Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The voyage, wherein Osep Napea the Moscouite Ambassadour returned home into his countrey, with his entertainement at his arriuall, at Colmogro: and a large description of the maners of the Countrey.

The twelfth of Maye, in the yeare of our Lorde 1557 there departed from Grauesend, foure good shippes well appointed for Marchants, which were presently bound into the Baye of S. Nicholas in Russia, with which shippes was transported, or caried home, one Osep Gregoriwich Napea, who was sent Messenger from the Emperour and great Duke of Moscouia. The foure ships were these, whose names follow, viz.

The Primerose Admirall.
The Iohn Euangelist Viceadmirall.
The Anne and the Trinitie Attendants.

The 13 of Iuly, the foresayd foure shippes came to an anker in the Baye of S. Nicholas, befor an Abbey, called the Abbey of S. Nicholas, whereas the sayde Messenger, Osep Gregoriwich Napea went a shoare, and as many English men as came to serue the Emperour remained with him at the Abbey for the space of sixe daies, vntill he had gotten all his things a shoare, and laden the same in the barkes, to goe vp the riuer Dwina, vnto Vologhda, which is by water 1000 verstes, and euery verste is about three quarters of an English mile.

Presents vsed in Russia are all for the most part of victuals. The 20 of Iuly, we departed from S. Nicholas, and the 24 of the same, we came to Colmogro, where we remained eight daies and the sayd Messenger was there of all his acquaintance welcommed home, and had presents innumerable sent vnto him, but it was nothing but meate, and drinke. Some sent white bread, some rie bread, and some buttered bread and pancakes, beefe, mutton, bacon, egges, butter, fishes, swannes, geese, duckes, hennes, and all maner of victuals, both fish and flesh, in the best maner, that the rude people could deuise: for among them, these presents are highly esteemed.

The 29 of Iuly, we departed from Colmogro, and the 14 of August we came to Vstiug, where we remained one day, and changed our barkes or boates.

The 27 of August, we came to Vologhda, where we remained 4 dayes vnlading the barkes, and lading our chestes and things in small waggons, with one horse in a piece, which in their tongue are called Telegos, and with these Telegoes they caried our stuffe from Vologhda vnto the Mosco, which is 500 verstes: and we were vpon the same way 14 daies: for we went no faster then the Telegoes.

The citie of Boghar. There are three great townes betweene the Mosco and Vologhda, that is to say, Yeraslaue, Rostaue, and Pereslaue. Vpon one side of Yeraslaue runneth a famous riuer which is called Volga. It runneth into the Caspian sea, and it diuideth it selfe before it come into the Mare Caspium, in 50 parts or more, and neere vnto the same sea there stands a great Citie, called Boghar, the inhabitants of which are called by the same name.

The people of the said Citie doe traffique vnto the Citie of Mosco: their commodities are spices, muske, ambergreese, rubarbe, with other drugs. They bring also many furres, which they buy in Siberia coming towards the Mosco: the sayd people are of the sect of Mahomet.

They arrived at Mosco. The 12 of September we came vnto the citie of Mosco, where we were brought by Napea, and two of the Emperours gentlemen vnto a large house, where euery one of vs had his chamber appointed.

The 14 of September we were commanded to come vnto the Emperour, and immediately after our coming we were brought into his presence, vnto whom each of vs did his duetie accordingly, and kissed his right hand, his maiestie sitting in his chaire of estate, with his crowne on his bead, and a staffe of goldsmiths worke in his left hand well garnished with rich and costly stones: and when we had all kissed his hand and done our dueties, his maiestie did declare by his interpreter that we were all welcome vnto him, and into his countrey, and thereupon willed vs to dine with him: that day we gaue thanks vnto his maiestie, and so departed vntil the dinner was readie.

When dinner time approached, we were brought againe into the Emperour’s dining chamber, where we were set on one side of a table that stoode ouer against the Emperours table, to the end that he might wel behold vs al: and when we came into the foresayd chamber, we found there readie set these tables following.

First at the vpper end of one table were set the Emperour his maiestie, his brother, and the Emperour of Cazan, which is prisoner. About two yardes lower sate the Emperour of Cazan his sonne, being a child of fiue yeeres of age, and beneath him sate the most part of the Emperors noble men.

And at another table neere vnto the Emperours table, there was set a Monke all alone, which was in all points as well serued as the Emperour. At another table sate another kinde of people called Chirkasses,219 which the Emperour entertaineth for men of warre to serue against his enemies. Of which people and of their countrey, I will hereafter make mention.

