The Fardle of Facions, by Johannes Boemus

The Preface of the Authour.

I haue sought out at times, as laisure hath serued me, Good reader, the maners and facions the Lawes, Customes and Rites, of all suche peoples, as semed notable, and worthy to be put in remembrance, together with the situation and description of their habitations: which the father of Stories Herodotus the Greke, Diodorus, the Siciliane, Berosus Strabo, Solinus, Trogus Pompeius, Ptolomeus, Plinius, Cornelius the still, Dionysius the Africane, Pomponius Mela, Cæsar, Iosephus, and certein of the later writers, as Vincentius, and Aeneas Siluius (which aftreward made Pope, had to name Pius the seconde) Anthonie Sabellicus, Ihon Nauclerus, Ambrose Calepine, Nicholas Perotte, in his cornu copiæ, and many other famous writers eche one for their parte, as it were skatered, and by piece meale, set furthe to posteritie. Those I saie haue I sought out, gathered together, and acordyng to the ordre of the storie and tyme, digested into this litle packe. Not for the hongre of gaine, or the ticklyng desire of the peoples vaine brute, and vnskilfulle commendacion: but partly moued with the oportunitie of my laisure, and the wondrefull profits and pleasure, that I conceiued in this kinde of studie my self, and partly that other also delightyng in stories, might with litle labour, finde easely when thei would, the somme of thynges compiled in one Booke, that thei ware wonte with tediousnes to sieke in many. And I haue shocked theim vp together, as well those of aunciente tyme, as of later yeres, the lewde, as well as the vertuous indifferentlie, that vsing them as present examples, and paternes of life, thou maiest with all thine endeuour folowe the vertuous and godlie, and with asmuche warenes eschewe the vicious and vngodly. Yea, that thou maiest further, my (reader) learne to discerne, how men haue in these daies amended the rude simplicitie of the first worlde, from Adam to the floud and many yeres after, when men liued skateryng on the earthe, without knowlege of Money, or what coigne ment, or Merchauntes trade: no maner of exchaunge, but one good tourne for another. When no man claimed aught for his seueralle, but lande and water ware as commune to al, as Ayer and Skie. When thei gaped not for honour, ne hunted after richesse, but eche man contented with a litle, passed his daies in the wilde fielde, vnder the open heauen, the couerte of some shadowie Tree, or slendre houelle, with suche companion or companions as siemed them good, their diere babes and children aboute them. Sounde without carcke and in rest full quietnesse, eatyng the fruictes of the fielde, and the milke of the cattle, and drinking the waters of the christalline springes. First clad with the softe barcke of trees, or the faire broade leaues, and in processe with rawe felle and hide full vnworkemanly patched together. Not then enuironed with walles, ne pente vp with rampers, and diches of deapthe, but walking at free scope emong the wanderyng beastes of the fielde, and where the night came vpon theim, there takyng their lodgyng without feare of murtherer or thief. Mery at the fulle, as without knowledge of the euilles that aftre ensued as the worlde waxed elder, through diuers desires, and contrarie endeuours of menne. Who in processe for the insufficience of the fruictes of the earthe, (whiche she tho gaue vntilled) and for default of other thynges, ganne falle at disquiete and debate emong themselues, and to auoied the inuasion of beastes, and menne of straunge borders, (whom by themselues thei could not repelle) gathered into companies, with commune aide to withstande suche encursions and violence of wrong. And so ioyning in confederacie, planted themselues together in a plotte, assigned their boundes, framed vp cotages, one by anothers chieque, diked in themselues, chose officers and gouernours and deuised lawes, that thei also emong theimselues might liue in quiete. So beginning a rough paterne of tounes and of Cities, that aftre ware laboured to more curious finesse.

