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.

When the great khan sits upon his imperial throne of state, his queen or empress sits upon his left hand; and on another and lower seat two women are seated, who accompany the emperor in the absence of his spouse; and underneath them all the other ladies of the imperial family are placed.  All the married ladies wear ornaments on their heads, shaped like a mans foot, a cubit and a half long[1], ornamented with cranes feathers, and richly set with large oriental pearls.  The eldest son and heir apparent of the emperor, is seated on the right hand of the throne, and below him sit all the nobles of the imperial race.  There are likewise four secretaries, who write down every word spoken by the emperor.  The barons and others of the nobility stand all around, with numerous trains of their followers, and all preserve the most profound silence, unless permitted to speak by the emperor; except his jesters and stage-players, nor even they but as they are ordered.  Certain barons are appointed to keep the palace gate, to prevent all who pass from treading on the threshold.

When the khan holds a solemn feast, he is attended upon by about 14,000 barons, who have their heads ornamented by circlets or coronets of gold, and who minister to him in all things; and they are all richly dressed in cloth of gold, ornamented with precious stones, the dress and ornaments of each being worth 10,000 florins[2].  His court is kept in the most perfect order, the immense multitude of attendants being regularly arranged under officers of tens, hundreds, and thousands, so that every one perfectly knows his own place and performs his duty.  I, friar Oderic, was personally at Cambalu for three years, and was often present at the royal banquets; for we of the minorite order have a habitation appointed for us in the emperors court, and are enjoined to go frequently into the presence, that we may bestow our blessing on the emperor.  I inquired from some of the attendants at court concerning the numbers in the imperial establishment, who assured me that, of stage-players, musicians, and such like, there were at least eighteen tomans, and that the keepers of dogs, beasts, and fowls, were fifteen tomans[3].  There are four hundred physicians of the body to the emperor, eight of whom are Christians, and one Saracen.  The whole of these attendants are supplied with all manner of apparel, victuals, and necessaries, from the palace.

When the khan makes a progress from one country to another, there are four troops of horsemen appointed, having orders to keep each at the distance of a days journey from the presence; one in advance, one in the rear, and one on either hand, like a cross, the emperor being in the middle; and each troop has its regular days journey appointed for it, that all may keep in due order, and be regularly supplied with provisions.  The great khan is carried in a chariot, having two wheels, on which a splendid throne is built of aloes wood, magnificently adorned with gold, precious stones,

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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