All the tables aforesayde were couered onely with salt and bread, and after that we had sitten awhile, the Emperour sent vnto euery one of vs a piece of bread, which were given and deliuered vnto euery man seuerally by these words: The Emperour and great Duke giueth the bread this day, and in like manner three or foure times before dinner was ended, he sent vnto euery man drinke, which was giuen by these words, The Emperour and great Duke giueth thee to drinke. All the tables aforesayd were serued in vessels of pure and fine golde, as well basons and ewers, platters, dishes and sawcers, as also of great pots, with an innumerable sorte of small drinking pottes of diuers fashions, whereof a great number were set with stone. As for costly meates I haue many times seene better: but for change of wines, and diuers sorts of meads, it was wonderfull: for there was not left at any time so much void roome on the table, that one cuppe more might haue bin set, and as far as I could perceiue, all the rest were in the like maner serued.

In the dinner time, there came in sixe singers which stood in the midst of the chamber, and their faces towards the Emperour, who sang there before dinner was ended three seuerall times, whose songs or voyces delighted our eares little or nothing.

The Emperour neuer putteth morsell of meate in his mouth, but he first blesseth it himselfe, and in like maner as often as he drinketh: for after his maner he is very religious, and he esteemeth his religious men aboue his noble men.

This dinner continued about the space of fiue houres, which being ended, and the tables taken vp, we came into the midst of the chamber, where we did reuerence vnto the Emperors maiestie, and then he deliuered vnto euery one of vs with his own hands a cup of mead, which when euery man had receiued and drunke a quantity thereof, we were licensed to depart, and so ended that dinner. And because the Emperour would haue vs to be mery he sent to our lodging the same Euening three barrels of meade of sundry sortes, of the quantitie in all of one hogshed.

The 16 day of September the Emperour sent home vnto our lodging for euery of vs a Tartarie horse to ride from place to place as we had occasion, for that the streetes of Mosco are very fowle and mirie in the Summer.

M. Standish doctor of Phisicke. The 18 of September there were giuen vnto master Standish doctor in Physick, and the rest of our men of our occupations, certaine furred gownes of branched veluet and gold, and some of red damaske, of which master Doctors gowne was furred with Sables, and the rest were furred some with white Ermine, and some with gray Squirel, and all faced and edged round about with blacke beauer.

The 1 of October in the morning we were commanded to come vnto the Emperors court, and when we came thither, we were brought vnto the Emperor vnto whom we did our duties accordingly: whereupon he willed vs to dine with him that day, and so with thanks vnto his maiestie, we departed vntill dinner time, at which time we came, and found the tables couered with bread and salt as at the first: and after that we were all set vpon one side of the table, the Emperors maiestie according to his accustomed maner sent vnto euery man a piece of bread by some of the Dukes which attended on his highnesse.

And whereas the 14 of September we were serued in vessels of gold, we were now serued in vessels of siluer, and yet not so abundantly as was the first of gold: they brought drinke vnto the table in siluer boles which conteined at the least sixe gallons a piece, and euerie man had a smal siluer cuppe to drinke in, and another to dip or to take his drinke out of the great boll withall: the dinner being ended, the Emperour gaue vnto euery one of vs a cup with meade, which when we had receiued, we gaue thanks and departed.

Moreouer, whensoeuer the Emperors pleasure is that any stranger shall dine with him, he doth send for them in the morning, and when they come before him, he with his owne mouth biddeth them to dinner, and this order he alwaies obserueth.

The 10 of October the Emperour gaue vnto M. Standish 70 rubles in money, and to the rest of our men of occupations 30 rubles apiece.

The 3 of Nouember we dined againe with the Emperour, where we were serued as before.

Long Dinners. The 6 of December being S. Nicholas day, we dined againe at the Emperours, for that is one of the principall feasts which the Moscouites hold: we were serued in siluer vessels and ordered in all points as before, and it was past 7 of the clocke at night before dinner was ended.

The Emperours maiestie vseth euery yeare in the moneth of December, to haue all his ordinance that is in the citie of Mosco caried into the field which is without the Suburbs of the citie, and there to haue it planted and bent vpon two houses of Wood filled within with earth: against which two houses there were two faire white markes set vp, at which markes they discharge all their ordinance, to the ende the Emperour may see what his Gunners can doe. Ordinance in Russia. They haue faire ordinance of brasse of all sortes, bases, faulcons, minions, sakers, culuerings, cannons double and royall, basiliskes long and large, they haue sixe great pieces whose shot is a yard of height, which shot a man may easily discerne as they flee: they haue also a great many of morter pieces or potguns, out of which pieces they shoote wild fire.220

A yerely triumph. The 12 of December the Emperours Maiestie and all his nobility came into the field on horsebacke, in most goodly order, hauing very fine Iennets and Turkie horses garnished with gold and siluer abundantly. The Emperors maiestie hauing on him a gowne of rich tissue, and a cap of skarlet on his head, set not only with pearles, but also with a great number of rich and costly stones: his noble men were all in gownes of cloth of gold, which did ride before him in good order by 3. and 3. and before them there went 5000 harquebusiers, which went by 5 and 5 in a rank in very good order, euery of them carying his gun vpon his left shoulder, and his match in his right hand, and in this order they marched into the field whereas the foresayd ordinance was planted.