And now ware thei not contented, with the commodities of the fieldes and cattle alone, but by diuers inuencions of handecraftes and sciences, and by sondrie labours of this life, thei sought how to winne. Now gan thei tattempte the sease with many deuices, to transplante their progenie and ofspring into places, vnenhabited, and to enioye the commodities of eche others countrie, by mutuall traffique. Now came the Oxe to the yoke, the Horse to the draught, the Metalle to the stampe, the Apparel to handsomenes, the Speache to more finesse, the Behauiour of menne to a more calmenesse, the Fare more deintie, the Buildyng more gorgeous, thenhabitours ouer all became milder and wittier, shaking of (euen of their owne accorde) the bruteshe outrages and stearne dealinges, that shamefully mought be spoken of. Nowe refrained thei from sleayng one of a nother, from eatyng of ech others flesh, from rape and open defiling of mother, sister, and daughter indifferently, and fro many like abominacions to nature and honestie. Thei now marieng reason, with strength: and pollicie, with might: where the earthe was before forgrowen with bushes and wooddes, stuffed with many noisome beastes, drouned with meares, and with marshe, vnfitte to be enhabited, waast and vnhandsome in euery condition: by wittie diligence, and labour, ridde it from encombraunce, planed the roughes, digged vp trees by the rootes, dried away the superfluous waters, brought all into leauelle, banished barreinesse, and vncouered the face of the earth, that it might fully be sene, conuerted the champeine to tillage, the plaines to pasture, the valley to meadow, the hilles thei shadowed with wooddes and with Vines, Then thruste thei in cultre and share, and with wide woundes of the earthe, wan wine and corne plenteously of the grounde, that afore scarcely gaue them Akornes and Crabbes. Then enhabited thei more thicke, and spred themselues ouer all, and buylte euery where. Of Tounes, thei made cities, and of villages, Tounes, Castles vpon the rockes, and in the valleis made thei the temples of the goddes. The golden graueled springes, thei encurbed with Marblo, and with trees right pleasauntlie shadowed them aboute. From them they deriued into cities and Tounes, the pure freshe waters, a great distaunce of, by conduicte of pipes and troughes, and suche other conueyance. Where nature had hidden the waters, out of sighte, thei sancke welles of greate deapth, to supplie their lackes. Riuers, and maigne floudes, whiche afore with vnbrideled violence, oftymes ouerflowed the neighboured aboute, to the destruction of their cattle, their houses, and themselues: thei restrained with bancques, and kept them in a course. And to the ende thei might not onely be vadable, but passed also with drie foote, thei deuised meanes with piles of Timbre, and arches of stone, maulgre the rage of their violent streames, to grounde bridges vpon them. Yea, the rockes of the sea whiche for the daungier of the accesse, thoughte themselues exempte from the dinte of their hande, when thei perceiued by experience, thei ware noyous to sailers, with vnspeakeable labour did thei ouerthrowe and breake into gobettes. Hewed out hauens on euery strond, enlarged crieques, opened rodes, and digged out herborowes, where their shippes mighte ride saulfe fro the storme. Finally thei so laboured, beautified, and perfeighted the earthe, that at this daie compared with the former naturalle forgrowen wastenesse, it might well sieme not to be that, but rather the Paradise of pleasure, out of the whiche, the first paternes of mankinde (Adam and Eue) for the transgression of Goddes precept, ware driuen.

Men also inuented and founde many wittie sciences, and artes, many wondrefull workes whiche when by practice of lettres, thei had committed to bookes, and laied vp for posteritie, their successours so woundered at their wisedomes, and so reuerenced their loue and endeuours (whiche thei spied to be meant toward them, and the wealth of those that shuld folow of them) that thei thought them not blessed enough, with the estate of men mortalle, but so aduaunced their fame, and wondered at their worthinesse, that thei wan theim the honour and name of Goddes immortall.

Tho gan the Prince of the worlde, when men so gan to delight in thadournyng of the worlde, to sowe vpon the good siede, the pestilente Dernell, that as thei multiplied in nombre, so iniquitie might encrease, to disturbe and confounde this blessed state.

