Saturday, October 20, was the Feast of Saint Sir Richard Francis Burton. Born March 18, 1821, Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS was a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He died in Trieste 20 October 1890; he and his wife, Isabel, are buried in a tomb in the shape of a Bedouin tent in Mortlake, southwest London.
According to The Invisible Basilica of Sabazius:
“Throughout his life, Burton continually sought passionately for ‘Gnosis,’ which he pursued around the world in myriad forms. He was a student of the Kaballah and of Hermeticism. He was an initiated Nagar Brahmin and Kadiri Dervish; he became a member of the Ismaili sect, which claimed decent from the Assassins; and he was at various times a formal convert to Hinduism, Tantrism, Roman Catholicism, Sikhism and Islam.”
“Burton was a prolific author, mainly on travel and ethnography. He also translated classical and Renaissance literature, with a particular interest in eastern erotica – he translated and printed the ‘Kama Sutra’ (1883) and ‘The Perfumed Garden’ (1886). He also published a complete edition of the ‘Arabian Nights’ (1885 – 1888).”
In honor of Burton’s travels to Mecca, here are 5 Sweet Saudi Arabian Delicacies To Try.