Klaus Herbers

title.none: Chareyron, Pilgrims to Jerusalem (Klaus Herbers)

identifier.other: baj9928.0605.009 06.05.09

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Klaus Herbers, Universitdt Erlangen-N|rnberg,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2006

identifier.citation: Chareyron, Nicole. W. Donald Wilson, trans. Pilgrims to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Pp. xvi, 287. $45.00 (hb). ISBN: 0-231-13230-1.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 06.05.09

Chareyron, Nicole. W. Donald Wilson, trans. Pilgrims to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Pp. xvi, 287. $45.00 (hb). ISBN: 0-231-13230-1.

Reviewed by:

Klaus Herbers
Universitdt Erlangen-N|rnberg

Chareyron's work on pilgrims and pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the late Middle Ages, published in French in 2000, is now available in a good English translation. Nicole Chareyron examines the accounts of more than one hundred pilgrims, most of them dating from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. This large number of sources helps to provide a detailed picture of the different aspects of medieval pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

The pace and the different stages of the pilgrim's journey are mirrored in the structure of Chareyron's work. The chapters include the way to Venice and the embarkation of the pilgrims there as well as further excursions in the Holy Land, for example to Alexandria. The description of the different stages and aspects of such an ideal journey, reconstructed from the numerous accounts of pilgrims, is interrupted only at times for systematic reflections. This is the case in chapter one (pp. 1-15), which deals with pilgrimages and embarking on a pilgrimage in general, in chapter nine, which examines the issue of cultural contacts between Christians, Muslims and Jews (pp. 111-126), and in the last two chapters (pp. 198-220), which raise the question of how events are remembered and put down in writing in the travel accounts treated in this work.

Chareyron offers the reader a multi-faceted panorama, which, with its numerous quotations from the sources, helps to paint a vivid picture of late medieval pilgrimages. Although the author takes into consideration more than one hundred travel accounts, there are some remarkable preferences. For instance, the very rich and detailed narrative of the Domenican monk Felix Fabri from Ulm is cited time and again. The same is true for the account of Arnold von Harff, an adventurous traveller from the Rhineland, who travelled the Mediterranean at the end of the fifteenth century.

In some respects, the structure of Chareyron's work resembles that of Ursula Ganz-Blä:ttler (Andacht und Abenteuer. Berichte europä:ischer Jerusalem- und Santiago-Pilger [1320-1520] , Jakobus-Studien 4, Tü:bingen 1990), who analyses numerous accounts of pilgrimages as well. Although Ganz-Blä:ttler's work is cited in the bibliography, it is hardly taken into account in Chareyron's study, as is the rest of the recent literature on this topic. Although some of the footnotes contain references to recent scientific works, the bulk of them is limited to references to the sources themselves. Thus, a discussion of the numerous theoretical works on late medieval pilgrimages is not to be expected. Questions of world view, of how events are put into writing and other issues which have been much debated over the last years are only implicitly referred to, if at all.

Nonetheless, Chareyron has produced a well-written and vivid narrative, which, being based to a large extent on the sources, introduces the reader to the diversity of medieval pilgrimages to Jerusalem. This is appropriate insofar as it reflects the fact as the motives to undertake such a pilgrimage in the late Middle Ages were very diverse as well, making systematisations at least very difficult. For this reason, we should thank the author for introducing us in such an engaging way to the different aspects of such a pilgrimage: the difficulties of the journey to Venice, the troubles of exchanging money and concluding a contract for the passage, the voyage in an overcrowded vessel and port calls at different locations. This is followed by descriptions of the visits to the Holy Land, including the organisation by Franciscan monks, the Holy Places and the contacts between Christians, Muslims and Jews, but also of travels to other places in the Holy Land as well as in Egypt with the pyramids, the river Nile and Alexandria. Chereyron claims that the perception of the world was beginning to change at that time. Drawing on the works of Paul Zumthor, the author asserts that from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century a dominance of the eye over the ear as a source of knowledge was developing (p. 112). Regardless of how one proves such a generalisation right or wrong in one's own work, one has to agree with the author that the emergence of a humanist perception was linked with a further tendency towards putting down travel accounts in writing, making the pilgrims' accounts examined by Chereyron the first specimen of an extremely successful genre of earlier times.