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.

The region beyond the Tanais is very beautiful, especially towards the north, where there are fine rivers and extensive forests.  In these dwell two different nations.  One of these, named the Moxel, are ignorant pagans, without any laws, who dwell in cottages among the woods, and have no cities.  Their lord, and the greater part of the nation were carried to the confines of Germany by the Tartars, and were there slain by the Germans, who are held in great estimation by the nations who are subject to the Tartars, as they hope, through their means, to be freed from the Tartar yoke.  When a merchant comes among these people, the first person with whom he stops is obliged to provide him with all necessaries during his stay in the district; and they are so little jealous of their wives, that husbands pay little regard to their infidelity, unless directly under their eyes.  These people have abundance of swine, honey, and wax, precious furs, and falcons.  Beyond these dwell the Merdas[1] or Merdui, who are Saracens or Mahometans.  Beyond them is the Etilia or Volga, the largest river I ever beheld, which comes out of the north, from the country of the Greater Bulgaria and runs southwards, into a vast lake of four months journey in circuit, of which I shall speak afterwards.  In the northern region, by which we travelled, the Tanais and Volga are not above ten days journey asunder, but towards the south they are at a much farther distance; the Tanais falling into the Euxine, and the Volga into the before mentioned sea or lake, which likewise receives many rivers from Persia.  In the course of our journey, we left to the south certain great mountains, on whose sides, towards the desert, dwell the Cergis and the Alani or Acas, who are Christians, and still carry on war with the Tartars.  Beyond these, near the sea or lake of Etilia, or the Caspian, are certain Mahometans named Lesgis, who are subjected to the Tartars.  Beyond these again are the Irongates, which were constructed by Alexander, to exclude the barbarians from Persia, of which I shall speak hereafter, as I passed that way in my return.  In the country through which we travelled between these great rivers, the Comanians dwelt before it was occupied by the Tarters.

[1] In the English of Hakluyt and Harris, these people are called Merdas
    and Mardui.—­E.


Of the Magnificence of the Court of Sartach.

WE found Sartach encamped within three days journey of the river Volga or Etilia, and his court or horda appeared to us very large and magnificent; as he had six wives, and his eldest son three, and each of these ladies had a great house, like those already described, besides that each had several smaller houses, and 200 of the chest-carts already mentioned.  Our guide went immediately to a certain Nestorian named Coiat, who has great influence at the court of Sartach;

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