The long and wonderful voyage of Frier Iohn de Plano Carpini, by John de Plano Carpini

Table of Contents

The voyage of Iohannes de Plano Carpini vnto the Northeast parts of the world in the yeere of our Lord, 1246.

  1. Of the first sending of certaine Friers Prædicants and Minorites vnto the Tartars, taken out of the 32 Booke of Vincentius Beluacensis his Speculum Historiale beginning at the second Chapter.
  2. Of the situation and qualitie of the Tartars land, by Iohannes de Plano Carpini. Chap. 3.
  3. Of their forme, habite, and manner of liuing. Chap. 4.
  4. Of their manners both good and bad. Chap. 5.
  5. Of their lawes and customes. Chap. 6.
  6. Of their superstitious traditions. Chap. 7.
  7. Of the beginning of their empire or gouernment. Chap. 8.
  8. Of the mutuall victories betweene them, and the pepole of Kythay. Chap. 9.
  9. Of their warre against India maior and minor. Chap. 10.
  10. How being repelled by monstrous men shapen like dogs, they ouercame the people of Burithabeth. Chap. 11.
  11. How they had the repulse at the Caspian mountaynes, and were driuen backe by men dwelling in caues. Chap 12.
  12. Of the statutes of Chingis Cham, of his death, of his sonnes, and of his dukes. Chap. 13.
  13. Of the authoritie of the Emperour, and of his dukes. Chap. 14.
  14. Of the election of Emperour Occoday, and of the expedition of duke Bathy. Chap. 15.
  15. Of the expedition of duke Cyrpodan. Chap. 16.
  16. How the Tartars behaue themselues in warre. Chap. 17.
  17. Howe they may be resisted. Chap. 18.
  18. Of the iourney of frier Iohannes de plano Carpini. Iohn vnto the first guard of the Tartars. Chap. 19.
  19. How he and his company were at the first receiued of the Tartars. Chap. 20.
  20. How they were receiued at the court of Corrensa. Chap. 21.
  21. How we were receiued at the court of the great prince Bathy. Chap. 22.
  22. How departing from Bathy, they passed through the land of Comania, and of the Kangittæ. Chap. 23.
  23. How they came vnto the first court of the new Emperour. Chap. 24.
  24. Howe they came vnto Cuyne himselfe, who was forthwith to be chosen Emperour. Chap. 25.
  25. How Cuyne enterteined the Minorite Friers. Chap. 26.
  26. How he was exalted to his Empire. Chap. 27.
  27. Of his age and demeanour, and of his seale. Chap. 28.
  28. Of the admission of the Friers and Ambassadours vnto the Emperour. Chap. 29.
  29. Of the place where the Emperour and his mother tooke their leaues one of another, and of Ieroslaus Duke of Russia. Chap. 30.
  30. How the Friers coming at length vnto the Emperour, gaue, and receiued letters. Chap. 31.
  31. How they were licensed to depart. Chap. 32.
  32. How they returned homewards. Chap. 33.

The voyage of Iohannes de Plano Carpini vnto the Northeast parts of the world in the yeere of our Lord, 1246.

Of the first sending of certaine Friers Prædicants and Minorites vnto the Tartars, taken out of the 32 Booke of Vincentius Beluacensis2 his Speculum Historiale beginning at the second Chapter.

Ascellinus. About this time also, Pope Innocentius the fourth sent Frier Ascelline being one of the order of the Prædicants, together with three other Friers (of the same authoritie whereunto they were called) consorted with him out of diuers Conuents of their order, with letters Apostolicall vnto the Tartars campe: wherein hee exhorted them to giue ouer their bloudie slaughter of mankinde, and to receiue the Christian faith. Simon Quintinianus. And I in verie deede, receuied the relations concerning the deedes of the Tartars onelie, (which, according to the congruence of times, I haue aboue inserted into this my woorke) from a Frier Minorite called Simon de Sanct. Quintin who lately returned from the same voyage. Iohn de Plano Carpini. And at that verie time also, there was a certaine other Frier Minorite, namely Frier Iohn de Plano Carpini, sent with certaine associates vnto the Tartars, who likewise (as himselfe witnesseth) abode and conuersed with them a yeere and three moneths at the least. Benedictus Polonus. For both he and one Frier Benedict a Poloman being of the same order, and a partaker of all his miserie and tribulation, receiued straight commaundement from the Pope that both of them shoulde diligently searche out all things that concerned the state of the Tartars. And therefore this Frier Iohn hath written a litle Historie (which is come to our hands) of such things, as with his owne eyes hee sawe among the Tartars, or which he heard from diuers Christians worthy of credit, remaining there in captiuitie. Out of which historie I thought good by way of conclusion, to insert somewhat for the supply of those things which are wanting in the said Frier Simon.

Of the situation and qualitie of the Tartars land, by Iohannes de Plano Carpini. Chap. 3.

A description of Tartaria. There is towards the East a land which is called Mongal or Tartaria, lying in that parte of the worlde which is thought to be most North Easterly. On the East part it hath the countrey of Kythay3 and of the people called Solangi: on the South part the countrey of the Saracens: on the South east the land of the Huini: and on the West the prouince of Naimani: The North Ocean. but on the North side it is inuironed with the Ocean Sea. In some part thereof it is full of mountaines, and in other places plaine and smoothe grounde, but euerie where sandie and barren, neither is the hundreth part thereof fruitefull. For it cannot beare fruite vnlesse it be moistened with riuer waters, which bee verie rare in that countrey. Whereupon they haue neither villages, nor cities among them, except one which is called Cracurim, and is said to be a proper towne. Syra Orda. We our selues sawe not this towne, but were almost within halfe a dayes iourney thereof, when we remained at Syra Orda, which is the great court of their Emperour. And albeit the foresaid lande is otherwise vnfruitfull, yet it is very commodious for the bringing vp of cattell. In certaine places thereof are some small store of trees growing, but otherwise it is altogether destitute of woods. Therefore the Emperour, and his noble men and all other warme themselues, and dresse their meate with fires made of the doung of oxen, and horses. The intemperature of the aire. The ayre also in that countrey is verie intemperate. For in the midst of Sommer there be great thunders and lightnings, by the which many men are slaine, and at the same time there falleth great abundance of snowe. There bee also such mightie tempestes of colde windes, that sometimes men are not able to sitte on horsebacke. What Orda signifieth. Whereupon, being neere vnto the Orda (for by this name they call the habitations of their Emperours and noble men) in regarde of the great winde we were constrained to lye groueling on the earth, and could not see by reason of the dust. There is neuer any raine in Winter, but onely in Sommer, albeit in so little quantitie, that sometimes it scarcely sufficeth to allay the dust, or to moysten the rootes of the grasse. There is often times great store of haile also. Insomuch that when the Emperour elect was to be placed in his Emperiall throne (my selfe being then present) there fell such abundance of haile, that, vpon the sudden melting thereof, more than 160 persons were drowned in the same place: there were manie tentes and other thinges also carried away. Likewise, in the Sommer season there is on the sudden extreame heate, and suddenly againe intolerable colde.

Of their forme, habite, and manner of liuing. Chap. 4.

The Mongols or Tartars, in outward shape, are vnlike, to all other people. The shape of the Tartars. For they are broader betweene the eyes and the balles of their cheekes, then men of other nations bee. They haue flat and small noses, litle eyes and eye liddes standing streight vpright, they are shauen on the crownes like priests. They weare their haire somewhat longer about their eares, then vpon their foreheads: but behinde they let it growe long like womans haire, whereof they braide two lockes binding eche of them behind either eare. They haue short feet also. Their habite. The garments, as well of their men, as of their women are all of one fashion. They vse neither cloakes, hattes, nor cappes. But they weare Iackets framed after a strange manner, of buckeram, skarlet, or Baldakines. Like vnto Frobishers men. Their shoubes or gownes are hayrie on the outside, and open behinde, with tailes hanging downe to their hammes. They vse not to washe their garments, neither will in any wise suffer them to bee washed, especially in the time of thunder. Their tabernacles. Their habitations bee rounde and cunningly made with wickers and staues in manner of a tent. But in the middest of the toppes thereof, they haue a window open to conuey the light in and the smoake out. For their fire is alwayes in the middest. Their walles bee couered with felt. Their doores are made of felte also. Some of these Tabernacles may quickely be taken asunder, and set together againe, and are caried vpon beastes backes. Other some cannot be taken insunder, but are stowed vpon carts. And whithersoeuer they goe, be it either to warre, or to any other place, they transport their tabernacles with them. Their cattell. They are very rich in cattel, as in camels, oxen, sheep, and goats. And I thinke they haue more horses and mares then all the world besides. But they haue no swine nor other beasts. Their Emperors, Dukes, and other of their nobles doe abound with silk, gold, siluer, and precious stones. Their victuals. Their victuals are al things that may be eaten: for we saw some of them eat lice. They drinke milke in great quantitie, but especially mares milke, if they haue it: They seeth Mill also in water, making it so thinne, that they may drinke thereof. Euery one of them drinkes off a cup full or two in a morning, and sometime they eate nought else all the day long. But in the euening each man hath a little flesh, giuen him to eate, and they drinke the broath thereof. Howbeit in summer time; when they haue mares milk enough, they seldome eate flesh, vnles perhaps it be giuen them, or they take some beast or bird in hunting.

Of their manners both good and bad. Chap. 5.

