As the riches and magnificence of Cairo, and the Mameluke soldiers by whom it is occupied are well known, we do not deem it necessary to say any thing respecting them in this place. Wherefore departing from Babylon in Egypt, or Cairo, and returning to Alexandria, we again put to sea and went to Berynto, a city on the coast of Syria Phoenicia, inhabited by Mahometans and abounding in all things, where we remained a considerable time. This city is not encompassed with walls, except on the west side where there are walls close to the sea. We found nothing memorable at this place, except an old ruined building where they say St. George delivered the kings daughter from a cruel dragon which he slew, and then restated the lady to her father. Departing from thence we went to Tripoli in Syria, which is two days sail to the east of Berynto. It is inhabited by Mahometans, who are subject to the lieutenant or governor of Syria under the Soldan. The soil of the neighbouring country is very fertile, and as it carries on great trade this city abounds in all things. Departing from thence we came to the city of Comagene of Syria, commonly called Aleppo, and named by our men Antioch. This is a goodly city, which is situated under mount Taurus and is subject to the lieutenant of Syria under the Soldan of Egypt. Here are the scales or ladders as they are called of the Turks and Syrians, being near mount Olympus. It is a famous mart of the Azamians and Persians. The Azamians are a Mahometan people who inhabit Mesopotamia on the confines of Persia.
[Footnote 35: This is a gross error, as Aleppo is above 80 English miles N.E. and island from Antioch. From the sequel it is evident that Antioch is the place meant by Vertomannus in the text, as the scales, mart, or staple of the Syrian trade.—E.]
Departing from Antioch we went by land to Damascus, a journey of ten days; but mid-way we came to a city named Aman in the neighbourhood of which there grows a great quantity of gossampine or cotton, and all manner of pleasant fruits. About six miles from Damascus on the declivity of a mountain is a city called Menin, inhabited by Greek christians who are subject to the governor of Damascus. At that place there are two fine churches, which the inhabitants allege were built by Helena the mother of the emperor Constantine. This place produces all kinds of fruit in great perfection, especially excellent grapes, and the gardens are watered with perpetual fountains.
Of the City of Damascus.