The voyage of Master Anthony Ienkinson, made from the citie of Mosco in Russia, to the citie of Boghar in Bactria, in the yeere 1558: written by himselfe to the Merchants of London of the Moscouie company.
The 23. day of April, in the yeere 1558. (hauing obtained the Emperor of Russia his letters, directed vnto sundry kings and princes, by whose dominions I should passe) I departed from Mosco by water, hauing with mee two of your seruants, namely, Richard Iohnson, and Robert Iohnson, and a Tartar Tolmach, with diuers parcels of wares, as by the inuentory appeareth: and the 28. day we came to a town called Collom, distant from the Mosco 20. leagues, and passing one league beyond the saide Collom, we came vnto a riuer called Occa, into the which the riuer Mosco falleth, and looseth his name: and passing downe the said riuer Occa 8. leagues, we came vnto a castle called Terreuettisko, which we left vpon our right hand, and proceeding forward, the second day of May, we came vnto another castle called Peroslaue, distant 8. leagues, leauing it also on our right hand. The third day we came vnto the place where olde Rezan was situate, beeing now most of it ruined and ouergrowen, and distant from the said Peroslaue, 6. leagues: the 4. day we passed by a castle called Terrecouia, from Rezan 12. leagues, and the 6. day we came to another castle called Cassim, vnder the gouernment of a Tartar prince named Vtzar Zegoline, sometime Emperour of the worthy citie of Cazan, and now subiect vnto the Emperour of Russia. But leauing Cassim on our left hand, the 8. day we came vnto a faire town called Morom, from Cassim 20. leagues, where we took the sonne, and found the lattitude 56 degrees: and proceeding forward the 11. day, we came vnto another faire town and castle called Nyse Nouogrode, situated at the falling of the foresaid riuer Occa into the worthie riuer of Volga, distant from the saide Moron [sic.] 25. leagues, in the latitude of 56. degrees 18. minutes. From Rezan to this Nyse Nouogrod, on both sides the said riuer of Occa, is raised the greatest store of waxe and hony in all the land of Russia. We tarried at the foresaid Nyse Nouogrode vntil the 19. day, for the comming of a captain which was sent by the Emperour to rule at Astracan, who beeing arriued, and hauing the number of 500. great boates vnder his conduct, some laden with victuals, souldiers, and munition: and other some with merchandise, departed altogether the said 19. day from the said Nyse Nouogrode, and the 22. we came vnto a castle called Vasiliagorod, distant 25. leagues, which we left vpon our right hand. This towne or castle had his name of this Emperors father, who was called Vasilius, and gorod in the Russe tongue is as much as to say as a castle, so that Vasiliagorod is to say, Vasilius castle: and it was the furthest place that the said Emperour conquered from the Tartars. But this present Emperour his sonne, called Iuan Vasiliwich, hath had great good successe in his warres, both against the Christians and also the Mahometists and Gentiles, but especially against the Tartars, inlarging his Empire euen to the Caspian sea, hauing conquered the famous riuer of Volga, with all the countries there about adiacent. Thus proceeding on our iourney the 25. day of May aforesaide, wee came to another castle called Sabowshare, which wee left on our right hand, distant from Vasiliagorod 16. leagues. The countrey heereabout is called Mordouits, and the habitants did professe the law of the Gentiles: but nowe beeing conquered by this Emperour of Russia, most of them are christened, but lie in the woods and wildernesse, without towne or habitation.
Cazan. The 27. day we passed by another castle called Swyasko, distant from Shabowshare aforesaid 25. leagues: we left it on our, right hand, and the 29. came vnto an Island one league from the citie of Cazan, from which falleth downe a riuer called Cazanka reca, and entreth into the foresaide Volga. Cazan is a faire town after the Russe or Tartar fashion, with a strong castle, situated vpon a high hill, and was walled round about with timber and earth, but now the Emperour of Russia hath giuen order to plucke downe the old walles and to builde them againe of free stone. It hath bene a citie of great wealth and riches, and being in the hands of the Tartars it was a kingdome of it selfe, and did more vexe the Russes in their warres, then any other nation: but 9 yeres past, this Emperour of Russia conquered it, and tooke the king captiue, who being but young is nowe baptised, and brought vp in his court with two other princes, which were also kings of the said Cazan, and being ech of them in time of their raignes in danger of their subiects through ciuil discord, came and rendred themselues at seueral times vnto the said Emperor, so that at this present there are three princes in the court of Russia, which had bene Emperours of the said Cazan, whom the Emperour vseth with great honour.
The Island of marchants. We remained at Cazan till the 13. day of Iune, and then departed from thence: and the same day passed by an Island called the Island of merchants, because it was woont be a place where all merchants, as well Russes and Cazanites, as Nagayans and Crimmes, and diuers other nations did resort to keepe mart for buying and selling, but nowe it is forsaken, and standeth without any such resort thither, or at Cazan, or at any place about it, from Mosco vnto Mare Caspium. The riuer of Cama. Thus proceeding forward the 14. day, we passed by a goodly riuer called Cama, which we left on our left hand. The riuer falleth out of the countrey of Permia into the riuer of Volga, and is from Cazan 15. leagues: and the countrey lying betwixt the said Cazan and the said riuer Cama on the left hand of Volga is called Vachen, and the inhabitants be Gentiles, and liue in the wildernesse without house or habitation: and the countrey on the other side of Volga ouer against the said riuer Cama is called the land of Cheremizes, halfe Gentiles, halfe Tartars, and all the land on the left hand of the said Volga from the said riuer vnto Astracan, and so following the North and Northeast side of the Caspian sea, Nagay Tartars. to a land of the Tartars called Turkemen, is called the countrey of Magnat or Nagay, whose inhabitants are of the law of Mahomet, and were all destroyed in the yeere 1558, at my being at Astracan, through ciuill warres among them, accompanied with famine, pestilence, and such plagues, in such sort that in the said yeere there were consumed of the people, in one sort and another, aboue one hundred thousand: the like plague was neuer seen in those parts, so that the said countrey of Nagay being a countrey of great pasture, remaineth now vn-replenished to the great contentation of the Russes, who haue had cruel warres a long time together.
The Nagayans when they flurished, liued in this maner: they were diuided into diuers companies called Hords, and euery hord had a ruler, whom they obeyed as their king, and was called a Murse. Hords. Towne or house they had none, but liued in the open fields, every Murse or King hauing his Hords or people about him, with their wives, children and cattell, who hauing consumed the pasture in one place, remooued unto another; and when they remooue they haue houses like tents set vpon wagons or carts, which are drawen from place to place with camels, and therin their wiues, children, and all their riches, which is very litle, is caried about, and euery man hath at the least foure or fiue wives besides concubines. Vse of money they haue none, but doe barter their cattell for apparell and other necessaries. They delight in no arte nor science, except the warres, wherein they are expert, but for the most part they be pasturing people, and haue great store of cattell, which is all their riches. They eate much flesh, and especially the horse, and they drinke mares milk, wherewith they be oftentimes drunke: they are seditious and inclined to theft and murther. Corne they sowe not, neither do eate any bread, mocking the Christians for the same, and disabling our strengths, saying we liue by eating the top of a weede, and drinke a drinke made out of the same, allowing their great deuouring of flesh, and drinking of milke to be the increase of their strength. But now to proceed forward to my iourney.