Their obedience. Their manners are partly prayse-worthie, and partly detestable: For they are more obedient vnto their lords and masters, then any other either clergie or laie-people in the whole world. For they doe highly reuerence them, and will deceiue them, neither in wordes nor deedes. They seldom or neuer fall out among themselues, and, as for fightings or brawlings, wounds or manslaughters, they neuer happen among them. Their abstinence There are neither theeues nor robbers of great riches to be found, and therefore the tabernacles and cartes of them that haue any treasures are not strengthened with lockes or barres. If any beast goe astray, the finder thereof either lets it goe, or driueth it to them that are put in office for the same purpose, at whose handes the owner of the said beast demaundeth it, and without any difficultie receiueth it againe. Their courtesie. One of them honoureth another exceedingly, and bestoweth banquets very familiarly and liberally, notwithstanding that good victuals are daintie and scarce among them. They are also very hardie, and when they haue fasted a day or two without any maner of sustenance, they sing and are merry as if they had eaten their bellies full. In riding, they endure much cold and extreme heat. There be, in a maner, no contentions among them, and although they vse commonly to be drunken, yet doe they not quarrell in their drunkennes. Noe one of them despiseth another but helpeth and furthereth him, as much as conueniently he can. Their chastity. Their women are chaste, neither is there so much as a word vttered concerning their dishonestie. Some of them will notwithstanding speake filthy and immodest words. Their insolencie against strangers. But towards other people, the said Tartars be most insolent, and they scorne and set nought by all other noble and ignoble persons whatsoeuer. For we saw in the Emperours court the great duke of Russia, the kings sonne of Georgia, and many great Soldanes receiuing no due honour and estimation among them. So that euen the very Tartars assigned to giue attendance vnto them, were they neuer so base, would alwaies goe before them, and take the vpper hand of them, yea, and sometimes would constraine them to sit behinde their backes. Moreouer they are angrie and of a disdainfull nature vnto other people, and beyond all measure deceitfull, and treacherous towards them. They speake fayre in the beginning, but in conclusion, they sting like scorpions. For craftie they are, and full of falshood, circumuenting all men whom they are able, by their sleights. Whatsoeuer mischiefe they entend to practise against a man they keepe it wonderfully secrete so that he may by no meanes prouide for himselfe, nor find a remedie against their conspiracies. They are vnmanerly also and vncleanly in taking their meat and their drinke, and in other actions. Drunkennes is honourable among them, and when any of them hath taken more drinke then his stomacke can well beare, hee casteth it vp and falles to drinking againe. They are most intollerable exacters, most couetous possessours, and most nigardly giuers. The slaughter of other people is accompted a matter of nothing with them.

Of their lawes and customes. Chap. 6.

Punishments of adultery. Moreouer, they haue this law or custome, that whatsoeuer manor woman be manifestly taken in adultery, they are punished with death. A virgine likewise that hath committed fornication, they slay together with her mate. Of theft. Of secretes disclosed. Whosoeuer be taken in robberie or theft, is put to death without all pitie. Also, if any man disclose their secrets, especially in time of warre, he receiueth an hundreth blowes on the backe with a bastinado, layd on by a tall fellow. In like sort when any inferiours offend in ought, they finde no fauour at their superiours handes, but are punished with grieuous stripes. Lawes of matrimonie. They are ioyned in matrimony to all in generall, yea, euen to their neare kinsfolkes except their mother, daughter and sister by the mothers side. For they vse to marrie their sister by the fathers side onely, and also the wife of their father after his decease. The yonger brother also, or some other of his kindred, is bound to marry the wife of his elder brother deceased. Andreas duke of Russia. For, at the time of our aboad in the countrey, a certaine duke of Russia named Andreas, was accused before duke Baty for conueying the Tartars horses out of the land, and for selling them to others: and although it could not be prooued, yet was he put to death. His yonger brother and the wife of the party deceased hearing this, came and made their supplication vnto the forenamed duke, that the dukedome of Russia might not be taken from them. But he commanded the youth to marrie his deceased brothers wife, and the woman also to take him vnto her husband, according to the custome of the Tartars. She answered, that she had rather die, than so haynously transgresse the law. Howbeit, hee deliuered her vnto him, although they both refused as much as they could. Wherefore carying them to bed, they constrained the youth, lamenting and weeping, to lie down and commit incest with his brothers wife. To be short, after the death of their husbands, the Tartars wiues vse very seldome to marrie the second time, vnlesse perhaps some man takes his brothers wife or his stepmother in marriage. They make no difference betweene the sonne of their wife and of their concubine, but the father giues what he pleaseth vnto each one: Melich and Dauid two brothers. For of late the king of Georgia hauing two sonnes, one lawfully begotten call Melich; but the other Dauid, borne in adulterie, at his death left part of his lande vnto his base sonne. Hereupon Melich (vnto whome the kingdome fell by right of his mother, because it was gouerned before time by women) went vnto the Emperour of the Tartars, Dauid also hauing taken his iourney vnto him. Nowe bothe of them commmg to the court and proffering large giftes, the sonne of the harlot made suite, that he might haue iustice, according to the custome of the Tartars. Well, sentence passed against Melich, that Dauid being his elder brother should haue superioritie ouer him, and should quietly and peaceably possesse the portion of land granted vnto him by his father. Whensoeuer a Tartar hath many wiues, each one of them hath her family and dwelling place by her selfe. And sometime the Tartar eateth, drinketh and lieth with one, and sometime with another. One is accompted chiefe among the rest, with whom hee is oftener conuersant, then with the other. And notwithstanding (as it hath bin said) they are many, yet do they seldome fal out among themselues.

Of their superstitious traditions. Chap. 7.

Ridiculous traditions. But by reason of traditions, which either they or their predecessors haue deuised, they accompt some things indifferent to be faults. One is to thrust a knife into the fire, or any way to touch the fire with a knife, or with their knife to take flesh out of the cauldron, or to hewe with an hatchet neare vnto the fire. For they think by that means to take away the head or force from the fire. Another is to leane vpon the whip, wherewith they beate their horses: for they ride not with spurs. Also, to touch arrowes with a whip, to take or kill yong birds, to strike an horse with the raine of their bridle, and to breake one bone against another. Also, to powre out milke, meate, or any kinde of drinke vpon the ground or to make water within their tabernacle: which whosoeuer doth willingly, he is slaine, but otherwise he must pay a great summe of money to the inchanter to be purified. Who likewise must cause the tabernacle with all things therein, to passe betweene two fiers. Before it be on this wise purified, no man dare once enter into it, nor conueigh any thing thereout. Besides, if any man hath a morsell giuen him, which he is not able to swallow, and for that cause casteth it out of his mouth, there is an hole made vnder his tabernacle, by which hee is drawen forth and slaine without all compassion. Likewise, whosoeuer treads vpon the threshold of any of their dukes tabernacles, he is put to death. Many other things there be, like vnto these, which they take for heinous offences. But to slay men, to inuade the dominions of other people, and to rifle their goods, to transgresse the commaundements and prohibitions of God, are with them no offences at all. They know nothing concerning eternall life, and euerlasting damnation, and yet they thinke, that after death they shall liue in another world, that they shall multiply their cattell, that they shal eate and drinke and doe other things which liuing men performe here vpon earth. The Tartars worship the moone. At a new moone, or a full moone, they begin all enterprises that they take in hand, and they call the moone the Great Emperour, and worship it vpon their knees. All men that abide in their tabernacles must be purified with fire: Which purification is on this wise. Their custome of purifying. They kindle two fires, and pitch two Iauelines into the ground neere vnto the said fires, binding a corde to the tops of the Iauelines. And about the corde they tye certaine iagges of buckram, vnder which corde, and betweene which fires, men, beastes, and tabernacles do passe. There stand two women also, one on the right side, and another on the left casting water, and repeating certaine charmes. If any man be slaine by lightning, all that dwell in the same tabernacle with him must passe by fire in maner aforesaid. For their tabernacles, beds, and cartes, their feltes and garments, and whatsoeuer such things they haue, are touched by no man, yea, and are abandoned by all men as things vncleane. And to bee short, they think that all things are to be purged by fire. Therefore, when any ambassadours, princes, or other personages whatsoeuer come vnto them, they and their giftes must passe betweene two fires to be purified, lest peraduenture they haue practised some witchcraft, or haue brought some poyson or other mischiefe with them.

Of the beginning of their empire or gouernment. Chap. 8.

The people of Tartarie.

The East countrie, whereof wee haue entreated, which is called Mongal, is reported to haue had of olde time foure sortes of people. One of their companions was called Yeka Mongal, that is the great Mongals. The second company was called Sumongal, that is, the Water–Mongals, who called themselues Tartars of a certaine riuer running through their countrey named Tartar. The third was called Merkat, and the fourth Metrit. All these people had one and the same person, attire of body and language, albeit they were diuided by princes and prouinces. The original and the exploits of Chingis. In the prouince of Yeka Mongol, there was a certaine man called Chingis. This man became a mighty hunter. For he learned to steale men, and take them for a pray. He ranged into other countries taking as many captiues as he could, and ioining them vnto himselfe. Also hee allured the men of his owne countrey vnto him, who followed him as their captaine and ringleader to doe mischiefe. Then began he to make warre vpon the Sumongals or Tartars, and slewe their captaine, and after many conflicts, subdued them vnto himselfe, and brought them all into bondage. Afterwards he vsed their helpe to fight against the Merkats, dwelling by the Tartars, whom also hee vanquished in battell. Proceeding from thence, he fought against the Metrites, and conquered them also. The Naimani. The Naimani hearing that Chingis was thus exalted, greatly disdeined thereat. For they had a mighty and puissant Emperour, vnto whom all the foresaid nations payed tribute. Whose sonnes, when he was dead, succeeded him in his Empire. The discord of brethren. Howbeit, being young and foolish, they knew not howe to gouerne the people, but were diuided, and fell at variance among themselues. Now Chingis being exalted, as is aforesaid, they neuerthelesse inuaded the forenamed countries, put the inhabitants to the sword, and carried away their goods for a pray. Which Chingis hauing intelligence of, gathered all his subiects together. The Naimani also, and the people called Karakitay assembled and banded themselues at a certaine straight valley, where, after a battell foughten they were vanquished by the Mongals. And being thus vanquished, they were, the greater part of them, slaine; and others, which could not escape, were carried into captiuitie. Occoday Cham. In the land of the foresayd Karakytayans, Occoday Cham, the sonne of Chingis Cham, after he was created Emperour, built a certaine citie, which he called Chanyl. Neare vnto which citie, on the South side, there is an huge desert, wherein wilde men are certainely reported to inhabite, which cannot speake at all, and are destitute of ioynts in their legges, so that if they fall, they cannot rise alone by themselues. Howbeit, they are of discretion to make feltes of Camels haire, wherewith they clothe themselues, and which they holde against the winde. And if at any time, the Tartars pursuing them, chance to wound them with their arrowes, they put herbes into their wounds and flye strongly before them.

Of the mutuall victories betweene them, and the pepole of Kythay. Chap. 9.

But the Mongals returning home into their owne countrey prepared themselues to battell against the Kythayans: Haython4 and Paulus Venetus5 call them Cathayans. Which their Emperour hearing, set forward against them with his armie, and they fought a cruell battell, wherein the Mongals were ouercome, and all their nobles in the armie, except seuen, were slaine. And for this cause, when they, purposing to inuade anie region, are threatned by the inhabitants thereof to be slaine, they doe, to this day, answere: in old time also our whole number besides being slaine, we remayned but seuen of vs aliue, and yet notwithstanding we are now growen vnto a great multitude, thinke not therefore to daunt vs with such brags. New victories. But Chingis and the residue that remained aliue, fled home into their countrey: And hauing breathed him a little, he prepared himselfe to warre, and went forth against the people called Huyri: These men were Christians of the sect of Nestorius. Letters. And these also the Mongals ouercame, and receiued letters or learning from them: for before that time they had not the arte of writing, and nowe they call it the hand or letters of the Mongals. Immediately after, hee marched against the countrey of Saruyur, and of the Karanites, and against the land of Hudirat; all which he vanquished. Then returned he home into his owne countrey, and breathed himselfe. Afterward, assembling his warlike troupes, they marched with one accord against the Kythayans, and waging warre with them a long time, they conquered, a great part of their land, and shut vp their Emperour into his greatest citie: which citie they had so long time besieged, that they began to want necessary prouision for their armie. And when they had no victuals to feede vpon, Chingis Cham commaunded his souldiers that they should eate euery tenth man of the companie. Siluer cast at the enemie instead of stones. But they of the citie fought manfully against them, with engines, dartes, and arrowes, and when stones wanted they threw siluer, and especially melted siluer: for the same citie abounded with great riches. Also, when the Mongals had fought a long time and could not preuale by warre, they made a great trench vnderneath the ground from the armie vnto the middest of the citie, and there issuing foorth they fought against the citizens, and the remnant also without the walles fought in like manner. At last, breaking open the gates of the citie, they entred, and putting the Emperour, with many other to the sworde, they tooke possession thereof and conueighed away the golde, siluer, and all the riches therein. And hauing appointed certaine deputies ouer the countrey, they returned home into their owne lande. Chigis Cham proclaimed Emperour. This is the first time, when the Emperour of the Kythayans being vanquished, Chingis Cham obtayned the Empire. Part of Cathay in the sea. But some parte of the countrey, because it lyeth within the sea, they could by no meanes conquere vnto this day. The letters and the religion of the Cathayans. The men of Kytay are Pagans, hauing a speciall kinde of writing by themselues, and (as it is reported) the Scriptures of the olde and newe Testament. They haue also recorded in hystories the liues of their forefathers and they haue Eremites, and certaine houses made after the manner of our Churches. which in those dayes they greatly resorted vnto. They say that they haue diuers Saints also, and they worship one God. They adore and reuerence CHRIST IESUS our Lorde, and beleeue the article of eternall life, but are not baptized. They doe also honourably esteeme and reuerence our Scriptures. They loue Christians, and bestowe much almes, and are a very courteous and gentle people. They haue no beardes, and they agree partly with the Mongals in the disposition of their countenance. Their excelent workmanship. In all occupations which men practise, there are not better artificers in the whole worlde. Their countrey is exceeding rich, in corne, wine, golde, silke, and other commodities.

Of their warre against India maior and minor. Chap. 10.

And when the Mongals with their emperour Chingis Cham had a while rested themselues after the foresayd victorie, they diuided their armies. Thossut Can son of Chingis. For the Emperour sent one of his sonnes named Thossut (whom also they called Can, that is to say, Emperour) with an armie against the people of Comania, whom he vanquished with much warre, and afterward returned into his owne country. India minor subdued. But he sent his other sonne with an armie against the Indians, who also subdued India minor. These Indians are the blacke Saracens, which are also called Æthiopians. But here the armie marched forward to fight against Christians dwelling in India maior. Which the King of that countrey hearing (who is commonly called Presbiter Iohn) gathered his souldiers together, and came foorth against them. And making mens images of copper, he set each of them vpon a saddle on horsebacke, and put fire within them, and placed a man with a paire of bellowes on the horse backe behinde euery image. The stratagem of the king of India. And so with many horses and images in such sorte furnished, they marched on to fight against the Mongals or Tartars. And comming neare vnto the place of the battell, they first of all sent those horses in order one after another. But the men that sate behind laide I wote not what vpon the fire within the images, and blew strongly with their bellowes. Whereupon it came to passe, that the men and the horses were burnt with wilde fire, and the ayre was darkened with smoake. Then the Indians cast dartes vpon the Tartars, of whom many were wounded and slain. And so they expelled them out of their dominions with great confusion, neither did we heare, that euer they returned thither againe.

How being repelled by monstrous men shapen like dogs, they ouercame the people of Burithabeth. Chap. 11.

A strange report of certain monstrous women and dogs. But returning through the deserts, they came vnto a certaine countrey, wherein (as it was reported vnto vs in the Emperours court, by certaine clergie men of Russia and others, who were long time among them, and that by strong and stedfast affirmation) they found certaine monsters resembling women who being asked by many interpreters, where the men of that land were, they answered, that whatsoeuer women were borne there, were indued with the shape of mankinde, but the males were like vnto dogges. And delaying the time, in that countrey they met with the said dogges on the other side of the riuer. And in the midst of sharpe winter, they cast themselues into the water: Afterward they wallowed in the dust vpon the maine land and so the dust being mingled with water, was frozen to their backes, and hauing often times so done, the ice being strongly frozen vpon them, with great fury they came to fight against the Tartars. And when the Tartars threwe their dartes, or shot their arrowes among them, they rebounded backe againe, as if they had lighted vpon stones. And the rest of their weapons coulde by no meanes hurt them. Howbeit the Dogges made an assault vpon the Tartars, and wounding some of them with their teeth, and slaying others at length they draue them out of their countries. And thereupon they haue a Prouerbe of the same matter, as yet rife among them, which they speake in iesting sorte one to another: My father or my brother was slaine of Dogges. The women which they tooke they brought into their owne countrey, who remayned there till their dying day. The region of Burithabeth. And in traueling homewardes, the sayd armie of the Mongals came vnto the lande of Burithabeth (the inhabitants whereof are Pagans) and conquered the people in battell. These people haue a strange or rather a miserable kinde of custome. The manners of the people. For when anie man’s father deceaseth, he assembleth all his kindred and they eate him. These men haue no beards at all, for we saw them carie a certaine iron instrument in their hands wherewith, if any haires growe vpon their chinne, they presently plucke them out. They are also very deformed. From thence the Tartars army returned to their owne home.

How they had the repulse at the Caspian mountaynes, and were driuen backe by men dwelling in caues. Chap 12.

Another expedition of Chingis. Moreouer Chingis Cham, at the same time when he sent other armies against the East, hee himselfe marched with a power into the lande of Kergis, which notwithstanding, he conquered not in that expedition and as it was reported vnto vs, he went on forward euen to the Caspian mountaines. But the mountaines on that part where they encamped themselues, were of adamant, and therefore they drew vnto them their arrowes, and weapons of iron. And certaine men contained within those Caspian mountaynes, hearing as it was thought, the noyse of the armie, made a breach through, so that when the Tartars returned vnto the same place tenne yeeres after, they found the mountaine broken. And attempting to goe vnto them, they could not: for there stood a cloud before them, beyond which they were not able to passe, being depriued of their sight so soone as they approached thereunto. But they on the contrary side thinking that the Tartars durst not come nigh them gaue the assault, and when they came at the cloud, they could not proceed for the cause aforesaid. Also the Tartars, before they came vnto the said mountaines, passed for the space of a moneth and more, through a vast wildernes, and departing thence towards the East, they were aboue a moneth traueiling through another huge desert. At length, they came vnto a land wherin they saw beaten waies, but could not find any people. Howbeit at the last, diligently seeking, they found a man and his wife, whom they presented before Chingis Cham: and demanding of them where the people of that countrey were, they answered, that the people inhabited vnder the ground in mountains. Then Chingis Cham keeping still the woman, sent her husband vnto them, giuing them charge to come at his command. And going vnto them, he declared all things that Chingis Cham had commanded them. But they answered, that they would vpon such a day visite him, to satisfie his desire. And in the meane season by blinde and hidden passages vnder the earth, assembling themselues they came against the Tartars in warlike manner, and suddenly issuing forth, they slewe a great number of them. A fabulous narration of the sun rising. This people were not able to endure the terrible noise, which in that place the Sunne made at his vprising: for at the time of the Sunne rising, they were inforced to lay one eare vpon the ground, and to stoppe the other close, least they should heare that dreadfull sound. Neither could they so escape, for by this meanes many of them were destroyed. Chingis Cham therefore and his company, seeing that they preuailed not, but continually lost some of their number, fled and departed out of that land. But the man and his wife aforesaid they caried along with them, who all their life time continued in the Tartars countrey. Being demaunded why the men of their countrey doe inhabite vnder the ground, they sayd, that at a certeine time of the yeare, when the sunne riseth, there is such an huge noyse, that the people cannot endure it. Moreouer, they vse to play vpon cymbals, drums, and other musicall instruments, to the ende they may not heare that sounde.

Of the statutes of Chingis Cham, of his death, of his sonnes, and of his dukes. Chap. 13.

But as Chingis Cham returned out of that countrey, his people wanted victuals, and suffered extreme famin. Then by chance they found the fresh intrails of a beast: which they tooke, and casting away the dung therof, caused it to be sodden, brought it before Chingis Cham, and did eat therof. The lawe of Chingis. And hereupon Chingis Cham enacted: that neither the blood, nor the intrails, nor any other part of a beast which might be eaten, should be cast away, saue onely the dunge. Wherefore he returned thence into his owne land, and there he ordayned lawes and statutes, which the Tartars doe most strictly and inuiolably obserue, of the which we haue before spoken. The death of Chingis. His sonnes. He was afterward slaine by a thunderclap. He had foure sonnes: the first was called Occoday, the second Thossut Can, the third Thiaday: the name of the fourth is vnknowen. From these foure descended all the dukes of the Mongals. His graund children. The first sonne of Occoday is Cuyne, who is now Emperour: his brothers be Cocten and Chyrinen. The sons of Thossut Can are Bathy, Ordu, Siba, and Bora Bathy, next vnto the Emperour, is richer and mightier then all the rest. But Ordu is the seignior of all the dukes. The sonnes of Thiaday be Hurin and Cadan. The sonnes of Chingis Cham his other sonne, whose name is vnknowen, are Mengu, Bithat and certaine others. The mother of Mengu was named Seroctan, and of all others most honoured among the Tartars, except the Emperors mother, and mightier than any subiect except Bathy. The Tartarian Dukes. These be the names of the dukes: Ordu, who was in Poland and in Hungarie: Bathy also and Hurin and Cadan, and Siban, and Ouygat, all which were in Hungarie. In like maner Cyrpodan, who is as yet beyond the sea, making war against certaine Soldans of the Saracens, and other inhabitants of farre countries. Others remained in the land, as namely Mengu, Chyrinen, Hubilai, Sinocur, Caray, Gay, Sybedey, Bora, Berca, Corrensa. There be many other of their dukes, whose names are vnknowen vnto vs.

