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Title: Early Travels in Palestine - Comprising the Narratives of Arculf, Willibald, Bernard, Sæwulf, Sigurd, Benjamin of Tudela, Sir John Maundeville, de la Brocquière, and Maundrell
Author: Wright, Thomas, 1810-1877 [Compiler]
Language: English
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    BY THOMAS WRIGHT, ESQ., M.A., F.S.A., &c.






  INTRODUCTION by the Editor                                       vii

  The Travels of BISHOP ARCULF, in the HOLY LAND, towards A.D. 700   1

  The Travels of WILLIBALD, A.D. 721-727                            13

  The Voyage of BERNARD THE WISE, A.D. 867                          23

  The Travels of SÆWULF, A.D. 1102 and 1103                         31

  The Saga of SIGURD THE CRUSADER, A.D. 1107-1111                   50

  The Travels of RABBI BENJAMIN, of TUDELA, A.D. 1160-1173          63

  The Book of SIR JOHN MAUNDEVILLE, A.D. 1322-1356                 127

  The Travels of BERTRANDON DE LA BROCQUIÈRE, A.D. 1432 and 1433   283

  A.D. 1697                                                        383

[Illustration: PLAN OF JERUSALEM]



  1.  Chapel of Scourging.
  2.  Scala Sancta.
  3.  Pilate's House.
  4.  Chapel of Crowning with Thorns.
  5.  Arch of '_Ecce Homo_.'
  6.  First place where Simon carried the Cross.
  7.  Second do.       do.
  8.  Gate of Judgment (Porta Judiciaria).
  9.  House of Urias.
  10. Bath of Bathsheba.
  11. House of the High Priest Zacharias.
  12.   "      St. Marcus.
  13.   "      St. Thomas.
  14.   "      High Priest Annas.
  15.   "         "        Caiphas.
  16. Room in which the Last Supper was instituted.
  17. House of the Virgin Mary.
  18. Place where St. Peter wept.
  19. House of Sta. Anna.
  20.   "      the Pharisee Simon.
  21. Place where Stephen was stoned.
  22.     "       Jesus sweated blood.
  23.     "       the Disciples slept.
  24.     "       Judas kissed Christ.
  25.     "       Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer.
  26.     "        "    wept over Jerusalem.
  27.     "       the Apostles learned the Creed.
  28.     "       Judas hanged himself.
  29. Tomb of Jehoshaphat.
  30.    "    Absolom.
  31.    "    Jacob.
  32.    "    Zacharias.


The attentive reader of history cannot fail to remark how often, in the
confusion of the middle ages, the very movements or principles which
seem in themselves most barbarous, or are most strongly tinctured with
the darkest shades of superstition, have been those which, in the
sequel, gave the strongest impulse to the advancing spirit of
civilization which has at length changed that dark past into this bright
present. It is in the contemplation of this oft-recurring fact, that we
trace, more distinctly, perhaps, than in any other, the inscrutable but
unerring ways of that higher Providence to whose rule all things are
subjected. Few of those duties enjoined by the ancient Romish Church
were accompanied with, and seemed to lead to, more abuses and scandals
than the pilgrimages to the Holy Land, so natural an attraction to every
Christian; few were attended with so much bigotry, and blindness, and
uncharitableness, or ended in observances and convictions so grossly
superstitious and so degrading to the intelligence of mankind. Yet it
was this throwing of people upon the wide and distant scene, on which
they were forced into continual intercourse, hostile or friendly,
according to the circumstances of the moment, with people of different
manners, creed, sentiment, and knowledge, that gradually softened down
all prejudices, and paved the way for the entire destruction of that
system to which it seemed intended to give support. If the seeds of
civilization ever existed in the cloister, they were seeds cast upon the
barren rock, and it was not until they were transplanted to another and
richer soil, that they began to sprout and give promise of fruit.

Even in this point of view the narrative of those early pilgrimages must
possess no ordinary degree of interest, and it gives us no little
insight into the history of the march of intellectual improvement to
accompany these early travellers in their wanderings, as they have
themselves described them to us, and to watch their feelings and hear
their opinions. The human mind is one of those important objects of
study that we can never look upon from too many standing-places. But
there is another point of view in which the narratives of the early
pilgrims, of which so many have been preserved, are perhaps still more
interesting. That favoured land to which they relate, the scene of so
many events of deep import to our happiness in this world and in the
future, has never lost its attractions, and more steps, as well as more
eyes, are now turned towards it, than in those so-called ages of faith,
when every mile on the road was believed to count in heaven for so much
towards the redemption of the past crimes and offences, however great,
of the traveller. Pilgrims innumerable still visit the holy places, with
a purer faith and a less prejudiced understanding, yet with the desire
of knowing what others in past ages saw, which is now not to be seen, or
which is seen under different circumstances; to know what they thought
of objects which still offer themselves to view; and to trace in their
successive observations and reflections the gradual development of a
thirst for discovery and knowledge which has at length given them the
power of being so much wiser than their forefathers. It was the interest
created by the objects these pilgrims visited personally, and the
curiosity excited by the vague information obtained from intercourse
with men who came from parts still more distant, that laid the first
foundation of geographical science, and that first gave the impulse to
geographical discovery.

A comparison of the numerous narratives to which we allude, places
before our eyes the most distinct view we can possibly have of the
various changes which have swept over the land of Palestine since it was
snatched from the power of the Roman emperors. The more ancient are, of
course, the most interesting, because they relate to a period when a far
greater number of monuments of still earlier antiquity remained in
existence than it has been the lot of any modern pilgrims to visit, and
the traditions of the locality were then much more deserving of
attention, because they were so much nearer to the time of the events to
which they related. It can hardly be supposed that the Christian
inhabitants of Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, under the Romans, did
not preserve some authentic traditions concerning the localities of the
more important events of Gospel history.

We have fortunately one document of a very remarkable character, which
has preserved to us the local traditions of the Christians of Syria
under the Romans. It was first brought to light by the celebrated French
antiquary, Pierre Pithou, who printed it, in 1588, from a manuscript in
his own library, under the title of "_Itinerarium a Burdigala Hierusalem
usque_;" and it was afterwards inserted in the editions of the
"_Antonine Itinerary_," by Schott and Wesseling. The author of this
Itinerary was a Christian of Bordeaux, who visited the Holy Land in the
year 333[1], and it was evidently compiled for the use of his
countrymen. This visit took place two years before the consecration of
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built by the emperor Constantine and
his mother Helena. The compiler of this Itinerary, who is the first
traveller to the East who has left us an account of his journey,
departed from Bordeaux, then one of the chief cities of Gaul, passed by
Arles and other towns, and crossed the Alps into Italy, which country he
traversed, passing through Turin, Pavia, Milan, Brescia, Verona, &c., to
the then magnificent city of Aquileia; thence he crossed the Julian
Alps, and passed through Noricum, Pannonia, Illyria, Dacia, and Thrace,
to Constantinople, and thence, after crossing the Bosphorus, he
continued his route through Asia Minor to Syria. Hitherto the Itinerary
is a mere recapitulation of names and distances, but, after his arrival
in Syria, he continually interrupts his bare list of names, to mention
some holy site, or other object which attracted his attention. On his
arrival at Jerusalem, he gives us a long description of that city and
its neighbourhood. From Jerusalem he returns to Constantinople, varying
a little his route, and thence he retraces his steps as far as Heraclea
in Thrace, where he leaves his former road, passing through Macedonia to
Thessalonica, and thence to Italy, where he visited Brundusium, Capua,
and Rome, and thence returned to Milan.

Although this Itinerary has come down to us as a solitary narrative, we
learn from the writings of some of the Greek fathers, that pilgrimages
to the Holy Land had already, at that period, become so frequent as to
lead to many abuses; and the early saints' lives have been the means of
preserving to us brief notices of some of the adventures of the
pilgrims, which are obscured by the incredible miracles with which those
narratives abound. St. Porphyry, a Greek ecclesiastic of the end of the
fourth century, after living five years as a hermit in the Thebaid of
Egypt, went with his disciple Marcus to Jerusalem, visited the holy
places, settled there, and finally became bishop of Gaza. St. Eusebius
of Cremona, and his friend St. Jerome, embarked at Porto, in Italy, in
June 385, in company with a great number of other pilgrims, and in the
midst of tempests passed the Ionian Sea and the Cyclades to Cyprus,
where they were received by St. Epiphanius. They went thence to Antioch,
where they were welcomed by St. Paulinus, who was bishop of that city,
and from thence they proceeded to Jerusalem. After passing some time in
the holy city, and visiting the surrounding country, they went to Egypt,
to visit the hermits of the Thebaid, and then returning, they took up
their abode at Bethlehem, where they founded a monastery. Nearly at the
same time, St. Paula, with her daughter, left Rome for Syria, and landed
at Sidon, where she visited the tower of Elijah. At Cæsarea she saw the
house of the centurion Cornelius, which was changed into a church, and
the house of St. Philip, with the chambers of his four daughters. Near
Jerusalem she beheld the tomb of Helena, queen of Adiabene. The governor
of Palestine, who was acquainted with the family of St. Paula, prepared
to receive her in Jerusalem with due honours, but she preferred taking
up her abode in a small cell, and she hastened to visit all the holy
objects with which she was now surrounded. She went first to the church
of the Holy Sepulchre, where she prostrated herself before the true
cross, and entered the sepulchre itself, after having kissed the stone
which the angels had taken from the entrance. On Mount Sion, she was
shown the column to which Christ was bound when scourged, and which then
sustained the gallery of a church. She saw also the spot where the Holy
Ghost had descended on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. She thence
went to Bethlehem, visiting on the way the sepulchre of Rachel. At
Bethlehem she descended into the grotto of the Nativity. She next
visited the tower of Ader of the Flocks. At Bethphage, she saw the
sepulchre of Lazarus, and the house of Martha and Mary; on Mount
Ephraim, she was shown the sepulchre of Joshua, and of the high priest
Eleazar; at Sichem, she entered the church built over the well of Jacob,
where our Saviour spoke to the Samaritan woman; she next visited the
sepulchres of the twelve patriarchs; and, at Sebaste, or Samaria, she
saw those of Elisha and Abdias, as well as that of St. John the Baptist.
To the latter were brought, from all parts, people possessed with
demons, to be cured. St. Paula went subsequently to Egypt, to visit the
hermits of the desert, whence she returned to Bethlehem, where she built
cells and hospitals for pilgrims, and there she lived in retirement till
her death[2]. St. Antoninus visited the Holy Land early in the seventh
century; his life contains some absurd legendary stories relating to the
cross, which he saw in the church of Golgotha; and he tells that there
stood on one part of Mount Sion an "idol of the Saracens," made of very
white marble (no doubt an ancient sepulchre), which, at the time of the
festival of that idol, suddenly became black as pitch, and after the
festival was restored to its original colour. At Nazareth, St. Antoninus
praises the beauty of the Jewish women who resided there; and he tells
us that the land round that place was prodigiously fertile, and that it
produced excellent wine, oil, and honey. The millet grew there to a
greater height than elsewhere, and the straw was stronger. After
visiting all the holy places, St. Antoninus, like all the other pilgrims
who went to the east before the conquests of the Saracens, repaired to
Egypt, to visit the hermits of the Thebaid. He landed at Alexandria, a
very fine city, the people of which were light in disposition, but
friendly to the travellers who came thither. He saw there, in the Nile,
a multitude of crocodiles, a great number of which were collected
together in a pond. Perhaps this was some remnant of the ancient worship
of the Egyptians. On his return to Jerusalem, St. Antoninus fell sick,
and was received into a hospital destined for poor pilgrims; he then
went into Mesopotamia, and returned by sea to Italy, his native country.

Soon after this period, the circumstances of the pilgrims who arrived in
the Holy Land were entirely changed, in consequence of the conquests of
the Saracens, who, under Omar, obtained possession of Jerusalem in 637,
by a capitulation, however, which allowed them the use of their churches
on payment of a tribute, but forbade them to build new ones. This
interdiction could not be in itself a great grievance, for the whole of
Palestine must have been literally covered with churches when it passed
under the Mohammedan yoke. The conquerors soon saw that greater
advantages would be reaped by preserving the holy places, and
encouraging pilgrimage, than by destroying them; many of them, indeed
their own creed taught them, were to be considered as objects of
reverence; and thus for two or three centuries the Christians of the
west continued to flock to the Holy Sepulchre as numerously as before,
subject, perhaps, to not much greater taxation at the holy places than
in former times, but exposed on their way to more or less insult and
oppression, according to the political or local circumstances of the

Not many years after it had thus fallen under the power of the Arabs,
the Holy Land was visited by a French bishop named ARCULF, whose
narrative stands at the head of the present volume. The French
antiquaries have not been able to discover of what see Arculf was
bishop, or when he lived; and all that is known of him is the statement
of Adamnan, who wrote down his narrative, that on his return from the
east he was carried by contrary winds to the shores of Britain, and that
he was received at Iona. We learn from Bede[3], that Adamnan visited the
court of the Northumbrian king Aldfrid, and that he then presented to
the king his book on the Holy Places, which he had taken down from the
dictation of bishop Arculf. The visit to king Aldfrid is generally
placed in 703, but by an apparent misunderstanding of the words of Bede,
and it is probable that it occurred at least as early as 701[4]. The
pilgrimage of Arculf must thus have taken place in the latter part of
the seventh century. In relating a miracle concerning the _sudarium_ or
napkin taken from the head of our Saviour (which has not been thought
worth retaining in the present translation), Arculf is made to speak of
"Majuvias, king of the Saracens," as having lived in his time[5], and
the character of the story leaves no doubt that the king referred to was
Moawiyah, the first khalif of the dynasty of the Ommiades, who reigned
from 661 to 679. I am inclined to think that Arculf's visit to Jerusalem
must be placed not long after this khalif's death.

Arculf's travels, having been reduced to a sort of treatise by Adamnan,
do not always present the exact form of a personal narrative, and we
cannot trace his course from his native land as we do those of most
subsequent travellers. He seems to have followed in the steps of the
more ancient pilgrims, and his visit to Egypt, with the avowal of his
voyages up the Nile, can only be explained on the supposition that he
also went to visit the Coptic monks of the Desert, who had been allowed
to remain there, tributary to their Arabian conquerors. He either
derived little satisfaction from this visit, or Adamnan considered it as
having no interest for his countrymen; and we find no allusion to the
Egyptian monks in the later pilgrimages. Arculf speaks of no
difficulties he had to encounter, and his narrative is of especial
interest, from the circumstance of his visiting the country when all the
buildings of the Roman age were still standing.

The narrative of bishop Arculf, besides its intrinsic value as a minute
and accurate description of localities and monuments at this interesting
period, is of especial importance to us, because, through the abridgment
made by Bede, it became the text book on this subject among the
Anglo-Saxons, and led to that passion for pilgrimages with which they
were soon afterwards seized, and which was not uncongenial to the
character of that people whose adventurous steps have since been carried
into every corner of the world.

Among the Anglo-Saxons who followed the example of Arculf, one of the
most remarkable, and the earliest of whose adventures we have any
account, was WILLIBALD, a kinsman, it is said, of the great Boniface,
and a native of the kingdom of Wessex, probably of Hampshire. His
father, who appears to have been of high rank, was honoured with a place
in the Roman calendar, under the title of St. Richard. He, with his two
sons, Willibald and Wunibald, and a daughter, afterwards so celebrated
under the name of St. Walpurgis, left England probably in the year 718,
and travelled through the land of the Franks on their way to Italy. At
Lucca, Willibald's father sickened and died; and, having buried him, the
three children reached Rome in safety, but there they were seized with a
severe fever, on their recovery from which Willibald determined to make
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I have fixed the date of his departure to the
year 721, because that would place his departure from Tyre on his way to
Constantinople, in 724; and I have stated on another occasion[6], that
it is in the highest degree probable that the difficulties Willibald and
his companions experienced in obtaining a passport, and the troubles
they met with in their departure from Syria, were coincident with the
persecution of the Christian churches in that country in the year just
alluded to, when the khalif Yezid II., at the end of his reign, had been
instigated by the Jews to publish an edict against the paintings in the
churches of his Christian subjects, in consequence of which many of the
latter fled their homes. After the death of Yezid, hostilities
recommenced between the Greeks and the Arabs, and continued during many
years; and it is evident that the two countries were not yet at war when
the pilgrims left. At the same time, the whole tenor of the narrative
shows that they quitted Syria on account of some sudden change in the
internal state of the country, and that they were anxious to get away,
for they came to Tyre at the wrong season of the year for making the
voyage to Constantinople, and they sailed in rough and tempestuous
weather. In 740 or 741, Willibald was consecrated bishop of Eichstadt,
being then forty-one years of age. He died, it is supposed, in the year
786. His life was written before his death, by a nun of Heidenheim, of
whose name we are ignorant, but who was his kinswoman, and who took down
the account of his travels, as she avows, from his own mouth.

The war with the Greeks did not, however, put a stop to pilgrimages from
the west, but the travellers now seem to have been obliged to pass by
way of Egypt. The geographer, Dicuil, in his treatise _De Mensura Orbis
Terræ_, which he wrote at a very advanced age, in 825, tells us, when
speaking of Egypt, that when a youth at school in France, he heard a
monk named Fidelis give an account of his travels in Egypt and the Holy
Land, to his master, Suibneus, and, from the accuracy with which he
cites it, he must have taken notes at the time. He says, that Fidelis
went with a party of pilgrims, clerks and laymen, who sailed direct to
the mouth of the Nile, no doubt to Alexandria. Proceeding up the Nile a
long way, they were struck with astonishment at the sight of the seven
"barns" (_horrea_), built by Joseph, according to the number of the
years of abundance, which looked at a distance like mountains, four in
one place, and three in another. Curiosity led them to visit the group
of three, and near them they found a lion, and eight men and women, all
lying dead; "the lion had slain them by its strength, and they had
killed the lion with their spears and swords, for the places occupied by
both these groups of barns are deserts." They found that these
buildings, in their whole elevation, were of stone; at the bottom they
were square, in the upper part round, and twisted at the summit in a
spire. Fidelis measured the side of one from one angle to the other, and
found it to be four hundred feet. Then, entering their ships in the
river Nile, they navigated direct to the entrance of the Red Sea, where
they entered a port, not far to the east of which was the spot where
Moses passed on dry land. Fidelis wished to go to this place, where he
expected to see the traces of Pharaoh's chariot wheels, but he could not
prevail with the sailors to turn away from their own course. He
observed, however, that the sea appeared there to be about six miles
across. They sailed thence, without loss of time, along the western part
of the Red Sea, or that part which extends itself in a gulf or bay far
to the north. From thence we are left to suppose that they proceeded to
Palestine[7]. The barns of Joseph were of course the pyramids, with
respect to the form of the upper part of which the pilgrim might easily
have been deceived; but it will be at once evident to any one acquainted
with the geography of Egypt, that the channel by which he passed in a
ship from the Nile to the Red Sea, was the ancient canal of Hadrian.
This canal is said to have been repaired, and rendered navigable by the
Arabs, not long after they had rendered themselves masters of Egypt, but
we know that it was finally blocked up by the khalif Abu Giafar
Almansor, in 767, to hinder provisions from being sent to the people of
Mecca and Medina, who had revolted against his authority. It was
therefore previous to this date that Fidelis visited Egypt.

Peace, broken immediately after the departure of Willibald, was not
restored till the learned reign of the magnificent Haroun-er-Raschid
(786-809), whose name, and his friendship and intercourse with the no
less splendid monarch of the west, Charlemagne, have been so often
celebrated in history and romance. Their friendship led to the opening
of Palestine to the Christian pilgrims on much more liberal terms, and
various privileges and comforts were secured for them in the holy city.
Pilgrimages now became more frequent, and several are mentioned during
the latter part of the eighth and the course of the ninth centuries.

The only one of these pilgrims whose own account of his adventures has
been preserved, was a Breton monk, evidently of the celebrated monastery
of Mount St. Michel, named BERNARD, who is distinguished in the
manuscripts by the title of _Bernardus Sapiens_, or Bernard the Wise,
although we have no other testimony to his wisdom except the account of
his pilgrimage. This very curious narrative was discovered by Mabillon,
in a manuscript of the library of Rheims, and printed in the _Acta
Sanctorum Ordinis Benedictini_. Bernard has given, at the commencement
of this narrative, the date of the year in which he started. In
Mabillon's text, and in a manuscript of the Cottonian Library, now lost,
it is 870; while in another manuscript of the Cottonian Library, still
existing, it is given as 970. Internal evidence at once fixes the date
of Bernard's pilgrimage to the ninth century, and not to the tenth; and
as it is evident that he was at Bari before the siege by Louis II., we
can have little hesitation in considering both the dates given by the
manuscripts as errors of the scribes, and in fixing Bernard's departure
to the year 867.

Bernard left Europe at a time when the Saracens of the west were engaged
in hostility with the Christians, and he was obliged to furnish himself
with a variety of protections. Although he points at the disadvantageous
contrast between the barbarity and turbulence of the western Christians
and the well regulated government of the Arabs in the east, it is quite
evident that a change had taken place in the condition of the Christians
in Syria, and that the pilgrims no longer enjoyed the immunities
obtained for them by the emperor Charlemagne. They now, on the contrary,
seem to have been subjected to extortions on every side. Bernard, like
Fidelis, went by way of Egypt, and proceeded thence into Palestine by
land. He is the first traveller who mentions the afterwards celebrated
miracle of the holy fire. At Jerusalem Bernard lodged in the hostle
which had been founded by Charlemagne, and which was still appropriated
to its original destination.

Somewhere near this period a noble Breton of the name of Frotmond, who,
with his brother, had committed one of those deeds of blood which so
often stain the history of the middle ages, was condemned by the church
to a penance, not uncommon in those times. A chain was close riveted
round his body and his arms; and in this condition, covered only with a
coarse garment, his head sprinkled with ashes, he was to visit,
bare-foot, the holy places, and wander about until God should deign to
relieve him of his burthen. In the fourth year of his wanderings he
returned to France, and went to the monastery of Redon, where he was
miraculously delivered from his chains, which had already eaten deep
into his flesh, at the tomb of St. Marcellinus. The account of his
pilgrimage was collected from the traditions of the monastery long after
Frotmond's death, by one of the monks. It is said that he and his
brethren went direct to the coast of Syria, and made some stay at
Jerusalem, practising there all kinds of austerities. They next went
into Egypt, and took up their abode among the monks of the Thebaid, and
then went to pray at the tomb of St. Cyprian, on the sea-coast, two
leagues from Carthage. They then returned to Rome; but still not
obtaining pardon of the pope (Benedict III.), they again passed the sea
to Jerusalem, from whence they went to Cana, in Galilee, and then they
directed their course to the Red Sea. They next proceeded to the
mountains of Armenia, and visited the spot where Noah's ark rested after
the deluge. On their way they suffered all kinds of outrages from the
infidels, who stripped them naked and scourged them cruelly. This,
however, did not turn them from their purpose, and they went
subsequently to Mount Sinai, where they remained three years, and so
returned to Italy, and thence to France. Frotmond started on his
wanderings in the year 868.

Other pilgrimages are mentioned as having taken place before the end of
the ninth century, at which time new wars broke out between the Greeks
and the Saracens, in the course of which the whole of Judea was taken
from the Mohammedans by the emperor John Zimisces, and the holy places
were again thrown open to pilgrims from all parts. On the death of
Zimisces, in 976, the Greek empire again sunk into weakness, and
Palestine was snatched from them by the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt, whose
policy it was at first to treat the Christians with lenity, seek
commercial relations with the Franks, and encourage the pilgrimages to
the holy places. But all these fair prospects were soon cut short by the
accession to the throne of Hakem, the third khalif of the Fatimite
dynasty, who threw his kingdom into confusion by his cruel despotism,
and who made the unfortunate Christians feel the whole weight of his
fury. They were everywhere oppressed and massacred, their churches were
taken from them, profaned, and destroyed, and the holy places were
deserted. During the whole of the eleventh century the Christians of
Syria were thus treated with every kind of indignity. Pilgrims still
made their way to Jerusalem, and a great number of brief notices of
their adventures are preserved by the numerous writers of the age; but
they brought back with them little more than complaints of the
profanations to which the holy places were exposed, and of the wretched
condition to which their brothers in faith had been reduced. The
celebrated Gerbert, afterwards pope, under the name of Sylvestre II.,
was one of the first who made the pilgrimage during the persecutions of
Hakem; and on his return, in 986, he published a letter, in which he
made Jerusalem deplore her misfortunes, and supplicated the whole
Christian world to come to her aid. The French and the Italians were
excited to vengeance, and they began to make pilgrimages in armed
bodies, and even to attack the coasts of Syria. This only served to
exasperate their enemies, who interdicted the Christians in their
dominions from the exercise of their religion, took from them their
churches, which they profaned by turning them into stables and to still
more degrading purposes, and threw down the church of the Sepulchre, and
the other sacred places in Jerusalem, in 1008. According to the best
authorities the church of the Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt by Hakem's
grandson, Al-Mostanser-Billah, between 1046 and 1048, in consequence of
a treaty with the Byzantine emperor.

The news of these events threw all Christian Europe into consternation,
and excited every where the desire for vengeance on the infidels; but it
increased the eagerness for pilgrimage, and, in spite of all the
insults and perils to which they were exposed, devotees of all ranks and
conditions made their way to Jerusalem in crowds. New revolutions were,
however, taking place there; for another people, the Seldjouk Turks,
having rendered themselves masters of Persia, and established there a
new dynasty of monarchs, the Abassides, passed forwards into
Mesopotamia, and then conquered Syria from the Fatimites. The Seldjouks
took Jerusalem in 1071, massacred both Saracens and Christians, and
delivered up to pillagers the mosques as well as the churches. The fate
of the pilgrims under the new rulers of Palestine was more deplorable
than ever. They were not allowed to enter the gates of Jerusalem without
payment of a very heavy tax; and, as most of them had been plundered on
the way, if they had anything to tempt the merciless rapacity of the
infidels, the greater part remained outside, to perish by hunger or by
the sword. Those who gained admission into the city only entered to
suffer new outrages, and, which was still worse, to see everything they
held most sacred trodden under foot and defiled by unbelievers.

The Turks, in their turn, became divided and enfeebled; and the
Fatimites made a successful effort to recover their power in Syria. In
1096 Jerusalem was delivered, by capitulation, to the general of the
khalif Al-Mostaali-Billeh; but the change of masters seems to have
ameliorated in no degree the condition of the Christians.

The cry of the eastern Christians had, however, already made itself
effectually heard throughout Europe. The voice of Peter the Hermit was
first raised in 1095, in the November of which year he stood by the
pope, Urban II., at the council of Clermont, and the first crusade was
proclaimed. The vast army of invaders assembled in the autumn of 1096,
traversed Europe and Asia Minor, and those who escaped from the terrible
sufferings and losses it experienced on the road reached Palestine in
1099, and took Jerusalem by assault on the 15th of June. Ten days after
the conquerors elected Godfrey of Boulogne king of Jerusalem.

The first pilgrim who followed the crusaders, who has left us a personal
narrative, was an Anglo-Saxon named SÆWULF. Our only information
relating to this personage, beyond what is found in his own relation,
occurs in a passage of William of Malmesbury which appears to relate to
him. This writer, in his History of the English Bishops[8], tells us
that Sæwulf was a merchant who frequently repaired to bishop Wulstan, of
Worcester, to confess his sins, and as frequently, when his fit of
penitence was over, returned to his old courses. Wulstan advised him to
quit the profession in which he met with so many temptations, and
embrace a monastic life; and, on his refusal, the bishop prophesied that
the time would arrive when he would take the habit which he now so
obstinately refused. William of Malmesbury says that he himself
witnessed the fulfilment of this prediction, when in his old age the
merchant Sæwulf became a monk in the abbey of Malmesbury. It is fair to
suppose that, in a moment of penitence, the merchant sought to appease
the divine wrath by undertaking the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the road to
which had then been laid open by the first successes of the crusaders.
Nothing in the narrative proves that our traveller was a monk.

The date of Sæwulf's voyage has been fixed by his learned editor, M.
D'Avezac, from internal evidence of the most satisfactory kind. Sæwulf
makes two or three allusions to historical personages in the course of
his adventures. Thus, on his arrival at Cephalonia, he informs us that
Robert Guiscard died there. This celebrated warrior, the first duke of
the Normans in Italy, the father of the celebrated crusader Bohemond,
prince of Tarentum, was meditating the conquest of Greece, when he died,
according to some poisoned, in July 1085[9]. Further on Sæwulf mentions
two Christian princes, distinguished by their activity in the first
crusade, as still living; Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, and Raymond, duke
of Toulouse. The first was made king on the 25th of December, 1100, and
the latter died on the 28th of February, 1105. Sæwulf mentions further,
that when he returned from Syria Tortosa was in the possession of duke
Raymond, while Acre still remained in the hands of the Saracens. The
latter place was captured on the 12th of March, 1102, while Acre did not
fall into the hands of the Christians till the 15th of May, 1104. Now he
informs us further that he embarked at Joppa, on his return on the day
of Pentecost, which day in the year 1104 fell on the 5th of June, and,
as Acre had then been taken, this could not be the year; and we have
only to choose between 1102 and 1103. To remove all doubt on the
subject, M. D'Avezac points out an element of calculation contained in
Sæwulf's text, which enables us to fix the exact date of his departure
from Italy, after having brought it within so small a compass from the
historical allusions. Sæwulf says that he set sail from Monopoli on
Sunday, the feast of St. Mildred. St. Mildred's day is the 13th of July,
and that day fell on a Sunday in the year 1102. It was, he says, an
unlucky day—_dies Ægyptiaca_, and they fell in with a storm which drove
them along the coast to Brindisi, whence, after a short stay to refit,
they sailed again on an unlucky day. Now the ordinary formula to find
the unlucky or Egyptiac days, composed by the medieval calculators, give
us the 13th and 22nd of July, as falling under this character. It was,
therefore, the 13th of July, 1102, when Sæwulf sailed from Monopoli, and
the 22nd of the same month when he left Brindisi; and it was the day of
Pentecost, 1103, when he embarked at Joppa, on his return. These dates
will agree very well with the age of the Sæwulf mentioned by William of

The events preceding, and connected with the crusades, had considerably
modified the route followed by the pilgrims in their way to Jerusalem.
They had previously gone by way of Egypt, because it was no doubt safer
to pass in ships employed in commerce with the Saracens, or to go with
Saracenic passports from the west, than to encounter the hostile
feelings with which people were received who came into Syria from the
neighbouring territory of the Greeks. But now they might proceed with
greater security through the Christian states on the northern shores of
the Mediterranean, either visiting Constantinople before they proceeded
to Jerusalem, or, if their eagerness to see the holy city overcame all
other considerations, sailing along the coast of Greece and through the
islands of the Archipelago. The latter course was taken by Sæwulf; he
sailed from Italy to the Ionian islands; proceeded overland to
Negropont, where he embarked in another ship, and, after touching at
several of the islands, proceeded along the coast of Asia Minor to
Jaffa, whence he travelled by land to Jerusalem, reserving his visit to
the metropolis of the Grecian empire for his return. The narrative
appears to be truncated, which has deprived us of Sæwulf's observations
of Constantinople.

Sæwulf's account of the disastrous storm which attended their arrival at
Jaffa shows us what multitudes of pilgrims now crowded to the Holy Land.
Among these were people of all classes, rich and poor, noble and
ignoble, laymen equally with monks and clergy. Some went in humility and
meekness to visit the scene of their salvation, while others, embarking
with crews of desperate marauders, although they went to the Holy City
with the same professions, proceeded as privateers, or rather as
pirates, plundering and devastating on their way. Among this latter
class the descendants of the sea-kings of the north appear to have been
especially distinguished, and the Scandinavian sagas have preserved more
than one narrative, half authentic and half romantic, of their
adventures. It has been thought advisable to give, as a specimen of
these, the story of SIGURD THE CRUSADER, a northern prince, whose
presence at the capture of Beyrout, in 1110, is mentioned by William of

The land of Palestine was at this time beginning to attract, in an
unusual degree, the attention of another class of travellers from
western Europe—learned men of the Jewish nation—who were anxious to
discover and to make known to their brethren the condition of the
various synagogues in the East, after so many sanguinary revolutions, as
well as to visit the burial-places of the eminent Hebrews of former
days. Several of their relations, written in Hebrew, are still preserved
in manuscript, and a few have been printed[10]. The earliest of these of
any importance is that of BENJAMIN OF TUDELA. We have an "Itinerary of
Palestine" made by Samuel bar Simson in 1210; a "Description of the
Sacred Tombs" by a Jew of Paris named Jacob, in 1258; and several tracts
of the same kind in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Mr. Asher, to whom we owe the best edition of Benjamin of Tudela, has
fixed the date of Benjamin's travels from his own narrative with great
acuteness. It appears from different circumstances to which he alludes,
that his visit to Rome must have taken place subsequent to 1159, that
he was at Constantinople probably in December 1161, and that his account
of Egypt, which almost concludes the work, must have been written prior
to 1171[11]. "If we add to these dates," Mr. Asher observes, "that of
his return, as given in the preface, we shall find that the narrative
refers to a period of about fourteen years, viz. from 1159 or 1160, to
1173." To these dates pointed out by Mr. Asher, it may be added, that he
appears to have been at Antioch immediately after the accession of
Bohemond III. in 1163; and that he probably reached Sicily, on his way
back, early in 1169. By comparing these dates with the general course of
the narrative, I have endeavoured to arrange with tolerable accuracy the
successive years of Benjamin's wanderings; the dates of which are given
at the heads of the pages.

Rabbi Benjamin is the first European traveller whom we find taking a
wider circuit in his travels than that which would have been restricted
by the limits of Christian or Jewish pilgrimage. As Mr. Asher observes,
he appears evidently to have been a merchant, and hence, though the
object most at his heart seems to have been to note the number and
condition of the Jews in the different countries he visited, he has
preserved some valuable information relating to their trade and commerce
at that period, and, in spite of some credulity, and an evident love of
the marvellous, he describes what he saw with more good sense and
accuracy than the Christian travellers of the same age. Benjamin, who
was a Jew of Spain, began his travels from Saragossa, and proceeded
through Italy and Greece to Constantinople, which city he describes at
considerable length. He proceeded thence, by the Greek Islands, to
Antioch, and thence through Syria, by Acre and Nablous, to Jerusalem.
From Jerusalem he went to Damascus, and from thence to Bagdad, but his
route here and elsewhere appears to have been far from direct, as we
often trace him moving backwards and forwards, to obtain information, or
visit districts that lay out of the ordinary road. The actual extent of
his wanderings towards the East appears doubtful; but it is certain he
remained at Bagdad and in Persia two or three years, and he returned by
way of Arabia and Nubia to Egypt. From Egypt he returned to Sicily, and
he then made a tour in Germany before his final return home. Mr. Asher
observes that there is "one very peculiar feature" in this work, by
which its contents are divided into _what he saw_, and _what he heard_.
"In many towns, on the route from Saragossa to Bagdad, rabbi Benjamin
mentions the names of the principal Jews, elders, and wardens of the
congregations he met with. That a great number of the persons enumerated
by rabbi Benjamin really were his contemporaries; and that the
particulars he incidentally mentions of them are corroborated by other
authorities, has been proved in the biographical notes furnished by Dr.
Zunz. We therefore do not hesitate to assert that rabbi Benjamin visited
all those towns of which he names the elders and principals, and that
the first portion of his narrative comprises an account of _what he
saw_. But with Gihiagin, the very first stage beyond Bagdad, all such
notices cease, and except those of two princes and of two rabbis, we
look in vain for any other _names_. So very remarkable a difference
between this and the preceding part of the work leads us to assert that
rabbi Benjamin's travels did not extend beyond Bagdad, and that he there
wrote down the second portion of our work, consisting of _what he
heard_. Bagdad, at his time the seat of the prince of the Captivity,
must have attracted numerous Jewish pilgrims from all regions, and,
beyond doubt, was the fittest place for gathering those notices of the
Jews and of trade in different parts of the world, the collecting of
which was the aim of rabbi Benjamin's labours." It may be observed,
further, that the information he thus collected agrees in general with
that furnished by the contemporary Arabian geographers.

The travels of rabbi Benjamin had little, if any, influence on the state
of geographical science amongst the Christians of the west; but a
variety of causes—the thirst for novelty in science excited by the
educational movement of the twelfth century, scattered information,
gleaned from an increased intercourse with the Arabs, and the
adventurous spirit raised by a hundred years of crusades—were now
combining to render them every day more eager for information relating
to distant lands, and this spirit received a new impulse from the
astonishment and terror excited by the incursions of the Tartars in the
earlier half of the thirteenth century. Shrewd and intelligent men were
sent out by the monarchs of the west, nominally as ambassadors, but
really as spies, to ascertain who these dreaded invaders were, and
whence they came, and to report on their strength and character. These
envoys met at the court of the khan men of distant, and, to them,
unknown countries, from whom they collected information relating to the
central and eastern parts of Asia. Among the first of these envoys was
John du Plan de Carpin, an Italian friar of the order of St. Francis,
sent out by Pope Innocent IV., in the spring of 1245. He was followed
immediately by Simon de St. Quentin, a Dominican monk, also sent by the
pope; and a year or two later, in 1253, by William de Rubruk, another
Franciscan, sent on an embassy to the Tartars by St. Louis. These, as
well as other missionaries of the same century, have left behind them
interesting narratives, several of which are preserved, and some of them
are well known. Merchants, led by the hope of gain, followed in the
steps of, and even preceded, the political or religious missionaries,
and their objects being less restricted, they often penetrated into the
remotest regions of Asia, where they sometimes settled, and rose to rank
and wealth. One of these, an Italian named Marco Polo, on his return,
after a long residence in Asia, in the middle of the thirteenth century,
published the well known narrative, which conduced, more than any other
work, to the development of geographical science, and which first gave
the grand impulse to geographical research, that led to the more
extensive and substantial knowledge which began to dawn in the following

From this time, although short descriptions of the Holy Land became more
numerous than ever, travellers who published their personal narratives
were seldom contented with the old limits of the subject, but they
either visited themselves, or described from the information of others,
some at least of the surrounding countries. This was carried at times
almost to the extreme of affectation. A remarkable example is furnished
to us in the book of SIR JOHN MAUNDEVILLE. This singular writer, more
credulous than the most bigotted monk, appears to have visited the east
with the double object of performing the pilgrimage to the Holy
Sepulchre, and of seeking military service in foreign lands. Professedly
a guide to pilgrims to Jerusalem, to which a large portion of the book
is devoted, it contains, nevertheless, the description of nearly the
whole of Asia, and of some parts of Africa and Europe, and extends to
countries which its author visited and to many others which he certainly
did not visit. From the rather equivocal light in which he exhibits
himself, and the peculiar form of his work, it is impossible to trace
the course of his travels, but he assures us that he set out from
England in 1322, and that he returned home and compiled his book in
1356. It appears clear, from evidence furnished by the book itself, that
Maundeville was in Egypt for some time previous to the year 1342[12],
and a closer examination would probably fix the date of his presence in
some other countries. But there can be no doubt that his book is partly
a compilation, for we find him not only borrowing from ancient writers,
like Solinus and Pliny, but it is quite evident that he made large use
of the previous narratives of Marco Polo and of the Franciscan Oderic,
who had travelled over a great part of Asia in the earlier years of the
fourteenth century, and had published his account during Maundeville's
absence in the east. It would not be difficult to analyze a great
portion of Maundeville's book, and show from whence it was compiled.

It is now generally agreed that Marco Polo originally wrote the account
of his travels in the French language, from which it was subsequently
translated into Latin and Italian. French had now, indeed, become the
general language of popular treatises, and it seems to be equally well
established that in it was written the original text of Maundeville, who
states expressly in the French copies preserved in manuscript, that he
chose French in preference to Latin, as a language more generally
understood, "especially by lords and knights, and others who understand
not Latin."[13] We learn, from the colophon to some of the Latin copies,
that he was at this time residing at Liege, where he is said to have
ended his days, and that he soon afterwards translated his own book into
Latin. An English version, said to be also from the pen of Maundeville
himself, appeared soon afterwards, and the three versions must have
become extremely popular within a few years after their publication,
from the number of early copies that are still found among our various
collections of manuscripts. The travels of Sir John Maundeville form,
perhaps, the most popular work of the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, and it continued long afterwards to be read eagerly in a
variety of forms. Yet all we know of him with any certainty is his own
statement that he was a native of St. Albans,—the rest of his
biography, as commonly given, is a mere tissue of errors. Bale tells us
that he died at Liege, on the 17th of November, 1371, and that he was
buried there in the abbey of the Guillamites. Abraham Orbelius, in his
"Itinerarium Belgiæ," gives an epitaph from that abbey, which appears to
be a comparatively recent fabrication. One of the manuscripts, written
in the fifteenth century, (MS. Harl. 3989,) says that Maundeville died
at Liege in 1382.

Contemporary with Maundeville lived a German named variously Boldensel,
Boldensle, and Boldenslave, who visited the east in 1336, and, on his
return, published a description of the Holy Land, of which there is an
early printed edition. It had been preceded by the description of the
Holy Land by Brochard, published in 1332. From this time the narratives
of travels in Palestine became much more numerous and more detailed, and
I shall not attempt even a bare enumeration. The majority of them
consist of little more than a repetition of the same facts and the same
legends. Some, however, are far superior to the rest, by the interest of
the narrative, and the novelty of the information gathered by the
traveller. Two, belonging to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
stand pre-eminent in this respect, the narratives of Breydenbach and
Rauwulf, which merit separate publication. I have selected to follow sir
John Maundeville, the travels of BERTRANDON DE LA BROCQUIÈRE, on account
of their peculiar character.

The Turks, who were gradually overthrowing the empire of the Arabs in
the east, were becoming formidable to the Christians also towards the
end of the fourteenth century. Since the time of Brochard, who had
written expressly to show how the east lay open to an attack from the
Christians, several attempts had been made to raise a new crusade. La
Brocquière, like Maundeville, was a knight, and he held the high
position of counsellor and first esquire carver to the duke of
Burgundy. As was the case with so many others of his own class, his
pilgrimage to Jerusalem was the result of a vow, but the curiosity and
ardour of the man-at-arms were perhaps more powerful in him than the
mere calls of religion. He left Burgundy in the February of 1432, in
company with other great lords of that country, passed through Italy by
way of Rome to Venice, and there embarked and proceeded by sea to Jaffa.
But when this holy pilgrimage was completed, as far as lay in his power
to perform it, he undertook a pilgrimage of another kind, and in order
to observe the manners and condition of the Turks, who were already
threatening Constantinople, he formed the bold scheme of returning to
France overland, which would lead him to traverse the western part of
Asia and eastern Europe. The notices he has given us of the countries
through which he passed, some of them but imperfectly known even at
present, combined with the interesting period at which the journey was
made, give an especial importance to this narrative, which is marked by
the accuracy and good sense of its writer, and exhibits none of the
credulity of previous travellers. On his return to the court of
Burgundy, La Brocquière's appearance excited great interest, and duke
Philip began to talk loudly of his intention to lead a crusade against
the Infidels. It was probably to further his object that La Brocquière
compiled his narrative, which was published in French, soon after the
year 1438, to which date he alludes in his text. The state of Europe,
however, was not now favourable to a crusade, and the duke's designs
never went further than a few empty proclamations, and some equally
fruitless feasting and pageantry. The Turks were allowed to pursue their
conquests, and the victorious Mohammed II. became master of
Constantinople in the May of 1453.

Our notices of the medieval travellers would properly conclude here. A
new era was opening upon the west as well as upon the east, and the last
breath of the spirit of the crusades died, as the system which had
nourished it sunk before the great religious Reformation of the
sixteenth century. Instead of monks and soldiers, Europe, more
enlightened, began soon afterwards to send merchants, and consuls, and
ambassadors. A clearer and more satisfactory light was now thrown on the
geography of the Holy Land. The English traveller in Palestine of most
authority in the seventeenth century was Sandys, who, however, often
erred on the side of credulity. Before the end of the century came the
well known HENRY MAUNDRELL, who, on account of the brevity of his
narrative and the extreme accuracy of his descriptions, has been
selected to conclude the present volume. We know little more of
Maundrell than that he was a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, which he
left to take the appointment of chaplain to the English factory at
Aleppo. It is not within our province to notice the works of subsequent

It will be necessary to make some statement to our readers of the manner
in which the present volume has been edited, and of the sources from
which the different works it contains have been derived.

The travels of bishop Arculf, (as compiled by Adamnan,) as well as those
of Bernard the Wise, and the life of Willibald, were printed in the Acta
Sanctorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, Sæc. III., Part II., in 1672. A previous
edition of Arculf had been published in a small quarto volume,
Ingoldstadt, 1619, which also contained the abridgment by Bede. The
latter, under the title of _Libellus de Locis Sanctis_, is included in
the different editions of Bede's works, and will be found in the recent
edition by Dr. Giles, accompanied with an English translation. Another
edition of the narrative of Bernard was published from a manuscript in
the Cottonian Library in the British Museum by M. Francisque Michel, in
the Memoirs of the Society of Geography at Paris. M. Michel's text is in
many respects inferior to that of Mabillon, but it contains the
concluding paragraphs relating to the state of society in Egypt, Italy,
and France, which were wanting in the manuscript from which Mabillon
printed. But the new editor, M. Michel, has fallen into a very grave
error; for the treatise of Bede, _De Locis Sanctis_, following in the
Cottonian manuscript the tract of Bernard, he has mistaken them for one
continued treatise, and printed them as such, accusing Mabillon of
having printed only one half of his author. The narrative of Sæwulf, the
only manuscript of which is preserved in the library of Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge, was published in the collection of the French
Geographical Society by M. D'Avezac, from a transcript furnished by the
editor of the present volume. M. D'Avezac has executed his task of
editing with remarkable care and discrimination, but I fear that the
transcript was in two or three instances inaccurate, and at the time of
publication it was unfortunately not in the power of M. D'Avezac to have
it collated with the original. One omission of some importance for the
architectural history of the church of the Holy Sepulchre was very
kindly pointed out to me by Professor Willis, and has been corrected in
the translation. In describing this church, the text as printed by M.
D'Avezac contains the words, "Ista oratoria sanctissima continentur in
atrio Dominici sepulchri ad orientalem plagam. In lateribus autem ipsius
ecclesiæ suæ capellæ sibi adhærent præclarissimæ hinc inde, sicut ipsi
participes Dominicæ passionis sibi in lateribus constiterunt hinc inde."
In the original manuscript the passage stands thus, and is rendered
intelligible—"Ista oratoria sanctissima continentur in atrio Dominici
sepulchri ad orientalem plagam. In lateribus vero ipsius ecclesiæ _duæ_
capellæ sibi adhærent præclarissimæ hinc inde, _Sanctæ Mariæ scilicet
Sanctique Johannis in honore_, sicut ipsi participes Dominicæ passionis
sibi in lateribus constiterunt hinc inde."

These four narratives are here translated for the first time. In
translating Bernard, the text of Mabillon has been compared with that of
Michel. The narrative of Arculf has been somewhat abridged, and relieved
of some miracles and theological observations that are totally without
interest. It may be right to observe, also, that in the original
manuscript this narrative is accompanied with plans of churches, copies
of which are given in the edition of Mabillon, and in the editions of
Bede's abridgement.

The translation of the Saga of Sigurd the Crusader, is taken, by the
obliging permission of Mr. Laing, from his recently published
"Hemskringla," or "Chronicle of the Kings of Norway."

A number of editions, and several translations, of the travels of
Benjamin of Tudela, have appeared, but the only strictly correct one is
that published by Mr. A. Asher, Berlin, 1840. The translation published
in the present volume is a mere revision of the English version by Mr.
Asher, altered a little in the language, to make it more suitable for
the popular English reader. My notes are chiefly abridged from the
valuable volume of notes published by Mr. Asher in 1841.

The only edition of the English text of the book of Sir John Maundeville
which correctly represents an original manuscript, is that published
from the Cottonian Library in 1725, of which a reprint appeared in 1839,
with an introduction, and some additional notes by Mr. Halliwell. The
language of this edition has been modernized for the present volume. The
travels of Bertrandon de la Brocquière are preserved in a manuscript
preserved in the Royal Library in Paris, from which they were published,
with some abridgment and in modernized French, in the fifth volume of
the Mémoires of the Institute of France, by Legrand d'Aussy. They were
thence translated into English by Mr. Johns, and printed at his private
press at Hafod, in 1807. This translation, which has become a rare book,
has been here slightly revised, and a few illustrative notes have been
added. Maundrell's journey is reprinted from the original edition.

    _Brompton, Aug. 28, 1848._


[1] This date is fixed by a statement of the writer of the
Itinerary:—"Item ambulavimus Dalmatio et Dalmaticei Zenophilo cons.
iii. Kal. Jun. a Kalcidonia, et reversi sumus ad Constantinopolim vii.
Kalend. Jan. consule suprascripto." We know from the historians that
Flavius Valerius Dalmatius (brother of the emperor Constantine) and
Marcus Aurelius Xenophilus were consuls together in 333.

[2] St. Jerome, in one of his Epistles, has given us the history of the
adventures of St. Paula. The lives of the other saints mentioned here
will be found in the large collection of the Bollandists. The abstract
given here is taken from the Essay on Early Pilgrimages, by the Baron
Walckenaer, inserted in Michaud's History of the Crusades.

[3] Bede, Hist. Eccl. v. 15.

[4] See my Biographia Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Saxon period, p. 202.

[5] Majuvias, Saracenorum rex, qui nostra ætate fuit, judex postulatus.

[6] See the Biographia Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Saxon period, p. 341,

[7] Dicuil, De Mensura Orbis, vi. 3, ed. Letronne.

[8] W. Malmesbury de Gest. Pontif., p. 282. See also my Biographia
Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Norman Period, p. 38.

[9] See, on Robert Guiscard, W. Malmesbury, Hist. book iii. pp. 294,
295. (Bohn's Antiquarian Library.)

[10] An interesting volume of these narratives, translated into French,
and accompanied with valuable notes, has recently been published under
the title, "Itineraires de la Terre Sainte des xiii, xiv^e, xv^e, xvi^e,
and xvii^e siècles, traduits de l'Hébreu, par E. Carmoly," Brussels,

[11] For these dates see the notes on pp. 67, 75, and 119 of the present
volume. See the notes on pp. 78, 124.

[12] See the note, p. 146 of the present volume.

[13] "Et sachiez que je eusse mis ce livre en Latin pour plus briefment
deviser; mais pour ce que plusieurs entendent mieux Français que Latin,
l'ai-je mis en Rommant à celle fin que chascun l'entende, et les
seigneurs et chevaliers et aultres qui n'entendent pas le Latin." See on
this subject, and on Maundeville's narrative, M. D'Avezac's preface to
his edition of "Plan de Carpin," pp. 29-33.




Arculf, the holy bishop, a native of Gaul, after visiting many remote
countries, resided nine months at Jerusalem, and made daily visits to
the surrounding districts. He counted in the circuit of the walls of the
holy city eighty-four towers and six gates, the latter being distributed
in the following order:—the gate of David on the west of Mount Sion,
the gate of the valley of the Fuller, St. Stephen's gate, Benjamin's
gate, the little gate leading by a flight of steps to the valley of
Jehoshaphat, and the gate called Tecuitis; of which, the three most
frequented are, one to the west, another to the north, and a third to
the east. That part of the wall which, with its towers, extends from the
gate of David over the northern brow of Mount Sion, which overlooks the
city from the south, to the precipitous brow of the same mountain which
looks to the east, has no gates.

The city itself begins from the northern brow of Mount Sion, and
declines with a gentle slope towards the walls on the north and east,
where it is lower; so that the rain which falls on the city runs in
streams through the eastern gates, carrying with it all the filth of the
streets into the brook Cedron, in the valley of Jehoshaphat. On the 15th
of September, annually, an immense multitude of people of different
nations are used to meet in Jerusalem for the purpose of commerce, and
the streets are so clogged with the dung of camels, horses, mules, and
oxen, that they become almost impassable, and the smell would be a
nuisance to the whole town. But, by a miraculous providence, which
exhibits God's peculiar attachment to this place, no sooner has the
multitude left Jerusalem than a heavy fall of rain begins on the night
following, and ceases only when the city has been perfectly cleansed.

On the spot where the Temple once stood, near the eastern wall, the
Saracens have now erected a square house of prayer, in a rough manner,
by raising beams and planks upon some remains of old ruins; this is
their place of worship, and it is said that it will hold about three
thousand men[14]. Arculf also observed many large and handsome houses of
stone in all parts of the city, but his attention was more especially
attracted by the holy places.

The church of the Holy Sepulchre is very large and round, encompassed
with three walls, with a broad space between each, and containing three
altars of wonderful workmanship, in the middle wall, at three different
points; on the south, the north, and the west. It is supported by twelve
stone columns of extraordinary magnitude; and it has eight doors or
entrances through the three opposite walls, four fronting the
north-east, and four to the south-east. In the middle space of the inner
circle is a round grotto cut in the solid rock, the interior of which is
large enough to allow nine men to pray, standing, and the roof of which
is about a foot and a half higher than a man of ordinary stature. The
entrance is from the east side, and the whole of the exterior is covered
with choice marble to the very top of the roof, which is adorned with
gold, and supports a large golden cross. Within, on the north side, is
the tomb of our Lord, hewn out of the same rock, seven feet in length,
and rising three palms above the floor. These measurements were taken by
Arculf with his own hand. This tomb is broad enough to hold one man
lying on his back, and has a raised division in the stone to separate
his legs. The entrance is on the south side, and there are twelve lamps
burning day and night, according to the number of the twelve apostles;
four within at the foot, and the other eight above, on the right-hand
side. Internally, the stone of the rock remains in its original state,
and still exhibits the marks of the workman's tools; its colour is not
uniform, but appears to be a mixture of white and red. The stone that
was laid at the entrance to the monument is now broken in two; the
lesser portion standing as a square altar, before the entrance, while
the greater forms another square altar in the east part of the same
church, covered with linen cloths.

To the right of this round church (which is called the Anastasis, or
Resurrection,) adjoins the square church of the Virgin Mary, and to the
east of this another large church is built on the spot called in Hebrew
Golgotha, from the ceiling of which hangs a brazen wheel with lamps,
beneath which a large silver cross is fixed in the very place where
stood the wooden cross on which the Saviour of the human race suffered.
Under the place of our Lord's cross, a cave is hewn in the rock, in
which sacrifice is offered on an altar for the souls of certain honoured
persons deceased, their bodies remaining meanwhile in the way or street
between this church and the round church. Adjoining the church of
Golgotha, to the east, is the basilica, or church, erected with so much
magnificence by the emperor Constantine, and called the Martyrdom,
built, it is said, in the place where the cross of our Lord with the
other two crosses were found by divine revelation, two hundred and
thirty-three years after they had been buried. Between these two
last-mentioned churches, is the place where Abraham raised the altar for
the sacrifice of his son Isaac, where there is now a small wooden table,
on which the alms for the poor are offered. Between the Anastasis, or
round church, and the basilica of Constantine, a certain open space
extends to the church of Golgotha, in which are lamps burning day and
night. In the same space between the Martyrdom and the Golgotha, is a
seat, in which is the cup of our Lord, concealed in a little shrine,
which Arculf touched and kissed through a hole in the covering. It is
made of silver, of the capacity of about a French quart, and has two
handles, one on each side. In it also is the sponge which was held up to
our Lord's mouth. The soldier's lance, with which he pierced our Lord's
side, which has been broken into two pieces, is also kept in the portico
of the Martyrdom, inserted in a wooden cross. Arculf saw some other
relics, and he observed a lofty column in the holy places to the north,
in the middle of the city, which, at mid-day at the summer solstice,
casts no shadow, which shows that this is the centre of the earth[15].

Arculf next visited the holy places in the immediate neighbourhood of
Jerusalem. In the valley of Jehoshaphat he saw the round church of St.
Mary, divided into two stories by slabs of stone; in the upper part are
four altars; on the eastern side below there is another, and to the
right of it an empty tomb of stone, in which the Virgin Mary is said to
have been buried; but who moved her body, or when this took place, no
one can say. On entering this chamber, you see on the right-hand side a
stone inserted in the wall, on which Christ knelt when he prayed on the
night in which he was betrayed; and the marks of his knees are still
seen in the stone, as if it had been as soft as wax. In the same valley,
not far from the church of St. Mary, is shown the tower of Jehoshaphat,
in which his tomb is seen; adjoining to which little tower, on the
right, is a separate chamber cut out of the rock of Mount Olivet,
containing two hollow sepulchres, one, that of the aged Simeon the Just,
who held the child Jesus in the temple, and prophesied of him; the other
of Joseph, the husband of Mary. On the side of Mount Olivet there is a
cave, not far from the church of St. Mary, on an eminence looking
towards the valley of Jehoshaphat, in which are two very deep pits. One
of these extends under the mountain to a vast depth; the other is sunk
straight down from the pavement of the cavern, and is said to be of
great extent. These pits are always closed above. In this cavern are
four stone tables; one, near the entrance, is that of our Lord Jesus,
whose seat is attached to it, and who, doubtless, rested himself here
while his twelve apostles sat at the other tables. There is a wooden
door to the cave, which was often visited by Arculf[16].

After passing through the gate of David, which is adjacent to Mount
Sion, we come to a stone bridge, raised on arches, and pointing straight
across the valley to the south; half-way along which, a little to the
west of it, is the spot where Judas Iscariot hanged himself; and there
is still shown a large fig-tree, from the top of which he is said to
have suspended himself, according to the words of the poet Juvencus,—

    "Informem rapuit ficus de vertice mortem."

On Mount Sion, Arculf saw a square church, which included the site of
our Lord's Supper, the place where the Holy Ghost descended upon the
apostles, the marble column to which our Lord was bound when he was
scourged, and the spot where the Virgin Mary died. Here also is shown
the site of the martyrdom of St. Stephen. He saw on the south of Mount
Sion a small field (Aceldama) covered with a heap of stones, where the
bodies of many pilgrims are carefully buried, while others are left to
rot on the surface.

The ground to the north of Jerusalem, as far as the city of Samuel,
which is called Ramatha, is at intervals rough and stony. There are open
valleys, covered with thorns, extending all the way to the region of
Tamnitis; but, on the other side, from Ælia (Jerusalem) and Mount Sion
to Cæsarea of Palestine, though some narrow and craggy places are found,
yet the principal part of the way is a level plain interspersed with
olive-yards. Arculf states that few trees are found on Mount Olivet,
except vines and olive trees, but wheat and barley flourish exceedingly;
the nature of the soil, which is not adapted to trees, is favourable to
grass and flowers. The height of this hill appears to be equal to that
of Mount Sion, although it is much more extensive in length and breadth:
the two mountains are separated by the valley of Jehoshaphat. On the
highest point of Mount Olivet, where our Lord ascended into heaven, is a
large round church, having around it three vaulted porticoes. The inner
apartment is not vaulted and covered, because of the passage of our
Lord's body; but it has an altar on the east side, covered with a narrow
roof. On the ground, in the midst of it, are to be seen the last prints
in the dust of our Lord's feet, and the roof appears open above, where
he ascended; and although the earth is daily carried away by believers,
yet still it remains as before, and retains the same impression of the
feet. Near this is a brazen wheel, as high as a man's neck, having an
entrance towards the west, with a great lamp hanging above it on a
pulley, and burning night and day. In the western part of the same
church are eight windows; and eight lamps, hanging by cords opposite
them, cast their light through the glass as far as Jerusalem; which
light, Arculf said, strikes the hearts of the beholders with a mixture
of joy and divine fear. Every year, on the day of the Ascension, when
mass is ended, a strong blast of wind comes down, and casts to the
ground all who are in the church. All that night, lanterns are kept
burning there, so that the mountain appears not only lighted up, but
actually on fire, and all that side of the city is illuminated by it.

Arculf visited at Bethany a field in the middle of a large grove of
olives, where there is a great monastery, and a church built over the
cave where our Lord raised Lazarus from the dead. There is also a much
frequented church to the north of Bethany, on that part of Mount Olivet
where our Lord is said to have preached to his disciples.

From Jerusalem Arculf went to Bethlehem, which is situated on a narrow
ridge, surrounded on all sides by valleys. The ridge is about a mile
long, from west to east; and a low wall, without towers, surrounds the
brow of the hill, and overlooks the valley. The houses of the
inhabitants are scattered here and there over the space within the wall.
At the extreme eastern angle there is a sort of natural half cave, the
outer part of which is said to have been the place of our Lord's birth;
the inside is called our Lord's Manger. The whole of this cave is
covered within with precious marble. Over the place where more
especially our Lord is said to have been born, stands the great church
of St. Mary. Near the wall is a hollow stone, which received back from
the wall the water in which our Lord's body was washed, and has ever
since been full of the purest water, without any diminution. If by any
accident or service it has been emptied, it quickly becomes as full as
before. In the valley to the north of Bethlehem, Arculf saw the tomb of
David, in the middle of a church, covered with a low pyramidal stone,
unadorned, with a lamp placed above it. In another church, on the slope
of the hill to the south, is the tomb of St. Jerome, equally without
ornament. About a mile to the east of Bethlehem, by the tower of Ader,
that is, of the Flock, is a church containing monuments of the three
Shepherds, to whom, on this spot, the angel announced the birth of our

There is a highway, according to Arculf, leading southward from
Jerusalem to Hebron, to the east of which Bethlehem is situated, six
miles from Jerusalem. At the extremity of this road, on the west side,
is the tomb of Rachel, rudely built of stones, without any ornament,
presenting externally the form of a pyramid. Her name, placed there by
her husband Jacob, is still shown upon it.

Hebron, which is also called Mamre, has no walls, and exhibits only the
ruins of the ancient city; but there are some ill-built villages and
hamlets scattered over the plain, and inhabited by a multitude of
people. To the east is a double cave, looking towards Mamre, where are
the tombs of the four patriarchs, Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and Adam the
first man. Contrary to the usual custom, they are placed with the feet
to the south, and the heads to the north; and they are inclosed by a
square low wall. Each of the tombs is covered with a single stone,
worked somewhat in form of a church, and of a light colour for those of
the three patriarchs, which are together. The tomb of Adam, which is of
meaner workmanship, lies not far from them, at the furthest extremity to
the north. Arculf also saw poorer and smaller monuments of the three
women, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, who were here buried in the earth. The
hill of Mamre is a mile to the south-west of these monuments, and is
covered with grass and flowers, with a flat plain at the summit; on the
north side of which is a church, in which is still seen, rooted in the
ground, the stump of the oak of Mamre, called also the oak of Abraham,
because under it he received the angels. St. Jerome says that this oak
had stood there from the beginning of the world. Passing from Hebron
towards the north, a hill of no great size is seen to the left, covered
with fir-trees, about three miles from Hebron. Fir-wood, for fuel, is
carried hence to Jerusalem on camels, for, as Arculf observed, carriages
or waggons are very seldom met with throughout the whole of Judæa.

In another excursion, Arculf proceeded to Jericho, where, although the
city had been three times built, and as many times utterly destroyed,
yet the walls of the house of Rahab still stand, although without a
roof. The whole site of the city is covered with corn-fields and
vineyards, without any habitations. Between it and the Jordan are large
groves of palm trees, interspersed with open spaces, in which are almost
innumerable houses, inhabited by a diminutive sort of men of the race of
Canaan. A large church stands on the site of Galgalis, where the
children of Israel first encamped after passing the Jordan. It is five
miles from Jericho. Within the church are the twelve stones which Joshua
ordered to be taken out of the Jordan; six on the south side of the
church floor, and six on the north. They are so heavy, that two strong
men, at the present day, could hardly lift one of them; one has been
accidentally broken in two, but the pieces have been reunited by means
of iron.

A wooden cross stands in the Jordan, on the spot where our Lord was
baptized, the depth of which, when the water is highest, reaches to the
neck of a tall man, and, when lowest, to the breast. The river is here
about as broad as a man can throw a stone with a sling. A stone bridge,
raised on arches, reaches from the bank of the river to the cross, where
people bathe. Arculf swam backwards and forwards in the water. A little
church stands at the brink of the water, on the spot where our Lord is
said to have laid his clothes when he entered the river. On the higher
ground is a large monastery of monks, and a church dedicated to St.
John. Arculf found the waters of the Jordan of a yellowish milky colour,
and observed that they preserved this colour to a considerable distance,
after they flowed into the Dead Sea, where he also witnessed the way in
which salt was obtained from the waters of the latter.

In another excursion, Arculf visited the spot at the foot of Mount
Libanus where the Jordan has its rise from two fountains, which are
named Jor and Dan, the waters of which uniting, take the name of Jordan;
and he went round the greater part of the Sea of Galilee, called also
the Lake of Gennesareth, and the Sea of Tiberias, which is surrounded by
thick woods, and is a hundred and forty stadia in length. The waters are
sweet, and fit to drink; for it receives no mud, or other coarse
substance, from any marshy pools, but is surrounded on all sides by a
sandy shore. Arculf also travelled over the country of Samaria, and
visited the town called in Hebrew Sichem, but by the Greeks and Latins
Sicima, and now more usually Sichar. Here, without the walls, he saw a
cruciform church, in the centre of which is the well of Jacob, where our
Saviour met the Samaritan woman. Arculf, who drank of the water,
estimated its depth at forty cubits. He also saw in the wilderness a
clear fountain, protected with a covering of masonry, at which it is
reported John the Baptist used to drink. He likewise saw a very small
species of locust, the bodies of which are slender and short, about the
size of a finger; and, because they make short leaps like frogs, they
are easily caught among the grass. When boiled in oil, they form a poor
sort of food. In the same desert he saw trees with broad round leaves of
a milky colour, with the savour of honey, which are naturally fragile,
and, after being bruised with the hand, are eaten; and this is the wild
honey found in the woods. He further saw, on this side of the Sea of
Galilee, to the north of the city of Tiberias, the place where our Lord
blessed the loaves and fishes, a grassy and level plain, which has never
been ploughed since that event, and shows no traces of buildings, except
a few columns round the fountain where, as they say, those persons drank
after they had eaten their fill.

Those who wish to go from Jerusalem to Capernaum, take the direct way by
Tiberias, and from thence, along the Sea of Gennesareth, to the place
where the loaves were blessed, from which Capernaum is at no great
distance. Arculf saw this place from a neighbouring hill, and observed
that it has no walls, but lies on a narrow piece of ground between the
mountain and the lake. On the shore, towards the east, it extends a long
way, having the mountain on the north and the water on the south. Arculf
remained two days and two nights at Nazareth, which is on a hill, and is
also without walls, but it has large houses of stone, and two very large
churches. One of these is raised upon mounds and arches connecting them,
and under it, between the mounds, is a clear fountain, from which all
the citizens draw water in vessels, which they raise up into the church
by means of pulleys. On this site stood formerly the house in which our
Lord was nursed when an infant. The other church was built on the site
of the house in which the archangel Gabriel came to the blessed Mary.

Mount Tabor, in Galilee, is three miles from the Lake of Gennesareth, of
a remarkably round shape, and covered in an extraordinary manner with
grass and flowers. At the top is a pleasant and extensive meadow,
surrounded by a thick wood, and in the middle of the meadow a great
monastery, with numerous cells of monks. The meadow is about twenty-four
stadia in breadth, and the height of the mountain about thirty stadia.
There are also three handsome churches on the top, according to the
number of tabernacles described by Peter[17]. The monastery and churches
are inclosed by a stone wall.

From Mount Tabor, Arculf went to the royal city of Damascus, eight
days' journey, and remained there some days. It is situated in a plain,
surrounded by a broad and ample circuit of walls, with numerous towers,
and is intersected by four great rivers. On all sides beyond the walls
are numerous groves of olives. The king of the Saracens has obtained
possession of this city, and reigns in it[18]. It contains a large
church of St. John the Baptist, frequented by the Christians. The
unbelieving Saracens have built themselves a large mosque here. From
hence Arculf repaired to Tyre, and thence (as it appears) he returned to
Jerusalem. He went subsequently from Jerusalem to Joppa, and thence
sailed, in forty days, to Alexandria in Egypt, a city famous throughout
the whole world. It extends to a great length from east to west, so that
Arculf, who began to enter the city at nine o'clock in the morning
(_hora tertia_), in the month of October, and proceeding through the
whole length of the city, hardly reached the other side before dark[19].
On the south it is bounded by the mouths of the Nile, and on the north
by the Lake Mareotis. Its port is difficult of access, and bears some
resemblance to the human body; for in its head it is sufficiently ample,
but at its entrance it is very narrow, where it admits the tide of the
sea, together with such ships as run into the port to take shelter and
refit. But when you have passed the narrow neck and mouth of the
harbour, the sea, like the human body, stretches out far and wide. On
the right hand side is a small port, in which is the Pharos, a large
tower, which is every night lighted up with torches, lest mariners might
mistake their way in the dark, and be dashed against the rocks in their
attempt to find the entrance, particularly as this is much impeded and
disturbed by the waves dashing to and fro. The port, however, is always
calm, and in magnitude about thirty stadia. The precautions alluded to
are necessary for a port which is, in a manner, the emporium of the
whole world; for innumerable people from all parts go there for
commerce, and the surrounding region is extremely fruitful. Although
the country is destitute of rain, the Nile serves both as a cultivator
of the land, and as the means of transferring its products from one
place to another. Here you see people sowing, there navigating, which
are their chief occupations. The Nile is navigable to the place they
call the town of Elephants[20]; beyond that the cataracts hinder a ship
from proceeding, not from want of water, but because all the waters of
the river run in a sort of wild ruin down a steep descent. Towards
Egypt, as we enter the city, there is a large church on the right, in
which St. Mark the Evangelist is interred. The body is buried in the
eastern part of the church, before the altar, with a monument of squared
marble over it. Along the Nile, the Egyptians are in the habit of
constructing numerous embankments, to prevent the irruption of the
water, which, if these mounds were broken down by the neglect of their
keepers, would rather inundate and destroy than irrigate the lands
below. The Egyptians who inhabit the plains, as Arculf, who frequently
passed backward and forward along the Nile, observed, make their houses
over canals by laying planks across. Arculf relates further, that the
river Nile is haunted by crocodiles, aquatic beasts, not so large as
they are ravenous, and so strong, that if one of them see by chance a
horse or an ass, or even an ox, feeding near the bank of the river, he
suddenly rushes out to attack it, and seizing it perhaps by the foot,
drags it under the water, and devours the whole.

On his return from Alexandria, Arculf went to Constantinople, which is
bounded on all sides, except the north, by the sea. The circuit of the
walls, which are angular, according to the line of the sea, is about
twelve miles. Constantine was at first disposed to build it in Cilicia,
near the sea which separates Europe and Asia; but on a certain night all
the iron tools were carried away, and when men were sent to seek them,
they were found on the European side; for there it was God's will that
the city should be built. In this city is a church of wonderful
workmanship, called the Church of St. Sophia, built circular from its
foundation, domed in, and surrounded by three walls. It is supported to
a great height on columns and arches, and has, in its inmost part, on
the north side, a large and beautiful closet, wherein is a wooden chest
with a wooden lid, containing three pieces of our Lord's cross[21]; that
is to say, the long timber cut in two, and the transverse part of the
same holy cross. These pieces are exhibited for the adoration of the
people three times only in the year; namely, on the day of our Lord's
Supper, the day of the Preparation, and on Holy Saturday. On the first
of these, the chest, which is two cubits long and one broad, is set out
on a golden altar, with the holy cross exposed to view: the Emperor
first approaches, and, after him, all the different ranks of laymen in
order kiss and worship it; on the following day, the Empress and all the
married women and virgins do the same; on the third day, the bishops and
different orders of the clergy observe the same ceremonies; and then the
chest is shut, and carried back to the closet before mentioned.

Arculf saw other sacred relics in Constantinople, and then sailed for
his own country. About twelve miles from Sicily he saw the isle of
Vulcano, whence constantly issued smoke by day and fire by night, with a
noise like thunder, but with more intensity on Fridays and Saturdays.
The noise is heard in Sicily, where Arculf made a short stay; and
afterwards, on his way home, he was carried by contrary winds to the
shores of Britain, and at length came to me, Adamnan, who by diligent
inquiry obtained from him the above particulars, which I have carefully
committed to writing.


[14] Jerusalem was first captured by the Saracens, under the khalif
Omar, in 637, about sixty years before it was visited by Arculf. The
patriarch Sophronius, when requested by Omar to point out a place for
the erection of a mosque, is said to have taken him to the ruins on the
site of Solomon's Temple, which had been deserted by the Christians, and
where the building known as the Mosque of Omar was subsequently built.
Until Arculf's time, the Mohammedans appear, however, to have had but a
rough and temporary erection, unless the worthy bishop's pious zeal
would not allow him to speak of the mosque otherwise than

[15] It was a very old article of popular belief, founded on a literal
interpretation of the words of Ps. lxxiv. 12, that Jerusalem was the
centre, or, as it was often expressed, the navel, of the world; and it
is so exhibited in nearly all the medieval maps.

[16] Dr. Clarke is the only modern traveller who has given any notice of
these subterranean chambers or pits, which he supposes to have been
ancient places of idolatrous worship.

[17] Matth. xvii. 4.

[18] Damascus was taken by the Arabs in 634. By the capitulation, the
Christians were to have seven churches; but one of the Arabian leaders
having broken into the city before the capitulation was completed, it
was only very partially observed.

[19] Alexandria fell into the power of the Arabs in 640. The account
given of the city by Arculf would lead us to believe that its prosperity
and importance were not so suddenly reduced by that event as is
generally believed.

[20] _Urbs Elephantorum._ The town of Elephantina, famous for its
interesting monuments, situate on the Nile, just below the cataracts. It
is to be presumed that Arculf had visited this place; and perhaps he had
here seen the crocodiles subsequently described, as those animals are
said not to be found in Lower Egypt. It must, however, be observed, that
St. Antoninus, who visited Egypt in the seventh century, appears to have
seen crocodiles in Lower Egypt. See his Life, in the Act. Sanct. of the

[21] The subsequent history of the supposed real cross, or rather the
supposed fragments of it, which were scattered as relics over Christian
Europe, would fill a volume. It was pretended that it was brought to
France by Charlemagne.


A.D. 721-727.


After the ceremonies of Easter were ended, the active champion (of
Christ) prepared for his voyage with his two companions, and left Rome.
They first went eastward to the town of Daterina[22], where they
remained two days; and thence to Cajeta, on the coast, where they went
on board a ship and sailed over to Nebule[23]. They here left the ship,
and remained a fortnight. These are cities belonging to the Romans; they
are in the territory of Beneventum, but subject to Rome. There, after
waiting anxiously, in constant prayer that their desires might be
agreeable to heaven, they found a ship bound for Egypt, in which they
took their passage, and sailed to the land of Calabria, to the town
which is called Rhegia[24], and there remained two days; and then
proceeded to the island of Sicily, in which is the town of Catania,
where the body of St. Agatha, the virgin, reposes. And there is Mount
Etna; in case of an eruption of which, the inhabitants of Catania take
the veil of St. Agatha, and hold it up towards the fire, which
immediately ceases. They made a stay of three weeks at this place, and
then sailed to the isle of Samos, and thence to the town of Ephesus, in
Asia, which is one mile from the sea. They walked thence to the place
where the seven sleepers repose; and onward thence to John the
Evangelist, in a beautiful locality by Ephesus. They next walked two
miles along the sea-side to a large village which is called Figila[25],
where they remained one day, and, having begged bread, they went to a
fountain in the middle of the town, and, sitting on the edge, they
dipped their bread in the water, and so made their meal. They next
walked along the sea-shore to the town of Strobole[26], seated on a
lofty hill, and thence to the place called Patera, where they remained
till the rigour of winter was past.

After this, going on ship-board, they came to the town which is called
Melitena[27], which had been nearly destroyed by an inundation; and two
hermits lived there on a rock, secured by walls, so that the water could
not reach them. And there they suffered much from hunger, from which
they were only relieved by God's providential mercy[28]. They sailed
thence to the isle of Cyprus, which is between the Greeks and the
Saracens, to the town of Papho, where they passed the first week in the
year. And thence they went to the town of Constantia, where St.
Epiphanius reposes, and there they remained till after the Nativity of
St. John the Baptist[29]. They then put to sea again and came into the
region of the Saracens to the town of Tharratas[30], by the sea; and
thence they walked a distance of nine to twelve miles to a castle called
Archæ[31], where there was a Greek bishop; and there they had divine
service according to the Greek custom. Thence they walked twelve miles
to the town which is called Emessa, where there is a large church built
by St. Helena, in honour of John the Baptist, whose head was long
preserved there. This is in Syria.

Willibald's party had now increased to eight in number, and they became
an object of suspicion to the Saracens, who, seeing that they were
strangers, seized them and threw them into prison, because they knew
not of what country they were, and supposed them to be spies. They
carried them as prisoners before a certain rich old man, that he might
examine them; and he inquired whence they came and the object of their
mission; whereupon they related to him the true cause of their journey.
The old man replied, "I have often seen men of the parts of the earth
whence these come, travelling hither; they seek no harm, but desire to
fulfil their law." And upon that they went to the palace, to obtain
leave to proceed to Jerusalem.

While they were in prison it happened, by a manifest intervention of
Divine Providence, that a merchant residing there was desirous, as an
act of charity, and for the salvation of his soul, to purchase their
deliverance, that they might pursue their way, but he was not allowed to
carry his generous design into effect; nevertheless he sent them daily
their meals, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays sent his son to them in
prison, who took them out to the bath, and brought them back again. And
on Sunday he took them to church through the market, that they might see
the shops, and whatever they seemed to take a liking to he afterwards
bought for them at his own expense. The townsmen used then to come there
to look at them, because they were young and handsome, and clad in good

Then, while they were still remaining in prison, a man, who was a native
of Spain, came and spoke with them, and inquired earnestly who they were
and from whence they came, and they told him the object of their
pilgrimage. This Spaniard had a brother in the king's palace, who was
chamberlain to the king of the Saracens; and when the governor who had
thrown them into prison came to the palace, the captain in whose ship
they had sailed from Cyprus, and the Spaniard who had spoken to them in
prison, went together before the king of the Saracens, whose title is
Emir-al-Mumenin[32], and, when their cause came on, the Spaniard spoke
to his brother, and begged him to intercede with the king for them.
After this, when all three came before the king, and told him the case,
he asked whence the prisoners came. And they said, "These men come from
the west country, where the sun sets; and we know of no land beyond
them, but water only." And the king replied, "Why ought we to punish
them? they have not sinned against us:—give them leave, and let them
go." And even the fine of four deniers, which the other prisoners had to
pay, was remitted to them. The Cyprians were then situated between the
Greeks and the Saracens, and were not in arms: for there was great peace
and friendship between the Greeks and Saracens. It was a great and
extensive region, and had twelve bishops.

As soon as they had obtained leave, the travellers went direct to
Damascus, a distance of a hundred miles. St. Ananias reposes there, and
it is in the land of Syria. They remained there one week. And at two
miles from the city was a church, on the spot where St. Paul was first
converted, and the Lord said to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" &c. And after praying there, they went into Galilee, to the place
where Gabriel first came to St. Mary, and said, "Hail, full of grace,"
&c. A church now stands there, and the village which contains the church
is Nazareth. The Christians repeatedly bought that church of the pagans,
when the latter were about to destroy it. And having there recommended
themselves to the Lord, they proceeded to the town of Cana, where our
Lord turned water into wine. A large church stands there, and near the
altar is still preserved one of the six vessels which our Lord commanded
to fill with water to be turned into wine; and the travellers drunk wine
out of it. They remained there one day, and then continued their journey
to Mount Tabor, the scene of our Lord's transfiguration, where there is
now a monastery and a church consecrated to our Lord, and Moses, and
Elijah. And those who dwell there call it Hagemon (the Holy Mount).
After praying there, they proceeded to the town of Tiberias, which
stands on the shore of the sea on which our Lord walked with dry feet,
and on which Peter tried to walk but sank. Here are many churches, and a
synagogue of the Jews. They remained there some days, and observed where
the Jordan passes through the midst of the sea. And thence they went
round the sea, and by the village of Magdalum to the village of
Capernaum, where our Lord raised the prince's daughter. Here was a house
and a great wall, which the people of the place told them was the
residence of Zebedæus with his sons John and James. And thence they went
to Bethsaida, the residence of Peter and Andrew, where there is now a
church on the site of their house. They remained there that night, and
next morning went to Chorazin, where our Lord healed the demoniacs, and
sent the devil into a herd of swine. Here was a church of the

Having performed their devotions there, they went to the place where the
two fountains, Jor and Dan, issue from the earth, and flowing down from
the mountain are collected into one, and form the Jordan. And there they
passed the night between the two fountains, and the shepherds gave them
sour ewes' milk to drink. The sheep are of an extraordinary kind, with a
long back, short legs, large upright horns, and all of one colour. There
are deep marshes in the neighbourhood, and when the heat of the sun, in
summer, is oppressive, the sheep go to the marsh, and immerse themselves
in the water all but the head. Thence they proceeded to Cæsarea, where
there was a church and a multitude of Christians. They next went to the
monastery of St. John the Baptist[33], where there were about twenty
monks, and remained one night there, and next day went the distance of a
mile to the spot in the river Jordan where our Lord was baptized. Here
is now a church raised upon stone columns, and under the church it is
now dry land where our Lord was baptized. They still continue to baptize
in this place; and a wooden cross stands in the middle of the river,
where there is small depth of water, and a rope is extended to it over
the Jordan. At the feast of the Epiphany, the infirm and sick come
thither, and, holding by the rope, dip in the water. And women who are
barren come thither also, and thus obtain God's grace. Willibald here
bathed in the Jordan, and they remained at this place one day.

Thence they went to Galgala, a journey of five miles, where is a
moderate-sized wooden church, in which are the twelve stones which the
children of Israel carried out of the Jordan to Galgala, and placed
there as a memorial of their passage. Here also they performed their
devotions, and then proceeded to Jericho, above seven miles from the
Jordan, and saw there the fountain which was blessed by the prophet
Elisha, and hence to the monastery of St. Eustochium, which stands in
the middle of the plain between Jericho and Jerusalem.

On their arrival at Jerusalem, they first visited the spot where the
holy cross was found, where there is now a church which is called the
Place of Calvary, and which was formerly outside of Jerusalem; but when
St. Helena found the cross, the place was taken into the circuit of the
city. Three wooden crosses stand in this place, on the outside of the
wall of the church, in memory of our Lord's cross and of those of the
other persons crucified at the same time. They are without the church,
but under a roof. And near at hand is the garden in which was the
sepulchre of our Saviour, which was cut in the rock. That rock is now
above ground, square at the bottom, but tapering above, with a cross on
the summit. And over it there is now built a wonderful edifice. And on
the east side of the rock of the sepulchre there is a door, by which men
enter the sepulchre to pray. And there is a bed within, on which our
Lord's body lay; and on the bed stand fifteen golden cups with oil
burning day and night. The bed on which our Lord's body rested stands
within the rock of the sepulchre on the north side, to the right of a
man entering the sepulchre to pray. And before the door of the sepulchre
lies a great square stone, in the likeness of the former stone which the
angel rolled from the mouth of the monument. Our bishop arrived here on
the feast of St. Martin[34], and was suddenly seized with sickness, and
lay sick until the week before the Nativity of our Lord. And then, being
a little recovered, he rose and went to the church called St. Sion,
which is in the middle of Jerusalem, and, after performing his
devotions, he went to the porch of Solomon, where is the pool where the
infirm wait for the motion of the water, when the angel comes to move
it; and then he who first enters it is healed. Here our Lord said to the
paralytic, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk!"[35] St. Mary expired in
the middle of Jerusalem, in the place called St. Sion; and as the twelve
apostles were carrying her body, the angels came and took her from their
hands and carried her to paradise.

Bishop Willibald next descended to the valley of Jehoshaphat, which is
close to the city of Jerusalem, on the east side. And in that valley is
the church of St. Mary, which contains her sepulchre, not because her
body rests there, but in memory of it. And having prayed there, he
ascended Mount Olivet, which is on the east side of the valley, and
where there is now a church, where our Lord prayed before his passion,
and said to his disciples, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
temptation."[36] And thence he came to the church on the mountain
itself, where our Lord ascended to heaven. In the middle of the church
is a square receptacle, beautifully sculptured in brass, on the spot of
the Ascension, and there is on it a small lamp in a glass case, closed
on every side, that the lamp may burn always, in rain or in fair
weather, for the church is open above, without a roof; and two columns
stand within the church, against the north wall and the south wall, in
memory of the two men who said, "Men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up
into heaven?"[37] And the man who can creep between the wall and the
columns will have remission of his sins.

He next came to the place where the angel appeared to the shepherds, and
thence to Bethlehem, where our Lord was born, distant seven miles from
Jerusalem. The place where Christ was born was once a cave under the
earth, but it is now a square house cut in the rock, and the earth is
dug up and thrown from it all round, and a church is now built above it,
and an altar is placed over the site of the birth. There is another
smaller altar, in order that when they desire to celebrate mass in the
cave, they may carry in the smaller altar for the occasion. This church
is a glorious building, in the form of a cross. After prayers here,
Willibald came to a large town called Thecua, where the children were
slain by Herod, and where there is now a church; here rests one of the
prophets. And then he came to the valley of Laura, where there is a
large monastery; here the abbot resides in the monastery, and he is
porter of the church, with many other monks who belong to the monastery,
and have their cells round the valley on the slope of the mountain. The
mountain is in a circle round the valley, in which the monastery is
built. Here rests St. Saba. He next arrived at the place where Philip
baptized the eunuch, where there is a small church, in an extensive
valley between Bethlehem and Gaza, where the travellers prayed. Thence
they went to St. Matthew, where there is great glory on the Sunday. And
while our bishop Willibald was standing at mass in this church, he
suddenly lost his sight, and was blind for two months. And thence they
went to St. Zacharias, the prophet, not the father of John, but another
prophet. They next went to the castle of Aframia, where the three
patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, repose, with their wives, and
thence he returned to Jerusalem, and there, entering the church where
the holy cross of our Lord was found, he recovered his sight.

After remaining some time at Jerusalem, Willibald set out on another
journey, and came first to St. George, at Diospolis, which is ten miles
from Jerusalem, and then to a town where there is a church of St. Peter
the apostle, who here restored to life the widow named Dorcas. He went
thence to the coast, far away from Jerusalem, to Tyre and Sidon, which
stand on the sea-shore six miles from each other; after which he passed
over Mount Libanus, to Damascus, and so again to Cæsarea, and a third
time to Jerusalem, where he passed the following winter. And then he
went to the town of Ptolemais, on the extreme bounds of Syria, and was
obliged by sickness to remain there all Lent. His companions went
forward to the king of the Saracens, named Emir-al-Mumenin, with the
hope of obtaining letters of safe conduct; but they could not find the
king, because he had fled out of his kingdom. Upon this, they came back,
and remained together at Ptolemais until the week before Easter.

Then they went again to Emessa, and asked the governor there to give
them letters, and he gave them a letter for each two, because they could
not travel in a company, but only two and two, on account of the
difficulty of obtaining food. And then they went to Damascus, and
returned a fourth time to Jerusalem, where they remained a short period.

They now left Jerusalem by another route, and came to the town of
Sebaste, which was formerly called Samaria, and they call the castle
Sebastia. Here repose St. John the Baptist, and the prophets Abdiah and
Elisha; and near the castle is the well at which our Lord asked for
water of the Samaritan woman, and over which well there is now a church.
And near is the mountain on which the Samaritans worshipped; for the
woman said to our Lord, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye
say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."[38]
Here the travellers performed their devotions, and then they proceeded
to a large town on the farthest borders of Samaria, where they reposed
that night. And thence they continued their journey over an extensive
plain covered with olive trees, and they were accompanied by a black
with two camels and a mule, who was conducting a woman through the wood.
And on their way they were met by a lion[39], which threatened them much
with fearful roaring; but the black encouraged them, and told them to go
forwards; and when they approached it, the lion, as God willed, hurried
off in another direction, and they soon heard his roaring in the
distance. They supposed he came there to devour people who went into the
wood to gather olives. At length they arrived at a town called
Thalamartha, on the sea-coast; and they proceeded onwards to the head of
Mount Libanus, where it forms a promontory in the sea, and where stands
the tower of Libanus. Nobody is allowed to pass this place without
letters of safe conduct, for there is a guard in it; those who are
without such letters, are seized and sent to Tyre. That mountain is
between Tyre and Thalamartha. And so the bishop arrived again at Tyre.

Willibald had formerly, when at Jerusalem, bought balsam, and filled a
gourd with it; and he took a gourd that was hollow, and had flax, and
filled it with rock oil[40]; and poured some in the other gourd, and cut
the small stalk, so that it fitted exactly and closed up the mouth of
the gourd. So, when they came to Tyre, the citizens stopped them, and
examined their burthens to see if they had any thing concealed; for if
they had found any thing, they would immediately have put them to death.
But they found nothing but Willibald's gourd, which they opened, and,
smelling the rock oil in the stalk, they did not discover the balsam
that was within. So they let them go. They remained here many days
waiting for a ship, and when they had obtained one they were at sea all
the winter, from the day of St. Andrew the apostle[41] till a week
before Easter, when they reached Constantinople. Here repose in one
altar the three saints, Andrew, Timothy, and Luke the evangelist; and
the sepulchre of John Chrysostom is before the altar where the priest
stands when he performs mass. Willibald remained there two years, and
was lodged in the church, so that he might behold daily where the saints
reposed. And then he came to the town of Nice, where the emperor
Constantine held a synod, at which three hundred and eighteen bishops
were present. The church here resembles the church on Mount Olivet,
where our Lord ascended to heaven, and in it are the pictures
of the bishops who were at the synod. Willibald went thither from
Constantinople, that he might see how that church was built, and then
returned to Constantinople.

At the end of the two years they sailed, in company with the envoys of
the pope and the emperor, to the isle of Sicily, to the town of
Syracuse, and thence to Catania, and so to the city of Regia, in
Calabria; and thence to the isle of Vulcano, where is Theodoric's
Hell[42]. And when they arrived there, they went on shore to see what
sort of a hell it was; and Willibald especially, who was curious to see
the interior, was wishful to ascend to the summit of the mountain where
the opening was; but he was unable to accomplish his wish, on account of
the cinders which were thrown up from the gulf, and settled in heaps
round the brim, as snow settles on the ground when it falls from heaven.
But though Willibald was defeated in his attempt to reach the summit, he
had a near view of the column of flame and smoke which was projected
upwards from the pit with a noise like thunder. And he saw how the
pumice-stone, which writers use[43], was thrown with the flame from the
hell, and fell into the sea, and was thence cast on the shore, where men
gathered it and carried it away. After having witnessed this spectacle,
they sailed to the church of St. Bartholomew the apostle, which stands
on the sea-shore, and came to the mountains which are called Didymi.
Thence they went by sea to Naples.


[22] Probably Terracina.

[23] Probably this is a corruption of Neapolis, or Naples.

[24] Now Reggio.

[25] This evidently corresponds to the Πυγελα (or Pygela) of Strabo,
which he calls πολίχνιον, a little town. Stephanus and Pomponius Mela
also write Pygela, but Pliny has it _Phygala_. The site is now,
according to Hamilton, (Trav. vol. ii. p. 22,) covered with fragments of
Roman tiles and pottery; and near the road is the foundation of a large
marble building, apparently a temple.

[26] Mr. Ainsworth, with whom I have consulted on this name, observes,
"I can only suppose that we must read Trogilium for Strobolem, or that
the latter was the native corruption of Trogilium, the name, according
to Ptolemy, of the promontory which lies between Ephesus and the
Meander, and which is opposite the island of Samos." In the Acts of the
Apostles, xx. 15, it is written, "And we sailed thence, (Mitylena,) and
came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at
Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus."

[27] _i. e._ Miletus.

[28] The passage in the original is rather obscure. The later anonymous
life of St. Willibald says that they came to the mount of the Galani,
which having been ravaged by war, they were distressed for want of
provisions. "Navim demum ingressi, ad montem Galanorum transfretarunt;
quo bellorum tempestate tunc temporis depilato sævam passi sunt

[29] June 24, 722.

[30] Tortosa, now called Tartus.

[31] The Arca of Ptolemy, placed in the Antonine Itinerary, 18 M.P. from
Tripolis, and 32 M.P. from Antaradon. Josephus (De Bel. Jud., lib. vii.
c. 13) says the Gentiles called this Phœnician town Arcæa or Arcena. It
is now called Tele Arka.

[32] _i. e._ Emir, or commander of the faithful. Willibald, not
understanding the language, translated the title of the khalif into the
name of a king, whom the biographer calls _Mirmumni_. In a similar
manner the old Spanish and English historians frequently turned the same
title into the name Miramomelin. The khalif here alluded to was Yézid

[33] In the desert of Quarantania.

[34] Nov. 11, 722.

[35] John, v. 8.

[36] Matth., xxvi. 41.

[37] Acts, i. 11.

[38] John, iv. 20.

[39] Lions were ever of very rare occurrence in Syria: perhaps it was
some other wild animal peculiar to the country that Willibald saw. It
may, however, be pointed out as a curious illustration of the words of
Jeremiah (xlix. 19, and l. 44), "He shall come up like a _lion_ from the
swelling of Jordan."

[40] _Petræ oleum._ No doubt the writer means naphtha, bitumen, or

[41] Nov. 30, 724.

[42] _Infernus Theodorici._ In the legends of this age, the craters of
volcanoes were believed to be entrances to hell. A hermit, who resided
on the Isle of Lipari, told a friend of pope Gregory the Great that he
had seen the soul of the Gothic king, Theodoric, thrown into the crater
of the Isle of Vulcano (Gregor. Magn. Dialog., lib. iv. c. 30). Hence
the name given to it in Willibald's narrative.

[43] The medieval scribes made constant use of the pumice-stone, for
smoothening their vellum and for making erasures.


A.D. 867.

In the year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 867, in the
name of the Lord wishing to visit the holy places at Jerusalem, I,
Bernard, having taken for my companions two brother monks, one of whom
was of the monastery of St. Vincent at Beneventum, and named Theudemund,
and the other a Spaniard, named Stephen, we went to Rome, to Pope
Nicholas, and obtained the desired licence to go, along with his
benediction and assistance.

Thence we went to Mount Gargano, in which is the Church of St. Michael,
under one stone, covered above with oak trees; which church is said to
have been dedicated by the archangel himself. Its entrance is from the
north, and it is capable of containing sixty men. In the interior, on
the east side, is the image of the angel; to the south is an altar on
which sacrifice is offered, and no other gift is placed there. But there
is suspended before the altar a vessel in which gifts are deposited,
which also has near it other altars. Benignatus is abbot of this place,
and presides over a numerous brotherhood.

Leaving Mount Gargano, we travelled a hundred and fifty miles, to a city
in the power of the Saracens, named Bari[44], which was formerly subject
to Beneventum. It is seated on the sea, and is fortified to the south by
two very wide walls; but to the north it stands exposed to the sea. Here
we obtained from the prince of the city, called the sultan, the
necessary arrangements for our voyage, with two letters of safe conduct,
describing our persons and the object of our journey, to the prince of
Alexandria, and to the prince of Babylonia[45]. These princes are under
the jurisdiction of the Emir-al-Mumenin, who rules over all the
Saracens, and resides in Bagada and Axinarri, which are beyond

From Bari we proceeded to the port of the city of Tarentum, a distance
of ninety miles, where we found six ships, having on board nine thousand
captives of the Christians of Beneventum. In the two ships which sailed
first, and which were bound for Africa, were three thousand captives;
and in the two which followed them, and which went to Tunis, there were
also three thousand. The two others, which likewise contained the same
number of Christian captives, carried us to the port of Alexandria,
after a voyage of thirty days. Here we were prohibited from landing by
the captain of the sailors, who had sixty under his command, until we
had given six _aurei_ for our leave. Thence we went to the prince of
Alexandria, and showed him the letter which the sultan had given us, to
which, however, he paid no attention, but obliged each of us to pay
thirteen deniers, and then gave us letters to the prince of Babylonia.
It is the custom of these people to take in weight only what can be
weighed; and six of our sols and six deniers make three sols and three
deniers of their money.

The city of Alexandria is adjacent to the sea. It was here that St.
Mark, preaching the gospel, bore the episcopal dignity; and outside the
eastern gate of the city is the monastery of the saint, with the church
in which he formerly reposed. But the Venetians coming there obtained
his body by stealth, and carrying it on shipboard, sailed home with it.
Without the western gate is a monastery called The Forty Saints, in
which, as well as in the former, there are a number of monks. The port
is to the north of the city; on the south is the entrance to the Gyon,
or Nile, which waters Egypt, and, running through the middle of the
city, empties itself into the sea in the aforesaid port. We entered the
river, and sailed to the south six days, and came to the city of Babylon
of Egypt, where once reigned king Pharaoh, under whom Joseph built the
seven granaries still remaining. When we went on shore at Babylon, the
guards of the city carried us before the prince, a Saracen named
Adalhacham, who inquired of us the object of our journey, and asked us
from what princes we had letters. Whereupon we showed him the letters of
the aforesaid sultan, and those of the prince of Alexandria; but they
were of no service to us, for he sent us to prison, where we remained
six days, and then, having consulted together, we obtained our liberty
by giving more money. He then gave us letters, which effectually
protected us from any further exactions, for he was second in command to
the Emir-al-Mumenin aforesaid. Nevertheless, when we entered the cities
mentioned in the following narrative, we were never allowed to leave
them until we had received a paper or impression of a seal, for which we
had to pay one or two deniers.

There is in this city a patriarch, by name Michael[46], who by the grace
of God rules over the bishops, monks, and other Christians throughout
Egypt. These Christians are tolerated by the pagans, on condition of
paying for each person an annual tribute to the aforesaid prince, and
they live in security and freedom. This tribute is three, or two, or one
aureus, or for a meaner person thirteen deniers. But he who cannot pay
thirteen deniers, whether he be a native or a stranger, is thrown into
prison, until God or some good Christian redeem him.

We now returned by the river Gyon, and came to the city of Sitinulh, and
thence proceeded to Malla; and from Malla we sailed across to Damietta,
which has the sea to the north, and on all other sides the river Nile,
with the exception of a small strip of land. We sailed thence to the
city of Tamnis, in which the Christians are very pious, and exceedingly
hospitable. This city possesses no land, except where the churches
stand; and there is shown the field of Thanis, where lie, in the manner
of three walls, the bodies of those who died in the time of Moses[47].
From Tamnis we came to the city of Faramea, where is a church of St.
Mary, on the spot to which, by the admonition of the angel, Joseph fled
with the child and its mother. In this city there is a multitude of
camels, which are hired from the natives by travellers to carry their
baggage across the desert, which is a journey of six days. At this city
the desert begins; and it may well be called a desert, for it bears
neither grass nor fruit of any kind, with the exception of palm-trees,
and it is white, like a plain covered with snow. In the middle of the
route there are two caravanserais, one called Albara, the other
Albacara, in which the Christians and pagans traffic for the things
necessary on the journey. But around them the earth is as barren as in
the rest of the desert. After Albacara the earth becomes fruitful, and
continues so to the city of Gaza, which was the city of Samson, and is
very rich in all things. Then we came to Alariza, and thence we went to
Ramula, near which is the monastery of St. George the Martyr, in which
he rests. From Ramula we hastened to the castle of Emaus; and thence we
went to the holy city of Jerusalem, where we were received in the hostel
founded there by the glorious emperor Charles[48], in which are received
all the pilgrims who speak the Roman tongue; to which adjoins a church
in honour of St. Mary, with a most noble library, founded by the same
emperor, with twelve mansions, fields, vineyards, and a garden in the
Valley of Jehoshaphat. In front of the hospital is a market, for which
every one trading there pays yearly to him who provides it two aurei.

Within this city, besides others, there are four principal churches,
connected with each other by walls; one to the east, which contains the
Mount of Calvary, and the place in which the cross of our Lord was
found, and is called the Basilica of Constantine; another to the south;
a third to the west, in the middle of which is the sepulchre of our
Lord, having nine columns in its circuit, between which are walls made
of the most excellent stones; of which nine columns, four are in front
of the monument itself; which, with their walls, include the stone
placed before the sepulchre, which the angel rolled away, and on which
he sat after our Lord's resurrection. It is not necessary to say more of
this sepulchre, since Bede has given a full description of it in his
history[49]. I must not, however, omit to state, that on Holy Saturday,
which is the eve of Easter, the office is begun in the morning in this
church, and after it is ended the _Kyrie Eleison_ is chanted, until an
angel comes and lights the lamps which hang over the aforesaid
sepulchre[50]; of which light the patriarch gives their shares to the
bishops and to the rest of the people, that each may illuminate his own
house. The present patriarch is called Theodosius[51], and was brought
to this place on account of his piety from his monastery, which is
fifteen miles from Jerusalem, and was made patriarch over all the
Christians in the Land of Promise. Between the aforesaid four churches
is a parvis without roof, the walls of which shine with gold, and the
pavement is laid with very precious stone; and in the middle four
chains, coming from each of the four churches, join in a point which is
said to be the middle of the world.

There is, moreover, in the city, another church on Mount Sion, which is
called the Church of St. Simeon, where our Lord washed the feet of his
disciples, and in which is suspended our Lord's crown of thorns. St.
Mary is said to have died in this church. Near it, towards the east, is
a church in honour of St. Stephen, on the spot where he is believed to
have been stoned. And, indirectly to the east, is a church in honour of
St. Peter, in the place where he denied our Lord. To the north is the
Temple of Solomon, having a synagogue of the Saracens[52]. To the south
of it are the iron gates through which the angel of the Lord led Peter
out of prison, and which were never opened afterwards.

Leaving Jerusalem, we descended into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is
a mile from the city, containing the village of Gethsemane, with the
place of the nativity of St. Mary. In it is a round church of St. Mary,
containing her sepulchre, on which the rain never falls, although there
is no roof above it. There is also a church on the spot where our Lord
was betrayed, containing the four round tables of his Supper. In the
Valley of Jehoshaphat there is also a church of St. Leon, in which it is
said that our Lord will come at the Last Judgment. Thence we went to
Mount Olivet, on the declivity of which is shown the place of our Lord's
prayer to the Father. On the side of the same mountain is shown the
place where the Pharisees brought to our Lord the woman taken in
adultery, where there is a church in honour of St. John, in which is
preserved the writing in marble which our Lord wrote on the ground[53].
At the summit of the mountain, a mile from the Valley of Jehoshaphat, is
the place of our Lord's ascension, in the middle of which, on the spot
from which he ascended, is an altar open to the sky, on which mass is
celebrated. Thence we proceeded to Bethany, which is to the south, on
the ascent of the mountain, one mile from the top; there is here a
monastery, with a church containing the sepulchre of Lazarus; near
which, to the north, is a pool in which, by our Lord's command, Lazarus
washed himself after he had been raised from the dead; and he is said to
have been subsequently bishop in Ephesus forty years. On the western
declivity of Mount Olivet is shown the marble from which the Lord
descended on the foal of an ass. Between these, to the south, in the
Valley of Jehoshaphat, is the pool of Siloah.

