Johannes Witte de Hese, identifying himself as a cleric in the diocese of Utrecht, claims to have been in Jerusalem in 1389 on a pilgrimage that he then extended to include Egypt, the Sinai, the capital city of Prester John’s empire, the church of Saint Thomas in India, Purgatory, and the island haunts of strange humans and animals. Nothing more is known about this writer, whose name may be as much an invention as the story he tells. His little book—it runs only around forty-four hundred words—records in unremarkable Latin how one late-medieval northern European combined reading, conversation, and fantasy to construct a unique image of the world. This potpourri of information and fiction—untitled in the earliest manuscripts but by the late 1400s called the "Itinerarius" — presents an earth whose wondrous geography makes holy places ubiquitous and accessible even to a common Dutchman. It is tempting to dismiss Witte’s "Itinerarius" as a juvenile prank or a “typical” example of medieval gullibility, and some readers have done so. Here is a study, an English translation and editions of the Latin and Middle Dutch texts.
Travel, Specialty-Travel, Literary-Religious,