The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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Jews early became accustomed to wandering, either by compulsion, as in the Exile and in the Diaspora, or through natural dispersion. The spreading out of the Jewish race in the first and second centuries indicated a willingness to change homes rarely found in other classes under the Roman empire, owing to the local nature of their cults. After the destruction of the Temple there was nothing to prevent Jews worshiping in any part of the habitable globe. Jews were found as far north as the Black Sea and as far west as Spain, and the intercourse between Palestine and Babylonia was continued, as is shown by the cases of Hillel, Akiba, and Rab. Communications between Palestine and Rome were frequent; and the example of Saul of Tarsus shows the wide extent of country that an individual without any means could cover in the course of a few years (see Harnack, "Ausbreitung des Christenthums," Berlin, 1904). With the spread of Islam, Jewish traders became the chief intermediaries between Moslem and Christian lands; and two routes between Spain and China are recorded as traversed by Jewish traders known as "Radanites," who are described in the "Book of Ways," written about 817 by Ibn Khordadhbeh (see Commerce). Other Jewish trade-routes ran from Byzantium to Prague, and possibly extended farther north. A Jew named Isaac accompanied an embassy of Charlemagne's from Aix-la-Chapelle to Bagdad in 802. It is said that Jacob ibn Tarik was sent in the ninth century from Bagdad as far as Ceylon to obtain astronomical books from the Indians; and according to Abraham ibn Ezra a Jewish traveler brought from India the so-called Arabic numerals (see "Fables of Bidpai," ed. Jacobs, p. xxiv.). His name is given also as "Joseph of Spain" (Weissenbron, "Zur Gesch. der Jetzigen Ziffern," 1892, pp. 74-78).

The travels of Eldad ha-Dani are stated to have extended from Babylonia to Spain, but their authenticity is somewhat doubtful. The travels of Abraham ibn Ezra between 1140 and 1168 extended as far as Palestine on the one side, and to England on the other. The same century was distinguished by two important travelers. Benjamin of Tudela started from Saragossa in 1160 and went at least as far as Bagdad, returning to Spain about 1171. It is doubtful whether his accounts of countries east of Bagdad are derived from personal knowledge or from hearsay. About the same time Pethahiah of Regensburg traveled from Prague to Poland and South Russia, to Bagdad, to Jerusalem, and back to Greece and Bohemia. In 1210 a band of over 300 rabbis from France and England made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, following the example of Judah ha-Levi in 1140 and starting the practise of pilgrimages, a list of which will be found under Pilgrimage. Estori Farḥi was perhaps the most important of their followers; after the expulsion of Jews from France in 1306 he wandered in Spain, Egypt, and Palestine, over which he traveled very thoroughly for seven years for geographical purposes.

Part in Geographical Discovery.

Jews were intimately connected with the important extension of geographical knowledge in the fifteenth century—theoretically through the school of Majorca map-makers to which belonged Cresques lo Juheu and Mecia, and practically through a number of travelers like Affonso de Bayba, Abraham of Bega, and Joseph of Lamejo, who accompanied Pedro de Covilham on the discovery of the land-route to the East Indies, and Gaspar da Gama, who had gone from Poland to Goa, where he met Vasco da Gama (Jacobs, "Story of Geographical Discovery," p. 89, New York, 1904). Jews accompanied Columbus on his first voyage to America (see America, Discovery of).

Pilgrimages like those of Meshullam b. Menahem of Volterra and Obadiah Bertinoro to the Holy Land and back became too frequent to deserve special mention; David Reubeni's travels were in the opposite direction. A certain Jew named Jehonadab of Morocco, mentioned by André Thevet as having acquired twenty-eight languages from personal intercourse with those who spoke them, was probably well acquainted with North Africa. Antonio de Montesinos appears to have traveled widely in South America; he claimed to have discovered there the Lost Ten Tribes about 1642. Moses Pereira de Pavia traveled from Holland to Cochin and described the Jews there (1687), while Teixeira's descriptions of his travels in the Philippines, China, and parts of America are of considerable interest. In the eighteenth century few names of travelers occur, apart from those of pilgrims to Palestine and wanderers through Europe, though Samuel Romanelli of Mantua, who lived in Berlin in 1791, described his travels from Gibraltar to Algiers and Morocco, giving many interesting details. In the nineteenth century Jews took a large share in travel in unknown parts. Mention may be made of Joseph Wolf and his travels to Bokhara; of Nathaniel Isaacs, who was one of the earliest to explore Zululand and Natal; and of C. S. Pollack, one of the earliest settlers in New Zealand, of which he wrote an account ("Residence in New Zealand," 2 vols., London, 1831-37). W. G. Palgrave gave an interesting account of his journeys in central Arabia; Arminius Vámbéry of his in central Asia; Captain Binger discovered the bend of the Niger; and Captain Foa wandered from South to North Africa. Emin Pasha and Louis A. Lucas are also to be mentioned as having added to the knowledge of darkest Africa. On Polar expeditions Bessels, Israel, and Angelo Heilprin have done service.

Among modern travelers who have devoted their attention particularly to the condition of Jews in various lands have been: Benjamin II., who wandered over all the continents except Australia; Jacob Saphir, who was especially interested in the Jews of Yemen; J. Halévy, who visited the Falashas; and J. Rinmann, who traveled among the Jews of India. Chorny's travels among the Jews of the Caucasus and Deinard's among those of the Crimea should be mentioned. To these should be added E. N. Adler, who has visited most of the outlyingcolonies of Jews in Africa, Asia, and America ("Jews of Many Lands," Philadelphia, 1905).

  • Zunz, Literatur der Juden, in G. S. i. 146-216.
S. J.
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