Travel & Exploration Before Columbus


Mark Cartwright
published on 19 August 2019

Ancient peoples were as curious as ourselves about the wider world and even if the transport at their disposal meant travel could be long, arduous and dangerous, they still managed to get about and visit different cities, sacred sites and even sometimes distant and exotic lands. The Phoenicians sailed around the Mediterranean, the Carthaginians voyaged down the west coast of Africa, and the Greeks even created passports such was the growing number of international travellers. Explorers who travelled halfway across the world included Leif Erikson, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, and Zheng He. More humble were the thousands of pilgrims who spent years of their lives getting to sacred places like Delphi, Jerusalem, and Constantinople. Then there were the tourists who travelled for no other reason than to see famous sights for themselves such as the Seven Wonders of the World which they had heard about through word-of-mouth or seen represented on coins. All of these and more are examined in this collection of resources.    

If you’ve never seen Athens, your brain’s a morass
If you’ve seen it and weren’t entranced, you’re an ass,
If you left without regrets, your head’s solid brass!
(A 5th century BCE Greek comic poet)



About the Author

Mark Cartwright
Mark is a history writer based in Italy. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE.

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