The Commentary of Father Monserrate, S. J. on His Journey to the Court of Akbar

About this text

Introductory notes

This Translation and Annotation of Father Monserrate's Commentary on the first Jesuit Mission to Akbar owes everything to the careful editing of the Latin text carried through by Father H. Hosten, S.J. and published in the Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol. Ill, pp. 513-704). The book is divided into two, of which the first forms an account of the first journey to the court of the king of the Mongols, whilst the second is, as it were, an appendix and commentary upon the first. When the Great Plague devastated the city of Lisbon in 1569, Father Monserrate was a member of the monastery of S. Martha and helped in tending the sick and the destitute. Monserrate's account somehow found its way to Calcutta, and after passing successively through the Fort William College, the Metcalfe Hall, and the Imperial Library, it was discovered in 1906 by the Rev. W. K. Firminger in St. Paul's Cathedral Library, Calcutta. Monserrate’s account throws light on the religious controversy belonging to the sixteenth century, adding greatness to Mughal civilization. Primary sources MONSERRATE, A., HOYLAND, J. S., & BANERJEE, S. N. (2003). The commentary of Father Monserrate, S.J., on his journey to the court of Akbar. New Delhi, Asian Educational Services. Suggested reading DU JARRIC, P., & PAYNE, C. H. (1926). Akbar and the Jesuits, an account of the Jesuit missions to the court of Akbar. London, George Routledge & Sons.

THE COMMENTARY OF FATHER MONSERRATE, SJ. On his Journey to the Court of Akbar

Translated from the Original Latin by J. S. Hoyland, M.A., Hislop College, Nagpur, and annotated by S. N. Banerjee, M.A., Professor of History, Mahindra College, Patiala. 1922 HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS LONDON BOMBAY MADRAS CALCUTTA

[Page xv]

Father Monserrate's Introduction. To P. Claudius Aquaviva, head of the whole Society of Jesus, Antonius Monserratus, priest of the same Society, sends greetings.

The men of antiquity were so exact and diligent that, when they were making a journey, they entered the happenings of every single day in their journals, with the most minute carefulness. Alexander, when he made his expedition into Asia, gave the charge of this important matter to Eratosthenes the Macedonian, whilst Antiochus Nicator, the son of Seleucus Nicator, gave it to Artemidorus. But Julius Caesar himself undertook this task and wrote Commentaries on the wars he waged. The Persian kings, as is mentioned in the book of Esdras, used to do the same. For the recorders of events, as they were called, were ordered by royal command to note down every event that occurred.

Many have since followed the example of this diligence, both by land and sea ; and thus, in their devotion to Geography, marine Exploration, and History— those most weighty subjects of study—have enriched the republic of letters with generous provision. For this and other reasons it has become a rule in the Society of Jesus that a record should be kept of all events. This rule dates from the blessed memory of our Father Ignatius (Loyola who first pronounced it). At the time when we were setting out for the court of Zelaldinus Equebar, King of the Mongols, the saintly Roderic Vincentius, Superior of the Society in the province of India, being unwilling to break this excellent rule, laid upon me the charge of recording everything that happened both on the journey and during our residence with the King. It was my duty, [Page xvi] in accordance with the disciphne under which I have and with the rules of the Society, to obey this behest with the greatest exactitude. I therefore set myself, for full two and a half years, to write down every evening all the events of the past day. In this daily task of conscientious record-keeping, I embraced every new experience or fact which the day's journey or events had brought before my notice—for example the rivers, cities and countries which we saw : the customs, temples and religious usages of their inhabitants : and, after we arrived at the King's court, the devotion which he showed though indeed it was but a pretence) towards the religion of Christ. I recorded also his kindness towards Rudolf, to whom had been given charge of that most weighty business, and towards his companions, (though indeed that kindness was but counterfeit, and assumed for selfish reasons). The zeal, prudence and skill of Rudolf himself was another of my topics, as also were the debates with the Musalmans concerning the Christian religion, and the Afghan war, in which Zelaldinus defeated and put to flight Hachimus, by the exercise of the greatest determination and the most remarkable military skill. Finally, I recorded the triumphant reception of Akbar himself by his subjects. After my return I read these rough and casual notes of mine, just as I had hurriedly jotted them down, to certain members of our Society, who were distinguished for their experience, wisdom and skill in letters. They heartily advised me to write out again what I judged to be the more important parts, setting them in sequence and due order. Having been accustomed to follow the excellent counsel and opinion of these men in other matters of greater moment, I was by no means willing to abandon it in a matter which must be afterwards referred to your testing, and either approved or rejected in accordance with your most weighty judgment.