The Crimme Tarters. All the countrey vpon our right hand the riuer Volga, from ouer against the riuer Cama, vnto the towne of Astracan, is the land of Crimme, whose inhabitants be also of the lawe of Mahomet, and liue for the most part according to the fashions of the Nagayes, having continuall wars with the Emperour of Russia, and are valiant in the fielde, hauing countenance, and support from the great Turke.
The River of Samar. The 16. day of Iune we passed by certaine fishermens houses called Petowse twenty leagues from the riuer Cama, where is great fishing for sturgeon, so continuing our way untill the 22. day, and passing by another great riuer called Samar, which falleth out of the aforesaide countrey, and runneth through Negay, and entreth into the saide riuer of Volga. The 28. day wee came vnto a great hill, where was in times past a castle made by the Crimmes, but now it is ruined, being the iust midway betweene the said Cazan and Astrachan, which is 200. leagues or thereabout, in the latitude of 51. degrees 47. minutes. Licoris in great plentie. Vpon all this shore groweth great abundance of Licoris, whose root runneth within the ground like a vine.
Thus going forward the sixt day of Iuly we came to a place called Perouolog, so named because in times past the Tartars caried theit bortes from Volga vnto the riuer Tanais, otherwise called Don, by land, when they would robbe such as passed downe the said Volga to Astracan, and also such as passed downe by the riuer Tanais, to Asou, Caffa, or any other towne situated vpon Mare Euxinum, into which sea Tanais falleth, who hath his springs in the countrey of Rezan, out of a plaine ground. It is at this straight of Perouolog from the one riuer to the other two leagues by land, and is a dangerous place for theeues and robbers, but now it is not so euill as it hath bene, by reason of the Emperour of Russia his conquests.
Departing from Perouolog, hauing the wildernesse on both sides, wee sawe a great heard of Nagayans, pasturing, as is abouesaid, by estimation aboue a thousand camels drawing of cartes with houses vpon them like tents, of a strange fashion, seeming to bee a farre off a towne: that Hord was belonging to a great Murse called Smille, the greatest prince in all Nagay, who had slaine and driuen away all the rest, not sparing his owne brethren and children, and hauing peace with this Emperour of Russia he hath what he needeth, and ruleth alone: so that now the Russes liue in peace with the Nagayans, who were wont to haue mortall warres together.
The 14. day of Iuly passing by an old castle, which was Old Astracan, and leauing it vpon our right hand, we arriued at New Astracan, which this Emperour of Russia conquered sixe yeeres past, in the yeere 1552. It is from the Mosco vnto Astracan sixe hundred leagues, or thereabout. Astracan. The towne of Astracan is situated in an Island vpon a hill side, hauing a castle within the same, wailed about with earth and timber, neither faire nor strong: The towne is also walled about with earth; the buildings and houses (except it be the captaines lodging, and certaine other gentlemens) most base and simple. Store of Sturgions. The Island is most destitute and barren of wood and pasture, and the ground will beare no corne: the aire is there most infected, by reason (as I suppose) of much fish, and specially Sturgion, by which onely the inhabitants liue, hauing great scarsitie of flesh and bread. They hang vp their fish in their streets and houses to dry for their prouision, which causeth such abundance of flies to increase there, as the like was neuer seene in any land, to their great plague. And at my being at the sayd Astracan, there was a great famine and plague among the people, and specially among the Tartars called Nagayans, who the same time came thither in great numbers to render themselues to the Russes their enemies, and to seeke succour at their hands, their countrey being destroyed, as I said before: but they were but ill entertained or relieued, for there died a great number of them for hunger, which lay all the Island through in heapes dead and like to beasts vnburied, very pitifull to behold: many of them were also sold by the Russes, and the rest were banished from the Island. At that time it had bene an easie thing to haue conuerted that wicked Nation to the Christian faith, if the Russes themselues had bene good Christians: but how should they shew compassion vnto other Nations, when they are not mercifull vnto their owne? At my being there I could haue bought many goodly Tartars children, if I would haue had a thousand, of their owne fathers and mothers, to say a boy or a wench for a loafe of bread woorth sixe pence in England, but we had more need of victuals at that time then of any such merchandise. This Astracan is the furthest hold that that this Emperour of Russia has conquered of the Tartars towards the Caspian sea, which he keepeth very strong, sending thither euery yere prouision of men and victuals, and timber to build the castle.
There is a certaine trade of merchandise there vsed, but as yet so small and beggerly, that it is not woorth the making mention, and yet there come merchants thither from diuers places. The chiefest commodities that the Russes bring thither are redde hides, redde sheepes skinnes, woodden vessels, bridles, and saddles, kniues, and other trifles, with corne, bacon, and other victuals. The Tartars bring thither diuers kindes of wares made of cotten wooll, with diuers kindes of wrought silkes: and they that come out of Persia, namely from Shamacki doe bring sowing silke, which is the coursest that they vse in Russeland, Crasco, diuers kinds of pide silkes for girdles, shirts of male, bowes, swords, and such like things: and some yeeres corne, and wallnuts, but all such things in such small quantitie, the merchants being so beggerly and poore that bring the same, that it is not worth the writing, neither is there any hope of trade in all those parts woorth the folowing.
The length of the Island of Astracan This foresaid Island of Astracan is in length twelue leagues, and in bredth three, and lieth East and West in the latitude of fortie seuen degrees, nine minutes: we taried there vntil the sixt day of August, and hauing bought and prouided a boate in company with certaine Tartars and Persians, we laded our goods and imbarked our selves; and the same day departed I, with the said two Iohnsons hauing the whole charge of the Nauigation downe the sayd riuer Volga, being very crooked, and full of flats towards the mouth thereof. They enter into the Caspian sea. We entred into the Caspian sea the tenth day of August at the Easterly side of the sayd riuer, being twentie leagues from Astracan aforesayd, in the latitude of fortie six degrees, twentie seuen minutes.
