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.
women shaven hire berdes, and the men not.”  From India he proceeds to the island of Lamary, the Lambri of Marco Polo; and by using the Italian term “the star transmontane,” at once betrays the source of his plagiarism.  His descriptions seem disguised extracts from Polo, with ridiculous exaggerations and additions; as of snail shells so large as to hold many persons.  His account of the pretended varieties of the human race, as of nations of Hermaphrodites, and others equally ridiculous, which he places in separate islands of the Indian ocean, are mere transcripts from Pliny.

His accounts of Mangi and Kathay, or southern and northern China, are most inaccurately stolen from Marco Polo, and disguised or rather disfigured to conceal the theft.  “The city with twelve thousand bridges, has twelve principal gates, and in advance from each of these a detached town, or great city, extends for three or four miles.”  Though he pretends to have resided three years in Cambalu, he does not seem to have known the name of the khan, whom he served for fifteen months against the king of Mangi.  Leaving Cathay he goes into Tharsis, Turquescen, Corasine, and Kommania, in which he seems to have transcribed from Oderic; and makes Prester John emperor of India, a country divided into many islands by the great torrents which descend from Paradise!  He gives also an account of a sea of sand and gravel, entirely destitute of water, the Mare arenosum of Oderic; to which he adds that it moves in waves like the ocean.  Though he makes Prester John sovereign of India, he assigns Susa in Persia for his residence; constructs the gates of his palace of sardonyx, its bars of ivory, its windows of rock crystal, and its tables of emeralds; while numerous carbuncles, each one foot in length, served infinitely better than lamps to illuminate the palace by night.  To many absurdities, apparitions, and miracles, copied and disguised from Oderic, he adds two islands in the middle of the continent, one inhabited by giants thirty feet high, while their elder brethren in the other are from forty-five to fifty feet.

He borrows many fabulous stories from Pliny, and from the romances of the middle, ages, yet so ignorantly as to reverse the very circumstances of his authors.  Andromeda is not the lady who was rescued by Perseus, but the monster by which she was to have been devoured.  Two islands in India, one called Brahmin, and the other Gymnosophist.  And a thousand other fictions and absurdities, too ridiculous even for the credulity of children.  Of this worse than useless performance, the foregoing analysis is perhaps more than sufficient for the present work.—­E.

[1] Forst.  Voy. and Disc. in the Nerth, p. 148.  Pinkert.  Mod.  Geogr.  II.
    xxxvi.  Hakluyt, II. 76.

CHAP.  XIV.

Itinerary of Pegoletti, between Asof and China, in 1355[1].

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