And before the Emperors maiestie came into the field, there was a certaine stage made of small poles which was a quarter of a mile long, and about threescore yardes off from the stage of poles were certaine pieces of ice of two foot thicke, and six foote high set vp, which ranke of ice was as long as the stage of poles, and as soone as the Emperors maiestie came into the field, the harquebusiers went vpon the stage of poles where they settled themselues in order. And when the Emperors maiestie was setled where he would be, and where he might see all the ordinance discharged and shot off, the harquebusiers began to shoot off at the banke of ice, as though it had bin in any skirmish or battel, who ceased not shooting vntill they had beaten all the ice flat on the ground.

After the handguns, they shot off their wild fire vp into the aire, which was a goodly sight to behold. And after this, they began to discharge the smal pieces of brasse, beginning with the smallest and so orderly bigger and bigger, vntill the last and biggest. When they had shot them all off, they began to charge them againe, and so shot them al off 3 times after the first order, beginning with the smallest and ending with the greatest. And note that before they had ended their shooting, the 2 houses that they shot vnto were beaten in pieces, and yet they were strongly made of Wood and filled with earth, being at the least 30 foote thicke. This triumph being ended, the Emperour departed and rode home in the same order that he came foorth into the field. The ordinance is discharged euery yeare in the moneth of December, according to the order before mentioned.

On Christmas day we were all willed to dine with the Emperors Maiestie, where for bread, meat and drinke, we were serued as at other times before: but for goodly and rich plate, we neuer saw the like or so much before. There dined that day in the Emperors presence aboue 500 strangers, and two hundred Russes, and all they were serued in vessels of gold, and that as much as could stand one by another vpon the tables. Besides this there were foure cupbords garnished with goodly plate both of gold and siluer. Among the which there were 12 barrels of siluer, conteining aboue 12 gallons a piece, and at each end of euery barrell were 6 hoopes of fine gold: this dinner continued about sixe houres.

The hallowing of the riuer of Mosco. Euery yeare vpon the 12 day they vse to blesse or sanctifie the riuer Moscua, which runneth through the citie of Mosco, after this maner.

First they make a square hole in the ice about 3 fadoms large euery way, which is trimmed about the sides and edges with white boords. Then about 9 of the clocke they come out of the church with procession towards the riuer in this wise.

First and foremost there goe certaine young men with waxe tapers burning, and one carying a great lanterne: then follow certaine banners, then the crosse, then the images of our Lady, of S. Nicholas, and of other Saints, which images men carie vpon their shoulders: after the images follow certaine priests to the number of 100 or more: after them the Metropolitan who is led betweene two priests, and after the Metropolitan came the Emperour with his crowne vpon his head, and after his maiestie all his noble men orderly. Thus they followed the procession vnto the water, and when they came vnto the hole that was made, the priests set themselues in order round about it. And at one side of the same poole there was a scaffold of boords made, vpon which stood a faire chaire in which the Metropolitan was set, but the Emperours maiestie stood vpon the ice.

After this the priests began to sing, to blesse and to sense, and did their seruice, and so by that time that they had done, the water was holy, which being sanctified, the Metropolitan tooke a litle thereof in his hands, and cast it on the Emperour, likewise vpon certaine of the Dukes, and then they returned againe to the church with the priests that sate about the water: but that pressse that there was about the water when the Emperor was gone, was wonderful to behold, for there came aboue 5000 pots to be filled of that water: for that Moscouite which hath no part of that water, thinks himselfe vnhappy.

And very many went naked into the water, both men and women and children: after the presse was a litle gone, the Emperours Iennets and horses were brought to drinke of the same water, and likewise many other men brought their horses thither to drinke, and by that means they make their horses as holy as themselues.

All these ceremonies being ended, we went to the Emperour to dinner, where we were serued in vessels of siluer, and in all other points as we had bene beforetime.

The Russes Lent. The Russes begin their Lent alwaies 8 weekes before Easter: the first weeke they eate egs, milke, cheese and butter, and make great cheare with pancakes and such other things, one friend visiting another, and from the same Sunday vntil our Shrofesunday there are but few Russes sober, but they are drunke day by day, and it is accompted for no reproch or shame among them.

The next weeke being our first weeke of Lent, or our clensing weeke, beginning our Shrofesunday, they make and keepe a great fast. It is reported, and the people do verily beleeue that the Metropolitan neither eateth nor drinketh any maner of thing for the space of seuen dayes, and they say that there are many religious men which doe the like.

The Emperors Maiestie eateth but one morsel of bread, and drinketh but one draught of drinke once in the day during that weeke, and all men that are of any reputation come not out of their houses during that time, so that the streetes are almost void of company, sauing a few poore folkes which wander to and fro. The other sixe weeks they keepe as we do ours, but not one of them will eate either butter, cheese, egs or milke.

On Palme Sunday they haue a very solemne procession in this maner following.