This is now the eighth year since I first set my hand to this task. For in the sixth year after it was [Page xvii] begun [i.e. in 1588) I was sent by Peter Martin, Superior of the province of India, to Africa: and was compelled, by the fact that the season for navigation had already arrived, to stop the work, eager though I was to go on with it. I got no time or opportunity to return to my task till I was captured by my enemies the Musulmans near Dofar in Arabia (that is, Sabaea) close to the city of Atramitis, where frankincense is found. I was sent away to Eynanus but the Musalman king Ommar allowed my slender baggage and my books to be preserved and returned to me. He also permitted me a considerable degree of freedom, though I was still held in custody. For I was granted four months of leisure, in which I was able to make the necessary corrections and additions to what I had written. For, by the singular goodness of God, I had to bear none of the bitternesses of captivity except the mere fact of being a prisoner. My chief solace was the companionship of Father Peter Paesius (to whom 1 used to make confession); and next to this I took comfort from holy books and from a breviary of the morning and evening prayers. However, after that four months leisure, I had once more to lay aside my literary weapons, for I was ordered to proceed to Sanaa, where a Turkish Viceroy resides. He was an Albanian by race (an Albanian is commonly called an Arnautes by the Turks, and an Allanesian by the Portuguese, both names being derived from the name of the principal town of that tribe. He pretended to treat me with the same kindness and ordered (my) books to be given to me; whereupon I returned to my task, and yet further revised, corrected and added to my records, and freed them from blemishes.

It will be for you to decide whether I have written in the approved style and fashion of the Society, and [Page xviii] whether readers will gain anything from my records. For my part—miless I am deceived by self-love — I believe that some attention given to Indian History will not prove to be without its use to students of Geography and the Classics, and especially to those of us who are devoted to the study of learned and polite writers.

Everything relating to the journey of the Fathers, to their stay at the King's court, and to the Afghan campaign, I have written down exactly as it happened, and as I saw it with my own eyes. But whatever pertains to digressions from the direct course of my narrative (for instance the references at the end of the first book to Cinguiscanus, Temurbegus, the Scythians, the Mongols, etc.), I have gathered primarily from King Zelaldinus himself, or else from a diary of travel written by a certain ambassador sent by King Henry the Fourth of Castile to Timur, or lastly from many other writers whose authority is to be relied upon. Finally, I have divided my work into two books, of which this first forms an account of the first journey to the court of the King of the Mongols, whilst the second is, as it were, an appendix and commentary upon the first ; in this I have collected facts bearing on the condition and natural history of India (within the Ganges), of its ancient aborigines and present-day inhabitants.

In the two remaining books which I have added to those already mentioned, I have written in the same fashion a record of my journey to Ethiopia and a brief account of the condition and natural history of Arabia. In these books I have endeavoured (if I may say so without arrogance) to correct, explain and reconcile—in as seemly and moderate a manner as possible—many passages in those Geographers and Historians who have written about India and Arabia : and this I have done as a service to the teachers and lecturers in our own schools.

[Page xix]

I trust that my work may have been done to the glory of the divine Name and to the benefit of men's minds—a benefit which should not only be earnestly desired but sought after with all one's might. If my double work appears, in your most weighty judgment, to achieve these two aims, I believe that it will be amply satisfying to you.—Farewell. Sanaa, January 7th, 1591.


[Page 1]

[...]was compelled to go before the King. ,When he1came before him, the King talk ed to him about religion and asked him whether there were many priests amongst us. He replied that there were large numbers and that very many of them were much more learned than he was himself.