Volga hath seuentie mouthes or fals into the sea: and we hauing a large wind, kept the Northeast shore, and the eleuenth day we sailed seuen leagues Eastnortheast, and came vnto an Island hauing an high hill therein, called Accurgar, a good marke in the sea. From thence East tenne leagues, we fell with another Island called Bawhiata, much higher then the other. Within these two Islands to the Northwards, is a great Baie called the Blew sea. The Blew sea. From thence wee sailed East and by North ten leagues, and hauing a contrary wind, we came to an anker in a fadome water, and so rid vntill the fifteenth day, hauing a great storme at Southeast, being a most contrary wind, which we rid out. Then the wind came to the North, and we weyed, and set our course Southeast, and that day sailed eight leagues.
Baughleata being 74 leagues from Volga. Thus proceeding forwards, the 17. day wee lost sight of land, and the same day sailed thirtie leagues, and the 18. day twentie leagues winding East, and fell with a land called Baughleata, being 74. leagues fromm the mouth of the said Volga, in the latitude of 46. degrees 54. minutes, the coast lying neerest East and by South, and West and by North. At the point of this land lieth buried a holy Prophet, as the Tartars call him, of their law, where great deuotion is vsed of all such Mahometists as doe passe that way.
Iaic riuer. The nineteenth day the winde being West, and we winding Eastsoutheast, we sailed tenne leagues, and passed by a great riuer called Iaic, which hath his spring in the lande of Siberia, nigh vnto the foresaid riuer Cama, and runneth through the lande of Nagay, billing into this Mare Caspium. Serachick And vp this riuer one dayes tourney is a Towne called Serachick, subiect to the aforesaid Tartar prince called Murse Smille, which is nowe in friendship with the Emperour of Russia. Here is no trade of merchandize vsed, for that the people haue no vse of money, and are all men of warre, and pasturers of cattel, and giuen much to theft and murther. Thus being at an anker against this riuer Iaic, and all our men being on land, sauing I, who lay sore sicke, and fiue Tartars whereof one was reputed a holy man, because he came from Mecka, there came vnto vs a boate with thirtie men well armed and appointed, who boorded vs, and began to enter into our barke, and our holy Tartar called Azy, perceiuing that, asked them what they would haue, and withall made a prayer: with that these rouers staied, declaring that they were Gentlemen, banished from their countrey, and out of liuing, and came to see if there were any Russes or other Christians (which they call Caphars) in our barke: To whom this Azi most stoutly answered, that there were none, auowing the same by great othes of their lawe, (which lightly they will not breake) whom the rouers beleeued, and vpon his words departed. And so through the fidelitie of that Tartar, I with all my company and goods were saued, and our men being come on boord, and the wind faire, we departed from that place, and winding East and Southeast, that day being the 20. of August sailed 16. leagues.
The Countrie of Colmack The 21. day we passed ouer a Bay of 6. leagues broad, and fell with a Cape of land, hauing two Islands at the Southeast part thereof, being a good marke in the sea: and doubling that Cape the land trended Northeast, and maketh another Bay, into which felleth the great riuer Yem, springing out of the land of Colmack.
The 22. 23. and 24. dayes, we were at an anker.
The 25. the winde came faire, and wee sailed that day 20. leagues, and passed by an Island of lowe land, and thereabout are many flats and sands: and to the Northward Of this Island there goeth in a great Bay, but we set off from this Island, and winded South to come into deepe water, being much troubled with shoalds and flats, and ran that course 10. leagues, then East Southeast 20. leagues, and fel with the maine land, being full of copped hils, and passing along the coast 20. leagues, the further we sailed, the higher was the land.
The 27. day we crossed ouer a Bay, the South shore being the higher land, and fel with a high point of land: and being ouerthwart the Cape, there rose such a storme at the East, that we thought verily we should haue perished: this storme continued 3. dayes. The port of Manguslaue. From this Cape we passed to a port called Magnuslaue. The place where we should haue arriued at the Southernmost part of the Caspian sea, is 12. leagues within a Bay: but we being sore tormented and tossed with this foresaid storme, were driuen vnto another land on the other side the Bay, ouerthwart the sayd Manguslaue being very lowe land, and a place as well for the ill commoditie of the hauen, as of those brute field people, where neuer barke nor boate had before arriued, not liked of vs.
But yet here we sent certaine of our men to land to talke with the gouernour and people, as well for our good vsage at their handes, as also for prouision of camels to carry our goods from the sayd sea side to a place called Sellyzure, being from the place of our landing fiue and twentie dayes iourney. Our messengers returned with comfortable wordes and faire promises of all things. They goe on land. Wherefore the 3. day of September 1558. we discharged our barke, and I with my companie were gently entertained of the Prince and of his people. But before our departure from thence, we found them to be very bad and brutish people, for they ceased not daily to molest vs, either by fighting, stealing or begging, raising the prise of horse and camels, and victuals, dooble that it was woont there to be, and forced vs to buy the water that we did drinke: which caused vs to hasten away, and to conclude with them as well for the hire of camels, as for the prise of such as wee bought, with other prouision, according to their owne demaund: So that for euery camels lading, being but 400. waight of ours, we agreed to giue three hides of Russia, and foure woodden dishes, and to the Prince or gouernour of the sayd people, one ninth, and two seuenths: Namely, nine seuerall things, and twise seuen seuerall things: for money they vse none.
The countrey of Manguslaue. And thus being ready, the foureteenth of September we departed from that place, being a Carauan of a thousand Camels. And hauing trauailed fiue dayes iourney, we came to another Princes Dominion, and vpon the way there came vnto vs certaine Tartars on horseback, being well armed, and seruants vnto the saide Prince called Timor Soltan, gouernour of the said countrey of Manguslaue, where wee meant to haue arriued and discharged our barke, if the great storm aforesayd had not disappointed. These aforesaid Tartars stayd our Carauan in the name of their Prince, and opened our wares, and tooke such things as they thought best for their saide prince without money, but for such things as they tooke from me, which was a ninth (after much dissension) I ridde vnto the same Prince, and presented my selfe before him, requesting his fauour, and pasport to trauaile through his countrey, and not to be robbed nor spoiled of his people: which request he graunted me, and intertained me very gently, commaunding me to be well feasted with flesh and mares milke: for bread they vse none, nor other drinke except water: but money he had none to giue mee for such thinges as he tooke of mee, which might be of value in Russe money, fifteene rubbles, but he gaue me his letter, and a horse woorth seuen rubbles. And so I departed from him being glad that I was gone: for he was reported to be a very tyrant, and if I had not gone vnto him, I vnderstoode his commaundement was that I should haue beene robbed and destroyed.