First, they haue a tree of a good bignesse which is made fast vpon two sleds, as though it were growing there, and it is hanged with apples, raisins, figs and dates, and with many other fruits abundantly. In the midst of the same tree stand 5 boyes in white vestures, which sing in the tree before the procession: after this there followed certaine yong men with waxe tapers in their hands burning, and a great lanterne that al the light should not go out: after them followed two with long banners, and sixe with round plates set vpon long staues: the plates were of copper very ful of holes and thin: then followed 6 carying painted images vpon their shoulders, after the images followed certaine priests to the number of 100 or more, with goodly vestures, whereof 10 or 12 are of white damaske set and imbrodered round about with faire and orient pearles, as great as pease, and among them certaine Sapphires and other stones. After them followed the one halfe of the Emperours noble men: then cometh the Emperors maiestie and the Metropolitane, after this maner.

First, there is a horse, couered with white linen cloth down to the ground, his eares being made long with the same cloth like to an asses ears. Vpon this horse the Metropolitane sitteth sidelong, like a woman: in his lappe lieth a faire booke, with a crucifix of Goldsmiths worke vpon the couer which he holdeth fast with his left hand, and in his right hand he hath a crosse of gold, with which crosse he ceaseth not to blesse the people as he rideth.

There are to the number of 30 men which spread abroad their garments before the horse, and as soone as the horse is past ouer any of them, they take them vp againe and run before, and spread them againe, so that the horse doth alway go on some of them. They which spread the garments are all priests sonnes, and for their labours the Emperour giueth vnto them new garments.

The Emperor leadeth the Metropolitans horse in procession. One of the Emperors noble men leadeth the horse by the head, but the Emperour himselfe going on foote leadeth the horse by the ende of the reine of his bridle with one of his hands, and in the other of his hands he had a branch of a Palme tree: after this followed the rest of the Emperors Noble men and Gentlemen, with a great number of other people. In this order they went from one church to another within the castle, about the distance of two flights shot: and so returned againe to the Emperours Church, where they made an end of their seruice. Which being done, the Emperours maiestie and certaine of his noble men went to the Metropolitane his house to dinner, where of delicate fishes and good drinks there was no lacke.

The rest of this weeke vntil Easter day they kept very solemnely, continuing in their houses for the most part, and vpon Munday or Thursday the Emperour doth alwayes vse to receiue the Sacrament, and so doe most of his nobles.

Vpon good Friday they continue all the day in contemplation and prayers, and they vse euery yere on good Friday to let loose a prisoner in the stead of Barrabas. The night following they go to the Church where they sleepe vntil the next morning, and at Easter they haue the resurrection, and after euery of the Lents they eat flesh the next weeke following, Friday, Saturday and all.

They haue an order at Easter which they alwaies obserue, and that is this: euery yere against Easter to die or colour red with Brazell a great number of egs, of which euery man and woman giueth one vnto the priest of their Parish vpon Easter day in the morning. And moreouer the common people vse to carie in their hands one of their red egs, not onely vpon Easter day, but also three or foure dayes after, and gentlemen and gentlewomen haue egs gilded which they cary in like maner. They vse it as they say for a great loue, and in token of the resurrection, whereof they reioyce. Kissing vsed in the Greek church. For when two friends meete during the Easter holy dayes, they come and take one another by the hand: the one of them sayth, the Lord or Christ is risen, the other answereth, it is so of a truth, and then they kisse and exchange their egs both men and women, continuing in kissing 4 dayes together.

The 12 of Aprill being Tuesday in the Easter weeke, Master Ienkinson and Master Graie, and certayne other of vs English men dined with the Emperor, where we were serued as we had bin before time. And after diner the Emperours maiestie gave vnto master Ienkinson and vnto M. Gray, and so orderly vnto euery one of vs a cup of Mead, according to his accustomed maner which when euery man had received and giuen thanks, M. Ienkinson stepped into the midst of the chamber before the Emperours maiestie, and gaue thankes to his highnesse for his goodnesse vnto him extended, desiring his grace to licence him to depart, and in like maner did M. Gray. His maiestie did not only licence them to depart, but also graunted vnto Master Ienkinson his letters vnder his great seale, vnto all princes through whose dominions master Ienkinson should haue occasion to passe, that he might the sooner and quietlier passe by meanes thereof. With these letters M. Ienkinson tooke his voyage the same April to Boghar. Which being granted, master Ienkinson and Gray lowly submitted themselues, thanking his maiestie. So the Emperour gaue vnto either of them a cuppe of mead to drinke, and willed them to depart at their pleasure in Gods peace.

The 14. of Aprill in the morning, when M. Gray and I were ready to depart towards England, the Chancellors sent vnto vs and willed vs to come to their office in the Chancerie, where at our comming they shewed vs a great number of the Emperors iewels, and rich robes, willing vs to marke and beholde them well, to the end that at our arriuall into England, we might make report what we had seene there.

