A speciall note gathered by the excellent Venetian Cosmographer M. Iohn Baptista Ramusius out of the Atabian Geographie of Abilfada Ismael, concerning the trending of the Ocean sea from China Northward, along the coast of Tartarie and other vnknowen lands, and then running Westwards vpon the Northerne coasts of Russia, and so farther to the Northwest.
Descriuendo poi il predetto Abilfadai Ismael luoghi della terra habitabile, che circuendo il mar Oceano tocca, dice cosi.
La regione delle Cine. Contini delli vltimi Tartari. Alcune Terre Incognite. Contini Settentrionali della Rosia. Riuoltasi l’Oceano da leuante verso la regione delle Cine, et và alla volta di Tramontana, et passata finalmente la detta regione, se ne giunge a Gogi et Magogi, cio è alli confini de gli Vltimi Tartari, et di quiui ad Alcune Terre che sono Incognite: Et correndo sempre per Ponente, passa sopra li confini Settentrionali della Rossia, et và alla volta di Maestro.
The aforesaid Abilfada Ismael describing afterward the habitable places of the earth, which the Ocean sea in his circuit toucheth, sayth in this manner following.
The Countrey of China. The coasts of the vttermost Tartars. Certaine vnknowne Countreys. The Northern coasts of Russia. The Northwest. The Ocean sea turneth from the East toward the Countrey of the Chinaes, and stretcheth toward the North, and at length hauing passed the sayd Countrey, it reacheth vnto the Gogi and Magogi, that is, to the confines of The vttermost Tartars, and from thence vnto certaine vnknowen Countreys: and running still Westward it passeth vpon the Northerne coasts of Russia, and from thence it runneth toward Northwest, (which it doth indeede vpon the coast of Lappia.) By this most notable testimony it appeareth, that the Ocean sea compasseth and enuironeth all the East, Northeast, and North parts of Asia and Europe.
The Emperors priuate or houshold Officers.
The chiefe Officers of the Emperors houshold are these which follow. Master of the Horse. The first is the office of the Boiaren Conesheua, or master of the Horse. Which conteineth no more then is expressed by the name, that is to be ouerseer of the Horse, and not Magister equitum, or Master of the Horsemen. For he appointeth other for that seruice, as occasion doth require, as before was sayd. He that beareth that office at this time, is Boris Pheodorowich Godonoe, brother to the Empresse. Of Horse for seruice in his warres (besides other for his ordinary vses) he hath to the number of ten thousand which are kept about Mosco.
The next is the Lord Steward of his houshold at this time, one Gregory Vasilowich Godonoe. The third is his Treasurer, that keepeth all his monies, iewels, plate, &c. now called Stephan Vasilowich Godonoe. The fourth his Controller, now Andreas Petrowich Clesinine. The fift his Chamberlaine. He that attendeth that office at this time, is called Estoma Bisabroza Pastelnischay. The sixt his Tasters, now Theodor Alexandrowich, and Iuan Vasilowich Godonoe. The seuenth his Harbingers, which are three Noble men, and diuers other Gentlemen that do the office vnder them. These are his ordinary officers and offices of the chiefest account.
Of Gentlemen besides them that waite about his chamber, and person (called Shilsey Strapsey) there are two hundred, all Noblemens sonnes. His ordinary Garde is two thousand Hagbutters readie with their pieces charged, and their match lighted, with other necessarie furniture continually day and night: which come not within the house, but waite without in the court or yard, where the Emperour is abiding. In the night time there lodgeth next to his bedchamber the chiefe Chamberlaine with one or two more of best trust about him. A second chamber off there lodge sixe other of like account for trust and faithfulnesse. In the thirde chamber lie certaine young Gentlemen, of these two hundred, called Shilsey Strapsey that take their turnes by forties euery night. There are groomes besides that watch in their course, and lie at euery gate and doore of the Court, called Estopnick.
The Hagbutters or Gunners, whereof there are two thousand (as was sayd before) watch about the Emperours lodgings, or bedchamber by course 250. euery night, and 250. more in the Courtyarde, and about the Treasure house. His Court or house at the Mosco is made castle wise, walled about, with great store of faire ordinance planted vpon the wall, and conteyneth a great breadth of ground within it, with many, dwelling houses: Which are appointed for such as are knowen to be sure, and trustie to the Emperor.