He made especial mention of the priests of the Society (of Jesus), about whom he had already heard both from Ismail and from Tavarius.

For this reason he decided to summon them as speedily as possible to his presence, and in the year 1579 A.D. he sent envoys [Page 2] to the Viceroy of India and to the Archbishop of Goa asking, amongst other weighty matters of state, that two of the Society's priests should be sent to him. He sent despatches also of the same type and with an identical request to the Superior of the Society in that province. These despatches ran as follows:—'The commandment of Zelaldinus the Great, King by God constituted. Know, O chief Fathers of the Order of St. Paul, that we are very well disposed unto you. We are sending unto you Ebadulla our envoy, and Dominions Petrius', that they may communicate to you in our own words our desire that two learned priests should be sent unto us, to bring the chief books of the Law and the Gospel, in order that we may learn the Law and its full meaning and perfect truths in every respect. For I earnestly desire thoroughly to learn that Law. Let them not hesitate therefore to set out with the same envoys when they leave Goa on the return journey; and let them bring the books of the Law with them. Let the priests understand that I shall receive them with all possible kindness and honour. Their arrival will be a great delight to me : and when I have learnt what I long to know about the law and its perfection and the salvation it offers, they shall be allowed to return as soon as they like. I shall send them back again dignified with very many honours and gifts. Let them have no fear in coming. For I take them under my own protection and guarantee. Farewell !

[Page 4]

When the Viceroy heard from the Superior that Rudolf13 had been put in charge of the Mission, he approved the choice and ordered him to be supplied with transport and supplies for his journey. When Rudolf came to take leave of him, the Viceroy bade him God-speed in an address full of missionary zeal. The Superior appointed as one of Rudoli's com panions a man who had an excellent knowledge of Persian ; and, the season for navigation having by now arrived, himself accompanied Rudolf the eight days' voyage from Goa to Xeulus and thence to Daman, where he appointed [Page 5] Rudolf's third companion. After waiting four days at Daman, Rudolf and his companions set out again. The Superior, other priests, and the inhabitants of the fortress, accompanied the Fathers to the first mile-stone out of Daman, and then one by one took their leave of them, not without signs of mutual love, which was clearly testified to by the many tears shed on either side. They spent the night at a village called Oroar near the boundary of the territory of the two kingdoms. On the next day they entered the dominions of Zelaldinus, crossing the river of Mount Nera, which is called in the vernacular Paharnera, and divides the territory of the Mongols from that of the Portuguese. Thence they came to Balsar, a name signifying in the vernacular Bucephala or the ox's head. On the next day they reached Nausarinum ; and on the third day from Daman they came to Surat.

Nausarinum- is the chief seat of certain men who [Page 6] call themselves Persians or Jezeni from the city of Jeze in Persia. A race they are Gabraeans whom ths Portuguese call Cuarini. In colour they are White, but are extremely similar to the Jews in the rest of their physical and mental characteristics, in their inclination for hard work, in their dress and in their religion. Indeed they are often called Jews by the Portuguese, nor do they themselves entirely disavow the name. For they acknowledge that they are descended from Abraham, and for this reason practise the rite of circumcision, as do the Hebrews. They correctly calculate the date of the coming of Christ from their ancient documents. The peculiar mark, by which they are conveniently distinguished from other races, as if by a token of religion, is a garment made of linen, of cotton, or of muslin (?), which hangs down to the thigh. The edges of this garment are stitched together ; and its two ends are sewn up. It covers the head, and the ends are tied together over the chest, leaving a square-shaped fold about four inches wide, [Page 7] which seems to correspond to the Theraphis, as it is called, of the Jews. They are forbidden by their reli gious prejudices to put anything into this fold. They tie round this garment a woven woollen girdle of a considerable length, so that it goes round the body several times. They are under a religious obligation to wear this girdle at all times. They are polluted if they touch a corpse. They do not carry out their dead through the front part of the house, but break a hole through the back wall. The dead moreover are not borne away on men's shoulders, but their feet are tied together and they are dragged along the ground on their backs. They neither burn nor bury corpses, but let them down into a place surrounded with high walls to prevent wild animals entering, as though it were better to be torn and devoured by birds of prey or scorched by the heat of the sun, than to be consumed by the flames, or covered wnth earth and so disposed of! They pour out any water that has been left in the house, and no one may use the articles which the dead man has used. These religions customs not only resemble, but definitely reproduce, those of the Jews.

