PREFACE OF THE AUTHOR.
“The illustrious republic of Venice, having done me the honour to appoint me ambassador to Uzun-Hassan, king of Persia, I accepted the employment with much pleasure, both that I might do acceptable service to my own country and for the general good of Christendom. I neither considered the difficulties nor the dangers of the journey, but placed my trust solely on the assistance of God; preferring the interests of my country, and of the Christian world, to my own ease and safety. On purpose to render my discoveries useful to the public, I have carefully and briefly recorded every circumstance deserving of attention, that occurred during my long and laborious journey; as relative to the provinces, cities, and places through which I travelled, and the manners and customs of the different nations among whom I sojourned. In short, I have omitted nothing deserving of notice, that occurred during my three years journey, having left Venice on the first day of Lent, in the year 1473, and having returned to my beloved country on the 24th of February in the year 1476.”
The Ambassador, after passing through Germany, Poland, Russia, and the Tartarian Deserts, or Upper European Sarmatia, arrives at Caffa or Theodosia.
I left Venice on the 23d of February, in the year 1473, accompanied by the venerable priest Stephen Testa, who acted as my chaplain and secretary, and by Demetrius de Seze, my interpreter, together with two servants, Maffei de Bergamo, and John Ungaretti, all of us disguised in ordinary German dresses, our money being concealed in the clothes of Stephen Testa. We went by water in the first place to the church of St Michael in Murano, where we heard mass, and received the benediction of the prior; after which, we mounted our horses, which were there in waiting, and reached Treviso the same day. I anxiously wished to have procured some person to accompany us on the journey who knew the road, but could not meet with any, nor could I even procure a guide for hire. Leaving Treviso on the 24th, we arrived that day at Cogiensi, now called Cornegliano; and knowing the dangers and difficulties we must experience during our long journey, we here confessed, and partook of the holy sacrament of the eucharist, after which we resumed our journey. We fortunately overtook a German, named Sebastian, who said he knew me and the object of my journey, and offered to keep us company to Nuremburgh. I gladly accepted of this person as a companion of our journey, inwardly thanking God for affording us a guide. We continued our journey to the frontiers of Germany, passing through several cities and castles, belonging to different princes and bishops, vassals of the empire, among which the city of Augsburg seemed one of the most beautiful. Not far from that place our German companion, Sebastian, left us, taking the road for Francfort. We parted from him with many embraces, giving him thanks for his numerous attentions, and mutually wishing each other a good journey.