Henry Maundrell

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Henry Maundrell (1665–1701) was an academic at Oxford University and later a Church of England clergyman who served from 20 December 1695 as chaplain to the Levant Company in Syria. His Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter A.D. 1697 (Oxford, 1703),[1] which had its origins in the diary he carried with him on his Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1697, has become an often reprinted "minor travel classic."[2] It was included in compilations of travel accounts from the mid-18th century,[3] and was translated into three additional languages: French (1705), Dutch (1717) and German (1792).[4] By 1749, the seventh edition was printed.[5]

Life[edit]

Maundrell was born at Compton Bassett, near Calne, Wiltshire, in 1665.[6] He attended Exeter College, Oxford from 1682 and obtained his BA and then in 1688, his MA; at his graduation he was appointed a Fellow of the college, where he would remain until 1689. He accepted a curacy at Brompton, Kent, 1689–95, he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Rochester, Thomas Sprat, at Croydon, on 23 February 1691.[7] His uncle, Sir Charles Hedges, was a judge of Admiralty Court who later served as one of Queen Anne's Secretaries of State. Another uncle, Sir William Hedges, a director of the Bank of England, had directed the Levant Company's "factory" at Constantinople, an essential factor in Maundrell's appointment (1695), which paid him £100 p.a., with room and board in the Aleppo "factory" and perquisites. The Levant Company community at Aleppo consisted of only forty men, living in monastic seclusion: Maundrell wrote to Henry Osborne, "We live in separate squares, shut up at night after the manner of colleges. We begin the day constantly... with prayers, and have our set times for business, meals, and recreations"[8] Like other Anglican clergy of his day, Maundrell made no attempt to understand Islam or to read Arabic; in the wake of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) he refused the hospitality of Louis XIV's consul in Jerusalem.

He left Aleppo in February 1697 in a company of fifteen men. Their circuit took them across Syria to Latakia, down the Syrian and Lebanese coasts as far as Acre, which they found in ruinous state save for a khan (caravanserai) occupied by some French merchants, a mosque and a few poor cottages. Thence they proceeded inland to Jerusalem, where they attended Latin rite Easter services at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They returned to Aleppo via Damascus, Baalbek and Tripoli; they arrived 18 May. The descriptions were constantly referred to relevant passages in the Bible, and encounters with greedy local Ottoman officials at road blocks and checkpoints demanding payment of caphar confirmed Maundrell in his distaste for the local inhabitants.[9]

Maundrell was an observant reporter with a passion for precise detail:

It is concise in contents, plain and attractive in style, and precise in its natural exposition of facts, all of which make it interesting to read even to-day. When the diary, crammed with precise, factual information, began to circulate among his friends they quickly realized that here at last was one of the first factual accounts of the antiquities of the Middle East. Its impact was such that he was persuaded by his uncle and several of his acquaintances, to prepare it for publication.

—Mohamad Ali Hachicho in 1964[10]

By the time it appeared, Maundrell, never in robust health, had died in Aleppo in 1701.

A further travel journal was published as A Journey to the Banks of the Euphrates at Beer, and to the Country of Mesopotamia (Oxford, 1699). It was appended to the Journey to Jerusalem in the 1714 edition.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Colorado State University: A Journey to Jerusalem: biographical notes and text from 1823 reprint.
  2. ^ Howell, 14-23.
  3. ^ The Journey to Jerusalem "was republished in 1707, four years later. The third edition, published in 1714 included an added account, An Account of the Author's Journey to the Banks of the Euphrates at Beer, and to the Country of Mesopotamia. ...The book appeared in several collections of travel writings, starting in 1750." (Brickman, "Christian Pilgrims in the Holy Land: Taxation of the Ottoman Empire: Henry Maundrell— A Journey From Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1697").
  4. ^ Bibliographical details in Hachicho 1964:43, notes.
  5. ^ (Colorado State University) "Traveling to Jerusalem"
  6. ^ Hachicho, 42–44.
  7. ^ Persons: Maundrell, Henry (1691 - 1693) in "CCEd, the Clergy of the Church of England database" (Accessed online, 2 February 2014)
  8. ^ quoted by Gwilym Ambrose, "English traders at Aleppo, 1658–1756", Economic History Review 3.2 (October 1931:246–67) p. 265.
  9. ^ "In view of Maundrell's situation at the time of the pilgrimage it would have been extraordinary had certain unfavorable reactions not been reflected in his writing... He was a Protestant in a land openly hostile to and contemptuous of Christians, and in which the outlook of other Christians was completely different from his own. These circumstances are reflected in an irritation toward the language and customs of those countries he visited." (Howell, Daniel. "The Journey Of Henry Maundrell." Saudi Aramco World, July/August 1964.)
  10. ^ Howell 1964.
  11. ^ Hachicho 1964:43.

References[edit]