But though these people are bound by so many Jewish religious usages, still they worship Fire and the Sun, and build temples to Fire. They appoint priests, temple-guardians and soothsayers, and feed the sacred fire with fresh ghi or with precious sweet-smelling oil. If they are compelled to establish some statement by oath, they make water upon burning coals, which they [Page 8] regard as the most sacred form of oath. If they refuse to do this, no faith can be put in their word. On their feast days they pray in the morning, with a very loud voice and in a strange tongue. They have their own writing script. The scriptures of their relegion are contained in a single volume which only those who know the language in which it is written can understand. This volume has three parts, dealing with religious observances, the wisdom and legal enactments of the ancients, and the lore of the Magi (who are regarded by the Persians as a class of sages) regarding prophecy and divination.

The diet of these people consists of milk, ghi, oil, vegetables, pulse and fruit. They drink no wine. They are allowed to divorce their wives at will. They cut off the noses of unchaste women, and permit them to become prostitutes.

In conclusion, their character is so wild and savage that they seem to differ not at all from other heathen. For if any disaster happens to them they commit suicide in a horrible fashion.

These are the customs of these Persians. The Fathers were compelled to stop at Surat for almost a month. For the ambassador was unwilling to begin his journey before the [Page 9] moon should have reached a favourable state. However this delay was neither useless nor unoccupied. For while the Musalmans rested idly, the Fathers applied themselves with diligence to the study of the Persian language. Very many visitors came to their lodgings to call upon them, inspired by curiosity and by the desire of seeing men of strange aspect, dress, speech and religion, who had been summoned on account of their reputation for wisdom and piety, to his court by that King whom they thought most powerful of all. The Fathers showed these visitors pictures of Jesus Christ and of the Virgin Mary, by which they were so much impressed that they not only kissed them devoutly, but placed them reverently upon their heads.

[Page 10]

Surat stands on the river Taphaeus, which enters the sea six miles from the town. The citadel is in a naturally strong position, is well fortified, and is guarded by a garrison of two hundred mounted archers. The town is adorned by a lake, which is much the largest and the most beautiful (by reason of the pains which have been taken to embellish it artificially) of all the lakes that are to be seen in India. For the eye is delighted by the flights of marble steps which surround this lake in a broad sweep. These steps are two hundred feet wide, and are divided into several sections. In the centre rises a finely built tower which is reached by boat whenever the citizens resort thither to amuse themselves. The place is also dignified by the tomb of Qhoja Sopharis, who is frequently mentioned by our writers for his treachery and abandoned character. This tomb is rather an extraordinary structure, but is elaborately and expensively decorated. Close by is the grave of another worthless fellow an [Page 11] Ethiopian renegade from, and enemy of Christianity, who was the leader of Qhoja Sopharis troops. The common people revere him as a saint, solely because lie was executed by Garsia of Tavora, Governor of Daman. The women bring wreaths and garlands of riowers to his tomb.

Surat is thronged with merchants, and the near-by port is full of ships : for it is a safe anchorage, since the river extends deep and broad from the sea right up to the city.

[Page 12]

On the next day they came to a fort built out of the debris of some Hindu temples which the Musalmans had destroyed. Such destruction would have been a praiseworthy action if man of their other actions had not been so abominable. The camp was pitched on the bank of the Taphi. On the same day the Hindus expatiate their sins of the past years in the following manner. A cocoanut shell is scraped out and filled with oil. A wick inserted and lighted. The Hindu then strips off his clothes and enters the river with the lighted lamp on his head. He slowly submerges himself till the lamp, caught by the current, is carried away. They regard themselves as purified from sin by this process. This festival is called by the Hindus the Satamia because it is held on the seventh day of the [Page 13] moon in the eleventh month, which in their reckoning is January.

