Page:The Harvard Classics Vol. 51; Lectures.djvu/405
VOYAGES AND TRAVEL
Carthage alive, but was forced to kill them because of their violence, and so brought back only their skins. A century or so later, the expedition of Alexander, while primarily actuated by the desire for conquest, was also in part exploratory, and resulted not only in bringing back the earliest authentic accounts of India, but demonstrated the feasibility of reaching that country by sea. With the rise of the Roman Empire, this early period came to an end, and from then on until the fourth or fifth century is a time of relative quiescence, during which the attention of the Mediterranean world was devoted to the intensive occupation of the world as already-known, rather than to exploration beyond those limits.
THE SECOND PERIOD—PILGRIMS AND MISSIONARIES
With the fourth century, however, the second period begins and lasts for some seven or eight hundred years. Perhaps the most characteristic feature of travel during this time was the prominence of the religious motive, for the travelers were largely pilgrims and missionaries, or, toward the latter end, those who, making religion their war cry, journeyed as Crusaders to wrest Jerusalem from the Saracen. The pilgrim, as already pointed out, was, although a traveler, usually an unobservant one; his interest was centered in his goal and in the spiritual benefits which were to accrue from his long and perilous journey, so that for the incidents of the day he had little care. To a large extent, also, the pilgrims were humble folk, illiterate, unlearned, and so left as a rule no records of what they saw. There were, of course, exceptions, and many persons of high rank as well as some scholarly attainment were to be found among the throngs who from all parts of Europe made the journey to Palestine. Not all the pilgrims, it should be noted, were men, for both during the early as well as the later portions of the period many women performed the arduous trip. Such, for example, was Sylvia of Aquitaine, apparently a woman of rank, who about 380 not only visited Jerusalem and the usual sacred places, but went on into parts of Arabia and Mesopotamia, and has left brief but interesting accounts of her years of travel. She may thus be con-
- Cf. The Wife of Bath in Chaucer's Prologue to "The Canterbury Tales," H. C., xl, 24.