The Fardle of Facions, by Johannes Boemus

The seconde Chapitre.

Of Panchaia, and the maners of the Panqueis.

Panchaia (a countrie of Arabia) is iudged of Diodore the Sicilian to be an islonde of xxv. miles brode. It hath in it thre noble cities Dalida, Hyracida, and Oceanida. The whole contrie (excepte a litle vaine of sandie grauelle) is fertile and plenteous: chiefely of wine and encence. Whiche groweth ther in suche aboundaunces that it sufficeth the whole worlde for the francke fume offeringe. There groweth also good store of Myrrhe, and diuers other redolente thinges, whiche the Panqueis gather, and selle to the merchauntes of Arabia. At whose hande other buienge them againe, transports them into Egipte, and Sirie. And fro thence they are spred abrode to all other peoples. The Panqueis in their warres vse wagons aftre the maner of menne in olde time.

Their commune wealth is deuided into thre sundry degrees. The firste place haue the priestes, to whome are ioyned the artificers. The seconde the houseband men. And the thirde the menne of warre: with whom the catteile maisters or brieders be coupled. The priestes are the heades, and chiefe of all the residewe, and haue aucthoritie aswell in sentence of lawe, as to put ordre in al ciuile affaires: the sentence of deaths onely excepted.

The housebandemen, tille the grounde, and attende vpon the fruictes, and bring all into the commune store. And thei that shalbe founde moste diligente in that laboure and occupation: are chosen by the priestes (but not aboue the nombre of ten at one time) to be iudges ouer the distribution of the fruictes. Vpon consideracion that other by their aduancement might be stirred to like diligence. The catteile maisters, yf ther be any thing either apperteining to the sacrifices, or commune affaires, touching nombre, or weight, do it with all diligence,

No man amonge the Panchais hath any thinge that he can call proprely his owne: his house, and his gardein excepted. For bothe the customes, and reuenewes, and all other profectes, are deliuered in to the priestes handes. Who acordinge as they finde necessarie and expediente, iustely distribute them. But they themselues are graunted double share. Their garmentes by the reason of the finesse of the wolle of their shiepe, especially aboue other, are verye softe and gentle clothe. Bothe menne and women vse ther, to sette oute them selues with Iuelles of golde, as cheines, braselettes, eareringes, tablettes, owches, ringes, Annuletes, buttons, broches, and shoes embraudered, and spangled with golde, of diuers colours. The menne of warre serue onely for the defence of their countrey.

The priestes aboue all other, giue them selues vnto pleasaunte life, fine, nette and sumptuous. Their garmentes are rochettes of fine linnen, and sometime of the deintiest wollen. Vpon their heades thei weare mitres embraudred, and garnisshed with golde. They vse a kinde of voided shoes (whiche aftrewarde the Grieques toke vp, and called sandalium) very finely made, and of sondry colours. And as the women weare, so do they, all maner of Iuelles sauing earinges. Their chiefe occupation is to attende vpon goddes seruice, settinge forthe the worthie diedes of the goddes, with himpnes,27 and many kindes of commendacion. Yf thei be founde withoute the halowed grounde, it is lawfull for any manne to slea them. They saye that they came of the bloude of Iupiter Manasses, at suche time as he came firste into Panchaia, hauinge the whole worlde vndre his dominion. This countrie is full of golde, siluer, latton, tinne, and yron, of the whiche it is not laweful to cary any one out of the realme. The giftes both of siluer and golde, whiche in greate nombre of longe time, have bene offred to their goddes, are kepte in the temple: whose dores are by excellent workemanship garnished with golde, siluer and yuorie. The couche of their God is vi. cubites longe, and foure cubites brode, all of golde, gorgeous of worcke, and goodly to beholde. And by that, is there sette a table of like sorte in euery poincte: for sise, stuffe, and gorgeousnes. They haue but one temple, all of white stone, builte vpon pilours, grauen, and embossed, thre hundred and xxxviii. taylours yardes square, that is to saye, euen of lengthe and bredthe, euery waye so muche. And somewhat acordinge to the syse of the temple, it is sette full of highe ymages very precious: coruen and grauen. Rounde about the temple haue the priestes their habitacion. And all the grounde aboute them xxv. myle compasse: is halowed to their goddes. The yerely rente of that grounde is bestowed vpon sacrifice.

27 Hymns.

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