The Mission to Prague
On the 20th of May, probably, but possibly on the 19th or the 21st, Petrarch set out on his journey, doubtless with several attendants. Sagremor de Pommiers accompanied him, and Petrarch greatly enjoyed conversing with him, chiefly about the Emperor and the affairs of the Empire [ Fam. XXI7 and Sen. X1]. Petrarch had with him a copy of the Confessions of St Augustine, given to him many years earlier by Dionigi da Borgo San Sepolcro--a small volume, easy to carry and easy to hold in the hand [ Sen. XV7].
He went first to Basel, where for a month he waited in vain for the Emperor. He enjoyed his stay in Basel, however. He calls the city "nobilis illa semilatina urbs," and speaks of it as "ita . . . nescio quid itale mansuetudinis preferentem, ut siue id terrarum uicinitas sit, siue insita suauitas accolarum . . . moram . . . non modo non molestam michi effecerit, sed iocundam." He met there the Bishop, Johann von Münsingen,1 who entertained him "satis honorifice," and friends whom he had not seen since they had been fellow students at the University of Bologna, more than thirty years before.2
Then he set out for Prague, more than 300 miles away--a journey of some twenty days. Now, at least, another courier, whom Petrarch calls Martinus Theutonus, accompanied him. This was a dangerous journey, which Petrarch, writing to Sagremor long afterward, describes thus:____________________