Leaving the bank of the river the company reached Sultanpiirum (i.e. King's town) on the ninth day form Surat. This was the day on which the Musalmans perform their sacrifices. A three day's halt was made at Sultanpmum,as the ambassador desired to wait there on account of this festival. Thence they crossed the Avazus range and reached Cenduanum four days later. The Avazus extends for 75 miles eastward from the sea, and is 16 miles wide. It is crossed by a narrow and difficult track. The camels have to be led in single file ; and the carts are carried on men's shoulders. The jungle on each side is exceedingly dense, and the ground broken and rough. There one of the ambassador's guards was killed by robbers, and no revenge could be taken. The inhabitants of these mountains worship ghosts. They are ruled by three kings, of whom one is the master of the other two and is as it were their emperor. They are constantly at war with the Mongols. When one of their tribes is pacified, and a treaty made with the Mongols, the other two tribes carry on the wild and savage warfare, and frequently defeat their great enemy. Occasionally these battles are drawn ; but the Mongols can never inflict on the mountaineers a decisive defeat. These mountaineers are wild, barbarous and degraded. They are addicted to brigandage, and have no weapons except bows made of bamboo and short arrows with rusty points. Yet they are exceedingly fierce, intractable, greedy of spoil, and headstrong. They have no cavalry and no artillery, but are vastly aided by the [Page 14] nature of their country, which is remarkable for its deep jungles and precipitous crags. They fortify these natural strongholds with intrenchnients and stockades. They assail the enemy from ambuscades, which they lay in thickets and thorny places. Their attack may be open or concealed ; but they hesitate to come to close quarters. The extreme narrowness of the tracks, and the steep cliffs on either side, enable a very few of them easily to hold the enemy at bay. If in spite of this a determined attack is made upon them which they cannot withstand, they successfully conceal themselves in the dense and craggy jungle.

The principal town of this tract of country, in which the emperor of these mountaineers himself resides, is called Avazus, just as the mountains are. The circuit of its walls is indeed great, but its huts are very mean and wretched.

At last, having crossed the mountains and penetrated the defiles along a rough and dangerous track, we reached Surana. While we were there, at 11 P.M. on January 31st, there was an an eclipse of the moon. In the following year we learnt that at that very time the pious and devout King Henry of Portugal, the royal pontiff, had passed away. This exalted and mighty monarch died on his own birthday. Many people also regard it as a portent that, on the day when he was born, the district of Ulyssipon was whitened with snow; for it is very unusual for it to snow in that province, on account of the mildness of the climate. At any rate on the day of his death the moon suffered eclipse.

[Page 15]

Not very far from Surana the river Nerbada is crossed, which after passing Amadabaea flows into the sea at Barocium. In the stormy season the very wide and deep bed of this river is filled with rapidly-flowing muddy water, so that it can only be crossed by means of a bridge or a boat. But in the summer, when the water of the rains has subsided, it can be crossed on foot. It is full of fish, and its water is so clear that the fish (?) and turtles, and even the smallest pebbles, can be counted. Its banks are covered with thick reed-beds, and with the health-giving herb marjoram. Two days after crossing the NerlDada we reached the great city of Mandho, the former importance of which, in the days of its prosperity, is indicated by the huge circuit of its walls, the vastness of the buildings which remain standing, and the ruins of those which have fallen. The walls are still perfect in those places which are not defended by precipitous crags ; their total circuit is nearly 24 miles. The city stands on the level top of a hill, and is everywhere defended by [Page 16] deep gorges and inaccessible cliffs. It has only one very narrow entrance. It can never lack water, as there are many tanks and springs in it, as well as never-failing wells of abundant and sweet water. In that quarter where the single entrance to the town is situated there are five walls placed one above the other at the head of a steep approach, so that the city is impregnable and can only be subdued by lack of food. No one can tell with any degree of certainty by whom and at what time this great city was founded ; for the Musalmans, whose nature is indeed that of barbarians, take no interest in such things : their chronicles being scanty and unreliable, and full of old wives tales. However, judging from the structure of the walls, one may venture a confident conjecture that the town is fairly modern and was built by Musalmans. I was told that its builders were Mongols, of a different tribe from that which has become so celebrated in our own time.

