RADZIWIŁŁ, Mikołaj. Peregrinacya abo Pielgrzymowanie do Ziemie Swiętey.

Cracow, W Drukarniey Antoniego Wosinskiego, 1628


4to. pp. (viii) 356. Gothic letter. T-p and text within typographical border, large oval portrait of Miko aj Radziwi to verso of t-p. Paper softened, light browning, t-p fore-edge and lower outer blank corner of last four ll. restored, small repair to lower portion of t-p, touching couple of lines of text, first couple of ll. somewhat dusty, holes to lower blank margin of F 1 and G 4 , marginal paper flaw to Z 2 , light water stain to outer blank margin of first and last few ll, lower egde of NN 2-3 uneven. A good copy in contemporary vellum, recased over modern boards, slightly splayed, small repair at head of spine, corners worn, old ink stain to lower cover. Stamps of Archivium Treterianum and H. Treter (C19), and Bibl. Treteriana (C18?), and inscriptions ‘Ta ksiazka jest E. Laibodzki dana mi ad W Jozefa Sczepanskiego 25 Apr 1816’ and ‘Kupilem z Jazdz [city of Jażdże?] 860 Hilary Treter’, all to t-p, C19 stamp of H. Treter to verso of last leaf.

The exceedingly rare vernacular version—with no copies recorded outside Poland—of the author’s journey to the Holy Land. Prince Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwiłł(1549-1616) was a traveller, diplomat and member of a powerful aristocratic family in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1601, he achieved popularity with the publication of ‘Hierosolymitana peregrinatio’, an account, in Latin, of his travels to the Holy Land, Syria, Egypt, Italy, Greece, Crete and Cyprus in 1582-84. It was quickly published in German in 1603, and in Polish in 1607, based on the German edition.

This copy was in the possession of the Treter family, purchased in 1860 by a descendant of Tomasz Treter (1547-1610), who first translated Radziwiłł’s ms., by then widely circulated, into Latin. The idea of publishing the account was promoted by the Jesuits, as part of the Counter-Reformation attempts to reignite pilgrimages to the Holy Land. These had subsided after the Ottoman conquest of Jerusalem and the Eastern Mediterranean, the more remote exploration routes, the commercial crisis between Venice and the Orient, and Reformed theologians’ criticism of pilgrimages (Longo, ‘Memorie’, 16). In his preface to the first Latin edition, Treter indeed presented Radziwiłł’s pilgrimage as a Catholic’s ‘heroic journey’, in the face of the Reformation (Noonan, ‘Road’, 187).

Like its contemporary European counterparts, ‘Peregrinacya’ included itineraries and
logistic information for pilgrims, with unusual attention to ethnographic descriptions. It begins with the difficult organisation, e.g., the procurement of a passport, ‘without which one cannot go to Jerusalem’, from the Doge Nicola da Ponte in Venice, and a meeting with the Custodian of the Holy Land, Geremia da Brescia. It also reports the text of documents he needed to present to authorities along the way. The account continues with his journey to Greece and Cyprus via Dalmatia, thence to Cyprus, Jerusalem, Tripoli and Egypt. In addition to a long section on the customary holy places he visited in Jerusalem, he also mentions the situation of the Ottoman occupation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Most fascinating is the long third section, on Egypt, where he describes the ‘glory’ of Memphis and devotes three pages to the pyramids of Giza, with references to Pliny and the story of Rodopis, the prostitute who allegedly built the third pyramid with money earned through her profession. Scattered in the third part are also descriptions of Egyptian mummies, including a reference to the recent decree forbidding the trade in and export of mummies, which were used by European apothecaries for medicaments.

Only National Library of Poland copy recorded.Estreicher, Bib. Polska, 184828; Brunet IV, 1087 (mentions first Polish ed. of 1617 [i.e., 1607] only). Not in Röricht, Bibliotheca Geographica Palaestinae. F.T. Noonan, The Road to Jerusalem (Philadelphia, 2007); P.G. Longo, Memorie di Gerusalemme (2010).
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