When we left Jerusalem on the way to Bethlehem, the place of our Lord's
nativity, distant six miles, we were shown the field in which Habakkuk
was at work when the angel of the Lord ordered him to carry his meal to
Daniel in Babylon, which is to the south, where Nebuchadnezzar reigned,
but which is now the haunt of serpents and wild beasts. At Bethlehem
there is a very large church in honour of St. Mary, in the middle of
which is a crypt under a stone, the entrance of which is from the south,
and the egress from the east, in which is shown the manger of our Lord,
on the west side of the crypt. But the place in which our Lord cried, is
to the east, having an altar where masses are celebrated. Near this
church, to the south, is a church of the Blessed Innocents, the martyrs.
One mile from Bethlehem, is the monastery of the Holy Shepherds, to whom
the angel appeared at our Lord's nativity. Lastly, thirty miles to the
east of Jerusalem is the river Jordan, on which is the monastery of St.
John; in which space there are also many other monasteries. Among them,
one mile to the south of the city of Jerusalem, is the church of St.
Mamilla, in which are many bodies of martyrs slain by the Saracens, and
diligently buried there by her.

We returned from the holy city of Jerusalem direct to the sea, where we
took ship, and sailed sixty days in very great peril, from the violence
of the wind. At length we landed at _Mons Aureus_, where is a crypt
containing seven altars, and having above it a great forest; which crypt
is so dark, that none can enter it without lamps. The abbot there is Dom
Valentine. Thence we went to Rome, within which city, to the east, in a
place called Lateran, is a well-built church in honour of St. John the
Baptist, where is the special see of the popes; and there, every year,
the keys are carried to the pope from every part of the city. On the
west side of Rome is the church of St. Peter, the chief of the
Apostles, where he rests; the magnitude of which is unequalled by any
church in the whole world, and it contains a variety of ornaments. In
which city repose innumerable bodies of saints.

Here I separated from my companions; I myself proceeded thence to St.
Michael _ad Duas Tumbas_[54], which is a place situated on a mountain
that runs out two leagues into the sea. At the summit of this mountain
is a church in honour of St. Michael; the mountain is surrounded by the
tide twice every day, at morning and evening, and men cannot go to the
mountain until the sea retires. But on the Feast of St. Michael the sea
does not join round the mountain when the tide comes in, but stands like
walls to the right and left, so that on that day all who wish to perform
their devotions there can pass to the mountain any hour of the day,
which they cannot do on other days. There Phinimontius, a Breton, is

Now I will tell you how the Christians keep God's law both at Jerusalem
and in Egypt. The Christians and Pagans have there such a peace between
them, that if I should go a journey, and in the journey my camel or ass
which carries my baggage should die, and I should leave everything there
without a guard, and go to the next town to get another, on my return I
should find all my property untouched. The law of public safety is there
such, that if they find in a city, or on the sea, or on the road, any
man journeying by night or by day, without a letter, or some mark of a
king or prince of that land, he is immediately thrown into prison, till
the time he can give a good account whether he be a spy or not.

The people of Beneventum, in their pride, slew their prince, Sichard,
and did great injury to the Christian faith; then they had quarrels and
contentions among themselves, until Louis, the brother of Lothaire and
Charles[55], obtained the empire over them. And in Romania many crimes
are committed, and there are bad people there, banditti and thieves, and
so men cannot go to Rome to visit St. Peter, unless they join together
in troops, and go armed. In Lombardy, under the reign of the aforesaid
Louis, there is tolerably good peace. The Bretons also have peace among
themselves; and it is there the custom that if any one injure another, a
third immediately comes, whoever he may be who witnesses it, and takes
up the cause of the injured man as though he were his neighbour. And if
any one is proved to have stolen more than four deniers, they slay him,
or hang him on a gallows[56].

I will add, in conclusion, that we saw in the village of Gethsemane
squared marble stones of that fineness that a man might see any thing he
liked in them, as in a looking-glass.


[44] The Saracens had established themselves at Bari in the early part
of the century, and it was now the head seat of their power on the coast
of Italy. Their predatory excursions into the territory of Beneventum
caused the emperor Louis II. to prepare an expedition against them, and
he took Bari after a siege of four years, and returned to Beneventum in
871, while his troops laid siege to Tarentum, which, however, was not
taken from the Saracens till a somewhat later period. The Christian
captives mentioned by Bernard, as carried in such numbers into slavery
in Africa and Egypt, had been carried off in the incursions into the
territory of Beneventum. To judge from the numbers embarked in one ship,
they must have been packed up almost as close as negroes in a

[45] This is the Egyptian Babylon, now Fostat, or, as it is often
called, Old Cairo. Bagdad (Bagada) was, for many ages, the capital of
the Saracen empire, and residence of the khalifs. It is doubtful what
place is meant by _Axinarri_, which, in Mabillon's text, is called

[46] This was the patriarch Michael I., who ruled over the Melchite
portion of the Coptic Christians from 859 to 871. There was at this time
a schism among the Christians of Egypt.

[47] Of the places here visited by Bernard, Sitinulh is perhaps Menuph;
Malla is Mahalleh; and Tamnis is Tennis, or Tennesus, the field of
Thanis, answering to "the field of Zoan," Psal. lxxviii. 12. Faramea (in
the next page), is Farama or Pelusium. The caravanserais are perhaps
_al-bir_ (the well) and _al-bákara_ (the pulley), both common names
given to wells; but it is uncertain now what were the particular spots
alluded to by Bernard. Alariza would seem to be Al-arish.

[48] Charlemagne. We have no other account of Charlemagne's foundations
at Jerusalem; but the khalif Haroun-er-Raschid is said to have shown
great favour to the Christian pilgrims from respect for the Frankish
emperor, and even to have sent him the keys of the Holy Sepulchre and of
Jerusalem. A legend prevalent in the twelfth century made the emperor
visit Jerusalem in person; and an Anglo-Norman poem on Charlemagne's
pretended voyage to the Holy Land, composed in that century, was printed
by M. Fr. Michel in 1836.

[49] See "Bede's Ecclesiastical History," book v. chaps. 16 and 17. Bede
professedly takes his account from Adamnan's narrative of the travels of
bishop Arculf, and the description referred to will be found at p. 2 of
the present volume.

[50] This was a very celebrated miracle in the middle ages, and will be
remembered as the cause of the persecution of the Christians in the Holy
City, and of the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, by the
khalif Hakem, in A.D. 1008 or 1010. An eastern Christian writer,
Abulfaragius, tells us that "the author of this persecution was some
enemy of the Christians, who told Hakem that, when the Christians
assembled in their temple at Jerusalem, to celebrate Easter, the
chaplains of the church, making use of a pious fraud, greased the chain
of iron that held the lamp over the tomb with oil of balsam; and that,
when the Arab officer had sealed up the door which led to the tomb, they
applied a match, through the roof, to the other extremity of the chain,
and the fire descended immediately to the wick of the lamp and lighted
it. Then the worshippers burst into tears, and cried out _kyrie
eleison_, supposing it was fire which fell from heaven upon the tomb;
and they were thus strengthened in their faith." This miracle was
probably instituted after the time when so much encouragement was given
to the pilgrims under the reign of Charlemagne. It is not mentioned in
the works that preceded Bernard, but it is often alluded to in
subsequent writers, and continues still to be practised by the Greeks.

[51] Theodosius was patriarch of Jerusalem from 863 to 879.

[52] _i. e._ the Mosque of Omar.

[53] The event alluded to occurred in the Temple, and not on the Mount
of Olives. The notion mentioned in the text must have arisen from a
wrong reading of the first verses of John, viii. It is stated in the
Gospel, John, viii. 6, "But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger
wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not." This writing on the
ground was worked up into a popular legend in the middle ages, according
to which Christ is represented as writing on the ground the secret sins
of all the persons assembled to condemn the woman; and this, we are
told, was the cause that they all slunk away ashamed.

[54] Mount St. Michel, on the coast of Brittany, which was commonly
called St. Michel _ad tumbam_ or _ad tumbas_, and was a place of great
celebrity in the romantic, as well as in the religious, legends of the
middle ages. It is more than probable that, before the foundation of the
monastery, the top of the mount was occupied by a cromlech, like so many
of the islands on this coast.

[55] Sichard was a cruel and oppressive tyrant, and was deservedly hated
by his subjects. At length, having attempted to violate the wife of one
of his nobles, the latter excited the people of Beneventum to revolt;
and they burst into his palace; and slaughtered him, towards the end of
the year 839. This act of popular vengeance was succeeded by a period of
domestic troubles, which favoured the designs of the Saracens, and
ultimately brought Beneventum under the power or protection of the
emperor Louis II., or the Germanic, (the brother of Lothaire and Charles
the Bald, and grandson of Charlemagne,) who was emperor and king of
Germany from 840 to 876.

[56] Salomon III. was count of Brittany at this time; but history hardly
bears out Bernard's boasts of the peace and good government of the
country under his rule.


A.D. 1102 AND 1103.

I, Sæwulf, though conscious of my own unworthiness, went to offer up my
prayers at the Holy Sepulchre; but, owing to my sins, or to the badness
of the ship, being unable to proceed thither by the direct course on the
open sea, I will commence with an enumeration of the different islands
at which we touched.

Some pilgrims embark at Bari, others at Barlo (Barletta?), some at
Siponte, or at Trani; while others take ship at Otranto, the entrance
port of Apulia. We set sail from Monopoli, one day's journey from Bari,
on Sunday, being the feast of St. Mildred[57]. But starting at an
unlucky hour, as happened to us again on a subsequent occasion, we had
not proceeded more than three miles, when the mercy of God alone saved
us from perishing; for the same day the violence of the waves wrecked
our vessel, but with God's help we all reached the shore in safety. We
then went to Brandia[58], and again our ship, being refitted, set sail
on an unlucky day[59], and reached the town of Corfu, on the eve of St.
James the Apostle[60]. From thence we were driven by a tempest to the
island of Cephalonia, which we reached on the 1st of August. Here Robert
Guiscard died[61]; we also lost some of our party, which was the cause
of sadness to us. We next touched at Polipolis[62]; after which we came
to the celebrated island of Patras, the city of which we entered for the
sake of praying to St. Andrew the Apostle, who suffered martyrdom and
was buried here, but was afterwards translated to Constantinople. From
Patras we went to Corinth, which we reached on the eve of St.
Lawrence[63]. St. Paul preached the word of God here, and wrote an
epistle to the citizens. In this place we suffered many contrarieties.
Thence we sailed to the port of Hosta[64]; from which place we
proceeded, some on foot, others on asses, to the city of Thebes,
vulgarly called Stivas. On the eve of St. Bartholomew the Apostle[65],
we came to Nigropont, where we hired another ship. Athens, where the
Apostle Paul preached, is two days' journey from Corinth; St. Dionysius
was born and taught there, and was afterwards converted by St. Paul.
Here is a church of the blessed Virgin Mary, which has a lamp that burns
always and never wants oil.

We went afterwards to the island of Petalion[66]; thence to Andros,
where are made rich sindals and samits and other stuffs of silk. We then
touched successively at Tinos, Syra, Miconi, and Naxia, near which is
the famous island of Crete. Next we came to Carea (Khero), Amorgo,
Samos, Scio, and Meteline. We then proceeded to Pathmos, where St. John
the Apostle and Evangelist, banished by Domitian Cæsar, wrote the
Revelations. On the side towards Smyrna, a day's journey distant, is
Ephesus, where he afterwards entered the sepulchre living; the apostle
Paul, moreover, wrote an Epistle to the Ephesians. Then we came to the
isles of Lero and Calimno, and afterwards to Ancho[67], where Galen, the
physician most celebrated among the Greeks, was born. Thence we passed
over to the port of Lido[68], a city destroyed, where Titus, the
disciple of St. Paul, preached. Next, to Asus, which is interpreted

Our next station was the famous island of Rhodes, which is said to have
possessed one of the seven wonders of the world, the idol called
Colossus, which was a hundred and twenty feet high, and was destroyed by
the Persians, with nearly all the province of Romania, when they were on
their way to Spain. These are the Colossians, to whom St. Paul the
Apostle wrote his epistle[69]. Hence, it is a distance of one day to the
city of Patera, where St. Nicholas the archbishop was born, and where we
arrived in the evening, after escaping a violent storm. Next morning we
sailed to an entirely desolate town called Mogronissi of St. Mary, which
means Long Island, which it would appear by the churches and other
buildings had been inhabited by the Christians, after they had been
driven by the Turks from Alexandria[70]. Then we came to the city of
Myra, where St. Nicholas was archbishop, and which is the port of the
Adriatic Sea, as Constantinople is the port of the Ægean Sea. After
having worshipped at the sepulchre of the saint, we sailed to the island
which is called Xindacopo[71], which means sixty oars, on account of the
force of the sea; near it is the port and district of Finica. Thence we
sailed over the broad part of the Adriatic Sea[72], to the city of
Paffus (Baffo), which is in the isle of Cyprus, where all the Apostles
met after the ascension of our Lord, and held a council for the
arrangement of the affairs of the gospel, on which occasion they sent
forth St. Barnabas to preach; after whose death St. Peter went thence to
Joppa, and sowed the seed of God's word there, before he ascended the
episcopal see of Antioch.

After leaving the isle of Cyprus, we were tossed about by tempestuous
weather for seven days and seven nights, being forced back one night
almost to the spot from which we sailed; but after much suffering, by
divine mercy, at sun-rise on the eighth day, we saw before us the coast
of the port of Joppa, which filled us with an unexpected and
extraordinary joy. Thus, after a course of thirteen weeks, as we took
ship at Monopoli, on a Sunday, having dwelt constantly on the waves of
the sea, or in islands, or in deserted cots and sheds (for the Greeks
are not hospitable), we put into the port of Joppa, with great
rejoicings and thanksgivings, on a Sunday[73].

And now, my dear friends, all join with me in thanking God for his mercy
shown to me through this long voyage; blessed be his name now and
evermore! Listen now to a new instance of his mercy shown to me,
although the lowest of his servants, and to my companions. The very day
we came in sight of the port, one said to me (I believe by divine
inspiration), "Sir, go on shore to-day, lest a storm come on in the
night, which will render it impossible to land to-morrow." When I heard
this, I was suddenly seized with a great desire of landing, and, having
hired a boat, went into it, with all my companions; but, before I had
reached the shore, the sea was troubled, and became continually more
tempestuous. We landed, however, with God's grace, without hurt, and
entering the city weary and hungry, we secured a lodging, and reposed
ourselves that night. But next morning, as we were returning from
church, we heard the roaring of the sea, and the shouts of the people,
and saw that every body was in confusion and astonishment. We were also
dragged along with the crowd to the shore, where we saw the waves
swelling higher than mountains, and innumerable bodies of drowned
persons of both sexes scattered over the beach, while the fragments of
ships were floating on every side. Nothing was to be heard but the
roaring of the sea and the dashing together of the ships, which drowned
entirely the shouts and clamour of the people. Our own ship, which was a
very large and strong one, and many others laden with corn and
merchandise, as well as with pilgrims coming and returning, still held
by their anchors, but how they were tossed by the waves! how their crews
were filled with terror! how they cast overboard their merchandise! what
eye of those who were looking on could be so hard and stony as to
refrain from tears? We had not looked at them long before the ships were
driven from their anchors by the violence of the waves, which threw them
now up aloft, and now down, until they were run aground or upon the
rocks, and there they were beaten backwards and forwards until they were
crushed to pieces. For the violence of the wind would not allow them to
put out to sea, and the character of the coast would not allow them to
put into shore with safety. Of the sailors and pilgrims who had lost all
hope of escape, some remained on the ships, others laid hold of the
masts or beams of wood; many remained in a state of stupor, and were
drowned in that condition without any attempt to save themselves; some
(although it may appear incredible) had in my sight their heads knocked
off by the very timbers of the ships to which they had attached
themselves for safety; others were carried out to sea on the beams,
instead of being brought to land; even those who knew how to swim had
not strength to struggle with the waves, and very few thus trusting to
their own strength reached the shore alive. Thus, out of thirty very
large ships, of which some were what are commonly called dromunds, some
gulafres, and others cats[74], all laden with palmers and with
merchandise, scarcely seven remained safe when we left the shore. Of
persons of both sexes, there perished more than a thousand that day.
Indeed, no eye ever beheld a greater misfortune in the space of a single
day, from all which God snatched us by his grace; to whom be honour and
glory for ever. Amen.

We went up from Joppa to the city of Jerusalem, a journey of two days,
by a mountainous road, very rough, and dangerous on account of the
Saracens, who lie in wait in the caves of the mountains to surprise the
Christians, watching both day and night to surprise those less capable
of resisting by the smallness of their company, or the weary, who may
chance to lag behind their companions. At one moment, you see them on
every side; at another, they are altogether invisible, as may be
witnessed by any body travelling there. Numbers of human bodies lie
scattered in the way, and by the way-side, torn to pieces by wild
beasts. Some may, perhaps, wonder that the bodies of Christians are
allowed to remain unburied, but it is not surprising when we consider
that there is not much earth on the hard rock to dig a grave; and if
earth were not wanting, who would be so simple as to leave his company,
and go alone to dig a grave for a companion? Indeed, if he did so, he
would rather be digging a grave for himself than for the dead man. For
on that road, not only the poor and weak, but the rich and strong, are
surrounded with perils; many are cut off by the Saracens, but more by
heat and thirst; many perish by the want of drink, but more by too much
drinking. We, however, with all our company, reached the end of our
journey in safety. Blessed be the Lord, who did not turn away my prayer,
and hath not turned his mercy from me. Amen.

The entrance to the city of Jerusalem is from the west, under the
citadel of king David, by the gate which is called the gate of David.
The first place to be visited is the church of the Holy Sepulchre, which
is called the Martyrdom, not only because the streets lead most directly
to it, but because it is more celebrated than all the other churches;
and that rightly and justly, for all the things which were foretold and
forewritten by the holy prophets of our Saviour Jesus Christ were there
actually fulfilled. The church itself was royally and magnificently
built, after the discovery of our Lord's cross, by the archbishop
Maximus, with the patronage of the emperor Constantine, and his mother
Helena. In the middle of this church is our Lord's Sepulchre, surrounded
by a very strong wall and roof, lest the rain should fall upon the Holy
Sepulchre, for the church above is open to the sky. This church is
situated, like the city, on the declivity of Mount Sion. The Roman
emperors Titus and Vespasian, to revenge our Lord, entirely destroyed
the city of Jerusalem, that our Lord's prophecy might be fulfilled,
which, as he approached Jerusalem, seeing the city, he pronounced,
weeping over it, "If thou hadst known, even thou, for the day shall come
upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and
compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee
even with the ground, and thy children with thee; and they shall not
leave in thee one stone upon another."[75] We know that our Lord
suffered without the gate. But the emperor Hadrian, who was called
Ælius, rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, and the Temple of the Lord, and
added to the city as far as the Tower of David, which was previously a
considerable distance from the city, for any one may see from the Mount
of Olivet where the extreme western walls of the city stood originally,
and how much it is since increased. And the emperor called the city
after his own name Ælia, which is interpreted the House of God. Some,
however, say that the city was rebuilt by the emperor Justinian, and
also the Temple of the Lord as it is now; but they say that according to
supposition, and not according to truth. For the Assyrians[76], whose
fathers dwelt in that country from the first persecution, say that the
city was taken and destroyed many times after our Lord's Passion, along
with all the churches, but not entirely defaced.

In the court of the church of our Lord's sepulchre are seen some very
holy places, namely, the prison in which our Lord Jesus Christ was
confined after he was betrayed, according to the testimony of the
Assyrians; then, a little above, appears the place where the holy cross
and the other crosses were found, where afterwards a large church was
built in honour of queen Helena, but which has since been utterly
destroyed by the Pagans; and below, not far from the prison, stands the
marble column to which our Lord Jesus Christ was bound in the common
hall, and scourged with most cruel stripes. Near this is the spot where
our Lord was stripped of his garments by the soldiers; and next, the
place where he was clad in a purple vest by the soldiers, and crowned
with the crown of thorns, and they cast lots for his garments. Next we
ascend Mount Calvary, where the patriarch Abraham raised an altar, and
prepared, by God's command, to sacrifice his own son; there afterwards
the Son of God, whom he prefigured, was offered up as a sacrifice to God
the Father for the redemption of the world. The rock of that mountain
remains a witness of our Lord's passion, being much cracked near the
foss in which our Lord's cross was fixed, because it could not suffer
the death of its Maker without splitting, as we read in the Passion,
"and the rocks rent."[77] Below is the place called Golgotha, where Adam
is said to have been raised to life by the blood of our Lord which fell
upon him, as is said in the Passion, "And many bodies of the saints
which slept arose."[78] But in the Sentences of St. Augustine, we read
that he was buried in Hebron, where also the three patriarchs were
afterwards buried with their wives; Abraham with Sarah, Isaac with
Rebecca, and Jacob with Leah; as well as the bones of Joseph, which the
Children of Israel carried with them from Egypt. Near the place of
Calvary is the church of St. Mary, on the spot where the body of our
Lord, after having been taken down from the cross, was anointed before
it was buried, and wrapped in a linen cloth or shroud.

At the head of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the wall outside,
not far from the place of Calvary, is the place called Compas, which our
Lord Jesus Christ himself signified and measured with his own hand as
the middle of the world, according to the words of the Psalmist, "For
God is my king of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth."[79]
But some say that that is the place where our Lord Jesus Christ first
appeared to Mary Magdalene, while she sought him weeping, and thought he
had been a gardener, as is related in the Gospel. These most holy places
of prayer are contained in the court of our Lord's Sepulchre, on the
east side. In the sides of the church itself are attached, on one side
and the other, two most beautiful chapels in honour of St. Mary and St.
John, as they, participating in our Lord's sufferings, stationed
themselves beside him here and there. On the west wall of the chapel of
St. Mary is seen the picture of our Lord's Mother, painted externally,
who once, by speaking wonderfully through the Holy Spirit, in the form
in which she is here painted, comforted Mary the Egyptian, when she
repented with her whole heart, and sought the help of the Mother of our
Lord, as we read in her life. On the other side of the church of St.
John is a very fair monastery of the Holy Trinity, in which is the place
of the baptistery, to which adjoins the chapel of St. John the Apostle,
who first filled the pontifical see at Jerusalem. These are all so
composed and arranged, that any one standing in the furthest church may
clearly perceive the five churches from door to door.

Without the gate of the Holy Sepulchre, to the south, is the church of
St. Mary, called the Latin, because the monks there perform divine
service in the Latin tongue; and the Assyrians say that the blessed
Mother of our Lord, at the crucifixion of her Son, stood on the spot now
occupied by the altar of this church. Adjoining to this church is
another church of St. Mary, called the Little, occupied by nuns who
serve devoutly the Virgin and her Son. Near which is the Hospital, where
is a celebrated monastery founded in honour of St. John the Baptist.

We descend from our Lord's sepulchre, about the distance of two
arbalist-shots, to the Temple of the Lord, which is to the east of the
Holy Sepulchre, the court of which is of great length and breadth,
having many gates; but the principal gate, which is in front of the
Temple, is called the Beautiful, on account of its elaborate workmanship
and variety of colours, and is the spot where Peter healed Claudius,
when he and John went up into the Temple at the ninth hour of prayer, as
we read in the Acts of the Apostles. The place where Solomon built the
Temple was called anciently Bethel; whither Jacob repaired by God's
command, and where he dwelt, and saw the ladder whose summit touched
heaven, and the angels ascending and descending, and said, "Truly this
place is holy," as we read in Genesis. There he raised a stone as a
memorial, and constructed an altar, and poured oil upon it; and in the
same place afterwards, by God's will, Solomon built a temple to the Lord
of magnificent and incomparable work, and decorated it wonderfully with
every ornament, as we read in the Book of Kings. It exceeded all the
mountains around in height, and all walls and buildings in brilliancy
and glory. In the middle of which temple is seen a high and large rock,
hollowed beneath, in which was the Holy of Holies. In this place Solomon
placed the Ark of the Covenant, having the Manna and the Rod of Aaron,
which flourished and budded there and produced almonds, and the two
Tables of the Testament; here our Lord Jesus Christ, wearied with the
insolence of the Jews, was accustomed to repose; here was the place of
confession, where his disciples confessed themselves to him; here the
angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, saying, "Thou shalt receive a child
in thy old age;" here Zacharias, the son of Barachias, was slain between
the temple and the altar; here the child Jesus was circumcised on the
eighth day, and named Jesus, which is interpreted Saviour; here the Lord
Jesus was offered by his parents, with the Virgin Mary, on the day of
her purification, and received by the aged Simeon; here, also, when
Jesus was twelve years of age, he was found sitting in the midst of the
doctors, hearing and interrogating them, as we read in the Gospel; here
afterwards he cast out the oxen, and sheep, and pigeons, saying, "My
house shall be a house of prayer;" and here he said to the Jews,
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." There still
are seen in the rock the footsteps of our Lord, when he concealed
himself, and went out from the Temple, as we read in the Gospel, lest
the Jews should throw at him the stones they carried. Thither the woman
taken in adultery was brought before Jesus by the Jews, that they might
find some accusation against him[80]. There is the gate of the city on
the eastern side of the Temple, which is called the Golden, where
Joachim, the father of the Blessed Mary, by order of the Angel of the
Lord, met his wife Anne. By the same gate the Lord Jesus, coming from
Bethany on the day of olives, sitting on an ass, entered the city of
Jerusalem, while the children sang, "Hosanna to the son of David." By
this gate the emperor Heraclius entered Jerusalem, when he returned
victorious from Persia, with the cross of our Lord; but the stones first
fell down and closed up the passage, so that the gate became one mass,
until humbling himself at the admonition of an angel, he descended from
his horse, and so the entrance was opened to him. In the court of the
Temple of the Lord, to the south, is the Temple of Solomon, of wonderful
magnitude, on the east side of which is an oratory containing the cradle
of Christ, and his bath, and the bed of the Virgin Mary, according to
the testimony of the Assyrians[81].

From the Temple of the Lord you go to the church of St. Anne, the mother
of the Blessed Mary, towards the north, where she lived with her
husband, and she was there delivered of her daughter Mary. Near it is
the pool called in Hebrew Bethsaida, having five porticoes, of which the
Gospel speaks. A little above is the place where the woman was healed by
our Lord, by touching the hem of his garment, while he was surrounded by
a crowd in the street[82].

From St. Anne we pass through the gate which leads to the Valley of
Jehoshaphat, to the church of St. Mary in the same valley, where she was
honourably buried by the Apostles after her death; her sepulchre, as is
just and proper, is revered with the greatest honours by the faithful,
and monks perform service there day and night. Here is the brook Cedron;
here also is Gethsemane, where our Lord came with his disciples from
Mount Sion, over the brook Cedron, before the hour of his betrayal;
there is a certain oratory where he dismissed Peter, James, and John,
saying, "Tarry ye here, and watch with me;"[83] and going forward, he
fell on his face and prayed, and came to his disciples, and found them
sleeping: the places are still visible where the disciples slept, apart
from each other. Gethsemane is at the foot of Mount Olivet, and the
brook Cedron below, between Mount Sion and Mount Olivet, as it were the
division of the mountains; and the low ground between the mountains is
the Valley of Jehoshaphat. A little above, in Mount Olivet, is an
oratory in the place where our Lord prayed, as we read in the Passion,
"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and being in an
agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great
drops of blood falling down to the ground."[84] Next we come to
Aceldama, the field bought with the price of the Lord, also at the foot
of Mount Olivet, near a valley about three or four arbalist-shots to the
south of Gethsemane, where are seen innumerable monuments. That field is
near the sepulchres of the holy fathers Simeon the Just and Joseph the
foster-father of our Lord. These two sepulchres are ancient structures,
in the manner of towers, cut into the foot of the mountain itself. We
next descend, by Aceldama, to the fountain which is called the Pool of
Siloah, where, by our Lord's command, the man born blind washed his
eyes, after the Lord had anointed them with clay and spittle.

From the church of St. Mary before mentioned, we go up by a very steep
path nearly to the summit of Mount Olivet, towards the east, to the
place whence our Lord ascended to heaven in the sight of his disciples.
The place is surrounded by a little tower, and honourably adorned, with
an altar raised on the spot within, and also surrounded on all sides
with a wall. On the spot where the Apostles stood with his mother,
wondering at his ascension, is an altar of St. Mary; there the two men
in white garments stood by them, saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand
ye gazing into heaven?" About a stone's throw from that place is the
spot where, according to the Assyrians, our Lord wrote the Lord's Prayer
in Hebrew, with his own fingers, on marble; and there a very beautiful
church was built, but it has since been entirely destroyed by the
Pagans, as are all the churches outside the walls, except the church of
the Holy Ghost on Mount Sion, about an arrow-shot from the wall to the
north, where the Apostles received the promise of the Father, namely,
the Paraclete Spirit, on the day of Pentecost; there they made the
Creed. In that church is a chapel in the place where the Blessed Mary
died. On the other side of the church is the chapel where our Lord Jesus
Christ first appeared to the Apostles after his resurrection, and it is
called Galilee, as he said to the Apostles, "After I am risen again, I
will go before you unto Galilee."[85] That place was called Galilee,
because the Apostles, who were called Galileans, frequently rested

The great city of Galilee is by Mount Tabor, a journey of three days
from Jerusalem. On the other side of Mount Tabor is the city called
Tiberias, and after it Capernaum and Nazareth, on the sea of Galilee or
sea of Tiberias, whither Peter and the other Apostles, after the
resurrection, returned to their fishing, and where the Lord afterwards
showed himself to them on the sea. Near the city of Tiberias is the
field where the Lord Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fishes, and
afterwards fed four thousand men with them, as we read in the Gospel.
But I will return to my immediate subject.

In the Galilee of Mount Sion, where the Apostles were concealed in an
inner chamber, with closed doors, for fear of the Jews, Jesus stood in
the middle of them and said, "Peace be unto you;"[86] and he again
appeared there when Thomas put his finger into his side and into the
place of the nails. There he supped with his disciples before the
Passion, and washed their feet; and the marble table is still preserved
there on which he supped. There the relics of St. Stephen, Nicodemus,
Gamaliel, and Abido, were honourably deposited by St. John the Patriarch
after they were found. The stoning of St. Stephen took place about two
or three arbalist-shots without the wall, to the north, where a very
handsome church was built, which has been entirely destroyed by the
Pagans. The church of the Holy Cross, about a mile to the west of
Jerusalem, in the place where the holy cross was cut out, and which was
also a very handsome one, has been similarly laid waste by the Pagans;
but the destruction here fell chiefly on the surrounding buildings and
the cells of the monks, the church itself not having suffered so much.
Under the wall of the city, outside, on the declivity of Mount Sion, is
the church of St. Peter, which is called the Gallican, where, after
having denied his Lord, he hid himself in a very deep crypt, as may
still be seen there, and there wept bitterly for his offence. About
three miles to the west of the church of the Holy Cross is a very fine
and large monastery in honour of St. Saba, who was one of the
seventy-two disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. There were above three
hundred Greek monks living there, in the service of the Lord and of the
Saint, of whom the greater part have been slain by the Saracens, and the
few who remain have taken up their abode in another monastery of the
same Saint, within the walls of the city, near the tower of David, their
other monastery being left entirely desolate.

The city of Bethlehem in Judea is six miles to the north of Jerusalem.
The Saracens have left nothing there habitable, but every thing is
destroyed (as in the other holy places without the walls of the city of
Jerusalem) except the monastery of the blessed Virgin Mary, which is a
large and noble building. In the church there is a crypt under the
choir, about the middle, in which is seen the place of our Lord's
nativity, as it were to the left. A little lower, to the right, near the
place of the nativity, is the manger where the ox and ass stood when the
child was placed before them in it; and the stone which supported the
head of our Saviour in the sepulchre, which was brought hither from
Jerusalem by St. Jerome the Presbyter, may be seen in the manger. St.
Jerome himself rests in the same church, under the altar, to the
north-east; and the innocents who were slain for the infant Christ, by
Herod, lie under the altar on the north part of the church, as well as
the two most holy women, Paula and her daughter Eustochium, the virgin.
There is the marble table on which the blessed Virgin Mary eat with the
three Magians, after they had given their offerings. There is a cistern
in the church, near the crypt of our Lord's nativity, into which the
star is said to have fallen. There, also, is said to be the bath of the
blessed Virgin Mary.

Bethany, where Lazarus was raised by our Lord from the dead, is distant
from the city about two miles to the east, on the other side of Mount
Olivet, and contains the church of St. Lazarus, in which is seen his
sepulchre, as well as those of many bishops of Jerusalem. Under the
altar is the place where Mary Magdalene washed the feet of our Lord
Jesus with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and kissed his feet
and anointed them with ointment. Bethphage, where our Lord sent forward
his disciples to the city, is on Mount Olivet, but nearly all traces of
it have disappeared. Jericho, where is the garden of Abraham, is ten
leagues from Jerusalem, in a land covered with trees, and producing all
kinds of palms and other fruits. There is the well of the prophet
Elisha, the water of which was most bitter to drink and productive of
sterility, until he blessed it and threw salt into it, when it became
sweet. This place is surrounded on every side by a beautiful plain. From
thence we ascend a lofty mountain, to the spot where our Lord fasted
forty days, and where he was afterwards tempted by Satan, about three
miles from Jericho.

The river Jordan is four leagues to the east of Jericho. On this side
Jordan is the region called Judea, as far as the Adriatic Sea, that is,
to the port which is called Joppa; on the other side Jordan is Arabia,
most hostile to Christians, and hateful to all who worship God, in which
is the mountain whence Elijah was carried into heaven in a fiery
chariot. It is eighteen days' journey from Jordan to Mount Sinai, where
the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and where, afterwards,
Moses ascended by God's command, and was there fasting forty days and as
many nights, and there received from the Lord the two stone tables,
written by the finger of God, to teach the Children of Israel the law
and the commandments, which were contained in the same tables.

Hebron, where the holy patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob repose,
each with his wife, and where Adam, the first of mankind, is also
buried, is distant from Bethlehem four leagues to the south. Here king
David reigned seven years, before he obtained possession of the city of
Jerusalem from the family of king Saul. The city of Hebron, which was
large and very handsome, is destroyed by the Saracens. On the eastern
side of it the monuments of the holy patriarchs, of ancient workmanship,
are surrounded by a very strong castle, each of the three monuments
being like a great church, with two sarcophagi placed in a very
honourable manner within, that is, one for the man and one for the
woman; and, even at the present day, the smell of the balsam and
precious aromatics with which the bodies were anointed, rising sweetly
from the sepulchre, fills the nostrils of those who stand round them.
But the bones of Joseph, which the Children of Israel, as he had charged
them, brought with them out of Egypt, are buried, more humbly than the
rest, as it were, at the extremity of the castle. The holm-oak, under
the shade of which Abraham stood when he saw the three youths descending
by the road, still flourishes and bears leaves, according to the
statement of the inhabitants of the place, not far distant from the
aforesaid castle.

The city of Nazareth of Galilee, where the blessed Virgin Mary received
the salutation of our Lord's nativity from the angel, is about four
days' journey from Jerusalem, the road lying through Sichem, a city of
Samaria, which is now called Neapolis, where St. John the Baptist
received sentence of decollation from Herod. There, also, is the well of
Jacob, where Jesus, weary with his journey, thirsty, and sitting upon
the well, condescended to ask water of the Samaritan woman who came
thither to draw it, as we read in the Gospel. From Sichem we come to
Cæsarea of Palestine, from Cæsarea to Cayphas[87], and from Cayphas to
Accaron[88]. Nazareth is about eight miles to the east of Accaron. The
city of Nazareth is entirely laid waste and overthrown by the Saracens;
but the place of the annunciation of our Lord is indicated by a very
noble monastery. A most limpid fountain bubbles out near the city, still
surrounded, as formerly, with marble columns and blocks, from which the
child Jesus, with other children, often drew water for the use of his

From Nazareth we proceed about four miles to the east, to Mount Tabor,
the scene of our Lord's transfiguration, which is covered in an
extraordinary manner with grass and flowers, and rises in the middle of
the green plain of Galilee so as to exceed in altitude all the mountains
which, though at a distance, surround it. On the summit still remain
three ancient monasteries; one in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ;
another in honour of Moses; and a third, at some distance from the
others, in honour of Elias, according to the words of Peter, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three
tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."[89]

The sea of Galilee is about six miles from Mount Tabor to the east and
north-east, and is about ten miles long by five in breadth. The city of
Tiberias stands on the sea-shore on one side, and on the other side are
Corozaim and Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. About four miles
to the north-east of the city of Tiberias is the castle of Gennesareth,
where the Lord appeared to the disciples when fishing, as we learn from
the Gospel. About two miles to the east of Gennesareth is the mount on
which our Lord Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves and two
fishes. This mount is called by the inhabitants our Lord's table; and at
its foot stands a very beautiful church of St. Peter, but deserted. Six
miles to the north-east of Nazareth, on a hill, is Cana of Galilee,
where our Lord converted water into wine at the marriage feast. There
nothing is left standing except the monastery called that of
Architriclinius[90]. About half way between Nazareth and Galilee is a
castle which is called Roma, where all travellers from Accaron to
Tiberias are lodged, having Nazareth on the right, and Galilee to the

A day's journey to the north-east of Tiberias is Mount Libanus, at the
foot of which the river Jordan boils out from two foundations, of which
one is called Jor, and the other Dan; the streams of which, joining in
one, become a very rapid river, and take the name of Jordan. Its origin
is near Cæsarea, the city of Philip the Tetrarch, in the district where
Jesus, as is related in the Gospel, interrogated his disciples, saying,
"Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"[91] Now the river Jordan,
flowing from its spring with a very rapid course, falls into the sea of
Galilee on one side, and passing out of it on the opposite side, by the
violence of its current, makes itself a bed, through which it runs a
distance of eight days' journey, and then falls into the Dead Sea. The
water of the Jordan is whiter and more of a milky colour than any other
water, and it may be distinguished by its colour a long distance into
the Dead Sea.

Having, to the best of our power, visited and paid our devotion at all
the holy places in the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding country, we
took ship at Joppa on the day of Pentecost[92], on our return; but,
fearing to meet the fleet of the Saracens, we did not venture out into
the open sea by the same course we came, but sailed along the coast by
several cities, some of which have fallen into the hands of the Franks,
while others still remain in the power of the Saracens. Their names are
as follows:—First, after Joppa, is the town called popularly Atsuph,
but in Latin, Azotum; next, Cæsarea of Palestine; and then Cayphas.
Baldwin, the flower of kings, has possession of these cities. Next after
these is the very strong city of Acre, which is called Accaron; then Sur
and Sagete, which are Tyre and Sidon; then Jubelet; then Baruth; and
then Tartusa, which is in possession of duke Raimund. Next Gibel, where
are the mountains of Gilboa; and then Tripolis and Lice. We passed by
all these cities[93].

On the Wednesday of Pentecost, as we were sailing between Cayphas and
Accaron[94], twenty-six ships of the Saracens suddenly came in sight,
the forces of the admiral of Tyre and Sidon, which were carrying an army
to Babylonia to assist the Chaldeans in making war on the king of
Jerusalem; upon which two of our ships, which had come with us from
Joppa full of palmers, leaving our ship behind because they were
lighter, fled in all haste to Cæsarea. The Saracens, encircling our ship
on all sides, at the distance of about an arrow's shot, rejoiced in the
prospect of such a rich prey; but our men, ready to meet death in the
cause of Christ, took to their arms, and stationed themselves as quickly
as possible on the castle of the ship; for our dromund carried about two
hundred soldiers. After the space of about an hour, the commander of the
hostile fleet held a council, and sent a sailor up the mast of his ship,
which was the largest, that he might give information of our condition
and preparations; and as soon as he understood from him the bold
countenance we showed, they hoisted their sails and put out to sea, and
so that day the Lord by his grace snatched us from our enemies. Some of
our people from Joppa afterwards took three of the ships we had seen,
and enriched themselves with their spoils.

Thus making our way as well as we could along the coast of Syria, in
eight days we reached the port of St. Andrew, in the isle of Cyprus[95];
and thence, next day, we sailed towards Romania, passing the port of St.
Simon, and the port of St. Mary, and after many days reached Little
Antioch[96]. In this part of the voyage we were several times attacked
by pirates; but, under the Divine protection, we escaped unhurt from the
attacks of enemies and the shocks of tempests. Then directing our course
along the coast of Romania, and passing the towns of Stamirra[97] and
Patras of St. Nicholas, we with difficulty reached the island of Rhodes
on the eve of St. John the Baptist[98], after a narrow escape from wreck
in the bay of Satalia. At Rhodes we hired a smaller ship, that we might
proceed more rapidly, and then returned to the coast of Romania. We then
came to Stromlo[99], a very fair city, but entirely laid waste by the
Turks, and there we were detained many days by a strong contrary wind.
Then we came to the island of Samos, and having bought provisions there,
as we did in all the islands, we arrived at length at the island of
Scio, where we parted with our ship and company, and undertook the
journey to Constantinople, to perform our devotions there. After leaving
Scio, we passed by the great town of Smyrna, and came to the island of
Meteline, and then to Tenit[100], near which, on the coast of Romania,
was the very ancient and famous city of Troy, the ruins of the buildings
of which, as the Greeks say, are still apparent over a space of many

After leaving this place, we came to the narrow sea which is called the
arm of St. George, which divides the two lands, Romania and Macedonia,
through which we sailed to St. Phemius, having Greece to the right, and
Macedonia to the left. The city of St. Phemius the bishop is on one side
of the arm, in Macedonia, and another city, which is called Samthe,
stands on the other side in Greece, so that two or three arbalist-shots
would reach from one city to the other[101]. They are said to be the
keys of Constantinople. Then we sailed by Callipolis, and Agios
Georgios, and Paniados, and other notable castles of Macedonia, and came
to the city of Rothostoca, after Michaelmas. We came next to the noble
city of Raclea, whence, according to the Greeks, Helen was ravished by
Paris Alexander[102].


[57] July 13, 1102.

[58] The modern Brindisi (_Brundusium_ of the ancients).

[59] _Die Ægyptiaca, hora Ægyptiaca._ The superstitious belief in
unlucky, or, as they were commonly termed, Egyptian days, was
universally prevalent in the middle ages; and the days of the month
believed to have this character, and on which it was unpropitious to
begin or undertake any thing, are often marked in the early calendars
and other manuscripts.

[60] July 24.

[61] See our Introduction.

[62] M. D'Avezac conjectures this to be merely some _palæopolis_, or
ancient site. No such name as Polipolis can be traced in the maps.

[63] Aug. 9.

[64] This appears to be the place formerly called Liva d'Osta, now
corrupted into Livadostro.

[65] Aug. 23.

[66] The modern Spili.

[67] Stancho, the ancient Cos; Hippocrates, and not Galen, was born

[68] M. D'Avezac is probably right in his conjecture that the Lido of
Sæwulf represents the ruins of Cnidus, near Cape Crio; and that Asus,
which immediately follows, is the little island of Syme (Συμὴ), which
lies off Cnidus. It is likely enough that the local pronunciation of
Cnido may have been taken by the monkish traveller for something like
Lido. No detailed legend of St. Titus is preserved. What is known of him
will be found in the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, vol. i. p. 163.

[69] This is a remarkable blunder, arising from a strange confusion of
words and ideas. The Colossians were the inhabitants of Colossus, in
Phrygia. The _Persians_ of Sæwulf were the Saracens, who captured Rhodes
in A.D. 651. It had been taken by the Persians in 616.

[70] Mogronissi, or Macronisi, is supposed by M. D'Avezac to be the
island of Kakava, on the western point of which are still traced the
ruins of a town and church. The Alexandria here alluded to is of course
Alexandretta, or Iskenderoon.

[71] This is evidently Khelidonia.

[72] This term was then applied to all the eastern part of the

[73] Sunday, Oct. 12, 1102.

[74] These were the names of ships in the middle ages, of large
dimensions, but for which it would be difficult to assign any thing like
equivalents from our modern naval nomenclature. The title of palmer
(_palmarius_) was given, from an early period, to the pilgrims to the
Holy Land; it is said, on account of the palm branches or leaves which
they usually brought back with them as signs that they had performed the

[75] Luke, xix. 42-44.

[76] By the Assyrians, who are subsequently mentioned more than once, we
are to understand the Syrian Christians, as distinguished from the

[77] Matth. xxvii. 51.

[78] Ib. 52.

[79] Psal. lxxiv. 12.

[80] John, ii. 19.

[81] It may be necessary to remind the reader that the building of which
Sæwulf is here talking was the Mosque of Omar, which, during the long
period that Jerusalem had remained in the hands of the Saracens, had
been entirely closed from the examination of Christians. Now that the
Holy City had fallen under the power of the Crusaders, it was thrown
open to public inspection, and the monks appear to have laboured
industriously to identify every part of the Saracenic edifice with the
events of Scripture. Probably some portions of the ancient building were
worked up into the Mohammedan mosque; but Sæwulf's description will show
us how cautious we ought to be in receiving these traditionary
identifications of the localities of Scripture history.

[82] Matth. ix. 20.

[83] Matth. xxvi. 38.

[84] Luke, xxii. 41-44.

[85] Matth. xxvi. 32. It is hardly necessary to state that the giving
the name of Galilee to this church was a mere legendary blunder,
originating in the desire to crowd several holy places in one spot.

[86] John, xx. 19.

[87] Kaiffa.

[88] Acre.

[89] Matth. xvii. 4.

[90] The medieval theologians made a proper name of Architriclinius, or,
as they called him popularly, St. Architriclin, whom they looked upon as
the lord of the feast on the occasion alluded to, and the person in
whose especial favour Christ performed the miracle. It is hardly
necessary to say that _architriclinus_ is the Latin word which, in the
Vulgate, translates what the English text terms "the ruler of the

[91] Matth. xvi. 13.

[92] May 17, 1103.

[93] The names of these cities, in the modern nomenclature, are Arsouph,
Kaisariyah, Kaiffa, Akre, Sour, Sayd, Gjobayl, Beyrout, Tortus, Gebely,
Tripoli, and Laodicea, the latter of which was the place named by Sæwulf
Lice. Jacobus de Vitriaco (Hist. Hierosol., cap. 44) says, "Laodicia
Syriæ nuncupata, vulgariter autem Liche nominatur." Our traveller,
however, perhaps by a confusion of his memory, having no map before him,
has given these places out of their right order. Perhaps, as M. D'Avezac
suggests, the fear of the Saracen cruisers drove him sometimes out of
his right course.

Baldwin had been made king of Jerusalem on Christmas-day, in the year
1100. Tortosa was captured by Raymond, duke of Toulouse, on the 12th of
March, 1102.

[94] Acre was not taken by the crusaders till the 15th of May, 1104, the
year after our traveller's return.

[95] Cape St. Andrea is the north-eastern point of the island of Cyprus.

[96] _i. e._ Antiochetta.

[97] Stamirra is the same place which Sæwulf has before called Myra. M.
D'Avezac points out documents of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
in which it is named Astamirle, Stamire, and Stamir.

[98] June 23.

[99] Stromlo, as M. D'Avezac observes, is evidently the ancient
Astypalæa, now called Stampali.

[100] Tenit is the island of Tenedos.

[101] M. D'Avezac suggests that perhaps St. Euphemius and Samthe
represent the ancient Eleonta on one coast, and the ancient Æantium,
near the mouth of the Xanthus, on the other.

[102] Sæwulf's relation seems to break off abruptly here, probably by
the fault of the scribe; but, unfortunately, we know of no other
manuscript that might furnish us with an account of his adventures at
Constantinople on his return home.


A.D. 1107-1111.


After king Magnus Barefoot's fall, his sons, Eystein, Sigurd, and
Olaf[103], took the kingdom of Norway. Eystein got the northern, and
Sigurd the southern parts of the country. King Olaf was then four or
five years old, and the third part of the country which he had was under
the management of his two brothers. King Sigurd was chosen king when he
was thirteen or fourteen years old, and Eystein was a year older. When
king Magnus's sons were chosen kings, the men who had followed Skopte
Ogmundsson returned home. Some had been to Jerusalem, some to
Constantinople; and there they had made themselves renowned, and they
had many kinds of novelties to talk about. By these extraordinary
tidings many men in Norway were incited to the same expedition; and it
was also told that the Northmen who liked to go into the military
service at Constantinople found many opportunities of getting property.
Then these Northmen desired much that one of the two kings, either
Eystein or Sigurd, should go as commander of the troop which was
preparing for this expedition. The kings agreed to this, and carried on
the equipment at their common expense. Many great men, both of the
lendermen and bonders, took part in this enterprize; and when all was
ready for the journey, it was determined that Sigurd should go, and
Eystein, in the mean time, should rule the kingdom upon their joint

A year or two after king Magnus's fall, Hakon, a son of earl Paul, came
from Orkney. The kings gave him the earldom and government of the Orkney
Islands, as the earls before him, his father Paul or his uncle Erlend,
had possessed it; and earl Hakon then sailed back immediately to Orkney.

Four years after the fall of king Magnus, king Sigurd sailed with his
fleet of sixty ships from Norway. So says Thorarin Stutfeld:—

    "A young king just and kind,
    People of loyal mind:
    Such brave men soon agree,—
    To distant lands they sail with glee.
    To the distant Holy Land
    A brave and pious band,
    Magnificent and gay,
    In sixty long ships glide away."

King Sigurd sailed in autumn to England, where Henry, son of William the
Bastard, was then king, and Sigurd remained with him all winter. So says
Einar Skuleson:—

    "The king is on the waves!
    The storm he boldly braves.
      His ocean steed,
      With winged speed,
    O'er the white-flashing surges,
    To England's coast he urges;
    And there he stays the winter o'er:
    More gallant king ne'er trod that shore."

In spring[104] king Sigurd and his fleet sailed westward to
Valland[105], and in autumn came to Galicia[106], where he staid the
second winter. So says Einar Skuleson:—

    "Our king, whose land so wide
    No kingdom stands beside,
    In Jacob's land[107] next winter spent,
    On holy things intent;
    And I have heard the royal youth
    Cut off an earl who swerved from truth.
    Our brave king will endure no ill,—
    The hawks with him will get their fill."

It went thus:—The earl who ruled over the land made an agreement with
king Sigurd, that he should provide king Sigurd and his men a market at
which they could purchase victuals all the winter; but this he did not
fulfil longer than to about Yule. It began then to be difficult to get
food and necessaries, for it is a poor barren land. Then king Sigurd
with a great body of men went against a castle which belonged to the
earl; and the earl fled from it, having but few people. King Sigurd took
there a great deal of victuals and of other booty, which he put on board
of his ships, and then made ready and proceeded westward to Spain. It so
fell out, as the king was sailing past Spain, that some pirates who were
cruising for plunder met him with a fleet of galleys, and king Sigurd
attacked them. This was his first battle with heathen men; and he won
it, and took eight galleys from them. So says Halldor Skualldre:—

    "Bold vikings, not slow
    To the death-fray to go,
    Meet our Norse king by chance,
    And their galleys advance.
    The bold vikings lost
    Many a man of their host,
    And eight galleys too,
    With cargo and crew."

Thereafter king Sigurd sailed against a castle called Sintre[108], and
fought another battle. This castle is in Spain, and was occupied by many
heathens, who from thence plundered Christian people. King Sigurd took
the castle, and killed every man in it, because they refused to be
baptized; and he got there an immense booty. So sings Halldor

    "From Spain I have much news to tell
    Of what our generous king befell.
    And first he routs the viking crew,
    At Cintra next the heathens slew;
    The men he treated as God's foes,
    Who dared the true faith to oppose.
    No man he spared who would not take
    The Christian faith for Jesus' sake."

After this king Sigurd sailed with his fleet to Lisbon, which is a great
city in Spain, half Christian and half heathen; for there lies the
division between Christian Spain and heathen Spain[109], and all the
districts which lie west of the city are occupied by heathens. There
king Sigurd had his third battle with the heathens, and gained the
victory, and with it a great booty. So says Halldor Skualldre:—

    "The son of kings on Lisbon's plains
    A third and bloody battle gains.
    He and his Norsemen boldly land,
    Running their stout ships on the strand."

Then king Sigurd sailed westwards along heathen Spain, and brought up at
a town called Alkassi[110]; and here he had his fourth battle with the
heathens, and took the town, and killed so many people that the town was
left empty. They got there also immense booty. So says Halldor

    "A fourth great battle, I am told,
    Our Norse king and his people hold
    At Alkassi; and here again
    The victory fell to our Norsemen."

And also this verse:—

    "I heard that through the town he went,
    And heathen widows' wild lament
    Resounded in the empty halls;
    For every townsman flies or falls."

King Sigurd then proceeded on his voyage, and came to Nörfa Sound[111];
and in the Sound he was met by a large viking force, and the king gave
them battle: and this was his fifth engagement with heathens since the
time he left Norway. So says Halldor Skualldre:—

    "Ye moistened your dry swords with blood,
    As through Niorfa Sound ye stood:
    The screaming raven got a feast,
    As ye sailed onward to the East."

King Sigurd then sailed eastward along the coast of Serkland[112], and
came to an island there called Formentara. There a great many heathen
Moors had taken up their dwelling in a cave, and had built a strong
stone-wall before its mouth. It was high up to climb to the wall, so
that whoever attempted to ascend was driven back with stones or missile
weapons. They harried the country all round, and carried all their booty
to their cave. King Sigurd landed on this island, and went to the cave;
but it lay in a precipice, and there was a high winding path to the
stone-wall, and the precipice above projected over it. The heathens
defended the stone-wall, and were not afraid of the Northmen's arms; for
they could throw stones, or shoot down upon the Northmen under their
feet: neither did the Northmen, under such circumstances, dare to mount
up. The heathens took their clothes and other valuable things, carried
them out upon the wall, spread them out before the Northmen, shouted,
and defied them, and upbraided them as cowards. Then Sigurd fell upon
this plan: he had two ship's boats, such as we call barks, drawn up the
precipice right above the mouth of the cave; and had thick ropes
fastened round the stem, stern, and hull of each. In these boats as many
men went as could find room, and then the boats were lowered by the
ropes down in front of the mouth of the cave; and the men in the boats
shot with stones and missiles into the cave, and the heathens were thus
driven from the stone-wall. Then Sigurd with his troops climbed up the
precipice to the foot of the stone-wall, which they succeeded in
breaking down, so that they came into the cave. Now the heathens fled
within the stone-wall that was built across the cave; on which the king
ordered large trees to be brought to the cave, made a great pile in the
mouth of it, and set fire to the wood. When the fire and smoke got the
upper hand, some of the heathens lost their lives in it; some fled; some
fell by the hands of the Northmen; and part were killed, part burned;
and the Northmen made the greatest booty they had got on all their
expeditions. So says Halldor Skualldre:—

    "Formentara lay
    In the victor's way;
    His ships' stems fly
    To victory.
    The bluemen there
    Must fire bear,
    And Norsemen's steel
    At their hearts feel."

And also thus:—

    "'Twas a feat of renown,—
    The boat lowered down,
    With a boat's crew brave,
    In front of the cave;
    While up the rock scaling,
    And comrades up trailing,
    The Norsemen gain,
    And the bluemen are slain."

And also Thorarin Stuttfeld says:—

    "The king's men up the mountain's side
    Drag two boats from the ocean's tide:
      The two boats lay,
      Like hill-wolves gray.
    Now o'er the rock in ropes they're swinging,
    Well manned, and death to bluemen bringing:
      They hang before
      The robbers' door."

Thereafter king Sigurd proceeded on his expedition, and came to an
island called Ivitsa (Ivica), and had there his seventh battle, and
gained a victory. So says Halldor Skualldre:—

    "His ships at Ivica now ride,
    The king's, whose fame spreads far and wide;
    And here the bearers of the shield
    Their arms again in battle wield."

Thereafter king Sigurd came to an island called Minorca, and held there
his eighth battle with heathen men, and gained the victory. So says
Halldor Skualldre:—

    "On green Minorca's plains
    The eighth battle now he gains:
    Again the heathen foe
    Falls at the Norse king's blow."

In spring king Sigurd came to Sicily, and remained a long time there.
There was then a duke Roger in Sicily, who received the king kindly, and
invited him to a feast. King Sigurd came to it with a great retinue, and
was splendidly entertained. Every day duke Roger stood at the company's
table, doing service to the king; but the seventh day of the feast,
when the people had come to table, and had wiped their hands, king
Sigurd took the duke by the hand, led him up to the high seat, and
saluted him with the title of king; and gave the right that there should
be always a king over the dominion of Sicily, although before there had
only been earls or dukes over that country[113].

It is written in the chronicles, that earl Roger let himself first be
called the king of Sicily in the year of our Lord 1102, having before
contented himself with the title of earl only of Sicily, although he was
duke of Calabria and Apulia, and was called Roger the Great; and when he
afterwards made the king of Tunet or Tunis tributary to him, he had
these words engraved on his sword,—

    "Apulus et Calaber, Siculus mihi servit et Afer."

King Roger of Sicily was a very great king. He won and subdued all
Apulia, and many large islands besides in the Greek sea; and therefore
he was called Roger the Great. His son was William, king of Sicily, who
for a long time had great hostility with the emperor of Constantinople.
King William had three daughters, but no son. One of his daughters he
married to the emperor Henry, a son of the emperor Frederic; and their
son was Frederic, who for a short time after was emperor of Rome. His
second daughter was married to the duke of Kypur[114]. The third
daughter, Margaret, was married to the chief of the corsairs; but the
emperor Henry killed both these brothers-in-law. The daughter of Roger
the Great, king of Sicily, was married to the emperor Manuel of
Constantinople; and their son was the emperor Kirialax[115].

In summer king Sigurd sailed across the Greek sea to Palestine[116], and
came to Acre[117], where he landed, and went by land to Jerusalem[118].
Now when Baldwin, king of Palestine, heard that king Sigurd would visit
the city, he let valuable clothes be brought and spread upon the road,
and the nearer to the city the more valuable; and said, "Now ye must
know that a celebrated king from the northern part of the earth is come
to visit us; and many are the gallant deeds and celebrated actions told
of him, therefore we shall receive him well; and in doing so we shall
also know his magnificence and power. If he ride straight on to the
city, taking little notice of these splendid preparations, I will
conclude that he has enough of such things in his own kingdom; but, on
the other hand, if he rides off the road, I shall not think so highly of
his royal dignity at home." Now king Sigurd rides to the city with great
state; and when he saw this magnificence, he rode straight forward over
the clothes, and told all his men to do the same. King Baldwin received
him particularly well, and rode with him all the way to the river
Jordan, and then back to the city of Jerusalem. Einar Skuleson speaks
thus of it:—

    "Good reason has the scald to sing
    The generous temper of the king,
    Whose sea-cold keel from Northern waves
    Ploughs the blue sea that green isles laves.
    At Acre scarce were we made fast,
    In holy ground our anchors cast,
    When the king made a joyful morn
    To all who toil with him had borne."

And again he sang:—

    "To Jerusalem he came,
    He who loves war's noble game,
    (The scald no greater monarch finds
    Beneath the heaven's wide hall of winds)
    All sin and evil from him flings
    In Jordan's wave: for all his sins
    (Which all must praise) he pardon wins."

King Sigurd staid a long time in the land of Jerusalem in autumn, and in
the beginning of winter.

King Baldwin made a magnificent feast for king Sigurd and many of his
people, and gave him many holy relics. By the orders of king Baldwin and
the patriarch, there was taken a splinter off the holy cross; and on
this holy relic both made oath, that this wood was of the holy cross
upon which God himself had been tortured. Then this holy relic was given
to king Sigurd; with the condition that he, and twelve other men with
him, should swear to promote Christianity with all his power, and erect
an archbishop's seat in Norway if he could; and also that the cross
should be kept where the holy king Olaf reposed, and that he should
introduce tithes, and also pay them himself. After this king Sigurd
returned to his ships at Acre; and then king Baldwin prepared to go to
Syria, to a town called Saet, which some think had been Sidon. This
castle, which belonged to the heathens, he wished to conquer, and lay
under the Christians. On this expedition king Sigurd accompanied him
with all his men, and sixty ships; and after the kings had besieged the
town some time it surrendered[119], and they took possession of it, and
of a great treasure of money; and their men found other booty. King
Sigurd made a present of his share to king Baldwin. So says Halldor

    "He who for wolves provides the feast
    Seized on the city in the east,
    The heathen nest; and honour drew,
    And gold to give, from those he slew."

Einar Skuleson also tells of it:—

    "The Norsemen's king, the scalds relate,
    Has ta'en the heathen town of Saet;
    The slinging engine, with dread noise,
    Gables and roofs with stones destroys.
    The town wall totters too,—it falls;
    The Norsemen mount the blackened walls.
    He who stains red the raven's bill
    Has won,—the town lies at his will."

Thereafter king Sigurd went to his ships, and made ready to leave
Palestine. They sailed north to the island of Cyprus; and king Sigurd
staid there awhile, and then went to the Greek country, and came to the
land with all his fleet at Engilsness[120]. Here he lay still for a
fortnight, although every day it blew a breeze for going before the wind
to the north; but Sigurd would wait a side wind, so that the sails might
stretch fore and aft in the ship; for in all his sails there was silk
joined in, before and behind in the sail, and neither those before nor
those behind the ships could see the slightest appearance of this, if
the vessel was before the wind; so they would rather wait a side wind.

When king Sigurd sailed into Constantinople, he steered near the land.
Over all the land there are burghs, castles, country towns, the one upon
the other without interval. There from the land one could see into the
bights of the sails; and the sails stood so close beside each other,
that they seemed to form one inclosure. All the people turned out to see
king Sigurd sailing past. The emperor Alexius had also heard of king
Sigurd's expedition, and ordered the city port of Constantinople to be
opened, which is called the Gold Tower, through which the emperor rides
when he has been long absent from Constantinople, or has made a campaign
in which he has been victorious. The emperor had precious cloths spread
out from the Gold Tower to Loktiar, which is the name of the emperor's
most splendid hall. King Sigurd ordered his men to ride in great state
into the city, and not to regard all the new things they might see; and
this they did. The emperor sent singers and stringed instruments to meet
them; and with this great splendour king Sigurd and his followers were
received into Constantinople. It is told that king Sigurd had his horse
shod with golden shoes before he rode into the city, and managed so that
one of the shoes came off in the street, but that none of his men should
regard it. When king Sigurd came to the magnificent hall, every thing
was in the grandest style; and when king Sigurd's men had come to their
seats, and were ready to drink, the emperor's messengers came into the
hall, bearing between them purses of gold and silver, which they said
the emperor had sent to king Sigurd; but the king did not look upon it,
but told his men to divide it among themselves. When the messengers
returned to the emperor, and told him this, he said, "This king must be
very powerful and rich not to care for such things, or even give a word
of thanks for them;" and ordered them to return with great chests filled
with gold. They come again to king Sigurd, and say, "These gifts and
presents are sent thee from the emperor." King Sigurd said, "This is a
great and handsome treasure, my men; divide it among you." The
messengers return and tell this to the emperor. He replies, "This king
must either exceed other kings in power and wealth, or he has not so
much understanding as a king ought to have. Go thou now the third time,
and carry him the costliest purple, and these chests with ornaments of
gold:" to which he added two gold rings. Now the messengers went again
to king Sigurd, and told him the emperor had sent him this great
treasure. Then he stood up, and took the rings, and put them on his
hand; and the king made a beautiful oration in Greek, in which he
thanked the emperor in many fine expressions for all this honour and
magnificence, but divided the treasure again very equitably among his
men. King Sigurd remained here some time. The emperor Alexius sent his
men to him to ask if he would rather accept from the emperor six
skifpound [one ton] of gold, or would have the emperor give the
games in his honour which the emperor was used to have played at the
Padreimr[121]. King Sigurd preferred the games, and the messengers said
the spectacle would not cost the emperor less than the money offered.
Then the emperor prepared for the games, which were held in the usual
way: but this day every thing went on better for the king than for the
queen; for the queen has always the half part in the games, and their
men, therefore, always strive against each other in all games. The
Greeks accordingly think that when the king's men win more games at the
Padreimr than the queen's, the king will gain the victory when he goes
into battle. People who have been in Constantinople tell that the
Padreimr is thus constructed:—A high wall surrounds a flat plain, which
may be compared to a round bare Thing-place[122], with earthen banks all
around at the stone-wall, on which banks the spectators sit; but the
games themselves are in the flat plain. There are many sorts of old
events represented concerning the Asers, Volsungers, and Giukungers, in
these games[123]; and all the figures are cast in copper, or metal, with
so great art that they appear to be living things; and to the people it
appears as if they were really present in the games. The games
themselves are so artfully and carefully managed, that people appear to
be riding in the air; and at them also are used shot-fire[124], and all
kinds of harp-playing, singing, and music instruments.

It is related that king Sigurd one day was to give the emperor a feast,
and he ordered his men to provide sumptuously all that was necessary for
the entertainment; and when all things were provided which are suitable
for an entertainment given by a great personage to persons of high
dignity, king Sigurd ordered his men to go to the street in the city
where fire-wood was sold, as they would require a great quantity to
prepare the feast. They said the king need not be afraid of wanting
fire-wood, for every day many loads were brought into the town. When it
was necessary, however, to have fire-wood, it was found that it was all
sold, which they told the king. He replied, "Go and try if you can get
walnuts. They will answer as well as wood for fuel." They went and got
as many as they needed. Now came the emperor, and his grandees and
court, and sat down to table. All was very splendid; and king
Sigurd received the emperor with great state, and entertained him
magnificently. When the queen and the emperor found that nothing was
wanting, she sent some persons to inquire what they had used for
firewood; and they came to a house filled with walnuts, and they came
back and told the queen. "Truly," said she, "this is a magnificent king,
who spares no expense where his honour is concerned." She had contrived
this to try what they would do when they could get no firewood to dress
their feast with.

King Sigurd soon after prepared for his return home. He gave the emperor
all his ships; and the valuable figure-heads which were on the king's
ships were set up in Peter's church, where they have since been to be
seen. The emperor gave the king many horses and guides to conduct him
through all his dominions, and appointed markets for him in his
territories at which he could buy food and drink. Then king Sigurd left
Constantinople; but many Northmen remained, and went into the emperor's
pay. Then king Sigurd travelled from Bulgaria, and through Hungary,
Pannonia, Suabia, and Bavaria. In Suabia he met the Roman emperor
Lotharius, who received him in the most friendly way, gave him guides
through his dominions, and had markets established for him at which he
could purchase all he required. When king Sigurd came to Sleswick in
Denmark, earl Eilif made a sumptuous feast for him; and it was then
midsummer. In Heidaby he met the Danish king Nicolaus, who received him
in the most friendly way, made a great entertainment for him,
accompanied him north to Jutland, and gave him a ship provided with
every thing needful. From thence the king returned to Norway, and was
joyfully welcomed on his return to his kingdom. It was the common talk
among the people, that none had ever made so honourable a journey from
Norway as this of king Sigurd. He was twenty years of age, and had been
three years on these travels. His brother Olaf was then twelve years

     [William of Tyre, book xi., gives the following account of the
     arrival of the Northmen in Syria:—

     "The town of Bereyth was taken in the year 1111 [1110] from the
     incarnation of our Saviour, and on the 27th of the month of April.
     That same year people from the isles of the west, and principally
     from the western country called Norway, having heard that the
     faithful Christians had taken possession of the holy city of
     Jerusalem, resolved to repair thither and pay their devotions; and
     they prepared a fleet accordingly. They embarked, and being
     favoured by the winds, they traversed the British Sea, passed the
     strait of Calpe and Assos, by which the Mediterranean Sea is
     formed, and having coasted along its whole length, they landed at
     Joppa. The supreme chief of this expedition was a stout, handsome
     young man, brother of the king of Norway. As soon as he had
     disembarked at Joppa, with all his followers, they proceeded to
     Jerusalem, the object of their wishes and vows. The king, on being
     informed of the arrival of the noble prince of Norway, made all
     haste to meet him, received him with much kindness, conversed
     familiarly with him, and tried to discover if the prince would be
     disposed to stop some time in the kingdom with his naval force, and
     to consecrate to Christ the fruit of his labour by giving his aid
     to extend the dominion of the faithful, and by taking possession of
     some other towns. The Norwegians, after holding a council among
     themselves, replied that they were come with the express intention
     of employing themselves usefully in the service of Christ, and that
     consequently they were quite disposed to proceed, without the least
     delay, by sea, towards any of the maritime towns which the king was
     disposed to attack with his army, and would demand no other pay
     than the victuals necessary for their support. The king accepted
     these terms with the greatest ardour; and immediately assembling
     all the forces of his kingdom, and all the knights he could
     collect, he began his march to Sidon. The fleet left the port of
     Acre, and proceeded also to Sidon, where the land and sea forces
     arrived simultaneously.... The people of the fleet received
     presents from the king, took leave of him, and returned to their
     country loaded with the blessings of all Christians. The town of
     Sidon was taken in the year of grace 1111 [1110], and on the 19th
     of December."

     This account of Sigurd the Crusader's expedition to the holy land,
     by a nearly contemporary historian, native of the country,
     corroborates Snorro Sturleson's account of it even in the minute
     details, but he makes him arrive at Joppa, instead of Acre, as the
     Norse account has it.]


[103] They reigned from about 1103 to about 1130.

[104] A.D. 1108.

[105] Valland, the west of France.

[106] Galizo land, the province of Galicia, in the north-west of Spain.

[107] Jacob's land. Galicia is called Jacob's land by the scald, from
St. James of Compostella: the apostle James, whose relics are held in
veneration at Compostella in Spain. Portugal appears to have been
reckoned part of Spain, and Galicia a distinct country.

[108] Sintre, now Cintra, in Portugal; then reckoned part of Spain.

[109] The heathen Spain would be the parts of the Peninsula occupied by
the Moors.

[110] There is some difficulty in finding a town corresponding to this
Alkassi. It cannot be Alkassir in Fez, in Africa, as some have supposed,
as the context does not agree with it; nor with Algesiras, which is
within the Straits of Gibraltar (Nörfasund), and it would have been so
described. Alcasser de Sal lies too far inland to have been the place.
Lady Grosvenor, in her Yacht Voyage, 1841, speaks of a Moorish palace
near Seville, called Alcasir, which would correspond best with the Saga

[111] Nörfa Sound, the Straits of Gibraltar; so called from Nörfa, the
first Norse viking who passed through it.

[112] Serkland is the Saracen's land, the north of Africa; and the
inhabitants bluemen, the Moors.

[113] It appears to have been the feudal idea of the times, that a title
or dignity must be conferred by a superior in title or dignity; and thus
a wandering king from the north could raise Roger of Sicily to the
kingly title. [The Norseman's account is a fable: the dignity of king of
Sicily was given to count Roger, in 1129, by the pope.]

[114] Kypur, Cyprus.

[115] Kirialax. Kuriou Alexou, the emperor Alexius Comnenus.

[116] Jorsalaland, Palestine; the land of Jerusalem.

[117] Akersborg, Acre.

[118] Jorsalaborg, Jerusalem.

[119] Saide, or Sidon, was taken in December, 1110.

[120] Engilsness, supposed to be the ness at the river Ægos, called
Ægisnes in the Orkneyinga Saga, within the Dardanelles; not Cape Saint
Angelo in the Morea.

[121] Padreimr, or Padrennir, the Hippodrome where the great spectacles
were given.

[122] Place of public assembly.

[123] It is not likely that the feats of the Asers, Volsungers, and
Giukungers, were represented in the games of the Hippodrome at
Constantinople; but very likely that the Væringers, and other northmen
there, would apply the names of their own mythology to the
representations taken from the Greek mythology.

[124] Fire-works, or the Greek fire, were probably used.


A.D. 1160-1173.


This book contains the reports of Rabbi Benjamin, the son of Jonah, of
blessed memory[125], of Tudela, in the kingdom of Navarre. This man
travelled through many and distant countries, as related in the
following account, and took down in writing in each place what he saw or
what was told him by men of integrity, whose names were known in Spain.
Rabbi Benjamin also mentions some of the principal men in the places he
visited; and when he returned, he brought this report along with him to
the country of Castile in the year 933 (A.D. 1173). The above-mentioned
Rabbi Benjamin was a man of wisdom and understanding, and of much
information; and after strict inquiry his words were found to be true
and correct, for he was a true man.


Thus says Rabbi Benjamin, son of Jonah, of blessed memory. I first set
out from the city of Saragossa, and proceeded down the river Ebro to
Tortosa. Two days' journey brought me to the ancient city of Tarragona,
which contains many cyclopean and pelasgic remains[126], and similar
buildings are found nowhere else in the whole kingdom of Spain. This
city stands on the coast. Two days thence is Barcelona, in which place
there is a congregation of wise, learned, and princely men, such as R.
Shesheth, R. Shealthiel, and R. Solomon, son of R. Abraham, son of
Chisdai of blessed memory. The city is handsome, though small, and is
situated on the sea-shore. Its trade attracts merchants from all parts
of the world: from Greece, from Pisa, Genoa, and Sicily, from Alexandria
in Egypt, from Palestine and the adjacent countries.

A day's journey and a half brings you to Gerona, which city contains a
small congregation of Jews. From thence it is three days to Narbonne,
eminent for its university, from which the study of the law spreads over
all countries. The city contains many wise and noble men, especially R.
Calonymos, son of the great and noble R. Theodoros of blessed memory, a
descendant of the house of David, as proved by his pedigree. This man
holds landed property from the sovereigns of the country, and nobody can
deprive him of it by force. There is also R. Abraham, the president of
the university, R. Makhir, R. Juda, and others of much merit and
learning. Altogether the number of Jews amounts to about three hundred.
It is four parasangs thence to the city of Beziers, which contains a
congregation of learned men, the principals of which are R. Solomon
Chalaphtha and R. Joseph, son of R. Nathaniel of blessed memory.

From thence it is two days to Har Gáash, or Montpellier, a city
conveniently situated for trade, being within two parasangs from the
coast. You here meet with Christian and Mohammedan merchants from all
parts: from Algarve (Portugal), Lombardy, the Roman empire, Egypt,
Palestine, Greece, France, Spain, and England. People of all tongues
meet here, chiefly in consequence of the traffic of the Genoese and
Pisans. The Jews of this city are among the wisest and most esteemed of
the present generation. R. Reuben, son of Theodoros, R. Nathan, son of
Zacharias, R. Samuel, their rabbi, R. Shelemiah, and R. Mordecai of
blessed memory, are the principal among them. Others are very rich, and
benevolent towards all who apply to them for assistance. It is four
parasangs hence to Lunel, a city containing also a holy congregation of
Jews, who employ all their time upon the study of the law. This town is
the place of residence of the celebrated rabbi R. Meshullam and his five
sons (R. Joseph, R. Isaac, R. Jacob, R. Aaron, and R. Asher), all of
whom are eminent scholars and rich men. The latter is an ascetic, who
does not attend to any worldly business, but studies day and night,
keeps fasts, and never eats meat. He possesses an extraordinary degree
of knowledge of every thing relating to Talmudic learning. R. Moses, his
brother-in-law, R. Samuel, the minister, R. Solomon Cohen, and the
physician R. Juda, son of Thibbon, of Spanish origin, are also
inhabitants of Lunel. All foreign students who resort hither to study
the law, are supplied with food and raiment at the public expense during
the whole time of their stay in the university. The Jews of this city,
amounting to about three hundred, are wise, holy, and benevolent men,
who support their poor brethren near and far. The town stands within two
parasangs of the coast. It is two parasangs hence to Beaucaire, a large
town, containing about four hundred Jews, and a great university under
the presidency of the great rabbi, R. Abraham, son of David of blessed
memory, a scholar of the first eminence in scriptural and talmudic
learning. He attracts students from distant countries, who are lodged in
his own house and are taught by him; he, moreover, provides them with
all necessaries of life from his own means and private property, which
is very considerable. R. Joseph, son of R. Menachem, R. Benbenast, R.
Benjamin, R. Abraham, and R. Isaac, son of R. Moses of blessed memory of
this city, are also very great scholars and wise men. It is three
parasangs further to Nogres or Bourg de St. Gilles. The chief of the
Jewish inhabitants, of which there are about one hundred, are R. Isaac,
son of R. Jacob, R. Abraham, son of R. Juda, R. Eliasar, R. Isaac, R.
Moses, and R. Jacob, son of the late rabbi R. Levi of blessed memory.
This town is a place of pilgrimage[127], visited by the inhabitants of
distant countries and islands. It is situated within three parasangs of
the sea, on the very banks of the large river Rhone, which traverses the
whole of Provence. It is the place of residence of R. Abba Mari, son of
R. Isaac of blessed memory, who holds the office of steward to count

To Arles, three parasangs. The chief of its two hundred Israelites are
R. Moses, R. Tobi, R. Isaiah, R. Solomon the rabbi, R. Nathan, and R.
Abba Mari of blessed memory. It is three days hence to Marseilles, a
city containing many eminent and wise men. Its three hundred Jews form
two congregations, one of which resides in the lower town on the shore
of the Mediterranean, and the other in the upper part, near the
fortress. The latter supports a great university and boasts of many
learned scholars. R. Simeon, son of R. Antoli, his brother, R. Jacob,
and R. Levaro, are the chief of the upper synagogue, R. Jacob Perpiano,
a rich man, R. Abraham, and his son-in-law, R. Meir, R. Isaac, and
another Meir, preside over the lower congregation. An extensive trade is
carried on in this city, which stands immediately on the coast. And here
people take ship for Genoa, which also stands on the coast, and is
reached in about four days. Two Jews from Ceuta, R. Samuel, son of
Khilam, and his brother, reside there. The city is surrounded by a wall;
no king governs over it, but senators chosen by the citizens out of
their own body. Every house is provided with a tower, and in times of
civil commotion war is carried on from the tops of these towers. The
Genoese are masters of the sea, and build vessels called galleys, by
means of which they carry on war in many places and bring home much
plunder and booty. They are now at war with the Pisans.

From their city it is a distance of two days' journey to Pisa, which is
a place of very great extent, containing about ten thousand fortified
houses, from which war is carried on in times of civil commotion. All
the inhabitants are brave; no king or prince governs over them, the
supreme authority being vested in senators chosen by the people. The
principal of the twenty Jews resident at Pisa are R. Moses, R. Chaim,
and R. Joseph. The city has no walls, and stands about four miles from
the sea, the navigation being carried on by means of vessels which ply
upon the Arno, a river that runs through the city. Hence it is four
parasangs to Lucca, a large city, which contains about forty Jews, the
principal of whom are R. David, R. Samuel, and R. Jacob.

A journey of six days from thence brings you to the large city of Rome,
the metropolis of all Christendom. Two hundred Jews live there, who are
very much respected, and pay tribute to no one. Some of them are
officers in the service of pope Alexander[128], who is the chief
ecclesiastic and head of the Christian church. The principal of the many
eminent Jews resident here are R. Daniel and R. Jechiel. The latter is
one of the pope's officers, a handsome, prudent, and wise man, who
frequents the pope's palace, being the steward of his household and
minister of his private property. R. Jechiel is a descendant of R.
Nathan, the author of the book Aruch and its comments[129]. There are
likewise at Rome, R. Joab, son of the rabbi R. Solomon, R. Menachem, the
president of the university, R. Jechiel, who resides in Trastevere, and
R. Benjamin, son of R. Shabthai of blessed memory.

The city of Rome is divided into two parts by the river Tiber, which
runs through it. In the first of these divisions you see the large place
of worship called St. Peter of Rome, on the site of the extensive palace
of Julius Cæsar. The city contains numerous buildings and structures
entirely different from all other buildings upon the face of the earth.
The extent of ground covered by the ruined and inhabited parts of Rome
amounts to four-and-twenty miles. You there find eighty halls of the
eighty eminent kings who were all called Imperator, from king Tarquin to
king Pepin, the father of Charles (Charlemagne), who first conquered
Spain and wrested it from the Mohammedans[130]. In the outskirts of Rome
is the palace of Titus, who was rejected by three hundred senators in
consequence of his having wasted three years in the conquest of
Jerusalem, which, according to their will, he ought to have accomplished
in two years. There is likewise the hall of the palace of king
Vespasianus, a very large and strong building; also the hall of king
Galba, containing 360 windows, equal in number to the days of the year.
The circumference of this palace is nearly three miles. A battle was
fought here in times of yore, and in the palace fell more than a hundred
thousand, whose bones are hung up there even to the present day. The
king caused a representation of the battle to be drawn, army against
army, the men, the horses, and all their accoutrements being sculptured
in marble, in order to preserve a memorial of the wars of antiquity. You
there find also a cave under ground containing the king and his queen
upon their thrones, surrounded by about one hundred nobles of their
court, all embalmed by physicians and in good preservation to this day.

Another remarkable object is St. Giovanni _in porta Latina_, in which
place of worship there are two copper pillars constructed by king
Solomon of blessed memory, whose name, "Solomon, son of David," is
engraved upon each. The Jews in Rome told Benjamin, that every year,
about the time of the 9th of Ab[131], these pillars sweat so much that
the water runs down from them. You there see also the cave in which
Titus, the son of Vespasian, hid the vessels of the temple, which he
brought from Jerusalem; and in another cave on the banks of the Tiber,
you find the sepulchres of those holy men of blessed memory, the ten
martyrs of the kingdom[132]. Opposite St. Giovanni de Laterano, there is
a statue of Samson, with a lance of stone in his hand; also that of
Absalom, the son of David, and of king Constantine, who built
Constantinople, which city is called after his name; his statue is cast
in copper, the man and horse being gilt. Rome contains many other
remarkable buildings and works, the whole of which nobody can enumerate.

Four days from Rome is Capua, a large city, built by king Capys. The
town is elegant, but the water is bad, and the country unhealthy. Among
the three hundred Jews who reside at Capua are many very wise men of
universal fame, such as R. Konpasso and his brother, R. Samuel, R.
Saken, and the rabbi R. David, who bears the title of Principalo.

From thence to Puzzuolo, or Sorrento, a large city built by Tsintsan
Hadareser, who fled in fear of king David of blessed memory. This city
has been inundated in two spots by the sea; and even to this day you may
see the streets and towers of the submerged city. A hot spring, which
issues forth from under ground, produces the oil called Petroleum, which
is collected upon the surface of the water and used in medicine. There
are likewise hot baths, proceeding from hot subterranean springs, which
here issue from under ground. Two of these baths are situated on the
sea-shore, and whoever is afflicted with any disease generally
experiences great relief, if not certain cure, from the use of these
waters. During the summer season all persons afflicted with diseases
crowd hither from the whole of Lombardy[133].

From this place a man may travel fifteen miles by a causeway under the
mountains, constructed by king Romulus, the founder of Rome, who feared
David, king of Israel, and Joab, his general, and constructed buildings
both upon and under the mountains. The city of Naples is very strongly
fortified; it is situated on the coast, and was originally built by the
Greeks. The principal of the five hundred Jews who live here are R.
Chiskiah, R. Shalom, R. Eliah Cohen, and R. Isaac, from Mount Hor. One
day's journey brings you to Salerno, the chief medical university of
Christendom. The number of Jews living here amounts to about six
hundred, among whom R. Juda, son of R. Isaac, R. Melchisedek, the grand
rabbi, originally from Siponte, R. Solomon Cohen, R. Elija Hajevani
(i.e. the Greek), R. Abraham Narboni, and R. Thamon, deserve particular
notice as wise and learned men. The city is surrounded by a wall towards
the land; one part of it however stands on the shore of the sea. The
fort on the summit of the hill is very strong. Half a day to Amalfi,
among the inhabitants of which city are twenty Jews, the chief being R.
Chananel, the physician, R. Elisha, and the benevolent (or noble)
Abu-al-Gid. The Christian population of this country is chiefly occupied
with trade; they do not till the ground, but buy every thing for money,
because they reside on high mountains and upon rocky hills; fruit,
however, abounds; the land being covered with vineyards, olive-groves,
gardens, and orchards. Nobody ventures to make war upon them.

One day to Bavento, a large city between the coast and a high mountain.
The congregation of Jews is about two hundred, of which the principals
are R. Calonymos, R. Sarach, and R. Abraham of blessed memory. From
hence two days to Melfi in Apulia, the Pul[134] of scripture, with about
two hundred Jews, of which R. Achimaats, R. Nathan, and R. Sadok are the
principal. One day's journey hence to Ascoli; the principal of the forty
Jews who live there are R. Kontilo, R. Semach, his son-in-law, and R.
Joseph. Two days to Trani, on the coast. All the pilgrims who travel to
Jerusalem assemble here, on account of the convenience of its port. This
city contains about two hundred Israelites, the chief of whom are R.
Elijah, R. Nathan the lecturer[135], and R. Jacob. Trani is a large and
elegant town. One day's journey to St. Nicholas di Bari[136], formerly a
large city, but it was destroyed by William king of Sicily. It still
lies in ruins, and contains neither Jewish nor Christian inhabitants.
One day's journey and a half to Taranto, the frontier town of Calabria,
the inhabitants of which are Greeks. It is a large city, and the
principal of the three hundred Jews who live there are R. Mali, R.
Nathan, and R. Israel. One day's journey to Brindisi, on the sea-coast,
containing about ten Jews, who are dyers. Two days to Otranto, on the
coast of the Grecian sea; the principal of its five hundred Jewish
inhabitants are R. Menachem, R. Khaleb, R. Meier, and R. Mali.

From thence you cross over in two days to the island of Corfu,
containing but one Jew, a dyer, of the name of R. Joseph. Unto this
place reaches the kingdom of Sicily[137]. Two days' voyage by sea
brings you to the coast of Arta, the confines of the empire of Manuel,
king of Greece. On this coast lies a village with about a hundred Jewish
inhabitants, the principal of whom are R. Shelachiah, and R. Hercules.
Two days to Achelous, containing ten Jews, of whom the principal is R.
Shabthai. Half a day to Anatolica on the gulf. One day by sea to Patras.
This is the city of Antipatros, king of Greece, one of the four kings
who rose after king Alexander[138]. It contains large and ancient
buildings, and about fifty Jews reside there, of whom R. Isaac, R.
Jacob, and R. Samuel are the principal. Half a day by sea to Lepanto, on
the coast. The principal of the hundred Jews who reside there are R.
Gisri, R. Shalom, and R. Abraham. One day's journey and a half to
Crissa. Two hundred Jews live there by themselves on mount Parnassus,
and carry on agriculture upon their own land and property; of these, R.
Solomon, R. Chaim, and R. Jedaiah are the principal. Three days to the
city of Corinth, which contains about three hundred Jews, of whom the
chief are R. Leon, R. Jacob, and R. Ezekias.

Three days to the large city of Thebes, containing about two thousand
Jewish inhabitants. These are the most eminent manufacturers of silk and
purple cloth in all Greece[139]. Among them are many eminent Talmudic
scholars and men as famous as any of the present generation. The
principal of them are, the great rabbi R. Aaron Koti, his brother, R.
Moses, R. Chija, R. Elijah Tareteno, and R. Joktan. No scholars
like them are to be found in the whole Grecian empire, except at
Constantinople. A journey of three days brings you to Negropont, a large
city on the coast, to which merchants resort from all parts. Of the two
hundred Jews who reside there, the principal are R. Elijah Psalteri, R.
Emanuel, and R. Khaleb. From thence to Jabustrisa[140] is one day's
journey. This city stands on the coast, and contains about one hundred
Jews, the principal of whom are R. Joseph, R. Samuel, and R. Nethaniah.
Rabenica[141] is distant one day's journey, and contains about one
hundred Jews, of whom R. Joseph, R. Eleasar, and R. Isaac are the
principal. Sinon Potamo, or Zeitun, is one day's journey further; R.
Solomon and R. Jacob are the principal of its fifty Jewish inhabitants.

Here we reach the confines of Wallachia, the inhabitants of which
country are called Vlachi. They are as nimble as deer, and descend from
their mountains into the plains of Greece, committing robberies and
making booty. Nobody ventures to make war upon them, nor can any king
bring them to submission, and they do not profess the Christian faith.
Their names are of Jewish origin, and some even say that they have been
Jews, which nation they call brethren. Whenever they meet an Israelite,
they rob, but never kill him, as they do the Greeks. They profess no
religious creed.

From thence it is two days to Gardiki[142], a ruined place, containing
but few Jewish or Grecian inhabitants. Two days further, on the coast,
stands the large commercial city of Armiro[143], which is frequented by
the Venetians, the Pisans, the Genoese, and many other merchants. It is
a large city, and contains about four hundred Jewish inhabitants; of
whom the chief are R. Shiloh, R. Joseph the elder, and R. Solomon, the
president. One day to Bissina[144]; the principal of the hundred Jews
who reside here are the rabbi R. Shabtha, R. Solomon, and R. Jacob. The
town of Salunki[145] is distant two days by sea; it was built by king
Seleucus, one of the four Greek nobles who rose after Alexander, is a
very large city, and contains about five hundred Jewish inhabitants. The
rabbi R. Samuel and his sons are eminent scholars, and he is appointed
provost of the resident Jews by the king's command. His son-in-law R.
Shabthai, R. Elijah, and R. Michael, also reside there. The Jews are
much oppressed in this place, and live by the exercise of handicraft.
Mitrizzi[146], distant two days' journey, contains about twenty Jews. R.
Isaiah, R. Makhir, and R. Eliab are the principal of them. Drama[147],
distance from hence two days' journey, contains about one hundred and
forty Jews, of whom the chief are R. Michael and R. Joseph. From thence
one day's journey to Christopoli[148], which contains about twenty
Jewish inhabitants. Three days from thence by sea stands Abydos, on the

It is hence five days' journey through the mountains to the large city
of Constantinople, the metropolis of the whole Grecian empire, and the
residence of the emperor, king Manuel[149]. Twelve princely officers
govern the whole empire by his command, each of them inhabiting a palace
at Constantinople, and possessing fortresses and cities of his own. The
first of these nobles bears the title of Præpositus magnus; the second
is called Megas Domesticus, the third Dominus, the fourth Megas Ducas,
the fifth Œconomus magnus, and the names of the others are similar to

The circumference of the city of Constantinople is eighteen miles; one
half of the city being bounded by the continent, the other by the sea,
two arms of which meet here; the one a branch or outlet of the Russian,
the other of the Spanish sea. Great stir and bustle prevails at
Constantinople in consequence of the conflux of many merchants, who
resort thither, both by land and by sea, from all parts of the world for
purposes of trade, including merchants, from Babylon and from
Mesopotamia, from Media and Persia, from Egypt and Palestine, as well as
from Russia, Hungary, Patzinakia, Budia, Lombardy, and Spain. In this
respect the city is equalled only by Bagdad, the metropolis of the
Mohammedans. At Constantinople is the place of worship called St.
Sophia, and the metropolitan seat of the pope of the Greeks, who are at
variance with the pope of Rome. It contains as many altars as there are
days of the year, and possesses innumerable riches, which are augmented
every year by the contributions of the two islands and of the adjacent
towns and villages. All the other places of worship in the whole world
do not equal St. Sophia in riches. It is ornamented with pillars of gold
and silver, and with innumerable lamps of the same precious materials.
The Hippodrome is a public place near the wall of the palace, set aside
for the king's sports. Every year the birthday of Jesus the Nazarene is
celebrated there with public rejoicings. On these occasions you may see
there representations of all the nations who inhabit the different
parts of the world, with surprising feats of jugglery. Lions, bears,
leopards, and wild asses, as well as birds, which have been trained to
fight each other, are also exhibited. All this sport, the equal of which
is nowhere to be met with, is carried on in the presence of the king and
the queen[151].

King Manuel has built a large palace for his residence on the sea-shore,
near the palace built by his predecessors; and to this edifice is given
the name of Blachernes. The pillars and walls are covered with pure
gold, and all the wars of the ancients, as well as his own wars, are
represented in pictures. The throne in this palace is of gold, and
ornamented with precious stones; a golden crown hangs over it, suspended
on a chain of the same material, the length of which exactly admits the
emperor to sit under it. This crown is ornamented with precious stones
of inestimable value. Such is the lustre of these diamonds, that, even
without any other light, they illumine the room in which they are kept.
Other objects of curiosity are met with here which it would be
impossible to describe adequately.

The tribute, which is brought to Constantinople every year from all
parts of Greece, consisting of silks, and purple cloths, and gold, fills
many towers. These riches and buildings are equalled nowhere in the
world. They say that the tribute of the city alone amounts every day to
twenty thousand florins, arising from rents of hostelries and bazaars,
and from the duties paid by merchants who arrive by sea and by land. The
Greeks who inhabit the country are extremely rich, and possess great
wealth in gold and precious stones. They dress in garments of silk,
ornamented with gold and other valuable materials. They ride upon
horses, and in their appearance they are like princes. The country is
rich, producing all sorts of delicacies, as well as abundance of bread,
meat, and wine. They are well skilled in the Greek sciences, and live
comfortably, "every man under his vine and his fig tree."[152] The
Greeks hire soldiers of all nations, whom they call barbarians, for the
purpose of carrying on their wars with the sultan of the Thogarmim, who
are called Turks. They have no martial spirit themselves, and, like
women, are unfit for warlike enterprises.

No Jews dwell in the city with them; they are obliged to reside beyond
the one arm of the sea, where they are shut in by the channel of Sophia
on one side, and they can reach the city by water only, when they want
to visit it for purposes of trade. The number of Jews at Constantinople
amounts to two thousand Rabbanites and five hundred Caraites[153], who
live on one spot, but divided by a wall. The principal of the
Rabbanites, who are learned in the law, are the rabbi R. Abtalion, R.
Obadiah, R. Aaron Khuspo, R. Joseph Sargeno, and R. Eliakim the elder.
Many of them are manufacturers of silk cloth, many others are merchants,
some being extremely rich; but no Jew is allowed to ride upon a horse,
except R. Solomon Hamitsri, who is the king's physician, and by whose
influence the Jews enjoy many advantages even in their state of
oppression, which is very severely felt by them; and the hatred against
them is increased by the practice of the tanners, who pour out their
filthy water in the streets and even before the very doors of the Jews,
who, being thus defiled, become objects of contempt to the Greeks. Their
yoke is severely felt by the Jews, both good and bad; for they are
exposed to be beaten in the streets, and must submit to all sorts of bad
treatment. Still the Jews are rich, good, benevolent, and religious men,
who bear the misfortunes of their exile with humility. The quarter
inhabited by the Jews is called Pera.

Two days from Constantinople stands Rodosto, containing a congregation
of about four hundred Jews, the principal of whom are R. Moses, R.
Abijah, and R. Jacob. From hence it is two days to Gallipoli. Of the two
hundred Jews of this city the principal are R. Elijah Kapid, R. Shabthai
the little, and R. Isaac Megas; this latter term in the Greek language
means tall. To (Kales, or) Kilia[154], two days. The principal of the
fifty Jews who inhabit this place are R. Juda, R. Jacob, and R.
Shemaiah. It is hence two days to Mitilene, one of the islands of the
sea. Ten places in this island contain Jewish congregations. Three days
from thence is situated the island of Chio, containing about four
hundred Jews, the principal of whom are R. Elijah, R. Theman, and R.
Shabthai. The trees which yield mastic are found here[155]. Two days
bring us to the island of Samos, which contains about three hundred
Jews, the chief of whom are R. Shemaria, R. Obadiah, and R. Joel. These
islands contain many congregations of Jews. It is three days hence by
sea to Rhodes. The principal of the four hundred Jews who reside here
are R. Aba, R. Chananel, and R. Elijah. Hence it is four days to Cyprus.
Besides the rabbanitic Jews in this island, there is a community of
heretic Jews called Kaphrosein, or Cyprians. They are epicureans, and
the orthodox Jews excommunicate them. These sectarians profane the
evening of the Sabbath and keep holy that of the Sunday. We next come in
two days to Corycus, the frontier of Aram, which is called Armenia. Here
are the confines of the empire of Toros, king of the mountains[156],
sovereign of Armenia, whose rule extends to the city of Dhuchia and the
country of the Togarmim, or Turks. Two days further is Malmistras[157],
which is Thersoos, situated on the coast. Thus far reaches the empire
of the Javanites, who are called Greeks.

The large city of Antioch is distant two days hence. It stands on the
banks of the Makloub, which river flows down from Mount Lebanon, from
the country of Hamah. The city was founded by king Antiochus, and is
overlooked by a very high mountain. A wall surrounds this height, on the
summit of which is situated a well. The inspector of the well
distributes the water by subterranean aqueducts, and thus provides the
houses of the principal inhabitants of the city. The other side of the
city is surrounded by the river. This place is very strongly fortified,
and in the possession of prince Boemond Poitevin, surnamed le
Baube[158]. It contains about ten Jews, who are glass manufacturers, and
the principal of whom are R. Mordecai, R. Chaiim, and R. Ishmael.

Two days bring us from thence to Lega, which is Latachia, and contains
about two hundred Jews, the principal of whom are R. Chiia and R.
Joseph. Hence it is two days to Jebilee, the Baal Gad of Scripture,
under Mount Lebanon.

In this vicinity reside the people called Assassins, who do not believe
in the tenets of Mohammedanism, but in those of one whom they consider
like unto the prophet Kharmath[159]. They fulfil whatever he commands
them, whether it be a matter of life or death. He goes by the name of
Sheikh-al-Hashishin, or their old man, by whose commands all the acts of
these mountaineers are regulated. His residence is in the city of
Kadmus[160], the Kedemoth of Scripture, in the land of Sichon. The
Assassins are faithful to one another by the command of their old man,
and make themselves the dread of every one, because their devotion leads
them gladly to risk their lives, and to kill even kings when commanded.
The extent of their country is eight days' journey. They are at war with
the Christians, called Franks, and with the count of Tripoli, which is
Tarablous el Sham. Some time ago Tripoli was visited by an earthquake,
which destroyed many Jews and Gentiles, numbers of the inhabitants being
killed by the falling houses and walls, under the ruins of which they
were buried. More than twenty thousand persons were killed in Palestine
by this earthquake.

One day's journey to the other Jebail, which was the Gebal of the
children of Ammon[161]; it contains about one hundred and fifty Jews,
and is governed by seven Genoese, the supreme command being vested in
one of them named Julianus Embriaco[162]. You there find the ancient
place of worship of the children of Ammon. The idol of this people is
seated on a cathedral or throne, constructed of stone and richly gilt;
two female figures occupy the seats on his side, one being on the right,
the other on the left, and before it stands an altar, upon which the
children of Ammon anciently offered sacrifices and burned incense. The
city contains about two hundred Jews, the principal of whom are R. Meir,
R. Jacob, and R. Szimchah. It stands on the coast of the sea of the Holy
Land. Two days hence is Beyrut, which is Beeroth[163]. The principal of
its fifty Jewish inhabitants are R. Solomon, R. Obadiah, and R. Joseph.
It is hence one day's journey to Saida, which is Sidon of Scripture, a
large city, with about twenty Jewish inhabitants.

Within twenty miles of this place reside a people who are at war with
the inhabitants of Sidon, and who are called Druses. They are called
heathens and unbelievers, because they confess no religion. Their
dwellings are on the summits of the mountains and in the ridges of the
rocks, and they are subject to no king or prince. Mount Hermon, a
distance of three days' journey, is the boundary of their territory.
This people live incestuously; a father cohabits with his own daughter,
and once every year all men and women assemble to celebrate a festival,
upon which occasion, after eating and drinking, they hold promiscuous
intercourse. They say that the soul of a virtuous man is transferred to
the body of a new-born child; whereas that of the wicked transmigrates
into a dog or some other animal. This their way is their folly. Jews
have no permanent residence among them, although some tradesmen and a
few dyers travel through the country occasionally, to carry on their
trades or sell goods, and return home when their business is done. The
Druses are friendly towards the Jews; they are so nimble in climbing
hills and mountains, that nobody can successfully carry on war against

One day's journey to New Sur, a very beautiful city, the port of which
is in the town itself, and is guarded by two towers, within which the
vessels ride at anchor. The officers of the customs draw an iron chain
from tower to tower every night, thus effectually preventing any thieves
or robbers from escape by boats or by other means. There is no port in
the world equal to this. About four hundred Jews reside here, the
principal of whom are the judge R. Ephraim Mitsri, R. Meier of
Carcasson, and R. Abraham, the elder of the community. The Jews of Sur
are ship-owners and manufacturers of the celebrated Tyrian glass[164];
the purple dye is also found in this vicinity. If you mount the walls of
New Sur, you may see the remains of "Tyre the crowning,"[165] which was
inundated by the sea; it is about the distance of a stone's throw from
the new town, and whoever embarks may observe the towers, the markets,
the streets, and the halls at the bottom of the sea. The city of New Sur
is very commercial, and one to which traders resort from all parts.

It is one day hence to Acre, the Acco of Scripture, on the confines of
the tribe of Asher. It is the frontier town of Palestine; and, in
consequence of its situation on the shore of the Mediterranean and of
its large port, it is the principal place of disembarkation of all
pilgrims who visit Jerusalem by sea. A river called Kishon[166] runs
near the city. There are here about two hundred Jewish inhabitants, of
whom R. Zadok, R. Jepheth, and R. Jona are the principal. Three
parasangs further is Kaiffa, which is Gath Hachepher[167]. One side of
this city is situated on the coast, on the other it is overlooked by
Mount Carmel. Under the mountain are many Jewish sepulchres, and near
the summit is the cavern of Elija, upon whom be peace. Two Christians
have built a place of worship near this site, which they call St. Elias.
On the summit of the hill you may still trace the site of the altar
which was rebuilt by Elija of blessed memory, in the time of king
Ahab[168], and the circumference of which is about four yards. The river
Mukattua runs down the mountain and along its base. It is four parasangs
hence to Khephar Thanchum, which is Capernaum, identical with Meon, the
place of abode of Nabal the Carmelite. Six parasangs brings us to
Cesarea, the Gath of the Philistines of Scripture, inhabited by about
ten Jews and two hundred Cutheans. The latter are Samaritan Jews,
commonly called Samaritans. This city is very elegant and beautiful,
situated on the sea-shore, and was built by king Herod, who called it
Cesarea in honour of the emperor, or Cæsar. To Kakun, the Keilah of
Scripture[169], half a day's journey; in this place are no Jews. To St.
George, the ancient Luz[170], half a day's journey. One Jew only, a
dyer, lives here. To Sebaste, one day's journey. This is the ancient
Shomron, where you may still trace the site of the palace of Ahab, king
of Israel. It was formerly a very strong city, and is situated on a
mount, in a fine country, richly watered, and surrounded with gardens,
orchards, vineyards, and olive-groves. No Jews live here.

