Leaving Phasis, Contarini travels through Mingrelia and Georgia, into Media, and, passing the Caspian, arrives in Tartary.
Leaving Phasis, as before mentioned, on the 17th of September; and taking the road of Mingrelia, we came to Cotati, or Cutais, on the 21st of that month, extremely worn out through the consequences of our late illness, and the fatigues of the journey; and as the Greek whom I had hired never ceased to give me vexation, I here parted with him as handsomely as I could. We remained two days at Cutais, among people who knew us not, and whose language we were quite ignorant of. Leaving that place, and tracing back our former steps, we passed over several mountains in much fear, and arrived at Tiflis on the 30th of September, where we took shelter in the chapel of a certain Armenian catholic, who had more the appearance of a dead person than of a living man, but who rendered us every possible service. This man had a son who lived with him, and who, unfortunately for us, was seized with the plague, which had raged in that part of the country this year. From him one of my servants, named Maffeo of Bergamo, caught the distemper, who still kept about me during two days, though ill, as he was my own particular domestic. At length, growing worse, he had to take to his bed, when the distemper shewed itself; and as he lay in the same room with me, and the house could not afford me another, I was forced to take refuge in a hovel where some cows were kept at night; and as the Armenian refused to allow Maffeo to remain in his house, I was constrained to take him into the same place with myself, where Stephen took care of him, till God pleased to take him out of the world. After the death of Maffeo, I experienced great difficulty to procure another stable for myself, that I might get away from the morbid air of that in which my poor servant died. In this extremity we were utterly abandoned, except by one old man, who understood a little of our language, and who served us with much affection.
We remained at this place till the 21st October, and on the evening before our intended departure, the Persian ambassador, who had accompanied the patriarch, came to Tiflis. He complained grievously of having been plundered, through the fault of the patriarch, with whom he had travelled to Lavogasia, where he had left him, and was now on his road to complain to Uzun-Hassan. We agreed to travel in company from Tiflis, a city belonging to Pancratis. From thence in two days we entered the territories of Uzun-Hassan, as we took the road towards Shamaki, or Cyropolis, which is situated in a fertile and pleasant country. On the 26th of October we separated, as the Persian went to Uzun-Hassan at Tauris, and I took the road for the dominions of Sivanse, in which Shamaki stands; but by means of the Persian ambassador I procurred a molah, or Mahometan