First, therefore when he had with all kinde of wickedness belimed the world, he put into their heades, a curious searche of the highest knowledge, and suche as depended vpon destenie of thynges. And so practised his pageauntes, by obscure and doubtfully attempted Responcions, and voices of spirites, that after he had fettred the worlde in the trauers of his toies, and launced into their hartes a blinde supersticion, and feare: he trained it whole to a wicked worship of many goddes and Goddesses, that when he ones had wiped cleane out of mynde the knowledge and honour of one God euerlastyng, he might practise vpon manne, some notable mischief. Then sette he vp pilgrimages to deuilles, foreshewers of thynges, that gaue aduerisemente and answere to demaundes in sondrie wise. In the Isle of Delphos one, in Euboea another, at Nasamone a thirde, and emong the Dodonians, the famous okes, whose bowes by the blastes of the winde resounded to the eare, a maner of aduertisemente of deuellishe delusion. To the whiche Idolles and Images of deuelles he stirred vp men to do the honour (Helas) due onely to God. As to Saturne in Italie, to Iupiter in Candie, to Iuno in Samos, to Bacchus in India, and at Thebes: to Isis, and Osiris in Egypte: in old Troie to Vesta: aboute Tritona in Aphrique, to Pallas, in Germanie and Fraunce to Mercurie, vnder the name of Theuthe: to Minerua at Athenes and Himetto, to Apollo in Delphos, Rhodes, Chio, Patara, Troade and Tymbra. To Diane in Delos and in Scythia, to Venus in Paphos, Ciprus, Gnydon, and Cithera. To Mars in Thracia, to Priapus in Lampsacho of Hellespontus, to Vulcane in Lypara and Lennos, and in diuers other places to sondrie other, whose remembraunce was then moste freshe in the memorie of their people, for the benefaictes and merueilous inuencions bestowed emong them.

Afterward, also when Iesus Christe the verie sonne of the almightie father, shewyng hymself in the fleshe of our mortalitie, was conuersaunte in the worlde, pointyng to the same, as with his fingre, the waie to immortalitie, and endelesse blessednesse, and bothe with woorde and example, exhorted and allured them to vprightnes of life, to the glorie of his father, sendyng his disciples and scolers into the vniuersall worlde, to condemne Superstition and all errour of wickednes, with the moste healthsome woorde: to plante true Religion, and geue newe preceptes, and directions of the life, and had now set the matier in suche forwardnesse and poincte, that the Gospell beyng generally of all nacions receiued, there lacked but continuaunce to perfeicte felicitie: The deuell eftesones retournyng to his naturall malice, desirous to repossesse that, that constrainedly he forsooke, betrappyng again the curious conceipte of man, some he reuersed into their former abuses and errours, and some with newe Heresies he so corrupted, snarled, and blynded, that it had bene muche bettre for them, neuer almoste to haue knowen the waie of truthe, then after their entraunce, so rashely and maliciously to haue forsaken it.

At this daie in Asia the lesse, the Armenianes, Arabians, Persians, Sirians, Assirians and Meades: in Aphrique, the Egipcians, Numidians, Libiens, and Moores. In Europe, the whole countrie of Grecia, Misia, Thracia, and all Turquie throwyng awaie Christe, are become the folowers and worshippers of Mahomet and his erronious doctrine. The people of Scithia, whom we now cal Tartares (a greate people and wide spread) parte of them worshippe the Idolle of their Emperour Kamme, parte the Sonne, the Moone, and other Starres, and part according to the Apostles doctrine, one onely God. The people of Inde, and Ethiope, vnder the gouernaunce of Presbiter Ihon perseauer in Christiane godlinesse, howbeit after a sort, muche different from ours.

