Cathay and the Way Thither, Volume 1: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China

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East Asia: 4.2 China Humiliated, 20th Century-style

Kulja, on the Ili R. And from Armalec to Camexu [Ganchau, in Gansu province] is seventy days with asses, and from Camexu until you come to a river called After getting to Cassai you carry on with the money which you get for the sommi of silver which you sell there; and this money is made of paper, and is called balishi. And four pieces of this money are worth one sommo of silver in the province of Cathay. And from Cassai to Garnalec [Cambalec, Beijing], which is the capital city of the country of Cathay, is thirty days' journey.

Things needful for merchants who desire to make the journey to Cathay above described. In the first place, you must let your beard grow long and not shave. And you must not try to save money in the matter of dragomen by taking a bad one instead of a good one. For the additional wages of the good one will not cost you so much as you will save by having him. And besides the dragoman It will be well to take at least two good men servants, who are acquainted with the Cumanian [Tatar] tongue. And if the merchant likes to take a woman with him from Tana, he can do so; if he does not like to take one there is no obligation, only if he does take one he will be kept much more comfortably than if he does not take one.

Howbeit, if he do take one, it will be well that she be acquainted with the Cumanian tongue as well as the men. And from Tana travelling to Gittarchan you should take with you twenty-five days' provisions, that is to say, flour and salt fish, for as to meat you will find enough of it at all the places along the road. And so also at all the chief stations noted in going from one country to another in the route, according to the number of days set down above, you should furnish yourself with flour and salt fish; other things you wilt find in sufficiency, and especially meat.

The road you travel from Tana to Cathay is perfectly safe, whether by day or by night, according to what the merchants say who have used it. Only if the merchant, in going or coming, should die upon the road, everything belonging to him will become the perquisite of the lord of the country in which he dies, and the officers of the lord will take possession of all.

And in like manner if he die in Cathay. But if his brother be with him, or an intimate friend and comrade calling himself his brother, then to such an one they will surrender the property of the deceased, and so it will be rescued. And there is another danger: this is when the lord of the country dies, and before the new lord who is to have the lordship is proclaimed; during such intervals there have sometimes been irregularities practised on the Franks, and other foreigners.

They call Franks all the Christians of these parts from Romania westward'. And neither will the roads be safe to travel until the other lord be proclaimed who is to reign in room of him who is deceased. Cathay is a province which contained a multitude of cities and towns. Among others there is one in particular, that is to say the capital city, to which is great resort of merchants, and in which there is a vast amount of trade; and this city is called Cambalec. And the said city hath a circuit of one hundred miles, and is all full of people and bouses and of dwellers in the said city.

You may calculate that a merchant with a dragoman, and with two men servants, and with goods to the value of twenty-five thousand golden florins, should spend on his way to Cathay from sixty to eighty sommi of silver, and not more if he manage well; and for all the road back again from Cathay to Tana, including the expenses of living and the pay of servants, and all other charges, the cost will be about five sommi per head of pack animals, or something less.

And you may reckon the sommo to be worth five golden florins. You may reckon also that each ox-waggon will require one ox, and will carry ten cantars Genoese weight; and the camel-waggon will require three camels, and will carry thirty cantars Genoese weight; and the horse-waggon will require one horse, and will commonly carry six and half cantars of silk, at Genoese pounds to the cantar [a Genoese pound was apparently about 12 ounces]. And a bale of silk may be reckoned at between and Genoese pounds. You may reckon also that from Tana to Sara the road is less safe than on any other part of the journey; and yet even when this part of the road is at its worst, if you are some sixty men in the company you will go as safely as if you were in your own house.

Anyone from Genoa or from Venice, wishing to go to the places above-named, and to make the journey to Cathay, should carry linens with him, and if he visit Organci he will dispose of these well. In Organci he should purchase sommi of silver, and with these he should proceed without making any further investment, unless it be some bales of the very finest stuffs which go in small bulk, and cost no more for carriage than coarser stuffs would do. Merchants who travel this road can ride on horseback or on asses, or mounted in any way that they list to be mounted.

Whatever silver the merchants may carry with them as far as Cathay the lord of Cathay will take from them and put into his treasury. And to merchants who thus bring silver they give that paper money of theirs in exchange. This is of yellow paper, stamped with the seal of the lord aforesaid. And this money is called balishi ; and with this money you can readily buy silk and all other merchandize that you have a desire to buy. And all the people of the country are bound to receive it. And yet you shall not pay a higher price for your goods because your money is of paper.

And of the said paper money there are three kinds, one being worth more than another, according to the value which has been established for each by that lord. And you may reckon that you can buy for one sommo of silver nineteen or twenty pounds of Cathay silk, when reduced to Genoese weight, and that the sommo should weigh eight and a half ounces of Genoa, and should be of the alloy of eleven ounces and seventeen deniers to the pound. You may reckon also that in Cathay you should get three or three and a half pieces of damasked silk for a sommo; and from three and a half to five pieces of nacchetti of silk and gold, likewise for a sommo of silver.

Wax, ladanum, iron, tin, copper, pepper, ginger, all coarser spices, cotton, madder, and suet, cheese, flax, and oil, honey, and the like, sell by the great pound. Silk, saffron, amber wrought in rosaries and the like, and all small spices sell by the little pound. Foxes, sables, fitches and martens, wolfskins, deerskins, and all cloths of silk or gold, by the piece. Common stuffs, and canvasses of every kind sell by the picco [approx.

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Greek wine and all Latin wines are sold by the cask as they come. Malmsey and wines of Triglia and Candia are sold by the measure. Caviar is sold by the fusco, and a fusco is the tail-half of the fish's skin, full of fish's roe. Gold, silver, and pearls at Tana pay neither comerchio, nor tamunga, nor any other duties.

