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.
and breasts with the dung; after which, they consider themselves sanctified for the whole of that day; and even the king and queen of the country use this absurd superstition.  They worship an idol also, which resembles a man from the navel upwards, all below being in the likeness of an ox; and this idol delivers oracles, as they believe, and sometimes requires the sacrifice of forty virgins.  On this account, the people consecrate their sons and daughters to the idols, even as we Christians dedicate our sons and daughters to some particular order of religion, or to some of the saints in Heaven.  They even sacrifice their sons and daughters, so that many are put to death in honour of this accursed idol; and they commit many other abominable and beastly actions; and I saw many other strange things among them which I refrain from relating[2].

This nation has another most abominable custom; that when a man dies, his body is burned to ashes, and his living wife is burned along with him, that she may assist her husband in his trade or husbandry in the next world.  Yet, if she have children by her husband, she may remain alive with them, if so inclined, without shame or reproach; yet most of them prefer to be burnt with the bodies of their husbands.  But husbands are not influenced by any similar law, as when they lose their wives they may marry again.  There are some other strange customs among the people of this country; insomuch, that the women drink wine, which the men do not; and the women shave their eyebrows, and eyelids, and their beards, besides many other filthy customs, contrary to the true decorum of the sex.  From that country I travelled ten days journey to another kingdom called Moabar[3], in which there are many cities; and in a certain church of that country, the body of St Thomas the apostle lies buried; which church is full of idols, and round about it there are fifteen houses inhabited by Nestorian priests, who are bad Christians, and false schismatics.

[1] The names of these cities or towns, in the pepper country of
    Malabar, which is called Minibar in the text, are so thoroughly
    corrupted, that no conjectural criticism can discover them in our
    modern maps.  Hakluyt on the margin, corrects Flandrina, by an equally
    unknown, Alandrina.  They may possibly refer to places now fallen into
    ruin, in the kingdom or province of Travancore, which has always been
    a great mart of pepper.—­E.

[2] Friar Oderic appears only to have observed the superstitions
    in the southern part of India very superficially, if at all; and as
    many opportunities will occur in the course of this collection, for
    explaining the strange beliefs, customs, and ceremonies of the
    braminical worship, it has not been thought necessary to discuss these
    in notes on the present occasion.—­E.

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