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.

These travels were undertaken by order of Louis IX. of France, usually called St Louis.  In the original, or at least in the printed copies which have come down to our times, Rubruquis is said to have commenced his journey in the year 1253; but this date is attended with some difficulties, as we are certain that king Louis was a prisoner from 1249 to 1254.  It is possible, indeed, that he may have dispatched this mission while a prisoner; yet it is more probable, that the date may have been vitiated in transcription.  The real name of this early traveller, who was a friar of the minorite order, is said to have been Van Ruysbroek[2], from a village of that name near Brussels, Latinized, or Frenchified rather, into De Rubruquis.  By Hakluyt he is named Rubruk.  The version here offered to the public, is a translation from the Latin copy in Hakluyt, as addressed by the adventurous traveller to his royal master, after his return from traversing the whole extent of Tartary; the English translation, by that early and meritorious collector, being far too antiquated for modern readers.

[1] Hakluyt, I. 80. for the Latin, and I.101. for the English.  See likewise
    Harris, I. 556.

[2] Pinkerton, Mod.  Geogr.  II. xvi.

Dedication by the Author

To the Most Excellent and Most Christian Lord Louis, by the Grace of GOD the illustrious King of the French; Friar William de Rubruquis, the meanest of the Minorite Order, wisheth health and continual triumph in CHRIST JESUS.

It is written in the book of Ecclesiasticus, “That the truly wise man shall travel through strange countries; for he hath tried the good and evil among men.”  All this, Sire, I have performed; and I wish I may have done so as a wise man, and not as a fool.  For many do foolishly those things which have been done by wise men, and I fear I may be reckoned among that number.  But as you were pleased to command me at my departure, that I should write down every thing I saw among the Tartars, and should not fear to write long letters, I now therefore obey your orders, yet with awe and reverence, as wanting fit language in which to address so great a king.


Commencement of the Journey.

Be it known, therefore, to your sacred majesty, that in the year 1253, on the 7th of May, we entered into the sea of Pontus, which the Bulgarians call the Great Sea[1]; which I was informed, by certain merchants, is 1008 miles in length, and is in a manner divided, about its middle, into two parts, by means of two provinces which project into it, one on the north, and the other on the south.  That which is on the south is called Synope, and contains the castle and port of the Sultan of the Turks.  The northern province is called Gasaria by the Latins[2], and Cassaria by the Greek inhabitants of its coast, which is the same with Caesaria; and from thence certain headlands extend southwards into the sea, towards Synope, from the nearest part of which they are 300 miles distant; so that the distance from these points to Constantinople is 700 miles in length and breadth, and 700 miles to Hiberia in the east, which is a province of Georgia.

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