house to drink. I likewise presented to him the
letters from the emperor of Constantinople. He
then sent these to Soldaia to be translated, because,
being in Greek, there was no person about him who understood
that language. He asked if we would drink cosmos?
For the Russian, Greek, and Alanian Christians, who
happen to, be among the Tartars, and conform strictly
to their own laws, do not drink that liquor, and even
think they are not Christians who do so; and their
priests, after such conduct, formally reconcile them
again to the church, as if they had thereby renounced
the Christian faith. I answered that we had still
a sufficiency of our own drink, but when that was
done, we should be under the necessity of using what
might be given us. He next asked us, what the
letters contained which we carried to Sartach?
I answered that these were sealed, and contained only
the words of friendship and good will. He asked
what I meant to say to Sartach? To this I answered,
that I should speak to him the words of the Christian
faith. He asked what these were, as he would willingly
hear them? I then expounded to him the apostles
creed, as well as I was able, by means of our interpreter,
who was by no means clever or eloquent. On hearing
this he shook his head, but made no reply. He
then appointed oxen and horses for our use, and two
men to attend upon us; but he desired us to abide with
him, until the messenger should return with the translation
of the emperors letters from Soldaia. We arrived
at the horde of Zagathai, in the Ascension week, and
we remained with him until the day after Pentecost,
or Whitsun Tuesday, being ten days in all.
How some Alanians visited them on the Eve of Pentecost.
On the eve of Pentecost or Whitsunday, there came
to us certain Alanians, called there Acias or Akas,
who are Christians after the Greek form, using Greek
books, and having Grecian priests, but they are not
schismatics like the Greeks as they honour all Christians
without exception. These men brought us some
sodden flesh, which they offered us to eat, and requested
us to pray for one of their company who had died.
But I explained to them the solemnity of the festival,
and that we could eat no flesh at this time.
They were much pleased with our exposition, as they
were ignorant of every thing relative to the Christian
rites, the name of Christ alone excepted. They
and many other Christians, both Russians and Hungarians,
demanded of us if they might be saved, having been
constrained to drink cosmos, and to eat the flesh
of animals that had been slain by the Saracens and
other infidels; which the Greek and Russian priests
consider as things strangled or offered to idols.
They were likewise ignorant of the times of fasting,
neither could they have observed these in this region,
even if they had known their times and seasons.
I then instructed them as well as I could, and strengthened