[Page 17]

Inside the city is to be seen a fragment of a huge iron gun which for some superstitious reason or other the heathen revere and worship. It is smeared with oil and coloured red. There is also a great palace, the home of the ancient kings, in which the governor of the province now lives. There is an excellently fortified citadel, and a half-finished royal tomb, which I suppose will never be completed ; but it is worth seeing for its architecture and huge size. It stands in the middle of a square platform, which is raised five cubits above the ground, is eighty feet wide at the top, and is everywhere surrounded below by arches and colonnades.

The tomb itself, which is crowned by a dome, measures twenty feet across, forty feet from the floor-level to the base of the dome, and forty feet from that point to the top of the dome. At the four corners of the platform rise minarets, seven storeys high and octagonal in shape. Each storey of these minarets is five cubits high. They have windows directed towards the four winds, out of which the Musalman call to prayer is pronounced. Opposite this tomb is another great building of similar magnificence and costliness. In the tomb are buried three Mongol kings, and also the tutor of one of these kings. Each sepulchre is embellished with mosaics, bass-reliefs and inlaid work. In front of these sepulchres are preserved the gilded thrones of the three kings, these being regarded as the emblems of royal rank, just as we regard the crown and sceptre as such emblems.

There is also a temple built like a Christian Church. Beneath, one on each side of the building, are two shrines with arched roofs, in which altars might be placed. [Page 18] The above is a description of Mandho. The party arrived at Usena, near the river Machi para, on the second day after leaving this vast city.


[Page 19]

While the party was at Usena, the Hindus carried to the pyre an old man who had died and whom they regarded as a god. The bier was gaily painted and gilded. The funeral procession took place at night, and was conducted with such exact observance that even tiny pieces of chaff and straw were removed from the path by which the bier was to be carried. Incense and sweet-smelling spices were placed in censers around the bier and there burnt. How extraordinary it is that the heathen should pay these honours to men whom they mistakenly regard as saintly, while wicked renegades from the Christian Faith refuse such honours to true saintliness ! Sarangpurum was reached in two days from Usena. On the way a river was crossed flowing westward. This town is the seat and residence of the King's viceroy in that province. After three days' rest at Sarangpurum the river Paharbatium was crossed and three days later the party passed through Pimpaldarus, which is situated on the tropic of Cancer.

[Page 20]

Next Siuranges was reached. This town suffers from a most unhealthy dimate, as a con sequence of which the cracks and dark corners of the houses are infested with all manner of poisonous vermin, which are found here in great quantities. At night also the beds are beset by scorpions, whose sting brings on horrible agony. In the neighbouring marshes certain lizards are found (although indeed they are just as much at home in dry places as in marshes), whose bite is fatal. In bushes and thickets the many-coloured Regulus is found, which kills by the glance of its eye. The middle part of its body is red towards the head—a more brilliant red even than scarlet,—but elsewhere it is orange-coloured, varying towards dark-brown. It attracts the eyes of all who see it by reason of the beauty of its colouring. However, the mercy of God has decreed that its nature shall be such that, if a man see it first, the Regulus—like the wolf, if one may believe the common tale is compelled to retreat precipitately to some hiding-place, where it conceals itself. But if some unfortunate man, who in ignorance of his danger is doing something else, is seen by the Regulus (which like other creatures of this class is very proud of its own beauty) some little time before he sees it, then he is bound to perish miserably, at least so the inhabitants of that region stoutly declare. One of the Fathers unwittingly ran a risk of perishing in this way

[Page 21]

Many of the inferior classes in this town live in small round huts. Indeed nowhere else in that region are such miserable hovels to be seen. They live by agriculture, though the land which can be worked is scanty and poor. Their fields are everywhere surrounded by rocky hills, from which I suppose come the swarms of noxious beasts, and especially of scorpions.

