Odorico da Pordenone

Overall Rating: 8
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Central Asia


Author: Odorico da Pordenone
Title: The Travel
Time: ca. 1314-1330
Destination: Europe, Asia
Length: ca. 15 years
Type: overland
Rating: 8/10

Brief old school

[please note: I have been reading a German translation of this book.]

The story: ODP was a Franciscan monk who lived in Italy during the Late Middle Ages. He was sent on a mission to proselytize the people of Asia, and his journey lasted more than ten years, covering the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Southeast Asia and China.

tiny book of episodes

The book is tiny (a little over 100 pages) but it’s very interesting nonetheless. Much like Marco Polo, Jehan de Mandeville, Ibn Battuda or Johann Schiltberger, ODP doesn’t tell his story in a strictly chronological way, nor does he really care about a plot. Instead, he provides us with episodes and details that he finds interesting, even if some of them probably belong to the world of Medieval mystery.

Odorico da Pordenone, the curious traveler

But he is a good observer, and when he talks about the traditional bound feet of the women in China, or about the Chinese rich people’s habit of growing long fingernails in order to show off their wealth, I could strongly relate to ODP, the curious traveler.

A short book, but a good one. 8/10.

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