How Many Miles to Babylon?

BookHow Many Miles to Babylon?

How Many Miles to Babylon?

Travels and Adventures to Egypt and Beyond, From 1300 to 1640


July 1st, 2003

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How Many Miles to Babylon? uses the writing of European travellers to Egypt between c. 1300 and c. 1600 to give a picture of the country in the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, drawing on sources that have hitherto been inaccessible to English-speaking audiences. These accounts portray an Egypt ruled by the despotic Mamluk sultans and the early Ottoman governors, a society at once cruel and sophisticated, dangerous and alluring. The Europeans’ wonderment at the exotic flora and fauna, the ancient ruins of temples and pyramids, and the astonishing summer rise of the Nile to irrigate the crops and replenish the lakes and waterways of Cairo is well conveyed by these travellers’ tales. How Many Miles to Babylon? is a fascinating picture of the people, customs and culture of Egypt from the fourteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page4
List of Illustrations12
List of Abbreviations16
1: The Mamluk Rulers of Egypt31
2: Egypt Imagined and the Realities of the Voyage57
3: The Maritime Port of Alexandria78
4: Sailing Upstream to Cairo114
5: Cairo: ‘meeting place of comer and goer’129
6: Venetian Diplomacy and the Arrival of the Ottomans168
7: Exploring the Pyramids and Mummy Fields184
8: Pilgrims to the Monastery of St Catherine212
9: Adventures with the Mecca Caravan250
10: To the South267
Appendix 1: Europeans in Egypt in the Reigns of the Mamluk Sultans up to 1517302
Appendix 2: Europeans in Egypt in the Reigns of the Ottoman Sultans after 1517303