In this itinerary, as in all the ancient voyages and travels, the names of persons, places, and things, are generally given in an extremely vicious orthography, often almost utterly unintelligible, as taken down orally, according to the vernacular modes of the respective writers, without any intimate knowledge of the native language, or the employment of any fixed general standard. To avoid the multiplication of notes, we have endeavoured to supply this defect, by subjoining those names which are now almost universally adopted by Europeans, founded upon a more intimate acquaintance with the eastern languages. Thus the author, or his translator Eden, constantly uses Cayrus and Alcayr, for the modern capital of Egypt, now known either by the Arabic denomination Al Cahira, or the European designation Cairo, probably formed by the Venetians from the Arabic. The names used in this itinerary have probably been farther disguised and vitiated, by a prevalent fancy or fashion of giving latin terminations to all names of persons and places in latin translations. Thus, even the author of this itinerary has had his modern Roman name, Verthema, latinized into Vertomannus, and probably the Cairo, or Cayro of the Italian original, was corrupted by Eden into Cayrus, by way of giving it a latin sound. Yet, while we have endeavoured to give, often conjecturally, the better, or at least more intelligible and now customary names, it seemed proper to retain those of the original translation, which we believe may be found useful to our readers, as a kind of geographical glossary of middle-age terms.
Of Verthema or Vertomannus, we only know, from the title of the translation of his work by Eden, that he was a gentleman of Rome; and we learn, at the close of his itinerary, that he was knighted by the Portuguese viceroy of India, and that his patent of knighthood was confirmed at Lisbon, by the king of Portugal. The full title of this journal or itinerary, as given by the original translator, is as follows; by which, and the preface of the author, both left unaltered, the language and orthography of England towards the end of the sixteenth century, or in 1576, when Eden published his translation, will be sufficiently illustrated.—Ed.
THE NAUIGATION AND VYAGES
GENTLEMAN OF THE CITIE OF ROME,
REGIONS OF ARABIA, EGYPTE, PERSIA, SYRIA, ETHIOPIA
AND EAST INDIA,
BOTH WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE RYUER OF GANGES, ETC.
IN THE YEERE OF OUR LORDE 1503.
MANY NOTABLE AND STRAUNGE THYNGES,
BOTH HYSTORICALL AND NATURALL
TRANSLATED OUT OF LATINE INTO ENGLYSHE,
BY RICHARDE EDEN.
IN THE YEERE OF OUR LORDE 1576.
THE PREFACE OF THE AUTHOR.