Pero Tafur (c.1410-c. 1484), apparently born in Cordoba, Spain, belonged to a family that considered themselves related to the imperial family in Constantinople. Tafur, a hidalgo or knight, had joined one of his kinsmen in an unsuccessful attack of the Moors on Gibraltor in 1435, and he frequently mentions during his travels that he must return to Spain to help the King fight against the Moors. He took with him on his travels through Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean two squires, and he possessed sufficient funds to make the trip without encountering financial difficulties. According to Tafur his trip was undertaken to give him experience and make himself known to others. While not a merchant, he was very interested in commercial affairs and with the trading networks. He travelled in Egypt, the Holy Land, the Black Sea region and Constantinople, a city in sad decline; while he thought about traveling on into "Tartary", he gave up the idea after conversation with the famous traveler Nicolo di Conti, whom he met on the the latter's return journey form South Asia. In Europe he traveled through much of northern Italy, Gemany, Denmark, Austria, and Hungary.
Certain dates can be ascertained from Tafur's narrative, although Tafur himself does not include dates. Tafur must have sailed from Spain towards the end of 1435. In December, he was at Genoa during the rising against Milan. On May 17, 1436, he sailed from Venice for the Holy Land. On October 29, 1346, he was at Constantinople when the Emperor sailed for Europe. He returned to Venice on May 22,1438. Having completed his European trevels, Tafur was back in Ferrara on Janurary 16, 1439, the day when the Pope and the Emperor departed for Florence and returned back to Spain.
Brief History of the Text:
- Based on Pero Tafur: Travels and Adventures, 1435-1439. eds., E. Denison Ross and Eileen Power. London: George Routlege & Sons, 1926. Footnotes have not been included and page numbers differ from original text.
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