This Soltan liued in the fields without Castle or towne, and sate, at my being with him, in a little rounde house made of reedes couered without with felt, and within with Carpets. There was with him the great Metropolitan of that wilde Country, esteemed of the people, as the Bishop of Rome is in most parts of Europe, with diuers other of his chiefe men. The Soltan with this Metropolitan demanded of me many questions, as wel touching our kingdoms, lawes, and Religion, as also the cause of my coming into those parts, with my further pretence. To whom I answered concerning all things, as vnto me seemed best, which they tooke in good part. 20 dayes trauaile in the wildernese, with scarcite of water. So hauing leaue I departed and ouertooke our Carauan and proceeded on our iourney, and trauailed 20 dayes in the wildernes from the sea side without seeing towne or habitation, carying prouision of victuals with vs for the same time, and were driuen by necessity to eate one of my camels and a horse for our part, as other did the like: and during the said 20 daies we found no water, but such as we drew out of old deepe welles, being very brackish and salt, and yet sometimes passed two or three dayes without the same. Another gulfe of the Caspian sea. And the 5. day of October ensuing, we came gulfe of the Caspian sea againe, where we found the vnto a water very fresh and sweete: at this gulfe the customers of the king of Turkeman met vs, who tooke custome of euery 25. one, and 7. ninthes for the saide king and his brethren, which being receiued they departed, and we remained there a day after to refresh our selues.
Will. de Rubricis describeth this riuer of Ardok, cap. 4. Note that in times past there did fal into this gulf the great river Oxus, which hath his springs in the mountains of Paraponisus in India, and now commeth not so far, but falleth into another riuer called Ardock, which runneth toward the North, and consumeth himself in the ground passing vnder ground aboue 500. miles, and then issueth out againe and falleth into the lake of Kithay.223
Sellizure, or Shayzure. We hauing refreshed our selues at the foresaide gulfe, departed thence the 4. day of October, and the seuenth day arriued at a castle called Sellizure, where the king called Azim Can, remained with 3. other of his brethren, and the 9. day I was commaunded to come before his presence, to whom I deliuered the Emporors letters of Russia: and I also gaue him a present of a ninth, who entertained me very well, and caused me to eate in his presence as his brethren did, feasting me with flesh of a wilde horse, and mares milk without bread. Letters of safteconduct And the next day he sent for me again, and asked of me diuers questions, as wel touching the affaires of the Emperour of Russia, as of our countrey and lawes, to which I answered as I thought good: so that at my departure he gaue me his letters of safe conduct.
This Castle of Sellizure is situated vpon an high hill, where the King called the Can lyeth, whose palace is built of earth very basely, and not strong: the people are but poore, and haue litle trade of merchandise among them. The South part of this Castle is lowe lande, but very fruitfull, where grow many good fruites, among which there is one called a Dynie, of a great bignesse and full of moysture, which the people do eate after meate in steade of drinke. Also there growes another fruite called a Carbuse of the bignesse of a great cucumber, yellow and sweete as sugar: also a certaine corne called Iegur, whose stalke is much like a sugar cane, and as high, and the graine like rice, which groweth at the toppe of the cane like a cluster of grapes; the water that serueth all that countrey is drawen by ditches out of the riuer Oxus, vnto the great destruction of the said riuer, for which cause it falleth not into the Caspian sea as it hath done in times past, and in short time all that land is like to be destroied, and to become a wildernes for want of water, when the riuer of Oxus shal faile.
Vrgence. The 14. day of the moneth we departed from this Castle of Sellizure, and the 16. of the same we arriued at a citie called Vrgence, where we paid custome as wel for our own heads, as for our camels and horses. And hauing there soiourned one moneth, attending the time of our further trauaile, the king of that countrey called Aly Soltan, brother to the forenamed Azym Can, returned from a towne called Corasan, within the borders of Persia, which he lately had conquered from the Persians, with whom he and the rest of the kings of Tartaria haue continuall warres. Before this king also I was commanded to come, to whom I likewise presented the Emperors letters of Russia, and he intertained me wel, and demanded of me diuers questions, and at my departure gaue me his letters of safe conduct.
This city or towne of Vrgence standeth in a plaine ground, with walles of the earth, by estimation 4. miles about it. The buildings within it are also of earth, but ruined and out of good order: it hath one long street that is couered aboue, which is the place of their market. It hath bene wonne and lost 4. times within 7. yeeres by ciuill warres, by meanes whereof there are but few merchants in it, and they very poore, and in all that towne I could not sell about 4. kerseis. The chiefest commodities there sold are such wares as come from Boghar, and out of Persia, but in most smal quantity not worth the writing. The countrey of Turkeman. All the land from the Caspian sea to this Citie of Vrgence is called the land of Turkeman, and is subiect to the said Azim Can, and his brethren which be fiue in number, and one of them hath the name of the chiefe king called Can, but he is little obeyed sauing in his owne Dominion, and where he dwelleth: for euery one will be King of his owne portion, and one brother seeketh alwayes to destroy another, hauing no natural loue among them, by reason that they are begotten of diuers women, and commonly they are the children of slaues, either Christians or Gentiles, which the father doeth keepe as concubines, and euery Can or Sultan hath at least 4. or 5. wiues, besides young maidens and boyes, liuing most viciously: and when there are warres betwixt these brethren, (as they are seldome without) he that is ouercome if he be not slaine, flieth to the field with such companie of men as will followe him, and there liueth in the wildemesse resorting to watering places, and so robbeth and spoileth as many Carauans of Marchants and others as they be able to ouercome, continuing in this sort his wicked life, vntil such time as he may get power and aide to inuade some of his brethren againe. From the Caspian sea vnto the Castle of Sellizure aforesaid, and all the Countreis about the said Sea, the people liue without towne or habitation in the wilde fields, remouing from one place to another in great companies with their cattel, whereof they haue great store, as camels, horses, and sheepe both tame and wilde. Their sheepe are of great stature with great buttocks, weighing 60. or 80. pound in weight. There are many wild horses which the Tartars doe many times kil with their hawkes, and that in this order. The hawkes are lured to sease vpon the beasts neckes or heads, which with chafing of themselues and sore beating of the hawkes are tired: then the hunter following his game doeth slay the horse with his arrow or sword. In all this lande there groweth no grasse, but a certaine brush or heath, whereon the cattell feeding become very fat.
The Tartars neuer ride without their bow, arrowes, and sword, although it be on hawking, or at any other pleasure, and they are good archers both on horsebacke, and on foote also. These people haue not the vse of golde, siluer, or any other coyne, but when they lacke apparell or other necessaries, they barter their cattell for the same. Bread they haue none, for they neither till nor sow: they be great deuourers of flesh, which they cut in smal pieces, and eat it by handfuls most greedily, and especially the horseflesh. Their chiefest drink is mares milke sowred, as I haue said before of the Nagayans, and they wilbe drunk with the same. They haue no riuers nor places of water in this countrey, vntil you come to the foresaid gulf, distant from the place of our landing 20. dayes iourney, except it be in wels, the water whereof is saltish, and yet distant the one from the other two daies iourney and more. They eate their meate vpon the ground, sitting with their legs double vnder them, and so also when they pray. Art or science they haue none, but liue most idlely, sitting round in great companies in the fields, deuising, and talking most vainely.
