Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.
Jerusalem and Baldach, or Bagdat; and on its nearest borders dwell two Tartar dukes, Burin and Cadan, sons of Thiaday the son of Zingis-chan.  To the north is the land of the black Kitayans and the ocean[1].  Syban, the brother of Baatu, dwells in the land of the Bisermini.  We travelled in this country from Ascension-day until eight days before the feast of St John the Baptist, 16th June, when we entered the land of the black Kitayans, in which the emperor has built a house, where we were invited to drink, and the resident there for the emperor, caused the principal people of the city, and even his own two sons, to dance before us[2].  Going from thence we came to a certain sea, having a small mountain on its banks, in which there is said to be a hole, whence such vehement tempests of wind issue in winter, that travellers can hardly pass without imminent danger.  In summer the noise of the wind is heard proceeding from this hole, but it is then quite gentle.  We travelled along the shore of this sea for several days, leaving it upon our left; and though this sea is not of very large dimensions, it contains a considerable number of islands[3].  Ordu, whom we have already mentioned as the senior of all the Tartar dukes, dwells in this country, in the orda or court of his father, where one of his wives bears rule.  For, according to the Tartar customs, the courts of princes and nobles are never dissolved at their deaths, but are kept up under the government of one of his wives, to whom the gifts are continued which used to be given to their lords.  In this place, therefore, we arrived at the first court under the immediate jurisdiction of the emperor, in which one of his wives dwelt; but as we had not yet been presented to the emperor, we were not invited, or even permitted to enter the station, but were exceedingly well entertained in our tent, after the Tartar fashion, and were allowed to remain there one day for rest and refreshment.

[1] The confused geographical notices of this traveller are so
    uninstructive, as not to merit any commentary.  A good account of the
    present state of these immense regions will be found in Pinkerton’s
    Modern Geography, articles Independent Tartary, Chinese Tartary, and
    Asiatic Russia.  The ancient and perpetually changing distribution of
    nations in Scythia or Tartary, in its most extended sense, almost
    elude research, and would require lengthened dissertations instead of
    illustrative notes.—­E.

[2] From the subsequent travels of Rubruquis, it will appear, that this
    ceremony was in honour of the Tartar messengers going from Baatu to
    the emperor, not from respect to the papal envoys.—­E.

[3] This sea is obviously the lake Balkash, or Palkati-nor, at the south
    end of which our maps represent a group of islands.—­E.

SECTION XXV.

The Arrival of Carpini at the Court of the Emperor elect.

Follow Us on Facebook