The Quest for Prester John
Denton, Andrew Blake
Vexillum: The Undergraduate Journal of Classical and Medieval Studies, Vol 2 (2012)
The Quest for Prester John explores the origin of the myth of the Eastern Christian potentate “Prester John” and follows the nearly five century search of one of history’s most sought after apparitions from the popular craze inaugurated by the circulation of the mysterious Letter of Prester John in the 12th century to the fruitless conclusion in the Horn of Africa in the 17th century. The social and political impact on Medieval Europe is examined as well as the diplomatic blunders with the rulers of the Golden Horde and Ethiopia caused by the false hopes and assumptions. A rich (and often conflicting) variety of historical documents are consulted from The Travels of Marco Polo to Prester John of the Indies: A True Relation of the Lands of the Prester John being the narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520.