The riuer of Ardock falleth into the lake of Kitay. The 26. day of Nouember, we departed from the towne of Vrgence, and hauing trauailed by the riuer Oxus, 100 miles, we passed ouer another great riuer called Ardock, where we paid a certaine pety custome. This riuer Ardock is great, and very swift, falling out of the foresaid Oxus and passing about 1000. mile to the Northward, it then consumeth it selfe in the ground, and passing vnder the same about 500. mile, issueth out againe, and falleth into the lake of Kitay, as I haue before declared.
The castle of Kait. The 7. of December following, we arriued at a Castle called Kait, subiect to a Soltan called Saramet Soltan, who meant to haue robbed all the Christians in the Carauan, had it not bene for feare of his brother the king of Vrgence, as we were informed by one of his chiefest counsellers, who willed vs to make him a present, which he tooke, and deliuered: besides, we paid at the said castle for custome, of euery camel one red hide of Russia, besides pety gifts to his officers.
Thus proceeding in our iourney, the tenth day at night being at rest, and our watch set, there came vnto vs foure horsemen, which wee tooke as spies, from whom wee tooke their weapons and bound them, and hauing well examined them, they confessed that they had seene the tract of many horsemen, and no footing of camels, and gaue vs to vnderstand, that there were rouers and theeues abroade: for there trauaile few people that are true and peaceable in that Countrey, but in companie of Carauan, where there be many camels: and horsefeeting new without camels were to be doubted. Whereupon we consulted and determined amongst our selues, and sent a poste to the said Soltan of Kayte, who immediatly came himselfe with 300. men, and mette these foure suspected men which we sent vnto him, and examined them so streightly, and threatned them in such sort, that they confessed, there was a banished Prince with 40. men 3. daies iourney forward, who lay in wait to destroy vs, if he could, and that they themselues were of his companie.
The Soltan therefore vnderstanding, that the theeues were not many, appointed vs 80. men well armed with a Captaine to goe with vs, and conduct vs in our way. And the Soltan himselfe returned backe againe, taking the foure theeues with him. These souldiers trauailed with vs two dayes, consuming much of our victuals. And the 3. day in the morning very earely they set out before our Carauan, and hauing ranged the wildernes for the space of foure houres, they mette vs, comming towards vs as fast as their horse could runne, and declared that they had founde the tract of horses not farre from vs, perceiuing well that we shoulde meete with enemies, and therefore willed vs to appoint our selues for them, and asked vs what we would giue them to conduct vs further, or else they would returne. To whom we offered as we thought good, but they refused our offer, and would haue more; and so we not agreeing they departed from vs, and went back to their Soltan, who (as wee coniectured) was priuie to the conspiracie. Diuination by sorcerie But they being gone, certaine Tartars of our companie called holy men, (because they had bene at Mecha) caused the whole Carauan to stay, and would make their prayers, and deuine how wee should prosper in our iourney and whether we should meet with any ill company or no? To which, our whole Carauan did agree. And they tooke certaine sheepe and killed them, and tooke the blade bones of the same, and first sodde them and then burnt them, and tooke of the blood of the said sheepe, and mingled it with the powder of the saide bones, and wrote certaine Characters with the saide blood, vsing many other ceremonies and wordes, and by the same deuined and found, that wee shoulde meete with enemies and theeues (to our great trouble) but should ouercome them, to which sorcerie, I and my companie gaue no credit, but we found it true: for within 3. houres after that the souldiers departed from vs, which was the 15. day of December, in the morning, we escried farre off diuers horsemen which made towards vs, and we (perceiuing them to be rouers) gathered ourselues together, being 40. of vs wel appointed, and able to fight, and we made our prayers together euery one after his lawe; professing to liue and die one with another, and so prepared our selues. When the theeues were nigh vnto vs, we perceiued them to be in number 37. men well armed, and appointed with bowes, arrowes and swords, and the captaine a prince banished from his Countrey. They willed vs to yeelde our selues, or els to be slaine, but wee defied them, wherewith they shotte at vs all at once, and wee at them very hotly, and so continued our fight from morning vntil two houres within night, diuers men, horses and camels being wounded and slaine on both partes: Handguns very profitable. and had it not bene for 4. handgunnes which I and my companie had and vsed, we had bene ouercome and destroyed: for the theeues were better armed, and were also better archers than we: But after wee had slaine diuers of their men and horses with our gunnes, they durst not approch so nigh, which caused them to come to a truce with vs vntill the next morning, which we accepted, and encamped our selues vpon a hill, and made the fashion of a Castle, walling it about with packes of wares, and laide our horses and camels within the same to saue them from the shotte of arrowes: and the theeues also incamped within an arrowe shotte of vs, but they were betwixt vs and the water, which was to our great discomfort, because neither we nor our camels had drunke in 2. dayes before.
Thus keeping good watch, when halfe the night was spent, the Prince of the theeues sent a messenger halfe way vnto vs, requiring to talke with our Captaine, in their tongue, the Carauan Basha, who answered the messenger, I will not depart from my companie to goe into the halfe way to talke with thee: but if that thy Prince with all his companie will sweare by our Lawe to keepe the truce, then will I send a man to talke with thee, or els not. Which the Prince vnderstanding as well himselfe as his company, swore so loude that we might all heare. And then we sent one of our company (reputed a holy man) to talke with the same messenger. Bussarmans. Caphar. The message was pronounced aloude in this order, our Prince demaundeth of the Carauan Basha, and of all you that be Bussarmans, (that is to say circumcised) not desiring your bloods, that you deliuer into his hands as many Caphars, that is unbeleeuers (meaning vs the Christians) as are among you with their goods, and in so doing, hee will suffer you to depart with your goods in quietnesse, and on the contrary, you shall be handled with no lesse cruelty then the Caphars, if hee ouercome you, as he doubteth not. To the which our Carauan Basha answered, that he had no Christians in his company, nor other strangers, but two Turkes which were of their Law, and although hee had, hee would rather die then deliuer them, and that we were not afraide of his threatnings, and that should he know when day appeared. And so passing in talke, the theeues (contrary to their othe) caried our holy man away to their Prince, crying with a lowde voyce in token of victory, Ollo, ollo. Wherewith we were much discomforted, fearing that that holy man would betray vs: but be being cruelly handled and much examined, would not to death confesse anything which was to vs preiudliciall, neither touching vs, nor yet what men they had slaine and wounded of ours the day before. When the night was spent, in the morning we prepared our selues to battel againe: which the theeues perceiuing, required to fall to agreement and asked much of vs: And to be briefe, the most part of our companie being loth to go to battel againe, and hauing litle to loose, and safeconduct to passe, we were compelled to agree, and to giue the theeues 20 ninths (that is to say) 20 times 9 seuerall things, and a camell to cary away the same, which being receiued, the theeues departed into the wildernes to their old habitation, and we went on our way forward. The river of Oxus. And that night came to the riuer Oxus, where we refreshed our selues, hauing bene 3. dayes without water and drinke, and tarried there all the next day, making mery with our slaine horses and camels, and then departed from that place, A wildernes of sande. and for feare of meeting with the said theeues againe or such like, we left the high way which went along, the said riuer, and passed through a wildernes of sand, and traulled 4 dayes in the same before we came to water: and then came to a wel, the water being very brackish, and we then as before were in neede of water, and of other victuals, being forced to kill our horses and camels to eate.