It is two parasangs further to Nablous, the ancient Sichem, on Mount
Ephraim. This place contains no Jewish inhabitants, and is situated in
the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. It is the abode of
about one hundred Cutheans, who observe the Mosaic law only, and are
called Samaritans. They have priests, descendants of Aaron the priest
of blessed memory, whom they call Aaronim. These do not intermarry with
any other but priestly families; but they are priests only of their own
law, who offer sacrifices and burnt-offerings in their synagogue
on Mount Gerizim. They do this in accordance with the words of
Scripture[171], "Thou shalt put the blessing on Mount Gerizim," and they
pretend that this is the holy temple[172]. On passover and holidays they
offer burnt-offerings on the altar which they have erected on Mount
Gerizim, from the stones put up by the children of Israel after they had
crossed the Jordan. They pretend to be of the tribe of Ephraim, and are
in possession of the tomb of Joseph the righteous, the son of our father
Jacob, upon whom be peace, as is proved by the following passage of
Scripture[173], "The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel
brought up with them from Egypt, they buried in Sichem." The Samaritans
do not possess the three letters He, Cheth, and Ain; the He of the name
of our father Abraham, and they have no glory; the Cheth of the name of
our father Isaac, in consequence of which they are devoid of piety; the
Ain of the name of Jacob, for they want humility. Instead of these
letters, they always put an Aleph, by which you may know that they are
not of Jewish origin, because, in their knowledge of the law of Moses,
they are deficient in three letters[174]. This sect carefully avoid
being defiled by touching corpses, bones, those killed by accident, or
graves; and they change their daily garments whenever they visit their
synagogue, upon which occasion they wash their body and put on other
clothes. These are their daily habits.

Mount Gerizim is rich in wells and orchards, whereas Mount Ebal is dry
like stone and rock. The city of Nablous lies in the valley between
these two hills. Four parasangs from thence is situated Mount Gilboa,
which Christians call Monto Jelbon. The country in this part is very
barren. Five parasangs further is the valley of Ajalon[175], called by
the Christians Val de Luna. One parasang to Gran David, formerly the
large city of Gibeon. It contains no Jewish inhabitants.

From thence it is three parasangs to Jerusalem, a small city strongly
fortified with three walls. It contains a numerous population, composed
of Jacobites, Armenians, Greeks, Georgians, Franks, and indeed of people
of all tongues. The dyeing-house is rented by the year, and the
exclusive privilege of dyeing is purchased from the king by the Jews of
Jerusalem, two hundred of whom dwell in one corner of the city, under
the tower of David. About ten yards of the base of this building are
very ancient, having been constructed by our ancestors; the remaining
part was added by the Mohammedans. The city contains no building
stronger than the tower of David. There are at Jerusalem two hospitals,
which support four hundred knights, and afford shelter to the sick;
these are provided with everything they may want, both during life and
in death; the second is called the hospital of Solomon, being the palace
originally built by king Solomon. This hospital also harbours and
furnishes four hundred knights[176], who are ever ready to wage war,
over and above those knights who arrive from the country of the Franks
and other parts of Christendom. These generally have taken a vow upon
themselves to stay a year or two, and they remain until the period of
their vow is expired. The large place of worship, called Sepulchre, and
containing the sepulchre of that man[177], is visited by all pilgrims.

Jerusalem has four gates, called the gates of Abraham, David, Sion, and
Jehoshaphat. The latter stands opposite the place of the holy temple,
which is occupied at present by a building called Templo Domino. Omar
Ben Al-Khataab erected a large and handsome cupola over it, and nobody
is allowed to introduce any image or painting into this place, it being
set aside for prayers only. In front of it you see the western wall, one
of the walls which formed the Holy of Holies of the ancient temple; it
is called the Gate of Mercy, and all Jews resort thither to say their
prayers near the wall of the court-yard. At Jerusalem you also see the
stables erected by Solomon[178], and which formed part of his house.
Immense stones have been employed in this fabric, the like of which are
nowhere else to be met with. You further see to this day vestiges of
the canal near which the sacrifices were slaughtered in ancient times;
and all Jews inscribe their name upon an adjacent wall. If you leave the
city by the gate of Jehoshaphat, you may see the pillar erected on
Absalom's place[179], and the sepulchre of king Uzziah[180], and the
great spring of Shiloah, which runs into the brook Kedron. Over this
spring is a large building erected in the times of our forefathers. Very
little water is found at Jerusalem; the inhabitants generally drink rain
water, which they collect in their houses.

From the Valley of Jehoshaphat the traveller immediately ascends the
Mount of Olives, as this valley only intervenes between the city and the
mount. From hence the Dead Sea is distinctly visible. Two parasangs from
the sea stands the salt pillar into which Lot's wife was metamorphosed;
and although the sheep continually lick it, the pillar grows again, and
retains its original state. You also have a prospect over the whole
valley of the Dead Sea, and of the brook of Shittim, even as far as
Mount Nebo. Mount Sion is also near Jerusalem, upon the acclivity of
which stands no building except a place of worship of the Nazarenes
(Christians). The traveller further sees there three Jewish cemeteries,
where formerly the dead were buried; some of the sepulchres had stones
with inscriptions upon them, but the Christians destroy these monuments,
and use the stones in building their houses.

Jerusalem is surrounded by high mountains. On Mount Sion are the
sepulchres of the house of David, and those of the kings who reigned
after him. In consequence of the following circumstance, however, this
place is at present hardly to be recognised. Fifteen years ago, one of
the walls of the place of worship on Mount Sion fell down, and the
patriarch commanded the priest to repair it. He ordered stones to be
taken from the original wall of Sion for that purpose, and twenty
workmen were hired at stated wages, who broke stones from the very
foundation of the walls of Sion. Two of these labourers, who were
intimate friends, upon a certain day treated one another, and repaired
to their work after their friendly meal. The overseer accused them of
dilatoriness, but they answered that they would still perform their
day's work, and would employ thereupon the time while their fellow
labourers were at meals. They then continued to break out stones,
until, happening to meet with one which formed the mouth of a cavern,
they agreed to enter it in search of treasure, and they proceeded until
they reached a large hall, supported by pillars of marble, encrusted
with gold and silver, and before which stood a table, with a golden
sceptre and crown. This was the sepulchre of David, king of Israel, to
the left of which they saw that of Solomon in a similar state, and so on
the sepulchres of all the kings of Juda, who were buried there. They
further saw chests locked up, the contents of which nobody knew, and
were on the point of entering the hall, when a blast of wind like a
storm issued forth from the mouth of the cavern so strong that it threw
them down almost lifeless on the ground. There they lay until evening,
when another wind rushed forth, from which they heard a voice like that
of a man calling aloud, "Get up, and go forth from this place." The men
rushed out full of fear, and proceeded to the patriarch to report what
had happened to them. This ecclesiastic summoned into his presence R.
Abraham el Constantini, a pious ascetic, one of the mourners of the
downfall of Jerusalem[181], and caused the two labourers to repeat what
they had previously reported. R. Abraham thereupon informed the
patriarch that they had discovered the sepulchres of the house of David
and of the kings of Juda. The following morning the labourers were sent
for again, but they were found stretched on their beds and still full of
fear; they declared that they would not attempt to go again to the cave,
as it was not God's will to discover it to any one. The patriarch
ordered the place to be walled up, so as to hide it effectually from
every one unto the present day. The above-mentioned R. Abraham told me
all this.

Two parasangs from Jerusalem is Bethlehem of Judea, called Beth-lehem;
and within half a mile of it, where several roads meet[182], stands the
monument which points out the grave of Rachel. This monument is
constructed of eleven stones, equal to the number of the children of
Jacob. It is covered by a cupola, which rests upon four pillars; and
every Jew who passes there inscribes his name on the stones of the
monument. Twelve Jews, dyers by profession[183], live at Bethlehem. The
country abounds with rivulets, wells, and springs of water. Six
parasangs further is Hebron. The ancient city of that name was situated
on the hill, and lies in ruins at present; whereas the modern town
stands in the valley, even in the field of Machpelah[184]. Here is the
large place of worship called St. Abraham, which during the time of the
Mohammedans was a synagogue. The Gentiles have erected six sepulchres in
this place, which they pretend to be those of Abraham and Sarah, of
Isaac and Rebecca, and of Jacob and Leah; the pilgrims are told that
they are the sepulchres of the fathers, and money is extorted from them.
But if any Jew come, who gives an additional fee to the keeper of the
cave, an iron door is opened, which dates from the times of our
forefathers who rest in peace, and with a burning candle in his hands,
the visitor descends into a first cave, which is empty, traverses a
second in the same state, and at last reaches a third, which contains
six sepulchres, those of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Sarah,
Rebecca, and Leah, one opposite the other. All these sepulchres bear
inscriptions, the letters being engraved: thus, upon that of Abraham, we
read, "This is the sepulchre of our father Abraham, upon whom be peace;"
and so on that of Isaac and upon all the other sepulchres. A lamp burns
in the cave and upon the sepulchres continually, both night and day; and
you there see tubs filled with the bones of Israelites, for unto this
day it is a custom of the house of Israel to bring thither the bones of
their relicts and of their forefathers, and to leave them there. On the
confines of the field of Machpelah stands the house of our father
Abraham[185], who rests in peace; before which house there is a spring,
and, out of respect to Abraham, nobody is allowed to construct any
building on that site.

It is five parasangs hence to Beit Jaberim, the ancient Mareshah[186],
where there are but three Jewish inhabitants. Five parasangs further
bring us to Toron de los Caballeros, which is Shunem[187], inhabited by
three hundred Jews. We then proceed three parasangs to St. Samuel of
Shiloh, the ancient Shiloh, within two parasangs of Jerusalem. When the
Christians took Ramleh, which is Ramah, from the Mohammedans, they
discovered the sepulchre of Samuel the Ramathi[188] near the Jewish
synagogue, and removed his remains to Shiloh, where they erected a large
place of worship over them, called St. Samuel of Shiloh to the present
day. Hence it is three parasangs to Pesipua, which is Gibeah of Saul, or
Geba of Benjamin; it contains no Jews. Three parasangs to Beith Nubi,
which is Nob, the city of the priests. In the middle of the road are the
two rocks of Jonathan[189], the name of one of which is Botsets, and of
the other Séné. The two Jews who live here are dyers.

It is three parasangs hence to Ramleh, which is Harama, where you still
find walls erected by our forefathers, as is evident from the
inscriptions upon the stones. The city contains about three Jews; but it
was formerly very considerable, for a Jewish cemetery in its vicinity is
two miles in extent. Five parasangs hence to Jaffa, the Japho of
Scripture, on the coast; one Jew only, a dyer by profession, lives here.
Three parasangs to Ibelin, the ancient Jabneh[190], where the site of
the schools may still be traced; it contains no Jews. Here was the
frontier of the tribe of Ephraim. Two parasangs to Palmis, or
Asdoud[191], formerly a city of the Philistines, at present in ruins,
and containing no Jews. Two parasangs to Ascalon, which is in fact the
New Ascalon, built on the coast by Esra the priest, of blessed memory,
and originally called Benebra, distant about four parasangs from ancient
Ascalon, which lies in ruins. This city is very large and handsome; and
merchants from all parts resort to it, on account of its convenient
situation on the confines of Egypt. There are here about two hundred
rabbanite Jews, of whom the principal are R. Tsemach, R. Aaron, and R.
Solomon, besides about forty Caraites, and about three hundred Cutheans
or Samaritans. In the city is a fountain called Bir Ibrahim-al-Khahil,
which was dug in the time of the Philistines. From hence back to St.
George, which is Lydda, and in one day and a half to Serain, the Jezreel
of Scripture[192], a city containing a remarkably large fountain. It has
one Jewish inhabitant, a dyer. Three parasangs to Sufurieh, the Tsippori
of antiquity[193]. The sepulchres of Rabenu Hakkadosh, of R. Chija, who
came back from Babylon, and of Jonah the son of Amittai the prophet, are
shown here; they are buried in the mountain, which also contains
numerous other sepulchres.

From hence it is five parasangs to Tiberias, a city situated on the
Jordan, which here bears the name of the Sea of Chinnereth[194], or Lake
of Tiberias. Here are the falls of the Jordan, in consequence of which
the place bears also the name of Ashdoth-Pisga[195], which means "the
place where the rapid rivers have their fall:" the Jordan afterwards
empties itself into Lake Asphaltes, or the Dead Sea. Tiberias
contains about fifty Jews, the principal of whom are R. Abraham the
astronomer[196], R. Muchthar, and R. Isaac. The hot waters, which spout
forth from under ground, are called the warm baths of Tiberias. In the
vicinity is the synagogue of Khaleb, son of Jepuneh; and among numerous
other Jewish sepulchres are those of R. Jochanan, son of Zakhai[197],
and of R. Jonathan, son of Levi. These are all in Lower Galilee. Two
parasangs bring us to Tebnin, the Thimnatha of Scripture[198], where you
find the sepulchre of Samuel (Simeon) the Just, and many other
sepulchres of Israelites. It is hence one day to Gish, which is Gush
Chaleb, and contains about twenty Jewish inhabitants. We go hence six
parasangs to Meroon, which is Maron[199]; in a cave near this place are
the sepulchres of Hillel and Shamai, and of twenty of their disciples,
as well as those of R. Benjamin, son of Jephet, and of R. Juda, son of
Bethera. Six parasangs to Alma, which contains fifty Jewish inhabitants,
and a large cemetery of the Israelites. Half a day brings you to Kades,
which is Kadesh Naphthali, on the banks of the Jordan. Here are the
sepulchres of R. Eleasar, son of Arach, of R. Eleasar, son of Asariah,
of Chuni Hamaagal, of R. Simeon, son of Gamaliel, of R. Jose Hagelili,
and of Barak the son of Abinoam[200]. This place contains no Jews.

A day's journey brings us to Belinas[201], the ancient Dan[202], where
the traveller may see a cave, from which the Jordan issues, and three
miles hence this river unites its waters with those of the Arnon, a
rivulet of the ancient land of Moab. In front of the cave you may still
trace vestiges of the altar of the image of Micha, which was adored by
the children of Dan in ancient times. Here also is the site of the altar
erected by Jeroboam, son of Nebat, in honour of the golden calf; and
here were the confines of the land of Israel toward the uttermost

Two days from this place brings you to Damascus, a large city and the
frontier town of the empire of Noureddin[204], king of the Thogarmim, or
Turks. This city is very large and handsome, and is inclosed with a wall
and surrounded by a beautiful country, which in a circuit of fifteen
miles presents the richest gardens and orchards, in such numbers and
beauty as to be without equal upon earth. The rivers Amana[205] and
Parpar[206], the sources of which are on Mount Hermon (on which the city
leans), run down here; the Amana follows its course through Damascus,
and its waters are carried by means of pipes into the houses of the
principal inhabitants, as well as into the streets and markets. A
considerable trade is carried on here by merchants of all countries. The
Parpar runs between the gardens and orchards in the outskirts, and
supplies them copiously with water. Damascus contains a Mohammedan
mosque, called "the Synagogue of Damascus," a building of unequalled
magnificence. They say that it was the palace of Ben-Hadad[207], and
that one wall of it is framed of glass by enchantment. This wall
contains as many openings as there are days in the solar year, and the
sun in gradual succession throws its light into the openings, which are
divided into twelve degrees, equal to the number of the hours of the
day, so that by this contrivance every body may know what time it is.
The palace contains vessels richly ornamented with gold and silver,
formed like tubs, and of a size to allow three persons to bathe in them
at once. In this building is also preserved the rib of a giant, which
measures nine spans in length, and two in breadth, and which belonged to
an ancient giant king named Abchamas, whose name was found engraved upon
a stone of his tomb, and it was further stated in the inscription that
he reigned over the whole world.

This city contains three thousand Jews, many of whom are learned and
rich men; it is the residence of the president of the university of
Palestine, named R. Esra, whose brother, Sar Shalom, is the principal of
the Jewish court of law. The other distinguished Jews are R. Joseph, who
ranges fifth in the university, R. Matsliach, the lecturer and master of
the schools, R. Meir, a flower of the learned, R. Joseph Ibn Pilath, who
may be called the prop of the university, R. Heman the elder, and R.
Zadok the physician. The city contains also two hundred Caraites and
about four hundred Samaritans, sects which here live upon friendly
terms, but they do not intermarry.

It is one day's journey thence to Jelaad, which is Gilead; it contains
about sixty Jews, the principal of whom is R. Zadok. The city is large,
well watered, and surrounded by gardens and orchards. Half a day's
journey further stands Salkhat, the city of Salcah of Scripture. From
thence to Baalbec is half a day's journey. This is the city mentioned in
Scripture as Baalath in the valley of Lebanon, which Solomon built for
the daughter of Pharaoh. The palace is constructed of stones of enormous
size, measuring twenty spans in length and twelve in breadth; no binding
material holds these stones together, and people pretend that the
building could have been erected only by the help of Ashmodai. A copious
spring takes its rise at the upper side of the city, through which its
waters rush like those of a considerable river. They are employed in the
working of several mills within the city, which also incloses numerous
gardens and orchards.

Tadmor in the desert was also built by Solomon of equally large stones;
this city is surrounded by a wall, and stands in the desert, far from
any inhabited place, being four days' journey distant from the
above-mentioned Baalath. It contains two thousand warlike Jews, who are
at war with the Christians and with the Arabian subjects of Noureddin,
and assist their neighbours the Mohammedans. Their chiefs are R. Isaac
Hajevani, R. Nathan, and R. Usiel. Half a day brings us to Cariyatin,
which is Kirjathaim; one Jew only, a dyer by profession, lives there.
One day hence is Hamah, the Hamath of Scripture, on the Orontes, under
Mount Lebanon. Some time ago this city was visited by an earthquake, in
consequence of which fifteen thousand men died in one day, leaving only
seventy survivors[208]. The principals of the Jews here are R. Ulah
Hacohen, the sheikh Abu al Galeb, and Muktar. Half a day to Reiha, which
is Hazor. Three parasangs to Lamdin, from whence it is a journey of two
days to Aleppo, the Aram Zoba of Scripture. This city is the residence
of king Noureddin, and contains his palace, a building fortified by an
extraordinarily high wall. There being neither spring nor river, the
inhabitants are obliged to drink rain-water, which is collected in every
house in a cistern called in Arabic, Algub. The principal of the fifteen
hundred Jews who live in Aleppo are R. Moses el-Constandini, R. Israel,
and R. Seth.

To Bales, which is Pethor[209] on the Euphrates, two days. Even at this
day you there still find remains of the tower of Balaam the son of Beor
(may the name of the wicked rot!) which he built in accordance with the
hours of the day. This place contains about ten Jews. Half a day hence
we come to Kala Jiaber[210], which is Sela Midbarah. This city remained
in the power of the Arabs even at the time when the Thogarmim (or Turks)
took their country and dispersed them in the desert. It contains about
two thousand Jews, of whom R. Zedekiah, R. Chia, and R. Solomon
are the principal. One day brings us to Racca, which is Calneh of
Scripture[211], on the confines of Mesopotamia, being the frontier town
between that country and the empire of the Thogarmim (or Turks); it
contains about seven hundred Jewish inhabitants, the principal of whom
are R. Sakhai, R. Nadib, who is blind, and R. Joseph. One of the
synagogues was built by Esra the scribe, when he returned to Jerusalem
from Babylon. It is one day hence to the ancient place of Haran[212],
which contains twenty Jewish inhabitants, who also possess a synagogue
erected by Esra. Nobody is allowed to construct any building on the spot
where the house of our father Abraham was situated; even the Mohammedans
pay respect to the place, and resort thither to pray. Two days' journey
from thence is ...[213] at the mouth of the El-Khabur, the Habor of
Scripture. This river takes its course through Media, and loses itself
in the Kizil Ozein. About two hundred Jews dwell near this place. Two
days to Nisibin, a large city plentifully watered, and containing about
one thousand Jews. Two days to Jezireh Ben Omar, an island in the
Tigris, at the foot of Mount Ararat[214], and four miles distant from
the spot where the ark of Noah rested; Omar Ben al-Khatab removed the
ark from the summit of the two mountains and made a mosque of it. There
still exists in the vicinity of the ark a synagogue of Esra the scribe,
which is visited by the Jews of the city on the 9th of Ab[215]. The city
of Jezireh Omar Ben al-Khatab contains about four thousand Jews, the
principals of whom are R. Mubchar, R. Joseph, and R. Chiia.

Two days from thence stands Mosul, mentioned in Scripture as Ashur the
great, which contains about seven thousand Jews, the principal of whom
are R. Sakhai, the prince, a descendant of King David, and R. Joseph,
surnamed Borhan-al-Phulkh, who is astronomer of Seifeddin, the brother
of Noureddin, king of Damascus. This city, situated on the confines of
Persia, is of great extent and very ancient; it stands on the banks of
the Tigris, and is joined by a bridge to Nineveh. Although the latter
lies in ruins, there are numerous inhabited villages and small towns on
its site. Nineveh is on the Tigris, distant one parasang from the town
of Arbil[216]. Mosul contains the synagogues of Obadiah, of Jonah, son
of Amittai, and of Nahum the Elkoshite. It is three days hence to
Rahabah, which is Rehoboth, by the river Euphrates, and contains about
two thousand Jews, the principal of whom are R. Ezekiah, R. Ehud, and R.
Isaac. The city is surrounded by a wall, it is very handsome, large, and
well fortified; and the environs abound with gardens and orchards. One
day to Karkisia[217], the Carchemish of Scripture, on the banks of the
Euphrates, containing about five hundred Jewish inhabitants, of whom the
principal are R. Isaac and R. Elchanan. Two days to Juba, which is
Pumbeditha, in Nehardea; it contains about two thousand Jews, some of
them eminent scholars. The rabbi R. Chen, R. Moses, and R. Eliakim are
the principal. Here the traveller may see the sepulchres of R. Juda and
R. Samuel, opposite two synagogues which they erected during their
lives; as well as the sepulchres of R. Bosthenai, the prince of the
captivity, of R. Nathan, and of R. Nachman, the son of Papa[218]. Five
days to Hardah (or Hadrah), containing fifteen thousand Jews, of whom R.
Saken, R. Joseph, and R. Nathaniel are the principal. Two days to
Akbara, the city which was built by Jeconiah, king of Juda; it contains
about ten thousand Jews, the principal of whom are R. Joshua and R.

Two days from thence stands Bagdad, the large metropolis of the khalif
Emir-al-Mumenin al Abassi, of the family of their prophet, who is the
chief of the Mohammedan religion[219]. All Mohammedan kings acknowledge
him, and he holds the same dignity over them which the pope enjoys over
the Christians. The palace of the khalif at Bagdad is three miles in
extent. It contains a large park filled with all sorts of trees, both
useful and ornamental, and all kinds of beasts, as well as a pond of
water carried thither from the river Tigris; and whenever the khalif
desires to enjoy himself and to sport and carouse, birds, beasts, and
fishes are prepared for him and for his courtiers, whom he invites to
his palace. This great Abasside is extremely friendly towards the Jews,
many of his officers being of that nation; he understands all languages,
is well versed in the Mosaic law, and reads and writes the Hebrew
tongue. He enjoys nothing but what he earns by the labour of his own
hands, and therefore manufactures coverlets, which he stamps with his
seal, and which his officers sell in the public market; these articles
are purchased by the nobles of the land, and from their produce his
necessaries are provided. The khalif is an excellent man, trustworthy
and kind-hearted towards every one, but generally invisible to the
Mohammedans. The pilgrims, who come hither from distant countries on
their way to Mecca in Yemen, desire to be presented to him, and thus
address him from the palace: "Our lord, light of the Mohammedans and
splendour of our religion, show us the brightness of thy countenance;"
but he heeds not their words. His servants and officers then approach
and pray: "O lord, manifest thy peace to these men who come from distant
lands and desire shelter in the shadow of thy glory." After this
petition, he rises and puts one corner of his garment out of the window,
which the pilgrims eagerly kiss. One of the lords then addresses them
thus: "Go in peace, for our lord, the light of the Mohammedans, is well
pleased and gives you his blessing." This prince being esteemed by them
equal to their prophet, they proceed on their way, full of joy at the
words addressed to them by the lord who communicated the message of
peace. All the brothers and other members of the khalif's family are
accustomed to kiss his garments. Every one of them possesses a palace
within that of the khalif, but they are all bound with chains of iron,
and a special officer is appointed over each household to prevent their
rising in rebellion against the great king. These measures are taken in
consequence of what occurred some time ago, when the brothers rebelled
and elected a king among themselves; to prevent which in future it was
decreed, that all the members of the khalif's family should be chained,
in order to prevent their rebellious intentions. Every one of them,
however, resides in his palace, and is there much honoured; and they
possess villages and towns, the rents of which are collected for them by
their stewards. They eat and drink, and lead a merry life. The palace of
the great king contains large buildings, pillars of gold and silver, and
treasures of precious stones.

The khalif leaves his palace but once every year, viz. at the time of
the feast called Ramadan; on which occasion many visitors assemble from
distant parts, in order to have an opportunity of beholding his
countenance. He then bestrides the royal mule, dressed in kingly robes,
which are composed of gold and silver cloth. On his head he wears a
turban, ornamented with precious stones of inestimable value; but over
this turban is thrown a black veil, as a sign of humility, and as much
as to say: "See all this worldly honour will be converted into darkness
on the day of death." He is accompanied by a numerous retinue of
Mohammedan nobles, arrayed in rich dresses and riding upon horses,
princes of Arabia, of Media, of Persia, and even of Tibet, a country
distant three months' journey from Arabia. The procession goes from the
palace to the mosque at the Bozra gate, which is the metropolitan
mosque. All who walk in procession, both men and women, are dressed in
silk and purple. The streets and squares are enlivened with singing and
rejoicing, and by parties who dance before the great king, called
khalif. He is saluted loudly by the assembled crowd, who cry: "Blessed
art thou, our lord and king." He thereupon kisses his garment, and by
holding it in his hand, acknowledges and returns the compliment. The
procession moves on into the court of the mosque, where the khalif
mounts a wooden pulpit and expounds their law unto them. The learned
Mohammedans rise, pray for him, and praise his great kindness and piety;
upon which the whole assembly answer, "Amen!" The khalif then
pronounces his blessing, and kills a camel, which is led thither for
that purpose, and this is their offering. It is distributed to the
nobles, who send portions of it to their friends, who are eager to taste
of the meat killed by the hands of their holy king, and are much
rejoiced therewith. The khalif, after this ceremony, leaves the mosque,
and returns alone, along the banks of the Tigris, to his palace, the
noble Mohammedans accompanying him in boats, until he enters this
building. He never returns by the way he came; and the path on the bank
of the river is carefully guarded all the year round, so as to prevent
any one treading in his footsteps. The khalif never leaves his palace
again for a whole year. He is a pious and benevolent man, and has
erected buildings on the other side of the river, on the banks of an arm
of the Euphrates, which runs on one side of the city. These buildings
include many large houses, streets, and hostelries for the sick poor,
who resort thither in order to be cured. There are about sixty medical
warehouses here, all well provided from the king's stores with spices
and other necessaries; and every patient who claims assistance is fed at
the king's expense, until his cure is completed.

There is further a large building, called Dar-al-Maraphtan[220], in
which are confined all the insane persons who are met with, particularly
during the hot season, every one of whom is secured by iron chains until
his reason returns, when he is allowed to return to his home. For this
purpose they are regularly examined once a month by officers appointed
by the king for that purpose; and when they are found to be possessed of
reason they are immediately liberated. All this is done by the king in
pure charity towards all who come to Bagdad, either ill or insane; for
the king is a pious man, and his intention is excellent in this respect.

Bagdad contains about one thousand Jews, who enjoy peace, comfort, and
much honour under the government of the great king. Among them are very
wise men and presidents of the colleges, whose occupation is the study
of the Mosaic law. The city contains ten colleges. The principal of the
great college is the rabbi R. Samuel, the son of Eli, principal of the
college Geon Jacob; the provost of the Levites is the president of the
second; R. Daniel, the master of the third college; R. Eleasar, the
fellow, presides over the fourth; R. Eleasar, the son of Tsemach, is
chief of the fifth college; he is master of the studies, and possesses a
pedigree of his descent from the prophet Samuel, who rests in peace, and
he and his brothers know the melodies that were sung in the temple
during its existence; R. Chasadiah, principal fellow, is the master of
the sixth, R. Chagai, the prince, the principal of the seventh, and R.
Esra, the president of the eighth college; R. Abraham, called Abu Tahir,
presides over the ninth, and R. Zakhai, son of Bosthenai, master of the
studies, is president of the tenth college. All these are called
Batlanim, _i. e._ the Idle: because their sole occupation consists in
the discharge of public business. During every day of the week they
dispense justice to all the Jewish inhabitants of the country, except
Monday, which is set aside for assemblies under the presidency of the
rabbi Samuel, master of the college Geon Jacob, who on that day
dispenses justice to every applicant, and is assisted therein by the
other Batlanim, presidents of the colleges.

The principal of all these, however, is R. Daniel, the son of Chisdai,
who bears the titles of Prince of the Captivity and Lord, and who
possesses a pedigree which proves his descent from king David. The Jews
call him "Lord, Prince of the Captivity," and the Mohammedans entitle
him Saidna Ben Daoud, noble descendant of David. He holds great
command over all Jewish congregations under the authority of the
Emir-al-Mumenin, the lord of the Mohammedans, who has commanded that he
shall be respected, and has confirmed his power by granting him a seal
of office. Every one of his subjects, whether he be Jew or Mohammedan or
of any other faith, is commanded to rise in the presence of the prince
of the captivity, and to salute him respectfully, under a penalty of one
hundred stripes. Whenever he pays a visit to the king, he is escorted by
numerous horsemen, both Jews and Gentiles, and a crier proclaims aloud:
"Make way before our lord the son of David, as becomes his dignity;" in
Arabic, _Amilu tarik la-saidna ben-Daud_. Upon these occasions he rides
upon a horse, and his dress is composed of embroidered silk; on his head
he wears a large turban covered with a white cloth, and surmounted by a
chain (or diadem). The authority of the prince of the captivity extends
over the countries of Mesopotamia, Persia, Khorassan, Seba, which is
Yemen, Diarbekh, all Armenia and the land of Kota near Mount Ararat,
over the country of the Alanians, which is shut in by mountains, and has
no outlet except by the iron gates which were made by Alexander, over
Sikbia and all the provinces of the Turkmans unto the Aspisian
mountains, over the country of the Georgians unto the river Oxus (these
are the Girgasim of Scripture, and believe in Christianity), and as far
as the frontiers of the provinces and cities of Tibet and India. All the
Jewish congregations of these different countries receive authority from
the prince of captivity to elect rabbis and ministers, all of whom
appear before him in order to receive consecration[221] and the
permission to officiate, upon which occasions presents and valuable
gifts are offered to him, even from the remotest countries. The prince
of the captivity possesses hostelries, gardens, and orchards in
Babylonia, and extensive landed property inherited from his forefathers,
of which nobody can deprive him. He enjoys a certain yearly income from
the Jewish hostelries, the markets, and the merchandise of the country,
which is levied in form of a tax, over and above what is presented to
him from foreign countries. He is very rich, an excellent scholar, and
so hospitable, that numerous Israelites dine at his table every day. At
the time of the installation of the prince of the captivity he expends
considerable sums in presents to the king (or khalif), and to his
princes and nobles. This ceremony is performed by the king or khalif,
who lays his hands on the prince, after which the latter rides home from
the king's abode to his own house, seated in a royal state carriage, and
accompanied with the sound of various musical instruments; he afterwards
lays his hands on the gentlemen of the university, to reinstal them.
Many of the Jews of Bagdad are good scholars and very rich. The city
contains twenty-eight Jewish synagogues, situated partly in Bagdad and
partly in Al-Khorkh, on the other side of the river Tigris, which runs
through and divides the city. The metropolitan synagogue of the prince
of the captivity is ornamented with pillars of richly coloured marble,
plated with gold and silver; on the pillars are inscribed verses of the
Psalms in letters of gold. The ascent to the holy ark[222] is composed
of ten marble steps, on the uppermost of which are the stalls set apart
for the prince of the captivity and the other princes of the house of

The city of Bagdad is three miles in circumference; the country in which
it is situated is rich in palm-trees, gardens, and orchards, so that
nothing equals it in Mesopotamia. Merchants of all countries resort
thither for purposes of trade, and it contains many wise philosophers,
well skilled in sciences, and magicians proficient in all sorts of

Two days from hence stands Gihiagin, or Ras-al-Ain, which is Resen, "the
great city;"[223] it contains about five thousand Jews and a large
synagogue. In a house near the synagogue is the sepulchre of[224] ...;
and, in a cave below it, that of his twelve disciples. From hence it is
one day to Babylon. This is the ancient Babel, and now lies in ruins;
but the streets still extend thirty miles. The ruins of the palace of
Nebuchadnezzar are still to be seen; but people are afraid to venture
among them on account of the serpents and scorpions with which they are
infested. Twenty thousand Jews live within about twenty miles from this
place, and perform their worship in the synagogue of Daniel, who rests
in peace. This synagogue is of remote antiquity, having been built by
Daniel himself; it is constructed of solid stones and bricks. Here the
traveller may also behold the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, with the burning
fiery furnace into which were thrown Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; it
is a valley well known to every one[225]. Hillah, which is at a distance
of five miles, contains about ten thousand Jews and four synagogues, one
of which is that of R. Meier, whose sepulchre is in front of it; another
is that of R. Seiri, son of Hama, and R. Miri[226]. Public worship is
performed daily in these synagogues. Four miles from hence is the tower
built by the dispersed generation[227]. It is constructed of bricks
called al-ajurr; the base measures two miles, the breadth two hundred
and forty yards, and the height about one hundred canna. A spiral
passage, built into the tower (in stages of ten yards each), leads up to
the summit, from which we have a prospect of twenty miles, the country
being one wide plain and quite level. The heavenly fire, which struck
the tower, split it to its very foundation.

Half a day from hence, at Napacha[228], which contains two hundred Jews,
is the synagogue of R. Isaac Napacha, in front of which is his
sepulchre. Three parasangs hence, on the banks of the Euphrates, stands
the synagogue of the prophet Ezekiel, who rests in peace[229]. The place
of the synagogue is fronted by sixty towers, the space between every two
of which is also occupied by a synagogue; in the court of the largest
stands the ark, and behind it is the sepulchre of Ezekiel, the son of
Buzi the priest. This monument is covered with a large cupola, and the
building is very handsome; it was erected by Jechoniah, king of Juda,
and the thirty five thousand Jews who went along with him, when
Evil-Merodach released him from the prison[230], which was situated
between the river Chaboras and another river. The names of Jechoniah and
of all those who came with him are inscribed on the wall, the king's
name first, that of Ezekiel last. This place is considered holy even to
the present day, and is one of those to which people resort from remote
countries in order to pray, particularly at the season of new year and
atonement day[231]. There are great rejoicings here at that time, which
are attended even by the prince of the captivity and the presidents of
the colleges of Bagdad. The assembly is so large, that their temporary
abodes cover twenty-two miles of open ground, and attract many Arabian
merchants, who keep a market or fair. On the day of atonement the proper
lesson of the day is read from a very large manuscript Pentateuch in
Ezekiel's own handwriting. A lamp burns night and day on the sepulchre
of the prophet, and has always been kept burning since the day he
lighted it himself; the oil and wicks are renewed as often as necessary.
A large house belonging to the sanctuary contains a very numerous
collection of books, some of them as ancient as the second, some even
coeval with the first temple, it being the custom that whoever dies
childless bequeaths his books to this sanctuary. The inhabitants of the
country lead to the sepulchre all foreign Jews, who come from Media and
Persia to visit it in fulfilment of vows. The noble Mohammedans also
resort thither to pray, because they hold the prophet Ezekiel, on whom
be peace! in great veneration, and they call this place Dar Melicha (the
agreeable abode); the sepulchre is also visited by all devout Arabs.
Within half a mile of the synagogue are the sepulchres of Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah, each covered with a large cupola. Even in times of
war, neither Jew nor Mohammedan ventures to despoil and profane the
sepulchre of Ezekiel.

Three miles from hence stands the city of Al-Kotsonaath, containing
three hundred Jewish inhabitants and the sepulchres of R. Papa, R. Huna,
R. Joseph Sinai, and R. Joseph, the son of Hama, in front of each of
which is a synagogue in which Jews daily pray. Three parasangs to Ain
Japhata, which contains the sepulchre of the prophet Nahum the
Elkoshite, who rests in peace. In a Persian village, a day from thence,
are the sepulchres of R. Chisdai, R. Akiba, and R. Dossa; and in another
village, half a day's distance in the desert, are those of R. David, R.
Juda, R. Kubreh, R. Sechora, and R. Aba; and on the river Lega, a
distance of one day, that of king Zedekiah[232], who rests in peace; the
latter is ornamented by a large cupola[233]. It is one day hence to the
city of Kufa, which contains about seventy thousand Jews; and in it is
the sepulchre of king Jechoniah, which consists of a large building with
a synagogue in front. One day and a half to Sura, the place called in
the Talmud Matha-Mechasia, formerly the residence of the princes of the
captivity and of the principals of the colleges. At Sura are the
sepulchres of R. Shrira and his son Rabenu Hai, Rabenu Sadiah-al-Fajumi,
R. Samuel, the son of Chophni the priest, and Zephaniah, the son of
Khushi, the son of Gedaliah the prophet, and of many other princes of
the captivity, descendants of the house of David, who formerly resided
there before the city was ruined. Two days from thence is Shafjathib,
where there is a synagogue, which the Israelites erected with earth and
stones brought from Jerusalem, and which they called "the transplanted
of Nehardea." One day and a half from thence is El Jubar, or Pombeditha,
on the river Euphrates, containing about three thousand Jews, and the
synagogues, sepulchres, and colleges of Rab and Samuel.

At twenty-one days' journey through the desert of Sheba, or Al-Yemen,
from which Mesopotamia lies in a northerly direction, are the abodes of
the Jews who are called Beni (children of) Rechab, men of Thema. The
seat of their government is at Thema (or Tehama), where their prince and
governor rabbi Chanan resides. This city is large, and the extent of
their country is sixteen days' journey towards the northern mountain
range. They possess large and strong cities and are not subject to any
of the Gentiles, but undertake warlike expeditions into distant
provinces with the Arabians, their neighbours and allies, to take the
spoil and the prey. These Arabians are Bedouins, who live in tents in
the deserts and have no fixed abode, and who are in the habit of
undertaking marauding expeditions into the province of Yemen. The Jews
are a terror to their neighbours. Their country being very extensive,
some of them cultivate the land and rear cattle. A number of studious
and learned men, who spend their lives in the study of the law, are
maintained by the tithes of all produce, part of which is also employed
towards sustaining the poor and the ascetics, called "Mourners of Sion"
and "Mourners of Jerusalem." These eat no meat and abstain from wine,
dress always in black, and live in caves or in low houses, and keep
fasts all their lives except on Sabbaths and holy-days[234]. They
continually implore the mercy of God for the Jews in exile, and devoutly
pray that he may have compassion on them for the sake of his own great
name; and they also include in their prayers all the Jews of Tehama and
of Telmas. The latter contains about one hundred thousand Jews, who are
governed by prince Salomon, who, as well as his brother, prince Chanan,
are descendants of the royal house of David, who rests in peace, which
is proved by their pedigrees. In doubtful cases they solicit the
decisions of the prince of the captivity, and set aside forty days of
every year, during which they go in rent clothes, and keep fasts, and
pray for all the Jews who live in exile.

The province of which Thanaejm is the metropolis contains forty cities,
two hundred villages, and one hundred small towns, and is inhabited by
about three hundred thousand Jews. Thanaejm is a very strong city,
fifteen square miles in extent, and large enough to allow agriculture to
be carried on within its boundaries; within which are also situated the
palace of prince Salomon, and many gardens and orchards. Telmas is also
a city of considerable magnitude; it contains about one hundred thousand
Jews, is strongly fortified, and situated between two very high
mountains. Many of its inhabitants are well informed, wise, and rich.
The distance from Telmas to Chaibar is three days' journey. It is
reported that these Jews are of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the
tribe of Manasseh, who were led away captives by Shalmaneser, king of
Ashur, and who repaired into these mountainous regions, where they
erected the above-named large and strong cities. They carry on war with
many kingdoms, and are not easily to be reached because of their
situation, which requires a march of eighteen days through uninhabited
deserts, and thus renders them difficult of access.

Chaibar is also a very large city, and contains among its fifty thousand
Jewish inhabitants many learned scholars. The people of this city are
valiant, and engaged in wars with the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, with
those of the northern districts, and with those of Yemen, who live near
them; the latter province borders on India. It is a distance of
twenty-five days' journey from the country of these Jews to ...[235] on
the river Virah, in Yemen, which place contains about three thousand
Jews. Waset[236] is distant seven days, and contains about ten thousand
Jews, among whom is R. Nedain. Five days hence bring us to Bassora on
the Tigris, which contains two thousand Israelites, many of whom are
learned and wealthy. From hence it is two days to ...[237] on the river
Samarra, or Shat-el-Arab. This is the frontier of Persia, and contains
fifteen hundred Jews. The sepulchre of Ezra the priest and scribe is in
this place, where he died on his journey from Jerusalem to king
Artaxerxes. In front of the sepulchre a large synagogue and a Mohammedan
mosque have been erected, the latter as a mark of the veneration in
which Ezra is held by the Mohammedans, who are very friendly towards the
Jews, and resort thither to pray.

Four miles from thence begins Khuzistan, the Elam of Scripture, a large
province, which, however, is but partially inhabited, a portion of it
lying in ruins. Among the latter are the remains of Shushan[238], the
metropolis and palace of king Ahasuerus, which still contains very large
and handsome buildings of ancient date. It has seven thousand Jewish
inhabitants, with fourteen synagogues; in front of one of which is the
sepulchre of Daniel, who rests in peace. The river Ulai divides the city
into two parts, which are connected by a bridge; that portion of it
which is inhabited by the Jews contains the markets, to which all trade
is confined, and there all the rich dwell; on the other side of the
river they are poor, because they are deprived of the above-named
advantages, and have even no gardens or orchards. These circumstances
gave rise to jealousy, which was fostered by the belief that all honour
and riches originated in the possession of the remains of the prophet
Daniel, who rests in peace, and who was buried on the favoured side of
the river. A request was made by the poor for permission to remove the
sepulchre to the other side, but it was rejected; upon which a war
arose, and was carried on between the two parties for a length of time;
this strife lasted until "their souls become loath," and they came to a
mutual agreement, by which it was arranged that the coffin which
contained Daniel's bones should be deposited alternately every year on
either side. Both parties faithfully adhered to this arrangement, until
it was interrupted by the interference of Sanjar Shah ben Shah[239], who
governs all Persia, and holds supreme power over forty-five of its
kings. This prince is called in Arabic Sultan-al-Fars-al-Khabir (Supreme
Commander of Persia), and his empire extends from the banks of the
Shat-el-Arab to the city of Samarkand and the Kizil Ozein, inclosing the
city of Nishapur, the cities of Media, and the Chaphton mountains, and
reaches as far as Thibet, in the forests of which country that quadruped
is found which yields the musk. The extent of his empire is four months
and four days' journey. When this great emperor, Sanjar king of Persia,
came to Shushan and saw that the coffin of Daniel was removed from one
side to the other, he crossed the bridge with a very numerous retinue,
accompanied by Jews and Mohammedans, and inquired into the reason of
those proceedings. Upon being told what we have related, he declared it
to be derogatory to the honour of Daniel, and commanded that the
distance between the two banks should be exactly measured, that Daniel's
coffin should be deposited in another coffin, made of glass, and that it
should be suspended from the centre of the bridge by chains of iron. A
place of public worship was erected on the spot, open to every one who
desired to say his prayers, whether he be Jew or Gentile; and the coffin
of Daniel is suspended from the bridge unto this very day. The king
commanded that, in honour of Daniel, nobody should be allowed to fish in
the river one mile on each side of the coffin.

It is three days hence to Rudbar, which contains twenty thousand Jews,
among whom are many scholars and rich men, but they generally live under
great oppression. Two days hence bring us to the river Holwan, near
which you find the abodes of about four thousand Jews. Four days to the
district of Mulehet[240], possessed by a sect who do not believe in the
tenets of Mohammed, but live on the summit of high mountains, and pay
obedience to the commands of the Old Man in the country of the
Assassins. Four congregations of Jews dwell among them, and combine with
them in their wars. They do not acknowledge the authority of the kings
of Persia, but live on their mountains, whence they occasionally descend
to make booty and to take spoil, with which they retire to their
mountain fortresses, beyond the reach of their assailants. Some of the
Jews who live in this country are excellent scholars, and all
acknowledge the authority of the prince of the captivity, who resides at
Bagdad in Babylonia.

Five days from hence is Amaria, which contains five-and-twenty thousand
Jews. This congregation forms part of those who live in the mountains of
Chaphton, and which amount to more than a hundred, extending to the
frontiers of Media. These Jews are descendants of those who were
originally led into captivity by king Shalmaneser; they speak the Syriac
language, and among them are many excellent Talmudic scholars; they are
neighbours to those of the city of Amaria, which is situated within one
day's journey of the empire of Persia, to the king of which they are
tributary. This tribute is collected by a deputy, and amounts here, as
well as in all Mohammedan countries, to one amiri of gold, equal to one
golden maravedi and one-third, for each male inhabitant of the age of
fifteen and upwards.

Ten years ago[241] there rose a man of the name of David El-Roy, of the
city of Amaria, who had studied under the prince of the captivity,
Chisdai, and under Eli, the president of the college of Geon Jacob in
the city of Bagdad, and who became an excellent scholar, being well
versed in the Mosaic law, in the decisions of the rabbins, and in the
Talmud; understanding also the profane sciences, the language and the
writings of the Mohammedans, and the scriptures of the magicians and
enchanters. He made up his mind to rise in rebellion against the king of
Persia, to unite and collect the Jews who live in the mountains of
Chaphton, and with them to engage in war with all Gentiles, making the
conquest of Jerusalem his final object. He gave signs to the Jews by
false miracles, and assured them, "the Lord has sent me to conquer
Jerusalem, and to deliver you from the yoke of the Gentiles." Some of
the Jews did believe in him, and called him Messiah. When the king of
Persia became acquainted with these circumstances, he sent and summoned
David into his presence. The latter went without fear, and when brought
before the court he was asked, "Art thou the king of the Jews?" to
which he made answer and said, "I am." Upon this the king immediately
commanded that he should be secured and put into the prison where the
captives are kept who are imprisoned for life, situated in the city of
Dabaristan, on the banks of the Kizil Ozein, which is a broad river.
After a lapse of three days, when the king sat in council to take the
advice of his nobles and officers respecting the Jews who had rebelled
against his authority, David appeared among them, having liberated
himself from prison without human aid. When the king beheld him he
inquired, "Who has brought thee hither, or who has set thee at liberty?"
To which David made answer, "My own wisdom and subtility; for verily I
fear neither thee nor thy servants." The king immediately commanded that
he should be seized, but his servants answered and said, "We see him
not, and are aware of his presence only by hearing the sound of his
voice." The king was very much astonished at David's exceeding
subtility, who thus addressed him: "I now go my own way;" and he went
out, followed by the king and all his nobles and servants to the banks
of the river, where he took his shawl, spread it upon the water, and
crossed it thereupon. At that moment he became visible, and all the
servants of the king saw him cross the river on his shawl. He was
pursued by them in boats, but without success, and they all confessed
that no magician upon earth could equal him. He that very day travelled
to Amaria, a distance of ten days' journey, by the help of the Shem
Hamphorash[242], and related to the astonished Jews all that
had happened to him. The king of Persia afterwards sent to the
Emir-el-Mumenin, the khalif of Bagdad, principal of the Mohammedans, to
solicit the influence of the prince of the captivity, and of the
presidents of the colleges, in order to check the proceedings of David
El-Roy, and threatening to put to death all Jews who inhabited his
empire. The congregations of Persia were very severely dealt with about
that time, and sent letters to the prince of the captivity and the
presidents of the colleges at Bagdad to the following purpose: "Why will
you allow us to die, and all the congregations of this empire? Restrain
the deeds of this man, and prevent thereby the shedding of innocent
blood." The prince of the captivity and the president of the colleges
hereupon addressed David in letters which run thus: "Be it known unto
thee that the time of our redemption has not yet arrived, and that we
have not yet seen the signs by which it is to manifest itself,
and that by strength no man shall prevail. We therefore command
thee to discontinue the course thou hast adopted, on pain of being
excommunicated from all Israel." Copies of these letters were sent to
Sakhai, the prince of the Jews in Mosul, and to R. Joseph the
astronomer, who is called Borhan-al-Fulkh, and also resides there, with
the request to forward them to David El-Roy. The last mentioned prince
and the astronomer added letters of their own, in which they advised and
exhorted him; but he nevertheless continued in his criminal career. This
he carried on until a certain prince of the name of Sin-el-Din, a vassal
of the king of Persia, and a Turk by birth, cut it short by sending for
the father-in-law of David El-Roy, to whom he offered ten thousand
florins if he would secretly kill David El-Roy. This agreement being
concluded, he went to David's house while he slept, and killed him on
his bed, thus destroying his plans and evil designs. Notwithstanding
this, the wrath of the king of Persia still continued against the Jews
who lived in the mountains and in his country, who in their turn craved
the influence of the prince of the captivity with the king of Persia.
Their petitions and humble prayers were supported by a present of one
hundred talents of gold, in consideration of which the anger of the king
of Persia was subdued, and the land was tranquillized.

From that mountain to Hamadan[243] is a journey of ten days; this was
the metropolis of Media, and contains about fifty thousand Jews. In
front of one of the synagogues is the sepulchre of Mordecai and Esther.
Four days from thence stands Dabaristan[244], on the river Kizil Ozein;
it contains about four thousand Jewish inhabitants. The city of Ispahan
is distant seven days' journey; it is the metropolis of Persia, and
residence of the king, being twelve miles in extent, and containing
about fifteen thousand Jews. Sar Shalom, the rabbi of this city and of
all other towns of the Persian empire, has been promoted to the dignity
by the prince of the captivity.

Four days distant stands Shiraz, or Fars, a large city, containing about
ten thousand Jews. It is seven days thence to Giva[245], a large city on
the banks of the Oxus, containing about eight thousand Jews. Very
extensive commerce is carried on in this place, to which traders of all
countries and languages resort; the country about it is very flat. Five
days from thence, on the frontiers of the kingdom, stands Samarkand, a
city of considerable magnitude, which contains about fifty thousand
Jews. The prince rabbi Obadiah is the governor of the community, which
includes many wise and learned men. Four days from thence is the
province of Tibet, in the forests of which country that beast is found
which yields the musk. To the mountains of Khazvin, on the river Kizil
Ozein, it is a journey of eight-and-twenty days. Jews of those parts,
who live in Persia at present, report that the cities of Nisapour are
inhabited by four tribes of Israel, viz., the tribe of Dan, that of
Zebulon, and that of Naphthali, being part of the first exiles who were
carried into captivity by Shalmaneser, king of Ashur, as reported in
Scripture[246]. He banished them to Halah and Habor, the mountains of
Gozan, and the mountains of Media. The extent of their country is twenty
days' journey, and they possess many towns and cities in the mountains.
The river Kizil Ozein forms their boundary on one side, and they are
subject to no nation, but are governed by their own prince, who bears
the name of rabbi Joseph Amarkhela Halevi[247]. Some of these Jews are
excellent scholars; others carry on agriculture; and many of them are
engaged in war with the country of Cuth, by way of the desert. They are
in alliance with the Caphar Tarac, or infidel Turks[248], who adore the
wind and live in the desert. This is a people who eat no bread and
drink no wine, but devour the meat raw and quite unprepared; they have
no noses, but draw breath through two small holes, and eat all sorts of
meat, whether from clean or unclean beasts. They are on very friendly
terms with the Jews.

About eighteen years ago this nation invaded Persia with a numerous
host, and took the city of Rai, which they smote with the edge of the
sword, carrying off the spoil to their deserts. Nothing similar had been
seen before in the kingdom of Persia; and when the king of that country
was made acquainted with this occurrence, his wrath was kindled, for,
said he, "in the time of my predecessors no host like this ever issued
from the desert; I will go and will extinguish their name from the
earth." He raised the war-cry in the whole empire, collected all his
troops, and made inquiry whether he could find any guide that would show
him the place where his enemies pitched their tents. A man was met with,
who spoke thus to the king: "I will show thee the place of their
retreat, for I am one of them." The king promised to enrich him if he
would fulfil his promise, and show him the way. Upon inquiry how many
provisions would be necessary for this long march through the desert,
the spy answered: "take with you bread and water for fifteen days, as
you will find no provisions whatever before you reach their country."
This advice being acted upon, they travelled fifteen days in the desert,
and as they met with nothing that could serve for sustenance, they
became extremely short of provisions, and men and beasts began to die.
The king sent for the spy, and thus spoke to him: "What is become of thy
promise to show us our enemy?" No other reply being made than "I have
mistaken my way," the head of the spy was cut off by the king's command.
Orders were issued that every one who had any provisions left should
share them with his companion; but every thing eatable was consumed,
even the beasts, and after travelling thirteen additional days in the
desert, they at last reached the mountains of Khazvin, where the Jews
dwell. They encamped in the gardens and orchards, and near the springs,
which are in the vicinity of the river Kizil Ozein. It being the fruit
season, they made free with it and destroyed much, but no living being
came forward. They saw, however, cities and many towers on the
mountains, and the king commanded two of his servants to go and inquire
the name of the nation which inhabited these mountains, and to cross
over to them, either in boats or by swimming the river. They at last
discovered a large bridge, fortified by towers, and secured by a gate
which was locked, and on the other side of the bridge a considerable
city. They shouted on their side of the bridge until at last a man came
forth to inquire what they wanted or to whom they belonged. They could
not, however, make themselves understood, but brought an interpreter who
spoke both languages; the questions being repeated, they replied: "We
are the servants of the king of Persia, and have come to inquire who you
are and whose subjects." The answer was: "We are Jews, we acknowledge no
king or prince of the Gentiles, but are subjects of a Jewish prince."
Upon inquiries after the Ghuzi, the Caphar Tarac or infidel Turks, the
Jews made answer: "Verily they are our allies, and whoever seeks to harm
them we consider our own enemy." The two men returned and reported this
to the king of Persia, who became much afraid, and particularly so when,
after a lapse of two days, the Jews sent a herald to offer him battle.
The king said, "I am not come to make war against you, but against the
Caphar Tarac, or infidel Turks, who are my enemies; and if you attack me
I will certainly take my vengeance, and will destroy all the Jews in my
own kingdom, for I am well aware of your superiority over me in my
present position; but I entreat you to act kindly and not to harass me,
but allow me to fight with the Caphar Tarac, my enemy, and also to sell
me as much provision as I want for the maintenance of my host." The Jews
took counsel among themselves, and determined to comply with the request
of the king of Persia for the sake of his Jewish subjects. The king and
all his host were consequently admitted into the country of the Jews,
and during his stay of fifteen days he was treated with most honourable
distinction and respect. The Jews, however, meanwhile sent information
to their allies, the Caphar Tarac, and made them acquainted with the
above-mentioned circumstances; these took possession of all the mountain
passes, and assembled a considerable host, consisting of all the
inhabitants of that desert and when the king of Persia went forth to
give them battle, the Caphar Tarac conquered, killing and slaying so
many of the Persians, that the king escaped to his country with only
very few followers. One of the horsemen of the retinue of the king
enticed a Jew of that country, named R. Moses, to go along with him; he
carried this man with him into Persia, and there made him a slave. Upon
a certain day, when the king was the spectator of sports carried on for
his amusement, and consisting principally of the exercise of handling
the bow, among all competitors none excelled this R. Moses. The king
thereupon inquired after this man by means of an interpreter, and was
told what had happened to him, and how he had been forcibly carried away
from his country by the horseman; upon learning which the king not only
immediately granted him his liberty, but gave him a dress of honour,
composed of silk and fine linen, and many other presents. A proposal was
also made to R. Moses, that if he would renounce his religion for that
of the Persians, he should be treated with the utmost kindness, should
gain considerable riches, and be made the king's steward; but he
refused, and said, "I cannot make up my mind to any such step." The
king, however, placed him in the house of the rabbi Sar Shalom,
of the Ispahan congregation, who in the course of time became his
father-in-law. This very R. Moses related all these things unto me.

From thence I returned to the country of Khuzistan, which lies on the
Tigris. This river runs downward and falls into the Indian Sea (Persian
Gulf), in the vicinity of an island called Kish. The extent of
this island is six miles, and the inhabitants do not carry on any
agriculture, for they have no rivers, nor more than one spring in the
whole island, and are consequently obliged to drink rain water. It is,
however, a considerable market, being the spot to which the Indian
merchants and those of the islands bring their commodities. While the
traders of Mesopotamia, Yemen, and Persia import all silk and purple
cloths, flax, cotton, hemp, mash[249], wheat, barley, millet, rye, and
all other sorts of comestibles and pulse, which articles form objects of
exchange, those from India import great quantities of spices, and the
inhabitants of the island live by what they gain in their capacity of
brokers to both parties. The island contains about five hundred Jews. It
is ten days passage by sea to El-Katif, a city with about five
thousand Israelites. In this vicinity the pearls are found: about the
twenty-fourth of the month of Nisan[250] large drops of rain are
observed upon the surface of the water, which are swallowed by the
reptiles, which thereupon close their shells and fall to the bottom of
the sea; about the middle of the month of Thishri[251] people dive with
the assistance of ropes, collect these reptiles from the bottom, and
bring them up, after which they are opened and the pearls taken out.

Seven days from thence is Chulam[252], on the confines of the country of
the sun-worshippers, who are descendants of Kush[253], are addicted to
astrology, and are all black. This nation is very trustworthy in matters
of trade; and whenever foreign merchants enter their port, three
secretaries of the king immediately repair on board their vessels, write
down their names, and report them to him. The king thereupon grants them
security for their property, which they may even leave in the open
fields without any guard. One of the king's officers sits in the market,
and receives goods that may have been found any where, and which he
returns to those applicants who can minutely describe them. This custom
is observed in the whole empire of the king. From Easter to new
year[254], during the whole of the summer, the heat is extreme. From the
third hour of the day[255] people shut themselves up in their houses
until the evening, at which time every body goes out. The streets and
markets are lighted up, and the inhabitants employ all the night upon
their business, which they are prevented from doing in the daytime by
the excessive heat.

Pepper grows in this country; the trees which bear this fruit are
planted in the fields, which surround the towns, and every one knows his
plantation. The trees are small, and the pepper is originally white, but
when they collect it they put it into basons and pour hot water upon it;
it is then exposed to the heat of the sun, and dried, in order to make
it hard and more substantial, in the course of which process it becomes
of a black colour. Cinnamon, ginger, and many other kinds of spices also
grow in this country. The inhabitants do not bury their dead, but embalm
them with certain spices, put them upon stools, and cover them with
cloths, every family keeping apart. The flesh dries upon the bones; and
as these corpses resemble living beings, every body recognises his
parents and all the members of his family for many years to come. These
people worship the sun[256]. About half a mile from every town they have
large places of worship, and every morning they run towards the rising
sun; every place of worship contains a representation of that luminary,
so constructed by enchantment that upon the rising of the sun it turns
round with a great noise, at which moment both men and women take up
their censors and burn incense in honour of this their deity. "This
their way is their folly."[257] All the cities and countries inhabited
by these people contain only about one hundred Jews, who are of black
colour, as well as the other inhabitants. The Jews are good men,
observers of the law, and possess the Pentateuch, the prophets, and some
little knowledge of the Talmud and its decisions.

The island of Khandy[258] is distant twenty-two days' journey. The
inhabitants are fire worshippers called Druzes, and twenty-three
thousand Jews live among them. These Druzes have priests everywhere in
the houses consecrated to their idols, and these priests are expert
necromancers, the like of whom are to be met with nowhere. In front of
the altar of their house of prayer is a deep ditch, in which a large
fire is continually kept burning; this they call Elahuta, Deity. They
pass their children through it, and into this ditch they also throw
their dead. Some of the great of this country take a vow to burn
themselves alive; and if any such devotee declares to his children and
kindred his intention to do so, they all applaud him and say, "Happy
shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee." When the appointed day
arrives, they prepare a sumptuous feast, place the devotee upon his
horse, if he be rich, or lead him on foot, if he be poor, to the brink
of the ditch. He then throws himself into the fire, and all his kindred
manifest their joy by the playing of instruments until he is entirely
consumed. Within three days of this ceremony two of the principal
priests repair to his house, and thus address his children: "Prepare the
house, for to-day you will be visited by your father, who will manifest
his wishes unto you." Witnesses are selected among the inhabitants of
the town, and lo! the devil appears in the image of the dead. The wife
and children inquire after his state in the other world, and he answers:
"I have met my companions, but they will not admit me into their
company, before I have discharged my debts to my friends and
neighbours;" he then makes a will, divides his goods among his children,
and commands them to discharge all debts he owes and to receive what
people owe him; this will is written down by the witnesses ...[259] to
go his way, and he is not seen any more. In consequence of this
falsehood and deceit, which the priests pass off by magic, they retain a
strong hold upon the people, and make them believe that their equal is
not to be met with upon earth.

From hence the passage to China[260] is effected in forty days. This
country lies eastward, and some say that the star Orion predominates in
the sea which bounds it, and which is called the Sea of Nikpha.
Sometimes this sea is so stormy that no mariner can conduct his vessel;
and whenever a storm throws a ship into this sea, it is impossible to
govern it; the crew and the passengers consume their provisions, and
then die miserably. Many vessels have been lost in this way; but people
have learned how to save themselves from this fate by the following
contrivance: they take bullocks' hides along with them, and whenever
this storm arises and throws them into the Sea of Nikpha, they sow
themselves up in the hides, taking care to have a knife in their hand,
and being secured against the sea-water, they throw themselves into the
ocean; here they are soon perceived by a large eagle called a griffin,
which takes them for cattle, darts down, seizes them in his gripe, and
carries them upon dry land, where he deposits his burden on a hill or in
a dale, there to consume his prey. The man, however, now makes use of
his knife to kill the bird, creeps forth from the hide, and tries to
reach an inhabited country. Many people have been saved by this

Gingaleh is but three days distant by land, whereas it requires a
journey of fifteen days to reach it by sea; this place contains about
one thousand Israelites. To Khulan, seven days by sea; no Jews live
there. Twelve days from thence to Sebid, which contains but few Jews.
Eight days from thence is Middle India[261], which is called Aden, and
in Scripture Eden in Thelasar[262]. This country is very mountainous,
and contains many independent Jews, who are not subject to the power of
the Gentiles, but possess cities and fortresses on the summits of the
mountains, from whence they descend into the country of Maatum, with
which they are at war. Maatum, also called Nubia, is a Christian
kingdom, and the inhabitants are called Nubians. The Jews generally take
spoil and plunder from them, which they carry into their mountain
fastnesses, the possession of which makes them almost unconquerable.
Many of the Jews of Aden visit Egypt and Persia.

To the country of Assuan twenty days' journey, through the desert of
Sheba, on the banks of the Nile (Pison), which comes down here from the
country of the blacks. This country is governed by a king, whom they
call Sultan-al-Habash, and some of the inhabitants resemble beasts in
every respect. They eat the herbs which grow on the banks of the Nile,
go naked in the fields, and have no notions like other men; for
instance, they cohabit with their own sisters and with any body they
find. The country is excessively hot; and when the people of Assuan
invade their country, they carry wheat, raisins, and figs, which they
throw out like bait, thereby alluring the natives. These are made
captive, and sold in Egypt and in the adjoining countries, where they
are known as black slaves, being the descendants of Ham.

From Assuan to Chaluah it is twelve days. This place contains about
three hundred Jews, and is the starting point of the caravans which
traverse the desert Al-Zahara in fifty days on their way to Zavila, the
Havilah of Scripture[263], which is in the country of Ganah[264]. This
desert contains mountains of sand; and, whenever a storm arises, the
caravans are exposed to the imminent danger of being buried alive by the
sand; those which escape, however, carry iron, copper, different sorts
of fruits, pulse, and salt. Gold and precious stones are brought from
thence in exchange. This country lies westward of Kush, or Abyssinia.
Thirteen days' journey from Chaluah stands Kuts, a city on the frontiers
of Egypt, containing thirty thousand Jewish inhabitants. To Fayuhm five
days; this is Pithom[265]; it contains about twenty Jews, and has some
remains of the buildings erected by our forefathers even to this day.
Four days from thence brings us to Mizraim, or Memphis, commonly called
Old Cairo. This large city stands on the banks of the Nile, called
Al-Nil, and contains about two thousand Jews. Here are two synagogues,
one of the congregation of Palestine, called the Syrian, the other of
the Babylonian Jews (or those of Irac). They follow different customs
regaining the division of the Pentateuch into Parashioth and
Sedarim[266]. The Babylonians read one Parasha every week, as is the
custom throughout Spain, and finish the whole of the Pentateuch every
year, whereas the Syrians have the custom of dividing every Parasha
into three Sedarim, and concluding the lecture of the whole once in
three years. They keep, however, the long-established custom of
assembling both congregations to perform public service together, as
well on the day of the joy of the law as on that of the dispensation of
the law[267]. Rabbi Nathaniel, the lord of lords, is the president of
the Jewish university, and, in his capacity of primate of all the Jewish
congregations of Egypt, exercises the right of electing Rabanim and
ministers. He is one of the officers of the great king, who resides in
the fortress of Zoan in the city of Mizraim, which is the metropolis of
all those Arabians who obey the Emir-al-Mumenin[268] of the sect of Ali
ben Abitaleb. All the inhabitants of his country are called rebels,
because they rebelled against the Emir-al-Mumenin al-Abassi who resides
at Bagdad, and there is continual hatred between them.

The residence of Zoan was selected for its convenience. The prince
appears in public twice every year; once at the time of their great
holiday, and the second time at the moment of the inundation of the
Nile. Zoan is inclosed by a wall, whereas Mizraim is open, and the Nile
washes one portion of it. The city is large, containing many markets and
bazaars, and very wealthy Jewish inhabitants.

Rain, frost, and snow are almost unknown here, the climate being very
warm. The river overflows once every year, in the month of Elul[269],
and, inundating the whole country, irrigates it to the extent of fifteen
days' journey. The water remains standing on the land during that and
the following month, whereby it is moistened and made fit for
agriculture. A marble pillar, constructed with great skill, has been
erected in front of an island; twelve yards of this pillar protrude
above the level of the river; and whenever the water rises to a height
sufficient to cover the pillar, people know that it has inundated the
whole land of Egypt to the extent of fifteen days' journey, whereas if
one-half only of the pillar be covered, it shows that one-half of the
country is yet dry. A certain officer measures the rise of the river
every day, and makes proclamation in Zoan and in Mizraim in these words:
"Praise God, for the river has risen so and so much!" The measurement
and the proclamation is repeated every day. Whenever the water submerges
the whole pillar, it produces great plenty in the whole land of Egypt.
The river rises by degrees until the whole country is inundated to the
extent of fifteen days' journey. The proprietors of land cause ditches
to be dug along their fields, into which the fishes are swept with the
rising waters; and when the river retires into its bed, the fish
remaining in the trenches are collected by the proprietors and used for
food. Others sell them to merchants, by whom they are cured, and sold in
this state all over the country. The fat of these fishes, with which
they abound, is used by the rich of the land instead of oil, and they
light their lamps therewith. Those who eat of the fish, and drink Nile
water after it, need not fear any bad consequences, the water being an
excellent preventive. Persons who inquire the reason of the rise of the
Nile are told by the Egyptians that it is caused by the heavy rains
which fall in the country of Abyssinia, the Havilah of Scripture, which
is elevated above the level of Egypt. This forces the river out of its
bed, and inundates the whole country. Whenever the overflowing of the
Nile is suspended, they can neither sow nor reap, "and the famine is
sore in the land."[270] The time for sowing in Egypt is the month of
Marcheshvan[271], after the river has retired into its usual bed; in
Adar[272] they cut barley, and in Nissan[273] the wheat. In the same
month the following fruits are ripe: a kind of acid plum called cherry,
nuts, cucumbers, gourds, St. John's bread[274], beans, spelt-corn,
chick-pease, as well as all sorts of herbs, such as purslain, asparagus
(or fennel), grapes, lettuce, coriander, succory, cabbage, and wine.
Upon the whole the country abounds with good things. The gardens and
orchards are watered partly from wells and partly from the Nile.

Above Mizraim the Nile is divided into four arms, one of which proceeds
to Damietta, which is Caphtor of Scripture, and there falls into the
sea; a second flows towards Rashid (or Rosetta), which is near
Alexandria, and there falls into the sea; the third takes the direction
of Ashmun, the large city on the frontier of Egypt. The banks of these
four arms are lined on both sides with cities, towns, and villages; and
are enlivened by numerous travellers who journey both by river and by
land. In fact, upon the whole earth there is no country so populous and
well cultivated as Egypt, which is of ample territory and full of all
sorts of good things.

From New to Old Mizraim is a distance of two parasangs. The latter lies
in ruins, but the sites of the walls and the houses may still be traced
at this day, as also the granaries of Joseph, of which there is a large
number. The pyramids, which are seen here, are constructed by magic; and
in no other country or other place is any thing equal to them. They are
composed of stones and cement, and are very substantial. In the
outskirts of the city is the very ancient synagogue of our great master
Moses, upon whom be peace. An old and very learned man is the overseer
and clerk of this place of public worship; he is called Al-Sheikh
Abunasar. Old Mizraim is three miles in extent. From thence to the land
of Goshen, eight parasangs. It is called Belbeis, is a large city, and
contains about three thousand Jewish inhabitants. Half a day to Iskiil
Ain-al-Shems, the ancient Raamses, which is in ruins. Here are remains
of the buildings erected by our forefathers, and tower-like buildings
constructed of bricks. One day's journey to Al-Boutidg; about two
hundred Jews live here. Half a day to Sefita, which contains about two
hundred Jews. To Damira, four parasangs; this place contains about seven
hundred Jews. Five days to Mahaleh, which contains about five hundred
Israelites[275]. Two days from thence stands Alexandria, which Alexander
the Macedonian, who built this extremely strong and handsome city,
called after his own name. In the outskirts of the city was the school
of Aristotle, the preceptor of Alexander. The building is still very
handsome and large, and is divided into many apartments by marble
pillars. There are about twenty schools, to which people flocked from
all parts of the world in order to study the Aristotelian philosophy.
The city is built upon arches, which are hollow below. The streets are
straight, and some of them are of such extent that the eye cannot
overlook them at once; that which runs from the Rosetta to the sea-gate
is a full mile in length. The port of Alexandria is formed partly by a
pier, which extends a mile into the sea. Here is also a high tower,
called lighthouse, in Arabic, Minar of Alexandria, on the summit of
which was placed a glass mirror. All vessels which approached with
hostile intentions, from Greece and from the western side, could be
observed at fifty days' distance by means of this glass mirror, and
precautions were taken against them. Many years after the death of
Alexander there arrived a Grecian vessel commanded by a man of the name
of Theodoros, who was extremely cunning. The Grecians were subject to
the Egyptians at the time, and the above-named shipper brought a
valuable present to the king of Egypt, consisting of silver, gold, and
silk garments. He rode at anchor in view of the mirror, the customary
station of all merchantmen who arrived, and the keeper of the
lighthouse, as well as his servants, were invited every day by him,
until they became very intimate and paid one another frequent visits.
Upon a certain day the keeper and all his servants were invited to a
sumptuous meal, and were plied so much with wine that both he and his
servants became drunk and fell into a sound sleep. This opportunity was
seized by the shipper and his crew to break the mirror, after which
exploit they left the port the same night. From that time the Christians
began to visit Alexandria with small and large vessels, and took the
large island of Crete, as well as Cyprus, which are in possession of the
Greeks unto this day; and the Egyptians have not been able to withstand
the Greeks ever since[276]. The lighthouse is still a mark to all
seafaring men. It is observed at the distance of one hundred miles by
day, and at night bears a light which serves as a guide to all mariners.

The city is very mercantile, and affords an excellent market to all
nations. People from all Christian kingdoms resort to Alexandria, from
Valentia, Tuscany, Lombardy, Apulia, Amalfi, Sicilia, Rakuvia,
Catalonia, Spain, Roussillon, Germany, Saxony, Denmark, England,
Flandres, Hainault, Normandy, France, Poitou, Anjou, Burgundy, Mediana,
Provence, Genoa, Pisa, Gascony, Arragon, and Navarre. From the west you
meet Mohammedans from Andalusia, Algarve, Africa, and Arabia, as well as
from the countries towards India, Savila, Abyssinia, Nubia, Yemen,
Mesopotamia, and Syria, besides Greeks and Turks[277]. From India they
import all sorts of spices, which are bought by Christian merchants. The
city is full of bustle, and every nation has its own fonteccho (or
hostelry) there.

On the sea-shore is a marble sepulchre, upon which are depicted all
sorts of birds and beasts, all in very ancient characters, which nobody
can decipher; but it is supposed that it is the tomb of a king of very
ancient date, who reigned even before the flood. The length of the tomb
is fifteen spans by six in breadth.

Alexandria contains about three thousand Jews.

From hence we reach Damietta, which is Caphtor[278], in two days; this
place contains about two hundred Jews. Half a day from thence to Sunbat,
the inhabitants of which sow flax and weave fine linen, which forms a
very considerable article of exportation. Four days to Ailah, which is
Elim of Scripture; it belongs to the Bedouin Arabs. Two days to
Rephidim, which is inhabited by Arabians, and contains no Jews. One day
to Mount Sinai, on the summit of which the Syrian monks possess a place
of worship. At the base of the mountain is a large village; the
inhabitants, who speak the Chaldean language, call it Tour Sinai. The
mountain is small, is in possession of the Egyptians, and is distant
five days from Mizraim. The Red Sea is one day's journey from Mount
Sinai; this sea is an arm of the Indian Sea.

Back to Damietta, from whence by sea to Tennis, the Chanes of Scripture,
an island of the sea, containing about forty Israelites; here is the
boundary of the empire of Egypt. From thence we go, in twenty days, by
sea to Messina, on the coast of the island of Sicily, situated on the
strait called Lunir, an arm of the sea which divides Calabria from
Sicily. This city contains about two hundred Jews, and is beautifully
situated in a country abounding with gardens and orchards, and full of
good things. Most of the pilgrims who embark for Jerusalem assemble
here, because this city affords the best opportunity for a good passage.

Two days from thence stands Palermo, a large city, two square miles in
extent. It contains the extensive palace of king William[279], and is
inhabited by about fifteen hundred Jews and many Christians and
Mohammedans. The country is rich in wells and springs, grows wheat and
barley, and is covered with gardens and orchards; it is, in fact, the
best in the whole island of Sicily. This city is the seat of the
viceroy, whose palace is called Al-Hacina, and contains all sorts of
fruit trees, as also a great spring, surrounded by a wall, and a
reservoir called Al-Behira, in which abundance of fish are preserved.
The king's vessels are ornamented with silver and gold, and are ever
ready for the amusement of himself and his women. There is also a large
palace, the walls of which are richly ornamented with paintings and with
gold and silver. The pavement is of marble and rich mosaic, representing
all sorts of figures; in the whole country there is no building equal to

The island begins at Messina, where many pilgrims meet, and extends to
Catania, Syracuse, Masara, Pantaleone, and Trapani, being six days in
circumference. Near Trapani is found the stone called coral, in Arabic,
al-murgan[280]. From thence you cross over and reach Rome in three
days; from Rome by land in five days to Lucca, from whence you get in
twelve days to Bardin, by Mount Maurienne, and over the passes of Italy.

Here are the confines of Germany, a country full of hills and
mountains. The Jewish congregations of Germany inhabit the banks
of the great river Rhine, from Cologne, where the empire commences, unto
Cassanburg, the frontier of Germany, which is fifteen days' journey, and
is called Ashkenas by the Jews. These are the cities of Germany which
contain congregations of Israelites, all situated on the river
Moselle—Coblence, Andernach, Kaub, Kartania, Bingen, Worms, and
Mistran. In fact, the Jews are dispersed over all countries, and whoever
hinders Israel from being collected, shall never see any good sign, and
shall not live with Israel. And at the time which the Lord has appointed
to be a limit of our captivity and to exalt the horn of his anointed,
every one shall come forth and shall say, "I will lead the Jews and I
will assemble them."

These cities contain many eminent scholars; the congregations are on the
best terms with one another, and are friendly towards strangers.
Whenever a traveller visits them they are rejoiced thereat and
hospitably receive him. They are full of hopes, and say—"Be of good
spirit, dear brethren, for the salvation of the Lord will be quick, like
the twinkling of an eye; and, indeed, were it not that we had doubted
hitherto that the end of our captivity had not yet arrived, we should
have assembled long ago; but this is impossible before the time of song
arrive, and the sound of the cooing turtle gives warning[281]; then will
the message arrive, and we will say, The name of the Lord be
exalted!"[282] They send letters to one another, by which they exhort to
hold firm in the Mosaic law. Those that spend their time as mourners of
the downfall of Sion and the destruction of Jerusalem, are always
dressed in black clothes, and pray for mercy before the Lord, for the
sake of their brethren.

Beside the cities which we have already mentioned as being in Germany,
there are, further, Astransburg, Duidisburg, Mantern, Pisingas, Bamberg,
Zor, and Regensburg, on the confines of the empire; all these cities
contain many rich and learned Jews. Further on is the country of
Bohemia, called Prague. Here begins Sclavonia, called by the Jews who
inhabit it Khenaan, because the inhabitants sell their children to all
nations, which is also applicable to the people of Russia. The latter
country is very extensive, reaching from the gates of Prague to those of
Kiev, a large city on the confines of the empire. The country is very
mountainous and full of forests; in the latter the beasts called
vaiverges[283] are met, which yield the sable fur or ermine. In winter
the cold is so intense that nobody ventures to leave his house. So far
the kingdom of Russia.

The kingdom of France, called by the Jews Tsarphat, reaches from the
town of Alsodo to Paris, the metropolis, and is six days in extent. This
city, situated on the river Seine, belongs to king Louis[284], and
contains many learned men, the equal of which are to be met with at
present nowhere upon earth: they employ all their time upon the study of
the law, are hospitable to all travellers, and on friendly terms with
all their Jewish brethren.

May the Lord in his mercy be full of compassion towards them and us, and
may he fulfil towards both the words of his Holy Scripture (Deut. xxx.
3), "Then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion
upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither
the Lord thy God hath scattered thee."—Amen, Amen, Amen.


[125] The expression "of blessed memory" is generally added by Jews when
mentioning the "honoured dead," (see Proverbs x. 7,) and recurs
frequently in the following narrative.

[126] This city was one of great antiquity; and at this time the remains
of its ancient walls appear to have been very remarkable. Destroyed at
an earlier period by the Saracens, Tarragona was rebuilt in the twelfth

[127] The church of St. Egidius, or Giles, in this town, was a
celebrated place of pilgrimage in the middle ages. It was the birthplace
and first appanage of the celebrated Raymond, count of St. Gilles and
Toulouse, duke of Narbonne, and marquis of Provence, whose family were
so active in the crusades. The count Raymond here mentioned, in whose
household R. Abba Mari held office, was Raymond V., son of Alphonso, who
had the title of count of St. Gilles during his father's life.

[128] Alexander III., who held the papacy from 1159 to 1181. The
employment of Jews in the service of the pope is a circumstance worthy
of remark.

[129] The book Aruch was a celebrated dictionary, completed by rabbi
Nathan at Rome, in A.D. 1101.

[130] These singular legends relating to the ancient buildings in Rome
are chiefly taken from the writings of Josephus Ben Gorion. Some of them
may be compared with similar tales which are found in Christian writers,
and of which several examples are inserted in William of Malmesbury's

[131] The time of the destruction of both temples at Jerusalem. The day
is still one of fast and mourning to all Jews, and is celebrated as such
by all synagogues.

[132] These were ten ancient teachers of the Mishna, who suffered
violent death in the period between Vespasian and Hadrian. A late legend
not only connected these persecutions as one event, but assigned to the
victims a common sepulchre at Rome. The legend contains a conversation
of the ten martyrs with the emperor. Several of the ten were certainly
not buried in Rome; the sepulchres of three, Akiba, Ishmael, and Juda
Ben Thema, were shown in Palestine in the thirteenth and sixteenth
centuries. Antipatris is said by others to be the place of the sepulchre
of R. Akiba. A more recent catalogue notices, as known in Palestine, the
sepulchres of R. Juda, son of Baba, and Simon, son of Gamaliel, two
others of the "ten martyrs."

[133] This account of Puzzuolo is also chiefly taken from Josephus
Gorionides. Modern researches prove that some Roman villas on the
sea-coast are now covered by the sea; and this led to the story of the
submerged city.

[134] See Isaiah, lxvi. 19. This, it need hardly be observed, is one of
the erroneous identifications of Scriptural names which have so
frequently arisen from a false importance given to their similarity of

[135] This title was given to a man conversant with the Hagada, or
ancient manner of expounding the holy scripture. The Hebrew appellation
is "darschan."

[136] Bari, which was taken and almost destroyed by the Greeks during
the reign of William of Sicily, was called St. Nicholas, in honour of
the celebrated church and priory of that saint, which are its most
remarkable ornaments. They were built in 1098, and richly endowed by
Roger, duke of Apulia; and they escaped the great and general
destruction with which the city was visited.

[137] This island, though for some time subject to Roger and William,
kings of Sicily, was reconquered by the emperor Manuel in 1149; and the
words of our author are probably intended to express that this was the
first spot at which he touched after leaving the kingdom of Sicily.

[138] This erroneous account of the foundation of Patras is taken from
Josephus Gorionides.

[139] Thebes contained, at this time, the greatest number of Jews of any
city in Greece, some of whom are stated to have been eminent
manufacturers, principally of silk and purple cloths. Gibbon states that
artists employed upon these trades enjoyed exemption from personal
taxes. "These arts, which were exercised at Corinth, Thebes, and Argos,
afforded food and occupation to a numerous people: the men, women, and
children were distributed according to their age and strength; and if
many of these were domestic slaves, their masters, who directed the work
and enjoyed the profits, were of a free and honourable condition." At
present the whole population of Thebes does not amount to above 3500

[140] No place of this name is now known. Mr. Asher conjectures, from
the Sclavonic sound of the word, that it was a town of the Wallachians,
and that it has been destroyed in the perpetual wars of which this part
of Greece was the scene.

[141] Rabenica is mentioned by several medieval writers, though its
exact situation is not now known. Henri de Valencienne, Chronique,
edited by Buchon, p. 259, says "Ensi comme jou devant vous dys, fut li
parlemens ou val de Ravenique."

[142] Gardiki, or Cardiki, a small town on the coast of the gulf of
Volo, and the seat of a bishop. The time at which it was ruined, or the
occasion upon which its destruction took place, cannot be ascertained.

[143] Armyro, also on the coast of the gulf of Volo. By the writers of
the middle ages it was called Amire, Amiro, and Almyro. Poucqueville
(iii. 72) mentions it as the principal town of a district which bears
its name.

[144] This place is not now known, but it is mentioned by medieval
writers under the name of Vissena, Vessena, and Bezena. As our author
embarked at or near this station, it cannot have been Velestino, which
we meet with by following his route on a map of Greece, because,
although in the vicinity of Armyro, and on the road to Saloniki, it is
an inland town.

[145] The ancient Thessalonica; the modern Saloniki, contained, at our
author's time, more Jewish inhabitants than any town in Greece, Thebes
alone excepted. It is stated by good authorities to contain at present
20,000 Israelites, a large proportion of the whole population, amounting
altogether to but 70,000 souls. Some popular tradition probably induced
our author to ascribe the origin of the city to Seleucus. The favourable
situation of Saloniki, which has made it one of the most commercial
towns of the Turkish empire, was probably the cause of its considerable
Jewish population.

[146] This place, which has vanished from the modern maps of Greece, was
called correctly Dimitritzi, and was situated near Amphipolis, on the
Cercinian Sea.

[147] Villehardouin mentions this place as belonging to the king of
Thessalonica, and calls it "Dramine el val de Phelippe." Another MS.
reads Draimes, which is more in conformity with the appellation given to
it by Nicephorus Gregoras, who, like our author, frequently calls it
Drama. It stands in a valley, near the site of the ancient city of
Philippi, the ruins of which are still to be seen.

[148] The original word is [Hebrew: קנישתולי]; but there can hardly be
any doubt that our author wrote it so only because he did not like to
mention the name of Christ. We observe this in several other instances
in the course of this work. Christopoli was on the direct road from
Thessalonica to Constantinople. It was situated on the frontiers of
Macedonia and Thracia, on the European shore of the Propontis, opposite
the island of Thaso; and here travellers from Macedonia to
Constantinople generally embarked.

[149] Manuel Comnenus, emperor from 1143 to 1180.

[150] The best account of the imperial officers of state will be found
in Gibbon, "Decline and Fall," chap. liii. The Præpositus magnus was one
of the principal officers, governor of the city and of the forces
stationed in it; the Megas Domesticus was the commander in chief of the
army; the Dominus, court marshal, lord steward of the household; Megas
Ducas, the commander of the naval forces, or lord high admiral of the
empire; Œconomos magnus, a clerical officer of high rank.

[151] The Hippodrome is now known by the Turkish paraphrased name of the
At-Meidan, _i. e._ the horse-market. It was the site chosen for the
display of the games by which the emperor Manuel entertained the sultan
Azeddin Kilidscharslan, on his visit to Constantinople in 1159; and Mr.
Asher observes that Benjamin was probably an eyewitness of the public
rejoicings and games which took place in honour of the celebration of
the marriage of the emperor Manuel with Maria, daughter of the prince of
Antiochia, on "the birth-day of Jesus," A.D. 1161, which he seems to
describe here. Compare the account of the games at Constantinople
exhibited to the Northmen, pp. 60, 61.

[152] Micah, iv. 4.

[153] The former respect and conform with the authority of the rabbinic
explanations, which are rejected by the latter.

[154] This is the Cœla of Ptolemy, and the Celus of Pliny and Mela, a
sea-port-town on the eastern coast of the peninsula of Gallipoli, still
bearing the Turkish name of Kilia.

[155] The island of Chio is still celebrated for its mastic; and the
population of twenty villages are employed exclusively in cultivating
the tree and gathering its produce. These villages are situated in the
mountainous parts; and the Christian cultivators of the mastic not only
paid no tithe nor tribute, but enjoyed certain privileges.

[156] This prince first resided with the emperor Johannes
Porphyrogenitus, with whom he was a great favourite; but on his death,
and the succession of Manuel Comnenus to the throne, Thoros left
Constantinople, disguised as a merchant, and proceeded by water to
Antioch, from whence he went to Cilicia, and with the assistance of the
priests and nobles found himself at the head of a formidable army, and
soon established himself on the throne of his ancestors. When these news
reached Constantinople, Manuel became highly incensed; and, raising a
numerous force, he sent Andronicus Cæsar into Cilicia with the command
to extirpate all Armenians; but the imperial general was defeated, and
Thoros was subsequently reconciled with the emperor. He died in 1167.

[157] Malmistras is the ancient Mopsuestia, on the Pyramus, at present
Messis on the Jeihan. Under the former name it appears in William of
Tyre and his contemporaries.

[158] Boemond III., prince of Antioch, surnamed le Baube (or the
Stammerer), succeeded his mother in the principality of Antioch in 1163,
and died in 1200.

[159] Kharmath was a famous impostor, founder of a sect called
Carmathians, very similar to that of the Assassins. One of the tenets of
this sect was, that the soul of the founder transmigrates into the body
of his successor, and that the person who held the office of chief among
them was the personification of the original founder of the sect.

[160] Kadmus is enumerated by Burckhardt in a list of old castles, on
the mountains of Szaffyta, in the territory of the Anzeiry.

[161] Joshua, xiii. 5. 1 Kings, v. 32.

[162] This passage was entirely misunderstood by the earlier
translators. The family of the Embriaci was one of the most ancient of
the patricians of Genoa; and one of its members, Guillelmus Embriacus,
was named commander of the fleet which was sent to aid the Christian
princes of Syria, and which, in 1109, took Byblus, of which he became
the feudal lord. The jealousy of the other patrician families was
subsequently roused, but the family of the Embriaci succeeded in
retaining their feudal tenure. The supreme government of the city,
however, at this time, appears to have been vested in a committee of
seven persons, six of whom were delegated by the republic, the place of
president being always filled by one of the Embriaci. William of Tyre
(xi. 9) relates the conquest of Byblus by the Genoese, and informs us
that the Christian name of the Embriacus who governed when he wrote
(about 1180) was Hugo, "a grandson of the Hugo who conquered it;" but
all other historians call the conqueror Guillelmus, and Mr. Asher thinks
that we ought to read, in Benjamin's text, [Hebrew: גוליימו], which
stands for William, instead of Julianus.

[163] Joshua, xviii. 25.

[164] It is well known from other sources that Tyre was celebrated in
the middle ages for the manufacture of glass.

[165] Isaiah, xxiii. 8.

[166] The modern Nahr-el-Mukattua. See Judges, v. 21.

[167] Joshua, xix. 13. Modern writers identify Kaiffa with the ancient
Ephah, and not with Gath.

[168] Kings, xviii. 30.

[169] Joshua, xv. 44.

[170] Judges, i. 26.

[171] Deut. xi. 29.

[172] To which place, according to the tenets of the Talmudic Jews, the
offerings are confined, and since the destruction of which they have
been discontinued.

[173] Joshua, xxiv. 32.

[174] Modern critics and travellers appear to confirm this statement
relating to the peculiar pronunciation of the three letters by the

[175] At present Yâlo.

[176] The knights templars.

[177] Jesus is thus called in the Talmud.

[178] 1 Kings, iv. 26.

[179] 2 Sam. xviii. 18.

[180] 2 Kings, xv. 1-7.

[181] After the slaughter of the Jews of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the
few that were saved from destruction were dispersed in all directions.
Those persons who mourned over these unhappy circumstances were called
"mourners of Jerusalem," and are mentioned under that title more than
once by Benjamin. We find these mourners even among the Caraites about
1147. We read in several ancient Jewish writers of the danger incurred
by the Jews who visited Jerusalem while it remained in the power of the
Christians. Pethachia found only one Jew at Jerusalem, whereas Benjamin
speaks of 200. A numerous congregation was again to be met with there
about 1190; but about 1216 great discord prevailed among them in
consequence of the pretensions of the different congregations.

[182] Gen. xxxv. 19, 20.

[183] It may be observed that most of the richer stuffs, the siclatons,
&c., used in the west of Europe during the middle ages, came from the
east, which accounts for the number of dyers mentioned by the traveller.

[184] Gen. xxiii. 19.

[185] The "House of Abraham" is still shown to travellers, about an
hour's ride from Hebron, the site being occupied by the ruins of a small

[186] Joshua, xv. 44. It is the Bethogabris of the Greek and Latin
writers, and supposed to be the Eleutheropolis of the early Christian

[187] Joshua, xix. 18.

[188] 1 Sam. i. 1.

[189] The rocks of Jonathan, mentioned (1 Sam. xiv. 5) as being between
Gibeah and Michmash, and which formed a narrow path between the two
places, were also seen by Robinson and Smith. "Directly between Jeba and
Mukhmâs are two conical hills, not very high, which are probably the
scene of Jonathan's romantic adventure against the Philistines, recorded
in 1 Sam. xiv."

[190] 2 Chron. xxvi. 6.

[191] The Azotus of the ancient geographers.

[192] The Esdraela of the Greeks, called by the historians of the
crusades Gerinum and Zarain.

[193] Now called Sephoury.

[194] Numbers, xxxiv. 11.

[195] Deut. iii. 17.

[196] During the middle ages Jews were not unfrequently employed as
astrologers by the Arabian princes. R. Isaac, the son of Baruch (A.D.
1080), appears, among others, to have rendered services of this kind to
Almohammad. King Alphonso of Castile also entertained Jews who were
proficients in astrology. The surname [Hebrew: חוזה], astrologer, was
borne by Abraham in Tiberias. Eliezer, author of an astrological book of
chances, lived in 1559. We also find mention of Joseph, astrologer of
Seifeddin, sultan of Mosul; R. Isaac, an astronomer of the twelfth
century in France; and Salomon, an astronomer in Nineveh.

[197] Jochanan, son of Zakhai, was a celebrated teacher of the Mishna in
the time of Vespasian; later catalogues mention his sepulchre in
Tiberias. The Jews have a legend relating to him full of extraordinary
fables. Some persons have supposed him to be the "John" mentioned in
Acts iv. 6.

[198] This identification is evidently an error, as Thimnatha was in
Judea, far to the south of Tiberias, and could not be Tebnin. Benjamin
falls into another error in placing here the sepulchre of Samuel, who
was buried in Ramah. Mr. Asher proposes to read Simeon.

[199] Meirûn is still a place of pilgrimage to the Jews of the vicinity,
who resort thither on certain days to say prayers on the sepulchres of
some rabbis; and this corroborates our text, according to which Hillel
and Shamai, the two most celebrated teachers of the Talmud, who
flourished before the birth of our Saviour, are interred in a cave near
Merûn. This legend must have been very prevalent at our author's time,
as it is also reported by Pethachia, who adds that a large stone vase,
situated in the cave of the sepulchre, filled itself spontaneously with
water whenever a worthy man entered it for the purpose of devotion, but
remained empty if the visitor was a man of doubtful character. The two
other persons whose sepulchres are mentioned here were celebrated
teachers of the law, who flourished in the third and second centuries;
but Jewish writers appear to differ as to the places of their burial.
The second of them is said to have traced his descent from one of the
skeletons restored to life by the prophet Ezekiel.

[200] All the persons mentioned here were celebrated rabbis of the first
century before, and the three centuries after Christ, except Barak, who
is well known by the fourth chapter of the book of Judges.

[201] This is Paneas, or Baneas, the ancient Cæsarea Philippi.

[202] This identification is not quite correct, the ancient Dan having
been situated on another small rivulet, still called Dan, and distant
about four Roman miles west of Paneas on the way to Tyre. William of
Tyre also identifies Dan with Cæsarea. The apparent source of the Jordan
flows from under a cave at the foot of a precipice, in the sides of
which are several niches with Greek inscriptions, which Benjamin has
mistaken for the altar of Micha.

[203] This is a mistake of rabbi Benjamin, as this term, used in Deut.
xi. 24, means the Mediterranean.

[204] It is hardly necessary to state that this was the celebrated
sultan of Damascus, Aleppo, and Egypt, so well known in the history of
the crusades. He reigned from 1145 to 1173.

[205] 2 Kings, v. 12. The ancient Greek name of the river was
Chrysorrhoas; in modern Arabic it is called the Barady.

[206] 2 Kings v. 12. It is now called El Faige.

[207] Jerem. xlix. 27; Amos, i. 4.

[208] The earthquake alluded to visited this part of Syria in 1157, at
which period Hamah, Antiochia, Emessa, Apamea, Laodicea, and many other
cities, were laid in ruins. R. Benjamin calls the river Orontes Jabbok;
the Arabians call it Oroad, or Asi. Rieha, or Reiha, is a name still
borne by a place and mountain in this part of the road from Damascus to
Aleppo. Burckhardt mentions ruins of numerous towns still visible on the
mountain, among which we must look for Lamdin, mentioned in our text,
but by no other traveller or geographer. The road between Damascus and
Aleppo, pursued even by all modern travellers, goes by Homs and Tadmor.
Burckhardt was the first to deviate from this route.

[209] Numb. xxii. 5. Deut. xxiii. 4. It is the Barbarissus of the
Romans. Bales was taken by the crusaders under Tancred in 1111.

[210] The Dauses, or Davana, of the Greeks. In the history of the
crusades, Kalat (or fort) Jiaber is often mentioned; and the
circumstances alluded to by our author are told at length by Desguignes.
In Abulfeda's time this place was a deserted ruin; but the castle, built
on a mound of marl and gypsum, still stands, thirty-five miles below
Bir, on the left bank of the Euphrates.

[211] The Callinicus of the Greeks, afterwards called Nicephorium.

[212] The Carrhæ of the ancients. The site of the house of Abraham is
still pointed out as an object of veneration. Mr. Asher observes that,
from Aleppo to Racca, our author, like most modern and ancient
travellers, followed the course of the Euphrates; but being probably
attracted, like Marco Polo, by the considerable trade then carried on at
Mosul, he proceeded thither from Racca, by way of Haran, Nisibis, and
Jezireh, a route pointed out as probably used by Alexander on Rennel's
map of the retreat of the Ten Thousand.

[213] It appears that the name of a city is omitted here. Our author
probably wrote "from thence to Ras-el-Ain," at which place the Khabur
becomes a formidable river.

[214] This is of course not the true Ararat. It is called Jebel Judi.
The island is the ancient Bezebde.

[215] See p. 68, note.

[216] The ancient Erbela.

[217] The ancient Cercusium.

[218] All these were celebrated Jewish rabbis in the earlier centuries
of the Christian era.

[219] The khalif alluded to by Benjamin was either Moktafi, who died in
1160, or Mostanjeh-abul-Modhaffer, who reigned from his death to 1170.
It is probable that Benjamin was at Bagdad in 1164.

[220] Dar-al-Morabittan in Arabic; literally, abode of those who require
being chained, _i. e._ of the raving mad.

[221] The ceremony of consecration, performed by the prince of
captivity, consisted in his laying his hands on the heads of the

[222] The place where the rolls of the Pentateuch are deposited. It is
generally elevated above the seats of the congregation.

[223] Gen. x. 12. Ras-al-Ain is the Ressaina of the Romans; it is
erroneously identified with Resen.

[224] The name is omitted in all editions.

[225] This tradition of the burning furnace is mentioned by the Arabian
geographers, by whom we are further informed that the ashes still

[226] These are also some of the early rabbis concerning whom the Jews
possess many legends; the places of burial of others are mentioned
further on.

[227] Benjamin here alludes to the Birs Nimrud, which is, however, more
than four miles from Hillah. _Al-ajurr_ is the Persian word for these

[228] Perhaps the Nachaba of Ptolemy. It is not found in modern maps.

[229] This celebrated sepulchre is still a place of pilgrimage to the
Jews and Mohammedans in the east.

[230] 2 Kings, xxv. 27. Jerem. lii. 31.

[231] Celebrated on the first and tenth of Thishri (about the end of
September or the beginning of October).

[232] 2 Kings, xxiv. 17.

[233] The sites of Ain Japhata, and the other places mentioned here,
have not yet been traced by modern travellers. Colonel Shiel ('Journal
of the Geog. Soc.,' vol. viii. p. 93) found a tomb near Elkoth, east of
the Tigris, at the foot of the mountains which border Kurdistan, which
the natives described as that of Nahum.

[234] Fasting being prohibited on these days by the Talmud. This proves
Niebuhr's supposition, that they were Talmudists, to be correct.

[235] The name of a city appears to be omitted here.

[236] Waset is the ancient Cybate. The Hebrew text reads Naset, which
Mr. Asher has rightly corrected.

[237] The name of a city is omitted here; no doubt Kornah, on the
Samarra, or ancient Delos. The sepulchre of Ezra is described by various
modern travellers; it is still an object of pilgrimage to the Jews of
the east.

[238] The exact site of Shushan (Susa) is a subject of some doubt among
modern geographers. The old Arabian writers give a variety of legends
relating to Daniel's tomb.

[239] Sanjar was a very celebrated and powerful prince. He conquered
Samarkand in 1140, and died in 1157, shortly before Benjamin visited the

[240] Benjamin's account of the Assassins, and their residence at
Mulehet, coincides very closely with that given by Marco Polo. It has
been supposed that the sect of the Assassins originated in this district
of Persia.

[241] That is, probably, in A.D. 1155; for 1165 appears to be about the
year in which Benjamin of Tudela visited Persia. The history of David
El-Roy, and the scene of his imposture, have been illustrated by Major
Rawlinson in a memoir communicated to the Geographical Society of
London, and printed in its Transactions.

[242] Shem Hamphorash, literally, the explained name, the letters of the
word Jehovah in their full explanation, a mystery known but to very few,
and by which it is believed wonders may be executed. The wonders
performed by Jesus are ascribed in the Talmud to his knowledge of this

[243] Hamadan, which is now in a state of ruin, is said to stand on or
near the site of the ancient Ecbatana. The sepulchre of Mordecai and
Esther is still shown there.

[244] This town is conjectured to be Farahabad.

[245] The city of Khiva.

[246] 2 Kings, xvii. 6, and xviii. 11. And the king of Assyria did carry
away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor, by the
river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

[247] Of the tribe of Levi, the descendants of which are divided into
Leviim and Khohanim, and are the only Jews who to this day claim the
descent from a certain tribe, all others having mixed and become extinct
in the course of time.

[248] These were the Ghuzes, a Turkish tribe who emigrated in the
twelfth century from the country to the north of the Oxus. The events
mentioned in the text seem to have occurred in 1153, when the Ghuzes
revolted against the Persians, defeated the sultan, and plundered Mero
and Nishabour. The sultan was made a prisoner, and only escaped and
returned to his own country in 1156.

[249] A sort of pea. See Lee's Ibn-Batuta, p. 106.

[250] In April.

[251] In October.

[252] Chulam, the Koulam of Marco Polo and Ibn-Batuta, was an important
place on the coast of Malabar, but is much reduced in modern times.

[253] Negroes.

[254] _i. e._ From April to October.

[255] Nine o'clock in the morning.

[256] Mr. Asher observes, upon this passage, "Our author states the
ancient inhabitants of Chulam to be fire worshippers. Edrisi, however,
(i. 176,) says of the king, 'he adores the idol of Boudha,' and
Ibn-Batuta reports him to be 'an infidel.' Although the latter
appellation was applied by the Mohammedans to the fire worshippers, we
have no sufficient proof to show that Edrisi's information is wrong, or
that the majority of the population adored the sun as a deity. There is
no doubt, however, that Malabar became the asylum of this ancient sect
after it had been vanquished by the Mohammedans, and had been forced by
persecution, not only to seek refuge in the mountainous and less
accessible parts of Persia (Kerman and Herat), but to toil on to distant
regions. They found a resting place beyond the Indus, which they crossed
in fear of their unrelenting pursuers; and here we still find their
descendants, the Parsees, who form 'a numerous and highly respectable
class of the population.' Very able papers on the history, religion, and
worship of the Guebres, will be found in vols. i. and iii. of Ouseley's
'Travels,' and in Ritter's 'Erdkunde,' v. 615."

[257] Psalms, xlix. 14.

[258] The modern Ceylon. Benjamin appears to call the inhabitants Druzes
because he had been told that, like the Druzes of Syria, they believed
in the metempsychosis. We learn from the Arabian geographer, Edrisi,
that there was a large population of Jews in Ceylon at this time.

[259] A blank occurs here in the two early editions.

[260] Our author is the first European who mentions China by this name.

[261] Literally, continental India.

[262] 2 Kings, xix. 12.

[263] Gen. x. 7; 1 Chron. i. 9.

[264] Chalua or Aloua, the Ghalua of Edrisi (i. 33), is mentioned by the
Arabian writers as the starting point for the caravans which traversed
the desert of Saharah, and carried on the trade with northern Africa.
Zavila, Zuila, Zuela of our maps, Zavila of Edrisi (i. 258-9), was
remarkable for the splendour of its bazaars and buildings, as well as
for its beautiful streets and thoroughfares. From Zuila the caravans
proceeded almost due south to Ganah, in the interior of Africa.

[265] Exod. i. 11.

[266] The Pentateuch is divided into fifty-four Parashioth, of seven
portions each; and the custom of the Babylonians, as described in the
text, is practised at present almost universally.

[267] The former is celebrated on the last day of the feast of
tabernacles, (Deut. xvi. 13-15,) the latter with the feast of weeks
(ibid. 9).