The Emperors wardrobe. The chiefest was his maiesties crowne, being close vnder the top very faire wrought: in mine opinion, the workmanship of so much gold few men can amend. It was adorned and decked with rich and precious stones abundantly, among the which one was a rubie, which stood a handfull higher then the top of the crown vpon a small wier, it was as big as a good beane: the same crown was lined with a faire blacke Sable, worth by report 40. robles.

Wee sawe all his maiesties robes which were very richly set with stones, they shewed vs manie other great stones of diuers kindes, but the most part of them were vneuen, in maner as they came out of the worke, for they doe more esteeme the greatnesse of stones, then the proportion of them.

We saw two goodlie gownes which were as heauie as a man could easily carrie, all set with pearles ouer and ouer: the gards or borders round about them were garnished with saphires and other good stones abundantly. One of the same gownes was very rich, for the pearles were very large, round and orient: as for the rest of his gownes and garments, they were of rich tissue and cloth of gold and all furred with very blacke Sables.

When we had sufficiently perused all these things, they willed master Gray at his arriuall in England, to prouide if he could, such iewels and rich clothes as he had seene there, and better if he could, declaring that the Emperour would gladly bestow his money vpon such things.

So we tooke our leaue the same time, and departed towards Vologda immediatly.

The maners, vsages, and ceremonies of the Russes.

Of the Emperour.

The Emperours name in their tongue is Iuan Vasiliuich, that is as much to say, as Iohn the sonne of Vasilie Or, Basilius. and by his princely state hee is called Otesara 221 as his predecessors haue bene before, which to interprete, is a king, that giueth not tribute to any man. And this word Otesara his maiesties interpreters haue of late dayes interpreted to be Emperour, so that now hee is called Emperour and great Duke of all Russia, &c. Before his father they were neither called Emperours nor kings but onely Ruese Velike, that is to say, great Duke. And as this Emperor which now is Iuan Vasiliuich, doeth exceede his predecessors in name, that is, from a Duke to an Emperour, euen so much by report he doeth exceede them in stoutnesse of courage and valiantnesse, and a great deale more: for he is no more afraid of his enemies which are not few, then the Hobbie of the larks.

His enemies with whom he hath warres for the most part are these: Litto, Poland, Sweden, Denmarke, Lifland, the Crimmes, Nagaians, and the whole nation of the Tartarians, which are a stoute and a hardie people as any vnder the Sunne.

This Emperour vseth great familiaritie, as wel vnto all his nobles and subiects, as also vnto strangers which serue him either in his warres, or in occupations: for his pleasure is that they shall dine oftentimes in the yeere in his presence, and besides that he is oftentimes abroad, either at one Church or another, and walking with his noble men abroad. And by this meanes he is not onely beloued of his nobles and commons, but also had in great dread and feare through all his dominions, so that I thinke no prince in Christendome is more feared of his owne then he is, nor yet better beloued. For if he bid any of his Dukes goe, they will runne, if he giue any euil or angrie worde to any of them, the partie will not come into his maiesties presence againe of a long time if he be not sent for, but will faine him to be very sicke, and will let the haire of his head grow very long, without either cutting or shauing, which is an euident token that hee is in the Emperors displeasure: for when they be in their prosperity, they account it a shame to weare long haire, in consideration whereof, they vse to haue their heads shauen.

Note. His maiesty heareth all complaints himselfe, and with his owne mouth giueth sentence, and iudgement of all matters, and that with expedition: but religious matters he medleth not withall, but referreth them wholly vnto the Metropolitane.

His maiestie retaineth and well rewardeth all strangers that come to serue him, and especially men of warre.

Hee delighteth not greatly in hawking, hunting, or any other pastime, nor in hearing instruments or musicke, but setteth all his whole delight vpon two things: First, to serue God, as vndoubtedly he is very deuoute in his religion, and the second, howe to subdue and conquere his enemies.

He hath abundance of gold and siluer in his owne handes or treasurie: but the most part of his subiects know not a crowne from a counter, nor gold from copper, they are so much cumbred therewithall, and he that is worth 2. 3. or 4. grotes, is a rich man.

Of their religious men.

The Metropolitane is next vnto God, our Lady and S. Nicholas excepted: for the Emperors maiestie iudgeth and affirmeth him to be of higher dignitie then himselfe; for that, saith he, he is Gods spiritual officer, and I the Emperour am his temporall officer, and therefore his maiestie submitteth himselfe vnto him in many things concerning religious matters, as in leading the Metropolitans horse vpon Palme Sunday, and giuing him leaue to sitte on a chaire vpon the 12. day, when the riuer Mosco was in blessing, his maiestie standing on the yce.

All matters of religion are reformed by the Metropolitane, he heareth the causes and giueth sentence as himselfe listeth, and is authorized so to doe, whether it be to whip, hang or burne, his will must needs be fulfilled.