Of the priuate behauiour, or qualitie of the Russe people.
The priuate behauiour and qualitie of the Russe people, may partly be vnderslood by that which hath beene sayd concerning the publique state and vsage of the Countrey. Constitution of their bodies. As touching the naturall habite of their bodies, they are for the most part of a large size, and of very fleshly bodies: accounting it a grace to be somewhat grosse and burley, and therefore they nourish and spread their beards, to haue them long and broad. But for the most part, they are very vnwieldy and vnactiue withall. Which may be thought to come partly of the climate, and the numbnesse which they get by the cold in winter, and partly of their diet that standeth most of routes, onions, garlike, cabbage, and such like things that breede grosse humors, which they vse to eate alone, and with their other meates.
Their diet. Their diet is rather much then curious. At their meales they beginne commonly with a Charke or small cuppe of Aqua vitae, (which they call Russe wine) and then drinke not till towardes the end of their meales, taking it in largely, and all together, with kissing one another at euery pledge. And therefore after dinner there is no talking with them, but euery man goeth to his bench to take his afternoones sleepe, which is as ordinary with them as their nights rest. When they exceede, and haue varietie of dishes, the first are their baked meates (for roste meates they vse little) and then their broathes or pottage. Their common drinke is Mead, the poorer sort vse water and a third drinke called Quasse, which is nothing else (as we say) but water turned out of his wits, with a litle branne meashed with it.
This diet would breed in them many diseases, but that they vse bathstoues or hote houses in steade of all Phisicke, commonly twise or thrise euery weeke. All the winter time, and almost the whole Semmer, they heat their Peaches, which are made like the Germane bathstoues, and their Poclads like ouens, that so warme the house that a stranger at the first shall hardly like of it. These two extremities, specially in the winter of heat within their houses, and of extreame cold without, together with their diet, make them of a darke, and sallow complexion, their skinnes being tanned and parched both with cold and with heate: specially the women, that for the greater part are of farre worse complexions, then the men. Whereof the cause I take to be their keeping within the hote houses, and busying themselues about the heating, and vsing of their bathstoues, and peaches.
The Russe because that he is vsed to both these extremities of heat and of cold, can beare them both a great deale more patiently, then strangers can doe. An admirable induring of extreme heat and colde at one and the same time. You shall see them sometimes (to season their bodies) come out of their bathstoues all on a froth, and fuming as hoat almost as a pigge at a spit, and presently to leape into the riuer starke naked, or to powre colde water all ouer their bodies and that in the coldest of all the winter time. The women to mende the bad hue of their skinnes vse to paint their faces with white and red colours, so visibly, that euery man may perceiue it. Which is made no matter because it is common and liked well by their husbands: who make their wiues and daughters an ordinarie allowance to buy them colours to paint their faces withall, and delight themselues much to see them of fowle women to become such faire images. Thin parcheth the skinne, and helpeth to deforme them when their pinting is of.
They apparell themselues after the Greeke manner. The Noblemans attire. The Noblemans attire is on this fashion. First a Taffia, or little nightcappe on the head, that couereth litle more then his crowne, commonly verie rich wrought of silke and golde threede, and set with pearle and precious stone. His head he keepeth shauen close to the very skinne, except he be in some displeasure with the Emperour. Then hee suffereth his haire to growe and hang downe vpon his shoulders, couering his face as ugly and deformedly as he can. Ouer the Taffia hee weareth a wide cappe of blacke Foxe (which they account for the best furre) with a Tiara or long bonnet put within it, standing vp like a Persian or Babilonian hatte. About his necke (which is seene all bare) is a coller set with pearle and precious stone, about three or foure fingers broad. Next ouer his shirt, (which is curiously wrought, because he strippeth himselfe into it in the Sommer time, while he is within the house) is a Shepon, or light garment of silke, made downe to the knees, buttoned before: and then a Caftan or a close coat buttoned, and girt to him with a Persian girdle, whereat he hangs his kniues and spoone. This commonly is of cloth of gold, and hangeth downe as low as his ankles. Ouer that he weareth a lose garment of some rich silke, furred and faced about with some golde lace, called a Ferris. An other ouer that of chainlet, or like stufle called an Alkaben, sleeued and hanging lowe, and the cape commonly brooched, and set all with pearle. When hee goeth abroad, he casteth ouer all these (which are but sleight, though they seeme to be many) an other garment tailed an Honoratkey, like to the Alkaben, saue that it is made without a coller for the necke. And this is commonly of fine cloth or Camels haire. His buskins (which he weareth in stead of hose, with linnen folles vnder them in stead of boot hose) are made of a Persian leather called Saphian, embrodered with pearle. His vpper stockes commonly are of cloth of golde. When he goeth abroad, hee mounteth on horsebacke, though it be but to the next doore: which is the maner also of the Boiarskey, or Gentlemen.