[268] Benjamin of Tudela does not mention the name of the Fatimite
khalif of Egypt who reigned at the time of his visit; but as that
dynasty was overthrown in 1171, and as the authority of the last khalif
of that family had previously been annihilated by the conquests of the
armies of Noureddin, to which Benjamin makes no allusion, it is probable
that his visit to Egypt may be placed as early as 1168 or 1169.

[269] August.

[270] A phrase taken from Gen. xliii. 1.

[271] November.

[272] March.

[273] April.

[274] "Carob-Siliqua in Latin; Caroube, or Carouge, French. This
translation is traditional among Jews, and it has been employed,
although Abdol-latif does not mention this fruit as one indigenous in

[275] It may be observed that Benjamin's object appears to have been
only to mention those towns in Egypt which contained Jews, and he
follows no direct course.

[276] This story is one version of a popular tradition which is
mentioned by the Arabian writers; and a story similar to it, though not
applied to the Pharos of Alexandria, is found among the collections
current in the west of Europe during the middle ages, but no doubt
brought from the east. See the old English poem of the Seven Sages.

[277] Mr. Asher has first given a clear and intelligible translation of
the names of the different countries who traded to Alexandria; and he
observes that, in drawing it up, Benjamin probably follows some list of
the fontecchi, or hostelries of the merchants of different nations, made
for the use of captains arriving there.

[278] This appears to be an error of our traveller.

[279] William II. king of Sicily, who reigned from 1166 to 1189. On his
accession he was only twelve years of age; and during his minority
Stephen, archbishop of Palermo, governed Sicily as chancellor under the
queen dowager. It is to him that Benjamin alludes under the title of
viceroy; in 1169 the viceroy was driven from Sicily by a revolt of the
inhabitants of Palermo, and it was therefore probably early in that year
that Benjamin was in the island.

[280] Coral (Arabic, bessed; Persian, merjan). The Sicilian coral is
mentioned by several old writers. The produce of the fishery at Messina
is stated by Spallanzani ("Travels in the Two Sicilies," vol. iv. p.
308, &c.) to amount to twelve quintals of 250 lbs. each. Edrisi mentions
the fishery of this production to have been carried on by the Sicilians,
and states that it was inferior to the species found on the African

[281] Solom. Song, ii. 12.

[282] Psalms, xxxv. 27.

[283] Vaiverges, Polish wiewiórka, the white squirrel, a quadruped, the
skins of which were considered to be of great value.

[284] Louis le Jeune, who reigned from 1137 to 1185.


A.D. 1322-1356.


Forasmuch as the land beyond the sea, that is to say, the Holy Land,
which men call the land of promise or of behest, passing all other
lands, is the most worthy land, most excellent, and lady and sovereign
of all other lands, and is blessed and hallowed with the precious body
and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; in the which land it pleased him to
take flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, to environ that holy land with
his blessed feet; and there he would of his blessedness shadow him in
the said blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, and become man, and work many
miracles, and preach and teach the faith and the law of Christian men
unto his children; and there it pleased him to suffer many reprovings
and scorns for us; and he that was king of heaven, of air, of earth, of
sea, and of all things that are contained in them, would only be called
king of that land, when he said, "Rex sum Judeorum," that is to say, I
am king of the Jews; and that land he chose before all other lands, as
the best and most worthy land, and the most virtuous land of all the
world; for it is the heart and the middle of all the world; by witness
of the philosopher, who saith thus "Virtus rerum in medio consistit:"
that is to say, The virtue of things is in the middle; and in that land
he would lead his life, and suffer passion and death from the Jews for
us, to redeem and deliver us from the pains of hell and from death
without end, which was ordained for us for the sin of our first father
Adam, and for our own sins also; for, as for himself, he had deserved no
evil: for he thought never evil nor did evil, and he that was king of
glory and of joy might best in that place suffer death, because he chose
in that land, rather than in any other, to suffer his passion and his
death: for he that will publish any thing to make it openly known, he
will cause it to be cried and proclaimed in the middle place of a town;
so that the thing that is proclaimed and pronounced may equally reach to
all parts: right so, he that was creator of all the world would suffer
for us at Jerusalem, that is the middle of the world, to the end and
intent that his passion and his death, which was published there, might
be known equally to all parts of the world. See, now, how dearly he
bought man, that he made after his own image, and how dearly he redeemed
us for the great love that he had to us, and we never deserved it of
him. For more precious goods or greater ransom might he not put for us,
than his blessed body, his precious blood, and his holy life, which he
enthralled for us; and he offered all for us, that never did sin. Oh!
dear God! what love had he to us his subjects, when he that never
trespassed would for trespassers suffer death! Right well ought we to
love and worship, to dread and serve such a Lord, and to worship and
praise such a holy land, that brought forth such fruit, through which
every man is saved, unless it be his own fault. Well may that land be
called delectable and a fruitful land, that was made moist with the
precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; which is the same land that our
Lord promised us in heritage. And in that land he would die, as
seised[285] to leave it to us, his children. Wherefore every good
Christian man, that is of power, and hath whereof, should labour with
all his strength to conquer our right heritage, and drive out all the
unbelieving men. For we are called Christian men, after Christ our
father. And if we be right children of Christ, we ought to claim the
heritage that our father left us, and take it out of heathen men's
hands. But now pride, covetousness, and envy have so inflamed the hearts
of worldly lords, that they are busier to disinherit their neighbours
than to claim or conquer their right heritage aforesaid. And the common
people, that would put their bodies and their goods to conquer our
heritage, may not do it without the lords. For an assembly of people
without a chieftain, or a chief lord, is as a flock of sheep without a
shepherd; the which departeth and disperseth, and know never whither to
go. But would God, that the temporal lords and all worldly lords were at
good accord, and with the common people would take this holy voyage over
the sea! Then I believe confidently, that, within a little time, our
right heritage aforesaid should be recovered and put in the hands of the
right heirs of Jesus Christ.

And forasmuch as it is long time past that there was no general passage
or voyage over the sea, and many men desiring to hear speak of the Holy
Land, and have thereof great solace and comfort, I, John Maundeville,
knight, albeit I be not worthy, who was born in England, in the town of
Saint Albans, passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1322,
on the day of St. Michael; and hitherto have been a long time over the
sea, and have seen and gone through many divers lands, and many
provinces, and kingdoms, and isles, and have passed through Tartary,
Persia, Ermony, (Armenia) the Little and the Great; through Lybia,
Chaldea, and a great part of Ethiopia; through Amazonia, India the Less,
and the Greater, a great part; and throughout many other isles that are
about India; where dwell many divers folks, and of divers manners and
laws, and of divers shapes of men. Of which lands and isles I shall
speak more plainly hereafter. And I shall devise you some part of things
that are there, when time shall be as it may best come to my mind; and
especially for them that will and are in purpose to visit the holy city
of Jerusalem, and the holy places that are thereabout. And I shall tell
the way that they shall hold thither; for I have oftimes passed and
ridden the way, with good company of many lords: God be thanked!

And ye shall understand that I have put this book out of Latin into
French, and translated it again out of French into English, that every
man of my nation may understand it; and that lords and knights and other
noble and worthy men that know Latin but little, and have been beyond
the sea, may know and understand, if I err from defect of memory, and
may redress it and amend it. For things passed out of long time from a
man's mind or from his sight turn soon into forgetting: because a man's
mind may not be comprehended or withheld, on account of the frailty of



In the name of God, glorious and Almighty. He that will pass over the
sea to go to the city of Jerusalem may go many ways, both by sea and
land, according to the country that he cometh from: many ways come to
one end. But you must not expect that I will tell you all the towns, and
cities, and castles, that men shall go by; for then should I make too
long a tale: but only some countries and the principal places that men
shall go through to go the right way. First, if a man come from the
west side of the world, as England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or Norway,
he may, if he will, go through Almaine (Germany) and through the kingdom
of Hungary, which borders on the land of Polaine (Poland), and to the
land of Pannonia, and so to Silesia. And the king of Hungary is a great
and mighty lord, and possesses great lordships and much land. For he
holds the kingdom of Hungary, Sclavonia, and a great part of Comania and
Bulgaria, which men call the land of Bougres, and the realm of Russia a
great part, whereof he hath made a duchy, that extendeth unto the land
of Nyflan, and borders on Prussia. And we go through the land of this
lord, through a city that is called Cypron, and by the castle of
Neaseborough, and by the evil town, which is situated towards the end of
Hungary. And there men pass the river Danube, which is a very great
river, and it goeth into Almaine, under the hills of Lombardy; and it
receives forty other rivers, and runs through Hungary and through Greece
and through Thrace, and entereth into the sea, towards the east, so
roughly and so sharply, that the water of the sea is fresh and keeps its
sweetness twenty miles from shore.

And after, men go to Belgrave, and enter the land of Bougres; and there
men pass a bridge of stone, which is upon the river Marrok. And men pass
through the land of Pyncemartz, and come to Greece to the city of Nye,
and to the city of Fynepape, and after to the city of Adrianople, and
then to Constantinople, which was formerly called Byzantium, where the
emperor of Greece usually dwells. And there is the fairest and noblest
church in the world, that of St. Sophia. And before the church is the
image of the emperor Justinian, covered with gold, and he sits crowned
upon a horse; and he formerly held a round apple of gold in his hand,
but it is fallen down; and they say there, that it is a token that the
emperor hath lost a great part of his lands and lordships. For he was
emperor of Romania and of Greece, of all Asia the Less, and of the land
of Syria, of the land of Judea, in which is Jerusalem, and of the land
of Egypt, of Persia, and of Arabia; but he hath lost all but Greece; and
men would many times restore the apple to the hand of the image, but it
will not hold it. This apple betokens the lordship which he had over all
the world, which is round; and the other hand he lifts up towards the
east, in token to menace the misdoers. This image stands upon a pillar
of marble at Constantinople.



At Constantinople is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his coat
without seams, and the sponge and the reed with which the Jews gave our
Lord vinegar and gall on the cross; and there is one of the nails with
which Christ was nailed on the cross. And some men believe that half the
cross of our Lord is in Cyprus, in an abbey of monks called the Hill of
the Holy Cross. But it is not so; for the cross which is in Cyprus is
that on which Dismas[286], the good thief, was crucified. But all men
know not that, and it is an evil act; because, for profit of the
offering, they say that it is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. And
you shall understand that the cross of our Lord was made of four kinds
of trees, as is contained in this verse—

    "In cruce fit palma, cedrus, cypressus, oliva."

For the piece that went upright from the earth to the head was of
cypress; and the piece that went across, to which his hands were nailed,
was of palm; and the stock, that stood within the earth, in which was
made the mortise, was of cedar; and the tablet above his head, which was
a foot and a half long, on which the title was written in Hebrew, Greek,
and Latin, was of olive. And the Jews made the cross of these four kinds
of trees, because they believed that our Lord Jesus Christ should have
hanged on the cross as long as the cross might last; and therefore they
made the foot of the cross of cedar, because cedar may not rot in earth
or water; and they thought that it should have lasted long. And because
they believed that the body of Christ should have stunk, therefore they
made the piece that went from the earth upwards of cypress, for it is
well smelling, so that the smell of his body should not grieve men that
passed by. And the cross piece was of palm, because in the Old Testament
it was ordained that when any one conquered, he should be crowned with
palm; and because they believed that they had the victory of Christ
Jesus, therefore made they the cross-piece of palm. And the tablet of
the title they made of olive, because olive betokens peace; and the
story of Noah witnesseth that when the dove brought the branch of olive,
it betokened peace made between God and man; and so the Jews expected to
have peace when Christ was dead; for they said that he made discord and
strife amongst them. And you shall understand that our Lord was nailed
on the cross in a recumbent position, and therefore he suffered the more
pain. And the Christians that dwell beyond the sea, in Greece, say that
the tree of the cross that we call cypress was of that tree of which
Adam ate the apple, and that they find written. And they say also, that
their Scripture saith[287] that Adam was sick, and told his son Seth to
go to the angel that kept Paradise, to pray that he would send him oil
of mercy to anoint his members with, that he might have health. And Seth
went, but the angel would not let him come in, telling him that he might
not have of the oil of mercy; but he gave him three grains of the same
tree of which his father ate the apple, and bade him, as soon as his
father was dead, that he should put these three grains under his tongue,
and bury him so: and he did. And of these three grains sprung a tree, as
the angel said that it should, and bore a fruit, through which fruit
Adam should be saved. And when Seth came again, he found his father near
dead. And when he was dead, he did with the grains as the angel bade
him; of which sprung three trees, whereof the cross was made, that bare
good fruit and blessed, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom
Adam, and all that come of him, should be saved and delivered from dread
of death without end, unless it be by their own fault. The Jews had
concealed this holy cross in the earth, under a rock of Mount Calvary;
and it lay there two hundred years and more, till the time of St.
Helena, the mother of Constantine, emperor of Rome. She was the daughter
of king Coel, born in Colchester, who was king of England, which was
then called Britain the Greater; the emperor Constantius took her to
wife for her beauty, and had by her Constantine, who was afterwards
emperor of Rome.

And you shall understand that the cross of our Lord was eight cubits
long, and the cross-piece was three cubits and a half in length. And
one part of the crown of our Lord, wherewith he was crowned, and one of
the nails, and the spear-head, and many other relics, are in France, in
the king's chapel[288], the crown being placed in a vessel of crystal
richly worked. For a king of France bought these relics of the Jews, to
whom the emperor had given them in pledge for a great sum of silver. And
if it be so, as men say, that this crown is of thorns, you shall
understand that it was of rushes of the sea, which prick as sharply as
thorns; for I have seen and beheld many times that of Paris and that of
Constantinople; for they were both one, made of rushes of the sea. But
men had divided them in two parts; of which one part is at Paris, and
the other part is at Constantinople. And I have one of these precious
thorns, which seems like a white thorn; and it was given to me as a
great favour; for there are many of them broken and fallen into the
vessel that the crown lieth in; they break for dryness, when men move
it, to show it to great lords that come thither.

And you shall understand that our Lord Jesus, on the night he was taken,
was led into a garden, where he was first examined very sharply; and
there the Jews scorned him, and made him a crown of the branches of
aubespine, or white thorn, which grew in the same garden, and set it on
his head, so fast and so sore, that the blood ran down on many parts of
his face, neck, and shoulders. And therefore hath white thorn many
virtues; for he that beareth a branch thereof upon him, no thunder nor
tempest may hurt him; and no evil spirit may enter in the house in which
it is, or come to the place that it is in. And in that same garden St.
Peter denied our Lord thrice. Afterward our Lord was led forth before
the bishops and the masters of the law, into another garden belonging to
Annas; and there also he was examined, reproved, and scorned, and
crowned again with a white thorn, which is called barbarines, which grew
in that garden, and which hath also many virtues. And afterward he was
led into a garden of Caiphas, and there he was crowned with eglantine.
And after he was led into the chamber of Pilate, and there he was
examined and crowned. And the Jews set him in a chair, and clad him in a
mantle; and there they made the crown of rushes of the sea; and there
they knelt to him, and scorned him, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!"
Half of this crown is at Paris, and the other half at Constantinople.
And Christ had this crown on his head when he was placed on the cross;
and therefore ought men to worship it, and hold it more worthy than any
of the others. And the emperor of Almaine possesses the spear-shaft, but
the head of the spear is at Paris. Yet the emperor of Constantinople
saith that he hath the spear-head, and I have often seen it; but it is
greater than that at Paris.



At Constantinople lieth St. Anne, our Lady's mother, whom St. Helena
caused to be brought from Jerusalem. And there lieth also the body of
John Chrysostom, who was archbishop of Constantinople. There lieth also
St. Luke the Evangelist, whose bones were brought from Bethany, where he
was buried. And many other relics are there. And there is the vessel of
stone, as it were of marble, which men call Enydros, and which
continually drops water, and fills itself every year, till it run over,
besides what men take from within. Constantinople is a very fair and
good city, and well walled, and it is three-cornered. There is an arm of
the sea of Hellespont, which some men call the mouth of Constantinople,
and some men call it the Brace (or arm) of St. George; and that arm
incloses two parts of the city. And upward to the sea, upon the water,
was wont to be the great city of Troy, in a very fair plain; but that
city was destroyed by the people of Greece, and little thereof now
appears, because it is so long since it was destroyed.

About Greece there are many isles, as Calliste, Calcas, Cetige, Tesbria,
Mynea, Flaxon, Melo, Carpate, and Lemne. In this latter isle is Mount
Athos, that passeth the clouds. And there are divers languages and many
countries obedient to the emperor, namely, Turcople, Pyneynard,
Cornagne, and many others, as Thrace and Macedonia, of which Alexander
was king. In this country was Aristotle born, in a city called Stagyra,
a little from the city of Thrace. And at Stagyra Aristotle lieth; and
there is an altar upon his tomb. And they make great feasts for him ever
year, as though he were a saint. And at his altar they hold their great
councils and their assemblies, expecting that through inspiration of
God and of him they shall have the better council. In this country are
very high hills, toward the extremity of Macedonia. And there is a great
hill, called Olympus, which divides Macedonia and Thrace, so high that
it passeth the clouds. And there is another hill, called Athos, so high
that the shadow of it reaches to Lemne[289], which is an island
seventy-six miles distant. At the summit of this hill the air is so
clear, that no wind is found there, and therefore no animal may live
there; and the air is dry. And men say in those countries, that
philosophers once went upon those hills, and held to their nose a sponge
moistened with water, to have air, because the air above was so dry; and
at the summit, in the dust of those hills, they wrote letters and
figures with their fingers, and at the year's end they came again, and
found the same letters and figures which they had written the year
before, without any change. And therefore it appears evident that these
hills pass the clouds and join to the pure air.

At Constantinople is the palace of the emperor, very handsome and well
built; and therein is a fair place for joustings, or for other plays and
sports. And it is made with stages, and hath steps about, that every man
may see well, and not intercept the view of those behind. And under
these stages are stables well vaulted for the emperor's horses; and all
the pillars are of marble. And within the church of St. Sophia, an
emperor once would have buried the body of his father when he was dead;
and, as they made the grave, they found a body in the earth, and upon
the body lay a fine plate of gold, on which was written in Hebrew,
Greek, and Latin, letters that said thus, "Jesus Christ shall be born of
the Virgin Mary, and I believe in him." And the date when it was laid in
the earth was two thousand years before our Lord was born. The plate of
gold is still preserved in the treasury of the church. And they say that
it was Hermogenes, the wise man.

Although the men of Greece are Christians, yet they vary from our faith;
for they say that the Holy Ghost may not come of the Son, but only of
the Father. And they are not obedient to the Church of Rome, nor to the
pope; for they say that their patriarch hath as much power over the sea
as the pope hath on this side the sea. And therefore pope John XXII.
sent letters to them, how Christian faith should be all one, and that
they should be obedient to the pope, who is God's vicar on earth, to
whom God gave his full power to bind and to assoil, and therefore they
should be obedient to him. But they sent back divers answers, amongst
others saying thus: "We believe well that thy power is great upon thy
subjects. We may not suffer thy great pride. We are not in purpose to
fulfil thy great covetousness. The Lord be with thee; for our Lord is
with us.—Farewell." And no other answer might he have of them. They
make their sacrament of the altar of unleavened bread, because
our Lord made it of such bread when he made his Maundy[290]. And on
Shere-Thursday they make their unleavened bread, in token of the Maundy,
and dry it in the sun, and keep it all the year, and give it to sick men
instead of God's body. And they make but one unction when they christen
children. They anoint not the sick. And they say that there is no
purgatory, and that the souls shall have neither joy nor pain till the
day of doom. They say, moreover, that fornication is not a deadly sin,
but a thing that is according to nature; and that men and women should
wed but once; and whosoever weddeth oftener than once, their children
are bastards, and begotten in sin. Their priests also are wedded. They
say, also, that usury is no deadly sin; and they sell benefices of holy
church; and so do men in other places, (God amend it when his will is!)
and that is a great scandal; for now is simony king crowned in holy
church: God amend it for his mercy! And they say that in Lent men shall
not fast, or sing mass, except on the Saturday and on the Sunday. And
they fast not on the Saturdays, except it be Christmas Eve, or Easter
Eve. They suffer not the Latins to sing at their altars; and if they do
by any chance, they immediately wash the altar with holy water. And they
say, that there should be but one mass said at one altar upon one day.
They say also that our Lord never ate, but that he made sign of eating.
They say, moreover, that we sin deadly in shaving our beards; for the
beard is token of a man, and the gift of our Lord. And they say that we
sin deadly in eating of animals that were forbidden in the Old
Testament and by the old law, as swine, hares, and other beasts that
chew not their cud. And they say that we sin in eating flesh on the days
before Ash Wednesday, and in eating flesh on the Wednesday, and eggs and
cheese on the Fridays. And they curse all those who abstain from eating
flesh on the Saturday. The emperor of Constantinople appoints the
patriarch, the archbishops, and the bishops, and gives the dignities and
the benefices of churches, and deprives those who deserve it, when he
finds any cause; and so is he lord both temporal and spiritual in his

And although these things touch not to our way, nevertheless they touch
to that that I have promised you, to show you a part of the customs, and
manners, and diversities of countries. And because this is the first
country that is discordant in faith and in belief, and varies from our
faith on this side the sea, therefore I have set it here, that you may
know the diversity that is between our faith and theirs. For many men
have great liking to hear of strange things of diverse countries.



Now return I again to explain to you the way from Constantinople to
Jerusalem. He that will proceed through Turkey, goes towards the city of
Nice, and passes through the gate of Chienetout, and men see constantly
before them the hill of Chienetout, which is very lofty: it is a mile
and a half from Nice. And if you will go by water, by the Brace of St.
George, and by the sea where St. Nicholas lieth, and towards many other
places, first, you go to an isle that is called Sylo, in which mastic
grows on small trees, out of which comes gum, as it were of plum-trees,
or of cherry-trees. And after men go by the isle of Patmos, where St.
John the Evangelist wrote the Apocalypse. And you shall understand that
St. John was thirty-two years of age when our Lord suffered his passion,
and after his passion he lived sixty-seven years, and in the hundredth
year of his age he died. From Patmos men go to Ephesus, a fair city, and
nigh to the sea. And there died St. John, and was buried in a tomb
behind the high altar. And there is a fair church, for the Christians
were always wont to hold that place. And in the tomb of St. John is
nothing but manna, which is called angels' meat, for his body was
translated into Paradise. And the Turks now hold all that place, with
the city, and the church; and all Asia the Less is called Turkey. And
you shall understand that St. John caused his grave to be made there in
his life, and laid himself therein, all alive; and, therefore, some men
say that he did not die, but that he rests there till the day of
doom[292]. And, in truth, there is a great marvel, for men may see there
the earth of the tomb many times openly stir and move, as though there
were living things under.

And from Ephesus we go through many islands in the sea to the city of
Patera, where St. Nicholas was born, and so to Myra, where he was chosen
to be bishop; and there grows very good and strong wine, which they call
wine of Myra. And from thence men go to the isle of Crete, which the
emperor once gave to the Genoese. And then we pass through the isles of
Colos and of Lango[293], of the which isles Ypocras was lord; and some
men say, that in the isle of Lango is still the daughter of Ypocras, in
form and likeness of a great dragon, which is a hundred fathoms in
length, as they say, for I have not seen her. And they of the isles call
her lady of the land. And she lies in an old castle, in a cave, and
appears twice or thrice in the year; and she doth no harm to any man
unless he do her harm. She was thus changed and transformed from a fair
damsel into the likeness of a dragon by a goddess named Diana; and they
say that she shall remain in that form until the time that a knight
come, who shall be so bold that he dare come to her and kiss her on the
mouth; and then she shall turn again to her own nature, and be a woman
again, but after that she shall not live long. And it is not long since
a knight of Rhodes, who was bold and doughty in arms, said that he would
kiss her; when he was upon his courser and went to the castle, and
entered into the cave, the dragon lifted up her head towards him, and
when the knight saw her in that form, so hideous and horrible, he fled
away. But the dragon carried the knight upon a rock, and from thence she
cast him into the sea, and so was lost both horse and man. A young man
that knew not of the dragon, went out of a ship, and proceeded through
the isle until he came to the castle and entered the cave, and went so
far that he found a chamber; and there he saw a damsel who was combing
her head and looking in a mirror, and she had much treasure about her,
and he believed that she had been a common woman, who dwelled there to
receive men to folly; and he abode till the damsel saw the shadow of him
in the mirror, and she turned her towards him and asked him, what he
would? And he said, he would be her paramour. And she asked him if he
were a knight? And he said, nay. And then she said, that he might not be
her leman; but she bid him go again unto his fellows and get him
knighted, and come again upon the morrow, and she would come out of the
cave before him; and then he should come and kiss her on the mouth, and
have no fear, "for I shall do thee no harm, although thou see me in
likeness of a dragon; for though thou see me hideous and horrible to
look upon, know that it is made by enchantment. For without doubt I am
no other than thou seest now, a woman, and therefore fear not; and if
thou kiss me, thou shalt have all this treasure, and be my lord, and
lord also of all the isle." And he departed from her and went to his
fellows, in the ship, and was made a knight, and returned on the morrow
to kiss this damsel. But when he saw her come out of the cave, in form
of a dragon, so hideous and so horrible, he had so great fear that he
fled again to the ship; and she followed him. And when she saw that he
turned not again, she began to cry as a thing that had much sorrow, and
then she returned to her cave; and anon the knight died. And from that
time to this might no knight see her, but he died anon. But when there
shall come a knight who is bold enough to kiss her, he shall not die;
but he shall turn the damsel into her right form and natural shape, and
he shall be lord of all the countries and isles abovesaid.

And from thence men come to the isle of Rhodes, which isle the
Hospitalers[294] hold and govern, having on a time taken it from the
emperor. It was formerly called Collos, and so the Turks call it still;
and St. Paul, in his Epistles, writes to the people of this isle, _ad
Colossenses_[295]. This isle is nearly eight hundred miles from

From this isle of Rhodes we go to Cyprus, where are many vines, which
first produce red wine, and after one year they become white; and those
wines that are most white are the clearest and best of smell. And men
pass that way by a place which was a great city and a great land; and
the city was called Sathalie. This city and the land were lost through
the folly of a young man, who had a fair damsel whom he loved well for
his paramour, and she died suddenly and was placed in a tomb of marble;
and for the great love that he had to her, he went in the night to her
tomb, and opened it and went in. And when it came to the end of nine
months, there came a voice to him, and said, "Go to the tomb of that
woman, and open it, and behold what thou hast begotten on her; and if
thou omittest to go, thou shalt have a great harm." And he went and
opened the tomb; and there came out a snake, very hideous to behold,
which immediately flew about the city and the country, and soon after
the city was swallowed up[296]. And there are many perilous passages.

From Rhodes to Cyprus are five hundred miles and more; but we may go to
Cyprus without touching at Rhodes. Cyprus is a very good, fair, and
great island, and it hath four principal cities, with an archbishop at
Nicosia, and four other bishops; and at Famagosta is one of the first
harbours of the sea in the world; and there arrive Christians, Saracens,
and men of all nations. In Cyprus is the hill of the Holy Cross, where
there is an abbey of black monks, and there is the cross of Dismas, the
good thief, as I have said before. And some men believe that there is
half of the cross of our Lord; but it is not so, and they do wrong who
make people believe so. In Cyprus lies St. Zenomyne, of whom men of that
country make great solemnity; and in the castle of Amours lies the body
of St. Hilary, which they keep very worshipfully. Near Famagosta St.
Barnabas the apostle was born. In Cyprus they hunt with papyons[297],
which resemble leopards, and they take wild beasts right well, and they
are somewhat larger than lions, and take more sharply and more cleverly
than hounds do. In Cyprus it is the custom for lords and all other men
to eat on the earth; for they make trenches in the earth about in the
hall, deep to the knee, and pave them; and when they will eat, they go
therein and sit there. And the reason is that they may be cooler; for
that land is much hotter than it is here. And at great feasts, and for
strangers, they set forms and tables as men do in this country; but they
themselves prefer sitting on the earth.

From Cyprus they go to the land of Jerusalem by sea, and in a day and
night he that hath good wind may come to the haven of Tyre, which is now
called Sur. Here was once a great and good city of the Christians; but
the Saracens have destroyed it in great part; and they guard that haven
carefully for fear of the Christians. Men might go more direct to that
haven, without touching at Cyprus; but they go gladly to Cyprus, to rest
them in the land, or to buy things that they need for their living. On
the sea-side many rubies are found. There is the well of which Holy Writ
speaketh, saying, "A fountain of gardens, and a well of living
waters."[298] It was in this city of Tyre that the woman said to our
Lord, "Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast
sucked."[299] And there our Lord forgave the woman of Canaan her sins.
And before Tyre stood formerly the stone on which our Lord sat and
preached, and over which was built the church of St. Saviour.

Eight miles from Tyre, towards the east, upon the sea, is the city of
Sarphen, in Sarept of the Sidonians. There dwelt Elijah the prophet, and
he raised there Jonas, the widow's son, from death to life. And five
miles from Sarphen is the city of Sidon, of which Dido was lady, who was
wife of Eneas, after the destruction of Troy, and who founded the city
of Carthage in Africa, and now it is called Didon Sayete. And in the
city of Tyre reigned Agenor, the father of Dido. Sixteen miles from
Sidon is Beruthe (Beirut); and from Beruthe to Sardenare is three days.
And from Sardenare it is five miles to Damascus.

And those who are willing to go a long time on the sea, and come nearer
to Jerusalem, may proceed from Cyprus by sea to the port of Jaffa, for
that is the nearest port to Jerusalem, the distance being only one day
and a half. The town is called Jaffa, because one of the sons of Noah,
named Japhet, founded it, and now it is called Joppa. And you shall
understand that it is one of the oldest towns of the world, for it was
founded before Noah's flood. And there may still be seen in the rock
there the place where the iron chains were fastened, wherewith
Andromeda, a great giant, was bound and put in prison, before Noah's
flood; a rib of whose side, which is forty feet long, is still

And those who go to the port of Tyre or Sur, before mentioned, may
proceed by land, if they will, to Jerusalem. They go from Sur in a day
to the city of Akoun (Acre), which was called formerly Ptolemais, and it
was once a very fine city of Christians; but it is now destroyed. It
stands upon the sea. From Venice to Akoun, by sea, is two thousand and
eighty Lombard miles. From Calabria, or from Sicily to Akoun, by sea, is
thirteen hundred Lombard miles. And the Isle of Crete is just midway.
Near the city of Akoun, toward the sea, one hundred and twenty furlongs
on the right, toward the south, is the hill of Carmel, where Elijah the
prophet dwelt, and where the order of friars Carmelites was first
founded. This hill is not very great, nor very high. At the foot of this
hill was formerly a good city of the Christians called Caiphas, because
Caiaphas first founded it; but it is now all waste. And on the left side
of the hill of Carmel is a town called Saffre, which is situated on
another hill. There St. James and St. John were born, and there is a
fair church in honour of them. And from Ptolemais, which is now called
Akoun, it is one hundred furlongs to a great hill, called the scale (or
ladder) of Tyre. And near the city of Akoun runs a little river called
Belon; and there nigh is the foss of Memnon, which is all round; and it
is one hundred cubits broad, and all full of gravel, shining bright, of
which men make fair and clear glasses[301]. Men come from far, by water
with ships, and by land with carts, to fetch of that gravel; and though
ever so much be taken away thereof one day, on the morrow it is as full
again as ever it was. And that is a great wonder. And there is always
great wind in that foss, that continually stirs the gravel and makes it
troubled; and if any man put therein any kind of metal, it turns to
glass, and the glass made of that gravel, if it be thrown back into the
gravel, turns to gravel as it was first; and therefore some men say that
it is a whirlpool of the gravelly sea.

From Akoun, above mentioned, it is four days' journey to the city of
Palestine, which was of the Philistines, now called Gaza, which is a gay
and rich city; and it is very fair, and full of people, and is at a
little distance from the sea. From this city Samson the strong brought
the gates upon a high land, when he was taken in that city: and there he
slew, in a palace, the king and himself, and great numbers of the best
of the Philistines, who had put out his eyes, and shaved his head, and
imprisoned him, by treason of Delilah, his paramour. And therefore he
caused a great hall to fall upon them when they were at meat. From
thence we go to the city of Cesarea, and so to the Castle of Pilgrims,
and so to Ascalon, and then to Jaffa, and so to Jerusalem.



And he who will go by land through the land of Babylonia, where the
sultan dwells commonly, he must get leave and grace of him, to go more
safely through the lands and countries. And to go to the Mount of Sinai,
before men go to Jerusalem, they shall go from Gaza to the castle of
Daire. And after that, they come out of Syria and enter a wilderness
where the way is sandy; and that wilderness and desert lasts eight days.
But men always find good inns and all they need of victuals. And that
wilderness is called Athylec. And when a man comes out of that desert,
he enters into Egypt, which is called Egypt Canopac: and after other
language, men call it Morsyn. And there men first find a good town,
called Belethe, which is at the end of the kingdom of Aleppo; and from
thence men go to Babylon and to Cairo.

At Babylon there is a fair church of our Lady, where she dwelt seven
years, when she fled out of the land of Judea for dread of king Herod.
And there lieth the body of St. Barbara, the virgin and martyr. And
there dwelt Joseph after he was sold by his brethren. And there[302]
Nebuchadnezzar, the king, caused the three children to be thrown into
the furnace of fire because they were in the true belief; which children
were called Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, as the psalm of _Benedicite_
says. But Nebuchadnezzar called them otherwise, Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego, that is to say, God glorious, God victorious, and God over all
things and realms, on account of the miracle, that he saw God's Son go
with the children through the fire, as he said. The sultan dwells in his
Calahelyke (for there is commonly his residence), in a fair castle,
strong and great, and well set upon a rock. In that castle dwell always,
to keep it and to serve the sultan, more than 6000 persons, who receive
here all necessaries from the sultan's court. I ought to know it well,
for I dwelt a great while with him as soldier in his wars against the
Bedouins; and he would have married me full highly to a great prince's
daughter if I would have forsaken my law and my belief. But I thank God
I had no will to do it for anything that he promised me. And you shall
understand that the sultan is lord of five kingdoms, that he hath
conquered and taken possession of by strength; and these are their
names: the kingdom of Canopac, that is Egypt; and the kingdom of
Jerusalem, where David and Solomon were kings; and the kingdom of Syria,
of which the city of Damascus was chief; and the kingdom of Aleppo, in
the land of Mathe; and the kingdom of Arabia, that belonged to one of
the three kings who made offering to our Lord when he was born. And he
holds many other lands in his hand. And therewithal he holds khalifs,
which is a full great thing in their language, being as much as to say,
kings. And there were wont to be five sultans, but now there is no more
but he of Egypt. The first sultan was Sarocon[303], who was of Media
(the father of Saladin), who took the khalif of Egypt and slew him, and
was made sultan by strength. After him was sultan Saladin, in whose time
the king of England, Richard I., with many others, kept the passage,
that Saladin might not pass. After Saladin, reigned his son Boradin; and
after him his nephew. After that the Comanians, who were in slavery in
Egypt, feeling themselves of great power, chose them a sultan amongst
them, who took the name of Melechesalan, in whose time St. Louis, king
of France, entered into the country and fought with him; and the sultan
took him prisoner. This sultan was slain by his own servants. And after,
they chose another to be sultan, who was called Tympieman; he delivered
St. Louis out of prison for a certain ransom. After him one of the
Comanians reigned, named Cachas, and slew Tympieman, in order to be
sultan; he took the name of Melechemes. He was succeeded by one named
Bendochdare, who slew Melechemes to be sultan, and called himself
Melechdare. In his time the good king Edward of England entered into
Syria, and did great harm to the Saracens. This sultan was poisoned at
Damascus; and his son thought to reign after him by heritage, and took
the name of Melechsache; but another, named Elphy, drove him out of the
country, and made himself sultan. This man took the city of Tripoli, and
destroyed many of the Christian men, in the year of Grace 1289; but he
was soon after slain. Elphy's son succeeded as sultan, and took the name
of Melechasseraff; he took the city of Acre, and expelled the
Christians; and he also was poisoned, upon which his brother was made
sultan, and called Melechnasser. And after, one who was called Guytoga
took him and threw him into prison in the castle of Mount Royal, and
usurped the sovereignty by force, and took the name of Melechcadelle;
and he was a Tartar. But the Comanians drove him out of the country, and
caused him much sorrow; and made one of themselves sultan, named Lachyn,
who assumed the name of Melechmanser. One day he was playing at chess,
and his sword lay beside him, and it befel that one angered him, and he
was slain with his own sword. After that there was great discord
before they could choose a sultan, and finally they agreed to take
Melechnasser, whom Guytoga had put in prison at Mount Royal. He reigned
long and governed wisely; so that his eldest son, Melechemader, was
chosen after him; he was secretly put to death by his brother, who
succeeded him, and was called Melechmadabron. And he was sultan when I
departed from that country[304].

Now you must know that the sultan can lead out of Egypt more than 20,000
men of arms; and out of Syria, and Turkey, and other countries that he
holds, he may raise more than 50,000. And all these are at his wages;
and they are always ready, besides the people of his country, who are
without number. And each of them has six score florins by the year; but
he is expected to keep three horses and a camel. And in the cities and
towns are admirals, that have the government of the people. One has four
to govern, another five, another more, and another a much greater
number. And the admiral, himself alone, receives as much as all the
other soldiers under him. And therefore, when the sultan will advance
any worthy knight, he makes him an admiral. When there is dearth, the
knights are very poor, and then they sell both their horses and their
harness. The sultan has four wives, one Christian, and three Saracens;
of whom one dwells at Jerusalem, another at Damascus, and another at
Ascalon. And when they please they remove to other cities; and when the
sultan will he may go and visit them. And he has as many paramours as he
pleases; for he causes to be brought before him the fairest and noblest
damsels of his country, who are kept and served full honourably, and
when he will have one to lie with him, he makes them all come before
him, and looks at them all to see which is most to his liking, and to
her anon he sends or throws a ring from his finger; and then anon she
shall be bathed and richly attired, and anointed with delicate things of
sweet smell, and then led to the sultan's chamber. And thus he acts as
often as he likes, when he will have any of them. No stranger comes
before the sultan without being clothed in cloth of gold, or of Tartary,
or of Camaka, in the Saracens' guise, and according to the usage of the
Saracens. And when men see the sultan for the first time, be it at the
window, or in any other place, they must kneel to him and kiss the
earth, for that is the manner for those who speak with the sultan to do
reverence to him. When messengers of foreign countries come before him,
the sultan's people, when the strangers speak to him, stand round the
sultan with drawn swords and gysarmes and axes, their arms raised up on
high with their weapons, to smite them, if they say any word that is
displeasing to the sultan. Neither does any stranger come before him
without receiving a promise and grant of what he asks reasonably, if it
be not against his law; and so do other princes beyond. For they say
that no man should come before a prince without being the better, and
departing from his presence in greater gladness than when he came before

You must understand that the Babylon of which I have spoken, where the
sultan dwells, is not that great Babylon where the diversity of
languages was first made by the miracle of God when the great tower of
Babel was begun, of which the walls were sixty-four furlongs high; for
that is in the great deserts of Arabia, on the way as men go toward the
kingdom of Chaldea. But it is full long since any man dare approach to
the tower; for it is all desert and full of dragons and great serpents,
and infested by divers venomous beasts. That tower, with the city, was
twenty-five miles in the circuit of the walls, as they of the country
say, and as men may judge by estimation, according to what men of the
country tell. And though it is called the tower of Babylon, yet there
were ordained within it many mansions and great dwelling-places, in
length and breadth; and it included an extensive district, for the tower
alone was ten miles square. That tower was founded by king Nimrod, who
was king of that country, and he was the first king in the world. He
caused an image to be made in the likeness of his father, and obliged
all his subjects to worship it, in imitation of which other lords
begun to do the same, and this was the commencement of idols and
simulacres[305]. The town and city were situated in a fair country on a
plain, which they call the country of Samar: the walls of the city were
two hundred cubits in height, and fifty cubits in breadth. The river
Euphrates ran through the city and about the tower; but Cyrus, king of
Persia, took from them the river, and destroyed all the city and the
tower also, for he divided the river into three hundred and sixty small
rivers, because he had sworn that he would put the river in such point
that a woman might easily pass it without taking up her clothes;
because he had lost many worthy men that tried to pass the river by
swimming[306]. And from Babylon, where the sultan dwells, to go right
between the east and the north, towards the great Babylon, it is forty
days across the desert. But the great Babylon is not in the land and
power of the said sultan, but in the power and lordship of the king of
Persia, who holds it of the great chan, who is the greatest emperor and
the most sovereign lord of all the parts beyond; and he is lord of the
isles of Cathay and of many other isles, and of a great part of India.
His land borders unto Prester John's land; and he possesses so much
land, that he knoweth not the end of it. And he is a mightier and
greater lord without comparison than the sultan. I shall speak more
fully of his royal estate and of his might when I treat of India.

The city of Mechon (Mecca), where Mohammed is buried, is also in the
great desert of Arabia. His body lies there very honourably in their
temple, which the Saracens call mosque. It is from Babylon the Less,
where the sultan dwells, to Mechon, about thirty-two days. The realm of
Arabia is a very great country; but therein is over much desert, and no
man may dwell there in that desert, for want of water, because the land
is all gravelly and full of sand. And it is dry and entirely barren,
because it hath no moisture, and therefore is there so much desert. And
if it had rivers and wells, and the land were as in other parts, it
would be as full of people and as well inhabited as in other places. For
there is a great multitude of people wherever the land is inhabited.
Arabia reaches from the borders of Chaldea to the extremity of Africa,
and borders on the land of Idumea, towards the end of Botron. And in
Chaldea the chief city is Baldak[307]. The chief city of Africa is
Carthage, which Dido, who was Eneas's wife, founded. Mesopotamia
stretches also unto the deserts of Arabia; it is an extensive country,
and in it is the city of Haran, where Abraham's father dwelt, and from
whence Abraham departed by command of the angel[308]. And of that city
was Ephraem[309], who was a celebrated scholar. Theophilus was also of
that city, whom our Lady saved from the evil one[310]. Mesopotamia
reaches from the river Euphrates to the river Tigris, lying between
those two rivers; and beyond the Tigris is Chaldea, which is a very
extensive kingdom. In that realm, at Baldak abovesaid, the khalifs
formerly dwelt, who were both as emperors and popes of the Arabians,
lords spiritual and temporal. They were the successors of Mohammed, from
whom they were descended. The city of Baldak was formerly called
Sutis[311], and was founded by Nebuchadnezzar. There dwelt the holy
prophet Daniel, and there he saw visions of heaven, and there he made
the exposition of dreams[312]. There were formerly three khalifs, and
they dwelt in the city of Baldak abovesaid.

The khalif of Egypt dwelt at Cairo, beside Babylon; and at Marrok, on
the west sea, dwelt the khalif of the Barbarians[313] and Africans. But
there are now none of the khalifs, nor have there been any since the
time of the sultan Saladin, since which the sultan calls himself the
khalif, and thus the khalifs have lost their name. You must know that
Babylon the Less, where the sultan dwells, and the city of Cairo, which
is near it, are great and fair cities, the one nearly adjacent to the
other. Babylon is situated on the river Gyson, sometimes called the
Nile, which comes out of terrestrial Paradise. The river Nile, every
year, when the sun enters the sign of Cancer, begins to increase, and
continues increasing as long as the sun is in Cancer and in Leo. And it
increases to such a degree, that it is sometimes twenty cubits or more
deep, and then it does great harm to the goods that are upon the land;
for then no man can till the earth on account of its great moistness,
and therefore there is dear time in that country. And also, when it
increaseth little, it is dear time in that country, for want of
moisture. And when the sun is in the sign of Virgo, then begins the
river to wane and decrease gradually, so that when the sun is entered
into the sign of Libra, then they enter between these rivers. This river
comes from terrestrial Paradise, between the deserts of India; and after
it descends on the earth, and runs through many extensive countries
under earth; and after it comes out under a high hill, which they call
Alothe, between India and Ethiopia, at a distance of five months'
journey from the entrance of Ethiopia; and after it environs all
Ethiopia and Mauritania, and goes all along from the land of Egypt, to
the city of Alexandria, to the end of Egypt, where it falls into the
sea. About this river are many birds and fowls, as storks, which they
call ibes.

Egypt is a long country, but it is narrow, because they may not enlarge
it towards the desert for want of water. And the country is situated
along the river Nile; so that that river may serve by floods or
otherwise, that when it flows it may spread abroad through the country.
For it raineth but little in that country, and for that cause they have
no water, unless it be by the overflowing of that river. And as it does
not rain, the air is always pure and clear; therefore, in that country
are good astronomers, for they find there no clouds to obstruct them.

The city of Cairo is very great, more extensive than that of Babylon the
Less; and it is situated above towards the desert of Syria, a little
above the river aforesaid. In Egypt there are two parts; Upper Egypt,
which is towards Ethiopia, and Lower Egypt, which is towards Arabia. In
Egypt is the land of Rameses and the land of Goshen. Egypt is a strong
country, for it has many dangerous havens, because of the great rocks,
that are strong and dangerous to pass by. Towards the east of Egypt is
the Red Sea, which extends to the city of Coston; and towards the west
is the country of Lybia, which is a very dry land, and unfruitful, on
account of the excess of heat. And that land is called Fusthe. And
towards the south is Ethiopia. And towards the north is the desert,
which extends to Syria. Thus the country is strong on all sides. And it
is full fifteen days' journey in length, and more than twice as much of
desert, and it is but two days in breadth. Between Egypt and Nubia there
is full twelve days of desert. The men of Nubia are Christians, but they
are black, like the Moors, on account of the great heat of the sun.

In Egypt there are five provinces: one is called Sahythe; the other,
Demeseer; another, Resithe[314], which is an isle in the Nile; another,
Alexandria; and another, the land of Damiette. This latter city was once
very strong, but it was twice taken by the Christians, and therefore the
Saracens have beaten down the walls. And with the walls and the tower
thereof the Saracens made another city farther from the sea, and called
it New Damiette, so that now the older town of Damiette is uninhabited.
That city of Damiette is one of the havens of Egypt, and at Alexandria
is the other. This is a very strong city; but it has no water except
what is brought by conduit from the Nile, which enters into their
cisterns; and if any one stopped that water from them they could not
hold out a siege. In Egypt there are but few forts or castles, because
the country is so strong of itself.

In Egypt is the city of Heliopolis, that is to say, the city of the Sun,
in which there is a temple, made round, after the shape of the temple of
Jerusalem. The priests of that temple have all their writings dated by
the bird called Phœnix, of which there is but one in the world. It
comes to burn itself on the altar of the temple at the end of five
hundred years, for so long it lives; and then the priests array their
altar, and put thereon spices, and sulphur, and other things that will
burn quickly, and the Phœnix comes and burns itself to ashes. The next
day they find in the ashes a worm; and the second day after they find a
bird, alive and perfect; and the third day it flies away[315]. This
bird is often seen flying in those countries; it is somewhat larger than
an eagle, and has a crest of feathers on its head greater than that of a
peacock; its neck is yellow, its beak blue, and its wings of a purple
colour, and the tail is yellow and red. It is a very handsome bird to
look at against the sun, for it shines very gloriously and nobly.

Also, in Egypt, there are gardens with trees and herbs which bear fruit
seven times in the year. And in that land abundance of fair emeralds are
found, which are on that account cheaper than elsewhere. When it rains,
once in the summer, in the land of Egypt, the country is all full of
great mires. At Cairo they sell commonly in the market, as we do beasts,
both men and women of a different religion. And there is a common house
in that city, which is all full of small furnaces, to which the
townswomen bring their eggs of hens, geese, and ducks, to be put into
the furnaces; and they that keep that house cover them with horse-dung,
without hen, goose, or duck, or any other fowl, and at the end of three
weeks or a month they come again and take their chickens, and nourish
them and bring them forth, so that all the country is full of them. And
this they do there both winter and summer.

In that country also, and in some others, are found long apples in their
season, which they call apples of Paradise; and they are very sweet and
of good savour. And though you cut them in ever so many slices or parts,
across or end-wise, you will always find in the middle the figure of the
holy cross. But they will rot within eight days, for which reason they
cannot be carried to far countries. They have great leaves, a foot and a
half long, and proportionately broad. They find there also the
apple-tree of Adam, the fruit of which has a bite on one side. And there
are also fig-trees which bear no leaves, but figs grow upon the small
branches; and men call them figs of Pharoah. Also near Cairo is the
field where balm grows: it comes out on small trees, that are no higher
than the girdle of a man's breeches, and resemble the wood of the wild
vine. And in that field are seven wells, which our Lord Jesus
Christ made with one of his feet, when he went to play with other
children[316]. That field is not so well closed but men may enter at
their will; but in the season when the balm is growing good guards are
placed there, that no man dare enter. This balm grows in no other place
but this; and though men bring of the plants to plant in other
countries, they grow well and fair, but they bring forth no fruit; and
the leaves of balm never fall. They cut the branches with a sharp flint
stone, or with a sharp bone; for if any one cut them with iron,
it would destroy their virtue and nature. The Saracens call the wood
_Enochbalse_; and the fruit, which resembles cubebs, they call
_Abebissam_; and the liquor that drops from the branches they call
_Guybalse_. They always cause that balm to be cultivated by Christians,
or else it would not fructify, as the Saracens say themselves, for it
hath been oftentimes proved. Men say also that balm grows in India the
Greater, in that desert where the trees of the sun and moon spake to
Alexander[317]. But I have not seen it, for I have not been so far
upward, because there are too many perilous passages. And you must know
that a man ought to take great care in buying balm; for, if he does not
know it well, he may very easily be deceived; for they sell a gum called
turpentine instead of balm, putting thereto a little balm to give a good
odour. And some put wax in oil of the wood of the fruit of balm, and say
that it is balm; and some distil cloves of gilofre and spikenard of
Spain, and other spices that are well smelling, and the liquor from it
they call balm; and they imagine they have balm, but they are mistaken.
For the Saracens counterfeit it to deceive the Christians, as I have
seen many a time; and after them, the merchants and the apothecaries
counterfeit it again, and then it is less worth, and a great deal worse.
But I will show how you may know and prove it, to the end that you shall
not be deceived. First, you must know that the natural balm is very
clear, of citron colour, and strong smell; and if it be thick, or red,
or black, it is counterfeit. And if you will put a little balm in the
palm of your hand towards the sun, if it be fine and good you will not
be able to bear your hand in the sun's heat. Also, take a little balm
with the point of a knife, and touch it to the fire, and if it burn it
is a good sign. Take also a drop of balm, and put it into a dish, or in
a cup, with milk of a goat, and, if it be natural balm, anon it will
take and curdle the milk. Or put a drop of balm in clear water, in a cup
of silver or in a clean basin, and stir it well with the clear water;
and if the balm be fine and genuine the water will not be troubled; but
if the balm be counterfeit the water will become troubled immediately.
Also, if the balm be fine, it will fall to the bottom of the vessel, as
though it were quicksilver; for the fine balm is twice as heavy as the
balm that is counterfeited.

Now I will speak of another thing that is beyond Babylon, above the
Nile, towards the desert, between Africa and Egypt; that is, of the
granaries of Joseph[318], that he caused to be made, to keep the grains
against the dear years. They are made of stone, well made by masons'
craft; two of them are marvellously great and high, the others are not
so great. And each granary has a gate to enter within, a little above
the earth; for the land is wasted and fallen since the granaries were
made. Within they are all full of serpents; and above the granaries
without are many writings in divers languages. And some men say that
they are sepulchres of great lords, that were formerly; but that is not
true, for all the common rumour and speech of the people there, both far
and near, is that they are the granaries of Joseph; and so find they in
their writings and chronicles. On the other side, if they were
sepulchres, they would not be empty within; for you may well know, that
tombs and sepulchres are not made of such magnitude or elevation;
wherefore it is not credible that they are tombs or sepulchres.

Now I will proceed to tell you the other ways that draw towards Babylon,
where the sultan dwells, which is at the entry of Egypt; because many
people go thither first, and after that to Mount Sinai, and then return
to Jerusalem, as I have told you before. For they perform first the
longer pilgrimage, and return by the nearest ways; because the nearer
way is the more worthy, and that is Jerusalem; for no other pilgrimage
is to be compared to it. But to accomplish their pilgrimages more easily
and safely, men go first the longer way. But whoever will go to Babylon
by another way, and shorter from the countries of the west, he may go by
France, Burgundy, and Lombardy. It is not necessary to tell you the
names of the cities and towns in that way, for the way is common, and
known to every body. There are many ports where men take the sea; some
embark at Genoa; some at Venice, and pass by the Adriatic Sea, which is
called the Gulf of Venice, and divides Italy and Greece on that side;
and some go to Naples; some to Rome, and from Rome to Brindes[319], and
embark there, and in many other places. Some go by Tuscia, Campania,
Calabria, by Apulia, and by the mountains of Italy Chorisque, by
Sardinia, and by Sicily, which is a great and good isle. In that isle of
Sicily is a kind of garden, in which are many different fruits; and the
garden is green and flourishing at all seasons of the year, as well in
winter as in summer. That isle contains in compass about three hundred
and fifty French miles. Between Sicily and Italy there is but a little
arm of the sea, which men call the Faro of Messina; and Sicily is
between the Adriatic Sea and the Sea of Lombardy. From Sicily to
Calabria is but eight Lombard miles. In Sicily there is a kind of
serpent by which men assay and prove if their children be bastards or
not; for if they are born in lawful marriage, the serpents go about
them, and do them no harm; but if they are illegitimate, the serpents
bite them and kill them with their venom: and thus many wedded men
ascertain if the children be their own. Also in that isle is Mount Etna,
which men call Mount Gybell, and volcanoes, that are ever burning. And
there are seven places which burn and cast out flames of divers colours;
and by the changing of those flames, men of that country know when it
will be dearth or good time, or cold or hot, or moist or dry, or in all
other manners how the time will vary. From Italy to the volcanoes is but
twenty-five miles; and they say that the volcanoes are ways to

Also, for those who go by Pisa, there is an arm of the sea, where men go
to other havens in those parts, and then they pass by the isle of Greaf,
that is at Genoa; and so they arrive in Greece at the port of the city
of Myrok, or at the port of Valone, or at the city of Duras (where there
is a duke), or at other ports in those parts; and so men go to
Constantinople. And afterwards they go by water to the isle of Crete,
and to the isle of Rhodes, and so to Cyprus, and so to Athens, and from
thence to Constantinople.

To hold the more direct way by sea, it is full one thousand eight
hundred and eighty Lombard miles. And after, from Cyprus they go by sea,
and leave Jerusalem and that country on the left, and proceed to Egypt,
and arrive at the city of Damiette, at the entrance of Egypt, whence
they go to Alexandria, which is also upon the sea. In that city was St.
Catherine beheaded; and there St. Mark the Evangelist was martyred and
buried; but the emperor Leo caused his bones to be carried to Venice.
There is still at Alexandria a fair church, all white, without pictures;
and so are all the other churches which belonged to the Christians all
white within, for the Pagans and the Saracens whitewashed them, to
destroy the images of saints that were painted on the walls. The city of
Alexandria is full thirty furlongs in length, but it is but ten broad;
and it is a noble and fair city. Here the river Nile enters the sea; in
which river are found many precious stones, and much also of lignum
aloes, a kind of wood that comes out of terrestrial Paradise, and is
good for many different medicines; and it is very precious. From
Alexandria we go to Babylon, where the sultan dwells, which is situated
also on the river Nile; and this is the shortest way to go direct to

From Babylon to Mount Sinai, where St. Catherine lieth, you must pass by
the desert of Arabia, by which Moses led the people of Israel; and then
you pass the well which Moses made with his hand in the desert, when the
people murmured because they found nothing to drink. And then you pass
the well of Marah, of which the water was first bitter, but the children
of Israel put therein a tree, and anon the water was sweet and good to
drink. And then you go by the desert to the vale of Elim, in which vale
are twelve wells; and there are seventy-two palm-trees that bear the
dates which Moses found with the children of Israel. And from that
valley is but a good day's journey to Mount Sinai.

And those who will go by another way from Babylon go by the Red Sea,
which is an arm of the ocean. There Moses passed with the children of
Israel across the sea all dry, when Pharaoh, king of Egypt, pursued him.
That sea is about six miles broad. That sea is not redder than other
seas; but in some places the gravel is red, and therefore they call it
the Red Sea. That sea runs to the borders of Arabia and Palestine, its
extent being more than four days. Then we go by desert to the vale of
Elim, and thence to Mount Sinai. And you must know that by this desert
no man may go on horseback, because there is neither meat for horses nor
water to drink; wherefore they pass that desert with camels. For the
camel finds always food in trees and on bushes, and he can abstain from
drink two or three days, which no horse can do.

From Babylon to Mount Sinai is twelve good days' journey, and some make
it more; and some haste them, and thus make it less. And men always find
interpreters to go with them in the countries, and further beyond, until
they know the language. Travellers must carry with them victuals and
other necessaries sufficient to last through those deserts.

Mount Sinai is called the Desert of Sin, that is to say, the burning
bush; because there Moses saw our Lord God many times in form of fire
burning upon that hill, and also in a burning bush, and spake to him.
And that was at the foot of the hill. There is an abbey of monks, well
built and well closed with gates of iron for fear of wild beasts. The
monks are Arabians or Greeks; and there is a great convent, and they are
all as hermits, and drink no wine except on principal feasts; they are
very devout men, and live in poverty and simplicity on gourds and dates,
and perform great abstinence and penance. Here is the church of St.
Catherine, in which are many lamps burning, for they have enough oil of
olives both to burn in their lamps and to eat also, which plenty they
have by God's miracle: for the ravens, crows, and choughs, and other
fowls of that country, assemble there once every year, and fly thither
as in pilgrimage; and each brings a branch of bays or olive in its beak,
instead of offering, and leaves it there; of which the monks make great
plenty of oil; and this is a great marvel. And since fowls that have no
natural knowledge or reason go thither to seek that glorious Virgin,
well more ought men to seek her and worship her. Behind the altar of
that church is the place where Moses saw our Lord God in a burning bush.
When the monks enter that place they always put off both hose, and
shoes or boots, because our Lord said to Moses, "Put off thy shoes from
off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."[321]
And the monks call that place Bezeleel, that is, the shadow of God.
Beside the high altar raised on three steps, is the chest of alabaster
containing the bones of St. Catherine, and the prelate of the monks
shows the relics to the pilgrims, and rubs the bones with an instrument
of silver, whereupon there issues a little oil, as though it were a kind
of sweating, which is neither like oil nor balm, but is very sweet of
smell; and of that they give a little to the pilgrims, for there issues
but a small quantity of the liquor. They next show the head of St.
Catherine, and the cloth that she was wrapped in, which is still all
bloody. And in that same cloth, so wrapped, the angels bore her body to
Mount Sinai, and there they buried her with it. They also show the bush
which burnt and was not consumed, in which our Lord spake to Moses; and
they have many other relics. When the prelate of the abbey is dead, I
have been informed that his lamp becomes extinguished. And when they
choose another prelate, if he be a good man and worthy to be prelate,
his lamp will light by the grace of God, without being touched by any
man. For every one of them has a lamp for himself, and by their lamps
they know well when any of them shall die; for then the light begins to
change and wax dim. And if he be chosen to be prelate, and is not
worthy, his lamp immediately goes out. Other men have told me, that he
that sings the mass for the prelate that is dead finds written upon the
altar the name of him that shall be chosen prelate. One day I asked
several of the monks how this befel. But they would not tell me, until I
said that they ought not to hide the grace that God did them, but that
they should publish it, to make the people have the more devotion, and
that they sinned in hiding God's miracle, as appeared to me. And then
they told me that it so happened often; but more I might not have of
them. In that abbey no flies, toads, or lizards, or such foul venomous
beasts, nor lice, nor fleas, ever enter, by the miracle of God and of
our Lady; for there were wont to be so many such kind of pests, that the
monks were resolved to leave the place, and were gone thence to the
mountain above, to eschew that place. But our Lady came to them and bade
them return; and since that time such vermin have never entered in and
place amongst them, nor never shall enter hereafter. Before the gate is
the well where Moses smote the stone from which the water came out

From that abbey you go up the mountain of Moses by many steps; and there
is, first, a church of our Lady, where she met the monks when they fled
away from the vermin just mentioned; and higher up the mountain is the
chapel of Elijah the prophet, which place they call Horeb, whereof holy
writ speaks, "And he went in the strength of that meat forty days and
forty nights, unto Horeb, the mount of God."[322] And close by is the
vine that St. John the Evangelist planted; and a little above is the
chapel of Moses, and the rock where Moses fled for dread when he saw our
Lord face to face. And in that rock is imprinted the form of his body;
for he threw himself so strongly and so hard on that rock that all his
body was buried into it, through the miracle of God[323]. And near it is
the place where our Lord gave to Moses the ten commandments of the law.
And under the rock is the cave where Moses dwelt when he fasted forty
days and forty nights. And from that mountain you pass a great valley,
to go to another mountain, where St. Catherine was buried by the angels
of our Lord; in which valley is a church of forty martyrs, where the
monks of the abbey often sing. That valley is very cold. Next you go up
the mountain of St. Catherine, which is higher than the mount of Moses;
and there, where St. Catherine was buried, is neither church nor chapel,
nor other dwelling place; but there is a heap of stones about the place
where her body was placed by the angels. There was formerly a chapel
there, but it was cast down, and the stones lie still scattered about.
And although the collect of St. Catherine says that it is the place
where our Lord gave the ten commandments to Moses, and where the blessed
virgin St. Catherine was buried, we are to understand this as meaning
that it is the same country, or in a place bearing the same name; for
both hills are called the mount of Sinai; but it is a great way from one
to the other, and a great deep valley lies between them.



After people have visited these holy places, they proceed towards
Jerusalem, having taken leave of the monks and recommended themselves to
their prayers. And then the monks give the pilgrims victuals to pass the
desert towards Syria, which desert extends full thirteen days' journey.
In that desert dwell many of the Arabians, who are called Bedouins and
Ascopardes, who are people full of all evil conditions, having no
houses, but tents, which they make of the skins of camels and other
beasts that they eat; and under these they sleep and dwell, in places
where they can find water, as on the Red Sea or elsewhere; for in that
desert there is great want of water, and it often happens that where men
find water at one time in a place, there is none at another time; and
for that reason they make no habitations there. These people do not till
the ground nor labour; for they eat no bread, except it be those who
dwell near a good town, who go thither and eat bread sometimes. They
roast their flesh and fish on the hot stones in the sun; and they are
strong and warlike men, and there is so great a multitude of them that
they are without number. Their only occupation is to hunt animals for
their food. They care not for their lives, and therefore they fear not
the sultan nor any other prince; but dare to war with all princes who do
them any grievance; and they are often at war with the sultan, as they
were at the time I was with him. They carry but one shield and one
spear, without other arms; they wrap their heads and necks with a great
quantity of white linen cloth; and they are right felonious and foul,
and of a cursed nature.

When you pass this desert, on the way to Jerusalem, you come to
Beersheba, which was formerly a very fair and pleasant town of the
Christians, some of whose churches still remain. In that town Abraham
the Patriarch dwelt a long time. It was founded by Beersheba
(Bathsheba), the wife of Sir Uriah, the knight, on whom king David begat
Solomon the Wise, who was king, after David, over the twelve tribes of
Jerusalem, and reigned forty years. From thence we go to the city of
Hebron, a distance of two good miles; it was formerly called the Vale
of Mamre, and sometimes the Vale of Tears, because Adam wept there a
hundred years for the death of Abel, his son, whom Cain slew. Hebron was
the principal city of the Philistines, and was inhabited some time by
giants. And it was a sacerdotal city, that is, a sanctuary, of the tribe
of Judah; and was so free, that all manner of fugitives from other
places, for their evil deeds, were received there. In Hebron, Joshua,
Calephe, and their company, came first to espy how they might win the
Land of Promise. Here king David first reigned, seven years and a half;
and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years and a half. In Hebron are
all the sepulchres of the patriarchs, Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
and their wives, Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah: which sepulchres the
Saracens keep very carefully, for they hold the place in great
reverence, on account of the holy fathers, the patriarchs, that lie
there. And they suffer no Christian to enter that place, except by
special grace of the sultan; for they hold Christians and Jews as dogs,
and say that they should not enter into so holy a place. And they call
that place where they lie Double Spelunk, or Double Cave, or Double
Ditch, because the one lies above the other. And the Saracens call the
place in their language Karicarba, that is, the Place of Patriarchs. The
Jews call it Arbothe. And in that same place was Abraham's house, and
there he sat and saw three persons, and worshipped but one: as Holy Writ
saith, _He saw three, and worshipped one_: and at the same place Abraham
received the angels into his house. Close by that place is a cave in the
rock, where Adam and Eve dwelt when they were put out of Paradise, and
there they begat their children. And in that same place was Adam formed
and made, as some men say; for they used to call that place the Field of
Damascus, because it was in the lordship of Damascus. And from thence he
was translated into Paradise, as they say; and after he was driven out
of Paradise he was left there. Here begins the Vale of Hebron, which
extends nearly to Jerusalem. There the angel commanded Adam that he
should dwell with his wife Eve, on whom he begat Seth, of which tribe
Jesus Christ was born. In that valley is a field where men draw out of
the earth a thing they call cambylle, which they eat instead of spice,
and they carry it to sell. And men may not make the hole where it is
taken out of the earth so deep or wide, but at the year's end it is
full again up to the sides, through the grace of God.

Two miles from Hebron is the grave of Lot, Abraham's brother. And a
little from Hebron is the mount of Mamre, from which the valley takes
its name. And there is an oak tree which the Saracens call dirpe, which
is of Abraham's time; and people call it the dry tree. They say that it
has been there since the beginning of the world, and that it was once
green and bore leaves, till the time that our Lord died on the cross,
and then it dried; and so did all the trees that were then in the world.
And there is a prophecy, that a lord, a prince of the west side of the
world, shall win the Land of Promise, that is, the Holy Land, with the
help of the Christians; and he shall cause mass to be performed under
that dry tree, and then the tree shall become green and bear both fruit
and leaves. And through that miracle many Saracens and Jews shall be
converted to the Christian faith. And, therefore, they do great worship
thereto, and guard it very sedulously. And although it be dry, still it
has great virtue; for, certainly, he that hath a little thereof upon
him, it heals him of the falling evil, and his horse shall not be
afoundered; and many other virtues it hath, on account of which it is
highly esteemed.

From Hebron we proceed to Bethlehem, in half a day, for it is but five
miles; and it is a very fair way, by pleasant plains and woods.
Bethlehem is a little city, long and narrow, and well walled, and on
each side inclosed with good ditches. It was formerly called Ephrata, as
Holy Writ says, "Lo, we heard it at Ephrata."[324] And towards the east
end of the city is a very fair and handsome church, with many towers,
pinnacles, and corners strongly and curiously made; and within are
forty-four great and fair pillars of marble. And between the city and
the church is the Field _Floridus_, that is to say, the field
flourished; for a fair maiden was blamed with wrong, and slandered, that
she had committed fornication, for which cause she was condemned to be
burnt in that place; and as the fire began to burn about her, she made
her prayers to our Lord, that as truly as she was not guilty, he would
by his merciful grace help her, and make it known to all men. And when
she had thus said, she entered into the fire, and immediately the fire
was extinguished, and the faggots that were burning became red
rosebushes, and those that were not kindled became white rosebushes,
full of roses. And these were the first rose-trees and roses, both white
and red, that ever any man saw. And thus was this maiden saved by the
grace of God. And therefore is that field called the field that God
flourished, for it was full of roses. Also near the choir of the church,
at the right side, as men go down sixteen steps, is the place where our
Lord was born; which is full well made of marble, and full richly
painted with gold, silver, azure, and other colours. And three paces
from it is the crib of the ox and the ass. And beside that is the place
where the star fell, which led the three kings, Jaspar, Melchior, and
Balthazar: but the Greeks call them Galgalathe, Malgalathe, and
Saraphie: and the Jews call them in Hebrew Appelius, Amerrius, and
Damasus. These three kings offered to our Lord gold, incense, and myrrh;
and they met together by a miracle of God, for they met together in a
city in India called Cassak, which is fifty-three days' from Bethlehem,
and yet they arrived at Bethlehem on the thirteenth day, which was the
fourth day after they had seen the star, when they met in that city; and
thus they were nine days from that city to Bethlehem: and that was a
great miracle[325]. Also, under the cloister of the church, by eighteen
steps at the right side, is the charnel-house of the Innocents, where
their bones lie. And before the place where our Lord was born is the
tomb of St. Jerome, who was a priest and cardinal, and translated the
Bible and Psalter from Hebrew into Latin; and without the church is the
chair that he sat in when he translated it. And close by that church, at
a distance of sixty fathoms, is a church of St. Nicholas, where our Lady
rested after she was delivered of our Lord. And forasmuch as she had too
much milk in her breasts, which grieved her, she milked them on the red
stones of marble; so that the traces may yet be seen all white in the
stones. And you must understand that all who dwell in Bethlehem are
Christians. And there are fair vineyards about the city, and great
plenty of wine, which the Christians make. But the Saracens neither
cultivate vines nor drink wine; for their books of their law, that
Mohammed gave them, which they call their Alkoran, (and some call it
Mesaphe, and in another language it is called Harme,) forbids them to
drink wine. For in that book Mohammed cursed all who drink wine, and all
who sell it. For some men say that he slew once a hermit, whom he loved
much, in his drunkenness; and therefore he cursed wine and them that
drink it. And also, the Saracens breed no pigs and they eat no swine's
flesh, for they say it is brother to man, and it was forbidden by the
old law; and they hold all accursed who eat thereof. Also, in the land
of Palestine and in the land of Egypt, they eat but little or no veal or
beef, except when the animal is old, that he may work no more; for it is
forbidden, because they have but few of them, and they keep them to
plough their lands. In this city of Bethlehem was David the king born,
and he had sixty wives; and the first wife was called Michal: and also
he had three hundred concubines.

From Bethlehem to Jerusalem it is but two miles. And in the way to
Jerusalem, half a mile from Bethlehem, is a church, where the angel
announced to the shepherds the birth of Christ. And in that way is the
tomb of Rachel, the mother of Joseph the patriarch, who died immediately
after she was delivered of her son Benjamin; and there she was buried by
Jacob, her husband, and he caused twelve great stones to be placed over
her, in token that she had borne twelve[326] children. In the same way,
half a mile from Jerusalem, the star appeared to the three kings. In
that way also are many churches of Christians, by which men go towards
the city of Jerusalem.



Jerusalem, the holy city, stands full fair between hills; and there are
no rivers or wells, but water comes by conduit from Hebron. And you must
know that Jerusalem of old, until the time of Melchisedek, was called
Jebus; and afterwards it was called Salem, until the time of king David,
who put these two names together, and called it Jebusalem; and after
that king Solomon called it Jerosoluma; and after that it was called
Jerusalem, and so it is called still. Around Jerusalem is the kingdom of
Syria; and there beside is the land of Palestine; and beside it is
Ascalon; and beside that is the land of Maritaine. But Jerusalem is in
the land of Judea; and it is called Judea, because Judas Maccabeus was
king of that country. And it borders eastward on the kingdom of Arabia;
to the south, on the land of Egypt; to the west, on the great sea; and
to the north, towards Syria, on the sea of Cyprus. In Jerusalem was
formerly a patriarch, with archbishops and bishops about in the country.
Around Jerusalem are these cities: Hebron, seven miles; Jericho, six
miles; Beersheba, eight miles; Ascalon, seventeen miles; Jaffa, sixteen
miles; Ramatha, three miles; and Bethlehem, two miles. And two miles
from Bethlehem, towards the south, is the church of St. Karitot, who was
abbot there; for whom they made great lamentation among the monks when
he died; and they continue still in mourning in the manner that they
made their lamentation for him the first time; and it is very sad to

This country and land of Jerusalem hath been in the hands of many
different nations, and often, therefore, hath the country suffered much
tribulation for the sin of the people that dwell there. For that country
hath been in the hands of all nations; that is to say, of Jews,
Canaanites, Assyrians, Persians, Medes, Macedonians, Greeks, Romans,
Christians, Saracens, Barbarians, Turks, Tartars, and of many other
different nations; for God will not let it remain long in the hands of
traitors or of sinners, be they Christians or others. And now the
heathens have held that land in their hands forty years and more[327];
but they shall not hold it long, if God will.

When men come to Jerusalem, their first pilgrimage is to the church of
the holy sepulchre, where our Lord was buried, which is without the city
on the north side; but it is now inclosed by the town wall. And there is
a very fair church, round, and open above, and covered in its circuit
with lead; and on the west side is a fair and high tower for bells,
strongly made; and in the middle of the church is a tabernacle, as it
were a little house, made with a little low door; and that tabernacle
is made in manner of half a compass, right curiously and richly made of
gold and azure and other rich colours. And in the right side of that
tabernacle is the sepulchre of our Lord; and the tabernacle is eight
feet long, and five wide, and eleven in height; and it is not long since
the sepulchre was all open, that men might kiss it and touch it. But
because pilgrims that came thither laboured to break the stone in pieces
or in powder, therefore the sultan has caused a wall to be made round
the sepulchre, that no man may touch it. In the left side of the wall of
the tabernacle, about the height of a man, is a great stone, the
magnitude of a man's head, that was of the holy sepulchre; and that
stone the pilgrims that come thither kiss. In that tabernacle are no
windows; but it is all made light with lamps which hang before the
sepulchre. And there is one lamp which hangs before the sepulchre which
burns bright; and on Good Friday it goes out of itself, and lights again
by itself at the hour that our Lord rose from the dead. Also, within the
church, at the right side, near the choir of the church, is Mount
Calvary, where our Lord was placed on the cross. It is a rock of a white
colour, a little mixed with red; and the cross was set in a mortise in
the same rock; and on that rock dropped the blood from the wounds of our
Lord when he was punished on the cross; and that is called Golgotha. And
they go up to that Golgotha by steps; and in the place of that mortise
Adam's head was found, after Noah's flood, in token that the sins of
Adam should be redeemed in that same place. And upon that rock Abraham
made sacrifice to our Lord. And there is an altar, before which lie
Godfrey de Boulogne and Baldwin, and other Christian kings of Jerusalem;
and near where our Lord was crucified is this written in Greek: Ὁ Θεὸς
Βασιλεὺς ἡμῶν πρὸ αἰώνων εἰργάσατο σωτηρίαν ἐν μέσῳ τῆς γῆς·—that is to
say, in Latin, "Deus Rex noster ante secula operatus est salutem in
medio terræ;" in English, "God our king, before the worlds, hath wrought
salvation in the midst of the earth." And also on the rock where the
cross was set is written, within the rock, these words: Ὃ εἲδεις, ἐστὶ
βάσις τῆς πίστεως ὅλης τοῦ κόσμου τούτου·—that is to say, in Latin,
"Quod vides, est fundamentum totius fidei hujus mundi;" in English,
"What thou seest, is the ground of all the faith of this world." And you
shall understand that when our Lord was placed on the cross he was
thirty-three years and three months old. Also, within Mount Calvary, on
the right side, is an altar, where the pillar lieth to which our Lord
Jesus was bound when he was scourged; and there, besides, are four
pillars of stone that always drop water; and some men say that they weep
for our Lord's death. Near that altar is a place under earth, forty-two
steps in depth, where the holy cross was found by the wisdom of St.
Helena, under a rock, where the Jews had hid it. And thus was the true
cross assayed; for they found three crosses, one of our Lord, and two of
the two thieves; and St. Helena placed a dead body on them, which arose
from death to life when it was laid on that on which our Lord died. And
thereby, in the wall, is the place where the four nails of our Lord were
hid; for he had two in his hands and two in his feet; and of one of
these the emperor of Constantinople made a bridle to his horse, to carry
him in battle; and through virtue thereof he overcame his enemies, and
won all the land of Lesser Asia, that is to say, Turkey, Armenia the
Less and the Greater, and from Syria to Jerusalem, from Arabia to
Persia, from Mesopotamia to the kingdom of Aleppo, from Upper and Lower
Egypt, and all the other kingdoms, unto the extremity of Ethiopia, and
into India the Less, that was then Christian. And there were, in that
time, many good holy men, and holy hermits, of whom the Book of Lives of
Fathers[328] speaks; but they are now in the hands of Pagans and
Saracens. But when God Almighty will, as the lands were lost through sin
of the Christians, so shall they be won again by Christians through help
of God. And in the midst of that church is a compass, in which Joseph of
Arimathea laid the body of our Lord when he had taken him down from the
cross; and there he washed the wounds of our Lord. And that compass, men
say, is the middle of the world[329]. And in the church of the
sepulchre, on the north side, is the place where our Lord was put in
prison (for he was in prison in many places); and there is a part of the
chain with which he was bound; and there he appeared first to Mary
Magdalene when he was risen, and she thought that he had been a
gardener. In the church of St. Sepulchre there were formerly canons of
the order of St. Augustin, who had a prior, but the patriarch was their
head. And outside the doors of the church, on the right side, as men go
upward eighteen steps, is the spot where our Lord said to his mother,
"Woman, behold thy son!" And after that, he said to John his disciple,
"Behold thy mother!"[330] And these words he said on the cross. And on
these steps went our Lord when he bare the cross on his shoulder. And
under these steps is a chapel; and in that chapel sing priests of India,
not after our law, but after theirs; and they always make their
sacrament of the altar, saying _Pater noster_, and other prayers
therewith, with which prayers they say the words that the sacrament is
made of; for they know not the additions that many popes have made; but
they sing with good devotion. And near there is the place where our Lord
rested him when he was weary for bearing of the cross. Before the church
of the sepulchre the city is weaker than in any other part, for the
great plain that is between the church and the city. And towards the
east side, without the walls of the city, is the vale of Jehoshaphat,
which adjoins to the walls as though it were a large ditch. And over
against that vale of Jehoshaphat, out of the city, is the church of St.
Stephen, where he was stoned to death. And there beside is the golden
gate, which may not be opened, by which gate our Lord entered on Palm
Sunday, upon an ass; and the gate opened to him when he would go unto
the temple; and the marks of the ass's feet are still seen in three
places on the steps, which are of very hard stone. Before the church of
St. Sepulchre, two hundred paces to the south, is the great hospital of
St. John, of which the Hospitallers had their foundation. And within the
palace of the sick men of that hospital are one hundred and twenty-four
pillars of stone; and in the walls of the house, besides the number
aforesaid, there are fifty-four pillars that support the house. From
that hospital, going towards the east, is a very fair church, which is
called Our Lady the Great; and after it there is another church, very
near, called Our Lady the Latin; and there stood Mary Cleophas and Mary
Magdalene, and tore their hair, when our Lord was executed on the cross.



One hundred and sixty paces from the church of the Sepulchre, towards
the east, is the temple of our Lord. It is a very fair house, circular
and lofty, and covered with lead, and well paved with white marble; but
the Saracens will not suffer any Christians or Jews to come therein, for
they say that no such foul sinful men should come into so holy a place:
but I went in there, and in other places where I would, because I had
letters of the sultan, with his great seal, and other men have commonly
but his signet. In these letters he commanded, of his special grace, to
all his subjects, to let me see all the places, and to inform me fully
of all the mysteries of every place, and to conduct me from city to city
if necessary, and to receive me and my company courteously, and obey all
my reasonable requests if they were not contrary to the royal power and
dignity of the sultan or of his law. And to others, who have served him
and ask him grace, he gives only his signet, which they cause to be
borne before them, hanging on a spear, and the people of the country do
great worship and reverence to his signet or his seal, and kneel thereto
as lowly as we do to the procession of the Host. But they show much
greater reverence to his letters, for the admiral, and all other lords
to whom they are shown, kneel down before they receive them, and then
they take them, and put them on their heads, and after they kiss them,
and then they read them, kneeling with great reverence; and then they
offer themselves to do all the bearer asks. And in this temple of our
Lord were formerly canons regular, who had an abbot to whom they were
obedient. And in this temple was Charlemagne, when the angel brought him
the prepuce of the circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, which king
Charles caused to be brought to Paris, to his chapel; and after that he
sent it to Poictiers, and after that to Chartres.

You must know that this is not the temple that Solomon made, which
lasted only one thousand one hundred and two years. For Titus, the son
of Vespasian, emperor of Rome, had laid siege about Jerusalem to
overcome the Jews, because they put our Lord to death without the
emperor's leave. And when he had won the city, he burnt the temple and
beat it down and all the city, and took the Jews, and put to death one
million one hundred thousand of them; and the others he put in prison,
and sold them to slavery thirty for a penny, because they said they
bought Jesus for thirty pennies; and he sold them cheaper, giving thirty
for one penny. After that, Julian the Apostate, when emperor, gave the
Jews permission to make the temple of Jerusalem, for he hated the
Christians although he had been christened; but he forsook his law, and
became a renegade. And when the Jews had made the temple, an earthquake
came and cast it down (as God would), and destroyed all that they had
made. And after that, Hadrian, who was emperor of Rome, and of the
lineage of Troy, rebuilt Jerusalem and the temple, in the same manner as
Solomon made it. And he would not suffer Jews to dwell there, but only
Christians. For although he was not christened, yet he loved Christians
more than any other nation, except his own. This emperor caused the
church of St. Sepulchre to be inclosed within the city walls; before, it
was without the city. And he would have changed the name of Jerusalem,
and called it Ælia, but that name lasted not long. The Saracens continue
to show much reverence to that temple, and say that the place is very
holy. And when they go in they go barefooted, and kneel many times. And
when my fellows and I saw that, when we came in we took off our shoes,
and entered barefooted, and thought we would do as much worship and
reverence there as any of the misbelieving men, with as great
compunction of heart. This temple is sixty-four cubits wide, and as many
in length, and a hundred and twenty cubits high; and within it has
pillars of marble all round; and in the middle of the temple are many
high stages, fourteen steps high, with good pillars all about, and this
place the Jews call the holy of holies. No man, except the prelate of
the Saracens, who makes their sacrifice, is allowed to come in there.
And the people stand all about, in divers stages, according to their
dignity or rank, so that they may all see the sacrifice. And in that
temple are four entrances, with gates of cypress, well made and
curiously wrought. Within the east gate is the place where our Lord said
"Here is Jerusalem." And on the north side of the temple, within the
gate, there is a well, but it does not run; of this Holy Writ speaks,
and says, "I saw water come out of the temple." And on the other side of
the temple there is a rock which men call Moriah, but after it was
called Bethel, where the ark of God, with relics of Jews, was wont to be
put. That ark or hutch, with the relics, Titus carried with him to Rome,
when he had overthrown the Jews; it contained the ten commandments,
Aaron's rod, and that of Moses, with which he made the Red Sea divide as
it had been a wall, on the right side and on the left, while the people
of Israel passed the sea dry-foot. And with that rod he smote the rock,
and the water came out of it; and with that rod he did many other
wonders. And therein was a vessel of gold, full of manna, and clothings,
and ornaments, and the tabernacle of Aaron, and a square tabernacle of
gold, with twelve precious stones, and a box of green jasper, with four
figures, and eight names of our Lord, and seven candlesticks of gold,
and twelve pots of gold, and four censers of gold, and an altar of gold,
and four lions of gold, which bare cherubim of gold twelve spans long,
and the circle of swans of heaven, with a tabernacle of gold, and a
table of silver, and two trumpets of silver, and seven barley loaves,
and all the other relics that were before the birth of our Lord Jesus
Christ. And Jacob was sleeping upon that rock when he saw the angels go
up and down by a ladder, and he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place;
and I knew it not."[331] And there an angel held Jacob still, and
changed his name, and called him Israel. And in that same place David
saw the angel that smote the people with a sword, and put it up bloody
in the sheath. And St. Simeon was on that same rock when he received our
Lord into the temple. And in this rock he placed himself when the Jews
would have stoned him; and a star came down and gave him light. On that
rock our Lord preached frequently to the people; and out of that same
temple our Lord drove the buyers and sellers. Upon that rock also our
Lord set him when the Jews would have stoned him; and the rock clave in
two, and in that cleft was our Lord hid; and there came down a star and
gave him light; and upon that rock our Lady sat and learned her Psalter;
and there our Lord forgave the woman her sins that was found in
adultery; and there our Lord was circumcised; and there the angel gave
tidings to Zacharias of the birth of St. John the Baptist his son; and
there first Melchisedek offered bread and wine to our Lord, in token of
the sacrament that was to come; and there David fell down praying to our
Lord, and to the angel that smote the people, that he would have mercy
on him and on the people; and our Lord heard his prayer, and therefore
would he make the temple in that place; but our Lord forbade him, by an
angel, because he had done treason, when he caused Uriah, the worthy
knight, to be slain, to have Bathsheba, his wife; and therefore all the
materials he had collected for the building of the temple he gave to
Solomon, his son, and he built it. Without the gate of that temple is an
altar, where the Jews were wont to offer doves and turtles. And between
the temple and that altar was Zacharias slain. Upon the pinnacle of that
temple was our Lord brought to be tempted by the fiend. And on the top
of that pinnacle the Jews placed St. James, who was first bishop of
Jerusalem, and cast him down to the earth. At the entry of the temple,
towards the west, is the gate that is called the Beautiful Gate[332].
And near the temple, on the right, is a church covered with lead, called
Solomon's school. And near the temple, on the south, is the temple of
Solomon, which is very fair and well polished. And in that temple dwelt
the knights of the temple, that were called Templars; and that was the
foundation of their order; so that knights dwelt there, and canons
regular, in the temple of our Lord. One hundred and twenty paces from
that temple to the east, in the corner of the city, is the bath of our
Lord; and in that bath water was wont to come from Paradise, and still
it droppeth. And there beside is our Lady's bed. And fast by is the
temple of St. Simeon; and without the cloister of the temple, toward the
north, is a very fair church of St. Anne, our Lady's mother; and there
our Lady was conceived. And before that church is a great tree, which
began to grow the same night. And under that church, in going down by
twenty-two steps, lies Joachim, our Lady's father, in a fair tomb of
stone; and there beside lay sometime St. Anne his wife; but St. Helena
caused her to be translated to Constantinople. And in that church is a
well, in manner of a cistern, which is called _Probatica Piscina_, which
hath five entrances. Angels used to come from heaven into that well and
bathe them in it, and the man who first bathed after the moving of the
water was made whole of whatever sickness he had; and there our Lord
healed a man of the palsy, with which he had lain thirty-eight years;
and our Lord said to him, "Take up thy bed and go."[333] And near it was
Pilate's house. And fast by is king Herod's house, who caused the
Innocents to be slain. This Herod was excessively wicked and cruel; for
first he caused his wife to be killed, whom he loved well; and for the
great love he had to her, when he saw her dead, he fell in a rage, and
was out of his mind a great while; and after he recovered, he caused his
two sons, whom he had by that wife, to be slain; and after that he
killed another of his wives, and a son that he had by her; and after
that he put to death his own mother, and he would have slain his brother
also, but he died suddenly. And after he fell into sickness, and when he
felt that he should die, he sent for his sister, and for all the lords
of his land, and sent them to prison; and then he said to his sister, he
knew well that people would make no sorrow for his death, and therefore
he made his sister swear, that she should cause all the heads of the
lords to be struck off when he was dead, that all the land might make
sorrow for his death. But his sister fulfilled not his will; for as soon
as he was dead she delivered all the lords out of prison, and told them
all the purpose of her brother's ordinance; and so this cursed king was
never made sorrow for. And you must know that at that time there were
three Herods, of great fame for their cruelty. This Herod of which I
have spoken was Herod the Ascalonite; and he that caused St. John the
Baptist to be beheaded was Herod Antipas; and he that caused St. James
to be beheaded was Herod Agrippa; and he put St. Peter in prison.

Furthermore, in the city is the church of St. Saviour, where is
preserved the left arm of John Chrysostom, and the greater part of the
head of St. Stephen. On the other side of the street, to the south, as
men go to Mount Sion, is a church of St. James, where he was beheaded.
And one hundred and twenty paces from that church is Mount Sion, where
there is a fair church of our Lady, where she dwelt and died. And there
was formerly an abbot of canons regular. From thence she was carried by
the apostles to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and there is the stone which
the angel brought to our Lady from Mount Sinai, which is of the same
colour as the rock of St. Catherine. And near there is the gate through
which our Lady passed, when she was with child, on her way to
Bethlehem. Also, at the entrance of Mount Sion is a chapel in which is
the great stone with which the sepulchre was covered, when Joseph of
Arimathea had put our Lord therein; which stone the three Marys saw
turned upward when they came to his sepulchre the day of his
resurrection; and there they found an angel, who told them of our Lord's
resurrection from death to life. There also, in a wall beside the gate,
is a stone of the pillar at which our Lord was scourged; and there was
the house of Annas, who was bishop of the Jews at that time; and there
our Lord was examined in the night, and scourged, and smitten, and
violently treated. In that same place St. Peter forsook our Lord thrice
before the cock crew. There is a part of the table on which he made his
Supper, when he made his Maundy with his disciples, and gave them his
flesh and his blood, in form of bread and wine. And under that chapel,
by a descent of thirty-two steps, is the place where our Lord washed his
disciples' feet, and the vessel which contained the water is still
preserved; and there, beside that same vessel, was St. Stephen buried.
And there is the altar where our Lord heard the angels sing mass. And
there our Lord appeared first to his disciples after his resurrection,
the doors being shut, and said to them, "Peace to you!" And on that
mount Christ appeared to St. Thomas the Apostle, and bade him feel his
wounds; and there he first believed, and said, "My Lord and my God." In
the same church, beside the altar, were all the apostles on Whitsunday,
when the Holy Ghost descended on them in likeness of fire.

Mount Sion is within the city, and is a little higher than the other
side of the city; and the city is strongest on that side. For at the
foot of Mount Sion is a fair and strong castle made by the sultan. In
Mount Sion were buried king David and king Solomon, and many other
Jewish kings of Jerusalem. And there is the place where the Jews would
have cast up the body of our Lady, when the apostles carried the body to
be buried in the valley of Jehoshaphat. And there is the place where St.
Peter wept bitterly after he had forsaken our Lord. And a stone's cast
from that chapel is another chapel, where our Lord was judged; for at
that time the house of Caiaphas stood there. One hundred and forty paces
from that chapel, to the east, is a deep cave under the rock, which is
called the Galilee of our Lord, where St. Peter hid himself when he had
forsaken our Lord. Between Mount Sion and the Temple of Solomon is the
place where our Lord raised the maiden in her father's house. Under
Mount Sion, towards the valley of Jehoshaphat, is a well called
Natatorium Siloæ (the pool of Siloah), where our Lord was washed after
his baptism; and there our Lord made the blind man to see. There was
buried Isaiah the prophet. Also straight from Natatorium Siloæ is an
image of stone, and of ancient work, which Absalom caused to be made, on
account of which they call it the hand of Absalom. And fast by is still
the elder tree on which Judas hanged himself for despair, when he sold
and betrayed our Lord. Near it was the synagogue, where the bishops of
the Jews and the Pharisees came together and held their council, and
where Judas cast the thirty pence before them, and said that he had
sinned in betraying our Lord. And near it was the house of the apostles
Philip and James the son of Alpheus. On the other side of Mount Sion,
toward the south, a stone's cast beyond the vale, is Aceldama, that is,
the field of blood, which was bought for the thirty pence for which our
Lord was sold; in which field are many tombs of Christians; for there
are many pilgrims' graves. And there are many oratories, chapels, and
hermitages, where hermits used to dwell. A hundred paces toward the east
is the charnel-house of the hospital of St. John, where they used to put
the bones of dead men.

To the west of Jerusalem is a fair church, where the tree of the cross
grew. And two miles from thence is a handsome church, where our Lady met
with Elizabeth, when they were both with child; and St. John stirred in
his mother's womb, and made reverence to his Creator, whom he saw not.
Under the altar of that church is the place where St. John was born. A
mile from that church is the castle of Emmaus, where our Lord showed
himself to two of his disciples after his resurrection. Also on the
other side, two hundred paces from Jerusalem, is a church, where was
formerly the cave of the lion; and under that church, at thirty steps
deep, were interred twelve thousand martyrs, in the time of king
Cosrhoes, that the lion met in a night, by the will of God. Two miles
from Jerusalem is Mount Joy, a very fair and delicious place. There
Samuel the prophet lies, in a fair tomb; and it is called Mount Joy,
because it gives joy to pilgrims' hearts, for from that place men first
see Jerusalem. Between Jerusalem and Mount Olivet is the valley of
Jehoshaphat, under the walls of the city, as I have said before: and in
the middle of the valley is a little river, which is called the brook
Cedron; and across it lies a tree (of which the cross was made), on
which men passed over; and fast by it is a little pit in the earth,
where the foot of the pillar still remains at which our Lord was first
scourged; for he was scourged and shamefully treated in many places.
Also in the middle of the valley of Jehoshaphat is the church of our
Lady, which is forty-three steps below the sepulchre of our Lady, who
was seventy-two years of age when she died. Beside the sepulchre of our
Lady is an altar, where our Lord forgave St. Peter all his sins. From
thence, toward the west, under an altar, is a well which comes out of
the river of Paradise. You must know that that church is very low in the
earth, and a part is quite within the earth. But I imagine that it was
not founded so; but since Jerusalem has often been destroyed, and the
walls beaten down and tumbled into the valley, and that they have been
so filled again, and the ground raised, for that reason the church is so
low within the earth. Nevertheless, men say there commonly, that the
earth hath so been cloven since the time that our Lady was buried there;
and men also say there, that it grows and increases every day, without
doubt. In that church were formerly black monks, who had their abbot.
Beside that church is a chapel, beside the rock called Gethsemane, where
our Lord was kissed by Judas, and where he was taken by the Jews; and
there our Lord left his disciples when he went to pray before his
passion, when he prayed and said, "O, my Father, if it be possible, let
this cup pass from me."[334] And when he came again to his disciples, he
found them sleeping. And in the rock within the chapel we still see the
mark of the fingers of our Lord's hand, when he put them on the rock
when the Jews would have taken him. And a stone's cast from thence, to
the south, is another chapel, where our Lord sweat drops of blood. And
close to it is the tomb of king Jehoshaphat, from whom the valley takes
its name. This Jehoshaphat was king of that country, and was converted
by a hermit, who was a worthy man, and did much good. A bow-shot from
thence, to the south, is the church where St. James and Zachariah the
prophet were buried. Above the vale is Mount Olivet, so called for the
abundance of olives that grow there. That mount is higher than the city
of Jerusalem; and therefore from that mount we may see many of the
streets of the city. Between that mount and the city is only the valley
of Jehoshaphat, which is not wide. From that mount our Lord Jesus Christ
ascended to heaven on Ascension Day, and yet there appears the imprint
of his left foot in the stone. And there is a church where was formerly
an abbot and canons regular. About twenty-eight paces thence is a
chapel, in which is the stone on the which our Lord sat when he preached
the eight blessings. And there he taught his disciples the pater noster,
and wrote with his finger on a stone. And near it is a church of St.
Mary, the Egyptian, where she lies in a tomb. Three bow-shots thence, to
the east, is Bethphage, whither our Lord sent St. Peter and St. James on
Palm Sunday to seek the ass on which he rode into Jerusalem. In
descending from Mount Olivet, to the east, is a castle called Bethany,
where dwelt Simon the leper; and there he entertained our Lord; and
afterwards he was baptized by the apostles, and was called Julian, and
was made bishop; and this is the same Julian to whom men pray for good
entertainment, because our Lord was entertained by him in his house. In
that house our Lord forgave Mary Magdalene her sins, and there she
washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. And there
St. Martha waited upon our Lord. There our Lord raised Lazarus, who was
dead four days and stank. There also dwelt Mary Cleophas. That castle is
a mile from Jerusalem. Also in coming down from Mount Olivet is the
place where our Lord wept upon Jerusalem. And there beside is the place
where our Lady appeared to St. Thomas the apostle after her assumption,
and gave him her girdle. And very near it is the stone on which our Lord
often sat when he preached; and upon that same shall he sit at the day
of doom, right as he said himself.

After Mount Olivet is the Mount of Galilee, where the apostles assembled
when Mary Magdalene came and told them of Christ's ascension. And there,
between Mount Olivet and the Mount of Galilee, is a church, where the
angel foretold our lady of her death. We next go from Bethany to
Jericho, which was once a little city, but it is now destroyed, and is
but a little village. Joshua took that city by miracle of God, and
destroyed it and cursed it, and all them that should build it again. Of
that city was Zaccheus, the dwarf, who climbed up into the sycamore tree
to see our Lord, because he was so little he might not see him for the
people. And of that city was Rahab, the harlot, who alone escaped with
her kinspeople; and she often refreshed and fed the messengers of
Israel, and kept them from many great perils of death; and therefore she
had good reward; as holy writ saith, "He that receiveth a prophet in the
name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward;"[335] and so had
she; for she prophesied to the messengers, saying, "I know that the Lord
hath given you the land;"[336] and so he did. From Bethany you go to the
river Jordan, by a mountain, and through a desert; and it is nearly a
day's journey from Bethany, toward the east, to a great hill, where our
Lord fasted forty days. The devil carried our Lord upon that hill, and
tempted him, and said, "Command that these stones be made bread."[337]
In that place, upon the hill, there was formerly a fair church, but it
is entirely destroyed, so that there is now but a hermitage, occupied by
a kind of Christians called Georgians, because St. George converted
them[338]. Upon that hill dwelt Abraham a long while; and therefore they
call it Abraham's garden. Between the hill and this garden runs a little
brook of water, which was formerly bitter, but, when blessed by the
prophet Elisha, it became sweet and good to drink. At the foot of this
hill toward the plain is a great well, which flows into the river
Jordan. From that hill to Jericho is but a mile, in going toward the
river Jordan, which is two miles beyond it; and half a mile nearer is a
fair church of St. John the Baptist, where he baptized our Lord; and
there beside is the house of Jeremiah the prophet.



From Jericho it is three miles to the Dead Sea. About that sea groweth
much alum and alkatran[339]. Between Jericho and that sea is the land
of Dengadda, where formerly balm grew; but men cause the branches to be
drawn up and carried to Babylon, and still they call them vines of Gady.
On the coast of that sea, as we go from Arabia, is the mount of the
Moabites, where there is a cave which they call Karua. Upon that hill
Balak, the son of Boaz, led Balaam the priest to curse the people of
Israel. The Dead Sea divides the lands of India and Arabia, and the sea
reaches from Soara to Arabia. The water of that sea is very bitter and
salt, and if the earth were moistened with that water it would never
bear fruit. And the earth and land changeth often its colour. The water
casteth out a thing that is called asphalt, in pieces as large as a
horse, every day and on all sides. From Jerusalem to that sea is two
hundred furlongs. That sea is in length five hundred and eighty
furlongs, and in breadth one hundred and fifty furlongs, and is called
the Dead Sea, because it does not run, but is ever motionless. Neither
man, beast, nor anything that hath life, may die in that sea; and that
hath been proved many times by men that have been condemned to death,
who have been cast therein, and left therein three or four days, and
they might never die therein, for it receiveth nothing within him that
breatheth life. And no man may drink of the water on account of its
bitterness. And if a man cast iron therein, it will float on the
surface; but if men cast a feather therein, it will sink to the bottom;
and these are things contrary to nature. And there beside grow trees
that bear apples very fair of colour to behold; but when we break or cut
them in two we find within ashes and cinders, which is a token that by
the wrath of God the cities and the land were burned and sunk into hell.
Some call that sea the Lake Dasfetidee; some, the River of Devils; and
some the river that is ever stinking. Into that sea, by the wrath of
God, sunk the five cities, Sodom, Gomorrah, Aldama, Seboym, and Segor,
for the abominable sin that reigned in them. But Segor, by the prayer of
Lot, was saved and kept a great while, for it was set upon a hill, and
some part of it still appears above the water; and men may see the walls
when it is fair and clear weather. In that city Lot dwelt a little
while; and there was he made drunk by his daughters, and lay with them,
and begat on them Moab and Amon. The hill above Segor was then called
Edom, but afterwards men called it Seyr, and subsequently Idumea. At the
right side of the Dead Sea the wife of Lot still stands in likeness of a
salt stone, because she looked behind her when the cities sunk into

And you shall understand that the river Jordan runs into the Dead Sea,
and there it dies, for it runs no further; and its entrance is a mile
from the church of St. John the Baptist, toward the west, a little
beneath the place where Christians bathe commonly. A mile from the river
Jordan is the river of Jabbok, which Jacob passed over when he came from
Mesopotamia. This river Jordan is no great river, but it has plenty of
good fish; and it cometh out of the hill of Libanus by two wells, that
are called Jor and Dan; and of those two wells it hath its name. It
passes by a lake called Maron; and after, it passes through the sea of
Tiberias and under the hills of Gilboa; and there is a very fair valley
on both sides of the river. The hills of Libanus reach in length to the
desert of Pharan. And these hills separate the kingdom of Syria and the
country of Phœnicia. Upon these hills grow cedar trees, that are very
high, and bear long apples, as great as a man's head. This river Jordan
also separates the land of Galilee and the land of Idumea and the land
of Betron; and it runs under the earth a great way, unto a fair and
great plain, which is called Meldan, in the language of Sarmoyz; that is
to say, a fair or market, in their language, because fairs are often
held in that plain. And there becomes the water great and wide. That
plain is the tomb of Job. About the river Jordan are many churches,
where many Christian men dwelt. And near it is the city of Hay, which
Joshua assailed and took. Also beyond the river Jordan is the valley of
Mamre, and that is a very fair valley. Also upon the hill that I spoke
of before, where our Lord fasted forty days, two miles from Galilee, is
a fair and lofty hill, where the fiend carried our Lord, the third time,
to tempt him, and showed him all the regions of the world, and said,
"All this shall I give thee, if thou fall down and worship me."

