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

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.

There are several lofty promontories on the shore of Casaria, between Kersova[8] and the mouth of the Tanais; and there are forty castles between Kersova and Soldaia, at almost each of which a distinct language is spoken; and among these are many Goths who speak the Teutonic language[9].  Beyond these mountains, towards the north, extends a most beautiful wood, in a plain, which is full of springs and rivulets; and beyond this wood is an extensive plain, continuing for five days journey to the northern extremity of this province, where it contracts into a narrow space, having the sea on the east and west, and a great ditch is drawn between these two seas.  In this plain the Comani dwelt before the coming of the Tartars, and compelled the before-mentioned cities and castles to pay tribute; and upon the coming of the Tartars, so vast a multitude of the Comani took refuge in this province, flying to the sea shore, that the living were forced to feed upon the dying, as I was assured by a merchant, an eye-witness, who declared, that the survivors tore in pieces with their teeth, and devoured the raw flesh of the dead as dogs do carrion.  Towards the extremity of this province, there are many large lakes, having salt springs on their banks, and when the water of these springs reaches the lake, it coagulates into hard salt like ice.  From these salt springs, Sartach and Baatu draw large revenues; as people come from all parts of Russia to procure salt, and for each cart-load, they pay two webs of cotton cloth, equal in value to half an yperpera.  Many vessels come likewise by sea for salt, all of which pay tribute, in proportion to the quantities which they carry away.  On the third day after leaving Soldaia, we fell in with the Tartars, on joining whom, I thought myself entered into a new world; wherefore, I shall use my best endeavours to describe their manners and way of life,

[1] The Euxine or Black Sea.  Though not expressed in the text, he probably
    took his departure from Constantinople.—­E

[2] By the Latins are here obviously meant the inhabitants of western
    Europe.  The province here mentioned is the Crimea; the Taurica
    Chersonesus of the ancients, or the modern Taurida.—­E.

[3] At the mouth of one of the branches of the Kuban is the town of
    Temruck, formerly called Tmutrakhan by the Russians, and Tamatarcha by
    the Greeks; this has been corrupted to Tamaterca, Materca, and
    Matriga.—­Forst.

[4] This obviously refers to the canal of communication between the sea of
    Azoph and the Euxine.—­E.

[5] Called likewise Soldeya, Soldadia and Sogdat, now Sudak.—­E.

[6] Sartach was the son of Baatu-khan.—­E.

[7] This name is probably meant to imply the Trucheman, Dragoman, or
    interpreter; and from the strange appellative, Man of God, he may
    have been a monk from Constantinople, with a Greek name, having that
    signification:  perhaps Theander—­E.

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