Herbert Krüger: Das älteste deutsche Routenhandbuch. Jörg Gails “Raißbüchlin” , Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt 1974
Signature: Ff 120-5740
Figures: Frontispiece; pp. 357-358; Map no. 4 (leaflet)
Jörg Gail’s Raißbüchlin was originally published by Valentin Otmar (?–1566) in Augsburg in 1563, making it the oldest printed German travel guide, and at the same time the most comprehensive itinerary of European travel literature to date. Its reception can be traced back to mid-17th century. However, it escaped scholarly attention until 1950. Only two copies have survived, which are located at the Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart and Herzog-August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel.
The small-format travel guide, once used by traveling clerics as well as pilgrims, knights, lansquenets, merchants, and scholars alike, has 272 pages and describes 161 individual European routes with around 2400 destinations. As mentioned in the preface (cf. p. 357), it is based on Gail’s own experiences with his father Hans Gail, a mercenary in the service of the city of Augsburg, whom he probably accompanied on his missions (cf. Blendinger 1970). Jörg Gail also evaluated reports from fellow travelers and relied on several older sources (cf. Krüger 1974, pp. 1–18). He describes a route from Moscow to «Khafa» (Feodosia) in Crimea (cf. p. 402) via Kaluga and Poltava. However, as the descriptions seem vague, it is unlikely that Gail knew the way first-hand. [TT]