Among them were John of Monte Corvino, a Franciscan monk, Andrew of Perugia, John Marignioli and Friar Jordanus, who visited the west coast of India, and above all Friar Odoric of Pordenone.
Odoric set out on his travels about 1318, and his journeys embraced parts of India, the Malay Archipelago, China and even Tibet, where he was the first European to enter Lhasa, not yet a forbidden city.
Antonio Andrada, in 1624, was the first European to enter Tibet since the visit of Friar Odoric in 1325.
ODORIC (c. 1286-1331), styled "of Pordenone," one of the chief travellers of the later middle ages, and a Beatus of the Roman Church, was born at Villa Nuova, a hamlet near the town of Pordenone in Friuli, in or about 1286.
Friar Odoric was despatched to the East, where a remarkable extension of missionary action was then taking place, about 1316-1318, and did not return till the end of 1329 or beginning of 1330; but, as regards intermediate dates, all that we can deduce from his narrative or other evidence is that he was in western India soon after 1321 (pretty certainly in 1322) and that he spent three years in China between the opening of 1323 and the close of 1328.
North of Bombay - and buried them there Odoric tells that he disinterred these relics and carried them with him on his further travels.
Kingsze or royal residence), as the greatest city in the world, of whose splendours Odoric, like Marco Polo, Marignolli, or Ibn Batuta, gives notable details.
Passing northward by Nanking and crossing the Yangtsze-kiang, Odoric embarked on the Great Canal and travelled to Cambalec (otherwise Cambaleth, Cambaluc, &c.) or Peking, where he remained for three years, attached, no doubt, to one of the churches founded by Archbishop John of Monte Corvino, at this time in extreme old age.
During a part at least of these long journeys the companion of Odoric was Friar James, an Irishman, as appears from a record in the public books of Udine, showing that shortly after Odoric's death a present of two marks was made to this Irish friar, Socio beati Fratris Odorici, amore Dei et Odorici.
Shortly after his return Odoric betook himself to the Minorite house attached to St Anthony's at Padua, and it was there that in May 1330 he related the story of his travels, which was taken down in homely Latin by Friar William of Solagna.
Travelling towards the papal court at Avignon, Odoric fell ill at Pisa, and turning back to Udine, the capital of his native province, died in the convent there on the 14th of January 1331.
A bust of Odoric was set up at Pordenone in 1881.
The substance of that knight's alleged travels in India and Cathay is stolen from Odoric, though amplified with fables from other sources and from his own invention, and garnished with his own unusually clear astronomical notions.
We may indicate a few passages which stamp Odoric as a genuine and original traveller.
The curious discussion before the papal court respecting the beatification of Odoric forms a kind of blue-book issued ex typographic rev. camerae apostolicae (Rome, 1755).
The best editions of Odoric are by G.
Domenichelli (Prato, 1881) may also be mentioned; likewise those texts of Odoric embedded in the Storia universale delle Missione Francescane, iii.
The name Kinsai, which appears in Wassaf as Khanzai, in Ibn Batuta as Khansa, in Odoric of Pordenone as Camsay, and elsewhere as Campsay and Cassay, is really a corruption of the Chinese King-sze, capital, the same word which is still applied to Peking.
Friar Odoric, about 1326, visited the country still ruled by the prince whom he calls Prester John; "but," he says, "as regards him, not one-hundredth part is true that is told of him."
- Ptolemy and other ancient geographers describe the Malay Archipelago, or part of it, in vague and inaccurate terms, and the traditions they preserved were supplemented in the middle ages by the narratives of a few famous travellers, such as Ibn Batuta, Marco Polo, Odoric of Pordenone and Niccolo Conti.
De Plano Carpirti (1247), Thabet; Rubruquis (12J3), Marco Polo (1298), Tebet; Ibn Batuta (1340), Thabat; Ibn Haukal (976), Al Biruni (1020), Odoric of Pordenone (c. 1328), Orazio della Penna (1730), Tibet, which is the form now generally adopted.
Friar Odoric of Pordenone is supposed to have reached Lhasa c. 1328, travelling from Cathay; but this visit is doubtful.