They haue both monks, friers and nunnes, with a great number of great and rich monasteries: they keepe great hospitalitie, and doe relieue much poore people day by day. I haue bene in one of the monasteries called Troietes,222 which is walled about with bricke very strongly like a castle, and much ordinance of brasse vpon the walles of the same. They told me themselues that there are seuen hundred brethren of them which belong vnto that house. The most part of the lands, towns, and villages which are within 40. miles of it, belong vnto the same. They shewed me the church, wherein were as many images as could hang about, or vpon the wals of the Church round about, and euen the roofe of the church was painted ful of images. The chiefe image was of our Ladie, which was garnished with gold, rubies, saphirs and other rich stones abundantly. In the midst of the church stood 12. waxe tapers of two yards long, and a fathom about in bignesse, and there stands a kettle full of waxe with about 100. weight, wherein there is alwayes the wicke of a candle burning, as it were a lampe which goeth not out day nor night.

They shewed me a coffin couered with cloth of gold which stoode vpon one side within their church, in which they told me lay a holy man, who neuer eate or dranke, and yet that he liueth. And they told me (supposing that I had beleeued them) that he healeth many diseases, and giueth the blind their sight, with many other miracles, but I was hard of belief because I saw him worke no miracle whilest I was there.

After this they brought me into their sellers, and made me taste of diuers kinds of drinks, both wine and beere, mead and quassie, of sundry colours and kinds. Such abundance of drink as they haue in their sellers, I doe suppose few princes haue more, or so much at once.

Their barrels or vessels are of an vnmeasurable bignes and sise: some of them are 3. yards long and more, and 2. yards and more broad in their heads: they conteine 6. or 7. tunnes a piece: they haue none in their sellers of their owne making that are lesse then a tunne. They haue 9. or 10. great vautes which are full of those barrels which are seldome remooued: for they haue trunks which come downe through the roofe of the vautes in sundry places, through which they powre drinke downe, hauing the caske right vnder it to receiue the same, for it should be a great trouble to bring it all downe the stayres.

The hospitalitie of their monasteries. They giue bread, meat and drinke vnto all men that come to them, not onely while they are at their abbey, but also when they depart, to serue them by the way.

There are a great number of such monasteries in the Realm, and the Emperors maiesty rideth oftentimes from one to another of them, and lieth at them 3. or 4. daies together.

The same monkes are as great merchants as any in the land of Russia, and doe occupy buying and selling as much as any other men, and haue boats which passe too and fro in the riuers with merchandize from place to place where any of their countrey do traffike.

They eate no flesh during their liues as it is reported: but vpon Sunday, Munday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday it is lawfull for them to eate egges, butter, cheese, and milke, and at all times to eate fish, and after this sort they lead their liues.

They weare all blacke garments, and so doe none other in all the lande, but at that abbey onely.

Want of preachers cause of great ignorance and idolatry. They haue no preachers no not one in al the land to instruct the People, so that there are many, and the most part of the poore in the countrey, who if one aske them how many gods there be, they wil say a great many, meaning that euery image which they haue is a god: for all the countrey and the Emperours maiesty himselfe wil blesse and bowe, and knocke their heads before their images, in so much that they will crie earnestly unto their images to helpe them to the things which they need. Al men are bound by their law to haue those images in their houses, and ouer euery gate in all their townes and cities are images set vp, vnto which the people bow and bend, and knocke their heads against the ground before them: as often as they come by any church or crosse they do in like maner. And when they come to any house, they blesse themselues 3. or 4. times before they will salute any man in the house.

They reckon and hold it for great sinne to touch or handle any of their images within the circle of the boord where the painting is, but they keep them very daintily, and rich men deck them ouer and about with gold, siluer and stones, and hang them ouer and about with cloth of gold.

The priestes are married as other men are, and weare all their garments as other men doe, except their nightcaps, which is cloth of some sad colour, being round, and reacheth vnto the eares: their crownes are shauen, but the rest of their haire they let grow as long as nature will permit, so that it hangeth beneath their eares vpon their shoulders: their beards they neuer shaue: if his wife happen to die, it is not lawfull for him to mary againe during his life.

They minister the Communion with bread and wine after our order, but he breaketh the bread and putteth it into the cup vnto the wine, and commonly some are partakers with them: and they take the bread out againe with a spoon together with part of the wine, and so take it themselues, and giue it to others that receiue with them after the same maner.

Their ceremonies are al as they say, according to the Greeke Church vsed at this present day, and they allow no other religion but the Greeks, and their owne: and will not permit any nation but the Greeks to be buried in their sacred burials, or churchyards.

All their churches are full of images, vnto the which the people when they assemble, doe bowe and knocke their heads, as I haue before said, that some will haue knobbes vpon their foreheads with knocking, as great as egges.

Al their seruice is in their mother tongue. All their seruice is in the Russe tongue, and they and the common people haue no other praiers but this, Ghospodi Iesus Christos esine voze ponuloi nashe. That is to say, O Lorde Iesus Christ, sonne of God haue mercy upon vs: and this is their prayer, so that the most part of the vnlearned know neither Pater noster, nor the Beliefe, nor Ten commandements, nor scarcely vnderstand the one halfe of their seruice which is read in their Churches.

