MAUNDRELL, Henry. Reize van Aléppo naar Jeruzalem, op Paasschen, in't jaar 1698..., Utrecht, Willem van Poolsum, 1705.
Little is known on the early life of Henry Maundrell (1650-1710). From 1696 to 1701 he served as chaplain to the Levant Company in Aleppo. In late February of 1698, he started out on a voyage with fourteen other British people, in order to celebrate Easter in the Holy Land. The small caravan reached Tripolis of Syria first, and subsequently toured Jaffa (ancient Joppa), Saint Jean of Acre, Jerusalem and its environs, Nazareth and Bethlehem. They travelled on to Damascus and Baalbek, and returned to Aleppo in May of the same year. In 1699, Maundrell made another journey to the river Euphrates in Mesopotamia.
The account of his voyage, written in journal form, was published in English in 1703, to be followed by the translations into French (1705, 1706), Dutch (1705) and German (1737). A highly popular work, it was republished in English in the early 19th century (1810 and 1823). It should be noted that each of these editions places the journey at different dates, and none of them includes all of the plates which illustrate the first edition.
Maundrell was the first Englishman to describe the monuments of Baalbek. His account includes highly interesting observations on ancient cults, Roman inscriptions, inns, ethnicities such as the Druses and Maronites, historical information (the conquests of Alexander the Great), comments on political events of the late 17th century, and, naturally, a thorough description of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The work has few illustrations, which however depict uncommon subjects such as the sites of Baalbek, Phoenician funerary monuments, Mount Thabor and the pools of Solomon.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou