A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.
anxious to surround their enemies.  Each band ought however to be cautious not to pursue too far when their enemies fly, lest they fall into a snare or ambush, as the Tartars fight more by stratagem than by main force; and this the rather, that our people may not fatigue their horses, in which we do not abound, while the Tartars always have such numbers that they seldom remount one horse, till after three or four days rest.  Should even the Tartars retire towards their own country, our army ought by no means to retreat or separate; as they often practise this stratagem to delude their enemies and induce them to divide, and then return suddenly to destroy the country at their pleasure.  Our generals ought to keep their troops day and night on the alert, and always armed, ready for battle; as the Tartars are always vigilant like the devils, and are ever devising how to commit mischief.  Finally, when a Tartar falls from his horse in battle, he ought immediately to be taken or slain; as when on foot even they are excellent archers, and destructive to men and horses[2].

[1] The word here used in the Latin, balistais, is probably
    corrupted in transcription for balistariis; and may either mean
    cross-bow-men, or men for working balistae, the ancient artillery, if
    the expression be allowable.  Arcubalistarii is the appropriate middle
    age Latin for men armed with cross-bows.—­E.

[2] Our good minorite seems in this chapter to have studied the
    old proverb, fas est ab hoste doceri; but except in the leading
    political advice of the section, he might have been better employed in
    following the adage of ne sutor ultra crepidam.—­E.


Of the Journey of Friar John de Plano Carpini, to the First Guard of the Tartars[1].

Setting out, by command from the apostolic See, upon our journey to the Tartars, lest there might arise danger from their proximity to the church of God, we came first to the king of Bohemia, with whom we were acquainted, and who advised us to travel through Poland and Russia, because he had kinsmen in Poland, through whose assistance we might be enabled to travel in Russia; and he supplied us with recommendatory letters and passports, giving us free passage as his charges through his dominions, whence we proceeded to the court of Boleslaus, duke of Silesia, his nephew, who was likewise known and friendly to us.  He treated us in the same hospitable manner, and transmitted us free of expense to Conrad, duke of Lautiscia, or Masovia, where, by God’s grace, Wasilico[2], duke of Russia, then was, from whom we fully learned the arts of the Tartars, as he had sent messengers to them who were already returned.  Learning that it was necessary for us to make presents, we caused some skins of beavers and other animals to be purchased with part of the money which had been given us in charity

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