Of their Baptisme.

When any child is borne, it is not baptised vntil the next Sunday, and if it chance that it be not baptized then, it must tary vntil the next Sunday after the birth, and it is lawfull for them to take as manie Godfathers and Godmothers as they will, the more the better.

When they go to the Church, the midwife goeth foremost, carrying the childe, and the Godfathers and Godmothers follow into the midst of the Church, where there is a small table ready set, and on it an earthen pot ful of warme water, about the which the Godfathers and Godmothers, with the childe, settle themselues: then the clerke giueth vnto euery of them a smal waxe candle burning, then commeth the priest, and beginneth to say certaine words, which the Godfathers and Godmothers must answere word for word, among which one is, that the childe shal forsake the deuill, and as that name is pronounced, they must all spit at the word as often as it is repeated. Then he blesseth the water which is in the pot, and doth breathe ouer it: then he taketh al the candles which the gosseps haue, and holding them all in one hand letteth part of them drop into the water, and then giueth euery one his candle againe, and when the water is sanctified, he taketh the childe and holdeth it in a small tubbe, and one of the Godfathers taketh the pot with warme water, and powreth it all vpon the childs head.

After this he hath many more ceremonies, as anoynting eares and eyes with spittle, and making certaine crosses with oyle vpon the backe, head, and brest of the childe: then taking the childe in his armes, carieth it to the images of S. Nicholas, and our Ladie, &c. and speaketh vnto the images, desiring them to take charge of the childe, that he may liue, and beleeue as a Christian man or woman ought to doe, with many other words. Then comming backe from the images, he taketh a paire of sheares and clippeth the yong and tender haires of the childes head in three or foure places, and then deliuereth the childe, whereunto euery of the Godfathers and Godmothers lay a hand: then the priest chargeth them, that the childe be brought vp in the faith and feare of God or Christ, and that it be instructed to clinege and bow to the images, end so they make an end: then one of the Godfathers must hang a crosse about the necke of the childe, which he must alwayes weare, for that Russe which hath not a crosse about his necke they esteeme as no Christian man, and thereupon they say that we are no Christians, because we do not weare crosses as they do.

Of their Matrimonie.

Their matrimonie is nothing solemnized, but rather in most points abominable, and as neere as I can learne, in this wise following.

First, when there is loue betweene the parties, the man sendeth vnto the woman a small chest or boxe, wherein is a whip, needles, threed, silke, linnen cloth, sheares, and such necessaries as shee shall occupie when she is a wife, and perhaps sendeth therewithall raisins, figs or some such things, giuing her to vnderstand, that if she doe offend she must be beaten with the whip, and by the needles, threed, cloth, &c. that she should apply her selfe diligently to sowe, and do such things as shee could best doe, and by the raisins or fruites he meaneth if she doe well, no good thing shalbe withdrawn from her, nor be too deare for her: and she sendeth vnto him a shirt, handkerchers, and some such things of her owne making. And now to the effect.

When they are agreed, and the day of marriage appointed when they shall goe towardes the Church, the bride will in no wise consent to go out of the house, but resisteth and striueth with them that would haue her out, and faineth her selfe to weepe, yet in the end, two women get her out, and lead her towards the church, her face being couered close, because of her dissimulation, that it should not be openly perceiued: for she maketh a great noise, as though she were sobbing and weeping, vntil she come at the Church, and then her face is vncouered. The man commeth after among other of his friends, and they cary with them to the church a great pot of wine or mead: then the priest coupleth them together much after our order, one promising to loue and seme the other during their liues together, &c. which being done, they begin to drinke, and first the woman drinketh to the man, and when he hath drunke he letteth the cuppe fell to the ground, hasting immediately to tread vpon it, and so doth she, and whether of them tread first vpon it must haue the victorie and be master at all times after, which commonly happeneth to the man, for he is readiest to set his foot on it, because he letteth it fall himselfe, then they goe home againe, the womans face beeing vncouered. The boyes in the streetes crie out and make a noyse in the meanetime, with very dishonest wordes.

When they come home, the wife is set at the vpper end of the table, and the husband next vnto her: they fall then to drinking till they bee all drunke, they perchance haue a minstrell or two, and two naked men, which led her from the Church daunce naked a long time before all the companie. When they are wearie of drinking, the bride and the bridegrome get them to bed, for it is in the euening alwayes when any of them are married: and when they are going to bedde, the bridegrome putteth certain money both golde and siluer, if he haue it, into one of his boots, and then sitteth down in the chamber, crossing his legges, and then the bride must plucke off one of his boots, which she will, and if she happen on the boote wherein the money is, she hath not onely the money for her labor, but is also at such choyse, as she need not euer from that day forth to pul off his boots, but if she misse the boot wherin the money is, she doth not onely loose the money, but is also bound from that day forwards to pull off his boots continually.