Of the authoritie of the Emperour, and of his dukes. Chap. 14.

The absolute and lordly dominion of the Tartarian Emperour ouer his subiects Moreouer, the Emperour of the Tartars hath a wonderful dominion ouer all his subiects. For no man dare abide in any place, vnles he hath assigned him to be there. Also he himselfe appointeth to his dukes where they should inhabite. Likewise the dukes assigne places vnto euery Millenarie, or conductor of a thousand souldiers, the Millenaries vnto each captaine of an 100. the captaines vnto euery corporall of ten. Whatsoeuer is giuen them in charge, whensoeuer, or whersoeuer, be it to fight or to lose their liues, or howsoeuer it be, they obey without any gainsaying. For if he demandeth any mans daughter, or sister being a virgine, they presently deliuer her vnto him without all contradiction: yea, often times he makes a collection of virgines throughout all the Tartars dominions, and those whom he meanes to keepe, he retaineth vnto himselfe, others he bestoweth vpon his men. Also, whatsoeuer messenger he sendeth, or whithersoeuer his subiects must without delay hnde them horses and other necessaries. In like sorte, from what countrey soeuer tribute payers, or ambassadours come vnto him, they must haue horses, carriages, and expenses allowed them. Their barbarous inhumanitie towards ambassadours. Notwithstanding ambassadours comming from other places do suffer great misery, and are in much wante both of victuals, and of apparel: especially when they come to any of the dukes, and there they are constrayned to make some lingering abode. Then ten men are allowed so little sustenance, that scarcely two could liue thereof. Likewise, if any iniuries be offered them, they cannot without danger make complaint. Many gifts also are demaunded of them, both by dukes and others, which if they do not bestow, they are basely esteemed, and set at nought. And hereupon, wee were of necessitie enforced to bestowe in giftes a great part of those things which were giuen vs by well disposed people, to defray our charges. To be short, all things are so in the power and possession of the Emperour, that no man dare say, This is mine, or, this is my neighbours, but all, both goods, cattell and men are his owne. Concerning this matter also he published a statute of late. The very same authority and iurisdiction doe the dukes in like sorte exercise vpon their subiects.

Of the election of Emperour Occoday, and of the expedition of duke Bathy. Chap. 15.

Occoday succeedeth his father. The expedition of Bathy. After the death of Chingis Cham aforesayd, the dukes assembled themselues and chose Occoday his sonne to be their Emperour. And he, entering into consultation with his nobles, diuided his armies, and sent duke Bathy his nephew against the countrie of Altisoldan, and against the people called Bisermini, who were Saracens, but spake the language of Comania. The Tartars inuading their countrey, fought with them and subdued them in battel. The citie of Barchin. But a certeine citie called Barchin resisted them a long time. For the citizens had cast vp many ditches and trenches about their citie, in regard whereof the Tartars could not take it till they had filled the said ditches. But the citizens of Sarguit hearing this, came foorth to meete them, yeelding themselues vnto them of their owne accord. Whereupon their citie was not destroyed, but they slue manie of them and others they carried away captiue, and taking spoyles, they filled the citie with other inhabitants, and so marched foorth against the citie of Orna. Orna. This towne was very populous and exceeding rich. For there were many Christians therein, as namely Gasarians, Russians, and Alanians, with others, and Saracens also. The gouernment of the citie was in the Saracens hande. It standeth vpon a mighty riuer, and is a kinde of porte towne, hauing a great marte exercised therein. And when the Tartars could not otherwise ouercome it, they turned the said riuer, running through the citie, out of his chanell, and so drowned the citie with the inhabitantes and their goods. Which being done, they set forward against Russia, and made foule hauocke there, destroying cities and castles and murthering the people. They laid siege a long while vnto Kiow the chiefe citie of Russia, and at length they tooke it and slue the citizens. Whereupon, traueiling through that countrey, wee found an innumerable multitude of dead mens skulles and bones lying vpon the earth. For it was a very large and a populous citie, but it is nowe in a maner brought to nothing for there doe scarce remaine 200 houses, the inhabitants whereof are kept in extreame bondage. Moreouer, out of Russia and Comania, they proceeded forward against the Hungarians, and the Polonians and there manie of them were slaine, as is aforesaid and had the Hungarians manfully withstood them, the Tartars had beene confounded and driuen backe. The Morduans. Returning from thence, they inuaded the countrey of the Morduans being pagans, and conquered them in battell. Bulgaria magna. Then they marched against the people called Byleri, or Bulgaria magna, and vtterly wasted the countrey. Hungaria magna. From hence they proceeded towards the North against the people called Bastarci or Hungaria magna, and conquered them also. Parossitæ. And so going on further North, they came vnto the Parossitæ, who hauing little stomacks and small mouthes, eate not any thing at all, but seething flesh they stand or sitte ouer the potte, and receiuing the steame or smoke thereof, are therewith onely nourished, and if they eate anie thing it is very little. Samogetæ. From hence the came they came to the Samogetæ, who liue onely vpon hunting, and vse to dwell in tabernacles onely, and to weare garments made of beastes skinnes. The North Ocean. From thence they proceeded vnto a countrey lying vpon the Ocean sea, where they found certaine monsters, who in all things resembled the shape of men, sauing that their feete were like the feete of an oxe, and they had in deede mens heads but dogges faces. Northerne monsters. They spake, as it were, two words like men, but at the third they barked like dogges. From hence they retired into Comania, and there some of them remaine vnto this day.

Of the expedition of duke Cyrpodan. Chap. 16.

Kergis. At the same time Occoday Can sent duke Cyrpodan with an armie against Kergis, who also subdued them in battell. These men are Pagans, hauing no beardes at all. They haue a custome when any of their fathers die, for griefe and in token of lamentation to drawe as it were, a leather thong ouerthwart their faces, from one eare to the other. This nation being conquered, duke Cyrpodan marched with his forces Southward against the Armenians. And trauailing through certain desert places, they found monsters in the shape of men, which had each of them but one arme and one hand growing out of the midst their breast, and but one foote. Two of them vsed to shoote in one bowe, and they ran so swiftly, that horses could not ouertake them. They ran also vpon that one foote by hopping and leaping, and being weary of such walking, they went vpon their hand and their foote, turning themselues round, as it were in a circle. And being wearie of so doing, they ran againe according to their wonted manner. Cyclopodes. Isidore calleth them Cyclopedes. And as it was told vs in court, by the clergie men of Russia, who remaine with the foresayd Emperour, many ambassadours were sent from them vnto the Emperours court, to obtaine Peace. Armenia and Georgia conquered. From thence they proceeded forth into Armenia, which they conquered in battell, and part also of Georgia. And the other part is, vnder their iurisdiction, paying as yet euery yeare vnto them for tribute, 20000. pieces of coyne called Yperpera. The Soldan of Aleppo his land. From thence they marched into the dominions of the puissant and mighty Soldan called Deurum, whom also they vanquished in fight. And to be short, they went on farther sacking and conquering, euen vnto the Soldan of Aleppo his dominions, and now they haue subdued that land also, determining to inuade other countries beyond it: neither returned they afterward into their owne land vnto this day. The Caliph of Baldach. Likewise the same armie marched forward against the Caliph of Baldach his countrey, which they subdued also, and exacted as his handes the daylie tribute of 400. Byzantines, besides Balkakines and other giftes. Also euery yeare they send messenters vnto the Caliph mouing him to come vnto them. Who sending back great gifts together with his tribute beseecheth them to be fauourable vnto him. Howbeit the Tartarian Emperour receiueth al his gifts, and yet still neuertheles sends for him, to haue him come.

How the Tartars behaue themselues in warre. Chap. 17.

The military discipline of the Tartars Chingis Cham diuided his Tartars by captaines of ten, captaines of an 100, and captaines of a 1000. And ouer ten Millenaries or captains of a 1000, he placed, as it were, one Colonel, and yet notwithstanding ouer one whole army he authorised two or three dukes, but yet so that all should haue especiall regart vnto one of the said dukes. And when they ioine battel against any other nation, vnles they do all with one consent giue backe, euery man that flies is put to death. And if one or two, or more of ten proceed manfully to the battel, but the residue of those ten draw backe and follow not the company, they are in like manner slaine. Also, if one among ten or more bee taken, their fellowes, if they rescue them not, are punished with death. Their weapons. Moreouer they are enioined to haue these weapons following. Two long bowes or one good one at the least, three quiuers full of arrowes, and one axe, and ropes to draw engines withal. But the richer sort haue single edged swords, with sharpe points, and somewhat crooked. They haue also armed horses with their shoulders and breasts defenced, they haue helmets and brigandines. Some of them haue iackes, and caparisons for their horses made of leather artificially doubled or trebled vpon their bodies. The vpper part of their helmet is of iron or steele, but that part which compasseth about the necke and the throate is of leather. Howbeit some of them haue of the foresaide furniture of iron trimed in maner following. They beate out many thinne plates a finger broad and a handful long, and making in euery one of them eight littel holes, they put thereunto three strong and straight leather thongs. So they bind the plates one to another, as it were, ascending by degrees. Then they tie the plates vnto the said thongs with other small and slender thongs drawen through the holes aforesaid, and in the vppper part, on each side therof, they fasten one small doubled thong vnto another, that the plates may firmely be knit together. These they make as well for their horses caparisons, as for the armour of their men: And they skowre them so bright that a man may behold his face in them. Some of them vpon the necke of their launce haue an hooke, wherewithall they attempt to pull men out of their saddles. The heads of their arrowes are exceedingly sharpe cutting both wayes like a two edged sworde, and they alwaies carie a file in their quiuers to whet their arrowheads. They haue targets made of wickers, or of small reddes. Howbeit they doe not (as we suppose) accustome to carrie them, but onely about the tents or in the Emperours or dukes guards, and that only in the night season. Their experience and cunning in warres. They are most politique in warres, hauing bene exercised therein with other nations for the of these 42. yeres. Their maner of passing ouer riuers. When they come at any riuers the chiefe men of the company haue a round and light piece of leather, about the borders whereof making many loopes, they put a rope into them to draw it together like a purse, and so bring it into the round forme of a ball, which leather they fill with their garments and other necessities trussing it vp most strongly. But vpon the midst of the vpper parte thereof, they lay their saddles and other hard things there, also doe the men themselues sit. This their boate they tye vnto an horse tayle, causing a man to swimme before, and to guide ouer the horse, or sometime they haue two oares to row themselues ouer. The first horse therefore being driuen into the water all the other horses of the company followe him, and so they passe through the riuer. But the poorer sorte of common souldiers haue euery man his leather bag or sachell well sown together, wherin he packs vp all his trinkets, and strongly trussing it vp hangs it at his horses tayle, and so passeth ouer in maner aforesaid.