In this wildernes also we had almost fallen into the hands of theeues: for one night being at rest, there came certaine scouts, and caried away certaine of our men which lay a litle separated from the Carauan, wherewith there was a great shoute and crie, and we immedately laded our camels, and departed being about midnight and very darke, and droue sore till we came to the riuer Oxus againe, and then we feared nothing being walled with the said riuer: and whether it was for that we had gotten the water, or for that the same theeues were far from vs when the scouts discouered vs, we knowe not, but we escaped that danger.
Boghar a citie of Bactria. So vpon the 23 day of December we arriued at the citie of Boghar in the lande of Bactria. This Boghar is situated in the lowest part of all the land, walled about with a high wall of earth, with diuers gates into the same: it is diuided into 3 partitions, whereof two parts are the kings, and the 3 part is for Marchants and markets, and euery science hath their dwelling and market by themselues. The Citie is very great, and the houses for the most part of earth, but there are also many houses, temples and monuments of stone sumptuously builded, and gilt, and especially bathstoues so artificially built, that the like thereof is not in the world: the maner whereof is too long to rehearse. A strange worme in mens legs. There is a little riuer running through the middest of the said Citie, but the water there of is most vnholsome, for it breedeth sometimes in men that drinke thereof, and especially in them that be not there borne, a worme of an ell long, which lyeth commonly in the legge betwixt the flesh and the skinne, and is pluckt out about the ancle with great art and cunning, the Surgeons being much practised therein, and if shee breaks in plucking out, the partie dieth, and euery day she commeth out about an inch, which is rolled vp, and so worketh till she be all out. And yet it is there forbidden to drinke any other thing then water, and mares milke, and whosoeuer is found to breake that law is whipped and beaten most cruelly through the open markets, and there are officers appointed for the same, who haue authoritie to goe into any mans house, to search if he haue either Aquauitae, wine, or brage, and finding the same, doe breake the vessels, spoile the drinke, and punish the masters of the house most cruelly, yea, and many times if they perceiue but by the breath of a man that he hath drunke, without further examination he shall not escape their hands.
There is a Metropolitane in this Boghar, who causeth this to bee so streightly kept: and he is more obeyed then the king, and will depose the king, and place another at his will and pleasure, as he did by this king that raigned at our being there, and his predecessour, by the meanes of the said Metropolitan: for he betrayed him, and in the night slewe him in his chamber, who was a Prince who loued all Christians well.
This Countrey of Boghar was sometime subiect to the Persians, and do now speake the Persian tongue, but yet now it is a kingdome of it selfe, and hath most cruell warres continually with the sayd Persians about their religion, although they be all Mahometists. One occasion of their wars is, for that the Persians will not cut the haire of their vpper lips, as the Bogharians and all other Tartars doe, which they accompt great sinne, and cal them Caphars, that is Vnbeleeuers, as they doe the Christians.
The coyne of Boghar. The king of Boghar hath no great power or riches, his reuenues are but small, and he is most meinteined by the Citie: for he taketh the tenth penie of all things that are there solde, as well by the craftsmen as by the marchants, to the great impouerishment of the people, whom he keepeth in great subiection, and when he lacketh money, he sendeth his officers to the shops of the sayd Marchants to take their wares to pay his debts, and will haue credit of force, as the like he did to pay me certaine money that he owed me for 19 pieces of Kersey. Their money is siluer and copper, for gold there is none current: they haue but one piece of siluer, and that is worth 12. pence English, and the copper money are called Pooles, and 120 of them goeth the value of the said 12. pence, and is more common paiment then the siluer, which the king causeth to rise and fall to his most aduantage euery other moneth, and sometimes twise a moneth, not caring to oppresse his people, for that he loketh not to reigne aboue 2 or 3 yeres before he be either slaine, or driuen away, to the great destruction of the countrey and merchants.
The 26 day of the moneth I was commanded to come before the said king, to whom I presented the Emperour of Russia his letters, who interteined vs most gently, and caused vs to eate in his presence, and diuers times he sent for me, and deuised with me familiarly in his secret chamber, as well of the power of the Emperour, and the great Turke as also of our countries, lawes, and religion, and caused vs to shoote in handguns before him, and did himselfe practise the vse thereof. But after all this great intertainement before my departure he shewed himselfe a very Tartar: for he went to the wars owing me money, and saw me not payd before his departure. And although indeede he gaue order for the same, yet was I verie ill satisfied, and forced to rebate part, and to take wares as payment for the rest contrary to my expectation: but of a begger better paiment I could not haue, and glad I was so to be paid and dispatched.
But yet I must needs praise and commend this barbarous king who immediately after my arriual at Boghar, hauing vnderstoode our trouble with the theeues, sent 100 men well armed, and gaue them great charge not to returne before they had either slaine or taken the sayd theeues. Who according to their commission ranged the wildernes in such sort, that they met with the said company of theeues, and slew part, and part fledde, and foure they tooke and brought vnto the king, and two of them were sore wounded in our skirmish with our gunnes: And after the king had sent for me to come to see them, he caused them all 4 to be hanged at his palace gate, because they were Gentlemen, to the example of others. And of such goods as were gotten againe, I had part restored me, and this good iustice I found at his hands.
There is yeerely great resort of Marchants to this Citie of Boghar, which trauaile in great Carauans from the countries thereabout adioining, as India, Persia, Balgh, Russia, with diuers others, and in times past from Cathay, when there was passage: but these Marchants are so beggerly and poore, and bring so little quantitie of wares, lying two or 3 yeeres to sell the same, that there is no hope of any good trade there to be had worthy the following.
The chiefe commodities that are brought thither out of these foresayd Countreys, are these following.
Marchandise of India. The Indians doe bring fine whites, which the Tartars do all roll about their heads, and al other kinds of whites, which serue for apparell made of cotton wooll and crasko, but golde, siluer, precious stones, and spices they bring none. I enquired and perceiued that all such trade passeth to the Ocean sea, and the vaines where all such things are gotten are in the subiection of the Portingals. The Indians carie them from Boghar againe wrought silkes, red hides, slaues, and horses, with such like, but of Kerseis and other cloth, they make little accompt. I offered to barter with Marchants of those Countreis, which came from the furthest parts of India, euen from the countrey of Bengala, and the riuer Ganges, to giue them Kersies for their commodities, but they would not barter for such commoditie as cloth.