The sincere and true faithe of Christ, wherewith in time it pleased God to illumine the worlde, remaineth in Germanie, Italy, Fraunce, Spaine, Englande, Scotland, Ireland, Denmarke, Liuon, Pruse, Pole, Hungarie, and the Isles of Rhodes, Sicilie, Corsica, Sardinia, with a fewe other. This bytter enemie of mankinde hauyng thus with his subtilties, inueiled our mindes, and disseuered the christian vnion, by diuersitie of maners and facions of belief, hath brought to passe thorough this damnable wyckednes of Sacrifices, and Rites, that whilest euery people (vndoubtedly with religious entent) endeuour theim selues to the worshippe of God, and echeone taketh vpon him to be the true and best worshipper of him, and whilest echone thinke theim selues to treade the streight pathe of euerlastyng blessednes, and contendeth with eigre mode and bitter dispute, that all other erre and be ledde farre a wrie: and whilest euery man strugglethe and striueth to spread and enlarge his owne secte, and to ouerthrowe others, thei doe so hate and enuie, so persecute and annoy echone an other, that at this daie a man cannot safely trauaill from one countrie to another: yea, thei that would aduenture saufely or vnsaufely, be almost euery where holden out. Wherof me thinkes I see it is like to come to passe, that whilest one people scant knoweth the name of another, (and yet almost neighbours) all that shall this daie be written or reported of theim, shalbe compted and refused as lyes. And yeat this maner of knowledge and experience, is of it self so pleasant, so profitable and so praise worthy, that sundrie (as it is well knowen) for the onely loue and desire thereof, leauing their natiue countrie, their father, their mother, their wiues and their children, yea, throwyng at their heles their sauftie and welfare, haue with greate troubles, vexations, and turmoilynges taken vpon theim for experience sake, to cutte through the wallowying seas, and many thousande miles, to estraunge theimselues fro their home, yea, and those men not in this age alone, but euen from the firste hatchyng of the worlde haue been reputed and founde of moste wisedome, authoritie, and good facion, sonest chosen with all mennes consent, bothe in peace and warre, to administre the commune wealth as maisters and counsaillours, Iudges and Capitaines. Suche ware thancient sages of Grece and of Italy, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Antisthenes, Aristippus, Zeno, and Pythagoras, who through their wisedomes and estimacion for trauailes wan them greate nombres of folowers, and brought furthe in ordre the sectes named Socratici, Academici, Peripateci, Cynici, Cyrenaici, Stoici, and Pythagorici, echone chosyng name to glorie in his maister. Suche ware the prudente lawemakers of famous memorie, Minois and Rhadamanthus emong the Cretenses, Orpheus emong the Thraciens, Draco and Solon emong the Athenienses, Licurgus emong the Lacedemonians, Moses emong the Iewes, and Zamolxis emong the Scythians, and many other in other stedes whiche dreamed not their knowledge in the benchehole at home, but learned of the men in the worlde moste wise, the Chaldeies, the Brachmanni, the Gymnosophites and the priestes of Egipte, with whom thei had for a space bene conuersant. Like glorie, by like trauaill happened to the worthies of the worlde, as to Iupiter of Crete (reported fiue times to haue surueied the whole worlde) and to his twoo sonnes Dionisius (otherwise called Bacchus) and Hercules the mightie. Likewise to Theseus and Iason, and the rest of that voiage. To the vnlucky sailer Vlisses, and to the banished Eneas, to Cyrus, Xerxes, and Alexander the Greate, to Hanniballe and Mithridate, kyng of Pontus, reported able to speake fiftie sondrie languages, to Antiochus, the greate and innumerable Princes of Roome, bothe of the Scipioes, Marii, and Lentuli. To Pompeius the greate, to Iulius Cesar, Octauian, and Augustus, to the Constantines, Charles, Conrades, Henrickes, and Frederickes. Whiche all by their exploictes vpon straunge nacions, haue gotten their immortall and euerlastyng renoume. Wherefore, seyng there is in the knowledge of peoples, and of their maners and facions, so greate pleasure and profite, and euery man cannot, yea, fewe men will, go traueile the countries themselues: me thinkes gentill reader, thou oughtest with muche thanke to receyue at my hande these bookes of the maners and facions of peoples most notable and famous, togyther with the places whiche thei enhabite: And with no lesse cherefulnes to embrase theim, then if beyng ledde on my hande from countrey to countrey, I should poynct the at eye, how euery people liueth, and where they haue dwelte, and at this daye doe. Let it not moue the, let it not withdrawe the, if any cankered reprehendour of other mens doynges shall saie vnto the: It is a thyng hath bene written of, many yeares agone, and that by a thousand sondry menne, and yet he but borowyng their woordes, bryngeth it foorthe for a mayden booke, and naimeth it his owne. For if thou well considre my trade, thou shalt fynd, that I haue not only brought thee other mennes olde store, but opened thee also the treasury of myne owne witte and bokes, not euery where to be found, and like a liberall feaster haue set before thee much of myne owne, and many thynges newe. Farewell and thankefully take that, that with labour is brought thee.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:27