In going eastward from the Dead Sea, out of the borders of the Holy
Land, is a strong and fair castle, on a hill which is called Carak, in
Sarmoyz; that is to say, Royal. That castle was made by king Baldwin,
when he had conquered that land, who put it into the hands of
Christians, to keep that part of the country; and for that cause it was
called the Mount Royal[340]; and under it there is a town called
Sobache; and there all about dwell Christians, under tribute. From
thence men go to Nazareth, of which our Lord beareth the surname. And
thence it is three days to Jerusalem: and men go by the province of
Galilee, by Ramoth, by Sodom, and by the high hill of Ephraim, where
Elkanah and Hannah, the mother of Samuel the prophet, dwelt. There this
prophet was born; and, after his death, he was buried at Mount Joy, as I
have said before. And then men go to Shiloh, where the ark of God with
the relics were long kept under Eli the prophet. There the people of
Hebron sacrificed to our Lord; and there they yielded up their vows; and
there God first spake to Samuel, and showed him the change of the order
of priesthood, and the mystery of the sacrament. And right nigh, on the
left side, is Gibeon, and Ramah, and Benjamin, of which Holy Writ
speaketh. And after men go to Shechem, formerly called Sichar, which is
in the province of the Samaritans; and there is a very fair and fruitful
vale, and there is a fair and good city, called Neapolis, whence it is a
day's journey to Jerusalem. And there is the well where our Lord spake
to the woman of Samaria; and there was wont to be a church, but it is
beaten down. Beside that well king Rehoboam caused two calves to be made
of gold, and made them to be worshipped, and put the one at Dan and the
other at Bethel. A mile from Sichar is the city of Deluze, in which
Abraham dwelt a certain time. Shechem is ten miles from Jerusalem, and
is called Neapolis, that is to say, the new city. And near it is the
tomb of Joseph, the son of Jacob, who governed Egypt; for the Jews
carried his bones from Egypt, and buried them there; and thither the
Jews go oftentime in pilgrimage, with great devotion. In that city was
Dinah, Jacob's daughter, ravished; for which her brethren slew many
persons, and did many injuries to the city. And there beside is the hill
of Gerizim, where the Samaritans make their sacrifice: on that hill
would Abraham have sacrificed his son Isaac. And there beside is the
valley of Dothan; and there is the cistern wherein Joseph was cast by
his brethren, when they sold him; and that is two miles from Sichar.
From thence we go to Samaria, which is now called Sebaste; it is the
chief city of that country, and is situated between the hill of Aygnes
in a similar manner to Jerusalem. In that city was the sittings of the
twelve tribes of Israel; but the city is not now so great as it was
formerly. There St. John the Baptist was buried, between two prophets,
Elisha and Abdias; but he was beheaded in the castle of Macharyme, near
the Dead Sea; and after he was carried by his disciples, and buried at
Samaria: and there Julian the Apostate caused him to be dug up, and
burned his bones, and cast his ashes to the wind. But the finger that
showed our Lord, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God!" would never burn, but
is all whole; St. Tecla, the holy virgin, caused that finger to be
carried to the hill of Sebaste, and there men make great feast for it.
In that place was wont to be a fair church; and many others there were,
but they are all beaten down. There was wont to be the head of St. John
the Baptist, inclosed in the wall; but the emperor Theodosius had it
drawn out, and found it wrapped in a little cloth, all bloody; and so he
carried it to Constantinople; and the hinder part of the head is still
at Constantinople; and the fore part of the head, to under the chin, is
at Rome, under the church of St. Silvester, where are nuns; and it is
yet all broiled, as though it were half burnt; for the emperor Julian
above mentioned, of his wickedness and malice, burnt that part with the
other bones, as may still be seen; and this thing hath been proved both
by popes and emperors. And the jaws beneath, which hold to the chin, and
a part of the ashes, and the platter on which the head was laid when it
was smitten off, are at Genoa; and the Genoese make a great feast in
honour of it, and so do the Saracens also. And some men say that the
head of St. John is at Amiens, in Picardy; and other men say, that it is
the head of St. John the bishop. I know not which is correct, but God
knows; but however men worship it, the blessed St. John is satisfied.

From this city of Sebaste unto Jerusalem it is twelve miles. And between
the hills of that country there is a well that four times in the year
changes its colour; sometimes green, sometimes red, sometimes clear, and
sometimes troubled; and men call that well Job. And the people of that
country, who are called Samaritans, were converted and baptized by the
Apostles, but they hold not well their doctrine; and always they hold
laws by themselves, varying from Christian men, from Saracens, Jews, and
Pagans. The Samaritans believe well in one God; and they say that there
is only one God, who created all things, and judges all things; and they
hold the Bible according to the letter, and use the Psalter as the Jews
do; and they say that they are the right sons of God; and, among all
other folk, they say that they be best beloved of God, and that to them
belongs the heritage that God promised to his beloved children; and they
have also a different clothing and outward appearance from other people,
for they wrap their heads in red linen cloth, as a distinction from
others; and the Saracens wrap their heads in white linen cloth; and the
Christian men that dwell in the country wrap them in blue of India, and
the Jews in yellow cloth. In that country dwell many of the Jews, paying
tribute as Christians do.



From this country of the Samaritans men go to the plains of Galilee, and
leave the hills on the one side. Galilee is one of the provinces of the
Holy Land; and in that province are the cities of Nain, and Capernaum,
and Chorazin, and Bethsaida. In this Bethsaida St. Peter and St. Andrew
were born. And four miles thence is Chorazin; and five miles from
Chorazin is the city of Kedar, whereof the Psalter speaketh: "I dwell in
the tents of Kedar[341]." In Chorazin shall Antichrist be born, as some
men say; and others say he shall be born in Babylon; for the prophet
saith, "Out of Babylon shall come a serpent that shall devour all the
world." This Antichrist shall be nourished in Bethsaida, and he shall
reign in Capernaum; and therefore saith Holy Writ, "Woe unto thee,
Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! and thou, Capernaum."[342] And all
these towns are in the land of Galilee; and also Cana of Galilee is
four miles from Nazareth, of which city was Simon the Canaanite and his
wife Cance, of whom the holy Evangelist speaks: there our Lord performed
the first miracle at the wedding, when he turned water into wine. And at
the extremity of Galilee, on the hills, was the ark of God taken; and on
the other side is Mount Hendor, or Hermon. And thereabout goeth the
brook of Kishon; and near there Baruch, who was son of Abimelech, with
Deborah the prophetess, overcame the host of Idumea, when Sisera the
king was slain by Jael, the wife of Heber, and Gideon drove beyond the
river Jordan, by strength of the sword, Zeba and Zalmunna, and there he
slew them. Also five miles from Nain is the city of Jezreel, which was
formerly called Zarim, of which city Jezabel the wicked queen was lady
and queen, who took away the vineyard of Naboth by force. Fast by that
city is the field Mageddo, in which king Joras was slain by the king of
Samaria, and after was carried and buried in Mount Sion. A mile from
Jezreel are the hills of Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan, that were so
fair, died; wherefore David cursed them, as Holy Writ saith: "Ye
mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain,
upon you."[343] A mile from the hills of Gilboa, to the east, is the
city of Cyropolis, which was before called Bethsain; and upon the walls
of that city was the head of Saul hanged.

After men go by the hills, beside the plains of Galilee, unto Nazareth,
which was formerly a great and fair city, but now there is but a small
village, and houses scattered here and there. It is not walled, but it
is situated in a little valley, with hills all about. Here our Lady was
born; but she was begotten at Jerusalem; and because our Lady was born
at Nazareth, therefore our Lord bare his surname of that town. There
Joseph took our Lady to wife, when she was fourteen years of age; and
there Gabriel greeted our Lady, saying, "Hail, thou that art highly
favoured, the Lord is with thee."[344] And this salutation was made on
the site of a great altar of a fair church that stood there formerly,
but it is now all down; and they have made a little receptacle, near a
pillar of that church, to receive the offerings of pilgrims. And the
Saracens keep that place full dearly, for the profit they have by it;
and they are very wicked and cruel Saracens, and more spiteful than in
any other place, and have destroyed all the churches. Near there is
Gabriel's well, where our Lord was wont to bathe, when he was young; and
from that well he carried water often to his mother; and in that well
she often washed the clothes of her son Jesus Christ; and from Jerusalem
thither is three days. Two miles from Nazareth is the city of Sephor, by
the way that goes from Nazareth to Acre. And half a mile from Nazareth
is the leap of our Lord; for the Jews led him upon a high rock, to make
him leap down, and have slain him; but Jesus passed amongst them, and
leaped upon another rock; and the steps of his feet are still to be seen
in the rock where he alighted. And therefore men say, when in travelling
they are in fear of thieves or enemies, "_Jesus autem transiens per
medium illorum ibat_;" that is to say, "But Jesus passing through the
midst of them, went:" in token and remembrance that as our Lord passed
through the Jews' cruelty, and escaped safely from them, so surely may
men escape the peril of thieves; and then men say two verses of the
Psalter three times: "_Irruat super eos formido et pavor, in magnitudine
brachii tui, Domine, fiant inmobiles, quasi lapis, donec pertranseat
populus tuus, Domine; donec pertranseat populus tuus iste, quem
possedisti._" ["May fear and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of
thine arm, O Lord, let them be as still as a stone; till thy people pass
over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased."]
And then men may pass without peril[345]. And you shall understand, that
our Lady had child when she was fifteen years old; and she was
conversant with her son thirty-three years and three months. And after
the passion of our Lord she lived twenty-four years[346].

From Nazareth we go four miles to Mount Tabor, which is a very fair and
lofty hill, where was formerly a town and many churches, but they are
all destroyed; but yet there is a place, which they call the School of
God, where he was wont to teach his disciples, and told them the secrets
of Heaven[347]. At the foot of that hill Melchisedek, who was king of
Salem, met Abraham in the turning of the hill on his return from the
battle, when he had slain Abimelech; and this Melchisedek was both king
and priest of Salem, which is now called Jerusalem. On that hill of
Tabor our Lord transfigured himself before St. Peter, St. John, and St.
James; and there they saw in spirit Moses and Elias the prophets, and
therefore St. Peter said, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; let us
make here three tabernacles." On that hill and in that same place, at
Doomsday, four angels shall blow with four trumpets, and raise all men
that have suffered death since the world was created to life; and they
shall come in body and soul in judgment, before the face of our Lord, in
the valley of Jehoshaphat. And it shall be on Easter-day, the time of
our Lord's resurrection; and the judgment shall begin on the same hour
that our Lord descended to hell and despoiled it; for at that hour shall
he despoil the world, and lead his chosen to bliss; and the others shall
be condemned to perpetual punishment; and then shall every man have
after his desert, either good or evil, unless the mercy of God exceed
his righteousness.

A mile from Mount Tabor is Mount Hermon, and there was the city of Nain.
Before the gate of that city our Lord raised the widow's son. Three
miles from Nazareth is the castle of Saffra, of which were the sons of
Zebedee and the sons of Alpheus. Also, seven miles from Nazareth, is
Mount Cain, under which is a well, and beside that well, Lamech, Noah's
father, slew Cain with an arrow. For this Cain went through briars and
bushes as a wild beast; and he had lived from the time of Adam, his
father, unto the time of Noah; and so he lived nearly two thousand
years. And Lamech was blind for old age[348].

From Saffra we go to the sea of Galilee, and to the city of Tiberias,
which is situated upon that sea. And although they call it a sea, it is
neither sea, nor arm of the sea; for it is but a stank of fresh water,
which is in length one hundred furlongs, and in breadth forty furlongs;
and it hath in it great plenty of good fish, and the river Jordan runs
through it. The city is not very great, but it has good baths. And where
the river Jordan leaves the sea of Galilee is a great bridge, where they
pass from the land of promise to the land of Bashan, and the land of
Gerrasentz, which are about the river Jordan and the commencement of the
sea of Tiberias. And from thence may men go to Damascus in three days,
by the kingdom of Traconitis, which kingdom extends from Mount Hermon to
the sea of Galilee, or the sea of Tiberias, or the sea of Gennesareth,
which are different names of this sea, or rather this stank of which I
have spoken, which changes thus its name according to the names of the
cities that are situated beside it. On that sea our Lord went dryfoot;
and there he took up St. Peter, when he began to sink in the sea, and
said to him, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"[349]
And after his resurrection our Lord appeared on that sea to his
disciples, and bade them fish, and filled the net full of great fishes.
In that sea our Lord rowed oftentime; and there he called to him St.
Peter, St. Andrew, and St. James and St. John, the sons of Zebedee. In
that city of Tiberias is the table on which our Lord ate with his
disciples after his resurrection; and they knew him in breaking of
bread, as the Gospel saith[350]. And near the city of Tiberias is the
hill where our Lord fed five thousand persons, with five barley loaves
and two fishes. In that city a man cast a burning dart in wrath after
our Lord, and the head smote into the earth, and waxed green, and it
grew to a great tree; and it grows still, and the bark thereof is all
like coals. Also in the head of that sea of Galilee, toward the north,
is a strong and lofty castle, called Saphor; and close by it is
Capernaum: there is not so strong a castle within the land of promise;
and there is a good town beneath, also called Saphor. In that castle St.
Anne, our Lady's mother, was born. And there, beneath, was the
centurion's house. That country is called the Galilee of the Gentiles,
who were taken to tribute of Zebulon and Naphthali. And in returning
from that castle, at a distance of thirty miles, is the city of Dan,
formerly called Belinas, or Cesarea Philippi, situated at the foot of
the mountain of Libanus, where the river Jordan arises. There begins the
land of promise, and it extends unto Beersheba, in length from north to
south, and contains full one hundred and eighty miles; and in breadth,
that is, from Jericho to Jaffa, it contains forty miles of Lombardy, or
of our country, which are also little miles. These are not miles of
Gascony, or of Germany, where the miles are great miles.

And you must know that the land of promise is in Syria. For the realm of
Syria extends from the deserts of Arabia to Cilicia, which is Armenia
the Great, that is to say, from south to north; and from east to west it
extends from the great deserts of Arabia to the west sea. But in that
realm of Syria is the kingdom of Judea, and many other provinces, as
Palestine, Galilee, Little Cilicia, and many others. In that country,
and other countries beyond, they have a custom, when they make war, and
when men besiege a city or castle, and they within dare not send out
messengers with letters from lord to lord to ask succour, of binding
their letters to the necks of pigeons, and letting them fly; and the
pigeons are so taught, that they fly with those letters to the very
place that men would send them to. For they are fed in those places
where they are sent to, and they naturally return to where they have
been fed.

And you shall understand that amongst the Saracens, in different parts,
dwell many Christian men, of many kinds and different names, and all are
baptized, and have different laws and different customs; but all believe
in God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but they always fail
in some articles of our faith. Some of these are called Jacobites,
because St. James converted them, and St. John baptized them. They say
that a man shall make his confession only to God, and not to a man; for
only to him should man acknowledge himself guilty of all that he hath
misdone; and God ordained not, nor ever devised, nor the prophet either,
that one man should confess himself to another (as they say), but only
to God; as Moses writeth in the Bible, and as David saith in the Psalter
Book, "I will confess to thee, O Lord, in my whole heart:" and "I
acknowledge my sin unto thee:"[351] and "Thou art my God, and I will
confess to thee:" and "Since the thoughts of man shall confess to
thee," &c. For they know all the Bible and the Psalter, and therefore
allege they so the letter; but they allege not the authorities thus in
Latin, but in their language full openly; and say well, that David and
other prophets say it. Nevertheless St. Austin, St. Gregory, and St.
Hilary say differently. And on such authorities, they say, that only to
God shall a man confess his faults, acknowledging himself guilty, and
crying him mercy, and promising him to amend; therefore when they will
confess them, they take fire, and set it beside them, and cast therein
powder of frankincense; and in the smoke thereof they confess them to
God, and cry him mercy. And true it is, that this confession was first
and of nature; but St. Peter the apostle, and they that came after him,
have ordered to make confession to man; and by good reason, for they
perceived well, that no sickness was curable by good medicine laid
thereto, unless men knew the nature of the malady; and also no man may
give fit medicine, unless he know the quality of the deed.

There are others who are called Syrians, who hold the belief among us
and the Greeks; and they all use beards, as men of Greece do; and they
make the sacrament of unleavened bread; and in their language they use
the Saracenic letters, but in their theological mysteries they use Greek
letters; and they make their confession as the Jacobites do.

There are others who are called Georgians, who were converted by St.
George, and they worship him more than any other saint, and to him they
cry for help; and they came out of the realm of Georgia. These people
have their crowns shaven: the clerks have round crowns, and the laity
have their crowns all square; and they hold the same Christian doctrines
as the Greeks, of whom I have spoken before[352].

There are others who are called Christians of the girdle, because they
are all girt above[353]; and there are others called Nestorians; and
some are Arians, some Nubians, some of Greece, some of India, and some
of Prester John's land. And all these have many articles of our faith,
and in others they differ from us.



Now that I have told you of some of the people in the countries before,
I will turn again to my way to describe the road back. From the land of
Galilee, of which I have spoken, men come back to Damascus, which is a
very fair and noble city, and full of all merchandise, and three days
from the sea, and five days from Jerusalem. Men carry merchandise
thither upon camels, mules, horses, dromedaries, and other beasts; and
thither come merchants by sea, from India, Persia, Chaldea, Armenia, and
many other kingdoms. This city was founded by Helizeus Damascus, who was
yeoman and steward to Abraham before Isaac was born; for he expected to
have been Abraham's heir, and he named the town after his surname,
Damascus. And in that place, where Damascus was founded, Cain slew Abel
his brother. And beside Damascus is Mount Seir. In that city of Damascus
there is great plenty of wells; and within the city and without are many
fair gardens, with diversity of fruits. No other city can be compared
with it for fair gardens for recreation. The city is great and full of
people, and well walled with double walls, and it contains many
physicians; and St. Paul himself was there a physician, to keep men's
bodies in health, before he was converted; and after that he was
physician of souls. And St. Luke the Evangelist was a disciple of St.
Paul to learn physic, and many others; for St. Paul held then a school
of physic. And near Damascus he was converted; and after his conversion
he dwelt in that city three days, without sight and without meat or
drink. And in those three days he was raised to heaven, and there he saw
many secrets of our Lord. And close beside Damascus is the castle of
Arkes, which is both fair and strong. From Damascus we return by our
Lady of Sardenak, which is five miles on this side of Damascus; and it
is seated upon a rock, and is a very fair place, and appears like a
castle, which it was formerly; but it is now a very fair church; and in
it are Christian monks and nuns; and there is a vault under the church
where Christians dwell also; and they have many good vines. In the
church, behind the altar, in the wall, is a table of black wood, on
which formerly was painted an image of our Lady, which turns into flesh;
but now the image appears but little. But evermore, through the grace
of God, that table drops oil, as it were of olive. And there is a vessel
of marble under the table, to receive the oil, of which they give to
pilgrims; for it healeth many sicknesses. And he that keepeth it cleanly
a year, after that year it turneth into flesh and blood.

Between the city of Dark and the city of Raphane is a river, which they
call Sabatorye; for on the Saturday[354] it runs fast, and all the week
else it standeth still, and runs nought or little. And there is another
river that freezeth wonderfully fast in the night, and by day no frost
is seen. And so men go by a city called Beruthe, on the coast of the
sea, by which they go to Cyprus; and they arrive at the port of Sur, or
Tyre, and then to Cyprus. Or else men may go from the port of Tyre right
well, and come not to Cyprus, but arrive at some haven of Greece; and
then men come to this country by ways that I have spoken of before.

Now have I told you of ways by the which men go farthest and longest, as
by Babylon and Mount Sinai, and many other places, through which lands
men turn again to the land of promise. Now I will tell you the direct
way to Jerusalem; for some men will not pass it on account of the
expense, or because they have no company, or for many other reasonable
causes; and therefore I will tell you briefly how a man may go with
little expense and in a short time. A man who comes from the lands of
the west, goes through France, Burgundy, and Lombardy, and to Venice,
and to Genoa, or some other haven of the marshes, and taketh a ship
there, and goes by sea to the isle of Gryffle; and so he arrives in
Greece, or in Port Moroche, or Valon, or Duras, or at some other haven,
and lands to repose himself, and goes again to the sea, and arrives in
Cyprus; and comes not to the isle of Rhodes, but arrives at Famagosta,
which is the chief haven of Cyprus, or else at Lamatoun, and then
embarks again, and passes the haven of Tyre without landing; and so
passes by all the havens of that coast till he comes to Jaffa, which is
the nearest port to Jerusalem, for it is only seven-and-twenty miles.
And from Jaffa men go to the city of Ramla, which is but a short
distance thence, and it is a fair city. And beside Ramla is a fair
church of our Lady, where our Lord appeared to our Lady in the likeness
that betokeneth the Trinity. And there, fast by, is a church of St.
George, where his head was smitten off; and then to the castle of
Emmaus; and then to Mount Joy; and from thence pilgrims may first see
Jerusalem. And then to Mount Modeyn, and then to Jerusalem. And at Mount
Modeyn lies the prophet Maccabeus. And over Ramatha[355] is the town of
Douke, whereof was Amos the good prophet.

Another way. Forasmuch as many men may not bear the sea, but had rather
go by land, although it be a more laborious journey, a man shall so go
to one of the havens of Lombardy, Venice, or another; and he shall pass
into Greece, through Port Moroche or another, and so he shall go to
Constantinople. And he shall so pass the water called the Brace of St.
George, which is an arm of the sea; and from thence he shall come to
Pulveralle, and thence to the castle of Cynople; and from thence he
shall go to Cappadocia, which is a great country, where there are many
great hills. And he shall go through Turkey, and unto the city of Nice,
which the Turks have taken from the emperor of Constantinople. It is a
fair city, and wonderfully well walled; and there is a river that is
called the Laye; and there men go by the Alps of Aryoprynant, and by the
vales of Mallebrynez, and also the vale of Ernax; and so to Antioch the
Less, which is situated on the river Riclay. And thereabout are many
good and fair hills, and many fair woods, and also wild beasts.

And he that will go by another way, must go by the plains of Romania,
coasting the sea. Upon that coast is a wonderfully fair castle, which
they call Florathe. And when we are out of those hills, we pass through
a city called Maryoche and Arteyse, where there is a great bridge over
the river of Ferne, which men call Farfar; and it is a great river,
capable of admitting ships. And beside the city of Damascus is a river
that comes from the mountain of Libanus, which is called Albane. At the
passing of this river St. Eustache lost his two sons, when he had lost
his wife. And it goeth through the plain of Arthadoe, and so to the Red
Sea; and so men go unto the city of Phenne, and so to the city of Ferne.
Antioch is a very fair city, and well walled; it is two miles long, and
each pillar of the bridge there has a good tower; and this is the best
city of the kingdom of Syria. And from Antioch men may go to the city of
Latuche (Latakiyah), and then to Gebel (Jebili), and then to Tourtous
(Tortosa); and thereby is the land of Cambre, where there is a strong
castle, which they call Maubeke. And from Tourtous men go to Tripoli, on
the sea; and they go by sea unto Acre. From this place there are two
ways to Jerusalem; on the left we go first to Damas, by the river
Jordan; on the right we go through the land of Flagam, and so to the
city of Caiphas (Caiffa), of which Caiaphas was lord; and some call it
the Castle of Pilgrims. And from thence it is four days to Jerusalem,
passing through Cesarea Philippi, Jaffa, Ramleh, and Emmaus.

Now I have told you some of the ways by land and water, how men may go
to Jerusalem; but there are many other ways according to the countries
from which they come. There is one way, all by land, to Jerusalem,
without passing any sea, which is from France or Flanders; but that way
is very long and perilous; and therefore few go that way. It lies
through Germany and Prussia, and so on to Tartary. This Tartary is held
of the great chan, of whom I shall speak more afterwards; and the lords
of Tartary pay the great chan tribute. This is a very bad land, and
sandy, and bears very little fruit; for there grows little corn, or
wine, or beans, or peas; but there are plenty of cattle; and men eat
nothing but flesh, without bread; and they drink the broth, and also
they drink milk. And they eat all manner of animals, such as dogs, cats,
and rats. And they have little or no wood; and therefore they warm and
boil their meat with horse-dung, and cow-dung, and that of other beasts,
dried by the sun; and princes and others eat but once a day, and that
but little; and they are very foul people, and of evil nature. And in
summer, in all these countries, fall many tempests, and dreadful storms
of thunder and lightning, which kill many people, and beasts also. And
the temperature passes suddenly from extreme heat to extreme cold. It is
the foulest country, and the most cursed, and the poorest, that men
know. And their prince, whom they call Batho, dwells at the city of
Orda. And truly no good man would dwell in that country; for it is not
worthy for dogs to dwell in. It were a good country to sow thistles, and
briars, and broom, and thorns; and it is good for no other thing. There
is some good land, but very little, as men say. I have not been in that
country; but I have been in other lands which border on those countries,
and in the land of Russia, and in Nyflan, and in the realm of Cracow,
and Letto (Lithuania), and in Darestan, and in many other places which
border on those parts; but I never went by that way to Jerusalem,
wherefore I cannot describe it from personal knowledge; for no man may
pass by that way well, except in time of winter, for the perilous waters
and difficult marshes, which no man may pass except it be strong frost,
and snow upon it; for if the snow were not there, men might not go upon
the ice. And it is full three days of such way to pass from Prussia to
the inhabited land of the Saracens. And Christians who shall war against
them every year must carry their victuals with them; for they shall find
no good there. And they must carry their victuals upon the ice, with
cars that have no wheels, which they call sleighs; and as long as their
victuals last they may abide there, but no longer; for there shall they
find no body that will sell them any thing. And when the spies see any
Christian men coming upon them, they run to the towns, and cry with a
loud voice, "Kerra, kerra, kerra;" and then anon they arm and assemble

And you shall understand that it freezeth more strongly in those
countries than in this part of the world; and therefore hath every man
stoves in his house, and on those stoves they eat and do their
occupations all that they may; for that is in the northern parts, where
there is but little sun; and therefore in the very north the land is so
cold that no man may dwell there; and, on the contrary, towards the
south it is so hot that no man may dwell there, because there the sun is
direct over head.



Now since I have spoken of Saracens and of their country, if you will
know a part of their law and belief, I will tell you, according to their
book, which is called Alkoran. And some call that book Meshaf; and some
call it Harm, according to the different languages of the country. This
book Mohammed gave them. In it, among other things, is written, as I
have often seen and read, that the good shall go to Paradise, and the
evil to hell; and that all Saracens believe. And if a man ask them what
paradise they mean, they say it is a place of delight, where men shall
find all kinds of fruit, in all seasons, and rivers running with milk
and honey, and wine and sweet water; and they shall have fair houses and
noble, every man after his desert, made of precious stones, and of gold
and silver; and every man shall have eighty wives, all maidens; and he
shall have intercourse every day with them, and still he shall find them
always maidens. Also they believe in and speak gladly of the Virgin Mary
and of the Incarnation. And they say that Mary was taught of the angel;
and that Gabriel said to her that she was chosen from the beginning of
the world; and that he showed to her the incarnation of Jesus Christ;
that she conceived, and bare a child, remaining a maid; and that
witnesseth their book. And they say also that Jesus Christ spake as soon
as he was born; and that he was a true and holy prophet in word and
deed, and meek, and pious, and righteous, and without any vice. And they
say also that when the angel showed the incarnation of Christ unto Mary,
she was young, and had great fear. For there was then an enchanter in
the country that dealt with witchcraft, called Taknia, who by his
enchantments could take the likeness of an angel, and went often and lay
with maidens; and therefore Mary feared lest it had been Taknia, who
came to deceive the maidens. And therefore she conjured the angel that
he should tell her if it were he or no. And the angel answered and said
that she should have no dread of him; for he was a true messenger of
Jesus Christ. Also their book says that when she had been delivered,
under a palm tree, she had great shame to have a child; and she moaned
and said that she would that she had been dead. And anon the child spake
to her and comforted her, and said, "Mother, have no fear, for God hath
hid in thee his secrets, for the salvation of the world." And that book
saith also that Jesus was sent from God Almighty to be a mirror and
example to all men. And the Alkoran saith also, of the day of doom, how
God shall come to judge all people; and the good he shall draw on his
side, and put them into bliss; and the wicked he shall condemn to the
pains of hell. And they say that among all prophets Jesus was the most
excellent and the most worthy, and that he made the Gospels, in which is
good and healthful doctrine, full of charity and stedfastness, and true
preaching to them that believe in God; and that he was a true prophet,
and more than a prophet; and lived without sin, and gave sight to the
blind, and healed the lepers, and raised dead men, and ascended to
heaven. They fast a whole month in the year, eating only by night; and
they keep from their wives all that month; but the sick are not bound to
that fast. Also this book speaks of the Jews, and says they are cursed,
because they would not believe that Jesus Christ was come of God; and
that they lied falsely on Mary and her son Jesus Christ, saying that
they had crucified Jesus the son of Mary; for he was never crucified, as
they say, but God made him ascend to him without death; but he
transfigured his likeness into Judas Iscariot, and him the Jews
crucified, believing that it had been Jesus; and therefore they say that
the Christian men err, and have no good knowledge of this, and that they
believe falsely that Jesus Christ was crucified. And they say also, that
if he had been crucified, God had acted contrary to his righteousness,
to suffer Jesus Christ, who was innocent, to be put upon the cross
without guilt. And they say that we err in this article, and that the
great righteousness of God might not suffer so great a wrong. They
acknowledge that the works of Christ are good, and his words and his
deeds and his doctrine by his gospels true, and his miracles also true;
and the blessed Virgin Mary was a good and holy maiden before and after
the birth of Jesus Christ; and that all those that believe perfectly in
God shall be saved. And because they go so nigh our faith, they are
easily converted to Christian law, when men preach to them and show them
distinctly the law of Jesus Christ, and tell them of the prophecies. And
also they say that they know well by the prophecies that the law of
Mohammed shall fail as the law of the Jews did; and that the law of
Christian people shall last to the day of doom. And if any man ask them
what is their belief, they answer thus: "We believe in God, creator of
heaven and earth, and all other things that he made. And without him is
nothing made. And we believe in the day of doom, and that every man
shall have his merit according to his desert. And we hold for true all
that God hath said by the mouths of his prophets." Also Mohammed
commanded, in his Alkoran, that every man should have two wives, or
three or four; but now they take as many as nine, and of lemans as many
as a man may support. And if any one of their wives misbehave against
her husband, he may cast her out of his house, and part from her and
take another; but he shall share with her his goods. Also when men speak
to them of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, they say
that they be three persons, but not one God. For their Alkoran speaketh
not of the Trinity. But they say well that God hath speech, and they
know well God hath a spirit; for else, they say, he could not be alive.
And when men speak to them of the incarnation, how by the word of the
angel God sent his wisdom into earth, and shadowed him in the Virgin
Mary; and by the word of God shall the dead be raised at the day of
doom; they say that it is true, and that the word of God hath great
power. And they say that whoso knew not the word of God, he should not
know God. And they say also, that Jesus Christ is the word of God, and
so saith their Alkoran, where it saith that the angel spake to Mary and
said, "Mary, God shall preach the gospel by the word of his mouth, and
his name shall be called Jesus Christ." And they say also that Abraham
was friend to God, and that Moses spoke familiar with God; and Jesus
Christ was the word and the spirit of God; and that Mohammed was the
messenger of God. And they say that of these four Jesus was the most
worthy, and the most excellent and the greatest: so that they have many
good articles of our faith, although they have no perfect law and faith
as Christian men have, and therefore they are easily converted,
especially those that understand the scriptures and the prophecies. For
they have the gospels, and the prophecies, and the bible written in
their language. Wherefore they know much of Holy Writ, but they
understand it not but after the letter; and so do the Jews, for they
understand not the letter spiritually, but carnally, and therefore be
they reproved by the wise, who understand it spiritually.

The Saracens say that the Jews are cursed, because they have defiled the
law that God sent them by Moses. And the Christians are cursed also, as
they say, for they keep not the commandments and the precepts of the
Gospel, which Jesus Christ gave them. And, therefore, I shall tell you
what the sultan said to me one day, in his chamber. He sent out of his
chamber all men, lords and others, because he would speak with me in
counsel. And there he asked me how the Christian men governed themselves
in our country? And I answered, "Right well; thanked be God." And he
said to me, "Truly, nay; for you Christians care not how untruly you
serve God. You should set an example to the common people to do well,
and you set them an example of doing evil. For the commons, upon
festival days, when they should go to church to serve God, go to
taverns, and are there in gluttony all day and night, and eat and drink
as beasts that have no reason, and know not when they have enough. And
also, the Christians encourage one another, in all ways that they may,
to fight, and to deceive one another. And they are so proud that they
know not how to be clothed; now long, now short, now straight, now
large, now with sword, now with dagger, and in all manner of guises.
They should be simple, meek, and true, and full of alms-deeds, as Jesus
was, in whom they believe; but they are all the contrary, and ever
inclined to evil, and to do evil. And they are so covetous, that for a
little silver they sell their daughters, their sisters, and their own
wives, to put them to lechery. And one seduces the wife of another, and
none of them holdeth faith to another; but they break their law, that
Jesus Christ gave them to keep for their salvation. And thus, for their
sins, have they lost all this land which we hold. Because, for their
sins here, God hath given them into our hands; not only by our power,
but for their sins. For we know well in very truth, that when you serve
God, God will help you; and when he is with you, no man may be against
you. And that know we well by our prophecies, that the Christians shall
win again this land out of our hands when they serve God more devoutly.
But as long as they are of foul and unclean living (as they are now), we
have no dread of them, for their God will not help them."[356] And then
I asked him how he knew the state of the Christians? And he answered me,
that he knew all the state of the commons also, by his messengers, whom
he sent to all lands, in guise of merchants of precious stones, cloths
of gold, and other things, to know the manners of every country amongst
Christians. And then he called in all the lords that he had sent out of
his chamber, and he showed me four who were great lords, who told me of
my country, and of many other Christian countries, as well as if they
had been of the same country; and they spoke French perfectly well, and
the sultan also, whereof I had great marvel. Alas! it is great slander
to our faith and to our law, when people that are without law shall
reprove us of our sins. And they that should be converted to Christ and
to the law of Jesus by our good examples and by our acceptable life to
God, and so converted to the law of Jesus Christ, are through our
wickedness and evil living, far from us, and strangers from the holy and
true belief shall thus accuse us and hold us for wicked livers and
accursed. And indeed they say truth. For the Saracens are good and
faithful, and keep entirely the commandment of the holy book Alkoran,
which God sent them by his messenger Mohammed; to whom, as they say, St.
Gabriel the angel often told the will of God.

And you shall understand that Mohammed was born in Arabia, and was first
a poor boy that kept camels which went with merchants for merchandise;
and so it happened that he went with the merchants into Egypt. And in
the deserts of Arabia he went into a chapel where a hermit dwelt; and
when he entered into the chapel, which was but little and low, and had a
small low door, then the entrance became so great, and so large, and so
high, as though it had been of a great minster, or the gate of a palace.
And this was the first miracle, the Saracens say, that Mohammed did in
his youth. Then he began to wax wise and rich; and he was a great
astronomer; and afterwards he was governor and prince of the land of
Cozrodane, which he governed full wisely; in such manner that, when the
prince was dead, he took his lady, named Gadrige, to wife. And Mohammed
fell often in the great sickness called the falling evil, wherefore the
lady was sorry that ever she took him to husband. But Mohammed made her
believe that when he fell so Gabriel the angel came to speak with him,
and for the great brightness of the angel he might not help falling. And
therefore the Saracens say that Gabriel came often to speak with him.
This Mohammed reigned in Arabia in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ
610; and was of the generation of Ishmael, who was Abraham's son, by
Agar, his chambermaid. And, therefore, there are Saracens that are
called Ishmaelites; and some are called Agarenes, of Agar; and others
are called Saracens, of Sarah; and some are called Moabites, and some
Ammonites, from the two sons of Lot, Moab and Ammon, whom he begat on
his daughters, and who were afterwards great earthly princes. And also
Mohammed loved well a good hermit, who dwelt in the desert a mile from
Mount Sinai, in the way from Arabia towards Chaldea and towards India,
one day's journey from the sea, where the merchants of Venice come often
for merchandise. And so often went Mohammed to this hermit that all his
men were angry; for he would gladly hear this hermit preach, and make
his men wait all night, and therefore his men thought to put the hermit
to death: and so it befel upon a night that Mohammed was drunk with good
wine, and he fell asleep; and his men took Mohammed's sword out of his
sheath, while he slept, and therewith they slew the hermit, and put his
sword, all bloody, in his sheath again. And on the morrow, when he found
the hermit dead, he was very wroth, and would have put his men to death;
but they all with one accord said that he himself had slain him when he
was drunk, and showed him his sword all bloody; and he believed that
they said truth. And then he cursed the wine and all those that drink
it. And therefore Saracens that be devout never drink wine; but some
drink it privately; for if they drank it openly they would be reproved.
But they drink good beverage, and sweet and nourishing, which is made of
galamelle; and that is what men make sugar of, which is of right good
savour, and it is good for the breast. Also it happens sometimes that
Christians become Saracens, either from poverty or from ignorance, or
else from their own wickedness. And therefore the archiflamen, or the
flamen, as our archbishop or bishop, when he receives them, says, _La
ellec sila, Machomete rores alla_; that is to say, _There is no God but
one, and Mohammed his messenger_[357].



Now, since I have told you before of the Holy Land, and of that country
about, and of many ways to go to that land, and to Mount Sinai, and of
Babylon the Greater and the Less, and other places, now is the time, if
it please you, to tell you of the borders and isles, and divers beasts,
and of various peoples beyond these borders. For in the countries beyond
are many divers countries, and many great kingdoms, that are separated
by the four streams that come from terrestrial Paradise. For
Mesopotamia, and the kingdom of Chaldea, and Arabia, are between the two
rivers of Tigris and Euphrates. And Media and Persia are between the
rivers of Nile and Tigris. And Syria, Palestine, and Phœnicia are
between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea, which sea extends in
length from Marok, on the sea of Spain, to the great sea, so that it
lasts beyond Constantinople three thousand and forty Lombard miles.
Towards the Ocean Sea, in India, is the kingdom of Scythia, which is
inclosed with mountains; and after, below Scythia, from the Caspian Sea
to the river Thainy, is Amazonia, or the land of Feminy, where there is
no man, but only women. And after is Albania, a full great realm; so
called because the people are whiter there than in other countries
thereabout. And in that country are so great and strong dogs, that they
assail lions and slay them. And then after is Hircania, Bactria, Iberia,
and many other kingdoms. And between the Red Sea and the Ocean Sea,
towards the south, is the kingdom of Ethiopia, and Lybia the Higher.
Which land of Lybia (that is to say, Lower Lybia) commences at the sea
of Spain, from thence where the Pillars of Hercules are, and extends to
Egypt and towards Ethiopia. In that country of Lybia the sea is higher
than the land, and it seems that it would cover the earth, and yet it
passeth not its bounds. And men see in that country a mountain to which
no man cometh. In this land of Lybia, whoso turneth towards the east,
the shadow of himself is on the right side, and here, in our country,
the shadow is on the left side. In that sea of Lybia is no fish, for
they may not live for the great heat of the sun; because the water is
ever boiling for the great heat. And many other lands there are that it
were too long to tell or to number; but of some parts I shall speak more
plainly hereafter.

Whoever will go towards Tartary, Persia, Chaldea, and India, must enter
the sea at Genoa, or at Venice, or at some other haven that I have
mentioned before, and then pass the sea and arrive at Trebizond, which
is a good city; and it was wont to be the haven of Pountz (Pontus).
There is the haven of Persians and of Medians, and of the countries
beyond. In that city lieth St. Athanasius, who was bishop of Alexandria,
and made the psalm _Quicunque vult_[358]. This Athanasius was a great
doctor of divinity; and because he preached and spake so deeply of
divinity and of the godhead, he was accused to the pope of Rome of being
a heretic; wherefore the pope sent after him, and put him in prison, and
while he was in prison he made that psalm, and sent it to the pope, and
said, that if he were a heretic that was his heresy; for that, he said,
was his belief. And when the pope saw it, and had examined it that it
was perfect and good, and verily our faith and our belief, he set him at
liberty, and commanded that psalm to be said every day at prayer; and so
he held Athanasius a good man. But he would never go to his bishopric
again, because he had been accused of heresy. Trebizond was formerly
held by the emperor of Constantinople; but a great man, whom he sent to
keep the country against the Turks, usurped the land and held it to
himself, and called himself emperor of Trebizond[359].

And from thence men go through Little Ermony (Armenia), in which is an
old castle, on a rock, called the castle of the Sparrow-hawk. It is
beyond the city of Layays (Lajazzo), beside the town of Pharsipee, which
belongs to the lordship of Cruk, a rich lord and a good Christian. There
is found a sparrow-hawk upon a fair perch, and a fair lady of fairie,
who keeps it; and whoever will watch that sparrow-hawk seven days and
seven nights, and, as some men say, three days and three nights, without
company and without sleep, that fair lady shall give him, when he hath
done, the first wish that he will wish of earthly things; and that hath
been proved oftentimes. And once a king of Ermony, who was a worthy
knight and brave man, and a noble prince, watched that hawk some time;
and at the end of seven days and seven nights the lady came to him, and
bade him wish, for he had well deserved it; and he answered that he was
a great lord enough, and well in peace, and had enough of worldly
riches; and therefore he would wish no other thing but the body of that
fair lady, to have at his will. And she answered him, that he knew not
what he asked, and said that he was a fool to desire what he might not
have; for she said that he should only ask an earthly thing; and she was
no earthly thing, but a spiritual thing. And the king said that he would
ask no other thing. And the lady answered, "Since I may not withdraw you
from your lewd boldness, I shall give you without wishing, and to all
that shall come of you. Sir king, you shall have war without peace, and
always, to the ninth degree, you shall be in subjection to your enemies,
and you shall be in need of all goods." And since that neither the king
of Ermony nor the country were ever in peace or rich; and they have
since been always under tribute to the Saracens. At another time the son
of a poor man watched the hawk, and wished that he might have good
success, and be fortunate in merchandise. And the lady granted it him,
and he became the richest and most famous merchant that might be on sea
or on land; and he became so rich that he knew not one-thousandth part
of what he had; and he was wiser in wishing than the king. Also a knight
of the temple watched there, and wished a purse ever full of gold; and
the lady granted him; but she told him that he had asked the destruction
of the order; for the trust of that purse, and for the great pride that
they should have; and so it was. And therefore let him who watches
beware; for if he sleep he is lost, that never man shall see him more.
This is not the direct way to go to the parts that I have mentioned
before, but to see the marvel of which I have spoken.

And, therefore, whoever will go the direct way must proceed from
Trebizond towards Ermony the Great, to a city called Artyroun
(Erzeroum), which was formerly a good and populous city, but the Turks
have greatly wasted it. Thereabout grows little or no wine or fruit. In
this land the earth is higher than in any other; and that makes it very
cold. And there are many good waters and good wells, that come under
earth from the river of Paradise, which is called Euphrates, which is a
day's journey from this city. And that river comes towards India, under
earth, and reappears in the land of Altazar. And so men pass by this
Ermony, and enter the sea of Persia. From that city of Artyroun men go
to a mountain called Sabissocolle; and there beside is another mountain
called Ararat, but the Jews call it Taneez, where Noah's ship rested,
and still is upon that mountain; and men may see it afar in clear
weather. That mountain is full seven miles high; and some men say that
they have seen and touched the ship, and put their fingers in the parts
where the devil went out, when Noah said "Benedicite."[360] But they
that say so speak without knowledge; for no one can go up the mountain
for the great abundance of snow which is always on that mountain, both
summer and winter, so that no man ever went up since the time of Noah,
except a monk, who, by God's grace, brought one of the planks down,
which is yet in the monastery at the foot of the mountain. And beside is
the city of Dayne, which was founded by Noah, near which is the city of
Any[361], in which were one thousand churches. This monk had great
desire to go up that mountain; and so upon a day he went up; and when he
had ascended the third part of the mountain he was so weary that he fell
asleep; and when he awoke he found himself lying at the foot of the
mountain. Then he prayed devoutly to God that he would suffer him to go
up; and an angel came to him, and said that he should go up; and so he
did. And since that time no one ever went up; wherefore men should not
believe such words.

From that mountain we go to the city of Thauriso (Tabreez), which was
formerly called Taxis, a very fair and great city, and one of the best
in the world for merchandise; and it is in the land of the emperor of
Persia. And they say that the emperor receives more in that city for
custom of merchandise than the richest Christian king alive from all his
realm; for the toll and custom of his merchants is beyond calculation.
Beside that city is a hill of salt, of which every man taketh what he
will. There dwell many Christians under tribute of Saracens. And from
that city men pass by many towns and castles, on the way towards India
to the city of Sadony, which is ten days from Thauriso; and it is a very
noble and great city. And there the emperor of Persia dwells in summer,
because the climate is temperate. And there are good rivers capable of
bearing ships. Then men go the way towards India for many days, and by
many countries, to the city called Cassak, a full noble city, abounding
in corn, wines, and all other goods. This is the city where the three
kings met together when they went to seek our Lord in Bethlehem, to
worship him, and to present him with gold, essence, and myrrh. And it is
from that city to Bethlehem fifty-three days. From that city men go to
another city, called Bethe (Beth-Germa? or Old Bagdad), a day from the
sea which they call the Sandy Sea. This is the best city which the
emperor of Persia has in all his land, and it is called there
Chardabago; and others call it Vapa. And the Pagans say that no
Christian may remain long alive in that city; but they die within short
time, and no man knows the cause. Afterwards men go by many cities and
towns and great countries to the city of Cornaa (Kornah?), which was
formerly so great that the walls are twenty-five miles about. The walls
are still standing, but it is not all inhabited. From Cornaa men go by
many lands, and many cities and towns, unto the land of Job; and there
ends the land of the emperor of Persia.



After leaving Cornaa, we enter the land of Job, a very fair country, and
abounding in all goods; and men call it the land of Sweze (Susiana). In
that land is the city of Theman. Job was a pagan, and he was son of Are
of Gosre, and held the land as prince of the country; and he was so rich
that he knew not the hundredth part of his goods. And, although he was a
pagan, still he served God well, after his law; and our Lord took
his service in satisfaction. And when he fell in poverty he was
seventy-eight years of age. And afterwards, when God had tried his
patience, which was so great, he brought him again to riches, and to
higher estate than before. And after that he was king of Idumea, after
king Esau. And when he was king he was called Jobab. And in that kingdom
he lived afterwards one hundred and seventy years[362]; and so he was of
age, when he died, two hundred and forty-eight years. In that land of
Job there is no want of any thing needful to man's body. There are
hills, where they get manna in greater abundance than in any other
country. This manna is called bread of angels; and it is a white thing,
very sweet and delicious, and sweeter than honey or sugar; it comes of
the dew of heaven, that falls upon the herbs in that country; and it
congeals, and becomes white and sweet; and they put it in medicines for
rich men, for it cleanseth the blood, and putteth out melancholy. This
land of Job borders on the kingdom of Chaldea. This land of Chaldea is
very extensive; and the language of that country is greater in sounding
than it is in other parts beyond the sea. We pass it to go to the Tower
of Babylon the Great, of which I have spoken, where all the languages
were first changed; and that is four days from Chaldea. In that realm
are fair men, and they go full nobly arrayed in cloths of gold,
orfrayed, and apparelled with great pearls and precious stones full
nobly; but the women are very ugly, and vilely arrayed; and they go
barefoot, and clothed in evil garments, large and wide, but short to the
knees, and long sleeves down to the feet, like a monk's frock, and their
sleeves are hanging about their shoulders; and they are black women,
foul and hideous; and truly they are as bad as they are foul. In that
kingdom of Chaldea, in a city called Ur, dwelt Terah, Abraham's father;
and there was Abraham born, which was in the time that Ninus was king of
Babylon, of Arabia, and of Egypt. This Ninus made the city of Nineveh,
which Noah had begun; and because Ninus completed it, he called it
Nineveh, after his own name. There lies Tobit the prophet, of whom Holy
Writ speaketh. And from that city of Ur Abraham departed, by the
commandment of God, after the death of his father, and led with him
Sarah, his wife, and Lot, his brother's son, because he had no child.
And they went to dwell in the land of Canaan, in a place called Shechem.
And this Lot was he who was saved, when Sodom and Gomorrah and the other
cities, where the Dead Sea now is, were burnt and sunk down to hell, as
I have told you before.

Beside the land of Chaldea is the land of Amazonia, in which is all
women, and no man; not, as some men say, because men may not live there,
but because the women will not suffer men amongst them, to be their
sovereigns[363]. This land of Amazonia is an island surrounded by the
sea, except in two places, where are two entrances. And beyond the
water dwell the men who are their paramours, where they go to solace
them when they will. Beside Amazonia is the land of Tarmegyte, a great
and very pleasant country, and for the goodness of which king Alexander
made there the city of Alexandria: he made twelve cities of the same
name, but that city is now called Celsite. And from that other side of
Chaldea, toward the south, is Ethiopia, a great country, which extends
to the extremity of Egypt. Ethiopia is divided into two principal parts,
the east and the south, the latter part being called Mauritania. And the
people of that country are blacker than in the other part, and are
called Moors. In that country is a well, which in the day is so cold
that no man may drink thereof, and in the night it is so hot that no man
may suffer his hand therein. Towards the south, to pass by the Ocean
Sea, is a great country, but men may not dwell there, for the fervent
burning of the sun. In Ethiopia all the rivers and waters are troubled,
and somewhat salt, for the great heat that is there. And the people of
that country are easily intoxicated, and have but little appetite for
meat. And they are afflicted with dysenteries, and live not long. In
Ethiopia, the children, when young, are all yellow; and when they grow
older that yellowness turns to black. In Ethiopia is the city of Saba
and the land where one of the three kings reigned who came to our Lord
in Bethlehem.

From Ethiopia they go to India through many different countries; and men
call the higher India Emlak. India is divided into three principal
parts: the Greater, which is a very hot country; and India the Less,
which is a temperate country, extending to the land of Media; and the
third part, toward the north, is so cold, that for continual frost the
water becomes crystal; and upon those rocks of crystal grow the good
diamonds, that are of troubled colour. Yellow crystal draws colour like
oil. And they are so hard that no man may polish them; and men call them
diamonds in that country, and _hamese_ in another country. Other
diamonds are found in Arabia, but they are not so good; they are browner
and more tender. And other diamonds also are found in the island of
Cyprus, which are still more tender, and may easily be polished; and
they find diamonds also in Macedonia; but the best and most precious are
in India. And they often find hard diamonds in a mass which comes out
of gold, when they break the mass in small pieces, to purify it and
refine it, out of the mine. And it sometimes happens that they find some
as great as a pea, and some less; and they are as hard as those of
India. And although men find good diamonds in India, yet nevertheless
men find them more commonly upon the rocks in the sea, and upon hills
where the mine of gold is. They grow many together, one little, another
great; and there are some of the greatness of a bean, and some as great
as a hazel nut. They are square and pointed of their own kind, both
above and beneath, without work of man's hand; and they grow together,
male and female, and are nourished by the dew of heaven; and they
engender commonly and bring forth small children, that multiply and grow
all the year. I have oftentimes tried the experiment, that if a man keep
them with a little of the rock, and wet them with May-dew often, they
shall grow every year, and the small will grow great[364]; for right as
the fine pearl congeals and grows great by the dew of heaven, right so
doth the true diamond; and right as the pearl of its own nature takes
roundness, so the diamond, by virtue of God, takes squareness. And a man
should carry the diamond on his left side, for it is of greater virtue
than on the right side[365]; for the strength of their growing is toward
the north, that is the left side of the world; and the left part of man
is, when he turns his face towards the east. And if you wish to know the
virtues of the diamond (as men may find in the "Lapidary,"[366] with
which many men are not acquainted), I shall tell you, as they beyond the
sea say and affirm, from whom all science and philosophy comes. He who
carries the diamond upon him, it gives him hardiness and manhood, and it
keeps the limbs of his body whole. It gives him victory over his enemies
in court and in war, if his cause be just; and it keeps him that bears
it in good wit; and it keeps him from strife and riot, from sorrows and
from enchantments, and from phantasies and illusions of wicked spirits.
And if any cursed witch or enchanter would bewitch him that bears the
diamond, all that sorrow and mischance shall turn to the offender,
through virtue of that stone; and also no wild beast dare assail the man
who bears it on him. Also the diamond should be given freely, without
coveting and without buying, and then it is of greater virtue; and it
makes a man stronger and firmer against his enemies; and heals him that
is lunatic, and those whom the fiend pursues or torments. And if venom
or poison be brought in presence of the diamond, anon it begins to grow
moist and sweat. There are also diamonds in India that are called
violastres (for their colour is like violet, or more brown than
violets), that are very hard and precious, but some men like them not so
well as the others. Also there is another kind of diamonds that are as
white as crystal; but they are a little more troubled; and they are good
and of great virtue, and they are all square and pointed of their own
nature; and some are six-square, some four-square, and some three, as
nature shapes them; and, therefore, when great lords and knights go to
seek honour in arms, they gladly bear the diamond upon them.

I shall speak a little more of the diamonds, that they who know them not
may not be deceived by chapmen who go through the country selling them;
for whoever will buy the diamond, it is needful that he know them,
because men counterfeit them often with crystal, which is yellow; and
with sapphires of citron colour, which is yellow also; and with the
sapphire loupe, and with many other stones. But these counterfeits are
not so hard; and the points will break easily, and men may easily polish
them. But some workmen, for malice, will not polish them, to that
intent, to make men believe that they may not be polished. But men may
assay them in this manner; first cut with them or write with them in
sapphires, in crystal, or in other precious stones. Also take the
adamant[367], that is, the shipman's stone, that draws the needle to it,
and lay the diamond on it, and lay the needle before the adamant; and if
the diamond be good and virtuous, the adamant draws not the needle,
while the diamond is there present. This is the proof that they beyond
the sea use. Nevertheless it happens often that the good diamond loses
its virtue by sin, and for incontinence of him that bears it; and then
it is needful to make it recover its virtue again, or else it is of
little value.



In India are very many different countries; and it is called India, from
a river which runs through the country called Indus. In that river they
find eels thirty feet long and more[368]. And the people that dwell near
that water are of evil colour, green and yellow. In India, and about
India, are more than five thousand inhabited islands, good and great,
besides those that are uninhabitable, and other small islands. Every
island has great plenty of cities, and towns, and people without
number[369]. For men of India have this condition of nature, that they
never go out of their own country, and therefore there is great
multitude of people; but they are not stirring or moveable, because they
are in the first climate, that is, of Saturn. And Saturn is slow, and
little moving; for he tarrieth thirty years to make his course through
the twelve signs; and the moon passes through the twelve signs in a
month. And because Saturn is so slow of motion, the people of that
country, that are under his climate, have no inclination or will to move
or stir to seek strange places. Our country is all the contrary; for we
are in the seventh climate, which is of the moon, and the moon moves
rapidly, and is a planet of progression; and for that reason it gives us
a natural will to move lightly, and to go different ways, and to seek
strange things and other diversities of the world; for the moon goes
round the earth more rapidly than any other planet.

Also men go through India by many different countries, to the great Sea
of Ocean. And afterwards men find there an island that is called
Hermes[370]; and there come merchants of Venice and Genoa, and of other
parts, to buy merchandise; but there is great heat in that district. In
that country, and in Ethiopia, and in many other countries, the
inhabitants lie all naked in rivers and waters, men and women together,
from undurn[371] of the day till it be past noon. And they lie all in
the water, except the face, for the great heat that there is. And the
women have no shame of the men, but lie all together, side by side, till
the heat is past. There may men see many foul figures assembled, and
chiefly near the good towns. In that island are ships without nails of
iron or bonds, on account of the rocks of adamants (loadstones[372]);
for they are all abundant thereabout in that sea, that it is marvellous
to speak of; and if a ship passed there that had either iron bonds or
iron nails, it would perish; for the adamant, by its nature, draws iron
to it; and so it would draw to it the ship, because of the iron, that it
should never depart from it.

From that island men go by sea to another island called Chana, where is
abundance of corn and wine; and it was wont to be a great island, and a
great and good haven, but the sea has greatly wasted it and overcome it.
The king of that country was formerly so strong and so mighty that he
held war against king Alexander. The people of that country differ in
their religious belief; for some worship the sun, some the moon, some
the fire, some trees, some serpents, or the first thing that they meet
in a morning; and some worship simulacres, and some idols. Between
simulacres and idols there is a great difference; for simulacres are
images made after the likeness of men or of women, or of the sun or of
the moon, or of any beast, or of any natural thing; and an idol is an
image made by the lewd will of man, which is not to be found among
natural things, as an image that has four heads, one of a man, another
of a horse, or of an ox, or of some other beast, that no man has seen in
nature. And they that worship simulacres worship them for some worthy
man who once existed, as Hercules and many others, that did many wonders
in their time. For they say well that they are not gods; for they know
well that there is a God of nature that made all things, who is in
heaven; but they know well that this man may not do the wonders that he
did, unless it had been by the special gift of God, and therefore they
say that he was well with God, wherefore they worship him. And so they
say of the sun; because it changes the season and gives heat and
nourishes all things upon earth; and since it is of so great profit,
they know well that that might not be, unless God loved it more than any
other thing. And because God has given it greater virtue in the world,
therefore it is right, as they say, to worship and reverence it. And so
they say of other planets, and of the fire also, because it is so
profitable. And of idols, they say also that the ox is the most holy
beast that is on earth, and most patient and more profitable than any
other; and they know well that it may not be without special grace of
God, and therefore make they their god of an ox the one part, and the
other part of a man, because man is the noblest creature on earth, and
also he hath lordship above all beasts; therefore make they the upper
half of the idol of a man, and the lower half of an ox; and so of
serpents and of other beasts, and different things that they worship,
that they meet first in a morning. And they worship also especially all
those that they have good meeting of, and when they speed well in their
journey, after their meeting, and mostly such as they have proved and
assayed by experience of long time; for they say, that that good meeting
may not come but by the grace of God; and therefore they make images
like to those things in which they have belief, to behold them and
worship them first in the morning, before they meet any contrarious
thing. And there are also some Christians who say that it is good to
meet some beasts first in the morning, and bad to meet others; and that
they have often proved that it is very unlucky to meet the hare, and
swine, and many other beasts; and the sparrow-hawk, and other ravenous
birds, when they fly after their prey, and take it before armed men, is
a good sign, and if they fail of taking their prey it is an evil sign;
and also, to such people, it is unlucky to meet ravens. There are many
people that believe in these things, and in other such, because it
happens often so to fall after their fantasies; and also there are men
enough that disbelieve in them. And since Christians have such belief,
who are instructed and taught all day by holy doctrine wherein they
should believe, it is no wonder that the Pagans, who have no good
doctrine, but only of their nature, believe more largely, on account of
their simplicity. And truly I have seen Pagans and Saracens, whom men
call augurs, that when we ride in arms in different countries
against our enemies, they would tell us, by the flight of birds, the
prognostications of things that fell after; and so they did full often,
and offered to pledge their heads that it would fall as they said. But a
man should not, therefore, put his belief in such things, but always
have full trust and belief in God our sovereign lord. The Saracens have
won and now hold this island of Chana. It contains many lions, and many
other wild beasts, with rats as great as dogs, which they take with
great mastiffs, for cats cannot take them. In this island, and many
others, they do not bury their dead; for the heat is so great, that in a
little time the flesh will consume from the bones.

From thence men go by sea towards India the Greater, to a good and fair
city called Sarche, where dwell many Christians of good faith: and there
are many monks, especially mendicants. Thence men go by sea to the land
of Lomb, in which grows the pepper, in the forest called Combar, and it
grows nowhere else in all the world; that forest extends full eighteen
days in length. In the forest are two good cities, one called Fladrine,
and the other Zinglantz, in each of which dwell many Christians and
Jews; for it is a good and rich country, but the heat is exceeding. And
you shall understand that the pepper grows like a wild vine, which is
planted close by the trees of that wood, to sustain it; the fruit hangs
like bunches of grapes, with which the tree is so laden that it seems
that it would break; and when it is ripe, it is all green like ivy
berries; and then men cut them as they do the vines, and put them upon
an oven, where they become black and crisp. There are three kinds of
pepper all on one tree; long pepper, black pepper, and white pepper. The
long pepper is called Sorbotin; the black is called Fulful; and the
white is called Bano. The long pepper comes first, when the leaf begins
to appear, and is like the catkins of hazel that come before the leaf,
and it hangs low. Next comes the black with the leaf, like clusters of
grapes, all green; and, when gathered, it becomes the white, which is
somewhat less than the black, and of that but little is brought to this
country, for they keep it for themselves, because it is better and
milder than the black. In that country are many kinds of serpents and
other vermin, in consequence of the great heat of the country and of the
pepper. And some men say that, when they will gather the pepper, they
make fires and burn thereabouts, to make the serpents and cockodrills
to fly; but this is not true. But thus they do: they anoint their hands
and feet with a juice made of snails and other things, of which the
serpents and venomous beasts hate the savour; and that makes them fly
before them, because of the smell, and then they gather in the pepper in

Toward the head of that forest is the city of Polombe, above which is a
great mountain, also called Polombe, from which the city has its name.
And at the foot of that mountain is a fair and great well, which has the
odour and savour of all spices; and at every hour of the day it changes
its odour and savour diversely; and whoever drinks three times fasting
of the water of that well is whole of all kind of sickness that he has;
and they that dwell there, and drink often of that well, never have
sickness, but appear always young. I have drunk thereof three or four
times, and methinks I still fare the better. Some men call it the Well
of Youth; for they that often drink thereof appear always young, and
live without sickness[373]. And men say that that well comes out of
Paradise, and therefore it is so virtuous. All that country grows good
ginger; and therefore merchants go thither for spicery. In that land men
worship the ox, for his simpleness and for his meekness, and for the
profit that comes of him. They say that he is the holiest beast on
earth; for they consider that whosoever is meek and patient, he is holy
and profitable, for then, they say, he hath all virtues in him. They
make the ox to labour six or seven years, and then they eat him. And the
king of the country has always an ox with him; and his keeper has every
day great fees, and keeps every day his dung and urine in two
vessels of gold, and brings it before their prelate, whom they call
archiprotopapaton, and he carries it before the king, and makes over it
a great blessing; and then the king wets his hands in what they call
gall, and anoints his forehead and breast, and afterwards he rubs
himself with the dung and urine with great reverence, to be filled with
the virtues of the ox, and made holy by the virtue of that holy thing.
And when the king has done, the lords follow his example; and after them
their ministers, and other men, if there be any left. In that country
they make idols, half man, half ox; and in those idols evil spirits
speak, and even answer to men. Before these idols men often slay their
children, and sprinkle the blood on the idols, and so they make their
sacrifice. And when any man dies in the country they burn his body in
the name of penance, to that intent that he suffer no pain in earth, by
being eaten by worms. And if his wife have no child they burn her with
him, and say that it is right that she accompany him in the other world
as she did in this. But if she have children with him, they let her live
with them, to bring them up, if she will. And if she love more to live
with her children then to die with her husband, they hold her for false
and cursed; and she shall never be loved or trusted by the people. And
if the woman die before the husband, they burn him with her, if he will;
and if he will not, no man constraineth him thereto, but he may wed
another time without blame or reproof. In that country grow many strong
vines, and the women drink wine, and men not; and the women shave their
beards, and the men not.



From that country we pass many districts, towards a country ten days'
journey thence, called Mabaron[374], which is a great kingdom,
containing many fair cities and towns. In that kingdom lies the body of
St. Thomas the Apostle, in flesh and bone, in a fair tomb, in the city
of Calamy; for there he was martyred and buried. But men of Assyria
carried his body into Mesopotamia, into the city of Edessa; and,
afterwards, he was brought thither again. And the arm and the hand that
he put in our Lord's side, when he appeared to him after his
resurrection, is yet lying in a vessel without the tomb. By that hand
they there make all their judgments. For when there is any dissension
between two parties, and each of them maintains his cause, both parties
write their causes in two bills, and put them in the hand of St.
Thomas; and anon he casts away the bill of the wrong cause, and holds
still the bill with the right cause. And, therefore, men come from far
countries to have judgment of doubtful causes. The church where St.
Thomas lies is both great and fair, and full of great simulacres, which
are great images that they call their gods, of which the least is as
great as two men. And, amongst the others, there is a great image larger
than any of the others, all covered with fine gold and precious stones
and rich pearls; and that idol is the god of false Christians, who have
renounced their faith. It sits in a chair of gold, very nobly arrayed,
and has about the neck large girdles made of gold and precious stones
and pearls. The church is full richly wrought, and gilt all over within.
And to that idol men go on pilgrimage, as commonly and with as great
devotion as Christian men go to St. James, or other holy pilgrimages.
And many people that come from far lands to seek that idol, for the
great devotion that they have, never look upwards, but evermore down to
the earth, for dread to see any thing about them that should hinder them
of their devotion. And some who go on pilgrimage to this idol bear
knives in their hands, that are very keen and sharp, and continually, as
they go, they smite themselves on their arms, legs, and thighs, with
many hideous wounds; and so they shed their blood for love of that idol.
They say that he is blessed and holy that dieth so for love of his god.
And others there are who carry their children to be slain as a sacrifice
to that idol; and after they have slain them, they sprinkle the blood
upon the idol. And some, who come from far, in going towards this idol,
at every third pass that they go from their home, they kneel, and so
continue till they come thither; and when they come there, they take
incense and other aromatic things of noble smell, and scent the idol, as
we here do God's precious body. And so people come to worship this
image, some a hundred miles, and some many more. And before the minster
of this idol is a pool, like a great lake, full of water; and therein
pilgrims cast gold and silver, pearls and precious stones, without
number, instead of offerings. And when the ministers of that church need
to make any reparation of the church or of any of the idols, they take
gold and silver, pearls and precious stones, out of the pond, to pay the
expenses of such thing as they make or repair. At great feasts and
solemnities of that idol, as the dedication of the church and the
enthroning of the idol, all the country about meet there, and set the
idol upon a chair with great reverence, well arrayed with cloths of
gold, of rich cloths of Tartary, of camaka[375], and other precious
cloths; and they lead him about the city with great solemnity. And
before the chair go first in procession all the maidens of the country,
two and two together; and, after them, the pilgrims. And some of them
fall down under the wheels of the chair, and let the chair go over them,
so that they die immediately. And some have their arms or their limbs
broken. And all this they do for love of their god, in great devotion.
And they think that the more pain and tribulation they suffer for love
of their god, the more joy they shall have in another world. In a word,
they suffer so great pains and so hard martyrdoms for love of their
idol, that a Christian, I believe, durst not take upon him the tenth
part of the pain for love of our Lord Jesus Christ. And after them,
before the chair, go all the minstrels of the country, with divers
instruments, and make all the melody they can. And when they have all
gone about the city, they return to the minster and put the idol again
into its place. And then, for the love and in worship of that idol, and
for the reverence of the feast, two hundred or three hundred persons
slay themselves with sharp knives, whose bodies they bring before the
idol; and then they say that those are saints, because they slew
themselves of their own good will, for love of their idol. And as men
here, that had a holy saint of their kin, would think that it was to
them a high worship, right so they think there. And as men here devoutly
would write holy saints' lives and their miracles, and sue for their
canonizations, right so do they there for them that slay themselves
voluntarily for love of their idol. And they say that they are glorious
martyrs and saints, and put them in their writings and in their
litanies, and boast them greatly one to another of their holy kinsmen,
that so became saints, and say, "I have more holy saints in my family
than thou in thine." And the custom also there is this, that when any
one has such devotion and intent to slay himself for love of his god,
they send for all their friends, and have numerous minstrels, and they
go before the idol, leading him that will slay himself for such
devotion, between them, with great reverence. And he, all naked, hath a
very sharp knife in his hand, and he cuts a great piece of his flesh and
casts it in the face of his idol, saying his prayers, recommending
himself to his god: and then he smites himself, and makes great wounds
and deep here and there, till he falls down dead. And then his friends
present his body to the idol; and then they say, singing, "Holy god,
behold what thy true servant hath done for thee; he hath forsaken his
wife, and his children, and his riches, and all the goods of the world
and his own life for the love of thee, and to make for thee sacrifice of
his flesh and of his blood. Wherefore, holy god, put him amongst thy
best beloved saints in thy bliss of paradise, for he hath well deserved
it." Then they make a great fire, and burn the body; and then every one
of his friends takes a quantity of the ashes, and keeps them instead of
relics, saying that it is a holy thing; and they dread no peril while
they have the holy ashes upon them. And they put his name in their
litanies as a saint.



From that country men go by the Sea of Ocean, and by many divers isles
and countries which it would be too long to describe. Fifty-two days
from the land I have spoken of there is another extensive land, which
they call Lamary, in which the heat is very great; and it is the custom
there for men and women to go all naked. And they scorn when they see
foreigners going clothed, because they say that God made Adam and Eve
all naked, and that no man should be ashamed of what is according to
nature. And they say that they that are clothed are people of another
world, or people who believe not in God. And they marry there no wives,
for all the women are common; and they say they sin if they refuse any
man: for God commanded Adam and Eve, and all that come of him, that they
should increase and multiply and fill the land, therefore may no man in
that country say, "This is my wife;" and no woman may say, "This is my
husband." And when they have children, they may give them to what man
they will, who has companied with them. And all land and property also
is common, nothing being shut up, or kept under lock, one man being as
rich as another. But in that country there is a cursed custom, for they
eat more gladly man's flesh than any other flesh, although their country
abounds in flesh, fish, corn, gold, and silver, and all other goods.
Thither merchants go, who bring with them children to sell to them of
the country, and they buy them; and if they are fat they eat them anon:
and if they are lean they feed them till they are fat, and then eat
them; and they say that it is the best and sweetest flesh in the world.

Neither in that land, nor in many others beyond it, may any man see the
polar star, which is called the Star of the Sea, which is immoveable,
and is towards the north, and which we call the load-star. But they see
another star opposite to it, towards the south, which is called
antarctic. And right as shipmen here govern themselves by the load-star,
so shipmen beyond these parts are guided by the star of the south, which
appears not to us. This star, which is towards the north, that we call
the load-star, appears not to them. For which cause, we may clearly
perceive that the land and sea are of round shape and form, because
the part of the firmament appears in one country which is not
seen inanother country. And men may prove by experience and their
understanding, that if a man found passages by ships, he might go by
ship all round the world, above and beneath; which I prove thus, after
what I have seen. For I have been towards the parts of Brabant, and
found by the astrolabe[376] that the polar star is fifty-three degrees
high; and further, in Germany and Bohemia, it has fifty-eight degrees;
and still further towards the north it is sixty-two degrees and some
minutes; for I myself have measured it by the astrolabe. Now you shall
know that opposite the polar star is the other star, called antarctic,
as I have said before. These two stars are fixed; and about them all the
firmament turns as a wheel that turns on its axle-tree; so that those
stars bear the firmament in two equal parts; so that it has as much
above as it has beneath. After this I have gone towards the south, and
have found, that in Lybia we first see the antarctic star; and I have
gone so far in those countries that I have found that star higher, so
that, towards Upper Lybia, it is eighteen degrees and certain minutes.
After going by sea and land towards the country of which I spoke last,
and to other isles and lands beyond that country, I have found the
antarctic star thirty-three degrees in altitude, and some minutes. And
if I had had company and shipping to go further, I believe certainly
that we should have seen all the roundness of the firmament all about.
For, as I have told you before, the half of the firmament is between the
two stars, which half I have seen. And the other half I have seen
towards the north, under the polar star, sixty-two degrees and ten
minutes; and, towards the south, I have seen under the antarctic
thirty-three degrees and sixteen minutes; and the half of the firmament
in all contains but one hundred and eighty degrees, of which I have seen
sixty-two on the one part, and thirty-three on the other, which makes
ninety-five degrees, and nearly the half of a degree; so that I have
seen all the firmament except eighty-four degrees and the half of a
degree; and that is not the fourth part of the firmament. By which I
tell you, certainly, that men may go all round the world, as well under
as above, and return to their country, if they had company, and
shipping, and guides; and always they would find men, lands, and isles,
as well as in our part of the world. For they who are towards the
antarctic are directly feet opposite feet of them who dwell under the
polar star; as well as we and they that dwell under us are feet opposite
feet. For all parts of sea and land have their opposites, habitable or

And know well that, after what I may perceive and understand, the lands
of Prester John, emperor of India, are under us; for in going from
Scotland or from England, towards Jerusalem, men go always upwards; for
our land is in the low part of the earth, towards the west; and the land
of Prester John is in the low part of the earth, towards the east; and
they have there the day when we have night; and, on the contrary, they
have the night when we have the day; for the earth and the sea are of a
round form, as I have said before; and as men go upward to one part,
they go downward to another. Also you have heard me say that Jerusalem
is in the middle of the world; and that may be proved and shown there by
a spear which is fixed in the earth at the hour of midday, when it is
equinoxial, which gives no shadow on any side. They, therefore, that
start from the west to go towards Jerusalem, as many days as they go
upward to go thither, in so many days may they go from Jerusalem to
other confines of the superficialties of the earth beyond. And when men
go beyond that distance, towards India and to the foreign isles, they
are proceeding on the roundness of the earth and the sea, under our
country. And therefore hath it befallen many times of a thing that I
have heard told when I was young, how a worthy man departed once from
our country to go and discover the world; and so he passed India, and
the isles beyond India, where are more than five thousand isles; and so
long he went by sea and land, and so environed the world by many
seasons, that he found an isle where he heard people speak his own
language, calling on oxen in the plough such words as men speak to
beasts in his own country, whereof he had great wonder, for he knew not
how it might be. But I say that he had gone so long, by land and sea,
that he had gone all round the earth, that he was come again to his own
borders, if he would have passed forth till he had found his native
country. But he turned again from thence, from whence he was come; and
so he lost much painful labour, as himself said, a great while after,
when he was coming home; for it befell after, that he went into Norway,
and the tempest of the sea carried him to an isle; and when he was in
that isle, he knew well that it was the isle where he had heard his own
language spoken before, and the calling of the oxen at the plough. But
it seems to simple and unlearned men that men may not go under the
earth, but that they would fall from under towards the heaven. But that
may not be any more than we fall towards heaven from the earth where we
are; for from what part of the earth that men dwell, either above or
beneath, it seems always to them that they go more right than any other
people. And right as it seems to us that they be under us, so it seems
to them that we are under them; for if a man might fall from the earth
unto the firmament, by greater reason the earth and the sea, that are so
great and so heavy, should fall to the firmament; but that may not be,
and therefore saith our Lord God, "He hangeth the earth upon
nothing."[377] And although it be possible so to go all round the
world, yet of a thousand persons not one might happen to return to his
country: for, from the greatness of the earth and sea, men may go by a
thousand different ways, that no one could be sure of returning exactly
to the parts he came from, unless by chance or by the grace of God; for
the earth is very large, and contains in roundness and circuit, above
and beneath, 20,425 miles, after the opinion of the old wise
astronomers; and, after my little wit, it seems to me, saving their
reverence, that it is more; for I say thus: let there be imagined a
figure that has a great compass; and, about the point of the great
compass, which is called the centre, let there be made another little
compass; then, afterwards, let the great compass be divided by lines in
many parts, and all the lines meet at the centre; so that in as many
parts as the great compass shall be divided, in so many shall the little
one that is about the centre be divided, although the spaces be less.
Let the great compass be represented for the firmament, and the little
compass for the earth; now the firmament is divided by astronomers into
twelve signs, and every sign is divided into thirty degrees. Also let
the earth be divided into as many parts as the firmament, and let every
part answer to a degree of the firmament; and I know well that, after
the authorities in astronomy, seven hundred furlongs of earth answer to
a degree of the firmament, that is eighty-seven miles and four furlongs.
Now, multiplied by three hundred and sixty times, it makes 31,500 miles,
each of eight furlongs, according to miles of our country. So much hath
the earth in circuit after my opinion and understanding.



Beside the isle I have spoken of, there is another great isle called
Sumobor[378], the king of which is very mighty. The people of that isle
make marks in their faces with a hot iron, both men and women, as a mark
of great nobility, to be known from other people; for they hold
themselves most noble and most worthy of all the world. They have war
always with the people that go all naked. Fast beside is another rich
isle called Beteinga. And there are many other isles thereabout.

Fast beside that isle, to pass by sea, is a great isle and extensive
country, called Java, which is near two thousand miles in circuit. And
the king of that country is a very great lord, rich and mighty, having
under him seven other kings of seven other surrounding isles. This isle
is well inhabited, and in it grow all kinds of spices more plentifully
than in any other country, as ginger, cloves, canel, sedewalle, nutmegs,
and maces. And know well that the nutmeg bears the maces; for right as
the nut of the hazel hath a husk in which the nut is inclosed till it be
ripe, so it is of the nutmeg and of the maces. Many other spices and
many other goods grow in that isle; for of all things there is plenty,
except wine. Gold and silver are very plentiful. The king of that
country has a very noble and wonderful palace, and richer than any in
the world; for all the steps leading to halls and chambers are
alternately of gold and silver; and the pavements of halls and chambers
are squares of gold and silver; and all the walls within are covered
with gold and silver in thin plates; in which plates are inlaid stories
and battles of knights, the crowns and circles about whose heads are
made of precious stones and rich and great pearls. And the halls and the
chambers of the palace are all covered within with gold and silver, so
that no man would believe the richness of that palace unless he had seen
it. And know well that the king of that isle is so mighty, that he hath
many times overcome the great chan of Cathay in battle, who is the
greatest emperor under the firmament, either beyond the sea or on this
side; for they have often had war between them, because the great chan
would oblige him to hold his land of him; but the other at all times
defendeth himself well against him.

After that isle is another large isle, called Pathan, which is a great
kingdom, full of fair cities and towns. In that land grow trees that
bear meal, of which men make good bread, white, and of good savour; and
it seemeth as it were of wheat, but it is not quite of such savour. And
there are other trees that bear good and sweet honey; and others that
bear poison[379], against which there is no medicine but one; and that
is to take their own leaves, and stamp them and mix them with water,
and then drink it, for no medicine will avail. The Jews had sent for
some of this poison by one of their friends, to poison all Christendom,
as I have heard them say in their confession before dying; but, thanked
be Almighty God, they failed of their purpose, although they caused a
great mortality of people[380]. And there are other trees that bear
excellent wine. And if you like to hear how the meal comes out of the
trees, men hew the trees with an hatchet, all about the foot, till the
bark be separated in many parts; and then comes out a thick liquor,
which they receive in vessels, and dry it in the sun; and then carry it
to a mill to grind, and it becomes fair and white meal; and the honey,
and the wine, and the poison, are drawn out of other trees in the same
manner, and put in vessels to keep. In that isle is a dead sea, or lake,
that has no bottom; and if any thing fall into it, it will never come up
again. In that lake grow reeds, which they call Thaby, that are thirty
fathoms long; and of these reeds they make fair houses. And there are
other reeds, not so long, that grow near the land, and have roots full a
quarter of a furlong or more long, at the knots of which roots precious
stones are found that have great virtues; for he who carries any of them
upon him may not be hurt by iron or steel; and therefore they who have
those stones on them fight very boldly both on sea and land; and,
therefore, when their enemies are aware of this, they shoot at them
arrows and darts without iron or steel, and so hurt and slay them. And
also of those reeds they make houses and ships, and other things, as we
here make houses and ships of oak, or of any other trees. And let no man
think that I am joking, for I have seen these reeds with my own eyes
many times, lying upon the river of that lake, of which twenty of our
fellows might not lift up or bear one to the earth.

Beyond this isle men go by sea to another rich isle, called
Calonak[381], the king of which has as many wives as he will; for he
makes search through the country for the fairest maidens that may be
found, who are brought before him, and he taketh one one night, and
another another, and so forth in succession; so that he hath a thousand
wives or more. And he lies never but one night with one of them, and
another night with another, unless one happens to be more agreeable to
him than another. Thus the king gets many children, sometimes a hundred,
sometimes two hundred, and sometimes more. He hath also as many as
fourteen thousand elephants, or more, which are brought up amongst his
serfs in all his towns. And in case he has war with any of the kings
around him, he causes certain men of arms to go up into wooden castles,
which are set upon the elephants' backs, to fight against their enemies;
and so do other kings thereabouts; and they call the elephants _warkes_.

And in that isle there is a great wonder; for all kinds of fish that are
there in the sea come once a year, one kind after the other, to the
coast of that isle in so great a multitude that a man can see hardly any
thing but fish; and there they remain three days; and every man of the
country takes as many of them as he likes. And that kind of fish, after
the third day, departs and goes into the sea. And after them come
another multitude of fish of another kind, and do in the same manner as
the first did another three days; and so on with the other kinds, till
all the divers kinds of fishes have been there, and men have taken what
they like of them. And no man knows the cause; but they of the country
say that it is to do reverence to their king, who is the most worthy
king in the world, as they say, because he fulfils the commandment of
God to Adam and Eve, "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth;" and
because he multiplies so the world with children, therefore God sends
him the fishes of divers kinds, to take at his will, for him and all his
people; and thus all the fishes of the sea come to do him homage as the
most noble and excellent king of the world, and that is best beloved of
God, as they say.

There are also in that country a kind of snails, so great that many
persons may lodge in their shells, as men would do in a little house.
And there are other snails that are very great, but not so huge as the
other, of which, and of great white serpents with black heads, that are
as great as a man's thigh, and some less, they make royal meats for the
king and other great lords. And if a man who is married die in that
country, they bury his wife alive with him, for they say that it is
right that she make him company in the other world, as she did in this.

From that country they go by the Sea of Ocean, by an isle called
Caffolos; the natives of which, when their friends are sick, hang them
on trees, and say that it is better that birds, which are angels of God,
eat them, than the foul worms of the earth. Then we come to another
isle, the inhabitants of which are of full cursed kind, for they breed
great dogs, and teach them to strangle their friends, when they are
sick, for they will not let them die of natural death; for they say that
they should suffer great pain if they abide to die by themselves, as
nature would; and, when they are thus strangled, they eat their flesh as
though it were venison.

Afterwards men go by many isles by sea to an isle called Milk, where are
very cursed people; for they delight in nothing more than to fight and
slay men; and they drink most gladly man's blood, which they call Dieu.
And the more men that a man may slay, the more worship he hath amongst
them. And thence they go by sea, from isle to isle, to an isle called
Tracoda, the inhabitants of which are as beasts, and unreasonable, and
dwell in caves which they make in the earth, for they have not sense to
make houses. And when they see any man passing through their countries
they hide them in their caves. And they eat flesh of serpents, and they
speak nought, but hiss, as serpents do. After that isle, men go by the
Sea of Ocean, by many isles, to a great and fair isle called Nacumera,
which is in circuit more than a thousand miles. And all the men and
women of that isle have dogs' heads; and they are reasonable and of good
understanding, except that they worship an ox for their god. And also
every man of them beareth an ox of gold or silver on his forehead, in
token that they love well their god. And they go all naked, except a
little clout, and are large men and warlike, having a great target that
covers all the body, and a spear in their hand to fight with. And if
they take any man in battle they eat him. The king is rich and powerful,
and very devout after his law; and he has about his neck three hundred
orient pearls, knotted, as paternosters are here of amber. And as we say
our Pater Noster and Ave Maria, counting the paternosters, right so this
king says every day devoutly three hundred prayers to his god, before he
eats; and he beareth also about his neck an orient ruby, noble and
fine, which is a foot in length, and five fingers large. And when they
choose their king, they give him that ruby to carry in his hand, and so
they lead him riding all about the city. And that ruby he shall bear
always about his neck; for if he had not that ruby upon him they would
not hold him for king. The chan of Cathay has greatly coveted that ruby,
but he might never have it, neither for war, nor for any manner of
goods. This king is so righteous and equitable in his judgments, that
men may go safely through all his country, and bear with them what they
like, and no man shall be bold enough to rob them.

Hence men go to another isle called Silha, which is full eight hundred
miles in circuit. In that land is much waste, for it is so full of
serpents, dragons, and cockodrills, that no man dare dwell there. These
cockodrills are serpents, yellow and rayed above, having four feet, and
short thighs, and great nails like claws; and some are five fathoms in
length, and some of six, eight, or even ten; and when they go by places
that are gravelly, it appears as if men had drawn a great tree through
the gravelly place. And there are also many wild beasts, especially
elephants. In that isle is a great mountain, in the midst of which is a
large lake in a full fair plain, and there is great plenty of water. And
they of the country say that Adam and Eve wept on that mount a hundred
years[382], when they were driven out of Paradise. And that water, they
say, is of their tears; for so much water they wept, that made the
aforesaid lake. And at the bottom of that lake are found many precious
stones and great pearls. In that lake grow many reeds and great canes,
and there within are many cockodrills and serpents, and great water
leeches. And the king of that country, once every year, gives leave to
poor men to go into the lake to gather precious stones and pearls, by
way of alms, for the love of God, that made Adam. To guard against the
vermin, they anoint their arms, thighs, and legs with an ointment made
of a thing called limons, which is a kind of fruit like small pease, and
then they have no dread of cockodrills, or other venomous things. This
water runs, flowing and ebbing, by a side of the mountain; and in that
river men find precious stones and pearls, in great abundance. And the
people of that isle say commonly, that the serpents and wild beasts of
the country will do no harm to any foreigner that enters that country,
but only to men that are born there.



From that isle, in going by sea towards the south, is another great
isle, called Dondun, in which are people of wicked kinds, so that the
father eats the son, the son the father, the husband the wife, and the
wife the husband. And if it so befall that the father or mother or any
of their friends are sick, the son goes to the priest of their law, and
prays him to ask the idol if his father or mother or friend shall die;
and then the priest and the son go before the idol, and kneel full
devoutly, and ask of the idol; and if the devil that is within answer
that he shall live, they keep him well; and if he say that he shall die,
then the priest and the son go with the wife of him that is sick, and
they put their hands upon his mouth and stop his breath, and so kill
him. And after that, they chop all the body in small pieces, and pray
all his friends to come and eat; and they send for all the minstrels of
the country and make a solemn feast. And when they have eaten the flesh,
they take the bones and bury them, and sing and make great melody. The
king of this isle is a great and powerful lord, and has under him
fifty-four great isles, which give tribute to him; and in every one of
these isles is a king crowned, all obedient to that king. In one of
these isles are people of great stature, like giants, hideous to look
upon; and they have but one eye, which is in the middle of the forehead;
and they eat nothing but raw flesh and fish[383]. And in another isle
towards the south dwell people of foul stature and cursed nature, who
have no heads, but their eyes are in their shoulders.

In another isle are people who have the face all flat, without nose and
without mouth. In another isle are people that have the lip above the
mouth so great, that when they sleep in the sun they cover all the face
with that lip. And in another isle there are dwarfs, which have no
mouth, but instead of their mouth they have a little round hole; and
when they shall eat or drink, they take it through a pipe, or a pen, or
such a thing, and suck it in. And in another isle are people that have
ears so long that they hang down to their knees. And in another isle are
people that have horses' feet. In another isle are people that go upon
their hands and feet like beasts, and are all skinned and feathered, and
would leap as lightly into trees, and from tree to tree, as squirrels or
apes. In another isle are hermaphrodites. And in another isle are people
that go always upon their knees, and at every step they go it seems that
they would fall; and they have eight toes on every foot. Many other
divers people of divers natures there are in other isles about, of the
which it were too long to tell.

From these isles, in passing by the Sea of Ocean towards the east, by
many days, men find a great kingdom called Mancy, which is in India the
Greater; and it is the best land, and one of the fairest in all the
world; and the most delightful and plentiful of all goods. In that land
dwell many Christians and Saracens, for it is a good and great country.
And there are in it more than two thousand great and rich cities,
besides other great towns. And there is greater plenty of people there
than in any other part of India. In that country is no needy man; and
they are very fair people, but they are all pale. And the men have thin
and long beards, though with few hairs, scarcely any man having more
than fifty hairs in his beard, and one hair set here, another there, as
the beard of a leopard or cat. In that land are many fairer women than
in any other country beyond the sea; and therefore they call that land
Albany, because the people are white. And the chief city of that country
is called Latoryn; it is a day from the sea, and much larger than Paris.
In that city is a great river, bearing ships, which go to all the coasts
on the sea; for no city of the world is so well stored of ships. And all
the inhabitants of the city and of the country worship idols. In that
country the birds are twice as large as they are here. There are white
geese, red about the neck, with a great crest like a cock's comb upon
their heads; and they are much greater there than here. And there is
great abundance of serpents, of which men make great feasts, and eat
them at great solemnities. And he that maketh there a feast, be it ever
so costly, unless he have serpents it is not esteemed.

There are many good cities in that country, and men have great plenty of
all wines and victuals cheap. In that country are many churches of
religious men of their law; and in the churches are idols as great as
giants. And to these idols they give to eat at great festival days, in
this manner: they bring before them meat, hot from the fire, and they
let the smoke go up towards the idols; and then they say that the idols
have eaten, and then the religious men eat the meat afterwards. In that
country are white hens without feathers, but they bear white wool, as
sheep do here. In that country, women that are unmarried carry tokens on
their heads, like coronets, to be known for unmarried. Also in that
country are beasts taught by men to go into waters, rivers, and deep
ponds, to take fish; which beast is little, and men call them loyres.
And when men cast them into the water, anon they bring up great fishes,
as many as men will.

And from that city, at a distance of many days' journey, is another
city, one of the greatest in the world, called Cansay[384], that is to
say, the city of heaven. It is full fifty miles about, and is so
populous that in one house men make ten households. In that city are
twelve principal gates; and before each gate, three or four miles
distant, is a great town or city. That city is situated upon a great
lake on the sea, like Venice. And in that city are more than twelve
thousand bridges; and upon every bridge are strong and good towers, in
which dwell the wardens, to keep the city from the great chan. And on
the one side of the city runs a great river all along the city. And
there dwell Christians, and many merchants and other people of divers
nations, because the land is so good and abundant. And there grows very
good wine, which they call bigon, which is very strong and mild in
drinking. This is a royal city, where the king of Mancy formerly
resided; and there dwell many religious men, much resembling the order
of friars, for they are mendicants.

From that city men go by water, solacing and disporting them, till they
come to an abbey of monks fast by, who are good religious men, after
their faith and law. In that abbey is a great and fair garden, where are
many trees of divers kinds of fruits; and in this garden is a little
hill, full of pleasant trees. In that hill and garden are various
animals, as apes, monkeys, baboons, and many other divers beasts; and
every day, when the monks have eaten, the almoner carries what remains
to the garden, and strikes on the garden gate with a silver clicket that
he holds in his hand, and anon all the beasts of the hill, and of divers
places of the garden, come out, to the number of three or four thousand;
and they come in manner of poor men; and men give them the remnants in
fair vessels of silver gilt. And when they have eaten, the monk strikes
again on the garden gate with the clicket, and all the beasts return to
the places they came from. And they say that these beasts are souls of
worthy men, that resemble in likeness the beasts that are fair; and
therefore they give them meat for the love of God. And the other beasts,
that are foul, they say, are souls of poor men; and thus they believe,
and no man may put them out of this opinion. These beasts they take when
they are young, and nourish them thus with alms, as many as they may
find. And I asked them if it had not been better to have given that
relief to poor men, rather than to the beasts. And they answered me, and
said that they had no poor men amongst them in that country; and though
it had been so that poor men had been among them, yet were it greater
alms to give it to those souls that here do their penance. Many other
marvels are in that city, and in the country thereabout, that were too
long to tell you.

From that city men go by land six days to another city called Chilenfo,
of which the walls are twenty miles in circumference. In that city are
sixty bridges of stone, so fair that no man may see fairer. In that city
was the first seat of the king of Mancy, for it is a fair city and
plentiful in all goods. Hence we pass across a great river called Dalay,
which is the greatest river of fresh water in the world; for where it is
narrowest it is more than four miles broad. And then men enter again the
land of the great chan. That river goes through the land of pigmies,
where the people are small, but three spans long[385]; and they are
right fair and gentle, both the men and the women. They marry when they
are half a year of age, and get children; and they live but six or seven
years at most; and he that liveth eight years is considered very aged.
These men are the best workers of gold, silver, cotton, silk, and of all
such things, that are in the world. And they have oftentimes war with
the birds of the country, which they take and eat. This little people
neither labour in lands nor in vineyards; but they have great men
amongst them, of our stature, who till the land and labour amongst the
vines for them. And of the men of our stature they have as great scorn
and wonder as we should have among us of giants. There is a great and
fair city amongst others, with a large population of the little people;
and there are great men dwelling amongst them; but when they get
children they are as little as the pigmies; and therefore they are for
the most part all pigmies, for the nature of the land is such.

From that city men go by land, by many cities and towns, to a city
called Jamchay, which is noble and rich, and of great profit to the
lord; and thither go men to seek all kinds of merchandise. The lord of
the country hath every year, for rent of that city, (as they of the city
say,) fifty thousand cumants of florins of gold; for they count there
all by cumants, and every cumant is ten thousand florins of gold. The
king of that country is very powerful, yet he is under the great chan,
who hath under him twelve such provinces. In that country, in the good
towns, is a good custom; for whoever will make a feast to any of his
friends, there are certain inns in every good town; and he that will
make a feast will say to the host, "Array for me, to-morrow, a good
dinner for so many people," and tells him the number, and devises him
the viands; and he says, also, "Thus much I will spend, and no more."
And anon the host arrays for him, so fair, and so well, and so honestly,
that there shall lack nothing; and it shall be done sooner, and with
less cost, than if it were done in his own house. Five miles from that
city, towards the head of the river of Dalay, is another city, called
Menke, in which is a strong navy of ships, all white as snow, from the
colour of the trees of which they are made; and they are very great and
fair ships, and well ordained, and made with halls and chambers, and
other easements, as though it were on land. From thence men go by many
towns and many cities to a city called Lanteryne, eight days from the
city last mentioned. This city is situated upon a fair, great, and
broad river, called Caramaron, which passes through Cathay; and it often
overflows and does much harm.



Cathay is a great country, fair, noble, rich, and full of merchants.
Thither merchants go to seek spices and all manner of merchandises, more
commonly than in any other part. And you shall understand that merchants
who come from Genoa, or from Venice, or from Romania, or other parts of
Lombardy, go by sea and by land eleven or twelve months, or more
sometimes, before they reach the isle of Cathay, which is the principal
region of all parts beyond; and it belongs to the great chan. From
Cathay men go towards the east, by many days' journey, to a good city,
between these others, called Sugarmago, one of the best stored with silk
and other merchandises in the world. Then men come to another old city,
towards the east, in the province of Cathay, near which the men of
Tartary have made another city, called Caydon, which has twelve gates.
And between the two gates there is always a great mile; so that the two
cities, that is to say the old and the new, have in circuit more than
twenty miles. In this city is the seat of the great chan, in a very
great palace, the fairest in the world, the walls of which are in
circuit more than two miles; and within the walls it is all full of
other palaces. And in the garden of the great palace there is a great
hill, upon which there is another palace, the fairest and richest that
any man may devise. And all about the palace and the hill are many
trees, bearing divers fruits. And all about that hill are great and deep
ditches; and beside them are great fish-ponds, on both sides; and there
is a very fair bridge to pass over the ditches. And in these fish-ponds
are an extraordinary number of wild geese and ganders, and wild ducks,
and swans, and herons. And all about these ditches and fish-ponds is the
great garden, full of wild beasts, so that, when the great chan will
have any sport, to take any of the wild beasts, or of the fowls, he will
cause them to be driven, and take them at the windows, without going out
of his chamber. Within the palace, in the hall, there are twenty-four
pillars of fine gold; and all the walls are covered within with red
skins of animals called panthers, fair beasts and well smelling; so
that, for the sweet odour of the skins, no evil air may enter into the
palace. The skins are as red as blood, and shine so bright against the
sun that a man may scarcely look at them. And many people worship the
beasts when they meet them first in a morning, for their great virtue
and for the good smell that they have; and the skins they value more
than if they were plates of fine gold. And in the middle of this palace
is the mountour[386] of the great chan, all wrought of gold, and of
precious stones, and great pearls; and at the four corners are four
serpents of gold; and all about there are made large nets of silk and
gold, and great pearls hanging all about it. And under the mountour are
conduits of beverage that they drink in the emperor's court. And beside
the conduits are many vessels of gold, with which they that are of the
household drink at the conduit. The hall of the palace is full nobly
arrayed, and full marvellously attired on all parts, in all things that
men apparel any hall with. And first, at the head of the hall, is the
emperor's throne, very high, where he sits at meat. It is of fine
precious stones, bordered all about with purified gold, and precious
stones, and great pearls. And the steps up to the table are of precious
stones, mixed with gold. And at the left side of the emperor's seat is
the seat of his first wife, one step lower than the emperor; and it is
of jasper, bordered with gold and precious stones. And the seat of his
second wife is lower than his first wife; and is also of jasper,
bordered with gold, as that other is. And the seat of the third wife is
still lower, by a step, than the second wife; for he has always three
wives with him, wherever he is. And after his wives, on the same side,
sit the ladies of his lineage, still lower, according to their ranks.
And all those that are married have a counterfeit, made like a man's
foot, upon their heads, a cubit long, all wrought with great, fine, and
orient pearls, and above made with peacocks' feathers, and of other
shining feathers; and that stands upon their heads like a crest, in
token that they are under man's foot, and under subjection of man. And
they that are unmarried have none such. And after, at the right side of
the emperor, first sits his eldest son, who shall reign after him, one
step lower than the emperor, in such manner of seats as do the
empresses; and after him other great lords of his lineage, each of them
a step lower than the other, according to their rank. The emperor has
his table alone by himself, which is of gold and precious stones; or of
crystal, bordered with gold and full of precious stones; or of
amethysts, or of lignum aloes, that comes out of Paradise; or of ivory,
bound or bordered with gold. And each of his wives has also her table by
herself. And his eldest son, and the other lords also, and the ladies,
and all that sit with the emperor, have very rich tables, alone by
themselves. And under the emperor's table sit four clerks, who write all
that the emperor says, be it good or evil; for all that he says must be
held good; for he may not change his word nor revoke it.

At great feasts, men bring, before the emperor's table, great tables of
gold, and thereon are peacocks of gold, and many other kinds of
different fowls, all of gold, and richly wrought and enamelled; and they
make them dance and sing, clapping their wings together, and making
great noise; and whether it be by craft or by necromancy I know not, but
it is a goodly sight to behold. But I have the less marvel, because they
are the most skilful men in the world in all sciences and in all crafts;
for in subtility, malice, and forethought they surpass all men under
heaven; and therefore they say themselves that they see with two eyes,
and the Christians see but with one, because they are more subtle than
they. I busied myself much to learn that craft; but the master told me
that he had made a vow to his god to teach it no creature, but only to
his eldest son. Also above the emperor's table and the other tables, and
above a great part of the hall, is a vine made of fine gold, which
spreads all about the hall; and it has many clusters of grapes, some
white, some green, some yellow, some red, and some black, all of
precious stones: the white are of crystal, beryl, and iris; the yellow,
of topazes; the red, of rubies, grenaz, and alabraundines; the green, of
emeralds, of perydoz, and of chrysolites[387]; and the black, of onyx
and garnets. And they are all so properly made, that it appears a real
vine, bearing natural grapes. And before the emperor's table stand great
lords, and rich barons, and others, that serve the emperor at meat; and
no man is so bold as to speak a word, unless the emperor speak to him,
except minstrels, that sing songs and tell jests or other disports to
solace the emperor. And all the vessels that men are served with, in the
hall or in chambers, are of precious stones, and especially at great
tables, either of jasper, or of crystal, or of amethyst, or of fine
gold. And the cups are of emeralds, and sapphires, or topazes, of
perydoz, and of many other precious stones. Vessel of silver is there
none, for they set no value on it, to make vessels of; but they make
therewith steps, and pillars, and pavements, to halls and chambers. And
before the hall door stand many barons and knights full armed, to hinder
any one from entering, unless by the will or command of the emperor,
except they be servants or minstrels of the household.

And you shall understand that my fellows and I, with our yeomen, served
this emperor, and were his soldiers, fifteen months, against the king of
Mancy, who was at war with him, because we had great desire to see his
nobleness, and the estate of his court, and all his government, to know
if it were such as we heard say. And truly we found it more noble, and
more excellent and rich, and more marvellous, than ever we heard,
insomuch that we would never have believed it had we not seen it. For it
is not there as it is here. For the lords here have a certain number of
people as they may suffice; but the great chan hath every day people at
his cost and expense without number. But the ordinance, nor the expenses
in meat and drink, nor the honesty, nor the cleanliness, is not so
arranged there as it is here; for all the commons there eat without
cloth upon their knees; and they eat all manner of flesh, and little of
bread. And after meat they wipe their hands upon their skirts, and they
eat but once a day. But the estate of lords is full great, and rich, and
noble. And although some men will not believe me, but hold it for fable,
to tell them the nobleness of his person, and of his estate, and of his
court, and of the great multitude of people that he has, nevertheless I
will tell you a little of him and of his people, according as I have
seen the manner and order full many a time; and whoever will may believe
me, if he will, and whoever will not, may choose.