On wine, and ox-hides, and tails, and horse-hides, the Genoese and Venetians pay four per cent. At Tana the money current is of sommi and aspers of silver. The sommo weighs 45 saggi of Tana, and is of the alloy of 11 oz.

Yule (ed.): Cathay and the way thither « Bibliotheca Sinica

V details the relationship between weights at Tana and those of Venice, Caffa in the Crimea, a major Genorese port , and the important commercial city of Tabriz in NW Iran. Detail showing how all goods are sold and bought at Constantinople and in Pera, and of the expenses incurred by traders; but especially as regards Pera, because most of the business is done there, where the merchants are more constantly to be found.

For the rest of Constantinople belongs to the Greeks, but Pera to the Franks, i. And from Constantinople to Pera, 'tis five miles by land, but half a mile by water. Ibn Battuta. Translated with revisions and notes from the Arabic text edited by C. Sanguinetti by H.

Gibb, 4 vols. IV completed by C.

Beckingham; a vol. V containing additional editorial material and a full index is promised. Travels in Asia and Africa, Gibb London, ; various reprints. One of several different editions containing selections; others focus on Indian and African portions of the travels. Nice re-telling of his travels, with extensive quotations and illustrations by a modern artist.

Thomas J. With photographs by James L. Ross E. A well-informed "interpretation of Ibn Battuta's life and times. Charles F. Beckingham, "Ebn Battuta," Encyclopaedia Iranica. Marina A. McLeod, eds. John of Marignolli. Francesco Balducci Pegolotti. III London, , pp. Waugh has made a selection of these available on the Web.

La pratica della mercaturaz , ed. Allen Evans Cambridge, Ma. A complete scholarly edition of the Italian text. Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo and Alfonso Paez. Primary source: Guy le Strange, tr. Based on Spanish text published in by I. Sreznevskii; supersedes translation by Clements Markham published in by the Halkluyt Society. Ch'en Ch'eng.

The complete text of the description of Herat. Includes p. Felicia J. Valuable for assessment of the accuracy of his observations about Herat and his rendering of Persian vocabulary in phonetic transcription. Ma Huan. Primary source: Ma Huan, Y ing-yai sheng-lan. Mills Cambridge, Appealingly written and illustrated; provides a broad sense of early Ming relations with the outside world, although main focus is the seven expeditions of the treasure fleets, all but one of them led by Admiral Ch'eng Ho.

Ghiyathuddin Naqqash. A composite version of the complete text, incorporating readings from two different sources. A Persian Embassy to China. Maitra, with a new introduction by L. Carrington Goodrich New York, ; first published Lahore, Until Thackston's translation, the fullest and most widely used version of the embassy. I London, ; Delhi, , pp. Pero Tafur. Primary source: Pero Tafur, Travels and Adventures, The first complete translation from the original Spanish; brief but helpful introduction.

Giosofat Barbaro. Primary source: Travels to Tana and Persia. Roy, esq. Sixteenth-century translation into English; the volume includes Contarini's travels to Persia.

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Barbaro i Kontrarini o Rossii. K istorii italo-russkikh sviazei v XV v. Vstupitel'nye stat'i, podgotovka teksta, perevod i kommentarii E. Skrzhinskoi Leningrad, Edition, translation, and extended commentaries on Barbaro and Contarini, but only the "Travels to Tana" of the former. Afanasii Nikitin. New York, , A condensed translation. Khozhenie za tri moria Afanasiia Nikitina. Lur'e and L. Semenov Leningrad, The best edition of the original Russian text. Secondary sources: Gail D. Lenhoff and Janet L. Ambrogio Contarini. Sixteenth-century translation into English; the volume includes Barbaro's travels to Tana and Persia.

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Edition, translation, and extended commentaries on Barbaro and Contarini. This is a literal if awkward translation, from which excerpts , selected and edited by Prof. Waugh and dealing mainly with Central Asia, have been placed on the Web. Wheeler M. An elegantly produced and smooth modern translation. Anthony Jenkinson. Primary sources: Richard Hakluyt, comp. Morgan and C.

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Coote, eds. London, Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, nos. All the Jenkinson material conveniently collected here. Secondary source: T. Includes a reproduction of a map based on Jenkinson's first trip, published in London in , and later reproduced in Abraham Ortelius' famous atlas, Theatrum orbis terrarum. John Newbery. Glasgow, , Vol. VIII, pp. John Nubery, relating his third and last Voyage IX, pp. Richard Hakluyt, comp. Courtenay Locke, ed.

London: Routledge, Reprints from Purchas and Hakluyt all the Newbery letters and the relevant Eldred, Fitch and Linschoten materials, but not the Newbery account of his first two trips. Ralph Fitch. Primary source: "The long, dangerous, and memorable voyage of M. Ralph Fitch The republication of Fitch's account in Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus , is somewhat abridged. Includes Fitch's "Relation," pp. IV London, , pp. Excerpts , from this text have been made available by Prof. Richard Steele and John Crowther. IX Edinburgh and London, , pp. A web version of the text is here.

Includes citation of letters by Steele to his superiors. Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Primary Sources: Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Apparently a reasonably accurate translation of his Les six voyages Paris, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Travels in India , tr. Ball London, ; reprint Contains part 2 of the "Six Voyages. Makes frequent and approving use of Tavernier. The same author has a forthcoming book, Orientalism under the Sun King, which will contain a significant section on Tavernier.

Adam Olearius. Primary sources: Samuel H.


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Baron, tr. Abridged but supersedes the 17th-century English edition for the Russian part of the journey. Does not include Persian section. Baron notes that while this translation "did preserve the sense of most of the passages," the translator took many liberties with the text, transposing material, adding things, and often introducing inaccuracies. The online excerpt taken from the English edition published in the s is available.