The Gentlemans apparel. The Boiarskey or Gentlemans attire is of the same fashion, but differeth in stuffe: and yet he will haue his Caftan or vndercoat sometimes of cloth of golde, the rest of cloth, or silke.
The Noble woman’s attire. The Noble woman (called Chyna Boiarshena) weareth on her head, first a cauil of some soft silke (which is commonly redde) and ouer it a fruntlet called Obrosa, of white colour. Ouer that her cappe (made after the coife fashion of cloth of gold) called Shapka Zempska, edged with some rich furre, and set with pearle and stone. Though they haue of late begunne to disdaine embrodering with pearle aboue their cappes, because the Diacks, and some Marchants wiues haue taken vp the fashion. In their ears they weare earerings (which they call Sargee) of two inches or more compasse, the matter of gold set with Rubies or Saphires, or some like precious stone. In Sommer they goe often with kerchiefffes of fine white lawne, or cambricke, fastned vnder the chinne, with two long tassels pendent. The kerchiefe spotted and set thicke with rich pearle. When they ride or goe abroad in raynie weather, they weare white hattes with coloured bandes called Stapa Zemskoy. About their neckes they weare collers of three or foure fingers broad, set with rich pearle and precious stone. Their vpper garment is a loose gowne called Oposhen commonly of scarlet, with wide loose sleeues, hanging downe to the ground buttened before with great golde buttons or at least siluer and guilt nigh as bigge as a walnut. Which hath hanging ouer it fastned vnder the cappe, a large broad cape of some rich furre, that hangeth downe almost to the middes of their backes. Next vnder the Oposken [sic] or vpper garment, they weare another called a Leitnich that is made close before with great wide sleeues, the cuffe or halfe sleeue vp to the elbowes, commonly of cloth of golde: and vnder that a Ferris Zemskoy, which hangeth loose buttoned throughout to the very foote. On the hande wrests they weare very faire braselets, about two fingers broad of pearle and precious stone. They goe all in buskins of white, yellow, blew, or some other coloured leather, embrodered with pearle. This is the attire of the Noblewoman of Russia, when she maketh the best shewe of herselfe. The Gentlewomans apparell may differ in the stuffe, but is all one for the making or fashion.
The Mousicks or common man attire. As for the poore Mousick and his wife they goe poorely cladde. The man with his Honoratkey, or loose gowne to the small of the legge, tyed together with a lace before, of course white or blew cloth, with some Shube or long wastcoate of furre, or of sheepeskinne vnder it, and his furred cappe, and buskins. The poorer sort of them haue their Honoratkey, or vpper garment, made of Kowes haire. This is their winter habite. In the sommer time, commonly they weare nothing but their shirts on their backes, and buskins on their legges. The woman goeth in a red or blewe gowne, when she maketh the best shewe, and with some warme Shube of furre vnder it in the winter time. But in the sommer, nothing but her two shirts (for so they call them) one ouer the other, whether they be within doores, or without. On their heads, they weare caps of some coloured stuffe, many of veluet, or of cloth of gold: but for the most part kerchiefs. Without earings of siluer or some other mettall, and her crosse about her necke, you shall see no Russe woman, be she wife or maide.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09