Then they continue in drinking and making good cheere three daies following, being accompanied with certaine of their friends, and during the same three daies he is called a Duke, and shee a dutches, although they be very poore persons, and this is as much as I haue learned of their matrimony: but one common rule is amongst them, if the woman be not beaten with the whip once a weeke, she will not be good, and therefore they looke for it orderly, and the women say, that if their husbands did not beate them, they should not loue them.

They vse to marry there very yong, their sonnes at 16. and 18. yeeres old, and the daughters at 12. or 13. yeeres or yonger: they vse to keepe their wiues very closely, I meane those that be of any reputation, so that a man shall not see one of them but at a chance, when she goeth to church at Christmas or at Easter, or els going to visite some of her friends.

The most part of the women vse to ride a stride in saddles with styropes, as men do, and some of them on sleds, which in summer is not commendable.

The women of Russia paint their faces. The husband is bound to finde the wife colours to paint her withall, for they vse ordinarily to paynt themselues: it is such a common practise among them, that it is counted for no shame: they grease their faces with such colours, that a man may discerne them hanging on their faces almost a flight shoote off: I cannot so well liken them as to a millers wife, for they looke as though they were beaten about the face with a bagge of meale, but their eye browes they colour as blacke as ieat.

The best propertie that the women haue, is that they can sowe well, and imbroder with silke and golde excellently.

Of their buriall.

When any man or woman dieth, they stretch him out, and put a new paire of shooes on his feete, because he hath a great iourney to goe: then doe they winde him in a sheet, as we doe, but they forget not to put a testimonie in his right hand, which the priest giueth him, to testifie vnto S. Nicholas that he died a Christian man or woman. And they put the coarse alwayes in a coffin of wood, although the partie be very poore: and when they goe towards the Church, the friends and kinsemen of the partie departed carrie in their hands small waxe candles, and they weepe and howle, and make much lamentation.

They that be hanged or beheaded, or such like, haue no testimonie with them: how they are receiued into heauen, it is a wonder, without their passport.

There are a great number of poore people among them which die daily for lacke of sustenance, which is a pitifull case to beholde: for there hath beene buried in a small time, within these two yeeres, aboue 80. persons young and old, which haue died onely for lacke of sustenance: for if they had had straw and water enough, they would make shift to liue: Bread made of straw. for a great many are forced in the winter to drie straw and stampe it, and to make bread thereof, or at the least they eate it in stead of bread. In the summer they make good shift with grasse, herbes and rootes: barks of trees are good meat with them at all times. The vnmercifulnesse of the Russes toward the poor. There is no people in the world, as I suppose, that liue so miserably as do the pouerty in those parts, and the most part of them that haue sufficient for themselues, and also to relieue others that need, are so vmnerciful that they care not how many they see die of famine or hunger in the streets.

Stooues or baths vsuall with the Muscovites. It is a countrey full of diseases, diuers, and euill, and the best remedy is for anie of them, as they holde opinion, to goe often vnto the hote houses, as in a maner euery man hath one of his owne, which hee heateth commonly twise euery weeke, and all the bouseholde sweate, and wash themselues therein.

The names of certaine sortes of drinkes vsed in Russia, and commonly drunke in the Emperours Court.

Reported by Thomas Bulley. The first and principall meade is made of the iuice or liccour taken from a berrie called in Russia, Malieno, which is of a marueilous sweete taste, and of a carmosant colour, which berry I haue seene in Paris.

The second meade is called Visnoua, because it is made of a berry so called, and is like a black gooseberrie: but it is like in colour and taste to the red wine of France.

The third meade is called Amarodina or Smorodina, short, of a small berry much like to the small rezin, and groweth in great plentie in Russia.

The fourth meade is called Chereunikyna, which is made of the wilde blacke cherry.

The fift meade is made of hony and water, with other mixtures.

There is also a delicate drinke drawn from the root of the birch tree, called in the Russe tongue Berozeuites, which drinke the noble men and others vse in Aprill, May, and Iune, which are the three moneths of the spring time: for after those moneths, the sappe of the tree dryeth, and then they cannot haue it.


220The cannon in use in the 16th century were all cast, and in England font metal or bronze was mostly employed. The falcon seems to have been of 2–1/2 inches bore; the minion 3–1/2 inches; the saker about the same; the culverin 5–1/2 inches — the weight of the shot not being proportionate to the bore. The falconet, minion, falcon, saker, and demi-culverin were known respectively as 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9-pounders; while the heavier pieces, or culverins, ranged from 15-pounders up to the “cannon-royall,” or 63-pounders. Mortars were first introduced in the reign of Henry VIII. According to Stowe, those made for this monarch in 1543 were “at the mouth from 11 to 19 inches wide,” and were employed to throw hollow shot of cast iron, filled like modern bombs with combustibles, and furnished with a fuse. Some of these 16th century guns may still be seen at the Tower of London.


222There was a monastery answering this description, but its name was Trajetski.

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