the islands of Corfu, Rhodes, and Cyprus. Then he went
to Jerusalem and, like his predecessor Lannoy, paid a hurried visit to St.
Catherine's monastery on Mount Sinai. Unlike him, however, Bertrandon did
not take the western road to Egypt, but preferred to retrace his steps to
the Holy Land and proceed north toward Cilicia and Anatolia. While in Da
mascus, he met the renowned French merchant adventurer Jacques Coeur, as
well as a Genoese from Kaffa commissioned by sultan Barsbey of Egypt to purchase
more slaves for his Mamluk ranks. After wandering through Asia Minor, he
ultimately reached the Turkish capital Brusa, a great emporium noted in particular
for its trade in Christian slaves. There he spent ten days as a guest in
the Florentine hostel, which enabled him to carry out at his leisure his
work of reconnaissance among the Turks. Then lie crossed the Bosporus to
the city of Constantinople, which he found in a larnen 

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