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.

In the year 1305, when he must have become very old, Haitho became a monk of the Praemonstratensian order at Episcopia in Cyprus.  He afterwards went to Poitou in France, where he dictated in French to Nicholas Salconi, a history of the events which had occurred in the east from the first commencement of the conquests of the Tartars or Mongals, including the reigns of Zingis-khan and his successors, to Mangu-khan inclusively; and a particular narrative of the history of his own country, Armenia Minor, from the reign of Haitho I. to that of Leon II. both inclusive.  This account Salconi translated into Latin in 1307, by order of the reigning Pope.

The travels of Haitho being perfectly contemporary with those of Rubruquis, are not sufficiently interesting to be here inserted; and the historical part of his relations have no connection with the plan of this work, which it would swell beyond due bounds:  But the following brief account of his geographical description of the east, as it existed in the thirteenth century, and as abstracted by J. R. Forster, in his Voyages and Discoveries in the North, have been deemed worthy of insertion, together with the observations or commentaries of that ingenious author.

[1] Forst.  Hist. of Voy. and Disc. in the North, p. 113.

SECTION II.

Geographical Notices of the East in the Thirteenth Century, by Haitho.

Sec. 1.  The empire of Kathay is one of the most extensive, most opulent, and most populous in the world, and is entirely situated on the sea coast.  The inhabitants have a very high notion of their own superior intelligence, which they express by saying, that they only of all the people on earth have two eyes; to the Latins they allow one, and consider all other nations as blind.  The Kathayans have small eyes and no beards.  Their money consists of small square pieces of paper, impressed with the seal of their emperor.  To the west, this empire is bounded by that of the Tarsae; to the north by the desert of Belgian; and to the south by the sea, in which there are innumerable islands.  The inhabitants of Kathay are exceedingly skilful and ingenious in all works of art and in manufactures, but are of a very timorous disposition.  In the foregoing description, and in the traits of character, the empire and inhabitants of northern China are distinctly indicated.—­Forst.

Sec. 2.  The empire of Tarsa is divided into three provinces, each of which has a sovereign who assumes the title of King.  The inhabitants are called Jogur, the Jugur or Uigur of other authors.  They are divided into many tribes, ten of whom are Christians, and the rest heathens.  They abstain from every article of food which has ever had life, and drink no wine, but raise abundance of corn.  Their towns are very pleasant, and contain great numbers of idol temples.  They are not inclined to war,

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