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Encyclopedia > Benjamin of Tudela
Map of the route
Map of the route

Benjamin of Tudela (flourished 12th century) was a medieval Spanish Jewish Rabbi, traveler and explorer. His vivid descriptions of Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by one hundred years, covering an even greater distance. With his broad education and vast knowledge of languages, Benjamin of Tudela was a major figure in the history of geography and Jewish history. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1216x740, 287 KB) Summary From the 1907 book The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, translated to English by Marcus Nathan Adler. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1216x740, 287 KB) Summary From the 1907 book The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, translated to English by Marcus Nathan Adler. ... (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ... Asia is the largest and most populous region or continent depending on the definition. ... Marco Polo (September 15, 1254, Venice, Italy; or Curzola, Venetian Dalmatia - now Korčula, Croatia — January 8, 1324, Venice) was a Venetian trader and explorer who, together with his father Niccolò and his uncle Maffeo, was one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road to China (which he... Jewish history is the history of the Jewish people, faith (Judaism) and culture. ...

Benjamin set out on his 13-year journey throughout the known world in 1160, in what began as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He had probably hoped to originally settle there but in fact he took the "long road" stopping frequently, meeting people, visiting places, describing occupations and giving a demographic count of Jews in every town and country. Events Erik den helige is succeeded by Karl Sverkersson. ... The phrase The Holy Land (Arabic الأرض المقدسة, al-Arḍ ul-Muqaddasah; Hebrew ארץ הקודש: Standard Hebrew Éreẓ haQodeš, Tiberian Hebrew ʾÉreṣ haqQāḏēš; Latin Terra Sancta) generally refers to Israel, otherwise known as Palestine (sometimes including Jordan, Syria and parts of Egypt). ...

In his journey he passed through large swathes of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The town of Tudela is near the city of Saragossa where his journey began, going north through southern France, then setting sail from the port of Marseilles. After visiting Rome and Constantinople, he set off across Asia, visiting Syria and Palestine before reaching Baghdad. From there he went to Persia, then cut back across the Arabian Peninsula to Egypt and North Africa, returning to Spain in 1173. In all he visited over 300 cities including Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Damascus, Baghdad and beyond. Europe is conventionally considered one of the seven continents of Earth which, in this case, is more a cultural and political distinction than a physiographic one, leading to some dispute as to Europes actual borders. ... A satellite composite image of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia. ... Tudela is a small town in Spain, in the northern province of Navarra. ... For alternative meanings, see Zaragoza (disambiguation). ... Marseilles redirects here. ... City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR (The Senate and the People of Rome) Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical, 1st millennium BC Region Latium Area  - City Proper  1285 km² Population  - City (2004)  - Metropolitan  - Density (city proper) 2,553,873 almost 4,300,000 1. ... Map of Constantinople. ... Map of the British Mandate of Palestine. ... Location of Baghdad within Iraq Baghdad (Arabic: ‎ translit: , Kurdish: Bexda, from Persian Baagh-daad meaning given by God) is the capital of Iraq and of Baghdad Governorate. ... The term Persian Empire refers to a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau. ... The Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية) is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia consisting mainly of desert. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent. ... Events Canonization of Saint Thomas a Becket, buried at Canterbury August 9th - Construction starts on the Leaning tower of Pisa Castle at Abergavenny was seized by the Welsh. ...

He described his thirteen years abroad in a book, The Voyages of Benjamin (מסעות בנימין, or Masa'ot Binyamin, also known as ספר המסעות, Sefer ha-Masa'ot, The Book of Travels). This book describes the countries he visited, with an emphasis on the Jewish communities, including their total populations and the names of notable community leaders. He also described the customs of the local population, both Jewish and non-Jewish, with an emphasis on urban life there. There are also detailed descriptions of sites and landmarks he passed along the way, as well as important buildings and marketplaces. Benjamin is noted for not only telling facts, but citing his sources; historians regard him as highly trustworthy.

The Voyages of Benjamin is an important work not only as a description of the Jewish communities, but also as a reliable source about the geography and ethnography of the Middle Ages. As well some modern historians credit Benjamin as giving very accurate descriptions of every-day life in the Middle Ages. Originally written in Hebrew, it was translated in to Latin and later translated into most major European languages, receiving considerable attention in the sixteenth century. Ethnography (from the Greek ethnos = nation and graphein = writing) refers to the qualitative description of human social phenomena, based on fieldwork. ...

See also

Ibn Battuta (1304–1377). ...


  • Benjamin of Tudela, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages, English trans. originally published by Joseph Simon/Pangloss Press in 1993, ISBN 0934710074
  • The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (PDF) Translation by Marcus Nathan Adler (1907). Includes map of route (pg.2) and commentary.

External link

  Results from FactBites:
Tudela at AllExperts (1762 words)
Tudela (in Basque Tutera) is a small city and municipality in Spain, in the northern province of Navarra.
Tudela was the birthplace or residence of a number of Jewish scholars, the most famous of whom was the 12th-century traveller Benjamin of Tudela, the account of whose travels was translated into several languages, and is still a valuable historical source.
The Jewish population of Tudela was increased by the arrival of refugees from other parts of Spain.In 1498 King John III of Navarre, under the influence of Ferdinand and Isabella, issued an edict to the effect that all Jews must either be baptized or leave the country.
  More results at FactBites »



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