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Travel Narratives of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean has a very long tradition of travel and production of travel narratives. Some are mostly literary and others are illustrative, especially beginning in the eighteenth century. This project charts the routes and sites of an ancient, medieval and modern traveler to the Mediterranean, and specifically Egypt, in order to gain a visual understanding of textual narratives and a comparative understanding of illustrative narratives.

Explore the Mediterranean with Strabo, the first century AD geographer, who described the known world in his Geographia and created a map of the world as he understood it. In the twelfth century, a literate pilgrim, Ibn Jubayr, sailed and trekked from his home in Granada, Spain to Mecca to fulfill the Hajj. He recorded the sights in vivid, almost illustrative, detail. View his descriptions and the image they conjured in my mind for sights in Egypt. Another traveler in Egypt, Dutch explorer Frederic Louis Norden, was commissioned by the king of Denmark to explore Egypt in 1737-38. His findings were published in various languages from the 1740s to the 1790s as "Travels in Egypt and Nubia", an extremely illustrative tour of ancient sites along the Nile. Compare the way Strabo, Ibn Jubayr and Frederic Norden perceived their world through the ways they chose to describe Mediterranean sites - familiar and exotic, friendly or foreign, as insiders or outsiders, with admiration or skepticism. 

View Interactive Exhibit Here! 

Kirsten Sparenborg Brinton