First I shall tell you why he was called the great chan. You shall
understand that all the world was destroyed by Noah's flood, except only
Noah, and his wife, and his children. Noah had three sons, Shem, Cham
(i. e. Ham), and Japheth. This Cham was he who saw his father naked when
he slept, and showed him to his brethren in scorn, and therefore he was
cursed of God. And Japheth turned his face away, and covered him. These
three brethren shared all the land; and this Cham, for his cruelty, took
the greater and the best part, toward the east, which is called Asia;
and Shem took Africa; and Japheth took Europe; and therefore is all the
earth parted in these three parts, by these three brethren. Cham was the
greatest and most mighty; and of him came more generations than of the
others. And of his son Cush was engendered Nimrod the giant, who was the
first king that ever was in the world, and he began the foundation of
the Tower of Babylon. And that time the fiends of hell came many times
and lay with the women of his generation, and engendered on them divers
people, as monsters, and people disfigured, some without heads, some
with great ears, some with one eye, some giants, some with horses' feet,
and many other different shapes contrary to nature. And of that
generation of Cham are come the Pagans, and different people that are in
islands of the sea about India. And forasmuch as he was the most mighty,
and no man might withstand him, he called himself the son of God, and
sovereign of all the world. And on account of this Cham, this emperor
called himself chan and sovereign of all the world. And of the
generation of Shem are come the Saracens. And of the generation of
Japheth came the people of Israel. And though we dwell in Europe, this
is the opinion that the Syrians and the Samaritans have amongst them,
and that they told me before I went towards India; but I found it
otherwise. Nevertheless the truth is this—that Tartars, and they that
dwell in Greater Asia, came of Cham. But the emperor of Cathay was
called not cham, but chan; and I shall tell you how. It is but little
more than eight score years since all Tartary was in subjection and
servage to other nations about; for they were but herdsmen, and did
nothing but keep beasts, and lead them to pastures. But among them they
had seven principal nations that were sovereigns of them all, of which
the first nation or lineage was called Tartar; and that is the most
noble and the most praised. The second lineage is called Tanghot; the
third, Eurache; the fourth, Valair; the fifth, Semoche; the sixth,
Megly; the seventh, Coboghe. Now it befell that of the first lineage
succeeded an old worthy man, that was not rich, who was called
Changuys[388]. This man lay one night in bed, and he saw in a vision
that there came before him a knight armed all in white, and he sat upon
a white horse, and said to him, "Chan, sleepest thou? The immortal God
hath sent me to thee; and it is his will that thou go to the seven
lineages, and say to them that thou shalt be their emperor; for thou
shalt conquer the lands and the countries that are about; and they that
march upon you shall be under your subjection, as you have been under
theirs; for that is God's immortal will." Changuys arose, and went to
the seven lineages, and told them what the white knight had said. And
they scorned him, and said that he was a fool; and so he departed from
them all ashamed. And the night following, this white knight came to the
seven lineages, and commanded them, on behalf of the immortal God, that
they should make this Changuys their emperor, and they should be out of
subjection, and they should hold all other regions about them in
servage, as they had been to them before. And next day they chose him to
be their emperor, and set him upon a black chest, and after that lifted
him up with great solemnity, and set him in a chair of gold, and did him
all manner of reverence; and they called him chan, as the white knight
called him. And when he was thus chosen, he would make trial if he might
trust in them or not, and whether they would be obedient to him, and
then he made many statutes and ordinances, that they call _Ysya Chan_.
The first statute was, that they should believe in and obey immortal
God, who is almighty, and who would cast them out of servage, and they
should at all times call to him for help in time of need. The second
statute was, that all manner of men that might bear arms should be
numbered, and to every ten should be a master, and to every hundred a
master, and to every thousand a master, and to every ten thousand a
master. After, he commanded the principals of the seven lineages to
leave and forsake all they had in goods and heritage, and from
thenceforth to be satisfied with what he would give them of his grace.
And they did so immediately. After this he commanded the principals of
the seven lineages, that each should bring his eldest son before him,
and with their own hands smite off their heads without delay. And
immediately his command was performed. And when the chan saw that they
made no obstacle to perform his commandment, then he thought that he
might well trust in them, and he commanded them presently to make them
ready, and to follow his banner. And after this, the chan put in
subjection all the lands about him. Afterwards it befell on a day, that
the chan rode with a few companies to behold the strength of the country
that he had won, and a great multitude of his enemies met with him, and
to give good example of bravery to his people, he was the first that
fought, and rushed into the midst of his enemies, and there was thrown
from his horse, and his horse slain. And when his people saw him on the
earth, they were all discouraged, and thought he had been dead, and fled
every one; and their enemies pursued them, but they knew not that the
emperor was there. And when they were returned from the pursuit, they
sought the woods, if any of them had been hid in them; and many they
found and slew. So it happened that as they went searching toward the
place where the emperor was, they saw an owl sitting on a tree above
him; and then they said amongst them that there was no man there,
because they saw the bird there, and so they went their way; and thus
the emperor escaped death. And then he went secretly by night, till he
came to his people, who were very glad of his coming, and gave great
thanks to immortal God, and to that bird by which their lord was saved;
and therefore, above all fowls of the world, they worship the owl; and
when they have any of its feathers, they keep them full preciously,
instead of relics, and bear them upon their heads with great reverence;
and they hold themselves blessed, and safe from all perils, while they
have these feathers on them, and therefore they bear them upon their
heads. After all this the chan assembled his people, and went against
those who had assailed him before, and destroyed them, and put them in
subjection and servage. And when he had won and put all the lands and
countries on this side Mount Belian in subjection, the white knight came
to him again in his sleep, and said to him, "Chan, the will of immortal
God is, that thou pass Mount Belian; and thou shalt win the land, and
thou shalt put many nations in subjection; and because thou shalt find
no good passage to go toward that country, go to Mount Belian, which is
upon the sea, and kneel there nine times towards the east, in the
worship of immortal God, and he shall show the way to pass by." And the
chan did so. And soon the sea, that touched and was close to the
mountain, began to withdraw itself, and exhibited a fair way of nine
feet broad; and so he passed with his people, and won the land of
Cathay, which is the greatest kingdom in the world. And on account of
the nine kneelings, and the nine feet of way, the chan and all the men
of Tartary have the number nine in great reverence[389]. And, therefore,
he that will make the chan any present, be it horses, birds, arrows,
bows, or fruit, or any other thing, he must always make it of the number
nine; and so the presents are more agreeable to him, and better
received, than if he were presented with a hundred or two hundred. Also,
when the chan of Cathay had won the country of Cathay, and put in
subjection many countries about, he fell sick. And when he felt that he
should die, he said to his twelve sons, that each of them should bring
him one of his arrows, and so they did anon[390]. And then he commanded
that they should bind them together in three places, and then he gave
them to his eldest son, and bade him break them; and he exerted himself
with all his might to break them, but he might not. And then the chan
bade his second son break them, and so to the others, one after another;
but none of them might break them. And then he bade the youngest son
separate them from each other, and break every one by itself; and so he
did. And then said the chan to his eldest son, and to all the others,
"Wherefore might you not break them?" And they answered that they might
not, because they were bound together. "And wherefore," quoth he, "hath
your little youngest brother broke them?" "Because," quoth they, "they
were separated from each other." Then said the chan, "My sons, truly
thus will it fare with you; for as long as you are bound together in
three places, that is to say, in love, truth, and good accord, no man
shall have power to grieve you; but if you be divided from these three
places, that one of you help not the other, you shall be destroyed and
brought to nothing; and if each of you love each other, and help each
other, you shall be lords and sovereigns over all other people." And
when he had made his ordinances he died: and then, after him, reigned
Ecchecha[391] Chan, his eldest son. And his other brethren went to
subdue many countries and kingdoms, unto the land of Prussia and Russia,
and took the name of chans, but they were all subject to their eldest
brother, and therefore was he called great chan. After Ecchecha reigned
Guyo[392] Chan, and after him Mango[393] Chan, who was a good Christian
man, and baptized and gave letters of perpetual peace to all Christian
men, and sent his brother Halaon, with a great multitude of people, to
win the Holy Land, and put it into the hands of the Christians, and
destroy the law of Mohammed, and take the khalif of Bagdad, who was
emperor and lord of all the Saracens. And when this khalif was taken,
they found him so rich in treasure, and of so high worship, that in all
the rest of the world no man might find a man higher in worship. And
then Halaon made him come before him, and said to him, "Why hadst thou
not hired with thee more soldiers for a little quantity of treasure, to
defend thee and thy country, who art so abundant of treasure and so high
in all worship?" And the khalif answered, that he believed he had enough
of his own proper men. And then said Halaon, "Thou wert as a god of the
Saracens; and it is convenient to a god to eat no meat that is mortal;
and, therefore, thou shalt eat only precious stones, rich pearls, and
treasure, that thou lovest so much." And then he ordered him to prison,
and placed all his treasure about him; and so he died for hunger and
thirst. And then after this Halaon won all the Land of Promise, and put
it into the hands of the Christians. But the great chan, his brother,
died, and that was great sorrow and loss to all Christians. After Mango
Chan reigned Cobyla[394] Chan, who was also a Christian, and reigned
forty-two years. He founded the great city Igonge in Cathay, which is
much larger than Rome. The other great chan who came after him, became a
pagan, and all the others since.

The kingdom of Cathay is the greatest realm in the world; and the great
chan is the most powerful emperor and greatest lord under the firmament;
and so he calls himself in his letters right thus: "Chan, son of the
High God, emperor of all who inhabit the earth, and lord of all lords."
And the letter of his great seal has the inscription, "God in heaven,
chan upon the earth, his fortitude; the seal of the emperor of all men."
And the superscription about his little seal is this: "The fortitude of
God; the seal of the emperor of all men." And although they are not
christened, yet the emperor and all the Tartars believe in immortal God;
and when they will threaten any man, they say, "God knoweth well that I
shall do thee such a thing," and tell their menace.



Now shall I tell you the government of the court of the great chan, when
he makes solemn feasts, which is principally four times in the year. The
first feast is of his birth; the second is of his presentation in their
temple, such as they call here moseache (mosque), where they make a kind
of circumcision; and the other two feasts are of his idols. The first
feast of the idol is, when he is first put into their temple and
throned. The other feast is, when the idol begins first to speak or work
miracles. There are no more solemn feasts, except when he marries one of
his children. At each of these feasts he hath great multitudes of
people, well ordained and well arrayed, by thousands, by hundreds, and
by tens. Every man knoweth well what service he shall do; and every man
gives so good heed and so good attendance to his service, that no man
finds any fault. There are first appointed four thousand barons, mighty
and rich, to govern and make ordinance for the feast, and to serve the
emperor. And these solemn feasts are held in halls and tents made full
nobly of cloths of gold and of tartaries. All the barons have crowns of
gold upon their heads, very noble and rich, full of precious stones and
great orient pearls. And they are all clothed in clothes of gold, or of
tartaries, or of camakas, so richly and perfectly, that no man in the
world can amend it or devise better; and all these robes are embroidered
with gold all about, and dubbed full of precious stones and of great
orient pearls, full richly. And they may well do so, for cloths of gold
and of silk are cheaper there by much, than are cloths of wool. These
four thousand barons are divided into four companies, and every thousand
is clothed in cloths all of one colour, and so well arrayed, and so
richly, that it is marvel to behold. The first thousand, which is of
dukes, earls, marquises, and admirals, all in cloths of gold, with
tissues of green silk, and bordered with gold, full of precious stones.
The second thousand is all in cloths diapered of red silk, all wrought
with gold, and the orfrayes set full of great pearls and precious
stones, full nobly wrought. The third thousand is clothed in cloths of
silk, of purple, or of India. And the fourth thousand is in clothes of
yellow. And all their clothes are so nobly and richly wrought with gold
and precious stones and rich pearls, that if a man of this country had
but one of their robes, he might well say that he should never be poor.
For the gold and the precious stones, and the great orient pearls, are
of greater value on this side the sea than in those countries. And when
they are thus apparelled, they go two and two together, full orderly,
before the emperor, without uttering a word, only bowing to him. And
each of them carries a tablet of jasper, or ivory, or crystal; and the
minstrels go before them, sounding their instruments of divers melody.
When the first thousand is thus passed, and hath made its muster, it
withdraws on the one side; and then enters the second thousand, and
proceeds in the same manner of array and countenance as the first; and
so the third, and then the fourth; and none of them utters a word. And
at one side of the emperor's table sit many philosophers, who are proved
for wise men in many divers sciences, as in astronomy, necromancy,
geomancy, pyromancy, hydromancy, augury, and many other sciences. And
each of them has before him, some, astrolabes of gold, some, spheres,
some, the skull of a dead man, some, vessels of gold full of gravel or
sand, some, vessels of gold full of burning coals, some, vessels of gold
full of water, wine, and oil, and some, horloges (clocks) of gold, made
full nobly and richly wrought, and many other sorts of instruments after
their sciences. And at certain hours they say to certain officers who
stand before them, appointed for the time to fulfil their commands,
"Make peace." And then the officers say, "Now peace, listen." And after
that another of the philosophers says, "Every man do reverence, and bow
to the emperor, who is God's son and sovereign lord of all the world;
for now is time." And then every man bows his head towards the earth.
And then the same philosopher commands again, "Stand up." And they do
so. And at another hour another philosopher says, "Put your little
finger in your ears." And anon they do so. And at another hour another
philosopher says, "Put your hand before your mouth." And anon they do
so. And at another hour another philosopher says, "Put your hand upon
your head." And after that he biddeth them to take their hand away, and
they do so. And so, from hour to hour, they command certain things. And
they say that those things have divers significations. I asked them
privately what those things betokened. And one of the masters told me
that the bowing of the head at that hour betokened that all those that
bowed their heads should evermore after be obedient and true to the
emperor. And the putting of the little finger in the ear betokens, as
they say, that none of them shall hear any thing spoken contradictory to
the emperor, without telling it anon to his council, or discovering it
to some men that will make relation to the emperor. And so forth of all
other things done by the philosophers. And no man performs any duty to
the emperor, either clothing, or bread, or wine, or bath, or other thing
that belongeth to him, but at certain hours, as his philosophers devise
well. And if there fall war, anon the philosophers come and give their
advice after their calculations, and counsel the emperor by their
sciences; so that the emperor does nothing without their council. And
when the philosophers have done and performed their commands, then the
minstrels begin to do their minstrelsy on their different instruments,
each after the other, with all the melody they can devise. And when they
have performed a good while, one of the officers of the emperor goes up
on a high stage, wrought full curiously, and cries and says with a loud
voice, "Make peace." And then every man is still. And then, anon after,
all the lords of the emperor's lineage, nobly arrayed in rich clothes of
gold, and royally apparelled on white steeds, as many as may well follow
him at that time, are ready to make their presents to the emperor. And
then says the steward of the court to the lords, by name, "N. of N.,"
and names first the most noble and the worthiest by name, and says, "Be
ye ready with such a number of white horses to serve the emperor your
sovereign lord." And, to another lord, he says, "N. of N. be ye ready
with such a number to serve your sovereign lord." And to another, right
so. And to all the lords of the emperor's lineage, one after the other,
as they are of estate. And when they are all called, they enter one
after the other, and present the white horses to the emperor, and then
go their way. And then, all the other barons, one by one, give him
presents, or jewels, or some other thing, according to their rank. And
then, after them, all the prelates of their law, and religious men and
others; and every man gives him something. And when all men have thus
offered to the emperor, the greatest of dignity of the prelates gives
him a blessing, saying an orison of their law. And then begin the
minstrels to make their minstrelsy on divers instruments, with all the
melody that they can devise. When they have done their craft, then they
bring in before the emperor lions, leopards, and other divers beasts,
and eagles, and vultures, and other divers fowls, and fishes, and
serpents, to do him reverence. And then come jugglers and enchanters
that do many marvels; for they cause the sun and the moon to come in the
air, apparently, to every man's sight. And afterwards they make the
night so dark that no man may see. And after that they make the day to
come again, fair and pleasant, with bright sun, to every man's sight.
And then they bring in dancers of the fairest damsels in the world, and
most richly arrayed. Next they cause to come in other damsels bringing
cups of gold full of milk of divers beasts, who give drink to lords and
to ladies. And then they make knights to joust in arms full lustily; and
they run together and fight full fiercely; and they break their spears
so rudely that the fragments fly in pieces all about the hall. And then
they cause to come in hunting for the hart and for the boar, with hounds
running with open mouth. And many other things they do by craft of their
enchantments, which it is marvellous to see. And such plays of sport
they make, until the taking up of the boards.

This great chan hath a vast multitude of people to serve him, as I have
told you before. For he hath of minstrels the number of thirteen
cumants, but they abide not always with him. For all the minstrels that
come before him, of whatever nation they are, are retained with him, as
of his household, and entered in his books as for his own men. And after
that, wherever they go, evermore they rank as minstrels of the great
chan; and, under that title, all kings and lords cherish them the more
with gifts and all things. And therefore he hath so great multitude of
them. And he hath of certain men, as though they were yeomen, that keep
birds, as ostriches, gerfaucons, sparrow-hawks, gentle falcons, lanyers,
sacres, sacrettes[395], well speaking parrots, and singing birds, and
also of wild beasts, as of elephants, tame and others, baboons, apes,
monkeys, and other divers beasts, to the number of fifteen cumants of
yeomen. And of Christian physicians he has two hundred; and of
leeches[396] that are Christians, he has two hundred and ten; and of
leeches and physicians that are Saracens, twenty; for he trusts more in
the Christian leeches than in the Saracens. And his other common
household is without number; all having all necessaries from the
emperor's court. And he has in his court many barons, as servitors, that
are Christians and converted to good faith by the preaching of religious
Christian men who dwell with him, and there are many that will not have
it known that they are Christians.

This emperor may spend as much as he will, without estimation, for his
only money is of leather imprinted, or of paper, of which some
is of greater price and some of less, after the diversity of his
statutes[397]. And when that money has run so long that it begins to
waste, men carry it to the emperor's treasury, and receive new money for
the old. And that money passes throughout the country. For there, and
beyond them, they make no money of gold or silver. Therefore, he may
spend very largely. And of gold and silver that men have in this
country, he makes ceilings, pillars, and pavements in his palace, and
other divers things. This emperor hath in his chamber, in one of the
pillars of gold, a ruby and a carbuncle of half a foot long, which in
the night gives so great light and shining, that it is as light as day.
And he hath many other precious stones, and many other rubies and
carbuncles, but those are the greatest and most precious.

This emperor dwells in summer in a city towards the north, called Saduz,
where it is cold; and in winter he dwells in a city called Camaaleche,
in a hot country. But the country where he dwells most commonly is in
Gaydo, or in Jong, a good and temperate country after the weather that
is there; but, to men of our part of the world, it is excessively hot.
And when this emperor will ride from one country to another, he appoints
four hosts of his people, of the which, the first host goes before him a
day's journey, for that host shall be lodged the night where the emperor
shall lie upon the morrow. And there shall every man have all manner of
victuals and necessaries at the emperor's cost. And in this first host
the number of people is fifty cumants of horse and foot, of which every
cumant amounts to ten thousand, as I have told you before. And another
host goes on the right side of the emperor, nigh half a day's journey
from him; and another goes on the left side of him, in the same manner.
And in every host is the same number of people. Then after comes the
fourth host, which is much greater than any of the other, and goes
behind him, the distance of a bow's draught. And every host has its
day's journey ordained in certain places, where they shall be lodged at
night, and there they shall have all they need. And if it befall that
one of the host die, anon they put another in his place, so that the
number shall ever be complete. And you shall understand that the
emperor, in person, rides not as other great lords do, unless he choose
to go privately with few men, to be unknown. Otherwise, he sits in a
chariot with four wheels, upon which is made a fair chamber; and it is
made of a certain wood that comes out of terrestrial paradise, which
they call lignum aloes. And this chamber is full well smelling, because
of the wood it is made of; and it is all covered internally with plates
of fine gold, dubbed with precious stones and great pearls. And four
elephants and four great steeds, all white and covered with rich
coverings, draw the chariot. And four, or five, or six of the greatest
lords ride about this chariot, full richly and nobly arrayed, so that no
man shall approach the chariot except those lords, unless the emperor
call any man to him that he wishes to speak with. And above the chamber
of this chariot in which the emperor sits, are set upon a perch four, or
five, or six gerfaucons, to that intent, that when the emperor sees any
wild fowl, he may take it at his own list, and have the sport, first
with one and then with another; and so he takes his sport passing
through the country. And no man of his company rides before him, but all
after him. And no man dare approach within a bow-shot of the chariot,
except those lords only that are about him; and all the host come fairly
after him, in great multitude. And also such another chariot, with such
hosts, ordained and arrayed, go with the empress upon another side, each
by itself, with four hosts, right as the emperor did, but not with so
great multitude of people. And his eldest son goes by another way in
another chariot, in the same manner. So that there is between them so
great multitude of folks that it is marvellous to tell it. And sometimes
it happens that when he will not go far, and he chooses to have the
empress and his children with him, that they go all together; and then
the people are mixed in one company, and divided in four parts only.

The empire of this great chan is divided into twelve provinces; and
every province has more than two thousand cities, and towns without
number. This country is very extensive, for it has twelve principal
kings in twelve provinces; and each of those kings has many kings under
him; and they are all subject to the great chan. And his land and
lordship extends so far that a man may not go from one end to the other,
either by sea or land, in less than seven years. And through the deserts
of his lordship, where are no towns, there are inns appointed at every
day's journey, to receive both man and horse, in which they shall find
plenty of victuals and all things they need in their way.

And there is a marvellous, but profitable, custom in that country, that
if there happen any contrary thing that should be prejudicial or
grievous to the emperor, in any kind, anon the emperor has tidings
thereof and full knowledge in a day, though it be three or four days
from him, or more. For his envoys take their dromedaries, or their
horses, and they ride as fast as they may towards one of the inns; and
when they come there they blow a horn, and anon they of the inn know
that there are tidings to warn the emperor of some rebellion against
him; and they make other men ready, in all haste that they may, to carry
letters, and ride as fast as they may, till they come to the other inns
with their letters; and then they make fresh men ready, to ride forth
with the letters towards the emperor, while the last bringer rests
himself, and baits his dromedary or horse; and so from inn to inn, till
it comes to the emperor. And thus anon he has quick tidings of any thing
by his couriers, that run so hastily through all the country. And, also,
when the emperor sends his couriers in haste throughout his land, each
of them has a large thong full of small bells; and when they approach
the inns of other couriers, they ring their bells; and anon the other
couriers make them ready, and run their way to another inn; and thus one
runs to another, full speedily and swiftly, till the emperor's intent be
served in all haste. And these couriers are called _chydydo_, after
their language, that is to say, a messenger.

Also when the emperor goes from one country to another, as I have told
you before, and he passes through cities and towns, every man makes a
fire before his door, and puts therein powder of good gums, that are
sweet smelling, to make good savour to the emperor; and all the people
kneel down towards him, and do him great reverence. And there, where
Christian monks dwell, as they do in many cities in the land, they go
before him in procession, with cross and holy water; and they sing _Veni
creator spiritus_, with a high voice, and go towards him. And when he
hears them, he commands his lords to ride beside him, that the religious
men may come to him; and when they are nigh him with the cross, then he
puts down his galiot, which is placed on his head in the manner of a
chaplet, made of gold, and precious stones, and great pearls; and it is
so rich that men esteem it the value of a realm in that country; and
then he kneels to the cross. And then the prelate of the monks says
before him certain orisons, and gives him a blessing with the cross; and
he bows to the blessing full devoutly. And then the prelate gives him
some sort of fruit, to the number of nine, in a plate of silver; and he
takes one; and then men give to the other lords that are about him; for
the custom is such that no stranger shall come before him, unless he
give him some manner of thing, after the old law, that says, _Nemo
accedat in conspectu meo vacuus_[398]. And then the emperor tells the
monks to withdraw themselves again, that they be not hurt by the great
multitude of horses that come behind him. And also in the same manner do
the monks that dwell there to the empresses that pass by them, and to
his eldest son; and to all of them they present fruit.

And you shall understand that this multitude of people dwell not
continually with him, but are sent for when he wants them; and after,
when they have done, they return to their own households, except those
that are dwelling with him in the household to serve him, and his wives,
and sons. And although the others are departed from him after they have
performed their service, yet there remain continually with him in court
fifty thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen, besides minstrels
and those who keep wild beasts and birds. There is not, under the
firmament, so great a lord, nor so mighty, nor so rich, as the great
chan; neither Prester John, who is emperor of Upper India, nor the
sultan of Babylon, nor the emperor of Persia. All these, in comparison
to the great chan, are neither of might, nobleness, royalty, nor riches;
for in all these he surpasses all earthly princes. Wherefore it is great
harm that he believes not faithfully in God. And, nevertheless, he will
gladly hear speak of God; and he willingly allows Christian men to
dwell in his lordship, and men of his faith to be made Christian men, if
they will, throughout all his country; for he forbids no man to hold any
faith but what he likes.

In that country some men have one hundred wives, some sixty, some more,
and some less. And they take the next of their kin to wife, excepting
only their mothers, daughters, and sisters on the mother's side; but
their sisters on the father's side, of another woman, they may take; and
their brother's wives, also, after their death; and their stepmothers
also in the same way.



The people of that country use all long clothes, without furs; and they
are clothed with precious cloths of Tartary, and cloths of gold. And
their clothes are slit at the side, and fastened with silk lace; and
they clothe them also with pilches[399], the hide outside. And they use
neither cap nor hood. And the women go in the same dress as the men; so
that we can hardly distinguish the men from the women, except only that
the women that are married bear upon their heads the token of a man's
foot, in sign that they are under man's foot, and under the subjection
of man. And their wives dwell not together, but each of them by herself;
and the husband may lie with which of them he likes. Each has a separate
house, both man and woman; and their houses are made round with staves,
with a round window above, which gives them light, and also serves for
the escape of smoke. And the roofing of their houses, and the walls, and
the doors, are all of wood.

When they go to war, they take their houses with them upon chariots, as
men do tents or pavilions. They make their fires in the middle of their
houses. And they have a great multitude of all manner of beasts, except
swine, which they do not breed. And they believe in one God, who made
and formed all things; yet they have idols of gold and silver, and of
wood, and of cloth, to which they offer always the first milk of their
beasts, and also of their meats and drinks before they eat. And they
frequently offer horses and beasts. They call the god of nature Yroga.
Their emperor, whatever name he has, they add always to it chan; and,
when I was there, their emperor's name was Thiaut, so that he was called
Thiaut Chan; and his eldest son was called Tossue; and when he shall be
emperor, he shall be called Tossue Chan. And at that time the emperor
had twelve other sons, named Cuncy, Ordii, Chahaday, Buryn, Negu, Nocab,
Cadu, Siban, Cuten, Balacy, Babylan, and Garegan. And of his three
wives, the first and the principal, who was Prester John's daughter, was
named Serioche Chan; and the other Borak Chan; and the other Karanke

The people of that country begin all undertakings in the new moon; and
they worship much the moon and the sun, and often kneel towards them.
All the people of the country ride commonly without spurs; but they
carry always a little whip in their hands to urge their horses. And they
hold it for a great sin to cast a knife in the fire, and to draw flesh
out of a pot with a knife, and to smite a horse with the handle of a
whip, or to smite a horse with a bridle, or to break one bone with
another, or to cast milk or any liquor that men may drink upon the
earth, or to take and slay little children; and the greatest sin that
any man may do is to water in their houses that they dwell in. And
whosoever does so, they slay him. And of every one of these sins they
must be shriven by their priests, and pay a great sum of silver for
their penance. The place they have thus defiled must be purified before
any one dare to enter it. And when they have paid their penance, men
make them pass through a fire, or through two, to cleanse them of their
sins. And also when any messenger comes and brings letters, or any
present, to the emperor, he must pass, with the thing that he brings,
through two burning fires, to purge them, that he bring no poison nor
venom, nor any wicked thing, that might be grievance to the lord. And
also, if any man or woman be taken in adultery or fornication, anon they
slay them. The people of that country are all good archers, and shoot
right well, both men and women, as well on horseback, riding, as on
foot, running. And the women do all things, and exercise all manner of
trades and crafts, as of clothes, boots, and other things; and they
drive carts, ploughs, wagons, and chariots; and make houses, and all
manner of things, except bows and arrows, and armour, which are made by
men. And all the women wear breeches, as well as men. All the people of
that country are very obedient to their sovereign, and fight not nor
chide with one another. And there are neither thieves nor robbers in
that country, but every man respects the other; but no man there doth
reverence to strangers, except they are great princes. And they eat
dogs, lions, leopards, mares and foals, asses, rats, and mice; and all
kinds of beasts, great and small, except only swine, and beasts that
were forbidden by the old law. They eat but little bread, except in
courts of great lords; and they have not, in many places, either peas or
beans, nor any other pottage but the broth of the flesh; for they eat
little else but flesh and the broth. And when they have eaten they wipe
their hands upon their skirts; for they use no napkins nor towels,
except before great lords. And when they have eaten, they put their
dishes, unwashed, into the pot or cauldron, with the remnant of the
flesh and broth, till they eat again. The rich men drink milk of mares,
or camels, or of asses, or other beasts. And they are easily made drunk
with milk, or with another drink made of honey and water sodden
together; for in that country is neither wine nor ale. They live full
wretchedly, and eat but once in the day, and that but little, either in
courts or other places. Indeed one man alone, in our country, will eat
more in a day than they will eat in three. And if any foreign messenger
come there to a lord, men make him to eat but once a day, and that very

When they make war they proceed with great prudence, and always do their
best to destroy their enemies. Every man there bears two or three bows,
and great plenty of arrows, and a great axe; and the gentlemen have
short and large spears, very sharp on the one side; and they have plates
and helmets made of cuirbouilli[400]; and their horses' coverings are of
the same. And whoever flies from battle, they slay him. And when they
hold a siege about a castle or town, which is walled and defensible,
they promise them that are within to do all the profit and good, that it
is marvellous to hear; and they grant also to them that are within all
that they will ask them; and after they have surrendered, they slay them
all, and cut off their ears, and they pickle them in vinegar, and
thereof make great service for lords. All their desire, and all their
imagination, is to reduce all countries under their subjection; and they
say that they know well, by their prophecies, that they shall be
overcome by archers; but they know not of what nation, nor of what law,
they shall be who shall overcome them.

When they will make their idols, or an image of any one of their
friends, to have remembrance of him, they always make the image naked,
without any kind of clothing; for they say that in good love there
should be no covering, that man should not love for the fair clothing,
nor for the rich array, but only for the body such as God hath made it.

And you shall understand that it is very perilous to pursue the Tartars
when they fly in battle; for in flying they shoot behind them, and slay
both men and horses. And when they fight, they close together in a body,
so that, if there be twenty thousand men, you would not think there were
ten thousand. They can conquer land of strangers, but they cannot keep
it; for they like better to lie in tents without, than in castles or in
towns. They despise all other people. Amongst them oil of olives is very
dear; for they hold it for a very noble medicine. All the Tartars have
small eyes and little beard, and a paucity of hair. They are false and
traitorous, never keeping their promises. They are a very hardy people,
and able to endure much labour, more than any other people; for they are
accustomed thereto in their own country from youth.

And when any man shall die, they set a spear beside him; and when he
draws towards death, every man flies out of the house till he is dead;
and after that they bury him in the fields. And when the emperor dies,
they place him in a chair in the centre of his tent, with a clean table
before him, covered with a cloth, and thereon flesh and divers viands,
and a cup full of mare's milk. And men put a mare beside him, with her
foal, and a horse saddled and bridled; and they lay upon the horse great
quantities of gold and silver, and they put about him great plenty of
straw, and they make a great and large pit, and, with the tent and all
these other things, they put him in the earth; and they say that when he
shall come into another world, he shall not be without a house, nor
without a horse, nor without gold and silver; and the mare shall give
him milk, and bring him forth more horses, till he be well stored in the
other world; for they believe that, after their death, they shall be
eating and drinking in that other world, and solacing themselves with
their wives, as they did here. And after the emperor is thus interred,
no man shall be so hardy as to speak of him before his friends. Many
cause themselves to be interred privately by night, in wild places, and
the grass put again over the pit, to grow; or they cover the pit with
gravel and sand, that no man shall perceive where the pit is, to the
intent that never after may his friends have mind or remembrance of him.
Then they say that he is ravished into another world, where he is a
greater lord than he was here. And then, after the death of the emperor,
the seven lineages assemble together and choose his eldest son, or the
next after him of his blood; and thus they say to him:—"We will, and we
pray and ordain, that you be our lord and our emperor." And then he
answers, "If you will that I reign over you as lord, each of you do as I
shall command him, either to abide or go; and whomsoever I command to be
slain, that anon he be slain." And they answer all, with one voice,
"Whatsoever you command, it shall be done." Then says the emperor, "Now
understand well that my word from henceforth is sharp and biting as a
sword." After, they set him upon a black steed, and so bring him to a
chair full richly arrayed, and there they crown him. And then all the
cities and good towns send him rich presents, so that at that day he
shall have more than sixty chariots laden with gold and silver, besides
jewels of gold and precious stones, that lords give him, that are beyond
estimation; and also horses and cloths of gold, and camakas, and cloth
of Tartary, that are innumerable.



This land of Cathay is in Central Asia; and after, on this side, is Asia
the Greater. The kingdom of Cathay borders towards the west on the
kingdom of Tharse, of which was one of the kings that came with presents
to our Lord in Bethlehem; and some of those who are of the lineage of
that king are Christians. In Tharse they eat no flesh, and drink no
wine. And on this side, towards the west, is the kingdom of Turkestan,
which extends towards the west to the kingdom of Persia; and toward the
north to the kingdom of Chorasm. In the centre of Turkestan are but few
good cities; but the best city of that land is called Octorar. There
are great pastures, but little corn; and therefore, for the most part,
they are all herdsmen; and they lie in tents, and drink a kind of ale
made of honey.

And after it, on this side, is the kingdom of Chorasm (Khorasan), which
is a good land and a plentiful, but without wine. It has a desert toward
the east, which extends more than a hundred days' journey; and the best
city of that country is called Chorasm, from which the country takes its
name. The people of that country are hardy warriors. And on this side is
the kingdom of Comania, whence were driven the Comanians that dwelt in
Greece. This is one of the greatest kingdoms of the world, but it is not
all inhabited; for in one part there is so great cold, that no man may
dwell there; and in another part there is so great heat, that no man can
endure it; and also there are so many flies, that no man may know on
what side he may turn him. In that country is but little wood or trees
bearing fruit, or others. They lie in tents; and they burn the dung of
beasts for want of wood.

This kingdom descends on this side towards us, and towards Prussia and
Russia. And through that country runs the river Ethille, which is one of
the greatest rivers in the world; and it freezes so strongly all year,
that many times men have fought upon the ice with great armies, both
parties on foot, having quitted their horses for the time; and what on
horse and on foot, more than 200,000 persons on every side. And between
that river and the great Sea of Ocean, which they call the Maure
Sea[401], lie all these kingdoms. And towards the head beneath in that
realm is the mountain of Chotaz, which is the highest mountain in the
world; and it is between the Maure Sea and the Caspian Sea. There is a
very narrow and dangerous passage to go towards India; and therefore
king Alexander made there a strong city, which they call Alexandria, to
guard the country, that no man should pass without his leave; and now
men call that city the Gate of Hell. And the principal city of Comania
is called Sarak, which is one of the three ways to go into India; but by
this way no great multitude of people can pass unless it be in winter;
and that passage men call the Derbent. The other way is from the city of
Turkestan, by Persia; and by that way are many days' journey by desert;
and the third way is from Comania, by the great sea, and by the kingdom
of Abchaz.

And you shall understand that all these kingdoms and lands above
mentioned, unto Prussia and Russia, are all subject to the great chan of
Cathay, and many other countries that border on them.



Now, since I have spoken of the lands and the kingdoms towards the north
part, in coming down from the land of Cathay unto the lands of the
Christians, towards Prussia and Russia, I will speak of other lands and
kingdoms coming down towards the right side, unto the Sea of Greece,
towards the land of the Christians. And since, after India and Cathay,
the emperor of Persia is the greatest lord, I will tell you of the
kingdom of Persia. He hath two kingdoms; the first begins towards the
east, towards the kingdom of Turkestan, and extends towards the west to
the river Pison, which is one of the four rivers that come out of
Paradise. And on another side it extends toward the north to the Caspian
Sea, and toward the south to the desert of India. And this country is
good, and pleasant, and full of people, and contains many good cities.
But the two principal cities are Boycurra and Seornergant, that some men
call Sormagant[402]. The other kingdom of Persia extends towards the
river Pison, and the parts of the west, to the kingdom of Media, and
from the Great Armenia toward the north to the Caspian Sea, and towards
the south to the land of India. That is also a good and rich land, and
it hath three great principal cities, Messabor, Caphon, and Sarmassane.

And then after is Armenia, in which were formerly four kingdoms; it is a
noble country, and full of goods. And it begins at Persia, and extends
towards the west in length unto Turkey, and in breadth it extends to the
city of Alexandria[403], that now is called the Gate of Hell, that I
spoke of before, under the kingdom of Media. In this Armenia are many
good cities, but Taurizo[404] is most of name.

After this is the kingdom of Media, which is very long, but not broad,
beginning, towards the east, with the land of Persia, and India the
Less; and it extends towards the west to the kingdom of Chaldea, and
towards the north towards Little Armenia. In that kingdom of Media are
many great hills and little of level ground. Saracens dwell there, and
another kind of people called Cordines[405]. The two best cities of that
kingdom are Sarras and Karemen.

After that is the kingdom of Georgia, which commences towards the east,
at the great mountain called Abzor, and contains many people of
different nations. And men call the country Alamo. This kingdom extends
towards Turkey, and towards the Great Sea; and towards the south it
borders on the Greater Armenia. And there are two kingdoms in that
country, the kingdom of Georgia and the kingdom of Abchaz; and always in
that country are two kings, both Christians; but the king of Georgia is
in subjection to the great chan. And the king of Abchaz has the stronger
country, and he always vigorously defends his country against all who
assail him, so that no man may reduce him to subjection. In that kingdom
of Abchaz is a great marvel; for a province of the country, that has
well in circuit three days, which they call Hanyson, is all covered with
darkness, without any brightness or light, so that no man can see there,
nor no man dare enter into it. And, nevertheless, they of the country
say that sometimes men hear voices of people, and horses neighing, and
cocks crowing; and men know well that men dwell there, but they know not
what men. And they say that the darkness befell by miracle of God; for a
cursed emperor of Persia, named Saures, pursued all the Christians to
destroy them, and to compel them to make sacrifice to his idols, and
rode with a great host, in all that ever he might, to confound the
Christians. And then, in that country, dwelt many good Christians, who
left their goods, and would have fled into Greece; and when they were in
a plain, called Megon, anon this cursed emperor met with them with his
host, to have slain them and cut them to pieces. And the Christians
kneeled to the ground, and made their prayers to God to succour them;
and anon a great thick cloud came, and covered the emperor and all his
host; and so they remain in that manner, that they may go out on no
side; and so shall they ever more abide in darkness till doomsday, by
the miracles of God. And then the Christians went where they liked at
their own pleasure, without hindrance of any creature. And you shall
understand that out of that land of darkness issues a great river, that
shows well there are people dwelling there, by many ready tokens; but no
man dare enter into it.

And know well that in the kingdoms of Georgia, Abchaz, and the Little
Armenia, are good and devout Christians; for they shrive and housel[406]
themselves always once or twice in the week; and many housel themselves
every day.

Also after, on this side, is Turkey, which borders on the Great Armenia.
And there are many provinces, as Cappadocia, Saure, Brique, Quesiton,
Pytan, and Gemethe; and in each of these are many good cities. This
Turkey extends to the city of Sathala, that sitteth upon the Sea of
Greece, and so it borders on Syria. Syria is a great and a good country,
as I have told you before. And also it has, towards Upper India, the
kingdom of Chaldea, extending from the mountains of Chaldea towards the
east to the city of Nineveh, on the river Tigris; in breadth it begins
towards the north, at the city of Maraga, and extends towards the south
to the Sea of Ocean. Chaldea is a level country, with few hills and few

After is the kingdom of Mesopotamia, which begins towards the east, at
the river Tigris, at a city called Moselle[407], and extends towards the
west to the river Euphrates, to a city called Roianz; and in length it
extends from the mountain of Armenia to the desert of India the Less.
This is a good and level country; but it has few rivers. There are but
two mountains in that country, of which one is called Symar, the other
Lyson. This land borders on the kingdom of Chaldea.

There are also, towards the south parts, many countries and regions, as
the land of Ethiopia, which borders towards the east on the great
deserts, towards the west on the kingdom of Nubia, towards the south on
the kingdom of Mauritania, and towards the north on the Red Sea. After
is Mauritania, which extends from the mountains of Ethiopia to Upper
Lybia. And that country lies along from the Ocean Sea towards the south,
and towards the north it borders on Nubia and Upper Lybia. The men of
Nubia are Christians. And it extends from the lands above mentioned to
the deserts of Egypt, of which I have spoken before. And after is Upper
and Lower Lybia, which descends low down, towards the great sea of
Spain, in which country are many kingdoms and different people.



In passing by the land of Cathay towards Upper India, and towards
Bucharia, men pass by a kingdom called Caldilhe, which is a very fair
country. And there grows a kind of fruit like gourds, which, when they
are ripe, men cut in two, and find within a little beast, in flesh,
bone, and blood, as though it were a little lamb, without wool. And men
eat both the fruit and the beast, and that is a great marvel. Of that
fruit I have eaten; and I told them of as great a marvel to them that is
amongst us, and that was of the barnacles. For I told them that in our
country were trees that bear a fruit that becomes flying birds; and
those that fall in the water live; and those that fall on the earth die
anon; and they are right good for man's meat. And thereof had they also
great marvel, that some of them thought it was an impossibility. In that
country are long apples, of good flavour, whereof there are more than a
hundred in a cluster; and they have great long leaves and large, of two
feet long or more. And in that country, and in other countries
thereabout, grow many trees that bear clove-gylofres and nutmegs, and
great nuts of India, and of canelle, and many other spices. And there
are vines which bear grapes so large, that a strong man would have
enough to do to carry one cluster. In that same region are the mountains
of Caspia, which are called Uber in the country. Between those mountains
are inclosed the Jews of ten lineages, who are called Gog and Magog; and
they may not go out on any side. There were inclosed twenty-two kings,
with their people, that dwelt between the mountains of Scythia. King
Alexander drove them between those mountains, and there he thought to
inclose them through work of his men. But when he saw that he might not
do it, nor bring it to an end, he prayed to the God of Nature that he
would perform that which he had begun. And although he was a Pagan, and
not worthy to be heard, yet God of his grace closed the mountains
together, so that they dwell there fast locked and inclosed with high
mountains all about, except only on one side, and on that side is the
Caspian Sea. Men say they shall come out in the time of Antichrist, and
that they shall make great slaughter of the Christians; and therefore
all the Jews that dwell in all lands learn always to speak Hebrew, in
hope that when the other Jews shall go out, that they may understand
their speech, and so lead them into Christendom, to destroy the
Christians. For the Jews say that they know well, by their prophecies,
that they of Caspia shall go out, and spread through all the world, and
that the Christians shall be under subjection as long as they have been
in subjection to them. And if you will know how they shall find their
way, after what I have heard say I will tell you. In the time of
Antichrist, a fox shall make there his trail, and burrow a hole where
king Alexander made the gates; and so long he shall burrow and pierce
the earth, till he shall pass through, towards that people. And when
they see the fox, they shall have great wonder of him, because they
never saw such a beast; for of all other beasts they have some inclosed
among them, except the fox. And then they shall hunt him, and pursue him
so close, till he arrive at the same place he came from; and then they
shall dig and burrow so strongly, till they find the gates that king
Alexander made of immense stones, well cemented and made strong for the
mastery; and those gates they shall break, and so go out, by finding
that issue.

From that land men go towards the land of Bucharia, where are very evil
and cruel people. In that land are trees that bear wool[408], as though
it were of sheep, whereof men make clothes, and all things that may be
made of wool. In that country are many ipotaynes, that dwell sometimes
in the water and sometimes on the land; and they are half man and half
horse, as I have said before; and they eat men, when they may take them.
And there are rivers of water that are very bitter, three times more
than is the water of the sea. In that country are many griffins, more
abundant than in any other country. Some men say that they have the body
upward of an eagle, and beneath of a lion; and that is true. But one
griffin has a greater body and is stronger than eight lions, and greater
and stronger than a hundred eagles. For one griffin there will carry,
flying to his nest, a great horse, or two oxen yoked together as they
go at the plough. For he has his talons so long, and so large and great,
as though they were horns of great oxen, or of bulls, or of kine, so
that men make cups of them to drink out of[409]; and of their ribs, and
of the feathers of their wings, men make bows full strong, to shoot with
arrows and darts. From thence men go, by many days, through the land of
Prester John, the great emperor of India. And they call his kingdom the
isle of Pentexoire.



This emperor, Prester John[410], possesses very extensive territory, and
has many very noble cities and good towns in his realm, and many great
and large isles. For all the country of India is divided into isles, by
the great floods that come from Paradise, that separate all the land
into many parts. And also in the sea he has full many isles. And the
best city in the isle of Pentexoire is Nyse, a very royal city, noble
and very rich. This Prester John has under him many kings, and many
isles, and many divers people of divers conditions. And this land is
full good and rich, but not so rich as the land of the great chan. For
the merchants come not thither so commonly to buy merchandise, as they
do in the land of the great chan, for it is too far. And on the other
side, in the isle of Cathay, men find all things needful to man, cloths
of gold, of silk, and spicery. And therefore, although men have them
cheap in the isle of Prester John, they dread the long way and the great
perils in the sea. For in many places of the sea are great rocks of
stone of adamant (loadstone), which of its nature draws iron to it; and
therefore there pass no ships that have either bonds or nails of iron in
them; and if they do, anon the rocks of adamant draw them to them, that
they may never go thence. I myself have seen afar in that sea, as though
it had been a great isle full of trees and bushes, full of thorns and
briers, in great plenty; and the shipmen told us that all that was of
ships that were drawn thither by the adamants, for the iron that was in
them. And of the rottenness and other things that were within the ships,
grew such bushes, and thorns, and briers, and green grass, and such
kinds of things; and of the masts and the sail-yards, it seemed a great
wood or a grove. And such rocks are in many places there about. And
therefore merchants dare not pass there, except they know well the
passages, or unless they have good pilots. And also they dread the long
way, and, therefore, they go to Cathay, because it is nearer; and yet it
is not so nigh but men must travel by sea and land eleven or twelve
months, from Genoa or from Venice, to Cathay. And yet is the land of
Prester John more far, by many dreadful days' journey. And the merchants
pass by the kingdom of Persia, and go to a city called Hermes[411],
because Hermes the philosopher founded it. And after that they pass an
arm of the sea, and then they go to another city called Golbache; and
there they find merchandise, and as great abundance of parrots as men
find here of geese. In that country is but little wheat or barley, and
therefore they eat rice and honey, milk, cheese, and fruit.

This emperor, Prester John, takes always to wife the daughter of the
great chan; and the great chan also in the same wise the daughter of
Prester John. For they two are the greatest lords under the firmament.

In the land of Prester John are many divers things and many precious
stones, so great and so large, that men make of them plates, dishes,
cups, &c. And many other marvels are there, that it were too long to put
in a book. But I will tell you of his principal isles, and of his
estate, and of his law. This emperor Prester John is a Christian, and a
great part of his country also; but they have not all the articles of
our faith. They believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and they are
very devout and true to one another. And he has under him seventy-two
provinces, and in every province is a king, all which kings are
tributary to Prester John. And in his lordships are many great marvels,
for in his country is the sea called the Gravelly Sea, which is all
gravel and sand, without a drop of water; and it ebbs and flows in great
waves, as other seas do, and it is never still. And no man can pass that
sea with ships, and, therefore, no man knows what land is beyond that
sea. And although it has no water, men find therein, and on the banks,
very good fish, of different nature and shape from what is found in any
other sea; and they are of very good taste, and delicious to eat.

Three days from that sea are great mountains, out of which runs a great
river which comes from Paradise, and it is full of precious stones,
without a drop of water, and it runs through the desert, on one side, so
that it makes the Gravelly Sea where it ends. And that river runs only
three days in the week, and brings with it great stones and the rocks
also therewith, and that in great plenty. And when they are entered into
the Gravelly Sea they are seen no more. And in those three days that
that river runneth, no man dare enter into it, but in the other days men
dare enter well enough. Beyond that river, more up towards the deserts,
is a great plain all gravelly between the mountains; and in that plain,
every day at sun-rise, small trees begin to grow, and they grow till
mid-day, bearing fruit; but no man dare take of that fruit, for it is a
thing of fairie. And after mid-day they decrease and enter again into
the earth, so that at sun-set they appear no more; and so they do every

In that desert are many wild men, hideous to look on, and horned; and
they speak nought, but grunt like pigs. And there is also great plenty
of wild dogs. And there are many parrots, which speak of their own
nature, and salute men that go through the deserts, and speak to them as
plainly as though it were a man. And they that speak well have a large
tongue, and have five toes upon each foot. And there are also others
which have but three toes upon each foot, and they speak but little.

This emperor Prester John, when he goes to battle against any other
lord, has no banners borne before him; but he has three large crosses of
gold full of precious stones; and each cross is set in a chariot full
richly arrayed. And to keep each cross are appointed ten thousand men of
arms, and more than one hundred thousand footmen. And this number of
people is independent of the chief army. And when he has no war, but
rides with a private company, he has before him but one plain cross of
wood, in remembrance that Jesus Christ suffered death upon a wooden
cross. And they carry before him also a platter of gold full of earth,
in token that his nobleness, and his might, and his flesh, shall turn to
earth. And he has borne before him also a vessel of silver, full of
noble jewels of gold and precious stones, in token of his lordship,
nobility, and power. He dwells commonly in the city of Susa, and there
is his principal palace, which is so rich and noble that no man can
conceive it without seeing it. And above the chief tower of the palace
are two round pommels of gold, in each of which are two large
carbuncles, which shine bright in the night. And the principal gates of
his palace are of the precious stones called sardonix; and the border
and bars are of ivory; and the windows of the halls and chambers are of
crystal; and the tables, on which men eat, some are of emeralds, some of
amethyst, and some of gold, full of precious stones; and the pillars
that support the tables are of the same precious stones. Of the steps
approaching his throne, where he sits at meat, one is of onyx, another
crystal, another green jasper, another amethyst, another sardonix,
another cornelian, and the seventh, on which he sets his feet, is of
crysolite. All these steps are bordered with fine gold, with the other
precious stones, set with great orient pearls. The sides of the seat of
his throne are of emeralds, and bordered full nobly with gold, and
dubbed with other precious stones and great pearls. All the pillars in
his chamber are of fine gold with precious stones, and with many
carbuncles, which give great light by night to all people. And although
the carbuncle gives light enough, nevertheless at all times a vessel of
crystal, full of balm, is burning, to give good smell and odour to the
emperor, and to expel all wicked airs and corruptions. The frame of his
bed is of fine sapphires blended with gold, to make him sleep well, and
to refrain him from lechery. For he will not lie with his wives but four
times in the year, after the four seasons. He hath also a very fair and
noble palace in the city of Nice, where he dwells when he likes; but the
air is not so temperate as it is at the city of Susa. And you shall
understand that in his country, and in the countries surrounding, men
eat but once in the day, as they do in the court of the great chan. And
more than thirty thousand persons eat every day in his court, besides
goers and comers, but these thirty thousand persons spend not so much as
twelve thousand of our country. This emperor Prester John has evermore
seven kings with him, to serve him, who share their service by certain
months; and with these kings serve always seventy-two dukes and three
hundred and sixty earls. And all the days of the year, twelve
archbishops and twenty bishops eat in his household and in his court.
And the patriarch of St. Thomas is there what the pope is here. And the
archbishops, and the bishops, and the abbots in that country, are all
kings. And each of these great lords knows well the attendance of his
service. One is master of his household, another is his chamberlain,
another serveth him with a dish, another with a cup, another is steward,
another is marshal, another is prince of his arms; and thus is he full
nobly and royally served. And his land extends in extreme breadth four
months' journey, and in length out of measure, including all the isles
under earth, that we suppose to be under us.

Near the isle of Pentexoire, which is the land of Prester John, is a
great isle, long and broad, called Milsterak, which is in the lordship
of Prester John. That isle is very rich. There was dwelling not long
since a rich man, named Gatholonabes, who was full of tricks and subtle
deceits. He had a fair and strong castle in a mountain, so strong and
noble that no man could devise a fairer or a stronger. And he had caused
the mountain to be all walled about with a strong and fair wall, within
which walls he had the fairest garden that might be imagined; and
therein were trees bearing all manner of fruits, all kinds of herbs of
virtue and of good smell, and all other herbs also that bear fair
flowers. And he had also in that garden many fair wells, and by them he
had made fair halls and fair chambers, painted all with gold and azure,
representing many divers things and many divers stories. There were also
beasts and birds which sung full delectably, and moved by craft, that it
seemed that they were alive. And he had also in his garden all kinds of
birds and beasts, that men might have play or sport to behold them. And
he had also in that place the fairest damsels that might be found under
the age of fifteen years, and the fairest young striplings that men
might get of that same age; and they were all clothed full richly in
clothes of gold; and he said they were angels. And he had also caused to
be made three fair and noble wells, all surrounded with stone of jasper
and crystal, diapered with gold, and set with precious stones and great
orient pearls. And he had made a conduit under the earth, so that the
three wells, at his will, should run one with milk, another with wine,
and another with honey. And that place he called Paradise. And when any
good knight, who was hardy and noble, came to see this royalty, he would
lead him into Paradise, and show him these wonderful things, for his
sport, and the marvellous and delicious song of divers birds, and the
fair damsels, and the fair wells of milk, wine, and honey, running
plentifully. There he would let divers instruments of music sound in a
high tower, so merrily that it was joy to hear, and no man should see
the craft thereof; and those he said were angels of God, and that place
was Paradise, that God had promised to his friends, saying "I will give
you a land flowing with milk and honey." And then he would make them
drink of certain drink, whereof anon they should be drunk; after which
they seemed to have greater delight than they had before. And then would
he say to them, that if they would die for him and for his love, after
their death they should come to his paradise; and they should be of the
age of the damsels, and they should play with them and yet they would
remain maidens. And after that he would put them in a fairer paradise,
where they should see the God of Nature visibly, in his majesty and
bliss. And then would he show them his intent, and tell them, if they
would go and slay such a lord or such a man who was his enemy, or
disobedient to his will, they should not fear to do it, or to be slain
themselves in doing it; for after their death he would put them into
another paradise that was a hundred fold fairer than any of the others;
and there should they dwell with the fairest damsels that might be, and
play with them evermore. And thus went many divers lusty bachelors to
slay great lords in divers countries, that were his enemies, in hopes to
have that paradise. And thus he was often revenged of his enemies by his
subtle deceits and false tricks. But when the worthy men of the country
had perceived this subtle falsehood of this Gatholonabes, they assembled
with force, and assailed his castle, and slew him, and destroyed all the
fair places of that paradise. The place of the wells and of the walls
and of many other things are yet clearly to be seen, but the riches are
clean gone. And it is not long ago since that place was destroyed.



Near that isle of Mistorak, upon the left side, nigh to the river of
Pison, is a marvellous thing. There is a vale between the mountains
which extends nearly four miles; and some call it the Enchanted Vale,
some call it the Vale of Devils, and some the Perilous Vale. In that
vale men hear oftentimes great tempests and thunders, and great murmurs
and noises, day and night; and great noise, as it were, of tabors, and
nakeres, and trumpets, as though it were of a great feast. This vale is
all full of devils, and has been always; and men say there that it is
one of the entrances of hell. In that vale is great plenty of gold and
silver; wherefore many misbelieving men, and many Christians also,
oftentimes go in, to have of the treasure; but few return, especially of
the misbelieving men, for they are anon strangled by the devils. And in
the centre of that vale, under a rock, is a head and the visage of a
devil bodily, full horrible and dreadful to see, and it shows but the
head to the shoulders. But there is no man in the world so bold,
Christian or other, but he would be in dread to behold it, and he would
feel almost dead with fear, so hideous is it to behold. For he looks at
every man so sharply with dreadful eyes, that are ever moving and
sparkling like fire, and changes and stirs so often in divers manners,
with so horrible a countenance, that no man dare approach towards him.
And from him issues smoke, and stink, and fire, and so much abomination
that scarce any man may endure there. But the good Christians, that are
stable in their faith, enter without peril; for they will first shrive
them, and mark them with the sign of the holy cross, so that the fiends
have no power over them. But although they are without peril, yet they
are not without dread when they see the devils visibly and bodily all
about them, that make full many divers assaults and menaces, in air and
on earth, and terrify them with strokes of thunder blasts and of
tempests. And the greatest fear is that God will take vengeance then of
that which men have misdone against his will.

And you shall understand that when my fellows and I were in this vale,
we were in great thought whether we durst put our bodies in aventure, to
go in or not, in the protection of God; and some of our fellows agreed
to enter, and some not. So there were with us two worthy men, friars
minors of Lombardy, who said that if any man would enter they would go
in with us; and when they had said so, upon the gracious trust of God
and of them, we heard mass, and every man was shriven and housled; and
then we entered, fourteen persons, but at our going out we were but
nine. And so we never knew whether our fellows were lost, or had turned
back for fear; but we never saw them after. They were two men of Greece,
and three of Spain. And our other fellows, that would not go in with us,
went by another road to be before us; and so they were. And thus we
passed that Perilous Vale, and found therein gold and silver, and
precious stones, and rich jewels, in great plenty, both here and there,
as it seemed; but whether it was as it seemed I know not, for I touched
none; because the devils are so subtle to make a thing to seem otherwise
than it is, to deceive mankind; and therefore I touched none; and also
because that I would not be put out of my devotion, for I was more
devout then than ever I was before or after, and all for the dread of
fiends that I saw in divers figures; and also for the great multitude of
dead bodies that I saw there lying by the way, in all the vale, as
though there had been a battle between two kings, and the mightiest of
the country, and that the greater party had been discomfited and slain.
And I believe that hardly should any country have so many people in it
as lay slain in that vale, as it seemed to us, which was a hideous
sight to see. And I marvelled much that there were so many, and the
bodies all whole, without rotting; but I believe that fiends made them
seem to be so fresh, without rotting. And many of them were in habits of
Christian men; but I believe they were such as went in for covetousness
of the treasure that was there, and had overmuch feebleness in faith; so
that their hearts might not endure in the belief for dread. And
therefore we were the more devout a great deal; and yet we were cast
down and beaten down many times to the hard earth by winds, and
thunders, and tempests; but evermore God of his grace helped us. And so
we passed that perilous vale without peril and without encumbrance,
thanked be almighty God!

After this, beyond the vale, is a great isle, the inhabitants of which
are great giants of twenty-eight or thirty feet long, with no clothing
but skins of beasts, that they hang upon them; and they eat nothing but
raw flesh, and drink milk of beasts. They have no houses to lie in. And
they eat more gladly man's flesh than any other flesh. Into that isle
dare no man enter; and if they see a ship, and men therein, anon they
enter into the sea to take them. And men told us that in an isle beyond
that were giants of greater stature, some of forty-five or fifty feet
long, and even, as some men say, of fifty cubits long; but I saw none of
those, for I had no lust to go to those parts, because that no man comes
either into that isle or into the other but he will be devoured anon.
And among those giants are sheep as great as oxen here, which bear great
rough wool. Of the sheep I have seen many times. And men have said many
times those giants take men, in the sea, out of their ships, and bring
them to land, two in one hand and two in the other, eating them going,
all raw and alive. In another isle, towards the north, in the Sea of
Ocean, are very evil women, who have precious stones in their eyes; and
if they behold any man with wrath, they slay him with the look. In
another isle, which is fair and great, and full of people, the custom
is, that the first night that they are married they make another man to
lie by their wives, to have their maidenhead, for which they give great
hire and much thanks. And there are certain men in every town that serve
for no other thing; and they call them cadeberiz, that is to say, the
fools of despair, because they believe their occupation is a dangerous
one. After that is another isle, where women make great sorrow when
their children are born; and when they die, they make great feasts, and
great joy and revel, and then they cast them into a great burning fire.
And those that love well their husbands, if their husbands die, they
cast themselves also into the fire, with their children, and burn them.
In that isle they make their king always by election; and they choose
him not for nobleness or riches, but such a one as is of good manners
and condition, and therewithal just; and also that he be of great age,
and that he have no children.

In that isle men are very just, and they do just judgments in every
cause, both of rich and poor, small and great, according to their
trespasses. And the king may not judge a man to death without assent of
his barons and other wise men of council, and unless all the court agree
thereto. And if the king himself do any homicide or crime, as to slay a
man, or any such case, he shall die for it; but he shall not be slain as
another man; but they forbid, on pain of death, that any man be so bold
as to make him company or to speak with him, or give or sell him meat or
drink; and so shall he die disgracefully. They spare no man that has
trespassed, either for love, or favour, or riches, or nobility; but that
he shall have according to what he has done.

Beyond that isle is another, where is a great multitude of people, who
will not eat flesh of hares, hens, or geese; and yet they breed them in
abundance, to see and behold them only; but they eat flesh of all other
beasts, and drink milk. In that country they take their daughters and
their sisters to wife, and their other kinswomen. And if there be ten or
twelve men, or more, dwelling in a house, the wife of each of them shall
be common to them all that dwell in that house; so that every man may
lie with whom he will of them on one night, and with another another
night. And if she have any child, she may give it to what man she list
that has kept company with her; so that no man knows there whether the
child be his or another's. And if any man say to them that they nourish
other men's children, they answer that so do other men theirs. In that
country, and in all India, are great plenty of cockodrills, a sort of
long serpent, as I have said before; and in the night they dwell in the
water, and in the day upon the land, in rocks and caves; and they eat no
meat in winter, but lie as in a dream, as do serpents. These serpents
slay men, and they eat them weeping; and when they eat, they move the
upper jaw, and not the lower jaw; and they have no tongue. In that
country, and in many others beyond, and also in many on this side, men
sow the seed of cotton; and they sow it every year, and then it grows to
small trees, which bear cotton. And so do men every year, so that there
is plenty of cotton at all times. In this isle also, and in many others,
there is a manner of wood, hard and strong; and whoever covers the coals
of that wood under the ashes thereof, the coals will remain alive a year
or more. And among other trees there are nut trees, that bear nuts as
great as a man's head[412]. There are also animals called orafles, which
are called, in Arabia, gerfauntz. They are spotted, and a little higher
than a horse, with a neck twenty cubits long; and the croup and tail are
like those of a hart; and one of them may look over a high house[413].
And there are also in that country many cameleons; and there are very
great serpents, some one hundred and twenty feet long, of divers
colours, as rayed, red, green and yellow, blue and black, and all
speckled. And there are others that have crests upon their heads; and
they go upon their feet upright. And there are also wild swine of many
colours, as great as oxen in our country, all spotted like young fawns.
And there are also hedgehogs, as great as wild swine, which we call
porcupines. And there are many other extraordinary animals.



And beyond that isle is another isle, great and rich, where are good and
true people, and of good living after their belief, and of good faith.
And although they are not christened, yet by natural law they are full
of all virtue, and eschew all vices; for they are not proud, nor
covetous, nor envious, nor wrathful, nor gluttonous, nor lecherous; nor
do they to any man otherwise than they would that other men did to them;
and in this point they fulfil the ten commandments of God. And they care
not for possessions or riches; and they lie not, nor do they swear, but
say simply yea and nay; for they say he that sweareth will deceive his
neighbour; and therefore all that they do, they do it without oath. And
that isle is called the isle of Bragman, and some men call it the Land
of Faith; and through it runs a great river called Thebe. And in general
all the men of those isles, and of all the borders thereabout, are truer
than in any other country thereabout, and more just than others in all
things. In that isle is no thief, no murderer, no common woman, no poor
beggar, and no man was ever slain in that country. And they be as
chaste, and lead as good a life, as though they were monks; and they
fast all days. And because they are so true, and so just, and so full of
all good conditions, they are never grieved with tempests, nor with
thunder and lightning, nor with hail, nor with pestilence, nor with war,
nor with famine, nor with any other tribulation, as we are many times
amongst us for our sins; wherefore it appears evident that God loveth
them for their good deeds. They believe well in God that made all
things, and worship him; and they prize no earthly riches; and they live
full orderly, and so soberly in meat and drink, that they live right
long. And the most part of them die without sickness, when nature
faileth them for old age. And it befell, in king Alexander's time, that
he purposed to conquer that isle; but when they of the country heard it,
they sent messengers to him with letters, that said thus:—"What may we
be now to that man to whom all the world is insufficient? Thou shalt
find nothing in us to cause thee to war against us; for we have no
riches, nor do we desire any; and all the goods of our country are in
common. Our meat, with which we sustain our bodies, is our riches; and
instead of treasure of gold and silver, we make our treasure of acorns
and peas, and to love one another. And to apparel our bodies we use a
simple cloth to wrap our carcase. Our wives are not arrayed to make any
man pleased. When men labour to array the body, to make it seem fairer
than God made it, they do great sin; for man should not devise nor ask
greater beauty than God hath ordained him to have at his birth. The
earth ministereth to us two things; our livelihood, that cometh of the
earth that we live by, and our sepulchre after our death. We have been
in perpetual peace till now that thou art come to disinherit us; and
also we have a king, not to do justice to every man, for he shall find
no forfeit among us; but to keep nobleness, and to show that we are
obedient, we have a king. For justice has among us no place; for we do
to no man otherwise than we desire that men do to us, so that
righteousness or vengeance have nought to do among us; so that thou
mayest take nothing from us but our good peace, that always hath endured
among us." And when king Alexander had read these letters, he thought
that he should do great sin to trouble them.

There is another isle called Oxidrate, and another called Gymnosophe,
where there are also good people, and full of good faith; and they hold,
for the most part, the same good conditions and customs, and good
manners, as men of the country above mentioned; but they all go naked.
Into that isle entered king Alexander, to see the customs; and when he
saw their great faith, and the truth that was amongst them, he said that
he would not grieve them, and bade them ask of him what they would have
of him, riches or any thing else, and they should have it with good
will. And they answered that he was rich enough that had meat and drink
to sustain the body with; for the riches of this world, that is
transitory, are of no worth; but if it were in his power to make them
immortal, thereof would they pray him, and thank him. And Alexander
answered them that it was not in his power to do it, because he was
mortal, as they were. And then they asked him why he was so proud, and
so fierce, and so busy, to put all the world under his subjection,
"right as thou wert a God, and hast no term of this life, neither day
nor hour; and covetest to have all the world at thy command, that shall
leave thee without fail, or thou leave it. And right as it hath been to
other men before thee, right so it shall be to others after thee, and
from hence shalt thou carry nothing; but as thou wert born naked, right
so all naked shall thy body be turned into earth, that thou wert made
of. Wherefore thou shouldst think, and impress it on thy mind, that
nothing is immortal but only God, that made all things." By which answer
Alexander was greatly astonished and abashed, and all confused departed
from them.

Many other isles[414] there are in the land of Prester John, and many
great marvels, that were too long to tell, both of his riches and of his
nobleness, and of the great plenty also of precious stones that he has.
I think that you know well now, and have heard say, why this emperor is
called Prester John. There was some time an emperor there, who was a
worthy and a full noble prince, that had Christian knights in his
company, as he has that now is. So it befell that he had great desire to
see the service in the church among Christians; and then Christendom
extended beyond the sea, including all Turkey, Syria, Tartary,
Jerusalem, Palestine, Arabia, Aleppo, and all the land of Egypt. So it
befell that this emperor came, with a Christian knight with him, into a
church in Egypt; and it was the Saturday in Whitsuntide. And the bishop
was conferring orders; and he beheld and listened to the service full
attentively; and he asked the Christian knight what men of degree they
should be that the prelate had before him; and the knight answered and
said that they were priests. And then the emperor said that he would no
longer be called king nor emperor, but priest; and that he would have
the name of the first priest that went out of the church; and his name
was John. And so, evermore since, he is called Prester John.



Towards the east of Prester John's land is a good and great isle called
Taprobane, and it is very fruitful; and the king thereof is rich, and is
under the obeisance of Prester John. And there they always make their
king by election. In that isle are two summers and two winters; and men
harvest the corn twice a year; and in all seasons of the year the
gardens are in flower. There dwell good people, and reasonable; and many
Christian men among them, who are so rich that they know not what to do
with their goods. Of old time, when men passed from the land of Prester
John unto that isle, men made ordinance to pass by ship in twenty-three
days or more; but now men pass by ship in seven days. And men may see
the bottom of the sea in many places; for it is not very deep.

Beside that isle, towards the east, are two other isles, one called
Orille, the other Argyte, of which all the land is mines of gold and
silver. And those isles are just where the Red Sea separates from the
Ocean Sea. And in those isles men see no stars so clearly as in other
places; for there appears only one clear star called Canopus. And there
the moon is not seen in all the lunation, except in the second quarter.
In the isle, also, of this Taprobane are great hills of gold, that ants
keep full diligently[415].

And beyond the land, and isles, and deserts of Prester John's lordship,
in going straight towards the east, men find nothing but mountains and
great rocks; and there is the dark region, where no man may see, neither
by day nor night, as they of the country say. And that desert, and that
place of darkness, lasts from this coast unto Terrestrial Paradise,
where Adam, our first father, and Eve were put, who dwelt there but a
little while; and that is towards the east, at the beginning of the
earth. But this is not that east that we call our east, on this half,
where the sun rises to us; for when the sun is east in those parts
towards Terrestrial Paradise, it is then midnight in our parts on this
half, on account of the roundness of the earth, of which I have told you
before; for our Lord God made the earth all round, in the middle of the
firmament. And there have mountains and hills been, and valleys, which
arose only from Noah's flood, that wasted the soft and tender ground,
and fell down into valleys; and the hard earth and the rock remain
mountains, when the soft and tender earth was worn away by the water,
and fell, and became valleys.

Of Paradise I cannot speak properly, for I was not there. It is far
beyond; and I repent not going there, but I was not worthy. But as I
have heard say of wise men beyond, I shall tell you with good will.
Terrestrial Paradise, as wise men say, is the highest place of the
earth; and it is so high that it nearly touches the circle of the moon
there, as the moon makes her turn. For it is so high that the flood of
Noah might not come to it, that would have covered all the earth of the
world all about, and above and beneath, except Paradise. And this
Paradise is inclosed all about with a wall, and men know not whereof it
is; for the wall is covered all over with moss, as it seems; and it
seems not that the wall is natural stone. And that wall stretches from
the south to the north; and it has but one entry, which is closed with
burning fire, so that no man that is mortal dare enter. And in the
highest place of Paradise, exactly in the middle, is a well that casts
out the four streams, which run by divers lands, of which the first is
called Pison, or Ganges, that runs throughout India, or Emlak, in which
river are many precious stones, and much lignum aloes, and much sand of
gold. And the other river is called Nile, or Gyson, which goes through
Ethiopia, and after through Egypt. And the other is called Tigris, which
runs by Assyria, and by Armenia the Great. And the other is called
Euphrates, which runs through Media, Armenia, and Persia. And men there
beyond say that all the sweet waters of the world, above and beneath,
take their beginning from the well of Paradise; and out of that well all
waters come and go. The first river is called Pison, that is, in our
language, Assembly; for many other rivers meet there, and go into that
river. And some call it Ganges, from an Indian king, called Gangeres,
because it ran through his land. And its water is in some places clear,
and in some places troubled; in some places hot, and in some places
cold. The second river is called Nile, or Gyson, for it is always
troubled; and Gyson, in the language of Ethiopia, is to say Trouble, and
in the language of Egypt also. The third river, called Tigris, is as
much as to say, Fast Running; for it runs faster than any of the others.
The fourth river is called Euphrates, that is to say, Well Bearing; for
there grow upon that river corn, fruit, and other goods, in great

And you shall understand that no man that is mortal may approach to that
Paradise; for by land no man may go for wild beasts, that are in the
deserts, and for the high mountains, and great huge rocks, that no man
may pass by for the dark places that are there; and by the rivers may no
man go, for the water runs so roughly and so sharply, because it comes
down so outrageously from the high places above, that it runs in so
great waves that no ship may row or sail against it; and the water roars
so, and makes so huge a noise, and so great a tempest, that no man may
hear another in the ship, though he cried with all the might he could.
Many great lords have assayed with great will, many times, to pass by
those rivers towards Paradise, with full great companies; but they might
not speed in their voyage; and many died for weariness of rowing against
the strong waves; and many of them became blind, and many deaf, for the
noise of the water; and some perished and were lost in the waves; so
that no mortal man may approach to that place without special grace of
God; so that of that place I can tell you no more.



From those isles that I have spoken of before, in the land of Prester
John, that are under earth as to us, and of other isles that are further
beyond, whoever will pursue them may come again right to the parts that
he came from, and so environ all the earth; but what for the isles, what
for the sea, and what for strong rowing, few people assay to pass that
passage. And therefore men return from the isles beforesaid by other
isles, coasting, from the land of Prester John. And then come men, in
returning, to an isle called Casson, which is full sixty days in length,
and more than fifty in breadth. This is the best isle, and the best
kingdom, that is in all those parts, except Cathay; and if the merchants
used that country as much as they do Cathay, it would be better than
Cathay in a short time. This country is well inhabited, and so full of
cities and good towns, and inhabited with people, that when a man goes
out of one city he sees another city before him. In that isle is great
plenty of all goods to live with, and of all manner of spices; and there
are great forests of chestnuts. The king of that isle is very rich and
mighty; and yet he holds his land of the great chan, and is subject to
him; for it is one of the twelve provinces which the great chan has
under him, besides his own land, and other less isles, of which he has

From that kingdom come men, in returning, to another isle, called
Rybothe, which, also, is under the great chan. It is a full good
country, and rich in all goods, and wine and fruit, and all other
riches. And the people of that country have no houses; but they dwell
and lie all under tents made of black fern. And the principal city, and
the most royal, is all walled with black and white stone; and all the
streets, also, are paved with the same stones. In that city is no man so
hardy as to shed blood of any man, nor of any beast, for the reverence
of an idol that is worshipped there. And in that isle dwells the pope of
their law, whom they call lobassy. This lobassy gives all the benefices,
and other dignities, and all other things that belong to the idol. In
that isle they have a custom, in all the country, that when any man's
father is dead, and the son wishes to do great honour to his father, he
sends to all his friends, and to all his kin, and for religious men and
priests, and for minstrels also, in great plenty; and then they bear the
dead body unto a great hill, with great joy and solemnity; and when they
have brought it thither, the chief prelate smites off the head, and lays
it upon a great platter of gold and silver, if he be a rich man; and
then he gives the head to the son; and then the son and his other kin
sing and say many prayers; and then the priests, and the religious men,
smite all the body of the dead man in pieces; and then they say certain
prayers. And the birds of prey of all the country about know the custom
for a long time before, and come flying above in the air, as eagles,
kites, ravens, and other birds that eat flesh. And then the priests cast
the bits of flesh, and each fowl takes what he may, and goes a little
thence and eats it; and they do so whilst any piece of the dead body
remains. And after that the priests sing with high voice, in their
language, "Behold how worthy a man, and how good a man this was, that
the angels of God came to seek him, and to bring him into Paradise." And
then it seems to the son that he is highly worshipped when many birds,
and fowls, and ravens, come and eat his father; and he that has most
number of fowls is most worshipped. Then the son brings home with him
all his kin, and his friends, and all the others, to his house, and
makes a great feast; and then all his friends make their boast how the
fowls came thither, here five, here six, here ten, and there twenty, and
so forth; and they rejoice greatly to speak thereof. And when they are
at meat the son brings forth the head of his father, and thereof he
serves of the flesh to his most special friends, as a dainty. And of the
skull he makes a cup, and drinks out of it with his other friends in
great devotion, in remembrance of the holy man that the angels of God
had eaten. And that cup the son shall keep to drink out of all his
lifetime, in remembrance of his father.

From that land, in returning by ten days through the land of the great
chan, is another good isle, and a great kingdom, where the king is full
rich and mighty. And amongst the rich men of his country is a passing
rich man, that is neither prince, nor duke, nor earl; but he has more
that hold of him lands and other lordships; for he has every year, of
annual rent, more than three hundred thousand horses charged with corn
of divers grains and rice; and so he leads a full noble and delicate
life, after the custom of the country; for he has every day fifty fair
damsels, all maidens, that serve him evermore at his meat, and to lie by
him at night, and to do with them what he pleases. And when he is at the
table, they bring him his meat at every time, five and five together;
and in bringing their service they sing a song. And after that they cut
his meat, and put it in his mouth; for he touches nothing, nor handles
nought, but holds evermore his hands before him upon the table; for he
has such long nails that he may take nothing, nor handle any thing. For
the nobleness of that country is to have long nails, and to make them
grow always to be as long as men may; and there are many in that country
that have their nails so long that they environ all the hand; and that
is a great nobleness. And the nobleness of the women is to have small
feet; and therefore, as soon as they are born, they bind their feet so
tight that they may not grow half as nature would. And always these
damsels, that I spoke of before, sing all the time that this rich man
eateth; and when he eateth no more of his first course, then other five
and five of fair damsels bring him his second course, always singing, as
they did before; and so they do continually every day, to the end of his
meat. And in this manner he leads his life; and so they did before him
that were his ancestors; and so shall they that come after him, without
doing of any deeds of arms, but live evermore thus in ease, as a swine
that is fed in a sty to be made fat. He has a full fair and rich palace,
the walls of which are two miles in circuit; and he has within many fair
gardens, and many fair halls and chambers; and the pavement of his halls
and chambers are of gold and silver. And in the middle of one of his
gardens is a little mountain, where there is a little meadow; and in
that meadow is a little house, with towers and pinnacles, all of gold;
and in that little house will he sit often to take the air and sport

And you shall understand that of all these countries and isles, and of
all the divers people that I have spoken of before, and of divers laws,
and of divers beliefs that they have, there is none of them all but they
have some reason and understanding in them, and they have certain
articles of our faith, and some good points of our belief; and they
believe in God that created all things and made the world; but yet they
cannot speak perfectly (for there is no man to teach them), but only
what they can devise by their natural understanding; for they have no
knowledge of the Son nor of the Holy Ghost; but they can all speak of
the Bible, namely of Genesis, of the Prophets' laws, and of the books of
Moses. And they say well that the creatures that they worship are no
gods; but they worship them for the virtue that is in them. And of
simulacres, and of idols, they say that there are no people but that
they have simulacres; and they say that we Christian men have images, as
of our lady, and of other saints, that we worship; not the images of
wood or of stone, but the saints in whose name they are made; for right
as the books of the Scripture teach the clerks how and in what manner
they shall believe, right so the images and the paintings teach the
ignorant people to worship the saints, and to have them in their minds,
in whose name the images are made. They say, also, that the angels of
God speak to them in those idols, and that they do many great miracles.
And they say truth, that there is an angel within them; for there are
two manner of angels, a good and an evil; as the Greeks say, Cacho and
Calo. This Cacho is the wicked angel, and Calo is the good angel: but
the other is not the good angel, but the wicked angel, which is within
the idols to deceive them and maintain them in their error.

There are many other divers countries, and many other marvels beyond,
that I have not seen; wherefore I cannot speak of them properly. And,
also, in the countries where I have been are many diversities of many
wonderful things, more than I make mention of; for it were too long a
thing to devise you the manner of them all. And therefore now that I
have devised you of certain countries, which I have spoken of before, I
beseech your worthy and excellent nobleness that it suffice to you at
this time; for if I told you all that is beyond the sea, another man,
perhaps, who would labour to go into those parts to seek those
countries, might be blamed by my words in rehearsing many strange
things; for he might not say any thing new, in the which the hearers
might have either solace or pleasure.

And you shall understand that, at my coming home, I came to Rome, and
showed my life to our holy father the pope, and was absolved of all that
lay in my conscience of many divers grievous points, as men must need
that are in company, dwelling amongst so many divers people, of divers
sects and beliefs, as I have been. And, amongst all, I showed him this
treatise, that I had made after information of men that knew of things
that I had not seen, myself; and also of marvels and customs that I had
seen myself, as far as God would give me grace; and besought his holy
fatherhood that my book might be examined and corrected by advice of his
wise and discreet council. And our holy father, of his special grace,
gave my book to be examined and proved by the advice of his said
council, by the which my book was proved for true, insomuch that they
showed me a book, which my book was examined by, that comprehended full
much more, by an hundredth part, by the which the _Mappa Mundi_ was
made. And so my book (albeit that many men list not to give credence to
any thing but to what they see with their eye, be the author or the
person ever so true) is affirmed and proved by our holy father in manner
and form as I have said.

And I, John Maundeville, knight, abovesaid, (although I be unworthy,)
that went from our countries, and passed the sea, in the year of Grace
1322, have passed many lands, and many isles and countries, and searched
many full strange places, and have been in many a full good and
honourable company, and at many a fair deed of arms, (albeit that I did
none myself, for my insufficiency,) now I am come home (in spite of
myself) to rest; for rheumatic gouts, that distress me, fix the end of
my labour, against my will (God knoweth). And thus, taking comfort in my
wretched rest, recording the time passed, I have fulfilled these things,
and written them in this book, as it would come into my mind, the year
of Grace 1356, in the thirty-fourth year that I departed from our
country. Wherefore I pray to all the readers and hearers of this book,
if it please them, that they would pray to God for me, and I shall pray
for them.


[285] An allusion to the legal forms of conveying and bequeathing
property in the middle ages.

[286] Dismas and Jestes, or Jesmas, were, according to the vulgar
legend, the names of the two thieves who were crucified at the same time
with the Saviour, Dismas being the one who reproved his companion for
his unbelief. Maundeville has introduced more of the popular
superstitious and religious legends of the middle ages than the previous

[287] See, on this popular legend, the editor's note on the "Chester
Plays" (or Mysteries), vol. i. p. 239. It was derived from one of the
apocryphal books of the eastern church.

[288] The beautiful chapel built by St. Louis, and now known as the
Sainte Chapelle.

[289] There is an old Greek iambic to this effect:—"Ἄθωος καλύπτει
πλευρά Λεμνίας βοός."

[290] Maundy-Thursday is the day of Christ's commandment on instituting
the Lord's Supper, the Thursday before Easter. It was also called
Shere-Thursday. The ceremony observed on the day was called holding or
making the Maundy.

[291] The period during which Maundeville was in the east was that when
the question of reuniting the Greek and Latin churches was in agitation,
which is probably the cause he enters so largely into their differences
of belief.

[292] Long before our author's time, the text, in John xxi. 22, 23, in
the vulgar Latin, happened to be changed in favour of this notion; for
Jesus' answer to Peter's question about John, "Lord, and what shall this
man do?" is there, "Sic eum volo manere donec veniam," the conjunction
_si_ being dropped, by means of _sic_ following.

[293] Lango is but another name of the isle of Cos, where Hippocrates,
(commonly called by the medieval writers Ypocras,) the famous physician,
was born. See before, p. 33.

[294] The two orders, the Templars and Hospitalers, having been expelled
from Palestine by the Mohammedans, on the capture of Acre in 1291, the
first retired to Cyprus; but in 1310 the Hospitalers made themselves
masters of the isle of Rhodes, which became the chief place of the order
until it was taken by the Turks, on the 1st of January, 1523, when they
removed to Malta.

[295] See before, p. 33 of the present volume, where the same blunder is
made by Sæwulf.

[296] This story, or one very similar to it, is found in the chronicle
of John of Brompton. The bay of Satalia was notoriously dangerous to
navigators, who attempted to account for it by legends like these. We
have already seen an earlier traveller, Sæwulf, narrowly escape
shipwreck in passing it (p. 49). John of Brompton gives two legends to
account for the stormy character of the bay, according to one of which
the head of the monster alluded to in the text lay at the bottom; and
when it was turned with the face upwards, this position caused a
perilous tempest.

[297] These were a kind of large wild dogs. Jacobus de Vitriaco ("Hist.
Orient.," lib. iii.), speaking of the animals of Judea, says, "Sunt ibi
cameli et bubali abundanter, et _papiones_ quos appellant, canes
silvestres, acriores quam lupi."

[298] Song of Solomon, iv. 15.

[299] Luke, xi. 27.

[300] Our author has picked up a strange version of the classic story of
Perseus and Andromeda, and has even mistaken Andromeda for the monster
that was to have devoured her. The mark of the chain is mentioned by

[301] A similar description is found in Geoffrey de Vinsauf (Itin. Reg.
Ric. I. lib. i. c. 32), who, however, states that it is a mere story
taken from Solinus, and he does not assert that there was such a foss in
his time. It may be further observed that Maundeville has fallen into
another blunder in confounding the foss alluded to with the pretended
sepulchre of Memnon.

[302] It is curious that Maundeville should thus confound Babylon of
Chaldea with Babylon of Egypt.

[303] Sirkouk, or Siracon, was the vizir of Noureddin, sultan of Aleppo,
and was uncle, not father, of Saladin. He dethroned the last Fatimite
khalif of Egypt, and brought that country under the power of the
sultans, which was soon after usurped by Saladin, who reigned from 1173
to 1193. The other sultans mentioned by Maundeville may easily be
identified by a reference to the ordinary histories.

[304] This was the sultan Koutchouc-Ascraf, who was chosen successor to
his brother in 1341, and, after reigning about six months, was deposed
on the 11th of January, 1342. This fixes Maundeville's departure from
Egypt to the latter months of the year 1341.

[305] See Maundeville's explanation of this word in a subsequent

[306] This account of Babylon is taken chiefly from Pliny and the
ancient geographers.

[307] Bagdad.

[308] Gen. xii. 1.

[309] Ephraem Cyrus.

[310] The legend of Theophilus, who sold himself to the evil one, and
then repented, and was saved from the devil by the Virgin Mary, was a
popular one in the Middle Ages. See Jubinal's Rutebeuf, vol. ii. pages
79 and 260. He is commonly said to have lived at Adana, in Cilicia.

[311] Susa.

[312] A spurious book, purporting to be the exposition of dreams
compiled by the prophet Daniel, was very popular in the middle ages, and
is the work here alluded to.

[313] _i. e._ The people of Barbary.

[314] Rosetta.

[315] This account of the Phœnix is taken from Pliny's Natural History,
x. 2, and xi. 37. The legend of the Phœnix was a very favourite one
throughout the middle ages.

[316] The story is taken from one of the apocryphal books of the Eastern
sectarians, which had a considerable influence on the legendary
literature of the medieval church.

[317] The wonderful adventures of Alexander the Great in his Indian
expedition, and the marvels he met with, are the subject of a multitude
of extraordinary legends in the middle ages, and exerted no little
influence on geography and natural science down to a comparatively
recent period. The hero was made to give an account of them in a
supposititious letter to his preceptor Aristotle, which was published in
almost every language in Western Europe, and is of frequent recurrence
in medieval manuscripts.

[318] These are, of course, the pyramids. See the slight allusion to
them in Benjamin of Tudela, p. 121.

[319] Brindisi, the ancient Brundusium.

[320] See before, p. 22.

[321] Exod. iii. 5.

[322] 1 Kings, xix. 8.

[323] This pretended imprint of Moses' body, and some of the other
remarkable things described by Maundeville, were still shown to visitors
in the earlier part of the last century.

[324] Psalms, cxxxii. 6.

[325] The medieval legendary history of the three kings will be found
printed at the end of the first volume of the "Chester Mysteries."

[326] Rachel had but two children, Joseph and Benjamin; but by them she
had twelve grandchildren. Gen. xlvi. 20-22.

[327] Perhaps Maundeville reckons from the capture of Acre, in 1291,
when the Christians lost their last footing in the Holy Land. Jerusalem
was finally taken from the Christians by the Turks in October, 1244.

[328] The _Vitas Patrum_ was the most popular collection of saints'
legends in the middle ages.

[329] See before, pp. 4, 38.

[330] John, xix. 26.

[331] Gen. xxviii. 16.

[332] Acts, iii. 2.

[333] Matt. ix. 6.

[334] Matt. xxvi. 39.

[335] Matth. x. 41.

[336] Joshua, ii. 9.

[337] Matth. iv. 3.

[338] This is a very ingenious attempt at derivation, like some others
found in the book of Sir John Maundeville, who speaks again of the
Georgian Christians at the end of Chapter X.

[339] This word probably means bitumen. The Latin text has _Dalem et
dalketram_; the French, _De alym et d'alketran_. This would almost lead
us to consider the French as the original text, from which the others
were translated.

[340] Mount Royal, which stood in the immediate neighbourhood of the
ancient Petra, was a place of some celebrity in the history of the
crusades. It was said to have been impregnable from the strength of its
position; and it was only taken by Saladin, in 1187, by starving the

[341] Psalms, cxx. 5.

[342] Luke, x. 13, 15. This is a curious example of the manner in which
legends were raised on the misapplication of Scripture by the medieval
theologians, who, in this respect, closely resembled the Talmudists
among the Jews.

[343] 2 Sam. i. 21.

[344] Luke, i. 28.

[345] The foregoing passages of Scripture, repeated as directed in
Latin, composed, in fact, the common charm against thieves and robbers;
and our forefathers seem to have had the simplicity to believe that, by
a proper use of it, they were actually under those circumstances
rendered invisible. The quotations are from Luke iv. 30; Exod. xv. 16.
The latter is wrongly quoted from the Psalter. The misinterpretation of
the first passage (it was believed that Jesus became invisible) appears
to have arisen at a very early period.

[346] There was an immense mass of legendary matter of this kind current
in the middle ages, with which it is necessary, in a certain degree, to
be acquainted, in order to understand the literature and manners of our
forefathers. It is to such legends that the old writers frequently
allude when we suppose that they are merely misquoting Scripture.

[347] This is of course a little more legend. The notion that there was
a town on the summit of Mount Tabor is probably a mistake of our

[348] This legend arose out of an interpretation given to Gen. iv. 23,
24. See, as an illustration, the scene in the "Coventry Mysteries," pp.

[349] Matt. xiv. 31.

[350] Luke, xxiv. 30.

[351] Psalms, xxxii. 5.

[352] See before, p. 178.

[353] The khalif Motawakkel had, in A.D. 856, ordered the Christians and
Jews to wear a broad girdle of leather; and they have continued to wear
it in the east till modern times. From that epoch the Christians of
Syria, who were mostly Jacobites or Nestorians, were called Christians
of the girdle.

[354] It is hardly necessary to remind the reader that _sabbatum_, or
_dies sabbati_, is the Latin for Saturday.

[355] Ramah Gibeon, now El Jib. Douke is Ain Duk, the Greek Δωκ (see
Robinson, ii. 308, 309). It requires considerable study and research to
identify all the names mentioned by Maundeville in the sequel.

[356] We must take this as a little satire of Sir John Maundeville's
against the vices of the day among his own countrymen; and it seems not
to have been without its effect. There is an English metrical version of
it in the "Reliquiæ Antiquæ," ii. 113.

[357] The foregoing account of Mohammed and his doctrines is of course
full of error and prejudice; but it is curious, as showing the popular
notions on the subject in England and France in the fourteenth century,
and may be compared with several other popular tracts of that age. The
Koran had been translated into Latin as early as the twelfth century. An
account very similar to the above is given by Roger of Wendover (Bohn's
Antiq. Lib.).

[358] _i. e._ The Athanasian Creed.

[359] A Christian dynasty reigned over the small independent kingdom of
Trebizond from 1204 to 1462, after which it was swallowed up in the
Ottoman empire.

[360] This is an allusion to another medieval religious legend.

[361] An account of the remarkable ruins, both ecclesiastical and
palatial, that are met with at Anni, which was the capital of the
Pakradian branch of Armenian kings, will be found in the Travels of Sir
R. K. Porter, and those of W. J. Hamilton, vol. i. p. 197.

[362] One hundred and forty years. Job, xlii. 16.

[363] Here follows, in the original, the common story of the Amazons,
taken from the ancient authors, which is not worth reprinting.

[364] Maundeville's notions concerning diamonds are somewhat singular;
they are, however, partly taken from Pliny, lib. xxxvii. c. 4.

[365] Hence the ring was commonly worn on the left hand.

[366] The "Liber Lapidarius" was a popular medieval treatise on the
virtues and properties of precious stones, which was of great importance
when people implicitly believed in the wonderful efficacy of such

[367] _i. e._ The loadstone. The appellation of the "shipman's stone" is
curious, as showing that the properties of the mariners' compass were
well known before the middle of the fourteenth century. We have other
evidence to show that the mariner's compass was known at a much earlier

[368] This is taken from Pliny's Natural History, lib. ix. c. 3.

[369] Pliny's Natural History, lib. vi. c. 17.

[370] Ormuz.

[371] _Undurn_ was nine o'clock in the morning. The Latin text has "_A
diei hora tertia usque ad nonam_."

[372] This tradition of a mountain of magnetic ore is very general among
the Chinese and throughout Asia. The Chinese assign its position to a
specific place, which they call Tchang-haï, in the southern sea, between
Tonquin and Cochin-China, which is precisely the same geographical
region indicated in the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor.

[373] The Well of Youth was a sort of El Dorado of the middle ages,
which most people believed in, and many went in search of; but, in spite
of Maundeville's assertion that he had drunk of the water, it appears
never to have been found.

[374] This is the country described by Marco Polo, book iii. c. 20,
under the name of Maabar.

[375] A rich cloth of silk, mentioned not unfrequently in medieval

[376] An astronomical instrument used in the middle ages for taking
altitudes, &c. Maundeville's notions about the form of the earth, and
the possibility of passing round it, are extremely curious, from the
circumstance of their having been written and published so long before
the time of Columbus.

[377] Job, xxvi. 7.

[378] Perhaps Sumatra. Maundeville seems to allude to the tattooing
practised so generally in the islands of the Pacific.

[379] This seems to be an allusion to the upas tree.

[380] This accusation was spread against the Jews, as an excuse for
persecution and spoliation.

[381] This may possibly be meant for Ceylon; but it would be vain to
attempt to identify the islands mentioned in this and the following
chapter. Some of the descriptions may, however, have had their
foundation in what was originally correct information, but exaggerated
or misunderstood.

[382] Adam's Peak is in the island of Ceylon, which seems to be the one
here alluded to under the name of Silha.

[383] The "marvels" that follow in this paragraph are taken almost
entirely from Pliny and Solinus.

[384] This is the city called by Marco Polo (from whom Maundeville
appears to have abridged his description) Kin-sai. It was the capital of
Southern China, under the dynasty of the Song.

[385] Part of this account is taken from Pliny, Hist. Nat., vii. 2.

[386] This is the word used in the English version. The Latin has
_ascensorium_, and the French, _mountaynette_.

[387] These are old names of precious stones, which it would not be very
easy now to explain.

[388] This was the famous Ghengis-khan, who ruled the Moguls from 1176
to 1227, and was the founder of the Tartar empire. It is needless to say
that the history Maundeville gives of his accession is a mere fable.

[389] Veneration for peculiar numbers was a very general superstition,
and the number three, and its multiple, nine, were, in particular, in
universal repute.

[390] This story of the king and the twelve arrows is told in very
nearly the same manner in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments; and the
substance of a well-known fable will be easily recognised in it.

[391] Oktai-khan, who ruled over the Tartars from 1229 (having been
absent in China when his father died) to 1241.

[392] Gaiouk reigned from 1246 to 1249. The death of his predecessor had
been followed by a regency.

[393] Mango-khan, after another regency, succeeded in 1251; and after
conquering Persia and other countries, died in 1259. This monarch was
made known to Europeans by the embassy of William de Rubruquis and
others, and excited interest in the west by the report of his conversion
to Christianity.

[394] Mango's successor was the celebrated Houlagou (1259 to 1265), who
was followed in succession by eight khans between then and the time when
Maundeville wrote. These were followed, in 1360, by the famous
Timur-beg, or Tamerlane.

[395] These are the names of different birds used in hawking.

[396] _Leech_ was the old English name for one class of medical
practitioners. It is employed here in contradistinction to physicians,
and I have not ventured to assign a modern equivalent. The preference
given to Christian physicians is somewhat curious when we compare it
with a similar feeling existing in the East at the present day.

[397] Paper money was in common use among the Tartars and Chinese at an
early period. See, on this curious subject, the travels of Marco Polo.

[398] "And none shall appear before me empty." Exod. xxxiv. 20.

[399] A kind of garment made of skins with the fur on. In the Latin the
passage stands, "Habent et pelliceas, quibus utuntur ex transversis;" in
the French, "Et vestent des pellices, le peil dehors."

[400] Leather boiled soft, and then reduced to any required shape and
hardened; a substance very much used for a variety of purposes in the
middle ages.

[401] The Maure Sea seems to be the Northern Ocean, and the mountains of
Chotaz are perhaps the Ourals.

[402] These are, no doubt, Bokhara and Samarcand.

[403] Iskendroon?

[404] Tabreez.

[405] The Kurds, the Gordynæ of the ancients.

[406] Take the sacrament.

[407] Mosul.

[408] Cotton.

[409] The editor of the edition of our author, printed in 1727,
observes, that one four feet long, in the Cotton Library, had a silver
hoop about the end, on which is engraved, _Griphi unguis, divo Cuthberto
Dunelmensi sacer_. Another, about an ell long, is mentioned by Dr. Grew,
in his History of the Rarities of the Royal Society, page 26; though the
doctor there supposes it rather the horn of a rock-buck, or of the _ibex

[410] Un-khan, or, as he was popularly called, Prester John, and the
marvels of his dominions, were for several centuries a subject of great
interest to the people of Western Europe, and were an object of anxious
inquiry to all travellers in the East. A pretended letter from this
monarch to the pope, describing his dominions, was published in Latin,
French, and other languages. Much information relating to Prester John
is found in Matthew Paris, who wrote before the middle of the thirteenth
century. Marco Polo in his travels (book i. ch. xliii.) mentions the
former subjection of the Tartars to him. Roger Bacon did not believe the
extraordinary tales which were current relative to Prester John—_de quo
tanta fama solebat esse, et multa falsa dicta sunt et scripta_. (Opus
Majus, edit. Jebb, p. 232.) A most profound and learned dissertation on
the personage and history of Prester John, by M. D'Avezac, will be found
in the Introduction to his edition of the History of the Tartars, by
John du Plan-de-Carpin, (published in the transactions of the
Geographical Society of Paris,) 4to, 1838, p. 165-168.

[411] Ormuz.—The derivation is droll enough.

[412] Probably cocoa-nuts.

[413] This is apparently the giraffe.

[414] I have omitted some paragraphs preceding this, which are mere
reproductions of the wonderful ethnographic stories of Pliny and

[415] Here follows the story of the ants that keep the gold, taken from
Pliny, Hist. Nat. xi. 31, and found in other ancient writers.


A.D. 1432, 1433.

To animate and inflame the hearts of such noble men as may be desirous
of seeing the world, and by the order and command of the most high, most
powerful, and my most redoubted lord, Philip, by the grace of God duke
of Burgundy, Lorraine, Brabant, and Limbourg, count of Flanders, Artois,
and Burgundy[416], palatine of Hainault, Holland, Zealand, and Namur,
marquis of the Holy Empire, lord of Friesland, Salines, and Mechlin, I,
Bertrandon de la Brocquière, a native of the duchy of Guienne, lord of
Vieux-Chateau, counsellor and first esquire-carver to my aforesaid most
redoubted lord, after bringing to my recollection every event, in
addition to what I had made an abridgment of in a small book by way of
memorandums, have fairly written out this account of my short travels,
in order that if any king or Christian prince should wish to make the
conquest of Jerusalem, and lead thither an army overland, or if any
gentleman should be desirous of travelling thither, they may be made
acquainted with all the towns, cities, regions, countries, rivers,
mountains, and passes in the different districts, as well as the lords
to whom they belong, from the duchy of Burgundy to Jerusalem. The route
hence to the holy city of Rome is too well known for me to stop and
describe it. I shall pass lightly over this article, and not say much
until I come to Syria. I have travelled through the whole country from
Gaza, which is the entrance to Egypt, to within a day's journey of
Aleppo, a town situated on the north of the frontier, and which we pass
in going to Persia.

Having formed a resolution to make a devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and
being determined to discharge my vow, I quitted, in the month of
February, 1432, the court of my most redoubted lord, which was then at
Ghent. After traversing Picardy, Champagne, and Burgundy, I entered
Savoy, crossed the Rhone, and arrived at Chambery by the Mont-du-Chat.
Here commences a long chain of mountains, the highest of which is called
Mount Cenis, which forms a dangerous pass for travellers in times of
snow. The road is so difficult to find, that a traveller, unless he wish
to lose it, must take one of the guides of the country, called Marrons.
These people advise you not to make any sort of noise that may shake the
atmosphere round the mountain, for in that case the snow is detached,
and rolls with impetuosity to the ground. Mount Cenis separates Italy
from France.

Having thence descended into Piedmont, a handsome and pleasant country,
surrounded on three sides by mountains, I passed through Turin, where I
crossed the Po, and proceeded to Asti, which belongs to the duke of
Orleans; then to Alexandria, the greater part of the inhabitants of
which are said to be usurers—to Piacenza, belonging to the duke of
Milan—and at last to Bologna la Grassa, which is part of the pope's
dominions. The emperor Sigismund was at Piacenza; he had come thither
from Milan, where he had received his second crown, and was on his road
to Rome in search of the third[417]. From Bologna I had to pass another
chain of mountains (the Appennines) to enter the states of the
Florentines. Florence is a large town, where the commonalty govern.
Every three months they elect for the government magistrates, called
priori, who are taken from different professions; and as long as they
remain in office they are honoured, but on the expiration of the three
months they return to their former situations. From Florence I went to
Monte Pulciano, a castle built on an eminence, and surrounded on three
sides by a large lake (Lago di Perugia), thence to Spoleto, Monte
Fiascone, and at length to Rome.

Rome is well known. Authors of veracity assure us that for seven hundred
years she was mistress of the world. But although their writings should
not affirm this, would there not be sufficiency of proof in all the
grand edifices now existing, in those columns of marble, those statues,
and those monuments as marvellous to see as to describe? Add to the
above the immense quantities of relics that are there; so many things
that our Lord has touched, such numbers of holy bodies of apostles,
martyrs, confessors, and virgins; in short, so many churches where the
holy pontiffs have granted full indulgences for sin. I saw there
Eugenius IV., a Venetian, who had just been elected pope[418]. The
prince of Salernum had declared war against him; he was of the Colonna
family, and nephew to pope Martin[419].

I quitted Rome the 25th of March, and, passing through a town belonging
to count de Thalamoné, a relation to the cardinal des Ursins, arrived at
Urbino; thence I proceeded through the lordships of the Malatestas to
Rimini, a part of the Venetian dominions. I crossed three branches of
the Po, and came to Chiosa, a town of the Venetians, which had formerly
a good harbour; but this was destroyed by themselves when the Genoese
came to lay siege to Venice. From Chiosa, I landed at Venice, distant
twenty-five miles.

Venice is a large and handsome town, ancient and commercial, and built
in the middle of the sea. Its different quarters being separated by
water form so many islands, so that a boat is necessary to go from one
to the other. This town possesses the body of St. Helena, mother of the
emperor Constantine, as well as many others that I have seen, especially
several bodies of the Holy Innocents, which are entire. These last are
in an island called Murano, renowned for its manufactories of glass. The
government of Venice is full of wisdom. No one can be a member of the
council, nor hold any employment, unless he be noble and born in the
town. It has a duke, who is bound to have ever with him, during the day,
six of the most ancient and celebrated members of the council. When the
duke dies, his successor is chosen from among those who have shown the
greatest knowledge and zeal for the public good.

On the 8th of May I embarked to accomplish my vow, on board a galley,
with some other pilgrims. We sailed along the coast of Sclavonia, and
successively touched at Pola, Zara, Sebenico, and Corfu. Pola seemed to
me to have been formerly a handsome and strong town, with an excellent
harbour. We were shown at Zara the body of St. Simeon, to whom our Lord
was presented in the Temple. The town is surrounded on three sides by
the sea, and its fine port is shut in by an iron chain. Sebenico belongs
to the Venetians, as does Corfu, which, with a very handsome harbour,
has also two castles.

From Corfu we sailed to Modon, a good and fair town in the Morea, also
belonging to the Venetians; thence to Candia, a most fertile island, the
inhabitants of which are excellent sailors. The government of Venice
nominates a governor, who takes the title of duke, but who holds his
place only three years. Thence to Rhodes, where I had but time to see
the town; to Baffa, a ruined town in the island of Cyprus; and at length
to Jaffa, in the Holy Land of Promise.

At Jaffa, the pardons commence for pilgrims to the Holy Land. It
formerly belonged to the Christians, and was then strong; at present it
is entirely destroyed, having only a few tents covered with reeds,
whither pilgrims retire to shelter themselves from the heat of the sun.
The sea enters the town, and forms a bad and shallow harbour; it is
dangerous to remain there long for fear of being driven on shore by a
gust of wind. There are two springs of fresh water; but one is
overflowed by the sea when the westerly wind blows a little strong. When
any pilgrims disembark here, interpreters and other officers of the
sultan[420] instantly hasten to ascertain their numbers, to serve them
as guides, and to receive, in the name of their master, the customary

Ramlé, the first town we came to from Jaffa, is without walls, but a
good and commercial town, seated in an agreeable and fertile district.
We went to visit, in the neighbourhood, a village where St. George was
martyred; and, on our return to Ramlé, we continued our route, and
arrived, after two days, at the holy city of Jerusalem, where our Lord
Jesus Christ suffered death for us. After making the customary
pilgrimages, we performed those to the mountain where Jesus fasted forty
days; to the Jordan, where he was baptized; to the church of St. John,
near to that river; to that of St. Martha and St. Mary Magdalene, where
our Lord raised Lazarus from the dead; to Bethlehem, where he was born;
to the birth-place of St. John the Baptist; to the house of Zachariah;
and, lastly, to the holy cross, where the tree grew that formed the real
cross, after which we returned to Jerusalem.

The Cordeliers have a church at Bethlehem, in which they perform divine
service, but they are under great subjection to the Saracens. The town
is only inhabited by Saracens, and some Christians of the girdle[421].

At the birth-place of St. John the Baptist, a rock is shown, which,
during the time of Herod's persecution of the innocents, opened itself
miraculously in two, when St. Elizabeth having therein hid her son, it
closed again of itself, and the child remained shut up, as it is said,
two whole days.