Howe they may be resisted. Chap. 18.

I deeme not any one kingdome or prouince able to resist them because they vse to take vp souldiers out of euery countrey of their dominions. And if so be the neighbour prouince which they inuade, wil not aide them, vtterly wasting it, with the inhabitants therof, whom they take from thence with them, they proceed on to fight against another countrey. And placing their captiues in the forefront of the battell, if they fight not couragiously, they put them to the sworde. Counsel how to wage warre against the Tartar. Wherefore, if Christians would withstande them, it is expediennt, that the prouinces and gouernours of countreies should agree in one, and so by common counsell, should giue them resistance. Their souldiers also must be furnished with strong hand-bowes and cros-bowes, which they greatly dread, and with sufficient arrowes, with maces also of good iron, or an axe with a long handle or staffe. A notable temper of iron or steele. When they make their arrow heads they must (according to the Tartars custome) dip them red-hot into water mingled with salte, that they may be strong to pierce the enemies armour. They that wil may haue swords also and lances with hooks at the ends, to pull them from their saddles, out of which they are easilie remoued. They must haue helmets likewise and other armour to defend themselues and their horses from the Tartars weapons and arrowes, and they that are vnarmed, must (according to the Tartars custome) march behinde their fellowes, and discharge at the enemie with long bowes and cros-bowes. And (as it is aboue said of the Tartars) they must orderly dispose their bandes and troupes, and ordeine lawes for their souldiers. Whosoeuer runneth to the pray or spoyle, before the victorie be achieued, must vndergoe a most seuere punishment. For such a fellow is put to death among the Tartars without all pitie or mercie. The place of battel must be chosen, if it be possible, in a plaine fielde, where they may see round about, neither must all be in one company, but in manie and seuerall bandes, not very farre distant one from another. They which giue the first encounter must send one band before, and must haue another in a readynesse to relieue and second the former in time conuenient. They must haue spies also on euery side to giue them notice when the rest of the enemies bandes approch. For therefore ought they alwayes to send forth band against band and troupe against troupe, because the Tartar euer practiseth to gette his enemie in the midst and so to enuiron him. Let our bands take this caveat also, if the enemie retire, not to make any long pursuit after him, lest peraduenture (according to his custome) he might draw them into some secret ambush: for the Tartar fights more by policie than by maine force. Those horses which the Tartars vse one day, they ride not vpon three or foure dayes after. Moreouer, if the Tartars draw homeward, our men must not therefore depart and casseir their bandes, or separate themselues asunder: because they doe this vpon policie, namely to haue our armie diuided, that they may more securely inuade and waste the countrey. And in very deede, our captaines ought both day and night to keepe their armie in a readines: and not to lie out of their armour, but at all assayes, to bee prouided for battell. For the Tartars like deuils are alwaies watching and deuising howe to practise mischiefe. Furthermore, if in battell any of the Tartars be cast off their horse backes, they must presently bee layd holde on and taken, for being on foote they shoote strongly, wounding and killing both horses and men.

Of the iourney of frier Iohannes de plano Carpini. Iohn vnto the first guard of the Tartars. Chap. 19.

The iourney of frier Iohn and his fellow Legates. We therefore by the commaundement of the sea apostolique setting foorth towards the nations of the East, chose first to trauel vnto the Tartars, because we feared that there might be great danger imminent vpon the Church of God next vnto them, by their inuasions. Boleslaus duke of Silesia. Proceeding on therefore, we came to the king of Bohemia, who being of our familiar acquaintance, aduised vs to take our iourney through Polonia and Russia. For he had kinsfolkes in Polonia, by whose assistance, we might enter into Russia. Hauing giuen vs his letters, hee caused our charges also to be defrayed, in all his chiefe houses and cities, till we came vnto his nephew Boleslaus duke of Silesia, who also was familiar and well knowen vnto vs. The like fauour he shewed vs also, till wee came vnto Conradus duke of Mazouia. Lautiscia, vnto whome then (by Gods especiall fauour towards vs) lord Wasilico duke of Russia was come, from whose mouth we heard more at large concerning the deedes of the Tartars: for he had sent ambassadours thither, who were returned backe vnto him. Wherefore, it being giuen vs to vnderstand, that we must bestow giftes vpon them, we caused certaine skinnes of beuers and other beastes to be bought with part of that money, which was giuen vpon almes to succour vs by the way. Which thing duke Conradus and the Grimslaua. duches of Cracow, and a bishop, and certaine souldiers being aduertised of, gaue vs likewise more of the same skins. And to be short, duke Wasilico being earnestly requested by the duke of Cracow, and by the bishop and barons, on our behalfe, conducted vs with him, vnto his owne land, and there for certaine daies, enterteined vs at his owne charges, to the ende that we might refresh ourselues a while. And when, being requested by vs, he had caused his bishops to resort vnto him, we reade before them the Popes letters, admonishing them to returne vnto the vnitie of the Church. To the same purpose also, we our selues admonished them, and to our abilitie, induced as well the duke as the bishops and others thereunto. Daniel brother vnto Wasilico. Howbeit because Duke Daniel the brother of Wasilico aforesaid (hauing as then taken his iourney vnto Baty) was absent, they could not at that time, make a finall answere. After these things duke Wasilico sent vs forward with one of his seruants as farre as Kiow the chiefe citie of Russia. The Lithuanians. Howbeit we went alwayes in danger of our liues by reason of the Lithuanians, who did often inuade the borders of Russia, euen in those verie places by which we were to passe. But in regard of the foresayd seruant, wee were out of the Russians daunger, the greatest part of whome were either slaine, or caried into captiuitie by the Tartars. Moreouer, at Danilon wee were feeble euen vnto the death. (Notwithstanding wee caused our selues to bee carried in a waggon through the snowe and extreme colde) And being come vnto Kiow, wee consulted with the Millenary, and other noble men there concerning our iourney. The fodder of the Tartarian horses. They told vs, that if wee carried those horses, which wee then had, vnto the Tartars, great store of snowe lying vpon the ground, they would all dye: because they knew not how to digge vp the grass vnder the snow, as the Tartarian horses doe, neither could there bee ought found for them to eate, the Tartars hauing neither hay nor strawe, nor any other fodder. We determined therefore to leaue them behind at Kiow with two seruants appointed to keepe them. And wee were constrayned to bestow gifts vpon the Millenary, that we might obtaine his fauour to allowe vs poste horses and a guide. Wherefore beginning our iourney the second daye after the feast of the Purification, wee arriued at the towne of Canow, which was immediately vnder the dominion of the Tartars. Michæas the malicious The gouernour whereof allowed vs horses and a guide vnto another towne, wherein wee found one Michæas to be gouernour, a man full of all malice and despight. Who notwithstanding, hauing receiued giftes at our handes, according to his maner conducted vs to the first guarde of the Tartars.

How he and his company were at the first receiued of the Tartars. Chap. 20.

Wherefore, the first saturday next after Ashwednesday, hauing about the Sunnes going downe, taken vp our place of rest, the armed Tartars came rushing vpon vs in vnciuil and horrible maner, being very inquisitiue of vs what maner of persons, or of what condition we were: and when we had answered them that we were the Popes Legates, receiuing some victuals at our handes, they immediately departed. Moreouer in the morning rising and proceeding on our iourney, the chiefe of them which were in the guard met with vs, demaunding why, or for what intent and purpose we came thither, and what business we had with them: Vnto whom we answered, We are the legates of our lord the Pope, who is the father and lord of the Christians. The content of the legacie. He hath sent vs as well vnto your Emperour, as to your princes, and all other Tartars for this purpose, because it is his pleasure, that all Christians should be in league with the Tartars, and should haue peace with them. It is his desire also that they should become great or in fauour with God in heauen, therfore he admonisheth them aswel by vs, as by his own letters, to become Christians, and to embrace the faith of our Lord Iesu Christ, because they could not otherwise be saued. Moreouer, he giues them to vndersand, that he much marueileth at their monstrous slaughters and massacres of mankind, and especially of Christians, but most of al of Hungarians, Mountaineirs, and Polonians, being al his subiects, hauing not iniuried them in ought, nor attempted to doe them iniurie. And because the Lord God is grieuously offended thereat, he aduiseth them from henceforth to beware of such dealing, and to repent them of that which they had done. He requesteth also, that they would write an answere vnto him, what they purpose to doe hereafter, and what their intention is. All which things being heard and vnderstood, the Tartars sayd that they would appoint vs poste horses and a guide vnto Corrensa. And immediately demanding gifts at our hands, they obtained them. Corrensa. Then receiuing the same horses, from which they dismounted, together with a guide wee tooke our iourney into Corrensa. The duke of the western marches. But they riding a swift pace, sent a messenger before vnto the sayd duke to signifie the message, which we had deliuered vnto them. This duke is gouernour of all of them, which lie in guard against the nations of the West, least some enemy might on the sudden and at vnawares breake in vpen them. And hee is said to haue 60000. men vnder him.

How they were receiued at the court of Corrensa. Chap. 21.

