In the year 1355, Francisco Balducci Pegoletti, an Italian, wrote a system of commercial geography, of great importance, considering the period in which it was written. Its title translated into English, is, “Of the Divisions of Countries, and of their Measures, Merchandize, and other things useful to be known by the Merchants of various parts of the World.” All of this curious work which has any reference to our present undertaking, is the chapter which is entitled, “Guide or the Route from Tana to Kathay, with Merchandize, and back again.” This is published entire by J. R. Forster, with several learned notes and illustrations, and is here reprinted.
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From Tana or Asof to Gintarchan or Astracan, is twenty-five days journey with waggons drawn by oxen; but may be accomplished in ten or twelve days, if the waggons are drawn by horses. On the road one meets with a great number of armed Moccols, Moguls or Mongals. From Gintarchan to Sara by the river, it is only one days sail; but from Sara to Saracanco, it takes eight days by water; one may, however, travel either by land or water, whichever is most agreeable; but it costs much less expence to go with merchandize by water. From Saracanco to Organci is a journey of twenty days with loaded camels; and whoever travels with merchandize, will do well to go to Organci, as it is a very convenient place for the expeditious sale of goods. From Organci to Oltrarra, it is thirty-five or forty days journey, with camels: But in going direct from Saracanco to Oltrarra, it takes fifty days journey; and if one has no merchandize, it is a better way than to go by Organci. From Oltrarra to Armalecco, it is forty-five days journey with loaded asses, and in this road, one meets every day with Moguls. From Armalecco to Camexu, it is seventy days journey on asses; and from Camexu to a river called the Kara Morin, it is fifty days journey on horses. From this river, the traveller may go to Cassai to dispose of his silver there, as it is an excellent station for the expeditious sale of merchandize; and from Cassai, he may go through the whole land of Gattay or Kathay, with the money he has received at Cassai for his silver. This money is of paper, and called balischi, four of which balischies are equal to one silver somno. From Cassai to Galmalecco[l3], which is the capital of the empire of Kathay, it is thirty days journey.
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