Marchandise of Persia. The Persians do bring thither Craska, wollen cloth, linnen cloth, diuers kindes of wrought pide silkes, Argomacks, with such like, and doe carie from thence redde hides with other Russe warres, and slaues, which are of diuers countreies, but cloth they will by none, for that they bring themselues, and is brought vnto them as I haue inquired from Allepo in Syria, and the parts of Turkie. Marchandise of Russia. The Russes doe carie vnto Boghar, redde hides, sheepe skinnes, wollen cloth of diuers sorts, woodden vessels, bridles, saddles, with such like, and doe carie away from thence diuers kindes of wares made of cotton wooll, diuers kinds of silkes, Crasca, with other things, but there is but smal vtterance. Marchandise of Cathay. From the Countreis of Cathay are brought thither in time of peace, and when the way is open, musk, rubarbe, satten, damaske, with diuers other things. At my being at Boghar, there came Carauans out of all these foresaid Countries, except from Cathay: and the cause why there came none from thence was the great warres that had dured 3 yeeres before my comming thither, and yet dured betwixt 2 great Countries and cities of Tartars, that are directly in the way betwixt the said Boghar and the said Cathay, and certaine barbarous field people, as well Gentiles as Mahometists bordering to the said Cities. Taskent and Caskar. The cities are called Taskent and Caskar, and the people that warre against Taskent are called Cassaks of the law of Mahomet: and they which warre with the sayd countrey of Caskar are called Kings, Gentiles and idolaters. These 2 barbarous nations are of great force liuing in the fields without house or towne, and haue almost subdued the foresaid cities, and so stopped vp the way, that it is impossible for any Carauan to passe vnspoiled: so that 3 yeeres before our being there, no Carauan had gone, or vsed trade betwixt the countries of Cathay and Boghar, and when the way is cleare, it is 9 moneths iourney.
To speake of the said countrey of Cathay, and of such newes as I haue heard thereof, I haue thought it best to reserue it to our meeting. I hauing made my solace at Boghar in the Winter time, and hauing learned by much inquisition, the trade thereof, as also of all the other countries thereto adioyning, and the time of the yeere being come, for all Carauans to depart, and also the king being gone to the warres, and newes come that he was fled, and I aduertised by the Metropolitan himselfe, that I should depart, because the towne was like to bee besieged: I thought it good and meete, to take my iourney some way, and determined to haue gone from thence into Persia, and to haue seene the trade of that countrey, although I had enformed my selfe sufficiently thereof, as well at Astracan, as at Boghar: and perceiued well the trades not to be much vnlike the trades of Tartaria: but when I should haue taken my iourney that way, it was let by diuers occasions: the one was, the great wars that did newly begin betwixt the Sophie, and the kings of Tartaria, whereby the waies were destroyed: and there was a Carauan destroied with rouers and theeues, which came out of India and Persia, by safe conduct: and about ten daies iourney from Boghar, they were robbed, and a great part slaine. He returneth the eight of March 1559. Also the Metropolitan of Boghar, who is greater then the king, tooke the Emperors letters of Russia from me, without which I should haue bene taken slaue in euery place: also all such wares as I had receiued in barter for cloth, and as I tooke perforce of the king, and other his Nobles, in paiment of money due vnto me, were not vendible in Persia: for which causes and diuers others, I was constrained to come backe againe to Mare Caspium, the same way I went: so that the eight of March 1559, we departed out of the said Citie of Boghar, being a Carauan of 600 Camels: and if we had not departed when we did, I and my company had bene in danger to haue lost life and goods. For, ten daies after our departure, the king of Samarcand came with an armie, and besieged the said Citie of Boghar, the king being absent, and gone to the wars against another prince, his kinsman, as the like chanceth in those Countries once in two or three yeres. For it is maruell, if a King reigne there aboue three or foure yeres, to the great destruction of the Countrey, and marchants.
Vrgence. The 25 of March, we came to the foresayd towne of Vrgence, and escaped the danger of 400 rouers, which lay in waite for vs backe againe, being the most of them of kindred to that company of theeues, which we met with going foorth; as we perceiued by foure spies, which were taken. The king of Balke, or Balgh. There were in my company, and committed to my charge, two ambaassadors, the one from the king of Boghar, the other from the king of Balke, and were sent vnto the Emperor of Russia. And after having taried at Vrgence, and the Castle of Sellysure, eight daies for the assembling, and making ready of our Carauan, the second of Aprill we departed from thence, hauing foure more Ambassadors in our companie, sent from the king of Vrgence, and other Soltans, his brethren, vnto the Emperor of Russia, with answere of such letters as I brought them: and the same Ambassadors were also committed vnto my charge by the sayde Kings and princes: to whome I promised most faithfully, and swore by our law, that they should be well vsed in Rusland, and suffered to depart from thence againe in safetie, according as the Emperor had written also in his letters: for they somewhat doubted, because there had none gone out of Tartaria into Russia, of long time before.
The 23 of Aprill, we arriued at the Mare Caspium againe, where we found our barke which we came in, but neither anker, cable, cocke, nor saile: neuerthelesse wee brought hempe with vs, and spunne a cable our selues, with the rest of our tackling, and made vs a saile of cloth of cotton wooll, and rigged our barke as well as we could, but boate or anker we had none. In the meane time being deuising to make an anker of wood of a cart wheele, there arriued a barke, which came from Astracan, with Tartars and Russes, which had 2 ankers, with whom I agreed for the one: and thus being in a readinesse, we set saile and departed, I, and the two Iohnsons being Master and Mariners ourselues, hauing in our barke the said sixe ambassadors, and 25 Russes which had bene slaues a long time in Tartaria, nor euer had before my comming, libertie, or meanes to get home, and these slaues serued to rowe, when neede was. Thus sailing sometimes along the coast, and sometimes out of sight of lande, the 13. day of May, hauing a contrary winde, wee came to an anker, being three leagues from the shoare, and there rose a sore storme, which continued 44. houres, and our cable being of our our owne spinning, brake, and lost our anker, and being off a lee shoare, and hauing no boate to helpe vs, we hoysed our saile, and bare roomer with the said shoare, looking for present death: but as God prouided vs, we ranne into a creeke ful of oze, and so saued our selues with our barke, and liued in great discomfort for a time. For although we should haue escaped with our liues the danger of the sea, yet if our barke had perished, we knew we should haue bene either destroyed, or taken slaues by the people of that Countrey, who liue wildly in the field, like beasts, without house or habitation. Thus when the storme was seazed, we went out of the creeke againe: and hauing set the land with our Compasse, and taken certaine markes of the same, during the time of the tempest, whilest we ridde at our anker, we went directly to the place where we ridde, with our barke againe, and found our anker which we lost: whereat the Tartars much marueiled howe we did it. While we were in the creeke, we made an anker of wood of cart wheeles, which we had in our barke, which we threw away, when wee had found our yron anker againe. Within two days after, there arose another great storme, at the Northeast, and we lay a trie, being driuen far into the sea, and had much ado to keepe our barke from sinking, the billowe was so great: but at the last, hauing faire weather, we tooke the Sunne, and knowing howe the land lay from vs we fel with the Riuer Yaik, according to our desire, wherof the Tartars were very glad, fearing that wee should haue bene driuen to the coast of Persia, whose people were vnto them great enemies.