The maner of saluting the Tartarian princes. Being come therefore vnto his court, hee caused our tent to be placed farre from him, and sent his agents to demaund of vs with what we would incline vnto him, that is to say, what giftes we would offer, in doing our obeisance vnto him. Vnto whome wee answered, that our lord the Pope had not sent any giftes at all, because he was not certaine that wee should euer bee able to come at them: for we passed through most dangerous places. Notwithstanding, to our abilitie, we will honour him with some part of those things which haue bene, by the goodnes of God and the fauour of the Pope, bestowed vpon vs for our sustenance. Hauing receiued our gifts, they conducted vs vnto the Orda or tent of the duke, and we were instructed to bow thrise with our left knee before the doore of the tente, and in any case to beware, lest wee set our foote vpon the threshold of the sayd doore. And that after we were entred, wee should rehearse before the duke and all his nobles, the same wordes which wee had before sayd, kneeling vpon our knees. Then presented wee the letters of our lord the Pope: but our interpreter whome we had hired and brought with vs from Kiow was not sufficiently able to interpret them, neither was there any other esteemed to bee meete for the same purpose. Here certaine poste horses and three Tartars were appoynted for vs to conduct vs from hence with al speede vnto duke Bathy. Duke Bathy and his power This Bathy is the mightiest prince among them except the Emperour, and they are bound to obey him before all other princes. We began our iourney towards his court the first tuesday in Lent, and riding as fast as our horses could trot (for we had fresh horses almost thrise or foure times a day) we posted from morning till night, yea very often in the night season also, and yet could we not come at him before Maundie thursday. All this iourney we went through the land of Comania, which is al plaine ground, and hath foure mighty riuers running through it: Boristhenes Neper, on the side whereof towards Russia, duke Corrensa and Montij marched vp and downe, which Montij on the other side vpon the plaines is greater then he. The second is called Tanais. Don, vpon the banke whereof marcheth a certain prince hauing in marriage the sister of Bathy, his name is Tirbon. The third is called Rha. Volga, which is an exceeding great riuer, vpon the bankes whereof duke Bathy marcheth. The fourth is called Rhymnus. Iaec, vpon which two Millenaries doe march, on each side of the riuer one. All these, in the winter time, descend down to the sea, and in summer ascend backe by the bankes of the said riuers vp to the mountains. The sea last named is the Pontes Euxima. He is deceiued, for albeit Neper and Don run into Mare Maior: yet Volga and Iaec flowe into the Caspian Sea. Great Sea, out of which the arme of S. George proceedeth, which runneth by Constantinople. These riuers do abound with plenty of fishes, but especially Volga, and they exonerate themselues into the Grecian sea, which is called Mare maior. Ouer Neper we went many daies vpon the ice. Along the shore also of the Grecian sea we went very dangerously vpon the ice in sundry places, and that for many daies together. For about the shore the waters are frozen three leagues into the sea. But before we came into Bathy, two of our Tartars rode afore, to giue him intelligence of all the sayings which we had vttered in the presence of Corrensa.

How we were receiued at the court of the great prince Bathy. Chap. 22.

Moreouer, when we came vnto Bathy in the land of Comania, we were seated a good league distant from his tabernacles. A ceremony of passing betweene two fires. And when we should be conducted vnto his court, it was told vs that we must passe between two fires. But we would by no means be induced thereunto. Howbeit, they said vnto vs: you may passe through without al danger: for we would haue you to doe it for none other cause, but only that if you intend any mischiefe against our lord, or bring any poyson with you, fire may take away all euill. Vnto whom we answered, that to the end we might cleare ourselues from all suspition of any such matter, we were contented to passe through. Eldegay. When therefore we were come vnto the Orda, being demanded by his agent Eldegay with what present or gift we would do our obeisance? Wee gaue the same answere which we did at the court of Corrensa. The gifts being giuen and receiued, the causes of our iourney also being heard, they brought vs into the tabernacle of the prince, first bowing ourselues at the doore, and being admonished, as before, not to tread vpon the threshold. Bathy heareth the Legates. And being entred, we spake vnto him kneeling vpon our knees, and deliuered him our letters, and requested him to haue interpreters to translate them. Who accordingly on good friday were sent vnto vs, and we together with them, diligently translated our sayd letters into the Russian, Tartarian, and Saracen languages. This interpretation was presented vnto Bathy, which he read, and attentiuely noted. At length wee were conducted home againe vnto our owne lodging, howbeit no victuals were giuen vnto vs, except it were once a litle Millet in a dich, the first night of our comming. He behaues himselfe like a king. This Bathy caries himselfe very stately and magnificently, hauing porters and all officers after the maner of the Emperour, and sittes in a lofty seate or throne together with one of his wiues. The rest, namely, as well his brethren and sonnes, as other great personages sit vnderneath him in the midst vpon a bench, and others sit down vpon the ground, behinde him, but the men on the right hand and the women on the left. He hath very faire and large tentes of linnen cloth also, which were once the kings of Hungaria. Neither dare any man come into his tent (besides them of his owne family) vnles he be called, be he neuer so mighty and great, except perhaps it be knowen that it is his pleasure. Wee also, for the same cause, sate on the left hand; for so doe all ambassadors in going: but in returning from the Emperour, we were alwaies placed on the right hand. In the middest stands his table, neare vnto the doore of the tent, vpon the which there is drinke filled in golden and siluer vessels. Their custome of drinking at the sound of musicke. Neither doth Bathy at any time drinke, nor any other of the Tartarian princes, especially being in a publique place, but they haue singing and minstrilsie before them. And alwaies, when hee rides, there is a canopie or small tent caried ouer his head vpon the point of a iaueline. And so doe all the great princes of the Tartars, and their wiues also. The sayd Bathy is courteous enough vnto his owne men, and yet is hee had in great awe by them: he is most cruel in fight: he is exceedingly prudent and politique in warre, because he hath now continued a long time in martiall affaires.

How departing from Bathy, they passed through the land of Comania, and of the Kangittæ. Chap. 23.

Moreouer, vpon Easter euen, we were called vnto the tent, and there came forth to meete vs the foresaid agent of Bathy, saying on his masters behalfe, that we should go into their land, vnto the Emperor Cuyne, deteining certaine of our company with this pretence, that they would send them backe vnto the Pope, to whom we gaue letters of al our affaires to deliuer vnto him. But being come as farre as duke Montij aforesaid, there they were kept vntill our returne. They trauelled post from Easter day to the 22 of Iuly Eastward to Volga. Vpon Easter day, hauing said our praiers, and taken a slender breakfast, in the company of two Tartars, which were assigned vnto vs by Corensa, we departed with many teares, not knowing whether we went to death or to life. And we were so feeble in bodie, that we were scarce able to ride. For all that Lent through, our meat was Millet onely with a little water and salte. And so likewise vpon other fasting dayes. Neither had we ought to drinke, but snow melted in a skillet. And passing through Comania we rode most earnestly, hauing change of horses fiue times or oftener in a day, except when we went through deserts, for then we were allowed better and stronger horses, which could vndergoe the whole labour. And thus farre had we trauailed from the beginning of Lent vntill eight dayes after Easter. A description of Comania. The land of Comania on the North side immediately after Russia, hath the people called Morduym Byleri, that is, Bulgaria magna, the Bastarci, that is, Hungaria magna, next vnto the Bastarci, the Parositæ and the Samogetæ. The North Ocean. Next vnto the Samogetæ are those people which are sayd to haue dogges faces, inhabiting vpon the desert shores of the Ocean. On the South side it hath the Alani, the Circassi, the Gazari, Greece and Constantinople, also the land of Iberia, the Cathes, the Brutaches who are said to be Iewes shauing their heads all ouer, the landes also of Scythia, of Georgia, of Armenia, of Turkie. On the West side it hath Hungaria, and Russia. Also Comania is a most large and long countrey. The inhabitantes whereof called Comani the Tartars, slewe, some notwithstanding fled from them, and the rest were subdued vnder their bondage. But most of them that fled are returned againe. The lande of the Kangittæ. Afterward wee entred the lande of the Kangittæ, which in many places hath great scarcetie of waters, wherin there are but fewe inhabitants by reason of the foresayd defect of water. Ieroslaus duke of Russia. For this cause diuers of the seruants of Ieroslaus duke of Russia, as they were traueiling towards him into the land of Tartaria, died for thirst, in that desert. As before in Comania, so likewise in this countrey, wee found many skulles and bones of dead men lying vpon the earth like a dunghill. Through this countrey we were traueiling from the eight day after Easter vntil Ascension day. The inhabitants therof were Pagans, and neither they nor the Comanians vsed to till the ground, but liued onely vpon cattell, neither built they any houses but dwelled in tents. These men also haue the Tartars rooted out, and doe possesse and inhabite their countrey, howbeit, those that remained are reduced into their bondage.

How they came vnto the first court of the new Emperour. Chap. 24.

The land of the Bisermini. Moreouer, out of the land of the Kangittæ, we entered into the countrey of the Bisermini, who speake the language of Comania, but obserue the law of the Saracens. In this countrey we found innumerable cities with castles ruined, and many towns left desolate. Alti Soldanus. Huge mountaines. The lord of this country was called Soldan Alti, who with al his progenie, was destroyed by the Tartars. This countrey hath most huge mountains. On the South side it hath Ierusalem and Baldach, and all the whole countrey of the Saracens. Burin and Cadan. In the next territories adioyning doe inhabite two carnall brothers dukes of the Tartars, namely, Burin and Cadan, the sonnes of Thyaday, who was the sonne of Chingis Can. The North ocean. On the North side thereof it hath the land of the blacke Kythayans, and the Ocean. Syban brother vnto Bathy. In the same countrie Syban the brother of Bathy remaineth. Through this countrie we were traueiling from the feast of Ascension, vntil eight daies before the feast of S. Iohn Baptist. The blacke Kythayans. And then we entred into the land of the blacke Kythayans, in which the Emperour built an house, where we were called in to drinke. Also the Emperours deputy in that place caused the chiefe men of the citie and his two sonnes to daunce before vs. A small sea. Departing from hence, wee found a certaine small sea, vpon the shore whereof stands a little mountaine. In which mountaine is reported to be a hole, from whence, in winter time such vehement tempests of winds doe issue, that traueilers can scarcely, and with great danger passe by the same way. In summer time, the noise in deede of the winde is heard there, but it proceedeth gently out of the hole. Many dayes. Along the shores of the aforesaid sea we traueiled for the space of many dayes, which although it bee not very great, yet hath it many islandes, and wee passed by leauiug it on our left hande. Ordu cap. 13. In this lande dwelleth Ordu, whom wee sayde to bee auncient vnto all the Tartarian dukes. And it is the Orda or court of his father which hee inhabiteth, and one of his wiues beareth rule there. For it is a custome among the Tartars, that the Courts of Princes or of noble men are not dissolued, but alwayes some women are appointed to keepe and gouerne them, vpon whom certain gifts are bestowed, in like sort as they are giuen vnto their Lords. The first court of the Emperour. And so at length we arriued at the first court of the Emperour, wherein one of his wiues dwelt.

Howe they came vnto Cuyne himselfe, who was forthwith to be chosen Emperour. Chap. 25.

