Legendary Travelers

Legendary Travelers, history's greatest travelers and adventurers, had a passion to learn more beyond their known world and to explore uncharted territory.

Through their remarkable journey's, these legendary travelers encountered people and lands previously unknown.

The ancient Greeks for example, traveled throughout the Mediterranean opening new markets and new colonies while the Romans were keen early travelers who toured the Acropolis in Athens and the Pyramids of Egypt.

Some Legendary Travelers simply had the spirit of adventure and set off on epic journey's into the unknown.

Homer (Eighth Century B.C.)

Greek poet Homer created a classical road map of the Trojan War by the Achaean Greeks after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta.

Homer's Iliad covers the siege of Troy, while the Odyssey relates Odysseus's return home after the sack of Troy.

Alexander the Great visited Troy in 334 BC visited the tombs of two Greek heroes, Achilles and Patroclus.

Herodotus (5th century BC)
Greek historian, Herodotus, the Father of History, is the author of the first great history produced in the ancient world, the History of the Greco-Persian Wars.

Herodotus was also the first person to actively travel and to write about his experiences visiting places such as the Nile, Babylon, Sicily and eastward to the northern shores of the Black Sea.

The Apostles of Jesus Christ

The early Christian Church was established through the missionary journeys by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. 
Saint Paul's Gentile doctrine would change the course of Christianity from a small sect of Judaism into a worldwide faith.

Christian missionaries, bearing the Word of God and the Cross of Jesus to all continents and all peoples.

Strabo The Mapmaker (64 B.C.–A.D. 24)

Strabo was a Greek geographer and historian from Pontus, Asia Minor whose life was characterized by travels for knowledge.

Strabo made his travels into a study of geography through his 17-volume work Geographica (a political and physical description of the world in Roman times during the reign of Augustus) which is still in existence.

Strabo journeyed throughout the Mediterranean and Near East in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and spending time in Rome.
Strabo’s classic map outlining northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia, the northern African continent, Arabia, and India (including the Ganges) owes a debt to Eratosthenes’ third-century B.C. map.

Pausanius (2nd century AD)
Pausanias, a Greek geographer of the 2nd century AD during the time of the Roman Empire, is also famous as a traveler and for his observations of Ancient Greece in his "Description of Greece". 

He traveled to Antioch, Joppa, Jerusalem, the River Jordan, the pyramids of Egypt, Mycenae and the tomb of Orpheus in Libethra, Greece. the ruins of Troy and Alexandria Troas in Asia Minor. 

In Italy, he visited the cities of Campania and Rome. 

Xuanzang (c.602–664)

Xuanzang was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar and translator who became a traveler to find the origin of Buddhism. 

He became famous for his seventeen-year overland journey via the Himalayas through the Khyber Pass to India is recorded in the classic Chinese text Great Tang Records on the Western Regions.

Xuanzang documented the interaction between China and India in the early Tang Dynasty. and about the social structure of India, the rulers, the architecture of that period.

Christopher Columbus (1450 - 1506)

One of the great legendary travelers was Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer from Genoa who ushered in a new age of European exploration.

He was the first to sail across the uncharted Atlantic in search of Asia and came across the Americas thus opening the way for European exploration.

He completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean.

His journey's established permanent settlements on the island of Hispaniola, initiated the European colonization of the New World and established prominent trade links between Europe and America.

Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368 or 1369)

Ibn Battuta, a Medieval Moroccan Islamic traveler and scholar, is another of the great travelers of all time who traveled throughout most of the Islamic world during 1304-1369. 

His journeys today comprise 44 countries more than 120,000 kilometers through North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China.
His extensive travels were published in the Rihlah (Travels) which also provide an insight of the 14th century empire of Mali.

Marco Polo (1254 – 1324)

Marco Polo's journey's have inspired countless travelers throughout the centuries.

Marco Polo, the legendary Italian merchant from Venice brought valuable documented knowledge to Europe about Asia.

His father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo were wealthy merchants who went to China in 1266 via the Silk Route to set up a trading business.

In 1271, traveled with his father and uncle to the Mongol Empire in China. The journey took four years. They stayed seventeen years and worked as advisor's and aide's to Kublai Khan.

On his return to Venice he was captured and put in jail by the Genoan's who were at war with Venice. 

During his time in jail he dictated his book, "The Travels of Marco Polo" to another prisoner, Rustichello da Pisa describing the Silk Road to China and a fascinating insight into Kublei Khan’s empire, which was printed in French, Italian and Latin.

Christopher Columbus was inspired by Marco Polo's travels and took his book with him when he set off to find a new route to the Orient.

Juan Ponce de León ( 1474 – 1521)

The fountain of youth is a legendary spring that brought youth and cured illness to those who drank its waters.

The myth goes back to the 5th century B. C. when Greek historian Herodotus wrote of such a fountain.

In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León discovered Florida while searching for the legendary, eternal fountain of youth.

James Holman the "Blind Traveller"

James Holman (1786 – 1857), the "Blind Traveller," was a British adventurer, world traveler, author and cultural commentator who overcame his adversity of sight, pain and mobility by undertaking a series of solo journeys.   

In 1832, Holman became the first blind person to circumnavigate the globe and, by 1846 he had visited every inhabited continent. And, he alo wrote about his extensive travels and adventures.

A Sense of the World (How a Blind Man became History's Greatest Traveler) by Jason Roberts, is an inspiring, bestselling biography of James Holman the blind Englishman. 

Around The World In Eighty Days

Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days" published in 1873, tells of an amazing journey by Phileas Fogg, an Englishman, and his French servant Passepartout and the wager of twenty thousand pounds with The Reform Club who insisted that he cannot go around the world in eighty days.

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout won the bet using a hot air balloon, rail, steamship, horseback and foot traveling the world to prove it can be done.

Legendary Travelers

Later legendary travelers set out to look for silver and gold or, for the fountain of youth.

Other legendary travelers set out to find new routes for the spice and silk trades which led to the rise of European colonial empires, 

Legendary travelers who became famous explorers include Leif Eriksson, Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizarro, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot, Abel Tasman, James Cook, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and David Livingstone.

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