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0303 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 303 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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The MSS of Odoric's travels scattered over Europe are numerous, as has already been mentioned. A list of those which I have seen or found notices of, with such particulars as I have been able to collect, is added here. But I suspect that it is very imperfect.'

Latin MSS. of Odoric's Itinerary.

  1. BRITISH MUSEUM. (Royal Colln., xiv, c. 13). A handsome folio on parchment, very clean and clearly written. From the collation of a large part of it I think there can be no doubt that this was the MIS. from which Hakluyt printed Odoric's narrative. There are but one or two slight variations in proper names, which may well have been misprints or mistranscriptions. The volume contains much besides Odoric's work, which is entitled " Itinerariuylt Fratris Odorici Ordinis Fratrum minorum de Mirabilibus Orientalium Tartarorum."

  2. BRITISH MUSEUM. (Arundel Colln., xiii. f. 38 b.) " Itinerarium Fr. Odorici de Ordine Minorum de Mirabilibus India." A small 4to., in pale ink, and much discoloured. In the earlier part the agreement with the preceding MS. is pretty close ; afterwards the variations are greater. The two MSS. have, however, a great general conformity and marked peculiarities common to both. " These two MSS. are pronounced on good authority to be of the earlier half of the fourteenth century, and most probably a short time after the death of the author." (Major's Preface to Herberstein). However that may be, they

have since found it in MSS. of Odoric. And the Cornaa which Mandeville has instead of Comum (see § 3) has suggested another reading and identification.

Old Purchas's judgment of the relative claims of the two travellers is most unjust. Mandeville he calls next to Polo, "if next...the greatest Asian traveller that ever the World had"; whilst he has nought but ill to say of Odericus, a Friar and Traveller, in whom perhaps some Friar hath travelled with him at least in this author [i.e., Mandeville], whose age was before him, and therefore could not cite anything out of him" [the reverse of the truth]. Purchas's Pilgrims, iii, 65, 127.

The sources quoted by Haenel and Pertz, from whom I have derived notices of several MSS., are sometimes old; and the MSS. may not always have survived in the libraries indicated.