But because we had not as yet seene the Emperour, they would not inuite vs nor admit vs into his Orda, but caused good attendauce and entertainment, after the Tartars fashion, to be giuen vnto vs in oure owne tent, and they caused vs to stay there, and to refresh our selues with them one day. The land of Naymani. Departing thence vpon the euen of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, wee entered into the land of the Naymani, who are Pagans. But vpon the very feast day of the saide Apostles, there fel a mightie snowe in that place, and wee had extreame colde weather. This lande is full of mountaines, and colde beyonde measure, and there is little plaine ground to bee seene. These two nations last mentioned vsed not to till their grounde, but, like vnto the Tartars, dwelt in tents, which the sayde Tartars had destroyed. Through this countrey wee were trauailing manie dayes. Then entered wee into the lande of the Mongals, whome wee call Tartars. Through the Tartars lande wee continued our trauaile (as wee suppose) for the space of some three weekes, riding alwayes hastily and with speede, and vpon the day of Marie Magdalene we arriued at the court of Cuyne the Emperour elect. The 22. of Iuly. But therefore did we make great haste all this way, because our Tartarian guides were straightly commaunded to bring vs vnto the court Imperiall with all speede, which court hath beene these if many yeeres, ordained for the election of the Emperour. Wherefore rising earely, wee trauailed vntil night without eating of any thing, and oftentimes wee came so late vnto our lodging, that we had no time to eate the same night, but that which we should haue eaten ouer night, was giuen vs in the morning. And often changing our horses, wee spared no Horse-fleshe, but rode swiftly and without intermission, as fast as our horses could trot.

How Cuyne enterteined the Minorite Friers. Chap. 26.

The curtesie of Cuyne towards Ambassadors But when wee were come vnto the court of Cuyne, hee caused (after the Tartars manner) a Tent and all expenses necessarie to bee prouided for vs. And his people entreated vs with more regarde and courtesie, then they did anie other Ambassadours. Howbeeit wee were not called before his presence, because hee was not as yet elected, nor admitted vnto his empire. Notwithstanding, the interpretation of the Popes letters, and the message which we deliuered, were sent vnto him by the foresaid Bathy. And hauing stayed there fiue or sixe dayes, hee sent vs vnto his mother, vnder whome there was mainteyned a verie solemne and royall court. The tent roial And being come thither, we saw an huge tent of fine white cloth pitched, which was, to our iudgement, of so great quantitie, that more then two thousand men might stand within it, and round about it there was a wall of planks set vp, painted with diuers images. A generall assemblie Wee therefore with our Tartars assigned to attende vpon vs, tooke our iourney thither, and there were all the Dukes assembled, eche one of them riding vp and downe with his traine ouer the hilles and dales. The first day they were all clad in white, but the second in skarlet robes. Then came Cuyne vnto the saide tent. Moreouer, the third day they were all in blew robes, and the fourth in most rich robes of Baldakin cloth. In the wall of boardes, about the tent aforesaid, were two great gates, by one of the which gates, the Emperour only was to enter, and at that gate there was no gard of men appointed to stand, although it stood continually open, because none durst go in or come out the same way: all that were admitted, entred by another gate, at which there stood watchmen, with bowes, swords, and arrowes. And whosoeuer approached vnto the tent beyond the bounds and limit assigned, being caught, was beaten, but if he fled, he was shot at with arrowes or iron. There were many to our iudgement, had vpon their bridles, trappers, saddles, and such like furniture, to the value of 20 markes in pure gold. The foresaid Dukes (as we thinke) communed together within the tent, and consulted about the election of their Emperor. But all the residue of the people were placed farre away without the walles of board, and in this maner they staied almost til noone. The banquet of the Nobles. Then began they to drink mares milk, and so continued drinking til euen tide, and that in so great quantity, as it was wonderfull. And they called vs in vnto them, and gaue vs of their ale, because we could not drink their mares milke. And this they did vnto vs in token of great honor. But they compelled vs to drink so much, that in regard of our customary diet, wee coulde by no means endure it. Whereupon, giuing them to vnderstand, that it was hurtful vnto vs, they ceassed to compel vs any more. Ieroslaus Duke of Susdal. Without the doore stoode Duke Ieroslaus of Susdal, in Russia, and a great many Dukes of the Kythayans, and of the Solangi. The two sonnes also of the king of Georgia, the ligier of the Caliph of Baldach, who was a Soldan, and (as we thinke) aboue ten Soldans of the Saracens beside. Ambassadors of sundry nations. And, as it was tolde vs by the agents, there were more than 4000. ambassadors, partly of such as paide tributes, and such as presented gifts, and other Soldans, and Dukes, which came to yeeld themselues, and such as the Tartars had sent for, and such as were gouernours of lands. All these were placed without the lists, and had drinke giuen vnto them. But almost continually they all of them gaue vs and Duke Ieroslaus the vpper hand, when we were abroad in their companie.

How he was exalted to his Empire. Chap. 27.

The beginnings of Cuyne his empire. And to our remembrance, we remained there, about the space of foure weekes. The election was to our thinking there celebrated, but it was not published and proclaimed there. And it was greatly suspected so to be, because alwayes when Cuyne came forth out of the tent, he had a noyse of musicke, and was bowed vnto, or honoured with faire wands, hauing purple wooll vpon the tops of them, and that, so long as he remained abroad: which seruice was performed to none of the other Dukes. Syra Orda. The foresaid tent or court is called by them Syra Orda. The golden Orda. Departing thence, wee all with one accord rode 3 or 4 leagues vnto another place, where, in a goodly plaine, by a riuers side, betweene certaine mountaines, there was another tent erected, which was called the golden Orda. For there was Cuyne to be placed in the throne Emperiall, vpon the day of the Assumption of our Ladie The 15th of August.. But, for the abundance of haile which fell at the same time, as is aboue said, the matter was deferred. There was also a tent erected vpon pillars, which were couered with plates of golde, and were ioyned vnto other timber with golden nailes. Wollen cloth. It was couered aboue with Baldakin cloth, but there was other cloth spread ouer that, next vnto the ayre. Wee abode there vnto the feast of Saint Bartholomew, what time there was assembled an huge multitude standing with their faces towards the South. And a certaine number of them beeing a stones cast distant from the residue, making continuall prayers, and kneeling vpon their knees, proceeded farther and farther towards the South. Howbeit wee, not knowing whether they vsed inchantments, or whether they bowed their knees to God or to some other, woulde not kneele vpon the grounde with them. And hauing done so a long time, they returned to the tent, and placed Cuyne in his throne imperiall, and his Dukes bowed their knees before him. Afterwarde the whole multitude kneeled downe in like maner, except our selues, for wee were none of his subiects.

Of his age and demeanour, and of his seale. Chap. 28.

This Emperour, when hee was exalted vnto his gouernment, seemed to bee about the age of fourty or fourty fiue yeeres. He was of a meane stature, very wise and politike, and passing serious and graue in all his demeanour. A rare thing it was, for a man to see him laugh or behaue himself lightly, as those Christians report, which abode continually with him. His inclination to Christianitie. Certaine Christians of his familie earnestly and strongly affirmed vnto vs, that he himselfe was about to become a Christian. A token and argument whereof was, that hee reteined diuers Cleargie men of the Christians. Hee had likewise at all times a Chappell of Christians, neere vnto his great Tent, where the Clearkes (like vnto other Christians, and according to the custome of the Græcians) doe sing publiquely and openly, and ring belles at certaine houres, bee there neuer so great a multitude of Tartars, or of other people in presence. And yet none of their Dukes doe the like. His maiestie. It is the manner of the Emperour neuer to talke his owne selfe with a stranger, though he be neuer so great, but heareth and answeareth by a speaker. And when any of his subiects (howe great soeuer they bee) are in propounding anie matter of importaunce vnto him, or in hearing his answeare, they continue kneeling vpon their knees vnto the ende of their conference. Neither is it lawfull for any man to speake of any affaires, after they haue beene determined of by the Emperour. The sayde Emperour, hath in his affaires both publike and priuate, an Agent, and Secretary of estate, with Scribes and all other Officials, except aduocates. A lawlesse authoritie. For, without the noyse of pleading, or sentence giuing, all things are done according to the Emperours will and pleasure. Other Tartarian princes do the like in those things which belong vnto them. Warre intended against all Christians. But, be it known vnto al men, that whilest we remained at the said Emperours court, which hath bin ordained and kept for these many yeeres, the sayde Cuyne being Emperour new elect, together with al his princes, erected a flag of defiance against the Church of God, and Romane empire, and against al Christian kingdomes and nationes of the West, vnlesse peraduenture (which God forbid) they will condescend vnto those things, which he hath inioined vnto our lord the pope, and to all potentates and people of the Christians, namely, that they wil become obedient vnto him. For, except Christendom, there is no land vnder heauen, which they stande in feare of, and for that cause they prepare themselues to battel against vs. This Emperors father, namely Occoday, was poisoned to death, which is the cause why they haue for a short space absteined from warre. But their intent and purpose is (as I haue aboue said) to subdue the whole world vnto themselues, as they were commanded by Chingis Can. Hence it is that the Emperor in his letters writeth after this maner: The power of God, and Emperour of all men. Also, vpon his seale, there is this posie ingrauen: God in heauen, and Cuyne Can vpon earth, the power of God: the seale of the Emperour of all men.

Of the admission of the Friers and Ambassadours vnto the Emperour. Chap. 29.

Cuyne heareth the Legates. In the same place where the Emperour was established into his throne, we were summoned before him. And Chirigay, his chiefe secretary hauing written down our names, and the names of them that sent vs, with the name of the Duke of Solangi, and of others, cried out with a loude voice, rehearsing the said names before the Emperour, and the assembly of his Dukes. Which beeing done, ech one of vs bowed his left knee foure times, and they gaue vs warning not to touch the threshold. And after they had searched vs most diligently for kniues, and could not find any about vs, we entred in at the doore vpon the East side: because no man dare presume to enter at the West Doore, but the Emperour onely. In like maner, euery Tartarian Duke entreth on the West side into his tent. Howbeit the inferiour sort doe not greatly regard such ceremonies. This therefore was the first time, when we entred into the Emperours tent in his presence, after he was created Emperour. Likewise all other ambassadours were there receiued by him, but very fewe were admitted into his tent. Gifts presented vnto him. And there were presented vnto him such abundance of gifts by the saide Ambassadours, that they seemed to be infinite, namely in Samites, robes of purple, and of Baldakin cloth, silke girdles wrought with golde, and costly skinnes, with other gifts also. Likewise there was a certaine Sun Canopie, or small tent (which was to bee carried ouer the Emperours head) presented vnto him, being set full of precious stones. And a gouernour of one Prouince brought vnto him a companie of camels couered with Baldakins. They had saddles also vpon their backs, with certaine other instruments, within the which were places for men to sitte vpon. Also they brought many horses and mules vnto him furnished with trappes and caparisons, some being made of leather, and some of iron. And we were demanded whether we would bestow any gifts vpon him or no? But wee were not of abilitie so to doe, hauing in a maner spent all our prouision. 500 Carts ful of treasure. There were also vpon an hill standing a good distance from the tents, more than 500. carts, which were all ful of siluer and of gold, and silke garments. And they were all diuided betweene the Emperour and his Dukes, and euery Duke bestowed vpon his owne followers what pleased him.

