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.

If the reader has any idea of the difficulty attendant on making out so many places, disguised by a vicious orthography, a difficulty, which is still more increased by the necessity there is for determining, with accuracy, the situation of these places, and their probable distances from each other, he will be ready to allow that the task is certainly not very trifling, nor to be accomplished without much labour.  In the foregoing itinerary, Pegoletti certifies the existence of the paper money which had been previously mentioned by Rubraquis, Haitho, Marco Polo, and Oderic:  Some of these authors describe it as having been fabricated of cotton paper; while others remark very justly, that it was made of the bark of the paper mulberry tree.  Oderic calls it Balis, Pegoletti gives it the name of Balis-chi.  A Jesuit named Gabriel de Magaillans, pretends that Marco Polo was mistaken in regard to this paper money; but the concurrent testimony of five other credible witnesses of the fact, is perfectly conclusive that this paper money did actually exist during the first Mogul dynasty, the descendants of Zinghis, called the legal tribe of Yu by the Chinese.  On the downfall of that race it was abolished.

Supposing the station on the Kara-morin and Cassai to be the same, which is highly probable, the whole journey in this itinerary, from Asof to Pekin, extends to 276 days, besides nine days more by water, or 285 in all; so that allowing for delays, rests, accidents, and occasional trafficking, a whole year may fairly be allowed, and as much for the return.

[1] Forster, Voy. and Disc, in the North, p. 150.

[2] Gintarchan, or Zintarchan, is, by Josaphat Barbaro, called also
    Gitarchau; and Witsan, in his account of Northern and Eastern Tartary,
    says Astracan was called of old Citracan.  By the Calmuks, it is
    called Hadschi-Aidar-Khan-Balgassun, or the city of Hadschi Aidar
    Khan, whence all these names are derived by an obvious corruption,
    like [Greek:  Eis tnae polis], or the city, by way of eminence, by
    which the Greeks distinguished Constantinople, and which the Turks
    have corrupted into Estambol, and Stambol.—­Forst.

[3] Sara is undoubtedly the town of Saray, situated on the eastern arm of
    the Wolga, or Achtuba.  The Astracan mentioned in the text by
    Pegoletti, was not on the spot where that city now stands; both that
    ancient Astracan and Saray having been destroyed by Timur Khan, or
    Tamerlane, as he is usually called, in the winter 1395.  The old town
    of Saray was at no great distance from ancient Astracan.—­Forst.

[4] Saracanco is probably the town which formerly existed on the river Jaik
    or Ural, the remains of which are now known by the name of
    Saratschik.—­Forst.

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