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Medieval Itineraries: Bruges Itineraries

Map of places mentioned in Bruges Itineraries The late-15th-century road inventory known as the Bruges Itineraries, Itinéraires Brugeois, or Itinerarium de Brugis, is preserved as MS 13 in the Universiteitsbibliotheek in Ghent, ff 54-60v. A transcription was published in 1908 by Ernest-Théodore Hamy as an appendix to Le livre de la description des pays de Gilles le Bouvier, dit Berry, premier roi d’Armes de Charles VII, roi de France, volume 22 of the Recueil de voyages et de documents pour servir à l’histoire de la géographie; the Itineraries form appendix iv, pp157-216.

For the time, the roads listed are surprisingly wide-ranging, to places as far afield as Moscow, Iceland and Greenland, and N Africa. These are obviously intended for commercial travellers. Others would appear aimed more at pilgrims, with routes to various French shrines, to Rome, Constantinople and Jerusalem, and to Santiago.

As with later inventories like that of Charles Estienne, a variety of routes over the Alps and Appennines to Rome are listed: out via the St Gotthard and the Scarperia, with an alternative via the Arlberg and Reschen passes; back via Pontremoli and Mt Cenis (though without any details west of Mt Cenis), with an alternative via the Great St Bernard and Pontarlier to Dijon. Interestingly, it lists the Col de Larche instead of Montgenèvre, and also describes the coastal route Avignon-Genua.

The Santiago route is via Roncesvalles and the Camino Francés, though León-Oviedo-Santiago, Astorga-Guadalupe-Seville, and Ostabat-Avignon are also listed.

At the moment, I have plotted the routes to Italy (Rome and Venice) and Spain (Santiago, Oviedo, Barcelona, Guadalupe and Seville). Also those used by other itineraries and those corresponding to modern routes: Stade-Lubeck, Cologne-Hannover-Lubeck-Danzig, Lubeck-Aalborg, Gorlitz-Prag-Wien-St Veit, Mainz-Frankfurt-Wurzburg-Nurnberg-Prag-Breslau-Krakow. Also those to Le Puy and Rocamadour: Orleans-La Souterraine-Rocamadour; Nevers-Clermont Ferrand-Le Puy; Le Puy-Montpellier; Le Puy-Aubenas-Avignon.

Other routes not plotted: Guise-Laon-Soissons; Reims-Meaux-Paris; Reims-Soissons-Paris [p172-3]; Reims-St Nicholas de Varengeville (via Bar-le-Duc or Apremont) [p173]; alternative Valence-Avignon via Bourg St Andeol [p176]; Montargis-Bourges [p178]; Chartres-Bourges [p179]; Châteaudun-Blois-Bourges [pp179-80]; Paris-Bray-Troyes [p180]; Avignon-Marseille-Ste Baume [p183]; Barcelona-Valencia-Seville (2 routes) [185]; Seville-Gibraltar-N Africa; Venice-Jerusalem; Genua-Jerusalem; Wien-Budapest-Constantinople-Ephesus-Rhodes-Beirut-Jerusalem-Gaza-Cairo; Tienen-Luxembourg-Strasbourg [pp211-2]; Aachen-Duren-Andernach [p213]; Trento-??-Treviso-Venice [p216]; Venice-Alexandria.

More details

spreadsheet | detailed map (575 placemarks)

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