Jerusalem is situated in a mountainous and strong country, and is at
this day a considerable town, although it appears to have been much more
so in former times. It is under the dominion of the sultan, to the shame
and grief of Christendom. Among the free Christians, there are but two
Cordeliers who inhabit the holy sepulchre, and even they are oppressed
by the Saracens; I can speak of it from my own knowledge, having been
witness of it for two months. In the church of the Holy Sepulchre reside
also many other sorts of Christians, Jacobites, Armenians, Abyssinians
from the country of Prester John, and Christians of the girdle; but of
these the Franks suffer the greatest hardships.

When all these pilgrimages were accomplished, we undertook another,
equally customary, that to St. Catherine's on Mount Sinai. For this
purpose we formed a party of ten pilgrims, Sir André de Thoulongeon, Sir
Michel de Ligne, Guillaume de Ligne, his brother, Sanson de Lalaing,
Pierre de Vaudrey, Godefroi de Thoisi, Humbert Buffart, Jean de la Roe,
Simonet[422], and myself.

For the information of others, who, like myself, may wish to visit this
country, I shall say, that the custom is to treat with the chief
interpreter at Jerusalem, who receives a tax for the sultan, and one for
himself, and then sends to inform the interpreter at Gaza, who, in his
turn, negotiates a passage with the Arabians of the desert. These Arabs
enjoy the right of conducting pilgrims; and, as they are not always
under due subjection to the sultan, their camels must be used, which
they let to hire at ten ducats a head. The Saracen who at this time held
the office of chief interpreter was called Nanchardin. Having received
the answer from the Arabs, he called us together before the chapel,
which is at the entrance and on the left of the holy sepulchre; he there
took down in writing our ages, names, surnames, and very particular
descriptions of our persons, and sent a duplicate of this to the chief
interpreter at Cairo. These precautions are taken for the security of
travellers, and to prevent the Arabs from detaining any of them; but I
am persuaded that it is done likewise through mistrust, and through fear
of some exchange or substitution that may make them lose the
tribute-money. On the eve of our departure we bought wine for the
journey, and laid in a stock of provision, excepting biscuit, which we
were to find at Gaza. Nanchardin having provided asses and mules to
carry us and our provision, with a particular interpreter, we set off.

The first place we came to was a village formerly more considerable, at
present inhabited by Christians of the girdle, who cultivate vines. The
second was a town called St. Abraham, and situated in the valley of
Hebron, where our Lord created our first father Adam. In that place are
buried together Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with their wives; but this
sepulchre is now inclosed within a mosque of the Saracens. We were
anxious to see it, and even advanced to the gate; but our guides and
interpreter assured us they dared not suffer us to enter in the
day-time, on account of the dangers they should run, and that any
Christian found within a mosque is instantly put to death, unless he
renounces his religion. After the valley of Hebron, we traversed
another of greater extent, near to which the mountain on which St. John
performed his penitence was pointed out to us. Thence we crossed a
desert country, and lodged in one of those houses built through charity,
and called khan; from this khan we came to Gaza.

Gaza, situated in a fine country near the sea, and at the entrance of
the desert, is a strong town, although uninclosed. It is pretended that
it formerly belonged to the famous Samson. His palace is still shown,
and also the columns of that which he pulled down; but I dare not affirm
that these are the same. Pilgrims are harshly treated there; and we also
should have suffered, had it not been for the governor, a man about
sixty years of age, and a Circassian, who heard our complaints and did
us justice. Thrice were we obliged to appear before him; once, on
account of the swords we wore, and the two other times for quarrels
which the Saracen moucres sought to have with us. Many of us wished to
purchase asses; for the camel has a very rough movement, which is
extremely fatiguing to those unaccustomed to it. An ass is sold at Gaza
for two ducats; but the moucres not only wanted to prevent our buying
any, but to force us to hire asses from them, at the price of five
ducats, to St. Catherine's. This conduct was represented to the
governor. For myself, who had hitherto ridden on a camel, and had no
intention of changing, I desired they would tell me how I could ride a
camel and an ass at the same time. The governor decided in our favour,
and ordered that we should not be forced to hire any asses from the
moucres against our inclinations. We here laid in fresh provisions
necessary for the continuance of our journey; but, on the eve of our
departure, four of my companions fell sick, and returned to Jerusalem. I
set off with the five others, and we came to a village situated at the
entrance of the desert, and the only one to be met with between Gaza and
St. Catherine's. Sir Sanson de Lalaing also there quitted us, and
returned; so that our company consisted of Sir Andrew de Toulongeon,
Pierre de Vaudrei, Godefroi de Toisi, Jean de la Roe, and myself.

We thus travelled two days in the desert, absolutely without seeing any
thing deserving to be related. Only one morning I saw, before sunrise,
an animal running on four legs, about three feet long, but scarcely a
palm in height. The Arabians fled at the sight of it, and the animal
hastened to hide itself in a bush hard by. Sir Andrew and Pierre de
Vaudrei dismounted, and pursued it sword in hand, when it began to cry
like a cat on the approach of a dog. Pierre de Vaudrei struck it on the
back with the point of his sword, but did it no harm, from its being
covered with scales like a sturgeon. It sprung at Sir Andrew, who, with
a blow from his sword, cut the neck, partly through, and flung it on its
back, with its feet in the air, and killed it. The head resembled that
of a large hare; the feet were like the hands of a young child, with a
pretty long tail, like that of the large green lizard. Our Arabs and
interpreter told us it was very dangerous[423].

At the end of the second day's journey I was seized with such a burning
fever that it was impossible for me to proceed. My four companions,
distressed at this accident, made me mount an ass, and recommended me to
one of our Arabs, whom they charged to reconduct me, if possible, to
Gaza. This man took a great deal of care of me, which is unusual in
respect to Christians. He faithfully kept me company, and led me in the
evening to pass the night in one of their camps, which might consist of
fourscore and some tents, pitched in the form of a street. These tents
consist of two poles stuck in the ground by the bigger end, at a certain
distance from each other, and on them is placed another pole cross-way,
and over this last is laid a thick coverlid of woollen, or coarse hair.
On my arrival, four or five Arabs, who were acquainted with my
companion, came to meet us. They dismounted me from my ass, and laid me
on a mattress which I had with me, and then, treating me according to
their method, kneaded and pinched me so much with their hands[424], that
from fatigue and lassitude I slept and reposed for six hours. During
this time no one did me the least harm, nor took any thing from me. It
would, however, have been very easy for them to do so; and I must have
been a tempting prey, for I had with me two hundred ducats, and two
camels laden with provision and wine.

I set out, on my return to Gaza, before day; but when I came thither, I
found neither my four companions who had remained behind nor Sir Sanson
de Lalaing: the whole five had returned to Jerusalem, carrying with them
the interpreter. Fortunately I met with a Sicilian Jew to whom I could
make myself understood; and he sent me an old Samaritan, who, by some
medicines which he gave me, appeased the great heat I endured. Two days
after, finding myself a little better, I set off in company with a Moor,
who conducted me by a road on the sea-side. We passed near Ascalon, and
thence traversed an agreeable and fertile country to Ramlé, where I
regained the road to Jerusalem.

On the first day's journey I met on my road the governor of that town
returning from a pilgrimage, with a company of fifty horsemen, and one
hundred camels, mounted principally by women and children, who had
attended him to his place of devotion. I passed the night with them, and
the morrow, on my return to Jerusalem, took up my lodgings with the
Cordeliers at the church of Mount Sion, where I again met my five

On my arrival I went to bed, that my disorder might be properly treated;
but I was not cured, or in a state to depart, until the 19th of August.
During my convalescence I recollected that I had frequently heard it
said that it was impossible for a Christian to return overland from
Jerusalem to France. I dare not, even now, when I have performed this
journey, assert that it is safe. I thought, nevertheless, that nothing
was impossible for a man to undertake, who has a constitution strong
enough to support fatigue, and has money and health. It is not, however,
through vain boasting that I say this; but, with the aid of God and his
glorious mother, who never fail to assist those who pray to them
heartily, I resolved to attempt the journey. I kept my project secret
for some time, without even hinting it to my companions: I was also
desirous, before I undertook it, to perform other pilgrimages,
especially those to Nazareth and Mount Tabor. I went, in consequence, to
make Nanchardin, principal interpreter to the sultan, acquainted with my
intentions, who supplied me with a sufficient interpreter for my
journey. I thought of making my first pilgrimage to Mount Tabor, and
every thing was prepared for it; but when I was on the point of setting
out, the head of the convent where I lodged dissuaded me, and opposed
my intentions most strongly. The interpreter, on his side, refused to
go, saying, that in the present circumstances I should not find any
person to attend me; for that the road lay through the territories of
towns which were at war with each other, and that very lately a Venetian
and his interpreter had been assassinated there. I confined myself,
therefore, to the second pilgrimage, in which Sir Sanson de Lalaing and
Humbert wished to accompany me. We left Sir Michel de Ligne sick at
Mount Sion, and his brother William remained with his servant to attend
on him. The rest of us set off on the day of mid-August, with the
intention of going to Jaffa by way of Ramlé, and from Jaffa to Nazareth;
but, before I departed, I went to the tomb of our Lady, to implore her
protection for my grand journey home. I heard divine service at the
Cordeliers, and saw there people who call themselves Christians, but
some of them are very strange ones, according to our notions.

The principal monk at Jerusalem was so friendly as to accompany us as
far as Jaffa, with a Cordelier friar of the convent of Beaune. They
there quitted us, and we engaged a bark from the Moors, which carried us
to the port of Acre. This is a handsome port, deep and well inclosed.
The town itself appears to have been large and strong; but at present
there do not exist more than three hundred houses, situated at one of
its extremities, and at some distance from the sea. With regard to our
pilgrimage, we could not accomplish it. Some Venetian merchants, whom we
consulted, dissuaded us, and from what they said we gave it up. They
told us, at the same time, that a galley from Narbonne was expected at
Baruth; and my comrades being desirous to take that opportunity of
returning to France, we consequently followed the road to that town. We
saw, on our way thither, Sur, an inclosed town, with a good port, then
Seyde, another sea-port tolerably good. Baruth has been more
considerable than it is now, but its port is still handsome, deep, and
safe for vessels. On one of its points we see the remains of a strong
castle which it formerly had, but which is now in ruins[425].

As for myself, solely occupied with my grand journey, I employed the
time we staid in this town in seeking information concerning it; and to
this end addressed myself to a Genoese merchant, called Jacques
Pervezin. He advised me to go to Damascus, assuring me that I should
find there merchants from Venice, Catalonia, Florence, Genoa, and other
places, whose counsels might guide me. He even gave me a letter of
recommendation to a countryman of his, named Ottobon Escot. Being
resolved to consult Escot before I proceeded farther, I proposed to Sir
Sanson to go and see Damascus, without, however, telling him any thing
of my project. He accepted my proposal with pleasure, and we set out
under the conduct of a moucre. I have before said that the moucres in
Syria are the people whose trade is conducting travellers, and hiring
out to them asses and mules.

On quitting Baruth, we had to traverse some high mountains to a long
plain, called the valley of Noah, because it is said that Noah there
built the ark. This valley is not, at the utmost, more than a league
wide; but it is pleasant and fertile, watered by two rivers, and peopled
by Arabs. As far as Damascus, we continued to travel between mountains,
at whose feet are many villages and vineyards. But I warn those who,
like me, shall have occasion to make this journey, to take good care of
themselves during the night, for in my life I never felt such cold. This
excess of cold is caused by the fall of the dew[426], and it is thus
throughout Syria. The greater the heat during the day, the more abundant
the dew and the cold of the night.

It is two days' journey from Baruth to Damascus. The Mohammedans have
established a particular custom for Christians all through Syria, in not
permitting them to enter the towns on horseback. None that are known to
be such dare do it, and, in consequence, our moucre made Sir Sanson and
myself dismount before we entered any town. Scarcely had we arrived in
Damascus than about a dozen Saracens came round to look at us. I wore a
broad beaver hat, which is unusual in that country; and one of them gave
me a blow with a staff, which knocked it off my head on the ground[427].
I own that my first movement was to lift my fist at him; but the
moucre, throwing himself between us, pushed me aside, and very
fortunately for me he did so, for in an instant we were surrounded by
thirty or forty persons; and if I had given a blow, I know not what
would have become of us. I mention this circumstance to show that the
inhabitants of Damascus are a wicked race, and, consequently, care
should be taken to avoid any quarrels with them. It is the same in other
Mohammedan countries. I know by experience that you must not joke with
them, nor at the same time seem afraid, nor appear poor, for then they
will despise you; nor rich, for they are very avaricious, as all who
have disembarked at Jaffa know to their cost.

Damascus may contain, as I have heard, one hundred thousand souls. The
town is rich, commercial, and, after Cairo, the most considerable of all
in the possession of the sultan. To the north, south, and east is an
extensive plain: to the west rises a mountain, at the foot of which the
suburbs are built. A river runs through it, which is divided into
several canals. The town only is inclosed by a handsome wall, for the
suburbs are larger than the town. I have nowhere seen such extensive
gardens, better fruits, nor greater plenty of water. This is said to be
so abundant, that there is scarcely a house without a fountain. The
governor is only inferior to the sultan in all Syria and Egypt; but, as
at different times some governors have revolted, the sultans have taken
precautions to restrain them within proper bounds. Damascus has a strong
castle on the side toward the mountain, with wide and deep ditches, over
which the sultan appoints a captain of his own friends, who never
suffers the governor to enter it. It was, in 1400, destroyed and reduced
to ashes by Tamerlane. Vestiges of this disaster now remain; and toward
the gate of St. Paul there is a whole quarter that has never been
rebuilt. There is a khan in the town, appropriated as a deposit and
place of safety to merchants and their goods. It is called Khan Berkot,
from its having originally been the residence of a person of that name.
For my part, I believe that Berkot was a Frenchman[428]; and what
inclines me to this opinion is, that on a stone of the house are carved
fleur-de-lis, which appear as ancient as the walls. Whatever may have
been his origin, he was a very gallant man, and to this day enjoys a
high reputation in that country. Never during his lifetime, and while he
was in power, could the Persians or Tartars gain the smallest portion of
land in Syria. The moment he learned that one of their armies was
advancing, he instantly marched to meet it, as far as the river, beyond
Aleppo, that separates Syria from Persia, and which, from a guess of the
situation, I believe to be the river Jehon, which falls into the Misses
in Turcomania[429]. The people of Damascus are persuaded that, had he
lived, Tamerlane would never have carried his arms thither. Tamerlane,
however, did honour to his memory; for when he took the town, and
ordered it to be set on fire, he commanded the house of Berkot to be
spared, and appointed a guard to prevent its being hurt by the fire, so
that it subsists to this day.

The Christians are hated at Damascus. Every evening the merchants are
shut up in their houses by persons appointed for this purpose, who, on
the morrow, come to open their gates when it may please them. I found
there many Genoese, Venetian, Calabrian, Florentine, and French
merchants. The last were come thither to purchase several articles, and
particularly spiceries, with the intention of taking them to Baruth, and
embarking them on board the galley expected from Narbonne. Among them
was Jacques Cœur[430], who has since acted a great part in France, and
was master of the wardrobe to the king. He told us the galley was then
at Alexandria, and that probably Sir Andrew and his three companions
would embark on board at Baruth.

I was shown the place, without the walls of Damascus, where St. Paul had
a vision, was struck blind, and thrown from his horse. He caused himself
to be conducted to Damascus, where he was baptized; but the place of his
baptism is now a mosque. I saw also the stone from which St. George
mounted his horse when he went to combat the dragon. It is two feet
square; and they say, that when formerly the Saracens attempted to
carry it away, in spite of all the strength they employed they could not

Having seen Damascus, Sir Sanson and myself returned to Baruth, where we
found Sir Andrew, Pierre de Vaudrei, Geoffroi de Toisi, and Jean de la
Roe, who had come thither, as Jacques Cœur had told us. The galley
arrived from Alexandria two or three days afterward; and, during this
short interval, we witnessed a feast celebrated by the Moors in their
ancient manner. It began in the evening at sunset. Numerous companies,
scattered here and there, were singing and uttering loud cries. While
this was passing, the cannons of the castle were fired, and the people
of the town launched into the air, very high and to a great distance, a
kind of fire, larger than the greatest lantern that I ever saw lighted.
They told me they sometimes made use of such at sea, to set fire to the
sails of an enemy's vessel. It seems to me, that as it is a thing easy
to be made, and of little expense, it may be equally well employed to
burn a camp or a thatched village, or in an engagement with cavalry to
frighten the horses. Curious to know its composition, I sent the servant
of my host to the person who made this fire, and requested him to teach
me the method. He returned for answer that he dared not, for that he
should run great danger were it known; but as there is nothing a Moor
will not do for money, I offered him a ducat, which quieted his fears,
and he taught me all he knew, and even gave me the moulds in wood, with
the other ingredients, which I have brought to France.

The evening before the embarkation, I took Sir Andrew de Toulongeon
aside, and, having made him promise that he would not make any
opposition to what I was about to reveal to him, I informed him of my
design to return home overland. In consequence of his promise, he did
not attempt to hinder me, but represented all the dangers I should have
to encounter, and the risk I should run of being forced to deny my faith
to Jesus Christ. I must own that his representations were well founded;
and of all the perils he had menaced me with, there was not one I did
not experience, except denying my religion. He engaged his companions to
talk with me also on this subject; but what they urged was vain: I
suffered them to set sail, and remained at Baruth.

On their departure, I visited a mosque that had originally been a
handsome church, built, as it is said, by St. Barbara. It is added
that, when the Saracens had gained possession, and their criers had, as
usual, ascended the tower to announce the time of prayer, they were so
beaten that from that day no one has ventured to return thither. There
is also another miraculous building that has been changed into a church,
which formerly was a house belonging to the Jews. One day these people
finding an image of our Lord began to stone it, as their fathers had in
times past stoned the Original; but the image having shed blood, they
were so frightened with the miracle, that they fled and accused
themselves to the bishop, and gave up even their house in reparation for
their crime. It was made into a church, which at present is served by
the Cordeliers.

I was lodged at the house of a Venetian merchant, named Paul Barberico;
and as I had not entirely renounced my two pilgrimages to Nazareth and
Mount Tabor, in spite of the obstacles which it had been said I should
meet with, I consulted him on this double journey. He procured for me a
moucre, who undertook to conduct me, and bound himself before him to
carry me safe and sound as far as Damascus, and to bring him back from
thence a certificate of having performed his engagement, signed by me.
This man made me dress myself like a Saracen. The Franks, for their
security in travelling, have obtained permission from the sultan to wear
this dress when on a journey.

I departed with my moucre from Baruth on the morrow after the galley had
sailed, and we followed the road to Seyde that lies between the sea
and the mountains. These frequently run so far into the sea that
travellers are forced to go on the sands, and at other times they are
three-quarters of a league distant. After an hour's ride, I came to a
small wood of lofty pines, which the people of the country preserve with
care. It is even forbidden to cut down any of them; but I am ignorant of
the reason for such a regulation. Further on was a tolerably deep river,
which my moucre said came from the valley of Noah, but the water was not
good to drink. It had a stone bridge over it, and hard by was a khan,
where we passed the night. On the morrow we arrived at Seyde, a town
situated near the sea, and inclosed on the land side by ditches, which
are not deep. Sur, called by the Moors Sour, has a similar situation. It
is supplied with excellent water from a spring a quarter of a league to
the southward of the town, conducted to it by an aqueduct. I only
passed through; and it seemed to be handsome, though not strong, any
more than Seyde, both having been formerly destroyed, as appears from
their walls, which are not to be compared to those of our towns. The
mountain near Sur forms a crescent, the two horns advancing as far as
the sea: the void between them is not filled with villages, though there
are many on the sides of the mountain. A league farther we came to a
pass which forced us to travel over a bank, on the summit of which is a
tower. Travellers going to Acre have no other road than this, and the
tower has been erected for their security. From this defile to Acre the
mountains are low, and many habitations are visible, inhabited, for the
greater part, by Arabs. Near the town I met a great lord of the country,
called Fancardin: he was encamped on the open plain, carrying his tents
with him.

Acre, though in a plain of about four leagues in extent, is surrounded
on three sides by mountains, and on the fourth by the sea. I made
acquaintance there with a Venetian merchant, called Aubert Franc, who
received me well, and procured me much useful information respecting my
two pilgrimages, by which I profited. With the aid of his advice, I took
the road to Nazareth, and, having crossed an extensive plain, came to
the fountain, the water of which our Lord changed into wine at the
marriage of Archetriclin[431]: it is near a village where St. Peter is
said to have been born.

Nazareth is another large village, built between two mountains; but the
place where the angel Gabriel came to announce to the Virgin Mary that
she would be a mother is in a pitiful state. The church which had been
built there is entirely destroyed; and of the house wherein our lady was
when the angel appeared to her, not the smallest remnant exists.

From Nazareth I went to Mount Tabor, the place where the transfiguration
of our Lord, and many other miracles, took place. These pasturages
attract the Arabs, who come thither with their beasts; and I was forced
to engage four additional men as an escort, two of whom were Arabs. The
ascent of the mountain is rugged, because there is no road: I performed
it on the back of a mule, but it took me two hours. The summit is
terminated by an almost circular plain of about two bow-shots in
length, and one in width. It was formerly inclosed within walls, the
ruins of which, and the ditches, are still visible: within the wall, and
around it, were several churches, and one especially, where, although in
ruins, full pardon for vice and sin is gained.

To the east of Mount Tabor, and at the foot of it, we saw the Tiberiade,
beyond which the Jordan flows. To the westward is an extensive plain,
very agreeable from its gardens, filled with date palm trees, and small
tufts of trees planted like vines, on which grows the cotton. At
sun-rise these last have a singular effect, and, seeing their green
leaves covered with cotton, the traveller would suppose it had snowed on
them[432]. I descended into this plain to dinner, for I had brought with
me chickens and wine. My guides conducted me to the house of a man, who,
when he saw my wine, took me for a person of consequence, and received
me well. He brought me a porringer of milk, another of honey, and a
branch loaded with dates. They were the first I had ever seen. I noticed
also the manner of manufacturing cotton, in which men and women were
employed. Here my guides wanted to extort more money from me, and
insisted on making a fresh bargain to reconduct me to Nazareth. It was
well I had not my sword with me, for I confess I should have drawn it;
and it would have been madness in me, and in all who shall imitate me.
The result of the quarrel was, that I was obliged to give them twelve
drachms of their money, equivalent to half a ducat. The moment they had
received them, the whole four left me, so that I was obliged to return
alone with my moucre.

We had not proceeded far on our road when we saw two Arabs, armed in
their manner, and mounted on beautiful horses, coming towards us. The
moucre was much frightened; but, fortunately, they passed us without
saying a word. He owned that, had they suspected I was a Christian, they
would have killed us both without mercy, or, at the least, have stripped
us naked. Each of them bore a long and thin pole, shod at the ends with
iron; one of which was pointed, the other round, but having many sharp
blades a span long. Their buckler was round, according to their custom,
convex at the centre, whence came a thick point of iron; and from that
point to the bottom it was ornamented with a long silken fringe. They
were dressed in robes, the sleeves of which, a foot and a half wide,
hung down their arms; and instead of a cap they had a round hat,
terminated in a point of rough crimson wool, which, instead of having
the linen cloth twisted about it like other Moors, fell down on each
side of it, the whole of its breadth.

We went to lodge at Samaria, because I wished to see the lake of
Tiberias, where, it is said, St. Peter was accustomed to fish; and, by
so doing, some pardons may be gained, for it was the ember week of
September. The moucre left me to myself the whole day. Samaria is
situated on the extremity of a mountain. We entered it at the close of
the day, and left it at midnight to visit the lake. The moucre had
proposed this hour to evade the tribute extracted from all who go
thither; but the night hindered me from seeing the surrounding country.
I went first to Joseph's well, so called from his being cast into it by
his brethren. There is a handsome mosque near it, which I entered, with
my moucre, pretending to be a Saracen. Further on is a stone bridge over
the Jordan, called Jacob's Bridge, on account of a house hard by, said
to have been the residence of that patriarch. The river flows from a
great lake situated at the foot of a mountain to the north-west, on
which Namcardin has a very handsome castle.

From the lake I took the road to Damascus. The country is tolerably
pleasant; and, although the road leads between mountains, they are
generally from one to two leagues asunder. There is, however, one narrow
place, where the road is only wide enough for a horse to pass. The tract
all around it, to the right and left for the space of about a league in
length and breadth, is covered with immense flint stones, like pebbles
in a river, the greater part as big as a wine-tun. Beyond this pass is a
handsome khan, surrounded by fountains and rivulets. Four or five miles
from Damascus is another, the most magnificent I ever saw, seated near a
small river, formed by a junction of springs rising on the spot. The
nearer you approach the town, the finer is the country.

I met, near Damascus, a very black Moor, who had ridden a camel from
Cairo in eight days, though it is usually sixteen days' journey. His
camel had run away from him; but, with the assistance of my moucre, we
recovered it. These couriers have a singular saddle, on which they sit
cross-legged; but the rapidity of the camel is so great that, to prevent
any bad effects from the air, they have their heads and bodies tightly
bandaged. This courier was the bearer of an order from the sultan. A
galley and two galliots of the prince of Tarentum had captured, before
Tripoli in Syria, a vessel from the Moors; and the sultan, by way of
reprisal, had sent to arrest all the Catalonians and Genoese who might
be found in Damascus and throughout Syria. This news, which my moucre
told me, did not alarm me: I entered the town boldly with other
Saracens, because, dressed like them, I thought I had nothing to fear.
This expedition had taken up seven days.

On the morrow of my arrival I saw the caravan return from Mecca. It was
said to be composed of three thousand camels; and, in fact, it was two
days and as many nights before they had all entered the town. This event
was, according to custom, a great festival. The governor of Damascus,
attended by the principal persons of the town, went to meet the caravan
out of respect to the Alcoran, which it bore. This is the book of law
which Mohammed left to his followers. It was enveloped in a silken
covering, painted over with Moorish inscriptions; and the camel that
bore it was, in like manner, decorated all over with silk. Four
musicians, and a great number of drums and trumpets, preceded the camel,
and made a loud noise. In front, and around, were about thirty men—some
bearing cross-bows, others drawn swords, others small harquebuses, which
they fired off every now and then[433]. Behind this camel followed eight
old men, mounted on the swiftest camels, and near them were led their
horses, magnificently caparisoned and ornamented with rich saddles,
according to the custom of the country. After them came a Turkish lady,
a relation of the grand seignior, in a litter borne by two camels with
rich housings. There were many of these animals covered with cloth of
gold. The caravan was composed of Moors, Turks, Barbaresques, Tartars,
Persians, and other sectaries of the false prophet Mohammed. These
people pretend that, having once made a pilgrimage to Mecca, they cannot
be damned. Of this I was assured by a renegado slave, a Bulgarian by
birth, who belonged to the lady I have mentioned. He was called
Hayauldoula, which signifies, in the Turkish language, "servant of God,"
and pretended to have been three times at Mecca. I formed an
acquaintance with him, because he spoke a little Italian, and often kept
me company in the night as well as in the day. In our conversations I
frequently questioned him about Mohammed, and where his body was
interred. He told me he was at Mecca; that the shrine containing the
body was in a circular chapel, open at the top, and that it was through
this opening the pilgrims saw the shrine; that among them were some who,
having seen it, had their eyes thrust out, because they said, after what
they had just seen, the world could no longer offer them any thing worth
looking at. There were, in fact, in this caravan two persons, the one of
sixteen and the other of twenty-two or twenty-three years old, who had
thus made themselves blind. Hayauldoula told me also, that it was not at
Mecca where pardons for sin were granted, but at Medina, where St.
Abraham built a house that still remains[434]. The building is in the
form of a cloister, of which pilgrims make the circuit.

With regard to the town, it is seated on the sea-shore. Indians, the
inhabitants of Prester John's country, bring thither, in large ships,
spices and other productions of their country; and thither the
Mohammedans go to purchase them. They load them on camels, and other
beasts of burden, for the markets of Cairo, Damascus, and other places,
as is well known. The distance from Mecca to Damascus is forty days'
journey across the desert. The heat is excessive; and many of the
caravan were suffocated. According to the renegado slave, the annual
caravan to Medina should be composed of seven hundred thousand persons;
and when this number is incomplete, God sends his angels to make it up.
At the great day of judgment Mohammed will admit into Paradise as many
persons as he shall please, where they will enjoy honey, milk, and women
at pleasure. As I was incessantly hearing Mohammed spoken of, I wished
to know something about him; and, for this purpose, I addressed myself
to a priest in Damascus, attached to the Venetian consul, who often said
mass in his house, confessed the merchants of that nation, and, when
necessary, regulated their affairs. Having confessed myself to him, and
settled my worldly concerns, I asked him if he were acquainted with the
doctrines of Mohammed. He said he was, and knew all the Alcoran. I then
besought him, in the best manner I could, that he would put down in
writing all he knew of him, that I might present it to my lord the duke
of Burgundy. He did so with pleasure; and I have brought with me his

My intention was to go to Bursa[435]; and, in consequence, I was
introduced to a Moor, who engaged to conduct me thither in the track of
the caravan on paying him thirty ducats and his expenses; but as I was
advised to distrust the Moors, as people of bad faith and accustomed to
break their promises, I did not conclude the bargain. I say this for the
instruction of those who may have any concerns with them; for I believe
them to be such as they were described to me. Hayauldoula, on his part,
procured me the acquaintance of some Caramanian merchants; but I took
another resolution.

In regard to the pilgrims that go to Mecca, the grand Turk has a custom
peculiar to himself—at least, I am ignorant if the other Mohammedan
powers do the same—which is, that when the caravan leaves his states he
chooses for it a chief, whom they are bound to obey as implicitly as
himself. The chief of this caravan was called Hoyarbarach; he was a
native of Bursa, and one of its principal inhabitants. I caused myself
to be presented to him, by mine host and another person, as a man that
wanted to go to that town to see a brother. They entreated him to
receive me in his company, and to afford me his security. He asked if I
understood Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, the vulgar tongue, or Greek? When
they replied that I did not, he answered, "Well, what can he pretend to
do?" However, representations were made to him that, on account of the
war, I dared not go thither by sea; and that, if he would condescend to
admit me, I would do as well as I could. He then consented; and, having
placed his two hands on his head and touched his beard, he told me, in
the Turkish language, that I might join his slaves; but he insisted that
I should be dressed just like them.

I went, immediately after this interview, with one of my friends, to
the market, called the Bazaar, and bought two long white robes that
reached to my ancles, a complete turban, a linen girdle, a fustian pair
of drawers to tuck the ends of my robe in; two small bags, the one for
my own use, the other to hang on my horse's head while feeding him with
barley and straw; a leathern spoon and salt; a carpet to sleep on; and,
lastly, a paletot of a white skin, which I lined with linen cloth, and
which was of service to me in the nights. I purchased also a white
tarquais (a sort of quiver) complete, to which hung a sword and knives;
but as to the tarquais and sword, I could only buy them privately; for
if those who have the administration of justice had known of it, the
seller and myself would have run great risks.

The Damascus blades are the handsomest and best of all Syria; and it is
curious to observe their manner of burnishing them. This operation is
performed before tempering; and they have, for this purpose, a small
piece of wood, in which is fixed an iron, which they rub up and down the
blade, and thus clear off all inequalities, as a plane does to wood.
They then temper and polish it. This polish is so highly finished, that,
when any one wants to arrange his turban, he uses his sword for a
looking-glass. As to its temper, it is perfect; and I have nowhere seen
swords that cut so excellently. There are made at Damascus, and in the
adjoining country, mirrors of steel, that magnify objects like burning
glasses. I have seen some that, when exposed to the sun, have reflected
the heat so strongly as to set fire to a plank fifteen or sixteen feet

I bought a small horse that turned out very well. Before my departure I
had him shod at Damascus; and thence, as far as Bursa, which is near
fifty days' journey, so well do they shoe their horses that I had
nothing to do with his feet, excepting one of the fore ones, which was
pricked by a nail, and made him lame for three weeks. The shoes are
light, thin, lengthened towards the heel, and thinner there than at the
toe. They are not turned up, and have but four nail holes, two on each
side. The nails are square, with a thick and heavy head. When a shoe is
wanted, and it is necessary to work it to make it fit the hoof, it is
done cold, without ever putting it in the fire, which can readily be
done because it is so thin. To pare the hoof they use a pruning knife,
similar to what vine-dressers trim their vines with, both on this as
well as on the other side of the sea. The horses of this country only
walk and gallop; and, when purchased, those which have the best walk are
preferred, as, in Europe, those which trot the best. They have wide
nostrils, gallop well, and are excellent, costing little on the road;
for they eat only at night, and then but a small quantity of barley with
chopped straw. They never drink but in the afternoon; and their bridles
are always left in their mouths, even when in the stable, like mules.
When there they have the two hinder legs tied; and they are all
intermixed together, horses and mares. All are geldings, excepting a few
kept for stallions. Should you have any business with a rich man, and
call on him, he will carry you, to speak with you, to his stables, which
are, consequently, kept always very cool and very clean. We Europeans
prefer a stone-horse of a good breed; but the Moors esteem only mares.
In that country a great man is not ashamed to ride a mare with its foal
running after the dam. I have seen some, exceedingly beautiful, sold as
high as two or three hundred ducats. They are accustomed to keep their
horses very low, and never to allow them to get fat. The men of fortune
carry with them, when they ride, a small drum, which they use in battle,
or in skirmishes, to rally their men. It is fastened to the pommel of
their saddles, and they beat on it with a piece of flat leather. I also
purchased one, with spurs, and vermilion coloured boots, which came up
to my knees, according to the custom of the country.

As a mark of my gratitude to Hoyarbarach, I went to offer him a pot of
green ginger; but he refused it, and it was by dint of prayers and
entreaties that I prevailed on him to accept of it. I had no other
pledge for my security than what I have mentioned; but I found him full
of frankness and good will—more, perhaps, than I should have found in
many Christians.

God, who had protected me in the accomplishment of this journey, brought
me acquainted with a Jew of Caiffa, who spoke the Tartar and Italian
languages; and I requested him to assist me in putting down in writing
the names of every thing I might have occasion to want for myself and my
horse while on the road. On our arrival, the first day's journey, at
Ballec, I drew out my paper to know how to ask for barley and chopped
straw, which I wanted to give my horse. Ten or twelve Turks near me,
observing my action, burst into laughter; and, coming nearer to examine
my paper, seemed as much surprised at our writing as we are with theirs.
They took a liking to me, and made every effort to teach me to speak
Turkish. They were never weary of making me often repeat the same thing,
and pronounced it so many different ways that I could not fail to retain
it; so, when we separated, I knew how to call for every thing necessary
for myself and horse.

During the stay of the caravan at Damascus, I made a pilgrimage, about
sixteen miles distant, to our Lady of Serdenay. To arrive there we
traversed a mountain a full quarter of a mile in length, to which the
gardens of Damascus extend. We then descended into a delightful valley,
full of vineyards and gardens, with a handsome fountain of excellent
water. Here, on a rock, has been erected a small castle, with a church
of green monks, having a portrait of the Virgin painted on wood, whose
head has been carried thither miraculously, but in what manner I am
ignorant. It is added that it always sweats, and that this sweat is an
oil[436]. All I can say is, that when I went thither, I was shown, at
the end of the church, behind the great altar, a niche formed in the
wall, where I saw the image, _which was a flat thing_, and might be
about one foot and a half high by one foot wide. I cannot say whether it
is of wood or stone, for it was entirely covered with clothes. The front
was closed with an iron trellis, and underneath was the vase containing
the oil. A woman accosted me, and with a silver spoon moved aside the
clothes, and wanted to anoint me with the sign of the cross on the
forehead, the temples, and breast. I believe this was a mere trick to
get money; nevertheless I do not mean to say that our Lady may not have
more power than this image.

I returned to Damascus, and, on the evening of the departure of the
caravan, settled my affairs and my conscience as if I had been at the
point of death; for suddenly I found myself in great trouble. I have
before mentioned the messenger whom the sultan had sent with orders to
arrest all the Genoese and Catalonian merchants found within his
dominions. By virtue of this order my host, who was a Genoese, was
arrested, his effects seized, and a Moor placed in his house to take
care of them. I endeavoured to save all I could for him; and, that the
Moor might not notice it, I made him drunk. I was arrested in my turn,
and carried before one of their cadies, who are considered as somewhat
like our bishops, and have the office of administering justice. This
cadi turned me over to another cadi, who sent me to prison with the
merchants, although he knew I was not one; but this disagreeable affair
had been brought on me by an interpreter, who wanted to extort money
from me, as he had before attempted on my first journey hither. Had it
not been for Antoine Mourrouzin, the Venetian consul, I must have paid a
sum of money; but I remained in prison; and, in the mean time, the
caravan set off. The consul, to obtain my liberty, was forced to make
intercession, conjointly with others, to the governor of Damascus,
alleging that I had been arrested without cause, which the interpreter
well knew. The governor sent for a Genoese, named Gentil Imperial, a
merchant employed by the sultan to purchase slaves for him at Caiffa. He
asked me who I was, and my business at Damascus. On my replying that I
was a Frenchman returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he said they
had done wrong to detain me, and that I might depart when I pleased.

I set off on the morrow of the sixth of October, accompanied by a
moucre, whom I had first charged to carry my Turkish dress out of the
town, because a Christian is not permitted to wear a white turban there.
At a short distance a mountain rises, on which I was shown a house said
to have been that of Cain. During the first day we travelled over
mountains, but the road was good. On the second day we entered a fine
country, which continued cheerful until we came to Balbeck. My moucre
there quitted me, as I had overtaken the caravan. It was encamped near a
river, on account of the great heat in these parts; the nights are
nevertheless very cold, which will scarcely be believed, and the dews
exceedingly heavy. I waited on Hoyarbarach, who confirmed the permission
he had granted me to accompany him, and recommended me not to quit the
caravan. On the morrow morning, at eleven o'clock, I gave my horse
water, with oats and straw, according to the custom of our countries.
This time the Turks said nothing to me; but at six o'clock in the
evening, when, having given him water, I was about fastening the bag,
that he might eat, they opposed it and took off the bag; for they never
suffer their horses to eat but during the night, and will not allow one
to begin eating before the rest, unless when they are at grass.

The captain of the caravan had with him a mameluke of the sultan, who
was a Circassian, and going to Caramania in search of a brother. This
man, seeing me alone and ignorant of the language of the country,
charitably wished to serve me as a companion, and took me with him; but,
as he had no tent, we were often obliged to pass the nights under trees
in gardens. It was then that I was obliged to learn to sleep on the
ground, to drink nothing but water, and to sit cross-legged. This
posture was at first painful, but it was still more so to accustom
myself to sit on my horse with such very short stirrups,—and I suffered
so much that, when I had dismounted, I could not remount without
assistance, so sore were my hams; but after a little time this manner
seemed even more convenient than ours. That same evening I supped with
the mameluke; but we had only bread, cheese, and milk. I had, when
eating, a table-cloth, like the rich men of the country. These cloths
are four feet in diameter, and round, having strings attached to them,
so that they may be drawn up like a purse. When they are used they are
spread out; and, when the meal is over, they are drawn up with all that
remains within them, without their losing a crumb of bread or a raisin.
But I observed that, whether their repast had been good or bad, they
never failed to return thanks aloud to God.

Balbeck is a good town, well inclosed with walls, and tolerably
commercial. In the centre is a castle, built with very large stones. At
present it contains a mosque, in which, it is said, there is a human
skull, with eyes so enormous that a man may pass his head through their
openings. I cannot affirm this for fact, as none but Saracens may enter
the mosque.

From Balbeck we went to Hamos[437], and encamped on the banks of a
river. It was there I observed their manner of encamping and pitching
their tents. The tents are neither very high nor very large, so that one
man can pitch them, and six persons may with ease repose in them during
the heat. In the course of the day they lay open the lower parts, to
give passage to the air, and close them in the night time. One camel can
carry seven or eight with thin poles; some of them are very handsome. As
my companion, the mameluke, and myself, had no tent, we fixed our
quarters in a garden. There we were joined by two Turcomans of Satalia,
returning from Mecca, who supped with us. These men, seeing me well
clothed and well mounted, having a handsome sword, and well furnished
tarquais, proposed to the mameluke, as he afterwards owned when we
separated, to make away with me, considering that I was but a Christian,
and unworthy of being in their company. He answered that, since I had
eaten bread and salt with them, it would be a great crime; that it was
forbidden by their law; and that, after all, God had created the
Christians as well as the Saracens. They, however, persisted in their
design; and as I testified a desire of seeing Aleppo, the most
considerable town in Syria after Damascus, they pressed me to join them.
I was ignorant of their intention, and accepted their offer; but I am
now convinced they only wanted to cut my throat. The mameluke forbade
them to come any more near us, and by this means saved my life.

We set out from Balbeck two hours before day; and our caravan consisted
of from four to five hundred persons, with six or seven hundred camels
and mules; for it had great quantities of spicery. I will describe the
order of its march. The caravan has a very large drum; and the moment
the chief orders the departure, three loud strokes are beaten. Every one
then makes himself ready, and, when prepared, joins the file without
uttering a word. Ten of our people would, in such cases, make more noise
than a thousand of theirs. Thus they march in silence, unless it be at
night, or that any one should sing a song celebrating the heroic deeds
of their ancestors. At the break of day, two or three placed at a great
distance from each other cry out, and answer one another, as is done
from the towers of the mosques at the usual hours. In short, a little
before and after sun-rise, devout people make their customary prayers
and oblations. To perform these oblations, if they be near a rivulet
they dismount, and, with feet naked, they wash their whole bodies.
Should there be no rivulet near, at the usual time for these ceremonies
they pass their hands over their bodies. The last among them washes his
mouth and the opposite part, and then turns to the south, when all raise
two fingers in the air, prostrate themselves, and kiss the ground
thrice; they then rise up and say their prayers. They have been ordered
to practise these ablutions instead of confessions. Persons of rank, to
avoid failing in their performance, always carry, when they travel,
leathern bottles full of water, which are suspended under the bellies of
camels or horses, and are generally very handsome.

Hamos (Hems) is a good town, well inclosed with walls and ditches "en
glacis," situated in a plain on the banks of a small river. Here
terminates one end of the plain of Noah[438], which is said to extend as
far as Persia. Tamerlane made his irruption through this plain when he
took and destroyed so many cities. At the extremity of the town is a
handsome castle, constructed on a height, with glaces as far as the

From Hems, we went to Hama[439]. The country is fine, but I saw few
inhabitants excepting Arabs, who were rebuilding some of the ruined
villages. In Hama I met with a merchant from Venice, named Laurent
Souranze. He received me well, lodged me in his house, and showed me the
town and castle. It has good towers, with strong and thick walls, built,
like the castle of Provins, on a rock, in which deep ditches have been
cut. At one end of the town is the castle, strongly and well built on an
elevation, which is fortified by ditches, and surmounted by a citadel
which commands the whole; and the sides are washed by a river, said to
be one of the four that flowed out of Paradise[440]. I know not if this
be the fact or not; all that I know is, that it runs east-south-east,
and loses itself near Antioch. Here is the greatest wheel[441] I ever
saw. It is put in motion by the river, and supplies the inhabitants,
although numerous, with the necessary quantity of water. The water falls
into a trough cut in the castle-rock, and thence is conducted to the
town, where it flows through the streets in an aqueduct formed on great
square pillars twelve feet high and two wide. I was in want of several
things to be like my fellow-travellers, of which the mameluke having
informed me, my host Laurent carried me himself to the bazaar to
purchase. The things wanted were small silken bonnets, in the fashion of
the Turcomans, a cap to wear under them, Turkish spoons, knives with
their steel, a comb and case, and a leathern cup, all of which are
suspended to the sword. I likewise bought some finger-stalls to draw the
bow, another complete tarquais, to save the one I had, which was very
handsome, and lastly, a capinat, which is a robe of fine white felt,
impenetrable to the rain.

On the road I made acquaintance with some of my fellow-travellers, who,
when they found out that I lodged with a Frank, came to ask me to
procure them some wine. This liquor is forbidden them by their religion,
and they dare not drink it before their own countrymen; but they hoped
to do it without risk at the house of a Frank, and yet they were
returning from Mecca! I spoke of it to my host Laurent, but he said he
was afraid to comply, from the great dangers he should run were it
known. I went to carry them this answer, but they had been more
fortunate elsewhere, in procuring some at the house of a Greek. They
proposed that I should accompany them to partake, either from pure
friendship, or to authorize them to drink wine in the presence of the
Greek. This man conducted us to a small gallery, where we all six seated
ourselves in a circle on the floor. He first placed in the midst of us a
large and handsome earthen jug, that might contain four gallons at
least; he then brought for each of us a pot full of wine, which he
poured into the jug, and placed beside it two earthen porringers to
serve for glasses. The first who began drank to his companion, according
to their custom; this did the same to the next, and so on the others. We
drank in this manner for a long time without eating; at length, I
perceived that I could no longer continue it without suffering, and
begged of them, with uplifted hands, to permit me to leave off; but they
grew very angry, and complained as if I had been resolved to interrupt
their pleasure and do them an injury. Fortunately there was one among
them more acquainted with me than the rest, and who loved me so that he
called me _kardays_, that is to say, brother. He offered to take my
place, and to drink for me when it should be my turn. This appeased
them, and, having accepted the offer, the party continued until evening,
when it was necessary for us to return to the khan.

The captain of the caravan was at the moment seated on a bench of stone,
and had before him a lighted torch. It was not difficult for him to
guess whence we came, and, consequently, four of our companions slipped
away, and one only remained with me. I mention all this to forewarn any
persons that may travel through these countries to avoid drinking with
the natives, unless they shall wish to swallow so much as will make them
fall to the ground. The mameluke, who was ignorant of my debauch, had,
during that time, bought a goose for us both. He had just boiled it, and
for want of verjuice, had dressed it with the green leaves of the leek;
I ate of it with him, and it lasted us for three days.

I should have liked to see Aleppo, but the caravan taking the strait
road to Antioch, I was forced to give up all thoughts of it. As the
caravan was not to set out for two days, the mameluke proposed that we
should ride forward, the more easily to procure lodgings. Four Turkish
merchants desired to be of our party, and we six travelled together.
Half a league from Hama, we came to the river, and crossed it by a
bridge. It had overflowed, although there had not been any rain. Here I
wished to give my horse some water, but as the bank was steep and the
river deep, had not the mameluke come to my aid I must inevitably have
been drowned. On the opposite side of the river is a long and vast
plain, where we met six or eight Turcomans, accompanied by a woman. She
wore a tarquais like them, and, on inquiring into this, I was told that
the women of this nation are brave, and in time of war fight like men.
It was added, and this seemed to me very extraordinary, that there are
about thirty thousand women who thus bear the tarquais, and are under
the dominion of a lord, named Turcgadiroly[442], who resides among the
mountains of Armenia, on the frontiers of Persia.

The second day's journey was through a mountainous country, tolerably
fertile though ill watered, but we saw nothing but ruined houses. As we
travelled, my mameluke taught me to shoot with the bow, and made me buy
finger-stalls and rings for this purpose. At length we arrived at a
village that was rich in woods, vineyards, and corn-fields, but having
no other water than what was in cisterns. This district seemed to have
been formerly inhabited by Christians, and I own it gave me great
pleasure when I was told that it had all belonged to Franks, and the
ruins of churches were shown me as a proof of it. We fixed our quarters
in this village, and it was then I first saw the habitations of the
Turcomans, and women of that nation with uncovered faces. They commonly
hide them under a piece of black tammy, to which those who are wealthy
attach pieces of money and precious stones. The men are good archers. I
saw several draw the bow, which they do sitting, and at a short
distance; and this gives to their arrows great rapidity and strength.

On leaving Syria, we entered Turcomania, called by us Armenia. The
capital is a very considerable town, named Antequaye (Antakiyah) by
them, and by us Antioch. It was very flourishing in former times, and
has still handsome walls in good repair, which inclose a large tract of
ground, and even some mountains; but its houses are not more than three
hundred in number. It is bounded on the south by a mountain, on the
north by a great lake, beyond which is an open and fine country. The
river that comes from Hama runs alongside the walls. Almost all the
inhabitants are Turcomans or Arabs, and their profession is breeding
cattle, such as camels, goats, cows, and sheep. The goats are, for the
most part, white, and the handsomest I have ever seen, not having, like
those of Syria, hanging ears; and their hair is soft, of some length,
and curling. Their sheep have thick and broad tails. They also feed wild
asses, which they tame; these much resemble stags in their hair, ears,
and head, and have, like them, cloven feet. I know not if they have the
same cry, for I never heard them. They are large, handsome, and go with
other beasts, but I have never seen them mounted[443]. For the carriage
of merchandise they use the buffalo and ox, as we do the horse. They
also use them to ride on; and I have seen large herds, some carrying
goods, and others men.

The lord of this country was Ramedan, a rich, powerful, and brave
prince. For some time he was so redoubtable that the sultan was
alarmed, and afraid to anger him; but, wishing to destroy him, he
practised with the karman[444], who could more easily deceive Ramedan
than any other, having given him his sister in marriage. In consequence,
one day, as they were eating together, the karman arrested him and
delivered him to the sultan, who put him to death, and took possession
of Turcomania, giving, however, a portion of it to the karman. On
leaving Antioch, I continued my road with the mameluke, and we first
crossed a mountain called Negre[445], on which he pointed out to me
three or four handsome castles in ruins, that had belonged to the
Christians. The road is good, and incessantly perfumed by the number of
laurels with which the country abounds; but the descent is twice as
rapid as the ascent. It finishes at the gulf of Asacs[446], which we
call Layaste, because, in fact, it takes its name from the town of Ayas.
This gulf extends between two mountains inland for upwards of fifteen
miles; its breadth may be about twelve, but I refer for this to the sea

At the foot of the mountain, near the road and close to the sea-shore,
are the ruins of a strong castle[447], defended on the land side by a
marsh, so that it could only be approached by sea, or by a narrow
causeway across the marsh. It was inhabited, but the Turcomans had
posted themselves hard by. They occupied one hundred and twenty tents,
some of felt, others of white and blue cotton, all very handsome, and
capable of containing, with ease, from fifteen to sixteen persons. These
are their houses, and, as we do in ours, they perform in them all their
household business, except making fires. We halted among them; they
placed before us one of the table-cloths before-mentioned, in which
there remained fragments of bread, cheese, and grapes. They then brought
us a dozen of thin cakes of bread, with a large jug of curdled milk,
called by them yogort[448]. The cakes are a foot broad, round, and
thinner than wafers; they fold them up as grocers do their papers for
spices, and eat them filled with the curdled milk. A league further is a
caravansera, where we lodged. These establishments consist of houses
like the khans of Syria.

In the course of this day's journey, I overtook on the road an
Armenian, who spoke a little Italian. Finding I was a Christian, he
entered into conversation with me, and told me many things of the
country, its inhabitants, and likewise of the sultan, and Ramedan, lord
of Turcomania, whom I have already mentioned. He said that this last was
of a large size, very brave, and the most expert of all the Turks in
handling a battle-axe and sword. His mother was a Christian, and had
caused him to be baptized according to the Greek ritual, to take from
him the smell and odour of those who are not baptized[449]. But he was
neither a good Christian nor a good Saracen; and when they spoke to him
of the two prophets, Jesus and Mohammed, he said, "For my part, I am for
the living prophets; they will be more useful to me than dead ones." His
territories on one side joined those of the karman, whose sister he had
married, and on the other reached to Syria, which belonged to the
sultan. Every time the subjects of the latter passed through his country
he exacted tolls from them. But at length the sultan prevailed on the
karman, as I have said before, to betray his brother-in-law to him; and
at this moment he possesses all Turcomania as far as Tharsis, and even
one day's journey further.

That day, accompanied by the Armenian, we once more lodged with the
Turcomans, who again served us with milk. It was here I saw women make
those thin cakes I spoke of. This is their manner of making them; they
have a small round table, very smooth, on which they throw some flour,
and mix it with water to a paste, softer than that for bread. This paste
they divide into round pieces, which they flatten as much as possible,
with a wooden roller of a smaller diameter than an egg, until they make
them as thin as I have mentioned. During this operation they have a
convex plate of iron placed on a tripod, and heated by a gentle fire
underneath, on which they spread the cake and instantly turn it, so that
they make two of their cakes sooner than a waferman can make one wafer.

I was two days traversing the country round the gulf. It is handsome,
and had formerly many castles belonging to Christians, at present
destroyed. Such was the one seen to the eastward before we arrived at
Ayas. The inhabitants are Turcomans, who are a handsome race, excellent
archers, and living on little. Their dwellings are round, like
pavilions, covered with felt. They live in the open plain, and have a
chief whom they obey; but they frequently change their situation, when
they carry their houses with them. In this case, they are accustomed to
submit themselves to the lord on whose lands they fix, and even to
assist him with their arms, should he be at war. But should they quit
his domains, and pass over to those of his enemy, they serve him in his
turn against the other; and they are not thought the worse of for this,
as it is their custom, and they are wanderers. On my road, I met one of
their chiefs hawking with falcons, with which he took tame geese. I was
told that he might have under his command ten thousand Turcomans. The
country is favourable to the chase, but intersected by many small rivers
that fall into the gulf. Wild boars are here abundant.

About the centre of the gulf is a defile formed by a rock[450], under
which the road passes; it is not two bow-shots from the sea; and this
passage was formerly defended by a castle, which made it very strong,
but it is now in ruins.

On leaving this strait, we entered a fine extensive plain[451],
inhabited by Turcomans; my companion, the Armenian, pointed out to me a
castle on a mountain[452] where were only people of his nation, and the
walls of which were washed by a river called Jehon[453]. We travelled
along the banks of this river to a town called Misse on the Jehon[454],
because it runs through it.

Misse, situated four days' journey from Antioch, belonged to the
Christians, and was a considerable city. Many churches, half destroyed,
still remain[455]; the choir of the great church is yet entire, but
converted into a mosque. The bridge is of wood, the former stone one
having been carried away by the floods[456]. One half of the town is
completely in ruins; the other half has preserved its walls, and about
three hundred houses, filled with Turcomans.

From Misse to Adena[457] the country continues level and good, inhabited
by Turcomans. Adena is two days' journey from Misse, and I there
proposed to wait for the caravan. It arrived; I went with the mameluke,
together with some others, many of whom were great merchants, to lodge
near the bridge, between the river and the walls of the town; and it was
there I observed the manner of the Turks saying their prayers and
offering sacrifice. They no way hid themselves from my notice, but on
the contrary seemed well pleased when I said my paternoster, which
seemed to them wonderful. I sometimes heard them chaunt their prayers at
the beginning of the night, when they seat themselves in a circle, and
shake their bodies and heads while they sing in a very uncouth manner.
One day they carried me with them to the stoves and baths of the town;
and as I refused to bathe, for I must have undressed myself, and was
afraid of showing my money, they gave me their clothes to keep. From
this moment we were much connected. The bath-house is very high, and
terminated by a dome, in which a circular opening is contrived to light
the whole interior. The stoves and baths are handsome, and very clean.
When the bathers come out of the water, they seat themselves on small
hurdles of thin osiers, dry themselves, and comb their beards. It was at
Adena I first saw the two young men who had got their eyes thrust out at
Mecca, after having seen the tomb of Mohammed.

The Turks bear well fatigue and a hard life; they are not incommoded, as
I have witnessed, during the whole journey, by sleeping on the ground
like animals. They are of a gay, cheerful humour, and willingly sing
songs of the heroic deeds of their ancestors. Any one, therefore, who
wishes to live with them must not be grave or melancholy, but always
have a smiling countenance. They are also men of probity, and charitable
toward each other. I have often observed, that should a poor person pass
by when they are eating, they would invite him to partake of their meal,
which is a thing we never do.

In many places I found they did not bake their bread half as much as
ours. It is soft, and, unless a person be accustomed to it, is
difficult to be chewed. In regard to meat, they eat it raw, dried in the
sun. When any of their beasts, horse or camel, is so dangerously ill
that no hopes remain of saving its life, they cut its throat, and eat
it, not raw, but a little dressed. They are very clean in dressing their
meat, but eat it dirtily. They in like manner keep their beards very
neat and clean, but never wash their hands but when they bathe, when
they are about to say their prayers, or when they wash their beards and
hinder parts.

Adena is a tolerably good commercial town, well inclosed with walls,
situated in a fine country, and sufficiently near the sea. The river of
Adena[458], which is wide, and rises among the high mountains of
Armenia, flows beneath its walls. It has over it a long bridge, and the
broadest I ever saw. Its inhabitants and prince are Turcomans; the
prince is brother to the brave Ramedan, whom the sultan had murdered. I
was told the sultan had his son in his power, but dared not suffer him
to return into Turcomania.

From Adena I went to Thuro[459], which we call Tharsis. The country
continues good, though near the mountains, and is inhabited by
Turcomans, who live in villages or in tents. The district around Tharsis
abounds in corn, wine, wood, and water. It was a famous town, and very
ancient buildings are still seen in it. I believe this was the town[460]
besieged by Baldwin, brother to Godfrey of Bouillon. At present it has a
governor appointed by the sultan, and many Moors live within it. It is
defended by a castle with ditches _à glacis_, and by a double wall,
which in some parts is triple. A small river[461] runs through it, and
there is another at a short distance. I found there a Cypriot merchant,
named Antony, who had resided in this country a long time, and knew the
language well. He talked to me very pertinently about it; but he did me
another favour, that of giving me some good wine, for I had not tasted
any for several days. Tharsis is but sixty miles from Curco[462], a
castle built on the sea-shore, belonging to the king of Cyprus. In this
whole country they speak the Turkish tongue, which begins even to be
spoken at Antioch, the capital, as I have before said, of Turcomania. It
is a very fine language, laconic, and easily learned.

As we had to cross the high mountains of Armenia, Hoyarbarach, the
chief of our caravan, would have it all assembled; and for this purpose
he waited some days, for those in the rear to come up. At last we
departed, on the eve of All-Souls'-Day. The mameluke advised me to lay
in provision for four days. I consequently purchased a sufficiency of
bread and cheese for myself, and of oats and barley for my horse. On
quitting Tharsis, we travelled three French leagues over a fine
champaign country, peopled with Turcomans; and then we entered on the
mountains, which are the highest I have ever seen. They skirt on three
sides the country I had travelled over from Antioch; the sea bounds the
other on the south. We first passed through woods during a whole day,
but the road is not bad. We lodged in the evening at a narrow pass,
where there seemed to have been formerly a castle. The second day's
journey was not at all disagreeable, and we passed the night at a
caravansera. The third, we followed the banks of a small river, and saw
on the mountains an innumerable quantity of speckled partridges. In the
evening, we halted on a plain, about a league in length and a quarter
wide, where four great valleys meet: the one by which we had come;
another that runs northward, towards the country of the lord called
Turcgadirony, and towards Persia; the third runs eastward, and I know
not whether this also does not lead to Persia; the last extends to the
westward, and it is that which I followed, and which conducted me to the
country of the karman. Each of these four has a river, and the four
rivers run to this last country.

It snowed much during the night. To save my horse from the weather, I
covered him with my capinat, the felt robe which I used for a cloak; but
I myself caught cold, and got that disagreeable disorder a dysentery.
Had it not been for my mameluke, I should have been in great danger; but
he assisted me, and made me instantly quit the place in which I was. We
both, therefore, set off very early, and ascended the high mountains
where the castle of Cublech[463] is situated, and is the highest I am
acquainted with. It is seen two days' journey off; but sometimes we
turned our backs to it, by reason of the windings of the mountains,
sometimes also we lost sight of it, as it was hidden by their height. No
one can penetrate into the country of the karman but on foot over the
mountain on which this castle is built. The pass is narrow, and in some
places has been perforated by the chisel, but it is every where
commanded by Cublech. This castle, the last which the Armenians lost,
belongs at this day to the karman, who had it in his division after the
death of Ramedan. These mountains are covered with perpetual snow,
having only a road for horses, although there are some plains scattered
among them. They are dangerous on account of the Turcomans who inhabit
them; but during the four days I was travelling among them I never
perceived a single dwelling.

On leaving the mountains of Armenia, to enter the country of the karman,
there are still others to be crossed. On one of them is a pass, having a
castle called Léve, where a toll is paid to the karman. This toll was
farmed to a Greek, who, on seeing me, judged from my features that I was
a Christian, and stopped me. If I had been forced to return I should
have been a dead man, for I was afterwards assured, that before I had
gone half a league my throat would have been cut, for the caravan was at
a great distance. Fortunately my mameluke bribed the Greek, and, in
consideration of two ducats that I gave him, he opened the passage.
Further on is the castle of Asers, and beyond that the castle of a town
called Araclie (Eregli).

On descending the mountain, we entered a plain as level as the sea; then
are seen some heights towards the north, which, scattered here and
there, appear like so many islands in the midst of the waves. It is on
this plain that Eregli is situated, a town formerly inclosed, but now in
the greatest state of ruin. I found there, however, some provision; for
my last four days' journey from Tharsis had afforded me nothing but
water. The environs of the town are covered with villages, inhabited
chiefly by Turcomans.

On quitting Eregli, we met two gentlemen of the country, who appeared to
be men of distinction; they showed great friendship to the mameluke, and
carried him to regale at an adjoining village, the dwellings of which
are cut out of the rock. We passed the night there, but I was forced to
stay the remainder of the time in a cavern, to take care of our horses.
When the mameluke returned, he told me that these two men had asked who
I was, and that in his answer he had misled them, by saying I was a
Circassian, who could not speak Arabic.

From Eregli to Larande[464], whither our route lay, is two days'
journey. This town, though not inclosed, is large, commercial, and well
situated. There was, in ancient times, a great and strong castle in the
centre of the town, the gates of which are now visible; they are of
iron, and very handsome, but the walls are destroyed. There is a fine
plain between these two towns; and after I left Léve I did not notice a
single tree in the open country. There were in Larande two Cypriot
gentlemen, the one named Lyachin Castrico, the other Leon Maschero, who
both spoke very tolerable French[465]. They inquired of me my country,
and what had brought me thither: I replied that I was a servant of my
lord of Burgundy, that I came from Jerusalem to Damascus, and was
following the caravan. They appeared astonished that I had been suffered
to pass; but when they had asked whither I was going, and I had answered
that I was on my return overland through France to my aforesaid lord,
they told me it was impossible to be done, and that if I had a thousand
lives I should lose them all; they therefore proposed that I should
return to Cyprus with them; for there were at that island two galleys
that had come thither to convey back the daughter of the king, who had
been betrothed in marriage to the son of my lord of Savoy[466]; and they
doubted not but the king, from the love and respect he bore to the duke
of Burgundy, would grant me a passage on board one of them. I replied,
that, since God had graciously permitted that I should arrive at
Larande, he would probably allow me to go further; but that, at all
events, I was determined to finish my journey as I had begun it, or die
in the attempt. I asked them, in my turn, whither they were going. They
said their king was just dead; that during his life there had always
been a truce with the grand karman, and that the young king and his
council had sent them to renew this alliance. Being curious to make
acquaintance with this great prince, whom his nation reverences as we do
our king, I entreated permission to accompany them, to which they
consented. I met likewise with another Cypriot at Larande, called Perrin
Passerot, a merchant, who had resided some time in the country. He was
from Famagusta, and had been banished from that town, because he and one
of his brothers had attempted to deliver it up to the king, as it was
then in the hands of the Genoese.

My mameluke also met with five or six of his countrymen, young
Circassian slaves, who were on their way to the residence of the sultan.
He was desirous to regale them on their meeting; and, as he had heard
there were Christians at Larande, he guessed they would not be without
wine, and begged of me to procure him some. By dint of inquiry, and for
half a ducat, I was enabled to purchase the half of a goatskin full, of
which I made him a present. He showed great joy on receiving it, and
instantly went to his companions, with whom he passed the whole night
drinking. He himself swallowed so much, that on the morrow he was near
dying on the road, but he cured himself by a method which is peculiar to
them. In such cases, they have a very large bottle full of water, and as
their stomach becomes empty, they drink water as long as they are able,
as if they would rinse a bottle, which they throw up, and then drink of
it again. He was thus employed on the road until mid-day, when he was
perfectly recovered.

From Larande we went to Qulongue, called by the Greeks
Quhonguopoly[467]. These places are two days' journey distant from each
other. The country is fine, and well furnished with villages, but wants
water, and has no trees but such as have been planted near houses for
their fruit, nor any other river but that which runs near the town. This
town is considerable and commercial, defended by ditches _en glacis_,
and good walls strengthened with towers, and is the best the karman
possesses. There remains a small castle: formerly there was a very
strong one in the centre of the town, but it has been pulled down to
furnish materials to build the prince's palace.

I staid there four days, that the ambassador from Cyprus and the
caravan might have time to arrive. When the ambassador came, I asked him
when he intended to wait on the karman, and repeated my request to be
present, which he promised to grant. There were, however, among his
slaves four Greek renegadoes, one of whom was his usher-at-arms, who
united in their efforts to dissuade him from it; but he replied that he
saw no inconvenience, and besides, that I had shown such eagerness to
witness the ceremony, that he should take pleasure in obliging me. He
was apprized of the hour when he might make his obeisance to the prince,
inform him of the object of his mission, and offer his presents; for it
is an established custom in the east never to appear before a superior
without bringing presents. His were six pieces of camlet of Cyprus, I
know not how many ells of scarlet, forty sugar loaves, a peregrine
falcon, two cross-bows, and a dozen of bolts. Some genets were sent him
to carry the presents; and he and his attendants were mounted on horses,
which the great lords, who had come to the palace to attend the prince
during this ceremony, had left at the gate. The ambassador made use of
one of them, but dismounted at the entrance of the palace, when we were
ushered into a large hall where there might be about three hundred
persons. The prince occupied the adjoining apartment, around which were
arranged thirty slaves, standing; he was himself in a corner, seated on
a carpet on the ground, according to the custom of the country, clad in
a crimson and gold cloth, with his elbow leaning on a cushion of another
sort of cloth of gold. Near him was his sword, his chancellor standing
in front, and, at a little distance, three men seated.

The presents were first laid before him, which he scarcely deigned to
look at; then the ambassador entered, attended by an interpreter,
because he did not understand the Turkish language. After the usual
reverences, the chancellor demanded his credential letters, which he
read aloud. The ambassador then addressed the king by means of his
interpreter, and said that the king of Cyprus had sent him to salute
him, and to request that he would accept the presents now before him, as
a mark of his friendship. The prince made no answer, but caused him to
be seated on the ground after their manner, below the three persons
before mentioned, and at some distance from the prince. He now inquired
after the health of his brother the king of Cyprus, and was told that
he had lost his father, and had commissioned him to renew the alliance
that had subsisted between the two countries during the lifetime of the
deceased, for which he was very anxious. The prince answered that he
desired it as earnestly. He then questioned the ambassador when the late
king died, the age of his successor, if he were prudent, if his country
was obedient; and, as the answer to these last questions was 'Yes,' he
seemed well pleased.

After these words, the ambassador was told to rise, which he did, and
took leave of the prince, who did not move more at his departure than at
his entrance. On leaving the palace, he found the same horses which had
carried him thither; and, having mounted one of them, he was reconducted
to his lodgings: but he was scarcely entered, when the ushers of arms
presented themselves, for in these ceremonies it is customary to give
them money, and the ambassador did not neglect it. He next went to pay
his compliments to the son of the prince, to offer him presents and
deliver his letters. He was seated like his father, with three persons
near him; but when the ambassador made his reverence, he rose up, then
reseated himself, and placed the ambassador above these three
personages. As for us, who accompanied him, they placed us far behind.
Having noticed a bench, I was about to seat myself on it without any
ceremony; but I was pulled off, and made to bend my knees and crouch on
the ground like the rest. On our return home, an usher of arms to the
son visited us, as those of the father had done, who also received some
money. These people, however, are satisfied with a little. The prince
and his son, in their turn, sent the ambassador a present for his
expenses, which is likewise one of their customs. The first sent fifty
aspres, the second thirty. An aspre is the money of the country, and
fifty are equal in value to a Venetian ducat.

I saw the prince go through the town in procession on a Friday, which is
a holiday with them, when he was going to say his prayers. His guards
were about fifty horsemen, the greater part his slaves, and about thirty
infantry, who surrounded him. He bore a sword in his belt, and had a
tabolcan at the pommel of his saddle, according to the custom of the
country. He and his son have been baptized in the Greek manner, to take
off _the bad smell_; and I was told that the son's mother was a
Christian. It is thus all the grandees get themselves baptized, that
they may not stink. His territories are considerable: they begin one
day's journey on this side Tharsis, and extend to the country of Amurath
Bey[468], the other karman I spoke of, and whom we call the Grand Turk.
In this line they are, as it is said, twenty leagues in breadth; but
they are sixteen days' journey in length, as I know well from having
travelled them. They extend, as they assured me, on the north-east, as
far as the frontiers of Persia. The karman possesses also a maritime
coast, called the Farsats. It extends from Tharsis to Courco, which
belongs to the king of Cyprus, and to a port called Zabari. This
district produces the most expert sailors known, but they have revolted
against him.

The karman is a handsome prince, about thirty-two years old, and married
to a sister of Amurath Bey. He is well obeyed by his subjects, although
I have heard people say he was very cruel, and that few days passed
without some noses, feet, or hands being cut off, or some one put to
death. Should any man be rich, he condemns him to die, that he may seize
his fortune; and it is said that the greater part of his nobles have
thus perished. Eight days before my arrival he had caused one to be torn
to pieces by dogs. Two days after this execution he had caused one of
his wives to be put to death, even the mother of his eldest son, who,
when I saw him, knew nothing of this murder. The inhabitants of the
country are a bad race—thieves, cheats, and great assassins; they kill
each other, and justice is so relaxed that they are never arrested for

I found at Couhongue Antoine Passerot, brother to Perrin Passerot, whom
I had seen at Larande. They had both been accused of attempting to
deliver Famagusta to the king of Cyprus, and had been banished. They had
retired to the states of the karman; the one to Larande, the other to
Couhongue. Antony had been unfortunate. Vice sometimes blinds people;
and he had been caught with a Mohammedan woman, and the king had forced
him to deny his religion to escape death; but he appeared to be still a
stanch Catholic. In our conversations, he told me many particulars of
the country, of the character and government of the prince, and
especially as to the manner in which he had taken and delivered up
Ramedan. The karman, he said, had a brother whom he banished from the
country, and who took refuge at the court of the sultan, where he found
an asylum. The sultan did not dare to declare war against him, but gave
him to understand, that, unless he delivered Ramedan into his hands, he
would send his brother with troops so to do. The karman made no
hesitation, and rather than fight with him committed an infamous treason
in regard to his brother-in-law. Antony added, that he was weak and
cowardly, although his people are the bravest in all Turkey. His real
name is Imbreymbas; but he is called karman, from his being the lord of
the country. Although he is allied to the Grand Turk, having married his
sister, he detests him for having taken from him a portion of the
karman. He is, however, afraid to make war on him, as he is the
stronger; but I am persuaded that if he saw him successfully attacked by
the Europeans he would not leave him in peace.

In traversing his country, I passed near the frontiers of another,
called Gasserie[469], which is bounded on one side by the karman, and on
the other by the high mountains of Turcomania that extend towards
Tharsis and Persia. Its lord is a valiant warrior, called Gadiroly[470],
who has under his command thirty thousand Turcoman men-at-arms, and
about one hundred thousand women, as brave and as fit for combat
as men[471]. There are four lords continually at war with each
other—Gadiroly, Quharaynich, Quarachust, and the son of Tamerlane, who
is said to govern Persia.

Antony told me, that when I quitted the mountains on the other side of
Eregli, I had passed within half a day's journey of a celebrated
town[472] where the body of St. Basil is interred, and spoke of it in
such a manner that I had a wish to see it; but he so strongly
represented that I should lose more by separating myself from the
caravan, and expose myself to great risks when travelling alone, that I
renounced all thoughts of it. He owned to me that his intentions were to
accompany me to my lord the duke; for that he had no desire to become a
Saracen, and that if he had entered into any engagements on this head it
was solely to escape death. It had been ordered that he should be
circumcised, and he was expecting the execution of it daily, which gave
him many fears. He was a very handsome man, about thirty-six years old.
He told me also that the natives offer up public prayers in their
mosques, like as we do in our churches on Sundays, in behalf of
Christian princes, and for other objects which we ask from God. Now one
of the things they pray to God for is, to deliver them from the coming
of such a man as Godfrey de Bouillon.

The chief of the caravan making preparations to depart, I went to take
leave of the Cypriot ambassadors. They had flattered themselves that I
would return with them, and renewed their entreaties, assuring me that I
should never complete my journey; but I persisted. It was at Couhongue
that the caravan broke up. Hoyarbarach took with him only his own
people, his wife, two of his children, whom he had carried with him to
Mecca, one or two foreign women, and myself. I bade adieu to my
mameluke. This good man, whose name was Mohammed, had done me
innumerable services. He was very charitable, and never refused alms
when asked in the name of God. It was through charity he had been so
kind to me, and I must confess that without his assistance I could not
have performed my journey without incurring the greatest danger; and
that, had it not been for his kindness, I should often have been exposed
to cold and hunger, and much embarrassed with my horse. On taking leave
of him, I was desirous of showing my gratitude; but he would never
accept of any thing except a piece of our fine European cloth to cover
his head, which seemed to please him much. He told me all the occasions
that had come to his knowledge, on which, if it had not been for him, I
should have run risks of being assassinated, and warned me to be very
circumspect in my connections with the Saracens, for that there were
among them some as wicked as the Franks. I write this to recall to my
reader's memory that the person who, from his love to God, did me so
many and essential kindnesses, was a man not of our faith.

The country we travelled through, on leaving Couhongue, is handsome,
with tolerably good villages, but the inhabitants are wicked.
Hoyarbarach forbade me to go out of my quarters when we halted, even in
villages, lest I should be assassinated. There is near this place a
celebrated bath, to which sick persons come for a cure of their several
disorders. There are the remains of many houses that formerly belonged
to the Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem, with the cross of Jerusalem on

After three days' march, we came to a small town, called Achsaray[473],
situated at the foot of a high mountain that shelters it from the south.
The country is level, but not populous, and the natives have a bad
character; I was consequently forbidden to leave my house in the
evening. I travelled the ensuing day between two high mountains, whose
tops were crowned with wood. The district is well peopled, partly by the
Turcomans, and consists of pasture and marsh land. I there crossed a
little brook that divides this country of karman from that of the other
karman possessed by Amurath Bey, called by us the Grand Turk. This
division resembles the former, in being a flat country, with mountains
here and there.

On our road we passed a town with a castle, called Achanay, and further
on we came to a caravansera, where we intended to pass the night, but we
found there twenty-five asses. Our commander refused to enter, and
preferred returning a league further back to a large village, where we
lodged, and found bread, cheese, and milk.

From this place we went to Carassar[474], which took two days. Carassar,
in the Turkish language, signifies "black stone." It is the capital of
the country that Amurath Bey took by force of arms. Although uninclosed,
it is a place of considerable trade, and has one of the finest castles I
have seen, but without any other water than what is collected in
cisterns. It is seated on the summit of a high rock, so round that it
might be thought to be worked with a chisel. Below is the town,
surrounding it on three sides; but both are commanded by a mountain,
from the north-east to the north-west. The other side opens to a plain,
through which runs a river. Not long ago, the Greeks had gained
possession of this place, but afterwards lost it by their cowardice.
They dress sheeps' feet here with a cleanliness I have nowhere seen. I
regaled myself with them the more eagerly, as I had not eaten any
dressed meat since I had left Couhongue. They cook also a nice dish with
green walnuts. Their manner is to peel them, cut them into two, and put
them on a string; then they are besprinkled with boiled wine, which
attaches itself to them, and forms a jelly like paste all around them.
It is a very agreeable food, especially when a person is hungry. We were
obliged to lay in a stock of bread and cheese for two days, as I was
disgusted with raw meat.

Two days were employed in journeying from Carassar to Cotthay[475]. The
country is good, well watered, having no very high mountains. We
traversed one end of a forest, which seemed to me only remarkable for
consisting entirely of oak, taller and larger than any I had hitherto
met with, having besides, like fir-trees, branches only at the top. We
took up our quarters for the night at a caravansera, distant from any
habitations. We found there barley and straw in plenty, and we could the
more easily have supplied our wants, as there was but a single servant
to take care of them; but the owners never have any thing to fear of
this kind, for at such places there is no man so bold as to take the
smallest article without paying for it. On our road was a small river
renowned for its water. Hoyarbarach went to drink of it with his women,
and wished me to do the same, he himself offering me some in his
leathern cup. This was the first time on the journey that he had done me
this favour.

Cotthay, although pretty considerable, is without walls; but it has a
handsome and large castle, composed of three forts rising one above the
other, on the declivity of a hill, which has a double inclosure. This
place was the residence of the son of the Grand Turk. There was a
caravansera in the town, whither we went to lodge. It was already
occupied by a party of Turks, and we were obliged, according to custom,
to turn our horses pell-mell. On the next morning, when making ready to
depart, I perceived that one of my straps had been taken, which served
to fasten on my horse's crupper, my carpets and other things I carried
behind me. At first I began to cry out with much noise and anger; but
there was a Turkish slave present, one belonging to the sultan's son, a
man of weight and about fifty years old, who, hearing me speak the
language very incorrectly, took me by the hand, and conducted me to the
gate of the caravansera, when he asked me in Italian who I was? I was
stupified to hear him thus speak, and replied that I was a Frank.
"Whence do you come?" "From Damascus, in company with Hoyarbarach, and I
am going to Bursa to meet one of my brothers." "Indeed! but you are a
spy, and come to make your remarks on this country. If you were not,
would you not have embarked, and returned home by sea?" This unexpected
accusation confounded me. I answered, however, that the Venetians and
Genoese were carrying on so bitter a war that I was afraid to venture by
sea. He asked whence I came? "From the kingdom of France," was my
answer. "Are you from the neighbourhood of Paris?" I replied I was not,
and, in my turn, asked if he were acquainted with Paris? He said he had
formerly been there with a captain, named Bernabo. "Take my advice,"
continued he; "return to the caravansera, seek your horse, and bring him
hither to me, for there are some Albanian slaves, who will steal from
you every thing he carries. While I am taking care of him, do you go and
breakfast, and procure for yourself and your horse provision for five
days, for so long will you be on the road without meeting with any." I
followed his advice, and went to purchase provision. I breakfasted also
the more heartily as I had not tasted meat for two days, and was told
that I must not expect to meet with any for five days more.

When I quitted the caravansera, I took the road to Bursa[476], leaving
that leading to Troy on my left, between the south and west points.
There were many high mountains, several of which I had to pass over. I
had also two days' journey through forests, after which I traversed a
handsome plain, in which are some villages good enough for the country.
Half a day's journey from Bursa, we came to one that supplied us with
meat and grapes, which last were as fresh as in the time of vintage;
this mode of preserving them is a secret they have. The Turks offered me
some roast meat; but it was not half dressed, and as the meat was
roasting on the spit we cut off slices. We had also some kaymack, or
buffalo cream; and it was so good and sweet that I ate of it till I
almost burst.

Before we entered this last village, we noticed the arrival of a Turk
from Bursa, who had been sent to the wife of Hoyarbarach, to announce
to her the death of her father. She showed great grief on the occasion,
and I had then, for the first time, an opportunity of seeing her face
uncovered. She was a most beautiful woman. There was at this place a
renegado slave, a native of Bulgaria, who through affectation of zeal,
and to show himself a good Saracen, reproached the Turks of the caravan
for having allowed me to be in their company, saying it was sinful in
them to do so, who were returning from the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. In
consequence, they notified to me that we must separate, and I was
obliged to set off for Bursa. I departed, therefore, on the morrow, an
hour before day, with the aid of God, who had hitherto conducted me. He
now guided me so well, that I never asked my road more than once on the
whole way.

On entering the town, I met numbers of people coming out to meet the
caravan, for such is the custom. The most considerable look on it as a
duty, and it constitutes the festival. Several of them, supposing I was
one of the pilgrims, kissed my hands and robe. When I had entered the
town, I was greatly embarrassed, for I had come to a square that had
four streets opening from it, and I knew not which to take. God again
pointed out to me the right one, that which leads to the bazaar, where
the merchants reside with their merchandise. I addressed myself to the
first Christian I saw, and fortunately he happened to be one of the
Espinolis of Genoa, the very person to whom Parvesin of Baruth had given
me letters. He was much surprised to see me, and conducted me to the
house of a Florentine, where I was lodged, as well as my horse. I
remained there ten days, and employed that time in examining the town,
being conducted by the merchants, who took great pleasure in so doing.

Of all the towns in the possession of the Turks this is the most
considerable. It is of great extent, carries on considerable trade, and
is situated at the foot of the north side of Mount Olympus, whence flows
a river which, passing through the town, divides itself into several
branches, forming, as it were, a number of small towns that make it look
larger than it is. It is at Bursa that the Turkish sultans are buried.
There are many handsome buildings, and particularly a great number of
hospitals, among which there are four, where bread, wine, and meat are
frequently distributed to the poor who will accept of them for the sake
of God. At one of the extremities of the town, towards the west, is a
handsome and vast castle, built on an eminence that may well contain a
thousand houses. There is also the place of the sultan, which they told
me was a very delightful place within side, having a garden and pretty
pond. The prince had at that time fifty wives; and he often, as they
said, amuses himself in a boat with some of them on this piece of water.

Bursa was also the residence of Camurat, bashaw, or, as we should say,
governor or lieutenant of Turkey. He is a very brave man, the most
active the Turk has, and the most able to conduct any enterprise, which
qualities have been the principal cause of his elevation to this
lieutenancy. I asked if he governed the country well, and if he knew how
to make himself obeyed. I was told that he was obeyed and respected like
Amurath himself, and had for his salary fifty thousand ducats a year;
and that, when the Turk went to war, he brought him, at his own expense,
twenty thousand men; but that he had likewise his pensioners, who in
this case were bound to supply him at their charges, one with a thousand
men, another with two, another with three thousand, and so on with the

There are in Bursa two bazaars; one where all sorts of silken stuffs,
and rich and brilliant diamonds, are sold, great quantities of pearls,
and cheap cotton cloths, and a variety of other merchandise, the
enumeration of which would be tiresome. In the other bazaar, cotton and
white soap are sold, and constitute a great article of commerce. I saw
also, in a market-house, a lamentable sight—a public sale of Christians
for slaves, both men and women. The custom is to make them sit down on
benches, and he who comes to buy sees only the face, the hands, and a
little of the arm of the females. I witnessed at Damascus the sale of a
young black girl, of not more than fifteen or sixteen years of age; she
was led along the streets quite naked, excepting the belly, the hinder
parts, and a little below them.

It was at Bursa that I ate, for the first time, caviare and olive oil.
This food is only fit for Greeks, and when nothing better can be had.
Some days after the return of Hoyarbarach, I went to take leave of him,
and to thank him for the means he had procured me of continuing my
journey to this place. I found him in the bazaar, seated on an elevated
stone bench, with many of the principal inhabitants of the town. The
merchants had accompanied me in this visit: some of them, Florentines by
nation, interested themselves on behalf of a Spaniard, who, having been
a slave to the sultan, found means to escape from Egypt and come to
Bursa. They begged I would take him with me. I carried him at my expense
as far as Constantinople, where I left him; but I am persuaded he was a
renegade, and I have never heard any thing of him since.

Three Genoese had bought spices from the merchants of the caravan, and
intended carrying them for sale to Pera, near Constantinople, and on the
other side of the straits, which we call the Straits of St. George.
Wishing to take the advantage of their company, I waited for their
departure, and for this reason stayed at Bursa, for no one can pass this
strait unless he be known. With this view, they procured me a letter
from the governor, which I carried with me; but it was useless, for I
found means to cross with them. We set out together; but they made me,
for greater security, buy a high red hat, with a huvette of iron
wire[477], which I wore as far as Constantinople.

On leaving Bursa, we travelled northward over a plain watered by a deep
river, which, about four leagues lower down, falls into the gulf between
Constantinople and Gallipoli. We had a day's journey among mountains,
which wood and a clayey soil made very disagreeable. There was on the
road a small tree bearing a fruit somewhat bigger than our largest
cherries, and of the shape and taste of strawberries, but a little acid.
It is pleasant to eat; but, if a great quantity be eaten, it mounts to
the head, and intoxicates. It is ripe in November and December[478].

From the summit of the mountain, the gulf of Gallipoli is visible; and
when we had descended it we entered a valley terminated by a very large
lake, round which many houses are built. It was there I first saw
Turkish carpets made. I passed the night in this valley, which is very
fertile in rice. On pursuing our road, we came sometimes to mountains,
valleys, pasture-lands, and great forests, which it would be impossible
to pass without a guide, and where the horses plunge so deeply in the
soil that they can hardly extricate themselves. I believe, for my part,
that is the forest spoken of in the history of Godfrey de Bouillon,
which he had such difficulty to traverse. I passed the night on the
further side of it, at a village within four leagues of Nicomedia, which
is a large town, with a harbour for shipping. This harbour is called
Lenguo, and commences at the gulf of Constantinople, and extends to the
town, where it is a bow-shot in breadth. All this country is difficult
to travel; but beyond Nicomedia, towards Constantinople, it is very
fine, and tolerably good travelling. It is more peopled with Greeks than
Turks; but these Greeks have a greater aversion to the Latin Christians
than the Turks themselves.

I coasted the gulf of Constantinople, and leaving the road to Nicea, a
town situated to the southward near the Black Sea, I successively lodged
at a village in ruins, inhabited solely by Greeks; then at another near
to Scutari; and, lastly, at Scutari itself, on the strait, and opposite
to Pera. The Turks guard this passage[479], and receive a toll from all
who cross it. It has rocks that would make it easy of defence, if they
were fortified. Men and horses can readily embark and disembark. My
companions and I crossed in two Greek vessels. The owners of my boat
took me for a Turk, and paid me great honours; but when they saw me,
after landing, leave my horse at the gate of Pera to be taken care of,
and inquire after a Genoese merchant named Christopher Parvesin, to whom
I had letters, they suspected I was a Christian. Two of them waited for
me at the gate, and when I returned for my horse they demanded more than
I had agreed on for my passage, and wanted to cheat me. I believe they
would even have struck me, had they dared; I had my sword and my good
tarquais, but a Genoese shoemaker who lived hard by, coming to my aid,
they were forced to retreat. I mention this as a warning to travellers,
who, like me, may have any thing to do with the Greeks. All those with
whom I have had any concerns have only made me more suspicious, for I
have found more probity in the Turks. These people[480] love not the
Christians of the Roman persuasion, and the submission which they have
since made to this church was more through self-interest than
sincerity[481]. Therefore I have been told that, a little before I came
to Constantinople, the pope, in a general council, had declared them
schismatics and accursed, and had devoted them to be the slaves of

Pera is a large town, inhabited by Greeks, Jews, and Genoese; the last
are masters of it, under the duke of Milan, who styles himself Lord of
Pera. It has a podestat and other officers, who govern it after their
manner. A great commerce is carried on with the Turks; but the latter
have a singular privilege, namely, that should any of their slaves run
away, and seek an asylum in Pera, they must be given up. The port is the
handsomest of all that I have seen, and I believe I may add, of any in
the possession of the Christians, for the largest Genoese vessels may
lie alongside the quays; but, as all the world knows this, I shall not
say more. It, however, seems to me, that on the land side and near the
church, in the vicinity of the gate at the extremity of the haven, the
place is weak.

I met at Pera an ambassador from the duke of Milan, named Sir Benedicto
de Fourlino. The duke, wanting the support of the emperor Sigismond
against the Venetians, and seeing Sigismond embarrassed with the defence
of his kingdom of Hungary against the Turks, had sent an embassy to
Amurath, to negotiate a peace between the two princes. Sir Benedicto, in
honour of my lord of Burgundy, gave me a gracious reception. He even
told me, that to do mischief to the Venetians he had contributed to make
them lose Salonica, taken from them by the Turks; and certainly in this
he acted so much the worse, for I have since seen the inhabitants of
that town deny Jesus Christ and embrace the Mohammedan religion.

There was also at Pera a Neapolitan, called Peter of Naples, with whom I
was acquainted. He said he was married in the country of Prester John,
and made many efforts to induce me to go thither with him. I questioned
him much respecting this country, and he told me many things which I
shall here insert, but I know not whether what he said be the truth, and
shall not therefore warrant any part of it[483].

Two days after my arrival at Pera, I crossed the haven to
Constantinople, to visit that city. It is large and spacious, having the
form of a triangle; one side is bounded by the Straits of St. George,
another towards the south by the bay, which extends as far as Gallipoli,
and on the north side is the port. There are, it is said, three large
towns on the earth, each inclosing seven hills,—Rome, Constantinople, and
Antioch. Rome is, I think, larger and more compact than Constantinople.
As for Antioch, as I only saw it when passing by, I cannot speak of its
size; its hills, however, appeared to me higher than those of the two

They estimate the circuit of the city of Constantinople at eighteen
miles, a third of which is on the land side towards the west. It is well
inclosed with walls, particularly on the land side. This extent,
estimated at six miles from one angle to the other, has likewise a deep
ditch, _en glacis_, excepting for about two hundred paces at one of its
extremities, near the palace called Blaquerne. I was assured that the
Turks had failed in their attempt to take the town at this weak part.
Fifteen or twenty feet in front of this ditch is a false bray of a good
and high wall. At the two extremities of this line were formerly
handsome palaces, which, if we may judge from their present ruins, were
also very strong. I was told they had been destroyed by an emperor, when
taken prisoner by the Turks and in danger of his life. The conqueror
insisted on his surrendering Constantinople, and, in case of refusal,
threatened to put him to death. The other replied, that he preferred
death to the disgrace of afflicting Christendom by so great a loss, and
that his death would be nothing in comparison. When the Turk saw he
could gain nothing by this means, he offered him his liberty on
condition that the square in front of St. Sophia should be demolished,
with the two palaces. His project was thus to weaken the town, that he
might the more easily take it. The emperor accepted his offers, the
proof of which exists at this day.

Constantinople is formed of many separate parts, so that it contains
several open spaces to a greater extent than those built on. The largest
vessels can anchor under its walls, as at Pera; it has, beside, a small
harbour in the interior, capable of containing three or four galleys.
This is situated to the southward, near a gate, where a hillock is
pointed out composed of bones of the Christians, who, after the
conquests of Jerusalem and Acre, by Godfrey de Bouillon, were returning
by this strait. When the Greeks had ferried them over, they conducted
them to this place, which is remote and secret, where they were
murdered. The whole, although a very numerous body, would have thus
perished, had not a page found means to re-cross to Asia, and inform
them of the danger that awaited them. On this, they spread themselves on
the shores of the Black Sea; and from them are said to be descended
those rude Christians who inhabit that part of the country—Circassians,
Mingrelians, Ziques, Gothlans, and Anangats. But, as this is an old
story, I know of it no more than what was told me.

The city has many handsome churches, but the most remarkable and
principal is that of St. Sophia, where the patriarch resides, with
others of the rank of canons. It is of a circular shape, situated
near the eastern point, and formed of three different parts; one
subterraneous, another above the ground, and a third over that. Formerly
it was surrounded by cloisters, and was three miles, as they say, in
circumference. It is now of smaller extent, and only three cloisters
remain, all paved, and incrusted with squares of white marble, and
ornamented with large columns of various colours[484]. The gates are
remarkable for their breadth and height, and are of brass. This church,
they say, possesses one of the robes of our Lord, the end of the lance
that pierced his side, the sponge that was offered him to drink from,
and the reed that was put into his hand. I can only say, that behind the
choir, I was shown the gridiron on which St. Laurence was broiled, and a
large stone in the shape of a wash-stand, on which they say Abraham gave
the angels to eat, when they were going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. I
was curious to witness the manner of the Greeks' performing divine
service, and went to St. Sophia on a day when the patriarch officiated.
The emperor was present, accompanied by his wife, his mother, and his
brother, the despot of the Morea[485]. A mystery was represented, the
subject of which was the three youths whom Nebuchadnezzar had ordered to
be thrown into the fiery furnace[486].

The empress, daughter to the emperor of Trebisonde, seemed very
handsome, but as I was at a distance I wished to have a nearer view; and
I was also desirous to see how she mounted her horse, for it was thus
she had come to the church, attended only by two ladies, three old men,
ministers of state, and three of that species of men to whose guard the
Turks intrust their wives. On coming out of St. Sophia, she went into an
adjoining house to dine, which obliged me to wait until she returned to
her palace, and consequently to pass the whole day without eating or
drinking. At length she appeared. A bench was brought forth and placed
near her horse, which was superb, and had a magnificent saddle. When she
had mounted the bench, one of the old men took the long mantle she wore,
passed to the opposite side of the horse, and held it in his hands
extended as high as he could; during this, she put her foot in the
stirrup, and bestrode the horse like a man. When she was in her seat,
the old man cast the mantle over her shoulders; after which, one of
those long hats with a point, so common in Greece, was given to her; it
was ornamented at one of the extremities with three golden plumes, and
was very becoming. I was so near that I was ordered to fall back, and,
consequently, had a full view of her. She wore in her ears broad and
flat rings, set with several precious stones, especially rubies. She
looked young and fair, and handsomer than when in church. In one word, I
should not have had a fault to find with her, had she not been painted,
and assuredly she had not any need of it. The two ladies mounted their
horses at the same time that she did; they were both handsome, and wore,
like her, mantles and hats. The company returned to the palace of

In the front of St. Sophia is a large and handsome square, surrounded
with walls like a palace, where games were performed in ancient
times[487]. I saw the brother of the emperor, the despot of the Morea,
exercising himself there, with a score of other horsemen. Each had a
bow, and they galloped along the inclosure, throwing their hats before
them, which, when they had passed, they shot at; and he who with his
arrow pierced his hat, or was nearest to it, was esteemed the most
expert. This exercise they had adopted from the Turks, and it was one of
which they were endeavouring to make themselves masters.

On this side, near the point of the angle, is the beautiful church of
St. George, which has, fronting Turkey in Asia, a tower at the narrowest
part of the straits. On the other side, to the westward, is a very high
square column, with characters traced on it, and bearing on the summit
an equestrian statue of Constantine, in bronze. He holds a sceptre in
his left hand, with his right extended towards Turkey in Asia, and the
road to Jerusalem, as if to denote that the whole of that country was
under his government. Near this column are three others, placed in a
line, and of one single piece, bearing three gilt horses, now at

In the pretty church of the Panthéacrator, occupied by Greek monks, who
are what we should call in France Grey Franciscan Friars, I was shown a
stone or table of divers colours, which Nicodemus had caused to be cut
for his own tomb, and which he made use of to lay out the body of our
Lord, when he took him down from the cross. During this operation the
virgin was weeping over the body, but her tears, instead of remaining
on it, fell on the stone, and they are all now to be seen upon it. I at
first took them for drops of wax, and touched them with my hand, and
then bended down to look at them horizontally, and against the light,
when they seemed to me like drops of congealed water. This is a thing
that may have been seen by many persons as well as myself. In the same
church are the tombs of Constantine and of St. Helena, his mother,
raised each about eight feet high on a column, having its summit
terminated in a point, cut into four sides, in the fashion of a diamond.
It is reported that the Venetians, while in power at Constantinople,
took the body of St. Helena from its tomb, and carried it to Venice,
where they say it is now entire. It is added, that they attempted the
same thing in regard to the body of Constantine, but could not succeed;
and this is probable enough, for to this day two broken parts are to be
seen, where they made the attempt. The two tombs are of red jasper.

In the church of St. Apostola is shown the broken shaft of the column to
which our Saviour was fastened when he was beaten with rods, by order of
Pilate. This shaft, longer than the height of a man, is of the same
stone with the two others that I have seen, at Rome and at Jerusalem;
but this exceeds in size the other two put together. There are likewise
in the same church, in wooden coffins, many holy bodies, very entire,
and any one that chooses may see them. One of them had his head cut off,
and that of another saint has been given him. The Greeks, however, have
not the like devotion that we have for these relics. It is the same in
respect to the stone of Nicodemus and the pillar of our Lord, which last
is simply inclosed by planks, and placed upright near one of the columns
on the right hand of the great entrance at the front of the church.

Among the fine churches, I shall mention one more as remarkable, namely,
that called Blaquerne, from being near the imperial palace, which,
although small and badly roofed, has paintings, with a pavement and
incrustations of marble. I doubt not but there may be others worthy of
notice, but I was unable to visit them all. The Latin merchants have one
situated opposite to the passage to Pera, where mass is daily said after
the Roman manner.

There are merchants from all nations in this city, but none so powerful
as the Venetians, who have a bailiff to regulate all their affairs,
independent of the emperor and his officers. This privilege they have
enjoyed for a long time[489]. It is even said, that they have twice by
their galleys saved the town from the Turks; but, for my part, I believe
that God has spared it, more for the holy relics it contains than for
any thing else. The Turks have also an officer to superintend their
commerce, who, like the Venetian bailiff, is independent of the emperor;
they have even the privilege, that if one of their slaves shall run
away, and take refuge within the city, on their demanding him, the
emperor is bound to give him up.

This prince must be under great subjection to the Turk, since he pays
him, as I am told, a tribute of ten thousand ducats annually; and this
sum is only for Constantinople, for beyond that town he possesses
nothing but a castle situated three leagues to the north, and in Greece
a small city called Salubria.

I was lodged with a Catalonian merchant, who having told one of the
officers of the palace that I was attached to my lord of Burgundy, the
emperor caused me to be asked if it were true that the duke had taken
the Maid of Orleans, which the Greeks would scarcely believe. I told
them truly how the matter had passed, at which they were greatly

The merchants informed me, that on Candlemas-day there would be a solemn
service performed in the afternoon, similar to what we perform on that
day, and they conducted me thither. The emperor was at one end of the
hall, seated on a cushion. The empress saw the ceremony from a window in
an upper apartment. The chaplains who chant the service are strangely
ornamented and dressed; they sing the service by heart, "selon leurs

Some days after, they carried me to see a feast given on account of the
marriage of one of the emperor's relations. There was a tournament after
the manner of the country, but which appeared very strange to me. I will
describe it. In the middle of a square they had planted, like a
quintain, a large pole, to which was fastened a plank three feet wide
and five feet long. Forty cavaliers advanced to the spot, without any
arms or armour whatever but a short stick. They at first amused
themselves by running after each other, which lasted for about half an
hour; then from sixty to fourscore rods of elder were brought, of the
thickness and length of those we use for thatching. The bridegroom first
took one, and set off full gallop towards the plank, to break it; as it
shook in his hand, he broke it with ease, when shouts of joy resounded,
and the instruments of music, namely, nacaires, like those of the Turks,
began to play. Each of the other cavaliers broke their wands in the same
manner. Then the bridegroom tied two of them together, which in truth
were not too strong, and broke them without being wounded[491]. Thus
ended the feast, and every one returned to his home safe and sound. The
emperor and empress had been spectators of it from a window.

My intentions were to leave Constantinople with this Sir Benedict de
Fourlino, who, as I have said, had been sent ambassador to the Turk by
the duke of Milan. There was a gentleman named Jean Visconti, and seven
other persons in his company, with ten led horses; for when a traveller
passes through Greece, he must absolutely carry every necessary with

I departed from Constantinople the 23rd of January, 1433, and first came
to the pass of Rigory, which was formerly tolerably strong; it is formed
in a valley through which runs an arm of the sea, twenty miles long.
There was a tower, but the Turks have destroyed it. In this place there
remains a bridge, a causeway, and a Greek village. In the way to
Constantinople by land, there is but this pass, and another lower down,
still more dangerous, on a river which there discharges itself into the
sea. From Rigory I went to Thiras, inhabited also by Greeks; it has been
a good town, and a pass as strong as the preceding one, being formed in
like manner by the sea. At each end of the bridge there was a large
tower; but tower and town have been entirely destroyed by the Turks.

I went from Thiras to Salubria. This town, two days' journey from
Constantinople, is situated on the gulf that extends from this place as
far as Gallipoli, and has a small harbour. The Turks could never take
it, although it is not strong toward the sea. It belongs to the emperor,
as well as the whole country hitherto; but this country is completely
ruined, and has but poor villages. Thence I came to Chorleu, formerly
considerable, destroyed by the Turks, and now inhabited by them and
Greeks. Next to Chorleu is Misterio, a small inclosed place, inhabited
only by Greeks, with one single Turk, to whom his prince has given it.
From Misterio we came to Pirgasy, where there are none but Turks. The
walls have been thrown down. Zambry is the next place to Pirgasy, and is
equally destroyed.

We next came to Adrianople, a large commercial town, very populous, and
situated on a great river called the Mariza, six days' journey from
Constantinople. This is the strongest town possessed by the Turk in
Greece, and here he chiefly resides. The lieutenant or governor of
Greece lives here also; and many merchants from Venice, Catalonia,
Genoa, and Florence are likewise residents. The country from
Constantinople hither is good and well watered, but thinly peopled,
having fertile valleys that produce every thing but wood. The Turk was
at Lessère[492], a large town in Pyrre, near to Pharsalia, where the
decisive battle was fought between Cæsar and Pompey, and Sir Benedict
took the road thither to wait on him. We crossed the Mariza in a boat,
and shortly after met fifty women of the Turk's seraglio, attended by
about sixteen eunuchs, who told us they were escorting them to
Adrianople, whither their master proposed soon following them.

We came to Dymodique[493], a good town, inclosed with a double wall. It
is defended on one side by a river, and on the other by a large and
strong castle, constructed on an elevation which is almost round, and
which may contain within its extent three hundred houses. In the castle
is a dungeon, wherein I was told the Turk keeps his treasure. From
Demetica we came to Ypsala[494]; it has been a tolerable town, but is
totally destroyed. I crossed the Mariza a second time. It is two days'
journey from Adrianople, and the country throughout was marshy, and
difficult for the horses.

Ayne[495], beyond Ypsala, is on the sea-shore, and at the mouth of the
Mariza, which at this place is full two miles wide. When Troy flourished
this was a powerful city, and had a king; at present its lord is brother
to the lord of Matelin, and tributary to the Turk. On the circular
hillock is the tomb of Polydore, the youngest of the sons of Priam. The
father had sent this son during the siege of Troy, to the king of Eno,
with much treasure; but, after the destruction of Troy, the king, as
much through fear of the Greeks as the wish to possess this treasure,
put the young prince to death.

At Eno, I crossed the Mariza in a large vessel and came to Macri,
another maritime town to the westward of the first, and inhabited
by Turks and Greeks. It is near to the island of Samandra[496],
which belongs to the lord of Eno, and seems to have been formerly
considerable; at present the whole of it is in ruins excepting a part of
the castle. Caumissin, whither we came next, after having traversed a
mountain, has good walls, which make it sufficiently strong although it
is small. It is situated on a brook, in a fine flat country, inclosed by
mountains to the westward; and this plain extends for five or six days'
journey, to Lessère. Missy was equally strong, and well fortified, but
part of its walls are thrown down and every thing within is destroyed;
it is uninhabited.