The English flag in the Caspian sea. Note, that during the time of our Nauigation, wee set vp the redde crosse of S. George in our flagges, for honour of the Christians, which I suppose was neuer seene in the Caspian sea before. We passed in this voyage diuers fortunes: notwithstanding the 28. of May we arriued in safetie at Astracan, and there remained till the tenth of Iune following, as well to prepare vs small boates, to goe vp against the streame of Volga, with our goods, as also for the companie of the Ambassadours of Tartarie, committed vnto me, to bee brought to the presence of the Emperour of Russia.
A notable description of the Caspian Sea. This Caspian sea (to say some thing of it) is in length about two hundred leagues, and in breadth 160, without any issue to other seas: to the East part whereof, ioyneth the great desert countrey of the Tartars, called Turkemen: to the West, the countreyes of the Chyreasses, the mountaines of Caucasus, and the Mare Euxinum, which is from the said Caspian Sea a hundred leagues. To the North is the riuer Volga, and the land of Nagay, and to the South parte ioyne the countreys of Media and Persia. This sea is fresh water in many places, and in other places as salt as our great Ocean. It hath many goodly Riuers falling into it, and it auoideth not it selfe except it be vnder ground. The notable riuers that fall into it are first the great riuer of Volga, called in the Tartar tongue Edell, which springeth out of a lake in a marrish or plaine ground, not farre from the Citie of Nouogrode in Russia, and it is from the spring to the Sea, aboue two thousande English miles. It hath diuers other goodly Riuers falling into it, as out of Siberia, Yaic, and Yem: Also out of the mountaines of Caucasus, the Riuers of Cyrus and Arash, and diuers others.
As touching the trade of Shamaky in Media and Tebris, with other townes in Persia, I haue enquired, and do well vnderstand, that it is euen like to the trades of Tartaria, that is little vtterance, and small profite: and I haue bene aduertised that the chiefe trade of Persia is into Syria, and so transported into the Leuant sea. The fewe shippes vpon the Caspian Seas, the want of Mart and port Townes, the pouertie of the people, and the ice, maketh that trade naught.
At Astracan there were merchants of Shamaky, with whom I offered to barter, and to giue them kersies for their wares, but they would not, saying, they had them as good cheape in their countrey, as I offred them, which was sixe rubbles for a kersie, that I asked: and while I was at Boghar, there were brought thither out of Persia, Cloth, and diuers commodities of our countries, which were sold as good cheape, as I might sell ours.
The tenth day of Iune we departed from Astracan towards the Mosco, hauing an hundred gunners in our company at the Emperors charges, for the safe conduct at the Tartar Ambassadors and me. And the eight and twentieth day of Iuly folowing, wee arriued at the citie of Cazan, hauing bene vpon the way from Astracan thither, sixe weekes and more, without any refreshing of victuals: for in all that way there is no habitation.
His arriual at Mosco the 2. of September. The seuenth of August folowing, wee departed from Cazan, and transported our goods by water, as farre as the citie of Morum, and then by land; so that the second of September, we arriued at the citie of Mosco, and the fourth day I came before the Emperours Maiestie, kissed his hand, and presented him a white Cowes taile of Cathay, and a drumme of Tartária, which he well accepted. Also I brought before him all the Ambassadors that were committed to my charge, with all the Russe slaues: and that day I dined in his Maiesties presence, and at dinner his Grace sent me meate by a Duke, and asked me diuers questions touching the lands and countreis where I had bene. And thus I remained at the Mosco about your affaires, vntil the 17. day of February that your wares were sent downe: and then hauing a license of the Emperors Maiestie to depart, the 21. day I came to your house at Vologhda, and there remained vntil the breaking vp of the yere: and then hauing seene all your goods laden into your boates, I departed, with the same, and arriued withall in safetie at Colmogro the 9. of May 1560. And here I cease for this time, intreating you to heare with this my large discourse, which by reason of the varietie of matter, I could make no shorter, and I beseech God to prosper all your attempts.
The latitudes of certaine principall places in Russia, and other Regions.
|Nouogrod the great||58||26|
|Nouogrod the lesse||56||33|
|At the entrance into the Caspian sea.||46||42|
|Manguslaue beyond the Caspian sea.||45||04|
|Vrgence in Tartary 20.||dayes iourney from the Caspian sea.||42||18|
|Boghar a citie in Tartary 20. dayes iourney from Vrgcnce.||39||10|
223Oxus, the Jihun of the Arab, the Amu-darya of the Persians, and the Vak-shu of the Hindus, is a river of Central Asia, in Turkestan, draining the Great Pamir through two head streams — the Panja or southern, rising in Lake Victoria, 13,900 feet above the sea-level, and the Ak-su or Murghah, or northern, said to flow from Lake Barkal Yasin, 13,000 feet above the sea-level, and receiving the outflow of Lake Kara-kul above the junction. The united stream flows westwards towards Balkh, before reaching which it gradually trends to the northwest until, after a course of about 1300 miles, it reaches the south coast of the Aral Sea. In parts the stream has a breadth of 800 yards, with a depth of 20 feet, and a very rapid current; but the vast quantity of sedimentary matter which it brings down to the month, forming shifting sands and banks, renders it difficult to navigate. A great portion of the volume of the stream is absorbed in the irrigation of the Khivan Oasis. The tendency of the Oxus, like that of the great Siberian rivers, is to press continually on its right or east bank, and twice within historic times it has oscillated between the Caspian and Aral Seas. In the fourteenth century it is supposed to have entered the Caspian by the Uzboi channel, near Mikhailovsk. It was proposed at one time to attempt to reopen this bed, but the scheme has been abandoned in favour of the steppe river, Chagan. Herodotus seems to refer to the Oxus under the name of Araxes, but his description is confused, and many of his commentators suppose that the Araxes of Herodotus is the river of the same name in Armenia; while others suppose that it is either the Volga or the Jaxartes. Strabo says that the Oxus rose in the Indian mountains and flowed into the Caspian, which is also the opinion of Mela and Ptolemy. Pliny makes it rise in a lake called Oxus, and the truth of his statement is now confirmed.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09