Of the place where the Emperour and his mother tooke their leaues one of another, and of Ieroslaus Duke of Russia. Chap. 30.

A tent of purple. Departing thence, we came vnto another place, where a wonderfull braue tent, all of red purple, giuen by the Kythayans, was pitched. Wee were admitted into that also, and alwaies when we entred, there was giuen vnto vs ale and wine to drinke, and sodden fleshe (when we would) to eate. A throne of Iuorie. There was also a loftie stage built of boords, where the Emperour’s throne was placed, being verie curiously wrought out of iuorie, wherein also there was golde and precious stones, and (as we remember) there were certain degrees or staires to ascend vnto it. And it was round vpon the top. There were benches placed about the saide throne, whereon the ladies sate towarde the left hand of the Emperour vpon stooles, (but none sate aloft on the right hand) and the Dukes sate vpon benches below, the said throne being in the midst. Certaine others sate behind the Dukes, and euery day there resorted great companie of Ladies thither. The three tents whereof we spake before, were very large, but the Emperour his wiues had other great and faire tentes made of white felt. This was the place where the Emperour parted companie with his mother: for she went into one part of the land; and the Emperour into another to execute iustice. For there was taken a certaine Concubine of this Emperour, which had poysoned his father to death, at the same time when the Tartars armie was in Hungarie, which, for the same cause returned home. The death of Occoday reuenged. Moreouer, vpon the foresaide Concubine, and many other of her confederats sentence of iudgement was pronounced, and they were put to death. At the same time Ieroslaus the great Duke of Soldal, which is a part of Russia, deceased. For being (as it were for honours sake) inuited to eate and drinke with the Emperours mother, and immediately after the banquet, returning vnto his lodging, he fel sicke, and within seuen dayes, died. And after his death, his body was of a strange blew colour, and it was commonly reported, that the said Duke was poisoned, to the ende that the Tartars might free and totally possess his Dukedome.

How the Friers coming at length vnto the Emperour, gaue, and receiued letters. Chap. 31.

Coyne dissembleth with the Legates. To be short, the Tartars brought vs vnto their Emperor, who when he had heard of them, that we were come vnto him, commanded that we should return, vnto his mother. For he was determined the next day, (as it is abouesaid) to set vp a flag of defiance against all the countreis of the West, which he would haue vs in no case to know. Wherefore returning, we staid some few dayes with his mother, and so returned backe again vnto him. With whom we continued for the space of one whole moneth in such extreme hunger and thirst, that we could scarce hold life and soule together. For the prouision allowed vs for foure dayes, was scantly sufficient for one day. Neither could we buy vs any sustenance, because the market was too farre off. Cosmas a Russian. Howbeit the Lorde prouided for vs a Russian goldsmith, named Cosmas, who being greatly in the Emperours fauour, procured vs some sustenance. This man shewed vnto vs the throne of the Emperour, which hee had made, before it was set in the proper place, and his seale, which he also had framed. The message of Chingay. Afterward the Emperor sent for vs, giuing vs to vnderstand by Chingay his chief Secretary, that wee should write downe our messages & affaires, and should deliuer them vnto him. Which thing we performed accordingly. After many daies he called for vs againe, demanding whether there were any with our Lord the Pope, which vnderstood the Russian, the Saracen, or the Tartarian language? To whom we answered, that we had none of those letters or languages. Howbeit, that there were certaine Saracens in the land, but inhabiting a great distance from our Lord the Pope. And wee saide, that wee thought it most expedient, that when they had written their mindes in the Tartarian language, and had interpreted the meaning thereof vnto vs, we should diligently translate it into our own tongue, and so deliuer both the letter and the translation thereof vnto our Lord the Pope. Then departed they from vs, and went vnto the Emperour. And after the day of S. Martine, we were called for againe. Then Kadac, principal agent for the whole empire, and Chingay, and Bala, with diuers other Scribes, came vnto vs, and interpreted the letter word for word. And hauing written it in Latine, they caused vs to interprete vnto them eche sentence, to wit if we had erred in any word. And when both letters were written, they made vs to reade them ouer twise more, least we should haue mistaken ought. For they said vnto vs: Take heed that ye vnderstand all things throughly, for if you should not vnderstand the whole matter aright, it might breed some inconuenience. They wrote the said letters also in the Saracen tongue that there might be some found in our dominions which could reade and interprete them, if need should require.

How they were licensed to depart. Chap. 32.

The Legates are loth to haue any Ambassadours sent from the Tartars to the Christians. And (as our Tartars told vs) the Emperour was purposed to send his ambassadors with vs. Howbeit, he was desirous (as we thought) that we our selues should craue that fauour at his hands. And when one of our Tartars being an ancient man, exhorted vs to make the said petition, we thought it not good for vs, that the Emperour should send his ambassadours. Wherefore we gaue him answere, that it was not for vs to make any such petition, but if it pleased the Emperour of his owne accord to send them, we would diligently (by Gods assistance) see them conducted in safetie. Howbeit, we thought it expedient for vs, that they should not goe, and that for diuers causes First, because we feared, least they, seeing the dissentions and warres which are among vs should be the more encouraged to make warre against vs. Secondly, we feared, that they would be insteade of spies and intelligencers in our dominions. Thirdly, we misdoubted that they would be slaine by the way. For our nations be arrogant and proud. For when as those seruants (which at the request of the Cardinall, attended vpon vs, namely the legates of Almaine) returned vnto him in the Tartars attire, they were almost stoned in the way, by the Dutch, and were compelled to put off those garments. And it is the Tartars custome, neuer to bee reconciled vnto such as haue slaine their Ambassadours, till they haue reuenged themselues. Fourthly, least they should bee taken from vs by mayne force. Fiftly, because there could come no good by their ambassade, for they were to haue none other commission, or authoritie, but onely to deliuer their Emperours letter vnto the Pope, and to the Princes of Christendome, which very same letters wee our selues had, and we knew right well, that much harme might ensue thereof. Wherefore, the third day after this, namely, vpon the feast of Saint Brice Nouember 13., they gaue vs our passe-port and a Letter sealed with the Emperours owne seale, sending vs vnto the Emperours mother, who gaue vnto eche of vs a gowne made of Foxe skinnes, with the furre on the outside, and a piece of purple. They are rewarded with gifts. And our Tartars stole a yard out of euery one of them. And out of that which was giuen vnto our seruant, they stole the better halfe. Which false dealing of theirs we knew well enough, but would make no words thereof.

How they returned homewards. Chap. 33.

The sore iourneys of the legates in returning. Then taking our iourney to returne, we trauailed all Winter long, lying in the deserts oftentimes vpon the snow, except with our feete wee made a piece of ground bare to lye vpon. For there were no trees, but the plaine champion6 field. And oftentimes in the morning, we found our selues all couered with snow driuen ouer vs by the winde. Bathy. And so trauailing till the feast of our Lordes Ascension, we arriued at the court of Bathy. Of whom when wee had enquired, what answere he would send vnto our Lord the Pope, he said that he had nothing to giue vs in charge, but onely that we should diligently deliuer that which the Emperour had written. And, hauing receued letters for our safe conduct, the thirteenth day after Pentecost, being Saterday, wee were proceeded as farre as Montij, with whome our foresaide associates and seruants remained, which were withheld from vs, and we caused them to be deliuered vnto vs. Corrensa. From hence wee trauailed vnto Corrensa, to whom, requiring gifts the second time at our hands, we gaue none, because we had not wherewithall. And hee appointed vs two Comanians, which liued among the common people of the Tartars, to be our guides vnto the citie of Kiow in Russia. Howbeit one of our Tartars parted not from vs, till we were past the vtmost gard of the Tartars. But the other guides, namely the Comanians, which were giuen vs by Corrensa, brought vs from the last garde vnto the citie of Kiow, in the space of sixe dayes. And there we arriued fifteene dayes before the feast of Saint Iohn Baptist. Iune 8. How they were welcomed at their returne. Moreouer, the Citizens of Kiow hauing intelligence of our approach, came foorth all of them to meet vs, with great ioy. For they reioyced ouer vs, as ouer men that had bene risen from death to life. So likewise they did vnto vs throughout all Russia, Polonia, and Bohemia. Basilius and Daniel Princes. Daniel and his brother Wasilico made vs a royall feast, and interteined vs with them against our willes for the space Of eight dayes. In the mean time, they with their Bishops, and other men of account, being in consultation together about those matters which we had propounded vnto them in our iourney towards the Tartars, answered vs with common consent, saying: that they would holde the Pope for their speciall Lord and Father, and the Church of Rome for their Lady & mistresse, confirming likewise al things which they had sent concerning this matter, before our comming, by their Abbate. And for the same purpose, they sent their Ambassadours and letters by vs also, vnto our Lord the Pope.

2Vincentius Belvacensis, or of Beauvais who died in 1264 was a favourite of Louis IX of France, who supplied him with whatever books he required. He thus obtained plenty of material for his Speculum Majus (printed at Douay in 1624, 10 vols. in 4, folio), a badly chosen and ill-arranged collection of extracts of all kinds. It is in four parts the first called Speculum naturale the second, Speculum doctrinale, the third Speculum morale and the fourth Speculum Historiale.

3Or Cathay.

4 Bishop of Basle, was sent by Charlemagne as ambassador to Nicephorus Emperor of Constantinople, in 811. He published an account of his journey which he called his Itinerarium. There is a curious capitulary of his, inserted in Lucas of Acheri’s Spicilegium.

5 Better known as Fra Paolo, or Paul Sarpi, the citizen monk of Venice who has been said to have been “a Catholic in general, but a Protestant in particular”. His attempted assassination on the Piazza of St Mark at Venice by order of Paul V, the Pope is still one of the fauourite legends of the City of Gondolas. He is said to have discouered the circulation of the blood. He died in 1623. (See Native Races of America, in Goldsmid’s Bibliothica Curiosa, p 17).

6Champagne (Fr.) Open

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55