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.〖Cf. The Wife of Bath in Chaucer’s Prologue to “The Canterbury Tales,” H. C., xl, 24.〗 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 considered one of the first great woman travelers. In the seventh and eighth centuries the volume of pilgrim travel seems to have increased, or at least we have more abundant records of it; and in the accounts left by Willibald, a man of rank apparently from Kent, we have one of the earliest stories of English travel. This pilgrim gives us an interesting incident of his return journey from Palestine. It seems that he wished to bring back with him to England a supply of a certain balsam, but feared that this would be taken from him by the customs officials whose duty it was to see that none of this precious substance left the country. Accordingly he devised an ingenious smuggling scheme. Taking a reed which was of a size such that it exactly fitted the mouth of the calabash in which the balsam was contained, he plugged up one end and filled the tube thus formed with petroleum. This he carefully inserted into the opening, cutting off the end flush with the mouth of the calabash and inserting a stopper. On arriving at Acre the customs officials searched his luggage, found the calabash and opened it, but seeing and smelling only the petroleum, suspected nothing and allowed him to pass. From this it is clear that travelers of old as well as modern times were more or less at the mercy of customs regulations, and that then as now they took such means as they could to evade the laws.

Although in Europe the records of pilgrim travel are not only meager but generally disappointing in their brevity and lack of detail, conditions were somewhat different in far-away China. There, although the number of pilgrims was much smaller, the records which they left were of much greater value. The names of two of the Chinese pilgrims stand out as of particular importance, those namely of Fa Hian and of Hiuen Thsang. Journeying to India from northern China to visit the places made holy by the life and death of Gautama, the Buddha, and to consult and copy some of the sacred writings, they have left us records which are not only of the greatest interest as stories of travel, but which are of quite inestimable value as giving practically the only information to be had in regard to the condition of India and the life of its people at this time. Both pilgrims journeyed to India by way of Turkestan and across the Pamirs, and the former returned, after nearly fifteen years of travel, from Ceylon by sea to his home. Both give very full and detailed accounts of all that they saw and heard, and both show far more than the European travelers of the time an appreciation of the beauties of the scenery through which they passed. That travelers then as now, and of other races as well as our own, felt at times their loneliness and yearned to return, is shown by an incident related by Fa Hian. He had then been absent from his home living among strange people in strange lands for nearly fifteen years, when one day in Ceylon he saw in the hands of a merchant a small Chinese fan of white silk which had found its way thither. The sight of this, he says, brought back to him so keenly thoughts of his home that he was able to endure his exile no longer, so soon after set out on his return journey, and after many perils by the way ultimately reached his native place.

The poverty of record which characterizes the pilgrim travel of Europe at this time is even more marked in the case of those who were led by missionary zeal. The two directions in which missionary enterprise seems to have been most marked at this period were south to Abyssinia, and east to China and India. Of the former we have but the slightest record, of the latter practically none at all. That missionary activity was great throughout India, Central Asia, and China, however, we know from various sources. The Nestorian missions which were thus founded between the seventh and the ninth centuries are known to have been abundant, and the missionaries must have been great travelers for they seem to have penetrated throughout much of China and widely along the Indian coasts, but of records they left nothing. Indeed their names are not even known for the most part, although two, Olopan and Kiho, are given in the Chinese annals. Curiously enough, it is at the opposite end of the world that the other missionary travelers of the time are found, namely in Ireland. Here there are a few accounts of explorations northward to the Faroes and Iceland during the eighth century, but little information of value was recorded.

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