This detailed study shows how the medieval tradition of exploration was rooted in Classical ideas of the world, and how the age of the Vikings, Marco Polo, and the crusaders paved the way for the famous voyages of the Renaissance. In the world which saw the great journeys of Marco Polo and Eric the Red it was still believed that the equator was too hot to cross, that distant lands were populated by a breed of men who shaded themselves with one large foot, and that
in Asia there lived a Christian king who would help Europe defeat its enemies. Yet this was also an age of expansion for the medieval world, with trade and travel between Europe and other continents
flourishing as never before. These were the centuries in which the Vikings reached North America, the crusaders established states in Palestine and Syria, merchants and missionaries travelled to the Asian dominions ofthe Mongol Great Khans, and adventurers were lured by dreams of African gold and the quest for Prester John. In this detailed survey, Dr J.R.S. Phillips draws on a large, often controversial body of evidence to show how the medieval European tradition of
exploration was rooted in Classical ideas of the world, and how it in turn paved the way for the great exploratory journeys of the Renaissance. The book includes maps showing the extent of medieval Europe.
`Phillips provides an excellent and very readable synthesis.'
Bulletin of Hispanic Studies
'Well-written, provocative, suitable for students.'
C. More, St Paul & St Mary, Cheltenham
'This excellent and fascinating book explores the relations between western Europe and Asia, Africa and America between c AD 1000 and 1500...Phillips has covered an enormous range in his book, as is shown by his judicious, comprehensive and up-to-date critical bibliography...at once an extremely able work of synthesis and a book with a clear and persuasive thesis of its own.'
D.O.Morgan, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
'excellent and fascinating book ... at once an extremely able work of synthesis and a book with a clear and persuasive thesis of its own'
D.O. Morgan, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
'this study deserves an unqualified welcome as a lucid account of a fascinating topic'
Alan Ryder, University of Bristol, History No. 243 Feb 1990
'Phillips's book is full of fascinating detail, as well as being clear, wide-ranging and equipped with a useful bibliography.'
John E. Law, Welsh History Review
'the best available survey of medieval knowledge of and contact with the lands beyond Europe before 1492'
James Muldoon, Rutgers University, Journal of World History, Fall 1990