Peritoq, an ancient town, and formerly considerable, is seated on a gulf
which runs inland about forty miles, beginning at Monte Santo, where are
such numbers of monks. The inhabitants are Greeks, and it is defended by
good walls, which have, however, many breaches in them. Thence to
Lessère, the road leads over an extensive plain. It was near Lessère,
they say, that the grand battle of Pharsalia was fought.

We did not proceed to this last town; for hearing the Turk was on the
road we waited for him at Yamgbatsar, a village constructed by his
subjects. When he travels, his escort consists of four or five hundred
horse; but, as he is passionately fond of hawking, the greater part of
his troop was composed of falconers and goshawk-trainers, a people that
are great favourites with him; and it is said that he keeps more than
two thousand of them. Having this passion, he travels very short days'
journeys, which are to him more an object of amusement and pleasure. He
entered Yamgbatsar in a shower of rain, having only fifty horsemen
attending him and a dozen archers, his slaves, walking on foot before
him. His dress was a robe of crimson velvet, lined with sable, and on
his head he wore, like the Turks, a red hat; to save himself from the
rain, he had thrown over this robe another, in the manner of a mantle,
after the fashion of the country.

He was encamped in a pavilion which had been brought with him; for
lodgings are nowhere to be met with, nor any provision, except in the
large towns, so that travellers are obliged to carry all things with
them. He had numbers of camels and other beasts of burden. In the
afternoon he came out of his pavilion to go to the bath, and I saw him
at my ease. He was on horseback, with the same hat and crimson robe,
attended by six persons on foot. I heard him speak to his attendants,
and he seemed to have a deep-toned voice. He is about twenty-eight or
thirty years old, and is already very fat.

The ambassador sent one of his attendants to ask him if he could have an
audience, and present him the gifts he had brought. He made answer,
that, being now occupied with his pleasures, he would not listen to any
matters of business; that, besides, his bashaws were absent; that the
ambassador must wait for them, or return to Adrianople. Sir Benedict
accepted the latter proposal, and consequently we returned to Caumissin,
whence, having repassed the mountain I have spoken of, we entered a road
formed between two high rocks, and through them flows a river. A strong
castle, called Coloung, had been built on one of these rocks for its
defence, but it is now in ruins. The mountain is partly covered with
wood, and is inhabited by a wicked race of assassins.

At length we arrived at Trajanopoly, a town built by the emperor Trajan,
who did many things worthy of record. He was the son of the founder of
Adrianople; and the Saracens say that he had an ear like to that of a
sheep[497]. This town was very large, near to the sea and the Mariza;
but now nothing is seen but ruins, with a few inhabitants. A mountain
rises to the east of it, and the sea lies on the south. One of its baths
bears the name of Holy Water. Further on is Vyra, an ancient castle,
demolished in many places. A Greek told me the church had three hundred
canons attached to it. The choir is still remaining, but the Turks have
converted it into a mosque. They have also surrounded the castle with a
considerable town, inhabited by them and Greeks. It is seated on a
mountain, near the Mariza.

On leaving Vyra, we met the lieutenant of Greece, whom the Turk had sent
for, and he was on his road to him with a troop of one hundred and
twenty horse. He is a handsome man, a native of Bulgaria, and had been
the slave of his master; but as he has the talent of drinking hard, the
prince gave him the government of Greece, with a revenue of fifty
thousand ducats. Demetica, on my return, appeared much larger and
handsomer than I thought it the first time; and, if it be true that the
Turk has there deposited his treasure, he is certainly in the right to
do so.

We were forced to wait eleven days in Adrianople. At length he arrived,
on the first day of Lent. The mufti, who is with them what the pope is
to us, went out to meet him, accompanied by the principal persons of the
town, who formed a long procession. He was already near the town when
they met him, but had halted to take some refreshment, and had sent
forward part of his attendants. He did not make his entry until

During my stay at Adrianople I had the opportunity of making
acquaintance with several persons who had resided at his court, and
consequently knew him well, and who told me many particulars about him.
In the first place, as I have seen him frequently, I shall say that he
is a little, short, thick man, with the physiognomy of a Tartar. He has
a broad and brown face, high cheek bones, a round beard, a great and
crooked nose, with little eyes; but they say he is kind, good, generous,
and willingly gives away lands and money. His revenues are two millions
and a half of ducats, including twenty-five thousand received as
tribute-money[498]. Besides, when he raises an army, it not only costs
him nothing, but he gains by it; for the troops that are brought him
from Turkey in Europe, pay at Gallipoli, the comarch, which is three
aspers for each man, and five for each horse. It is the same at the
passage of the Danube. Whenever his soldiers go on an expedition, and
make a capture of slaves, he has the right of choosing one out of every
five. He is, nevertheless, thought not to love war, and this seems to me
well founded. He has, in fact, hitherto met with such trifling
resistance from Christendom that, were he to employ all his power and
wealth on this object, it would be easy for him to conquer great part of
it[499]. His favourite pleasures are hunting and hawking; and he has, as
they say, upwards of a thousand hounds, and two thousand trained hawks
of different sorts, of which I have seen very many. He loves liquor and
those who drink hard; as for himself, he can easily quaff off from ten
to twelve gondils of wine, which amount to six or seven quarts[500].
When he has drunk much, he becomes generous, and distributes his great
gifts; his attendants, therefore, are very happy when they hear him call
for wine. Last year, a Moor took it into his head to preach to him on
this subject, admonishing him that wine was forbidden by the prophet,
and that those who drank it were not good Saracens. The only answer the
prince gave was to order him to prison: he then banished him his
territories, with orders never again to set his foot on them. He unites
to his love for women a taste for boys, and has three hundred of the
former and about thirty of the latter, which he prefers, and when they
are grown up he recompenses them with rich presents and lordships. One
of them he married to a sister of his, with an annual income of 25,000
ducats. Some persons estimate his treasure at half a million of ducats,
others at a million. This is exclusive of his plate, his slaves, the
jewels for his women, which last article is estimated alone at a million
of gold. I am convinced that if he would for one year abstain from thus
giving away blindly, and hold his hand, he would lay by a million of
ducats without wronging any one.

Every now and then he makes great and remarkable examples of justice,
which procures him perfect obedience at home and abroad. He likewise
knows how to keep his country in an excellent state of defence, without
oppressing his Turkish subjects by taxes or other modes of extortion.
His household is composed of five thousand persons, as well horse as
foot; but in war-time he does not augment their pay, so that he does not
expend more than in time of peace, contrary to what happens in other
nations. His principal officers are three bashaws, or visir bashaws. The
visir is a counsellor; the bashaw a sort of chief, or lieutenant. These
three have the charge of all that concerns himself or his household, and
no one can speak with him but through them. When he is in Greece, the
lieutenant of Greece has the superintendence of the army; and when in
Turkey, the lieutenant of Turkey. He has given away great possessions,
but he may resume them at pleasure. Besides, those to whom they have
been given are bound to serve him in war, with a certain number of
troops, at their own expense.

It is thus that Greece annually supplies him with thirty thousand men,
whom he may lead whither he pleases; and Turkey ten thousand, for whom
he only finds provisions. Should he want a more considerable army,
Greece alone, as they tell me, can then furnish him with one hundred and
twenty thousand more; but he is obliged to pay for these. The pay is
five aspers for the infantry, and eight for the cavalry. I have,
however, heard, that of these hundred and twenty thousand there was but
half, that is to say, the cavalry, that were properly equipped, and well
armed with tarquais and sword; the rest were composed of men on foot
miserably accoutered; some having swords without bows, others without
swords, bows, or any arms whatever, many having only staves. It is the
same with the infantry supplied by Turkey, one-half armed with staves.
This Turkish infantry is nevertheless more esteemed than the Greek, and
considered as better soldiers.

Other persons, whose testimony I regard as authentic, have since told
me, that the troops Turkey is obliged to furnish, when the prince wants
to form an army, amount to thirty thousand men, and those from Greece to
twenty, without including two or three thousand slaves of his own, whom
he arms well. Among these slaves are many Christians; and there are
likewise numbers of them among the troops from Greece, Albanians,
Bulgarians, and from other countries. In the last army from Greece,
there were three thousand Servian horse, which the despot of the
province had sent under the command of one of his sons. It was with
great regret that these people came to serve him, but they dared not

The bashaws arrived at Adrianople three days after their lord, bringing
with them part of his people and his baggage. This baggage consists of
about a hundred camels, and two hundred and fifty mules and sumpter
horses, as the nation does not use wagons.

Sir Benedict was impatient to have an audience, and made inquiries of
the bashaws if he could see the prince: their answer was a negative. The
reason of this refusal was, that they had been drinking with him, and
were all intoxicated. They, however, sent on the morrow to the
ambassador to let him know they were visible, when he instantly waited
on each with his presents; for such is the custom of the country, that
no one can speak to them without bringing something; even the slaves who
guard their gates are not exempted from it. I accompanied him on this
visit. On the following day, in the afternoon, he was informed that he
might come to the palace. He instantly mounted his horse to go thither
with his attendants, and I joined the company; but we were all on foot,
he alone being on horseback.

In front of the court we found a great number of men and horses. The
gate was guarded by about thirty slaves, under the command of a chief,
armed with staves. Should any person offer to enter without permission,
they bid him retire: if he persist, they drive him away with their
staves. What we call the court of the king, the Turks call "Porte du
Seigneur."[501] Every time the prince receives a message or an embassy,
which happens almost daily, "il fait porte." "Faire porte," is for him
the same as when our kings of France hold royal state and open court,
although there is much difference between the two ceremonies, as I shall
presently show.

When the ambassador had entered, they made him sit down near the gate,
with many other persons who were waiting for the prince to quit his
apartment and hold his court. The three bashaws first entered, with the
governor of Greece and others of the great lords. His chamber looked
into a very large court; the governor went thither to wait for him. At
length he appeared. His dress was, as usual, a crimson satin robe, over
which he had, by way of mantle, another of green figured satin, lined
with sable. His young boys accompanied him, but no further than to the
entrance of the apartment, when they returned. There was nobody with him
but a small dwarf, and two young persons who acted the part of
fools[502]. He walked across an angle of the court to a gallery, where a
seat had been prepared for him. It was a kind of couch covered with
velvet, and four or five steps to mount to it. He seated himself on it,
like to our tailors when they are going to work, and the three bashaws
took their places a little way from him. The other officers, who on
these days make part of the attendants, likewise entered the gallery,
and posted themselves along the walls as far from him as they could.
Without, but fronting him, were twenty Wallachian gentlemen seated, who
had been detained by him as hostages for the good conduct of their
countrymen. Within this apartment were placed about a hundred dishes of
tin, each containing a piece of mutton and rice. When all were placed, a
lord from Bosnia was introduced, who pretended that the crown of that
country belonged to him, and came in consequence to do homage for it to
the Turk, and ask succour from him against the present king. He was
conducted to a seat near the bashaws; and, when his attendants had made
their appearance, the ambassador from Milan was sent for. He advanced,
followed by his presents, which were set down near the tin dishes.
Persons appointed to receive them raised them above their heads, as
high as they could, that the prince and his court might see them. While
this was passing, sir Benedict walked slowly toward the gallery. A
person of distinction came to introduce him.

On entering, he made a reverence without taking off the bonnet from his
head, and when near the steps of the couch he made another very low one.
The prince then rose, descended two steps to come nearer to the
ambassador, and took him by the hand. The ambassador wished to kiss his
hand, but he refused it; and by means of a Jew interpreter, who
understood the Turkish and Italian languages, asked how his good brother
and neighbour the duke of Milan was in health. The ambassador having
replied to this question, he was conducted to a seat near the Bosnian,
but walking backwards, with his face towards the prince, according to
the custom of the country. The prince waited to reseat himself, until
the ambassador had sat down; then the different officers on duty who
were in the apartment sat down on the floor; and the person who had
introduced the ambassador went to seek for us his attendants, and placed
us near the Bosnians.

In the meantime a silken napkin was attached to the prince, and a round
piece of thin red leather was placed before him, for their usage is to
eat only from table-coverings of leather; then some dressed meat was
brought to him in two gilded dishes. When he was served, his officers
went and took the tin dishes I have spoken of, and distributed them to
the persons in the hall, one dish among four. There was in each a piece
of mutton, and some clear rice, but neither bread nor any thing to
drink. I saw, however, in a corner of the court a high buffet with
shelves, which had some little plate on them, and at the foot was a
large silver vase, in the shape of a drinking cup, which I perceived
many to drink out of, but whether water or wine I know not. With regard
to the meat on the dishes, some tasted of it, others not; but, before
all were served, it was necessary to take away, for the prince had not
been inclined to eat. He never takes any thing in public, and there are
very few persons who can boast of having heard him speak, or of having
seen him eat or drink. On his going away, the musicians, who were placed
in the court near the buffet, began to play. They played on instruments,
and sung songs that celebrated the heroic actions of Turkish warriors.
When those in the gallery heard any thing that pleased them, they
shouted, after their manner, most horrid cries. Being ignorant on what
they were playing, I went into the court, and saw they were stringed
instruments, and of a large size. The musicians entered the apartment,
and ate whatever they could find. At length the meat was taken away,
when every one rose up, and the ambassador retired without having said a
word respecting his embassy, which is never customary at a first
audience. There is also another custom, that when an ambassador has been
presented to the prince, this latter, until he shall have given him his
answer, sends him wherewith to pay his daily expenses, and the sum is
two hundred aspers. On the morrow, therefore, one of the officers of the
treasury, the same who had conducted sir Benedict to the court, came to
him with the above sum. Shortly after, the slaves who guarded the gate
came for what is usually given them; they are, however, satisfied with a

On the third day, the bashaws let the ambassador know, they were ready
to learn from him the subject of his embassy. He immediately went to the
court, and I accompanied him; but the prince had closed his audience,
and was just retired, and only the three bashaws, with the beguelar or
governor of Greece, were now remaining. When we had passed the gate, we
found these four seated on a piece of wood that happened to be outside
of the gallery. They sent to desire the ambassador would come forward,
and had a carpet placed on the ground before them, on which they made
him seat himself, like to a criminal before his judge, notwithstanding
there were present great numbers of people. He explained to them the
object of his mission, which was, as I heard, to entreat their lord, on
the part of the duke of Milan, to consent to yield up, to the Roman
emperor Sigismond, Hungary, Wallachia, Bulgaria, as far as Sophia,
Bosnia, and the part of Albania he now possessed, which was dependant on
Sclavonia. They replied they could not at that moment inform the prince
of his request, as he was occupied; but that within ten days he should
have his answer, if they should then have received it from him. There is
likewise another custom; that from the time when an ambassador is
announced as such, he can never speak with the prince personally. This
regulation was made since the grandfather of the present prince was
murdered by an ambassador from Servia. That envoy had come to solicit
from him some alleviation in favour of his countrymen, whom the prince
wanted to reduce to slavery. In despair at not obtaining his object, he
stabbed him, and was himself massacred the instant after[503].

On the tenth day we went to the court to receive the answer. The prince
was there, as at the first time, seated on his couch; but he had with
him in the gallery only those that served his table. I saw neither
buffet, minstrels, nor the lord of Bosnia, nor the Wallachians, but only
Magnoly, brother to the duke of Cephalonia, whose manners to the prince
were those of a respectful servant. Even the bashaws were without, and
standing at a distance, as well as the greater part of the persons whom
I had before seen in the interior, but their number was much lessened.
During the time we were made to wait without, the chief cadi, with his
assessors, administered justice at the outward gate of the palace, when
I saw some foreign Christians come to plead their cause before him: but,
when the prince rose up, the judges ended their sittings and retired to
their homes. I saw the prince pass with his attendants to the great
court, which I was unable to do the first time. He wore a robe of cloth
of gold and green, somewhat rich, and he seemed to me to have a hasty
step. When he had re-entered his apartments, the bashaws, seated as on
the preceding day on the piece of wood, sent for the ambassador. Their
answer was that their master charged him to salute, in his name, his
brother the duke of Milan; that he was very desirous of doing much for
him, but that his present request was unreasonable; that from regard to
him their prince had frequently abstained from pushing his conquests
further in Hungary, which he might easily have done, and such a
sacrifice ought to satisfy him; that it would be too hard for him to
surrender all he had won by the sword; and that, in the present
circumstances, he and his soldiers had no other theatre to occupy their
courage besides the territories of the emperor, and that he should be
the more unwilling to renounce them, because hitherto he had never met
the emperor's forces without beating them, or putting them to flight, as
was well known to all the world.

The ambassador, in fact, knew this personally, for, in the last defeat
of Sigismond before Couloubath, he had witnessed his disaster: he had
even, the night preceding the battle, quitted his camp, to wait on the
Turk. In our conversations, he told me many particulars on this subject.
I saw also two Genoese cross-bowmen, who related to me how the emperor
and his army had repassed the Danube in his galleys.

The ambassador, having received his answer from the bashaws, returned to
his lodgings; but he was scarcely arrived, when he received, on the part
of the sultan, five thousand aspers, with a robe of crimson camocas
lined with yellow calimanco. Thirty-six aspers are worth a Venetian
ducat; but, of the five thousand aspers, the treasurer deducted ten per
cent. as fees of office. I saw also, during my stay at Adrianople, a
present of another sort, made likewise by the sultan to a bride on her
wedding day. This bride was daughter to the Begler Bey, governor of
Greece; and the daughter of one of the bashaws, attended by upwards of
thirty other women, had been charged to offer it. Her dress was of
crimson tissue and gold: her face was covered, according to custom, with
a very rich veil ornamented with diamonds. The attendant ladies had
magnificent veils, and their dresses were robes of crimson velvet, and
robes of cloth of gold without fur. They were all on horseback, riding
astride like men, and some of them had superb saddles. In front of the
procession marched thirteen or fourteen horsemen, and two minstrels also
on horseback, as well as other musicians carrying a trumpet, a very
large drum, and about eight pairs of cymbals, which altogether made a
most abominable noise. After the musicians came the present, and then
the ladies. This present consisted of seventy broad platters of tin
loaded with different sorts of sweetmeats, wet and dry, and of twenty
other platters having on them sheep skinned, painted red and white, and
all had a silver ring suspended from the nose, and two others in the
ears. I had an opportunity of seeing, while at Adrianople, numbers of
Christians chained, who were brought thither for sale. They begged for
alms in the street; but my heart bleeds when I think of the shocking
hardships they suffer.

We left that town on the 12th of March, under the escort of a slave whom
the sultan had ordered to accompany the ambassador. This man was of
great utility to us on the road, more especially in regard to
lodgings—for, wherever he demanded any thing for us, it was eagerly and
instantly granted. Our first day's journey was through a beautiful
country ascending the Mariza, which we crossed at a ferry; the second,
though the roads were good, was employed in passing through woods. At
length we entered Macedonia, between two mountains opening to an
extensive plain, which may be forty miles wide, and is watered by the
Mariza. I there met fifteen men and ten women chained by the neck,
inhabitants of Bosnia, whom the Turks had just carried off in an
excursion which they had made thither. Two Turks were leading them for
sale to Adrianople.

Shortly after, we arrived at Philopopoli, the capital of Macedonia, and
built by king Philip. It is situated in a plain on the Mariza, in an
excellent country, where all sorts of provision are sold very cheap. It
was formerly a considerable town, and indeed is so now. Within it are
three mountains, two of which are at one of its extremities toward the
southward, and the other in the centre. On this last had been
constructed a large castle, in the form of a crescent, now destroyed. I
was shown the situation of king Philip's palace, which has been
demolished, but the walls still remain. Philopopoli is inhabited chiefly
by Bulgarians, who follow the Greek ritual.

I crossed the Mariza by a bridge, on leaving Philopopoli, and rode a
whole day over the plain I mentioned: it terminates at a mountain
sixteen or twenty miles in length, covered with wood. This place was in
former times infested by robbers, and very dangerous to pass. The Turk
has ordered that whoever inhabits these parts shall be free: in
consequence, two villages have been erected and inhabited by Bulgarians,
in one of which, situated on the confines of Bulgaria and Macedonia, I
passed the night. Having crossed the mountain, we came to a plain six
miles long by two broad—then to a forest sixteen miles in length—then
to another great plain wholly shut in by mountains, well peopled with
Bulgarians, and having a river running through it.

After three days' journey, I came at last to a town named Sophia, which
had been very considerable, as may be judged from the ruins of its
walls, now thrown down; but it is at present the best in Bulgaria. It
has a small castle, and is situated near a mountain on the southward,
and at the beginning of a great plain sixty miles long by ten wide. The
inhabitants are chiefly Bulgarians, as in the adjacent villages. The
Turks are few in number, which causes the others to feel the greatest
desire to throw off their yoke, if they could find any to assist them. I
saw some Turks return from an excursion to Hungary; and a Genoese, named
Nicolas Ciba, told me he had also seen those who had crossed the Danube
return, and that there was not one in ten that had both bow and sword:
for my part, of those I saw there were many more that had neither bow
nor sword than those who were armed with both. The best equipped had a
small wooden target. In truth, we must confess that it is a great shame
for Christendom to suffer itself to be subjugated by such a race, for
they are much below what is thought of them.

On quitting Sophia I traversed fifty miles of the plain I spoke of. The
country is well inhabited by Bulgarians of the Greek religion. I then
passed through a mountainous country, tolerably good for travelling on
horseback, and came to a little town in a plain on the Nissave, called
Pirotte. It is uninclosed, but has a small castle, defended on one side
by the river, on the other by a marsh: to the north is a mountain. It is
inhabited by Turks only. Beyond Pirotte the country is again
mountainous, when, after a circuit, we came again to the Nissave, which
runs through a beautiful valley between two tolerably high hills. At the
foot of one of them was the town of Ysvouriere, now totally destroyed,
even to the walls. We followed the banks of the river through the
valley, and came to another mountain, difficult to pass, although cars
and carts do go over it. We then arrived at an agreeable valley, still
watered by the Nissave, which having crossed by a bridge, we entered
Nissa. This town had a handsome castle that belonged to the despot of
Servia. The Turk took it, five years ago, by storm, and entirely
destroyed it. The situation is in a delightful country, abounding in
rice. I continued to follow the river from Nissa, through a country
equally pleasant, and well filled with villages. I at last crossed it at
a ferry, and saw it no more. The mountains now commenced, and I had a
long miry forest to pass, and, after ten days' journey from Adrianople,
arrived at Corsebech[504], a small town situated a mile distant from the

The Morava is a large river that runs from Bosnia, and divides Bulgaria
from La Rascia, or Servia, a province which indifferently bears these
two names, and which the Turk conquered six years ago. Corsebech had a
small castle, now demolished: it has still a double wall, but the other
parts, as far as the battlements, have been thrown down. I found there
Cénasin Bey, captain or commandant of this vast frontier country, that
extends from Wallachia as far as Sclavonia. He resides part of the year
in this town; and they told me he was originally a Greek, who did not
drink wine like other Turks; that he was prudent and brave, and knew how
to make himself feared and obeyed. The Turk has intrusted him with the
government of this country, of which he possesses the greater part as
his own property. He suffers no one to cross the river, unless they be
known to him, or unless they be bearers of letters from his master, or,
in his absence, from the governor of Greece. We saw there a beautiful
woman, one of the Hungarian nobility, whose situation inspired us with
pity. An Hungarian renegado, one of the lowest rank, had carried her off
in an excursion, and treated her as his wife. On seeing us, she melted
into tears, for she had not as yet renounced her religion.

On leaving Corsebech, we crossed the Morava by a ferry, and entered the
territory of the despot of Servia, a fine and well-peopled country. All
on this side the river belongs to him—the district on the other to the
Turk; but the despot pays him an annual tribute of fifty thousand
ducats. He possesses also, on this river, toward the common boundaries
of Bulgaria, Sclavonia, Albania, and Bosnia, a town called Nyeuberge,
which has a mine producing gold and silver at the same time. Each year
it pays him more than two hundred thousand ducats, as well-informed
people assured me: without this, he would be soon driven out of his

I passed on my road near to the castle of Escalache, that belongs to
him. It has been a strong place, on the point of a hill, at the foot of
which the Nissave forms a junction with the Morava. Part of the walls,
with a tower in the form of a dungeon, are all that remain.

At the mouth of these two rivers, the Turk usually keeps from eighty to
a hundred galleys, galliots, and rafts, to convey over his cavalry and
army in time of war. I could not see them, as no Christian is allowed to
approach them; but a man, worthy of belief, informed me there was a body
of three hundred men always posted there to guard them, and that they
are relieved every two months. The distance from Escalache to the Danube
is one hundred miles: nevertheless, in all this distance, there does not
subsist any fort, or place of defence, but a village, and a house
erected by Cénasnin-Bey on the declivity of a mountain, with a mosque. I
followed the course of the Morava, and with the exception of a very miry
pass, that continues about a mile, caused by a mountain pressing too
close on the river, I had a good road through a pleasant well-peopled
country. It was not the same the second day, for I had mountains, wood,
and much mud to travel through. The country, notwithstanding, was as
fine as a mountainous country can be. It is full of villages, and all
your wants may be there supplied.

From the time we had entered Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Servia, I found on
our passage that the Turk every where caused proclamation to be made
that whoever was bound to join the army should hold himself in readiness
to march. They told us that those who, in obedience to this duty, fed a
horse, were exempted from the tax of the comarch; that such Christians
as were desirous of being excused from serving pay fifty aspers a head;
and that some are forced to join the army, but only when it requires
reinforcements. I learnt also, at the court of the despot, that the Turk
has divided the guard and defence of these frontier provinces among
three captains; one, called Dysem Bey, has the district from the
confines of Wallachia to the Black Sea; Cénasnin Bey commands from
Wallachia to the borders of Bosnia; and Isaac Bey from these frontiers
as far as Sclavonia, that is to say, all beyond the Morava.

To continue the account of my journey, I shall say that I came to a
town, or rather a country house, called Nicodem. It is here the despot
has fixed his residence because the soil is good, and there are woods
and rivers abounding with every thing needful for the pleasures of the
chase and hawking, of which he is very fond. He was out hawking by the
river side, attended by fifty horse, three of his children, and a Turk,
who had been sent by the sultan to summon him to send his contingent to
the army, under the escort of one of his sons. Independently of his
tribute, this is one of the conditions imposed upon him. Every time the
sultan sends him his orders, he is obliged to furnish him with eight
hundred or a thousand horse, under the command of his second son. He
gave the sultan one of his daughters in marriage; nevertheless, there
passes not a day that he does not fear being deprived of his dominions.
I have even heard say, that some wished to inspire the sultan with this
idea, but that he answered, "I draw more from them now than if they were
my own, for in this case I should be obliged to give them to one of my
slaves, and should not receive any thing." The troops he is now raising
are said to be intended against Albania. Ten thousand have already
marched thither, which was the reason he had so few with him when I saw
him at Lessère; but this first army had been destroyed[505].

The prince of Servia is a tall, handsome man, from fifty-eight to sixty
years old; he has five children, three boys and two girls[506]. Of the
boys, one is twenty years, another sixteen, and the third fourteen; and
all three, like their father, have very agreeable countenances. In
respect to the girls, one is married to the sultan, another to the count
de Seil; but as I have not seen them I cannot describe them. When we met
him hawking, the ambassador and myself took him by the hand, which I
kissed, for such is the custom. On the morrow, we went to pay him our
respects. He had a tolerably numerous court, composed of very handsome
men, who wore the beard and hair long, as they are of the Greek church.
There were in the town a bishop, and a doctor in theology, on their road
to Constantinople, sent as ambassadors to the emperor, by the holy
council of Basil[507].

I had employed two days in going from Corsebech to Nicodem, and from
Nicodem to Belgrade half a day. There is nothing but forests, mountains,
and valleys to this town, but the valleys are crowded with villages, in
which provision and good wines are met with.

Belgrade is in Servia, and did belong to the despot; but four years ago
he ceded it to the king of Hungary, for fear lest he should suffer it to
be taken by the Turk, as he had done Coulumbach. This was a heavy loss
to Christendom. The other would be still greater, because the place is
stronger, and can contain from five to six thousand horse[508]. Its
walls are washed on one side by a large river that comes from Bosnia,
called the Save; and on the other it has a castle, near to which runs
the Danube, and into this the Save flows. The town is built on the point
formed by these two rivers. Within its walls the ground rises; but on
the land side it is so flat that any one may march into the ditch. There
is, however, a village on this side that extends from the Save to the
Danube, and surrounds the town to the distance of a bow-shot. This
village is inhabited by Servians, and on Easter-day I heard mass there
in the Sclavonic tongue. It is under obedience to the church of Rome,
and its ceremonies are nothing different from ours.

The place is strong from its situation, and by art, having ditches _en
glacis_, a double wall, well kept in repair, that follows exactly the
rise and fall of the ground. It has also five forts, three on the
elevated ground I spoke of, and two on the river, but these last are
commanded by the preceding ones. It has likewise a small harbour, that
may hold from fifteen to twenty galleys, defended by towers constructed
at each extremity. It is shut up by a chain from one tower to the other,
at least so it was told me, for the two shores are so distant I could
not see it. I saw on the Save six galleys and five galliots, near to the
weakest of the five forts. In this are many Servians, but they are not
permitted to enter the other forts. The whole five are well furnished
with artillery. I particularly noticed three cannons of brass[509]; two
of them were formed of two pieces, and one of such a size, I never
before saw the like. Its mouth was forty-two inches in diameter, but it
seemed short for its thickness[510]. The commandant of the place was Sir
Mathico, a knight of Arragon, and he had for his lieutenant his own
brother, styled my lord brother.

The Turk is in possession of the castle of Coulumbach, on the Danube,
two days' journey below Belgrade. He seized it from the despot, and it
is, as they say, a strong place, but easily attacked with artillery, and
all succour may be cut off from it, which is a great disadvantage. He
there keeps a hundred light galleys having sixteen or eighteen oars on a
side, to pass over to Hungary at his pleasure. The governor of this
place is Cénasnin Bey, before spoken of.

On the Danube, but in Hungary, and opposite to Belgrade, the despot has
a town and castle that were given him by the emperor[511], with several
others, that afford him an income of fifty thousand ducats, on
condition of his becoming his liege man, but he obeys the Turk more than
the emperor.

Two days after my arrival at Belgrade I saw twenty-five men, armed after
the manner of the country, enter the town, whom count Mathico the
governor had sent for to remain in garrison. They told me they were
Germans, although they had Servians and Hungarians so near at hand; but
they said the Servians were subjects and tributaries to the Turk: of
course they could not trust them; and, as for the Hungarians, they were
so much afraid of him, that should he appear they would not dare to
defend it, however great its strength. They were obliged therefore to
call in strangers, and this measure became the more necessary from its
being the only place in the possession of the emperor to enable him to
pass and repass the Danube, in case of need. This conversation greatly
astonished me, and caused me to make some reflections on the strange
subjection in which the Turk keeps Macedonia, Bulgaria, the emperor of
Constantinople, the Greeks, the despot of Servia, and his subjects. Such
a dependence appeared to me a lamentable thing for Christendom; and, as
I lived with the Turks, and became acquainted with their manner of
living and fighting, and have frequented the company of sensible persons
who have observed them narrowly in their great enterprises, I am
emboldened to write something concerning them, according to the best of
my abilities, under correction, however, from those better informed, and
to show how it may be possible to reconquer the territories they have
gained possession of, and to beat them in the field of battle. I shall
begin with what regards their persons, and say they are a tolerably
handsome race, with long beards, but of moderate size and strength. I
know well that it is a common expression to say as strong as a Turk;
nevertheless, I have seen an infinity of Christians, when strength was
necessary, excel them, and I myself, who am not of the strongest make,
have, when circumstances required labour, found very many weaker than

They are diligent, willingly rise early, and live on little, being
satisfied with bread badly baked, raw flesh dried in the sun, milk
curdled or not, honey, cheese, grapes, fruit, herbs, and even a handful
of flour, with which they make a potage sufficient to feed six or eight
for a day. Should they have a horse or camel sick without hopes of
recovery, they cut its throat and eat it. I have witnessed this many
and many a time. They are indifferent where they sleep, and lie on the
ground. Their dress consists of two or three robes of cotton, thrown one
over the other, which fall to their feet. Over these again they wear
another of felt, in the manner of a mantle, called a capinat. This,
though light, resists rain, and there are some very fine and handsome.
Their boots come up to the knees, and they have large drawers, some of
crimson velvet, others of silk or fustian and common stuffs. In war, or
when travelling, to avoid being embarrassed by their robes, they tuck
the ends into their drawers, by which they can move with greater

Their horses are good, cost little in food, gallop well and for a long
time. They keep them very poor, never feeding them but at night, and
then only giving them five or six handfuls of barley and double the
quantity of chopped straw, the whole put into a bag which hangs from
their ears. At break of day, they bridle, clean and curry them, but
never allow them to drink before mid-day, then in the afternoon every
time that they find water, and in the evening when they lodge or encamp;
for they always halt early, and near a river if possible. This last time
they leave them bridled for an hour like mules, and then, at a fixed
moment, each gives his horse provender. During the night-time, they
cover them with felt or other stuffs, and I have seen such coverings
very handsome; they have the like also for their hounds, in which they
are curious and have a good breed, although with long hanging ears and
tufted tails, which, however they carry well. All their horses are
geldings; they keep some others for stallions, but so few, that I have
never seen a single one. They saddle and bridle them _à la genette_.
Their saddles are commonly very rich, but hollow, having pummels before
and behind, with short stirrup leathers and wide stirrups.

With regard to their accoutrements and dresses for war, I had twice an
opportunity of seeing them, on the occasions of Greek renegadoes, who,
renouncing their own, had embraced the Mohammedan religion. The Turks
celebrate these events with much festivity. They dress themselves in
their best arms, and traverse the town with as numerous a procession as
possible. On these occasions I have seen them wear very handsome coats
of armour like to ours, except that the links of the mail were smaller;
the vambraces were the same. In one word, they resemble those pictures
that represent figures of the time of Julius Cæsar. Their armour
descends almost half way down the thigh, but a piece of silken stuff is
attached circularly to the bottom of it, that falls down to the calf of
the leg. On their head they wear a round white cap, half a foot high,
terminated in a point. It is ornamented with plates of iron on all
sides, to ward off from the face, neck, and cheeks, blows of the sword,
and is like the helmets in France, called salades[512]. Beside this
head-piece, they usually wear another over it, namely, a bonnet of iron
wire. There are some of these so rich and handsome, that they cost from
forty to fifty ducats, whereas the first are bought for one or two;
although not so strong as the others, they resist the cut of a sword. I
have spoken of their saddles, in which they sit as in an arm-chair, deep
sunk in them, their knees very high, and with short stirrups, a position
in which they cannot support the smallest blow from a lance without
being unhorsed. The arms of those who have any fortune are a bow, a
tarquais, a sword, a heavy mace with a short handle, the thick end of
which is cut into many angles. This is a dangerous weapon when struck on
the shoulders, or on an unguarded arm. I am convinced that a blow given
with it on a head armed with a salade would stun a man. Several have
small wooden bucklers, with which they cover themselves well on
horseback when they draw the bow. I have been assured of this by those
who have long used them, as well as from having seen it myself.

Their obedience to superiors is boundless. None dare disobey, even when
their lives are at hazard; and it is chiefly owing to this steady
submission that such great exploits have been performed, and such vast
conquests gained, as render them masters of a more extensive and
considerable country than all France. I have been assured that, whenever
the Christian powers have taken up arms against them, they have always
had timely information of it. In this case the sultan has their march
watched by men assigned to this purpose, and he lays wait for them with
his army two or three days' march from the spot where he proposes to
fight them. Should he think the opportunity favourable, he falls
suddenly on them; and for these occasions they have a particular kind
of march, beaten on a large drum. When this signal is given, those who
are to lead march quietly off, followed by the others with the same
silence, without the file ever being interrupted, from the horses and
men being trained to this purpose. Ten thousand Turks, on such an
occasion, will make less noise than one hundred men in the Christian
armies. In their ordinary marches they only walk, but in these they
always gallop; and as they are beside lightly armed, they will thus
advance further, from evening to day-break, than in three other days;
and this is the reason why they cannot wear such complete armour as the
French and Italians. They choose, also, no horses but such as walk fast,
and gallop for a long time, while we select only those that gallop well
and with ease. It is by these forced marches that they have succeeded in
surprising and completely defeating the Christians in their different
wars. It is thus they conquered Duke John, whose soul may God
pardon[513]! and, again, the emperor Sigismond, so recently before
Coulumbach, where Sir Advis, a Polish knight, perished. Their manner of
fighting varies according to circumstances. When they find a favourable
opportunity for it, they divide themselves into different troops, and
thus attack many parts of an army at once. This mode is particularly
used when they are among woods or mountains, from the great facility
they have of uniting together again. At other times they form
ambuscades, and send out scouts well mounted to observe the enemy. If
their report be that he is not on his guard, they instantly form their
plan and take advantage of the circumstance. Should they find the army
well drawn up, they curvet round it within bow-shot, and, while thus
prancing, shoot at the men and horses, and continue this manœuvre so
long, that they at last throw it into disorder. If the army attempt to
pursue them, they fly, and disperse each separately, even should only a
fourth part of their own number be ordered against them; but it is in
their flight that they are formidable, and it has been almost always
then that they have defeated the Christians. In flying they have the
adroitness to shoot their arrows so very true that they scarcely ever
fail to hit man or horse. Each cavalier has also on the pummel of his
saddle a tabolcan. When the chief, or any of his officers, perceives the
enemy who pursues to be in disorder, he gives three strokes on this
instrument; the others, on hearing it, do the same, and they are
instantly formed round their chief like so many hogs round the old one;
and then, according to circumstances, they either receive the charge of
the assailants, or fall on them by troops, and attack them in different
places at the same time. In pitched battles they employ another
stratagem, which consists in throwing fireworks among the cavalry to
frighten the horses. They often post in their front a great body of
dromedaries and camels, which are bold and vicious; these they drive
before them on the enemy's line of horse, and throw it into confusion.

Such are the modes of fighting the Turks have hitherto adopted against
the Christians. I would not, most assuredly, wrong or depreciate them;
for I must own that I have always found them, in my different
connections, frank and loyal, and when it was necessary to show courage
they have never failed to do so; but I am not the less convinced that it
would be no difficult matter for troops, well mounted and well
commanded, to defeat them: and, in regard to myself, I declare that,
with one-half of their numbers, I should never hesitate to attack them.
Their armies, I know, commonly consist of two hundred thousand men; but
the greater part are on foot, and destitute, as I before said, of
tarquais, helmets, mallets, or sword; few, indeed, being completely
armed. They have, besides, among them a great number of Christians, who
serve through force, Greeks, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Albanians,
Sclavonians, Wallachians, Servians, and other subjects of the despots of
that country. All these people detest the Turk, because he holds them in
a severe captivity; and should they see the Christians march in force
against him, and above all the French, I have not the smallest doubt but
they would turn against him and do him great mischief.

The Turks are not, therefore, so terribly formidable as I have heard
say. I own, however, that it will be necessary, if any attempt be made
against them, to have a general well obeyed by his troops, and who would
particularly listen to the advice of those acquainted with their mode of
warfare. This was the fault, as I am informed, of the emperor Sigismond,
when he was defeated by them at Coulumbach. Had he attended to the
advice given him, he would not have been forced to raise the siege,
since he had from twenty-five to thirty thousand Hungarians. Did not two
hundred Genoese and Lombardy cross-bows alone check the enemy, overawe
them, and cover his retreat, while he embarked on board the galleys that
he had on the Danube; while six thousand Wallachians, under the Polish
knight before mentioned, having separated and posted themselves on a
small eminence, were all cut to pieces?

I speak nothing here but what I have seen myself, or heard from
undoubted authority; therefore, in case any Christian prince or general
may wish to attempt the conquest of Turkey in Europe, or even to
penetrate further, I think I am able to give much information on this
subject. I shall, however, speak according to my abilities; and, should
any thing escape me that may be displeasing to some of my readers, I beg
they will excuse it, and pass it by, as if I had said nothing.

The monarch who should form such a project ought at first to propose to
himself for his object, not glory and renown, but God, religion, and the
salvation of so many souls that are in the road to perdition. He must be
well assured, beforehand, that the regular payment of his troops is
provided for, and that he carries with him none but such as have a fair
reputation, with a good will for the purpose, and, above all, that they
be not pillagers. With regard to the payment of them, I think it should
depend on the holy father to see that it be regularly made; but, until
the moment when the army enters the Turkish territory, there should be
made a strict law that no one take any thing without paying for it. No
person likes to see his property stolen; and I have heard that those who
have been guilty of such things have not found themselves the better for
it. I, however, refer these things to the prince and the lords of his
council; I shall confine myself to speak of the sort of troops I think
proper for such an attempt, and whom, if I had the choice, I should like
to accompany.

I would, in the first place, select from France men at arms, archers,
and cross-bows, in as great numbers as possible and of the sort
mentioned above. Secondly, from England, a thousand men at arms and ten
thousand archers. Thirdly, from Germany, the greatest number possible of
gentlemen, with their cross-bowmen on horse and foot. Collect together
from fifteen to twenty thousand archers and cross-bows of these three
nations, adding thereto from two to three hundred light troops; and I
will ask from God the grace to march with them, and engage they shall
advance without difficulty from Belgrade to Constantinople. They will
require but light armour, as I have before observed that the Turkish bow
has no great strength. When near, their archers shoot true and quick;
but they do not shoot nearly so far as we do. Their bows are thick and
short, and their arrows thin and of no length; their iron heads are
stuck into the wood, which cannot bear a great blow nor make a deep
wound, even on an unarmed place. From this it will be seen slight armour
only is wanted for the troops, that is to say, light greaves for the
legs and thighs, thin plate armour for the body, with helmets having
light vizor-pieces. A Turkish arrow would perhaps pierce a light coat of
mail, but would be turned aside by plate-armour, however thin. I shall
add that, in case of necessity, our archers can make use of the arrows
of the Turks; but that they cannot do the same with ours, because the
notch is not sufficiently wide, and the strings of their bows, being
made of sinews, are too thick.

According to my opinion, our cavalry should be armed with light,
sharp-headed lances, and with strong, well-tempered swords. It may be
also advantageous to have small battle-axes on the wrist. The infantry
should have double-headed battle-axes, and a long and sharp spear, both
having their hands defended with gauntlets. With regard to this last
article, I own I have seen some in Germany, made of boiled leather, that
I consider as effectual as those of iron.

When the army shall come to an open plain, where a combat may be fought
with advantage, it should be done; but then the whole should be formed
into one body; the van and rear guards should be employed on the wings.
The pikemen to be intermixed in the line, unless it should be preferred
to post them otherwise to skirmish; but the general will be careful not
thus to post the men at arms. In front of the line, and on the wings,
the light troops will be scattered; and every one must be strictly
forbidden, under pain of death, to pursue the runaways.

It is the policy of the Turks to have their armies twice as numerous as
those of the Christians. This superiority of numbers augments their
courage, and allows them to form different corps, and to make their
attack on various parts at the same time. Should they once force an
opening, they rush through in incredible crowds, and it is then a
miracle if all be not lost. To prevent this misfortune, the light troops
should be numerously posted on the angles of the line of battle, and, by
this means, keep it compact, so as not to suffer it to be broken. This
manœuvre seems to me to be the more easily executed from these light
troops not being sufficiently armed to form a column capable, by its
weight, of any great impulsion. The Turkish lances are worth nothing;
their archers are the best troops they have, and these do not shoot so
strong nor so far as ours do. They have a more numerous cavalry; and
their horses, though inferior in strength to ours, and incapable of
bearing such heavy weights, gallop better, and skirmish for a longer
time without losing their wind. This is an additional reason for the
army always keeping in a close and good order. When this method is
constantly followed, they will be forced to combat disadvantageously,
and, consequently, to risk every thing or retreat before the army.
Should this last be the case, the cavalry must be sent in pursuit; but
it must always march in good order, and be ever ready to fight and
receive them well should they turn about. With such conduct it is no way
doubtful but they must always be defeated; and if a contrary one be
followed they will beat us, as has ever happened.

I may, perhaps, be told that it would be disgraceful thus to remain on
the defensive when in presence of the enemy; and that, living as they do
on little, they would starve us, unless we quitted our intrenchment to
fight with them. I shall answer that it is not customary for them to
remain long in one place; that to-day they are at this place, to-morrow
a day and a half's march off; they reappear again as suddenly as they
disappeared; and that, if an army be not continually on its guard, it
will run great risks. The important point is, to be ever on the watch
from the moment they appear in sight, and ready to mount for the combat.
Should there be any difficult passage on the line of march, as many men
at arms and archers must be sent thither as the situation will allow
for a combat, and they must be continually in order of battle until the
whole be passed. No foragers must ever be sent out, for they would be as
so many lost men; and besides they would find nothing abroad, for in
war-time the Turks transport every thing into towns.

With all these precautions the conquest of Turkey in Europe would not be
a difficult enterprise, provided—I repeat it—that the army be kept in
one body, never divided, and no detachments ever sent after the enemy.
Should I be asked how I would secure provision, I answer that Turkey and
Servia have navigable rivers, and Bulgaria, Macedonia, and the Greek
provinces are fertile. The army advancing always thus in a mass, the
Turks would be forced to retreat; and they must of necessity choose one
of two extremities, as I have before said; either to re-cross into Asia,
and abandon their properties, their wives, and their children, since the
country is, as may be seen from my description of it, defenceless, or
risk a battle, as they have always done, when they have passed the
Danube. I conclude, therefore, that with good troops, composed from the
three nations I have named, French, English, and Germans, success would
be certain; and that, if they were sufficiently numerous, well united,
and commanded, they might march to Jerusalem. But I shall now return to
my travels.

I crossed the Danube at Belgrade. It was at this moment exceedingly
swollen, and may have been twelve miles broad. Never in the memory of
man had such a flood been seen. Being unable to travel to Buda by the
direct road, I went to a village called Pensey. On leaving Pensey, I
came to the most level plain I ever saw, and, after being ferried over a
river, arrived at the town of Beurquerel, which belongs to the despot of
Servia, and where I crossed two other rivers by a bridge. From
Beurquerel I came to Verchet, belonging also to the despot; there I
crossed the Theis, a wide and deep river, and at length I arrived at
Zegedin, situated upon it. In the whole length of this road, with the
exception of two small woods inclosed by a rivulet, I did not see a
single tree. The natives use, for firing, straw or reeds, collected from
the banks of rivers, or from their numerous marshes. They eat, instead
of bread, soft cakes; but they have not much food.

Zegedin is a large country town, of a single street, that seems about a
league in length. It is in a fertile country, abounding with all sorts
of provision. Many cranes and bustards are taken here, and I saw the
market-place full of them; but they dress and eat them in a filthy
manner. The Theis abounds in fish, and I have nowhere seen a river that
produces such large ones. Many wild horses are brought thither for sale,
and their manner of conquering and taming them is curious. I have been
told that, should any one want three or four thousand, they could be
procured within the town; and they are so cheap that a very good road
horse may be bought for ten Hungarian florins. The emperor, as I heard,
had given Zegedin to a bishop. I saw this bishop, and he seemed a man of
a broad conscience. The Cordelier friars have a handsome church in this
town, where I heard service; but it was performed a little after the
Hungarian mode.

From Zegedin I came to Pest, a tolerably good country town on the
Danube, opposite to Buda. The country, from one town to the other, was
good and level, and full of immense herds of horses, that live wild on
these plains like savage animals; and hence the numbers seen at the
markets of Zegedin. I crossed the Danube at Pest, and entered Buda seven
days after my departure from Belgrade. Buda is the capital of Hungary,
situated on an eminence, and longer than it is broad. To the east is the
Danube, to the west a valley, to the south a palace, which commands the
gate of the town. It was begun by the present emperor, and, when he
shall have finished it, will be extensive and strong. On this side, but
without the walls, are very handsome hot baths. There are also others
along the banks of the Danube to the eastward; but these are not so good
as the preceding ones. The town is governed by Germans, as well in
respect to police as commerce, and what regards the different
professions. Many Jews live there who speak French well, several of them
being descendants of those driven formerly from France. I found, also,
there a merchant from Arras, called Clays Davion. He was one of those
whom the emperor Sigismond had brought from France, to establish
manufactories in his country. Clays was a tapestry weaver[514].

The environs of Buda are agreeable, and its territory fertile in all
sorts of provision, especially in white wines; but they are somewhat
fiery, which is attributed to the adjacent hot springs, and to the
sulphur they emit. One league from the town is the body of St. Paul the
hermit, which is in a perfect state of preservation.

I returned to Pest, where I also found six or eight French families,
whom the emperor had sent thither to construct on the Danube, and
opposite to his palace, a large tower. His intentions were to shut up
the river with a chain, extending from it; and I should suppose he
wanted to imitate what had been done from the town of Burgundy, that
fronts the fort of L'Ecluse; but I do not believe it is practicable
here, for the river is too broad. I had the curiosity to visit the
tower, which is about the length of three lances high, and round about
were quantities of hewn stone; but it had remained some time in this
state, because the masons who had begun the work were dead, and those
that had survived them were said not to have knowledge enough to
continue it. Pest is inhabited by many horse-dealers; and, whoever may
want two thousand good horses, they can furnish the quantity. They sell
them by stables full, containing ten horses; and their price for each
stable is two hundred florins. I looked into several, where two or three
horses alone were worth that price. They come for the most part from the
mountains of Transylvania, which bound Hungary to the eastward. I
purchased one that galloped well, as indeed they almost all do. The
country is excellent for breeding them, from the quantity of grass it
produces; but they have the fault of being a little headstrong, and
particularly difficult to shoe; so that I have sometimes seen them
obliged to be cast on the ground to be shod.

The mountains just spoken of contain mines of gold and salt, each of
which pay annually to the king one hundred Hungarian florins. He had
given up that of gold to the lord of Prussia and to count Mathico, on
condition that the first would guard the frontier against the Turk, and
the second Belgrade. The queen had reserved to her own use the revenue
from salt. The salt is beautiful. It is cut out of a rock like
freestone, into pieces of about a foot long, squared, but a little
convex on the upper side. Whoever should see them in a cart would take
them for stone. It is afterwards pounded in a mortar, and turns out
tolerably white, but finer and better than any I have elsewhere tasted.

In my road through Hungary I have frequently met wagons with six, seven,
or eight persons in them, and drawn by only a single horse; for it is
customary with them, when they make long journeys, to use only one. They
universally have the hind wheels higher than the fore wheels. There are
some covered in their country manner, which are very handsome, and so
light that, including wheels, it seemed that a man could carry one of
them suspended to his neck. As the country is perfectly smooth and
level, there is nothing to prevent the horse from being always on the
trot. It is from this great evenness of the ground that, when they
plough, they draw furrows of an extraordinary length. Until I came to
Pest I had no servant; but there I treated myself with one, and took one
of those French masons into my service whom I found at Pest. He was from

On my return to Buda I accompanied the Milanese ambassador to pay our
compliments to the grand count of Hungary, a title which answers to that
of lieutenant of the emperor. The grand count received me with much
distinction, because, from my dress, he took me for a Turk; but, when he
learnt I was a Christian, he was somewhat colder. I was told that he was
a man whose conversation was little to be depended on, and that no great
trust must be placed in his promises. This is somewhat generally the
reproach made of the Hungarians; and, for my own part, I own that, after
the idea given me of them by my acquaintance, I should have less
confidence in an Hungarian than in a Turk. The grand count is an old
man. It was he, as I heard, who formerly arrested Sigismond, king of
Bohemia and Hungary, and afterwards emperor, and threw him into prison,
whence he afterwards released him by an amicable agreement. His son was
just married to a beautiful Hungarian lady. I saw him at a tournament
after their manner, when the combatants were mounted on small horses and
low saddles. They were gallantly dressed, and had strong and short
lances. It was a pleasing spectacle. Whenever the two champions hit,
both perhaps, but certainly one of them, must be unhorsed; and it is
then seen who has the firmest seat[515].

When they tilt for golden wands, all the horses are of the same size,
all the saddles of the same form; and they are drawn for by lot, and the
jousters are taken by pairs. Should one of two adversaries fall, the
victor is obliged to retire, and is not permitted to tilt again.

I had never quitted the company of the Milanese ambassador until we came
to Buda; but he had told me on the road that we must there separate,
that he might continue his route to Milan. Soon after my return to Buda
I called, in consequence, on Clays Davion, who gave me a letter of
recommendation to a merchant of his acquaintance at Vienna. As I had
fully opened myself to him, not thinking it right to make a secret of my
rank, my name, or the country I had come from, or the honour I had of
belonging to my lord duke of Burgundy, he had inserted all this in his
letter, and I profited from it.

From Buda I came to Thiat, a country town, where the king is said to be
fond of residing; then to Janiz, in German, "Jane,"[516] a town on the
Danube. I afterwards passed by another town, built on an island in that
river, which had been given by the emperor to one of the dependants of
the duke of Burgundy, whom I believe to be Sir Renier Pot. I also passed
through Brut[517], situated on a river that divides the kingdom of
Hungary from the duchy of Austria. The river runs through a marsh, where
a long and narrow causeway has been constructed. This is an important
place; and I am convinced that a small body of men could effectually
defend it on the Austrian side.

Two leagues further the ambassador took leave of me, and followed
another road to return to the duke of Milan, his lord. I took that
leading to Vienna, where I arrived after five days' journey. On my
entering the town no one would lodge me, supposing I was a Turk. At
last, by accident, some one pointed out to me an inn, where I was
received. Fortunately my servant, whom I had hired at Pest, knew the
Hungarian and high German languages. He desired that the merchant to
whom I had a letter might be sent for. On seeking him he came, and not
only offered me every service in his power, but went to inform my lord
duke Albert[518], cousin-german to my lord, of my arrival, who instantly
despatched to me a poursuivant-at-arms, and shortly after Sir Albrech de
Potadorf. Not two hours after my arrival I saw Sir Albrech dismount at
the gate of my inn, and, hearing him ask for me, I thought myself
undone. A little before my departure for the Holy Land, I, with some
others, had arrested him between Flanders and Brabant, because we
thought him a subject of Frederic of Austria[519], who had challenged my
lord; and I now doubted not but that he was come, in his turn, to arrest
me, and perhaps do worse. He told me, however, that his lord, duke
Albert, having learned that I was attached to the duke of Burgundy, had
sent him to me to offer, on his part, every service that was in his
power; that he desired me to ask whatever I might want as boldly from
him as from my own lord; for that he wished to treat his servants in the
same manner as he would his own. Sir Albrech then spoke for himself. He
presented me with money, and offered me horses or any thing else. In
short, he rendered me good for evil; although, after all, I had not done
any thing to him but what honour permitted and even obliged me to do.

Two days after duke Albert sent to say he wished to speak with me; and
Sir Albrech again came to conduct me to him. I presented myself to him
the moment he came from mass, attended by eight or ten old knights of a
respectable appearance. Scarcely had I made my reverence when he took me
by the hand, and would not suffer me to speak to him on my knees. He
asked many questions, particularly about my lord, which induced me to
think he had a great affection for him.

He was of a tolerably good size, brown complexion, good-humoured,
affable, valiant, and generous, and was said to possess every good
quality. Among the persons who accompanied him were some lords from
Bohemia, whom the Hussites had expelled from that country because they
would not be of their religion. At the same time a great lord of that
country, called Paanepot, was presented to him, who had come with
several others, on the part of the Hussites, to treat with him and
establish peace. These last proposed to march to the assistance of the
king of Poland, against the lords of Prussia, and made, as I heard,
great offers to duke Albert, if he would second them; but he replied,
according to my information, that, until they submitted themselves to
the religion of Jesus Christ, he would never make truce nor peace with
them as long as he should live. In fact, at this very time, he had twice
beaten them in battle; had conquered from them all Moravia; and, by his
conduct and valour, had aggrandized himself at their expense.

On quitting his presence, I was conducted to that of the duchess, a
tall, handsome woman, daughter to the emperor, and heiress, after him,
to the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia and their dependencies. She had
just been brought to bed of a daughter, which had occasioned festivals
and tournaments, that were the more numerously attended because,
hitherto, she had not had any children.

On the morrow the duke sent Sir Albrech to invite me to dinner, and made
me sit at his table with an Hungarian lord and another, an Austrian. All
his attendants are on board wages, and no one dines with him unless
invited by the master of his household. The table was square; and the
custom is, for one dish to be brought at a time, and for him who is
nearest to eat of it, which supplies the place of a taster[520]. Fish
and flesh were served; and, above all, a quantity of meat, strongly
seasoned, but always dish by dish. After the dinner I was carried to see
the dancing in the apartments of the duchess. She gave me a bonnet of
gold thread and silk, a ring, and a diamond to wear on my head,
according to the fashion of the country. There were present many nobles
of each sex; and I saw there some very handsome women, with the finest
heads of hair that can be conceived. When I had remained in these
apartments some time, a gentleman named Payser, who, though but a
squire, was a chamberlain and keeper of the jewels of the duke of
Austria, came, by his orders, to show them to me. I saw the crown of
Bohemia, which has some very fine diamonds, and the largest ruby I ever
saw. It seemed bigger than a full-sized date; but it is not clear, and
there are some cavities toward the bottom that show a few black spots.
The keeper then carried me to see the wague-bonnes[521], which the duke
of Austria had constructed to combat the Bohemians. I perceived none
that could hold more than twenty men; but he assured me there was one
that would contain three hundred, and did not require more than eighteen
horses to draw it.

I met at this court the lord de Valse, a gallant knight, and the
greatest baron in Austria after the duke. I saw there, also, Sir Jacques
Trousset, a handsome Swabian knight; but there was another, named Le
Chant, hereditary cup-bearer to the emperor, who having lost his brother
and many friends at the battle of Bar, and hearing that I belonged to my
lord of Burgundy, caused me to be watched, to know the day of my
departure, that he might seize me as I was travelling through Bavaria.
Luckily for me, the duke of Austria was informed of his intentions, and
sent him away, making me stay longer at Vienna than I intended, to wait
for the departure of the lord de Valse and Sir Jacques Trousset, that I
might accompany them.

During my stay I witnessed three of the tournaments I mentioned, with
small horses and low saddles. One took place at court, the others in the
streets; but at the last several were unhorsed so heavily that they were
dangerously wounded.

The duke of Austria made me, in private, offers of money. I received
similar offers from Sir Albert and Sir Robert Daurestoff, a great lord
in Austria, who, the preceding year, had travelled in disguise through
Flanders, and had there seen my lord duke, and spoke very handsomely of
him. In short, I received very pressing ones from a poursuivant of lower
Brittany, named Toutseul, who, after having served under the admiral of
Spain, was now in the service of the duke of Austria. This Breton called
on me every day to go to mass, and attended me wherever I wished to go.
Persuaded that I must have expended on my journey all the money I had, a
little before my departure he presented me with the value of fifty marcs
in enamels, and insisted that I should sell them for my profit; but, as
I equally refused to accept them or to borrow, he protested that no one
should ever know any thing of it.

Vienna is a tolerably large town, well inclosed with deep ditches and
high walls, inhabited by rich merchants and all sorts of tradesmen. The
Danube washes its wall on the north side. The surrounding country is
pleasant and good; and it is a place of amusement and pleasure. The
natives are better dressed than those of Hungary, although they all wear
coarse doublets, very thick and wide. In war they cover the doublet with
an haubergeon, a glaçon[522], a large hat of iron, and other armour
usual in that country. They have many crennequiniers, for such is the
name given in Austria and Bohemia to those called archers in Hungary.
Their bows are like those of the Turks, but not so good nor so strong;
and they do not use them so well as they do. The Hungarians pull the
string with three fingers, and the Turks with the thumb and ring.

When I went to take leave of the duke and duchess of Austria, he
recommended me himself to my two travelling companions, sir Jacques
Trousset and the lord de Valse, who was setting off for his command on
the frontiers of Bohemia. He repeated his question, as to my wanting
money; but I answered, as I had before done to all who had offered me
some, that my lord of Burgundy had so amply supplied me on my departure,
that I had a sufficiency for my return to him, but that I requested he
would grant me a safe conduct, which he did.

The Danube, for three days' journey on leaving Vienna, runs eastward;
from above Buda to the point of Belgrade, it takes a southerly
direction, and then, between Hungary and Bulgaria, it resumes its
easterly course, and falls, as they say, into the Black Sea at Mont
Castre. I left Vienna in company with the before-mentioned lord of Valse
and sir Jacques Trousset. The first was going to his lady at Lintz, and
the second to his country-seat. After two days' travelling, we came to
St. Polten, where the best knives of the country are made. Thence to
Molke on the Danube, where is the best manufacture of cross-bows, having
besides a very handsome Carthusian monastery. Thence to Valse, which
belongs to the aforesaid lord. The castle is constructed on an elevated
rock, that commands the Danube. He himself showed me the ornaments of
the altar of the chapel; I never before saw any so rich in embroidery
and in pearls. I there also noticed boats drawn up the Danube by horses.

The morrow of our arrival, a Bavarian gentleman came to pay his respects
to the lord of Valse. Sir Jacques Trousset, informed of his arrival,
declared he would hang him on a thorn in the garden. The lord de Valse
hastened to him, and entreated he would not put such an affront on him
in his own house. "Well," replied sir Jacques, "should he come elsewhere
within my reach, he shall not escape hanging." The lord de Valse went to
the gentleman, and made him a sign to go away, which he complied with.
The cause of this anger of sir Jacques was, that he himself and the
greater part of his attendants were of the secret company, and that the
gentleman, having been also a member, had misbehaved[523].

From Valse we came to Ens, situated on the river Ems; thence to
Evresperch, on the same river, and within the domain of the bishop of
Passau; and then to Lintz, a very good town, with a castle on the
Danube, and not far from the frontiers of Bohemia. It belongs to the
duke of Austria, and the lord of Valse is governor of it. I saw there
madame de Valse, a very handsome lady from Bohemia, who gave me a
flattering reception. She presented me with an excellent trotter for the
road, a diamond to put in my hair, after the Austrian fashion, and a
bonnet of pearls ornamented with a ring and a ruby[524]. The lord of
Valse remaining at Lintz with his lady, I continued my journey in
company with sir Jacques Trousset, to Erfurt, which belongs to the count
de Chambourg. Here Austria ends, and it had taken us six days to come
from Vienna hither. From Erfurt we came to Riet, a Bavarian town
belonging to duke Henry; then to Prenne on the river Sceine; to
Bourchaze, a town with a castle on the same river, where we met the
duke; thence to Mouldrof, where we crossed the Taing. In short, having
traversed the country of duke Louis of Bavaria, without entering any of
its towns, we arrived at Munich, the prettiest little town I ever saw,
and which belongs to duke William of Bavaria.

I quitted Bavaria at Lansperch to enter Swabia, and passed through
Mindelheim, that belongs to the duke, through Memingen, an imperial
town, and thence to Walporch, one of Sir Jacques's castles. He did not
arrive until three days after me, because he had some friends to visit
in the neighbourhood; but he had given orders to his people to treat me
as they would do himself. On his return, we set out for Ravensburg, an
imperial town, and thence to Martof, and Mersbourg, a town of the bishop
of Constance seated on the lake of this name. The lake, in this part,
may be about three Italian miles broad. I crossed it and came to
Constance, where I passed the Rhine, which there first assumes this name
on issuing from the lake.

It was at this town that sir Jacques Trousset left me. This knight, one
of the most amiable and valiant in Germany, had done me the honour and
pleasure of accompanying me so far from respect to the duke of Austria,
and would have escorted me further had he not been engaged at a
tournament; but he gave me, in his stead, a poursuivant, whom he charged
to escort me as far as I should wish. This tournament had been
undertaken by the lord de Valse. They loved each other like brothers,
and were to tilt with war lances, bucklers, and helmets of iron,
according to the custom of the country, thirteen against thirteen, all
friends and relations. Sir Jacques was well furnished with every sort of
arms, which he had shown me himself in his castle of Walporch. I took my
leave of him, and quitted him with much regret.

From Constance I went to Stein, where I crossed the Rhine; thence to
Shaffhousen, a town belonging to the emperor; to Waldshutts, to
Lauffembourg, to Rhinfeld, all the property of duke Frederick of
Austria; and to Basil, another imperial town, whither, on account of the
council then assembled there, the emperor had sent duke William of
Bavaria, as his lieutenant.

The duke and duchess were desirous to see me. I assisted at a session of
the council, where he represented the emperor; and among the numbers
were the lord cardinal of St. Angelo, legate from the holy father pope
Eugenius, seven other cardinals, many patriarchs, archbishops and
bishops. I met there several on the part of my lord of Burgundy, among
whom were sir Guillebert de Lannoy, lord of Villerval, his ambassador,
master Jean Germain, and the bishop of Châlons. I had a conversation
with the legate, who inquired much about the countries I had seen,
especially Turkey. He seemed to have the conquest of this last country
much at heart, and recommended me to repeat to my lord of Burgundy
certain particulars that I had told to him relative to such conquest.

At Basil I parted with my poursuivant, who returned to Austria; and
having travelled through the country of Ferette, belonging to duke
Frederick of Austria, and passed by Montbeliart, which is the property
of the countess of that name, I entered Franche Compté, which belongs to
my lord duke, and arrived at Besançon. I supposed that he was in
Flanders, and consequently travelled on the frontiers of Bar and
Lorraine to Veson; but at Villeneuve I learnt that he was on the
frontier of Burgundy, and had caused Mussi l'Evêque to be besieged. I
went then by Auxonne to Dijon, where I found the lord chancellor of
Burgundy, in whose company I went to pay my respects to the duke. His
people were at the siege, and he himself at the abbey of Poictiers. I
appeared in his presence dressed in the same manner as when I left
Damascus, and had the horse led before him which I had purchased in that
town, and which had brought me to France. My lord received me with much
kindness. I presented to him my horse, my dress, with the Koran, and
Life of Mohammed, written in Latin, which the chaplain to the Venetian
consul at Damascus had given me. He had these books delivered to master
John Germain to examine; but I have never heard one word concerning them
since that time. This master John was a doctor of divinity; he was
bishop of Châlons-sur-Saône, and knight of the Golden Fleece[525].

If I have said little respecting the country between this place and
Vienna, it has been because it is well known. With regard to the others
I have travelled through, I inform my readers, that the journey was not
undertaken through ostentation or vanity, but for the guidance and
information of such persons as may have similar desires as I have had to
see and be acquainted with these countries, and in obedience to my
highly redoubted lord the duke of Burgundy, who commanded me to write
these travels. I always carried with me a small book, in which I wrote
down my adventures whenever time permitted; and it is from these
memorandums that I have composed the history of my journey. If it be not
so well composed as others could have done it, I must beg my readers to
excuse me.


[416] Burgundy was divided into two parts, the duchy and county. The
last, since known under the name of Franche Comté, began, at this
period, to take that appellation; and this is the reason why our author
styles Philip duke and count of Burgundy.

[417] In 1414, Sigismund, elected emperor, had received the silver crown
at Aix-la-Chapelle. In the month of November, 1431, a little before the
passage of our traveller, he had received the iron crown at Milan; but
it was not until 1443 he received at Rome, from the hands of the pope,
that of gold.

[418] We shall see hereafter, that la Brocquière left Rome on the 25th
March, and Eugenius had been elected on the first days of the month.
There is some doubt whether his election took place on the 3rd, 4th, or
6th of March; he occupied the papal see till Feb. 23, 1447.

[419] Martin V., predecessor to Eugenius, was a Colonna; and there was a
declared enmity between his family and that of the Orsini. Eugenius,
when established in the holy chair, took part in this quarrel, and sided
with the Orsini against the Colonnas, who were nephews to Martin. The
last took up arms, and made war on him.

[420] The sultans of Egypt are here meant. Palestine and Syria were at
that time under their power. The sultan will be often mentioned in the
course of the work.

[421] See before, p. 189.

[422] The family name of this person is left blank in the original.
These names, of which the first five are those of great lords in the
states of the duke of Burgundy, show that several persons of the duke's
court had formed a company for this pilgrimage to Palestine, and are,
probably, those who embarked with our author at Venice, although he has
not before named them. Toulongeon was created this same year, 1432, a
knight of the golden fleece, but was not invested with the order; for he
was then a pilgrim, and died on the road.

[423] From this vague description, it should seem that the animal spoken
of was the great lizard, called _monitor_, because it is pretended that
it gives information of the approach of a crocodile. The monitor is
common in the Euphrates, where it is sometimes seen four or five feet in
length. The terror of the Arabs was groundless.

[424] This is what is called in French, _masser_, a method used in
several parts of the east for certain disorders.

[425] Sur is the ancient Tyre—Seyde, Sidon—Baruth, Berytus. What la
Brocquière here says is interesting for geography: it proves that all
these sea-ports of Syria, formerly so commercial and famous, but at this
day so degraded and completely useless, were, in his time, for the
greater part, fit for commerce.

[426] More probably the cold was caused by the ascent of Mount Libanus.

[427] It is only lately that the people of Damascus have been cured of
their bigoted conduct towards black hats.

[428] This explanation may possibly admit of a doubt; _bir_, in Arabic,
signifies a well; _kut_ is also an Arabic word frequently found in names
of places, as Kut-el-Amara, &c.

[429] De la Brocquière doubtless means the Euphrates.

[430] Jacques Cœur was an extraordinary character, and a striking
instance of the ingratitude of monarchs. Although of low origin, he
raised himself by his abilities to high honours, and acquired by his
activity immense riches. He was one of the most celebrated merchants
that ever existed; and had it not been for his superior management of
the finances, the generals, able as they were, of Charles VII. would
never have expelled the English from France.

[431] See before, p. 47.

[432] M. de la Brocquière is here probably mistaken. The cotton tree
resembles in its leaves the vine: but the cotton is formed in capsules,
and not on the leaves. There are many trees whose leaves are covered
externally with a white down, but none that in this manner produce

[433] This is an early mention of portable fire-arms in the East: they
were at this time novelties in Europe.

[434] Our traveller is mistaken. The tomb of Mohammed is at Medina, and
not at Mecca: and the house of Abraham is at Mecca, and not Medina,
where pilgrims gain pardons, and where that great commerce is carried

[435] Brusa.

[436] Many authors of the thirteenth century mention this Virgin of
Serdenay, which was famous during the crusades; and they speak of this
oily sweat, that had the reputation of performing miracles. (See before,
p. 190.) These fabulous accounts of miraculous sweatings were common in
Asia. Among others, that which exuded from the tomb of the bishop
Nicholas, one of those saints whose existence is more than doubtful, was
much vaunted. This pretended liquor of Nicholas was even an object of
adoration; and we read that, in 1651, a clergyman at Paris, having
received a phial of it, demanded and obtained permission from the
archbishop to expose it to the veneration of the faithful.—_Le Bœuf_,
"Hist. de Paris," t. i. part 2, p. 557.

[437] Homs, or Hems, the ancient Emessa.

[438] This plain is the ancient Cœlo-Syria.

[439] Hamath of Scripture, the Epiphania of the Greeks.

[440] The El Asi, or Orontes.

[441] These wheels are still common on the Orontes.

[442] Tur-Kadir-Oglu.

[443] It is not very easy to identify this animal by La Brocquière's
description; if he had not described it as "large," we might have
supposed it to be a gazelle.

[444] Karaman-oglu, the Seljukian prince of Karamania.

[445] Ananus, now the Giaour Tagh.

[446] The Gulf of Ayas, the ancient Ægæ.

[447] Probably the one known as Godfrey de Bouillon's castle.

[448] Pronounced yuyurt.

[449] The Christians of Asia believed implicitly that the infidels had a
disagreeable smell which was peculiar to them, and which baptism took
away. This superstition will be again noticed. The baptism was,
according to the Greek ritual, by immersion.

[450] Kara-Kapu, or Temir-Kapu, "the Iron Gates," the ancient Pylæ

[451] The Campus Alcius of the ancients, now Tchukur Ovah.

[452] Sis, or perhaps Anazarbe.

[453] Now called Jeihun.

[454] Missisah, on the Jeihun.

[455] The churches have now entirely disappeared.

[456] This bridge is at present constructed of stone.

[457] Adanah.

[458] The Seihun, the ancient Surus.

[459] Tarsus.

[460] La Brocquière is right in his conjecture.

[461] The ancient Cydnus.

[462] Kurkuss, the ancient Corycus.

[463] Kulek Boghaz.

[464] Karaman.

[465] The Lusignans, when kings of Cyprus, towards the end of the
twelfth Century, had introduced the French language into that island. It
was at Cyprus, when St. Louis put in there on his crusade to Egypt, that
the code called "the Assizes of Jerusalem" was drawn up and published,
and which became the code of laws for the Cypriots. The French language
continued long to be that of the court and of well educated persons.

[466] Louis, son to Amadeus VIII., duke of Savoy. He married, in 1432,
Anne de Lusignan, daughter to John II., king of Cyprus, deceased in the
month of June, and sister to John III., then on the throne.

[467] "The copyist has written it further on _Quohongue_ and _Quhongue_.
I shall write it henceforward _Couhongue_." (The translator.) It is
Koniyeh, the low Greek Koniopolis, the ancient Iconium.

[468] Amurath, or Mured, II.

[469] Kaisariyeh, or Cæsarea in Cappadocia.

[470] Kadir-Oglu?

[471] These warlike women probably gave rise to the story of the
Amazons. See Sir John Maundeville, p. 206.

[472] Tyana?

[473] Ak-Serai, or Al-Shehr.

[474] Kara-hissar, which signifies black castle, and not black stone.

[475] Kutaiyeh, the ancient Cotyæium.

[476] Brusa, the ancient Prusa.

[477] The _huvette_ was a kind of ornament worn on the hat.

[478] From the description, it seems to be the arbutus Andrachne.

[479] The Turks at this time held Scutari, but they had not obtained
possession of Constantinople.

[480] The Greeks. It was their hatred to the Latin church which
facilitated the fall of Constantinople.

[481] In 1438, John Paleologus II. came to Italy to form a union between
the Greek and Latin churches, which took place the ensuing year at the
council of Florence. But this step, as La Brocquière remarks, was, on
the part of the emperor, but a political operation, dictated by
interest, and without consequence. His dominions were then in so
miserable a state, and himself so harassed by the Turks, that he was
anxious to procure the aid of the Latins; and it was with this hope that
he had come to inveigle the pope. This epoch, of 1438, is of consequence
to our travels; for it proves, since La Brocquière quotes it, that he
published it posterior to that year.

[482] An error. The general council that took place a little before he
came to Constantinople was that of Basil in 1431, when, far from
anathematising and cursing the Greeks, it was occupied about their
reunion. This pretended malediction was undoubtedly a report, which
those who were against this reunion spread abroad in Constantinople; and
the traveller seems to have thought so by the expression "_it was told

[483] The manner in which our traveller here announces the relation of
the Neapolitan shows how little he believed it; and in this his usual
good sense does not forsake him. This recital is, in fact, but a tissue
of absurd fables and revolting marvels, undeserving to be quoted,
although they may generally be found in authors of those times. They
are, therefore, here omitted; most of them, however, will be found in
the narrative of John de Maundeville.

[484] Two of these galleries, or porticos, called by our author
cloisters, as well as the columns, still exist. These last are formed of
different materials, porphyry, granite, marble, &c.; and this is the
reason why the traveller, not being a naturalist, represents them as
being of various colours.

[485] This emperor was John Paleologus II.; his brother Demetrius,
despot or prince of the Peloponnesus; his mother Irene, daughter to
Constantine Dragasés, sovereign of a small country in Macedonia; his
wife Maria Comnenes, daughter to Alexis, emperor of Trebisonde.

[486] These devout plays were then as common in the Greek church as in
the Latin. They were called "Mysteries" in France; and this is the name
given by our traveller to the one he saw in St. Sophia.

[487] The Greek hippodrome—the atmeidan of the Turks.

[488] There are four.

[489] Since the conquest of the East by the Latins, in 1204, to which
conquest the Venetians greatly contributed.

[490] The _pucelle_ had been made prisoner in 1430, by an officer of
Jean de Luxembourg, the duke's general, and, being afterwards sold by
Jean to the English, was burnt the following year.

[491] La Brocquière must have thought these joustings ridiculous, from
being accustomed to our tournaments, where the knights, cased in iron,
fought with swords, lances, and battle-axes, and where, very frequently,
men were killed, wounded, or trodden under foot by the horses. This has
made him twice say, that in this jousting with sticks no one was

[492] Perhaps Larissa (Seres), in Phrygia.

[493] Demetica?

[494] Cypsela?

[495] Eno.

[496] Samothraki?

[497] Trajanopoly was not so called from having been built by Trajan,
but because he died there. It existed before his time, and was named
Selinunte. Hadrian was not the father of Trajan, but his adopted son,
and, in this right, became his successor. Adrianople was not founded by
Hadrian. An earthquake had ruined it, and he ordered it to be rebuilt,
and gave it his name. Such errors are excusable in an author of the
fifteenth century. As for the sheep's ear, it is spoken of as a
Saracenic fable.

[498] There must be here an error of the copyist, for 25,000 ducats as
tribute is too small a sum. We shall see, further on, that the despot of
Servia paid annually 50,000 for himself alone.

[499] The sultan mentioned here under the name of Amourat Bey is
Amourath II., one of the most celebrated of the Ottoman princes. History
records many of his victories, which are indeed for the most part
posterior to the account of our traveller. If he did not conquer more,
it was owing to having Huniades, or Scanderberg, opposed to him. But his
glory was eclipsed by that of his son, the famous Mohammed II., the
terror of Christians, and surnamed by his countrymen "the Great," who
twenty years after this period, in 1453, took Constantinople, and
destroyed what little remained of the Greek empire.

[500] The _quarte_, so called from being the fourth part of the chenet,
which contained four pots and one French pint. The pot held two pints,
consequently the quarte made two bottles more than half a septier; and
twelve gondils made twenty-three bottles.

[501] The origin of the title of "The Sublime Porte."

[502] Having court fools was a very ancient custom at the eastern
courts. It had been introduced by the Crusaders at the courts of
Christian princes, and was continued at that of France until the reign
of Louis XIV.

[503] The grandfather of Amurath II. was Bajazet I., who died prisoner
to Tamerlane, either treated with kindness by the conqueror, as some
authors pretend, or confined in an iron cage, according to others. This
story of the Servian cannot, therefore, regard him. But we find
in the life of Amurath I., father to Bajazet, and, consequently,
great-grandfather to Amurath II., a circumstance that may have been the
foundation for this story of the assassination. This prince had just
gained a complete victory over the despot of Servia, in which he was
made prisoner, and was passing over the field of battle near to a
Servian soldier, mortally wounded, who, knowing him, exerted his
remaining strength and poniarded him. According to others, the despot,
named Lazarus, or Eleazer Bulcowitz, finding himself attacked by
Amurath, with an irresistible army, and seeing no other chance of
opposing him but by treason, gains over one of the great lords of his
court, who, feigning discontent, passes over to the party of the sultan,
and assassinates him. (Ducange, 'Familiæ Bisant.,' p. 334.) According to
another account, Amurath was slain in the combat; and Lazarus, being
made prisoner by the Turks, was hewed to pieces on the bleeding corpse
of their master. It seems, from the recital of La Brocquière, that the
account of the assassination by the Servian is the true one. This, at
least, appears probable, from the precautions taken in subsequent times,
at the Ottoman Porte, against foreign ambassadors; for, when they were
introduced to the sultan, they were held by the sleeves of their coats.

[504] Perhaps Kruzcevaz, or Alagia Hisar.

[505] It was in fact this same year, 1433, that the renowned Scanderbeg
having, by a stratagem, regained possession of Albania, of which his
ancestors were the sovereigns, commenced that sagacious war against
Amurath, which covered him with glory, and tarnished the last years of
the sultan.

[506] This prince was named George Brancovitz or Wkovitz. Some account
of him and his family is to be found in Ducange. ('Familiæ Bisant.,'
page 336.)

[507] This _holy_ council concluded its sittings by citing to its
tribunal, and deposing the pope, whilst the pope commanded it to
dissolve itself, and convoked another at Ferrara. At Florence he had
undertaken to form a union of the Greek and Latin churches, and with
this design had sent the ambassadors to the emperor. He came actually to
Italy, and signed at Florence that political and simulated union before

[508] The reader may perhaps be surprised that our author, when he
speaks of the garrison of any strong place, particularizes only cavalry;
and that, when he mentions the contingent sent by the despot to the
Turkish army, he specifies but horse. The reason is, that, when he
wrote, Europe paid no attention but to cavalry; and the infantry, badly
armed, formed, and equipped, was not considered of any consequence.

[509] From our author thus noticing the brass cannon, it should seem
they were still rare in his time, and looked on as wonders. Louis XI.
had a dozen cast, and gave them the names of the twelve peers of France.

[510] It was then the fashion to make pieces of artillery of an enormous
size. Mohammed II., at the siege of Constantinople, employed cannon cast
on the spot that threw, as they say, balls of two hundredweight.
Monstrelet speaks of a gun that Louis XI. had cast at Tours, and carried
afterwards to Paris, that flung balls of five hundred pounds. In 1717,
prince Eugene, after his victory over the Turks, found in Belgrade a
cannon twenty-five feet long, that shot balls of one hundred and ten
pounds, whose charge was fifty-two pounds of powder. It was also then
customary to make the balls of marble or stone, worked to fit the mouths
of different cannons.

[511] Sigismond, king of Bohemia and Hungary. It is pretended that
Sigismond gave them in exchange for Belgrade.

[512] A sort of light casque then in use, which, not having vizor nor
throat piece, had need of projecting plates of iron to guard the face.

[513] John, count of Nevers, surnamed _sans peur_, and son to Philippe
le Hardi, duke of Burgundy. Sigismond having formed a league to check
the conquests of Bajazet, Charles VI. sent him a body of troops, in
which were two thousand gentlemen, under the command of the count of
Nevers. The Christian army was defeated at Nicopolis in 1396, and the
French slain or made prisoners. See further particulars in Froissart.
When Jean succeeded his father, as duke of Burgundy, he caused the duke
of Orleans, brother to the king of France, to be assassinated. He was
murdered in his turn by Tannegui du Châtel, an ancient servant of the
duke of Orleans. These facts prove that La Brocquière was in the right,
when speaking of John, to pray that God would pardon him.

[514] Sigismond, in his travels to France, had visited the
manufactories, and particularly those of Flanders, at that time famous
for its tapestries. He wished to establish similar ones in his capital
of Hungary, and for this effect had engaged different workmen to follow

[515] The knights in France were mounted for tournaments or battle on
large strong horses, called "palefrois." Their saddles were high-piqued
before and behind, which afforded them the greater means of resisting
the shock of the lance than the small horses and low saddles of the
Hungarians; and this is the reason our author says that, in the tilts of
the Hungarians, it may be easily seen which knight has the best seat on
his horse.

[516] Jane, perhaps Gen.

[517] Bruck?

[518] Albert II., duke of Austria, emperor after the death of Sigismond.

[519] Frederic, duke of Austria, succeeded Albert II. as emperor.

[520] Formerly there was, at the tables of sovereigns, an officer to
taste every dish before it was put on the table. This precaution had
originally been taken against poison.

[521] A wague-bonne was a sort of wagon, or moveable tower, used in war.

[522] Glaçon, or glachon, a kind of defensive armour. The French called
"glaçon," a sort of fine cloth that was doubtless glazed. Glaçon, in
German, was perhaps a kind of coat-armour made of many folds of quilted
cloth, such as our gambisons. Perhaps it may be only a cuirass.

[523] This relates, probably, to the famous secret tribunal; and the
Bavarian, whom Trousset wanted to hang, may have been a false brother,
who had revealed the secrets of it.

[524] These bonnets must not be mistaken for such as ours. They were
only wreaths, or circular crowns.

[525] Jean Germain, born at Cluni, and consequently a subject to the
duke of Burgundy, had, when a child, pleased the duchess, who sent him
to study at the university of Paris, where he distinguished himself. The
duke, whose favour he afterwards gained, made him, in 1431, _chancellor_
of his order of the Golden Fleece, and not _knight_, as La Brocquière
says. The year following he was nominated bishop of Nevers; sent in 1432
ambassador, first to Rome, and then to the council at Basil, as one of
his representatives. In 1436, he was translated from the see of Nevers
to that of Châlons-sur-Saône. What La Brocquière says of this bishop
seems peevish; but if the reader will consider, not hearing any thing of
the two interesting manuscripts he had brought from Asia, he had cause
for being out of humour. Germain, however, was employed on them, but he
was labouring to refute them. At his death, in 1461, he left two works
in manuscript, copies of which are to be found in some libraries; one
entitled, "De Conceptione beatæ Mariæ Virginis, adversus Mahometanos et
Infideles, Libri duo:" the other, "Adversus Alcoranum, Libri quinque."


AT EASTER, A.D. 1697.



    MY LORD,

     From a large and constant experience of your lordship's favour, I
     have all reason to believe that you will not think it tedious to
     hear something of my affairs, though in themselves below your
     lordship's notice and regard.

     It is now more than twelve months since I arrived in this place,
     during all which time I have had opportunity enough perfectly to
     observe and discover the genius of the factory among whom my lot is
     fallen; and upon the result of all my experience of them I am
     obliged to give them this just commendation, that they are a
     society highly meriting that excellent character which is given of
     them in England, and which (besides the general vogue) your
     lordship has some time received from a most faithful and judicious
     hand, the excellent bishop Frampton. As he undoubtedly was the
     great improver of the rare temper of this society, so he may well
     be esteemed best able to give them their true and deserved
     character. I need only add, that such they still continue as that
     incomparable instructor left them; that is, pious, sober,
     benevolent, devout in the offices of religion, in conversation
     innocently cheerful, given to no pleasures but such as are honest
     and manly, to no communications but such as the nicest ears need
     not be offended at, exhibiting in all their actions those best and
     truest signs of a Christian spirit, a sincere and cheerful
     friendship among themselves, a generous charity toward others, and
     a profound reverence for the liturgy and constitution of the Church
     of England. It is our first employment, every morning, to solemnize
     the daily service of the church, at which I am sure to have always
     a devout, a regular, and full congregation. In a word, I can say no
     more (and less I am sure I ought not) than this, that in all my
     experience in the world I have never known a society of young
     gentlemen, whether in the city or country, (I had almost said the
     University, too,) so well disposed, in all points, as this.

     Your lordship will conclude that, in consequence of all this, my
     present station cannot but be very agreeable; and though, in
     leaving England, I was separated from the greatest blessings to me
     in the world, your lordship's kindness and that of my friends at
     Richmond, yet I must own I have found here as much recompense as
     could be made for such a separation.

     Among other satisfactions, one great one, which I have had since
     my arrival, was a voyage to the Holy Land, in company with
     fourteen others of our factory. We went by way of the coast; and,
     having visited several places consecrated by the life and death of
     our blessed Lord, we returned by way of Damascus. If there be any
     thing, either in these places which I have visited, or elsewhere in
     these countries, touching which I may be capable of giving your
     lordship any satisfaction by my poor observations, I should esteem
     it my great happiness, and my coming thus far would seem completely

     I entreat your lordship's blessing, as being your lordship's most
     dutiful, humble servant,

              HENRY MAUNDRELL.


There being several gentlemen of our nation (fourteen in number)
determined for a visit to the Holy Land at the approaching Easter, I
resolved, though but newly come to Aleppo, to make one in the same
design, considering that, as it was my purpose to undertake this
pilgrimage some time or other before my return to England, so I could
never do it either with less prejudice to my cure[526], or with greater
pleasure to myself, than at this juncture, having so large a part of my
congregation abroad at the same time, and in my company.

Pursuant to this resolution, we set out from Aleppo, Friday, February
26th, 1696 (i. e. Feb. 1697), at three in the afternoon, intending to
make only a short step that evening, in order to prove how well we were
provided with necessaries for our journey. Our quarters, this first
night, we took up at the Honey-khan, a place of but indifferent
accommodation, about one hour and a half west of Aleppo.

It must here be noted that, in travelling this country, a man does not
meet with a market-town and inns every night, as in England. The best
reception you can find here is either under your own tent, if the season
permit; or else in certain public lodgments, founded in charity for the
use of travellers. These are called by the Turks khani; and are seated
sometimes in the towns and villages, sometimes at convenient distances
upon the open road. They are built in fashion of a cloister,
encompassing a court of thirty or forty yards square, more or less,
according to the measure of the founder's ability or charity. At these
places all comers are free to take shelter, paying only a small fee to
the khan-keeper (khanji), and very often without that acknowledgment;
but must expect nothing here but bare walls. As for other accommodations
of meat, drink, bed, fire, provender, with these it must be every one's
care to furnish himself.

_Feb. 27._—From the Honey-khan we parted very early the next morning,
and, proceeding westerly as the day before, arrived in one hour and a
half at Oo-rem (Ur-im), an old village affording nothing remarkable but
the ruins of a small church. From Oo-rem we came, in half an hour, to
Kaffre; and in three quarters more to Essoyn (Es-aïn). At this last
place we entered into the plains of Kefteen (Kaftīn), proceeding in
which, we came, in one hour, to another village called Legene; and in
half an hour more, to Hozano; and in a good hour more, to Kefteen. Our
whole stage this day was about five hours; our course a little southerly
of the west.

The plains of Kefteen are of a vast compass, extending to the southward
beyond the reach of the eye, and in most places very fruitful and well
cultivated. At our first descent into them, at Essoyn, we counted
twenty-four villages, or places at a distance resembling villages,
within our view from one station. The soil is of a reddish colour, very
loose and hollow, and you see hardly a stone in it; whereas, on its west
side, there runs along, for many miles together, a high ridge of hills,
discovering nothing but vast naked rocks, without the least sign of
mould or any useful production, which yields an appearance as if nature
had, as it were, in kindness to the husbandman, purged the whole plain
of these stones, and piled them all up together in that one mountain.
Kefteen itself is a large, plentiful village, on the west side of the
plain; and the adjacent villages, abounding with corn, give the
inhabitants great advantages for breeding pigeons, insomuch that you
find here more dove-cots than other houses. We saw at this place, over
the door of a bagnio, a marble stone, carved with the sign of the cross,
and the Δόξα Πατρὶ, &c., with a date not legible. It was probably the
portal of some church in ancient times; for I was assured by the
inhabitants of the village that there are many ruins of churches and
convents still to be seen in the neighbouring rocky mountains.

_Sunday, Feb. 28._—Having a long stage to go this day, we left Kefteen
very early; and continuing still in the same fruitful plain, abounding
in corn, olives, and vines, we came in three quarters of an hour to
Harbanoose ('Arbanūs), a small village situated at the extremity of
the plain, where, after crossing a small ascent, we came into a very
rich valley called Rooge. It runs to the south farther than one can
discern; but in breadth, from east to west, it extends not above an
hour's riding, and is walled in (as it were) on both sides, with high,
rocky mountains. Having travelled in this valley near four hours, we
came to a large water called the lake (or rather, according to the
oriental style, the sea) of Rooge. Through the skirt of this lake we
were obliged to pass, and found it no small trouble to get our horses,
and much more our loaded mules, through the water and mire; but all the
sea was so dried up, and the road so perfectly amended at our return,
that we could not then discern so much as where the place was which had
given us so great trouble. From this lake we arrived, in one hour, at
Te-ne-ree, a place where we paid our first caphar.

These caphars are certain duties which travellers are obliged to pay, at
several passes upon the road, to officers, who attend in their appointed
stations to receive them. They were at first levied by Christians, to
yield a recompense to the country for maintaining the ways in good
repair, and scouring them from Arabs and robbers. The Turks keep up so
gainful an usage still, pretending the same causes for it; but, under
that pretence, they take occasion to exact from passengers, especially
Franks, arbitrary and unreasonable sums, and, instead of being a
safeguard, prove the greatest rogues and robbers themselves.

At a long hour beyond this caphar our road led us over the mountains on
the west side of the valley of Rooge. We were near an hour in crossing
them, after which we descended into another valley, running parallel to
the former, and parted from it only by the last ridge of hills. At the
first descent into this valley is a village called Bell-Maez[527], from
which we came, in two hours, to Shoggle (Jisr Shogher). Our course was,
for the most part of this day, west-south-west. Our stage, in all, ten

Shoggle is a pretty large, but exceedingly filthy town, situated on the
river Orontes, over which you pass by a bridge of thirteen small arches
to come at the town. The river hereabouts is of a good breadth; and yet
so rapid that it turns great wheels, made for lifting up the water, by
its natural swiftness, without any force added to it by confining its
stream. Its waters are turbid and very unwholesome, and its fish worse,
as we found by experience, there being no person of all our company,
that had eaten of them over night, but found himself much indisposed the
next morning. We lodged here in a very handsome khan, far exceeding what
is usually seen in this sort of buildings. It was founded by the second
Kuper-li, and endowed with a competent revenue for supplying every
traveller that takes up his quarters in it with a competent portion of
bread, and broth, and flesh, which is always ready for those that demand
it, as very few people of the country fail to do. There is annexed to
the khan, on the west side, another quadrangle, containing apartments
for a certain number of alms-men, the charitable donation of the same
Kuper-li. The khan we found, at our arrival, crowded with a great number
of Turkish hadgees, or pilgrims, bound for Mecca; but, nevertheless, we
met with a peaceable reception amongst them, though our faces were set
to a different place.

_March 1._—From Shoggle our road led us at first westerly, in order to
our crossing the mountain on that side the valley. We arrived at the
foot of the ascent in half an hour; but met with such rugged and foul
ways in the mountains, that it took us upwards of two hours to get clear
of them, after which we descended into a third valley, resembling the
other two which we had passed before. At the first entrance into it is a
village called Be-da-me, giving the same name also to the valley. Having
travelled about two hours in this valley, we entered into a woody,
mountainous country, which ends the pashalick of Aleppo and begins that
of Tripoli. Our road here was very rocky and uneven; but yet the variety
which it afforded made some amends for that inconvenience. Sometimes it
led us under the cool shade of thick trees; sometimes through narrow
valleys, watered with fresh, murmuring torrents; and then, for a good
while together, upon the brink of a precipice; and in all places it
treated us with the prospect of plants and flowers of divers kinds, as
myrtles, oleanders, cyclamens, anemones, tulips, marygolds, and several
other sorts of aromatic herbs. Having spent about two hours in this
manner, we descended into a low valley, at the bottom of which is a
fissure into the earth of a great depth, but withal so narrow that it is
not discernible to the eye till you arrive just upon it, though to the
ear a notice of it is given at a great distance, by reason of the noise
of a stream running down into it from the hills. We could not guess it
to be less than thirty yards deep; but it is so narrow that a small
arch, not four yards over, lands you on its other side. They call it the
Sheikh's Wife, a name given it from a woman of that quality, who fell
into it, and, I need not add, perished. The depth of the channel and the
noise of the water are so extraordinary, that one cannot pass over it
without something of horror. The sides of this fissure are firm and
solid rock, perpendicular and smooth, only seeming to lie in a wavy form
all down, as it were to comply with the motion of the water, from which
observation we were led to conjecture that the stream, by a long and
perpetual current, had, as it were, sawn its own channel down into this
unusual deepness, to which effect the water being penned up in so narrow
a passage, and its hurling down stones along with it by its rapidity,
may have not a little contributed[528].

From hence, continuing our course through a road resembling that before
described, we arrived, in one hour, at a small, even piece of ground,
called Hadjar-il-Sultan, or the Sultan's Stone; and here we took up our
quarters this night, under our tents. Our road, this day, pointed for
the most part south-west; and the whole of our stage was about seven
hours and a half.

_March 2._—We were glad to part very early this morning from our
campagnia lodging, the weather being yet too moist and cold for such
discipline. Continuing our journey through woods and mountains, as the
day before, we arrived, in about one hour, at the caphar of Crusia
(Krusiyeh), which is demanded near a khan of that name. A khan they call
it, though it is, in truth, nothing else but a cold, comfortless ruin,
on the top of a hill by the way-side.

From hence, in about another hour, we arrived at the foot of a mountain
called Occaby (Akabi), or, as the word denotes, Difficult; and indeed we
found its ascent fully answerable to its name. The moisture and
slipperiness of the way at this time, added to the steepness of it,
greatly increased our labour in ascending it, insomuch that we were a
full hour in gaining the top of the hill. Here we found no more woods or
hills; but a fine country, well cultivated and planted with silk
gardens, through which, leaving on the right hand a village called Citte
Galle, inhabited solely by Maronites, we came in one hour to Bellulca.
Here we repaired to a place which is both the khan of the village and
the aga's house; and resolving, by reason of the rains, which fell very
plentifully, to make this our lodging, we went to visit the aga, with a
small present in our hands, in order to procure ourselves a civil
reception. But we found little recompense from his Turkish gratitude;
for, after all our respect to him, it was not without much importunity
that we obtained permission to have the use of a dry part of the house,
the place where we were at first lodged lying open to the wind and the
beating in of the rain. Our whole stage, this day, was not much above
four hours; our course about south-west.

Being informed that there were several Christian inhabitants in this
place, we went to visit their church, which we found so poor and pitiful
a structure, that here Christianity seemed to be brought to its humblest
state, and Christ to be laid again in a manger. It was only a room of
about four or five yards square, walled with dirt, having nothing but
the uneven ground for its pavement; and for its ceiling, only some rude
staves laid across it, and covered with bushes to keep out the weather.
On the east side was an altar, built of the same materials with the
wall; only it was paved at the top with potsherds and slates, to give it
the face of a table. In the middle of the altar stood a small cross,
composed of two laths nailed together in the middle, on each side of
which ensign were fastened to the wall two or three old prints,
representing our blessed Lord and the blessed Virgin, &c., the venerable
presents of some itinerant friars that had passed this way. On the south
side was a piece of plank supported by a post, which we understood was
the reading desk, just by which was a little hole commodiously broke
through the wall to give light to the reader. A very mean habitation
this for the God of heaven! but yet held in great esteem and reverence
by the poor people, who not only come with all devotion hither
themselves, but also deposit here whatever is most valuable to them, in
order to derive upon it a blessing. When we were there, the whole room
was hung about with bags of silkworms' eggs, to the end that, by
remaining in so holy a place, they might attract a benediction, and a
virtue of increasing.

_March 3._—The next morning flattered us with the hopes of a fair day,
after the great rains which had fallen for near eight hours together. We
therefore ventured to leave Bellulca, with no great thanks to it for our
entertainment. But we had not gone far, before we began to wish that we
had kept our former accommodation, bad as it was, for the rains began to
break out afresh with greater fury than before; nor had we more comfort
under foot, the road being very deep and full of sloughs. However, we
resolved to go forward, in hopes of a better time, and in four hours
(very long ones in such uncomfortable circumstances) we arrived at
Sholfatia, a poor village situate upon a small river which we were
obliged to pass. A river we might call it now, it being swollen so high
by the late rains that it was impassable, though at other times it be
but a small brook, and in the summer perfectly dry.

Here, instead of mending our condition, as we expected, we began to
drink more deeply of the bitter cup of pilgrims, being brought to such a
strait that we knew not which way to turn ourselves. For (as I said) the
stream was not fordable, so that there was no going forward; and, as for
facing about and returning to the place from whence we came, that was a
thing we were very averse to, well knowing, by that morning's
experience, the badness of the road, and likewise having reason to
expect but a cold welcome at our journey's end. As for lodging in the
village, that was a thing not to be endured; for the houses were all
filled with dirt and nastiness, being inhabited promiscuously by the
villagers and their cattle. As for lying in the campagnia, the rain was
so vehement, we could not do that without an evident danger both to
ourselves and horses.

But whilst we were at this nonplus, not knowing which course to take,
the rain abated, and so we resolved to pitch in the open field, though
thoroughly soaked with the wet, esteeming this however the least evil.
Accordingly, we betook ourselves to a small ascent by the water-side,
intending there, under our tents, to wait the falling of the stream.

We had not enjoyed this cessation of rain long, when it began to pour
down afresh, with terrible lightning and thunder. And now our care was
renewed, and we knew not well which to be most concerned for; whether
ourselves, who enjoyed the miserable comfort of a dropping tent over us,
or for our servants and horses, which had nothing but their own clothes
to protect them. At last, there being a small Sheikh's house, or
burying-place hard by, we comforted ourselves with hopes that we might
take sanctuary there. The only difficulty was how to get admission into
so reverenced a place, the Turks being generally men of greater zeal
than mercy. To negotiate this affair, we sent a Turk (whom we had taken
with us for such occasions) into the village, ordering him to try first
by fair means to gain admittance, and, if that failed, to threaten that
we would enter by force. But the religion of this place was of that kind
which supersedes instead of improving humanity. The people absolutely
denied us the small charity we demanded, and sent us word they would die
upon our swords before they would yield to have their faith defiled;
adding, farther, that it was their faith to be true to Hamet and Aly,
but to hate and renounce Omar and Abu Beker, and that this principle
they were resolved to stand by. We told them we had as bad an opinion of
Omar and Abu Beker as they could have; that we desired only a little
shelter from the present rain, and had no intention to defile their
faith. And thus, with good words, we brought them to consent that we
might secure our baggage in the Sheikh's house; but, as for ourselves
and arms, it was our irreversible sentence to be excluded out of
hallowed walls. We were glad, however, to get the merciless doors open
upon any terms, not doubting but we should be able to make our advantage
of it afterwards, according to our desire, which we actually did; for
when it grew dark, and the villagers were gone to sleep, we all got into
the places of refuge, and there passed a melancholy night among the
tombs; thus escaping, however, the greater evil of the rain, which fell
all night in great abundance.

Being now crept into the inside of the Sheikh's house, I must not omit,
in requital for our lodgings, to give some account of the nature of such
structures. They are stone fabrics, generally six or eight yards square
(more or less), and roofed with a cupola, erected over the graves of
some eminent Sheikhs; that is, such persons, as by their long beards,
prayers of the same standard, and a kind of Pharisaical superciliousness
(which are the great virtues of the Mohammedan religion), have purchased
to themselves the reputation of learning and saints. Of these buildings
there are many scattered up and down the country (for you will find
among the Turks far more dead saints than living ones). They are
situated commonly, though not always, upon the most eminent and
conspicuous ascents. To these oratories the people repair with their
vows and prayers, in their several distresses, much after the same
manner as the Romanists do to the shrines of their saints. Only in this
respect the practice of the Turks seems to be more orthodox, in regard
that though they make their saint's shrine the house of prayer, yet they
always make God alone, and not the saint, the object of their addresses.

_March 4._—To revive us after the heaviness of the last night, we had
the consolation to be informed this morning, that the river was fordable
at a place a little farther down the stream; and, upon experiment, we
found it true as was reported. Glad of this discovery, we made the best
despatch we could to get clear of this inhospitable place, and,
according to our desires, soon arrived with all our baggage on the other
side of the river.

From hence, ascending gently for about half an hour, we came to the foot
of a very steep hill, which, when we had reached, its top presented us
with the first prospect of the ocean. We had in view, likewise, at about
two hours' distance to the westward, the city Latichea (Latakiyah),
situate on a flat fruitful ground close by the sea; a city first built
by Seleucus Nicator, and by him called in honour of his mother,
Λαοδίκεια, which name it retains, with a very little corruption of it,
to this day. It was anciently a place of great magnificence, but in the
general calamity which befell this country it was reduced to a very low
condition, and so remained for a long time. But of late years it has
been encouraged to hold up its head again, and is rebuilt, and become
one of the most flourishing places upon the coast, being cherished and
put in a way