Three days of difficult and even dangerous travelling brought the party from Siuranges to Naroaris. The town of Xaroaris is situated at the foot of a hill, the levelled top of which is occupied by a fort. Fierce storms and violent whirlwinds are so frequent there that not a house in the town would be able to retain its roof, had not God himself solved this difficult problem by supplying a natural abundance of marble slabs, which are used for roofing.

Whilst the party was at this place, about the 15th day of the month of [Page 22] February the Musalman nine-days' festival53 began. At the same time the Hindus held their Idaean54 festival. [Page 23] The party came to Goaleris in two days after leav ing Xaroaris. This city is embellished by a very strong fortress on the top of a rocky hill, on which there is also a royal palace ; the city itself stands at the foot of this hill. There is only one path up to the fortress, and that a rough and difficult one. In front of the gates is seen an immense statue of an elephant. In steep parts of the crag are underground temples and houses. The Fathers were astonished to see, carved in the wall of the vestibule of one temple, [Page 24] thirteen rude statues, of half length only ; the middle one of these is (judging by the style and position) that of Christ : six are to the right and six to the left of this, and appear to represent the Apostles. But it cannot definitely be proved whom the statues are intended to represent, since they lack the characteristic insignia of Christian sacred images. It is clear, however, that they were not placed there by Musalmans, as these show no reverence for such images, but ill-treat and break them. I am well aware of the fact that three hundred years ago this district was inhabited by Christians, who were, alas, defeated in various battles by the Musalmans, and so effectively crushed that all memory of Christianity has perished from the minds of men [...] Fot a few years ago there lived in this very city a certain villain named Baba Capurius, a follower of Muhammad, who [Page 25] revived the fast disappearing habit of drinking intoxicating liquors, and discovered a certain new drink, made of poppy pods steeped in water. The damnable fellow believed that perfect happiness consists in the absence of all feeling and in insensibility towards the ills of the flesh and the troubles of the mind: though in reality one is more liable to be tortured by the incitements of the senses when in a state of semi-insensibility. He had noticed that his object could be effected by means of opium, but that those who are addicted to this drug run an imminent risk of early death. So he devised his poppy-pod drink which is made in the following manner. The juice is first drained from the pods, which are split up for the purpose ; these are then allowed to mature ; then the seeds are removed, and the pods thrown into water, in which they are kept immersed until the liquid assumes the colour of wine. It is allowed to stand for a little longer, and is then passed off into another vessel through a strainer made of the finest linen. After impurities have been removed, the makers of this drink themselves eagerly quaff it off in cupfuls. They eat no meat, onions, garlic or anything of that kind. They even abstain from fruit, and are particularly careful never to take any oil, which is fatal after opium or this drink. They eat only cooked pulse and any sweet food. Then they put their heads between their knees, and sleep as heavily as did Endymion.

[Page 26]

After leaving Goaleris the river Sambalus was reached, which passes near Daulpurum. This is the boundary between the province of Malwa and that of Delinum, or rather of Indicum. The passage of the river has been excellently fortified both by nature and also by the careful labour of men. For in times gone by, before Malwa and Delinum were combined under one emperor, this river was the stoutest bulwark of Delinum, just as Goaleris was of Malwa. The nature of the place is such that cavalry can here achieve nothing worthy of warlike praise. For though the ground apears to those who look at it from a distance to be far-reaching, level and open, it is in reality so cut up and rugged, with such sudden defiles and deep gullies that if anyone wanders from the path, he runs a grave risk either of only being able to return to it by a wide detour along rough and exceedingly narrow tracks, or of falling into the hands of the enemy or of brigands.

Daulpurum will be the 'White City' in Latin. The Sambalus is a large river and flows westwards towards the coast of Gedrosia It is equidistant (i.e. a two days' journey) from Agara, which is the capital of the empire, and from Fattepurum wiere the great King [Page 27] resides. The Fathers were conducted by the ambassador to the latter city.

When the Fathers perceived from afar the city of Fattepurum, they gave hearty thanks to the Eternal God who had brought them safe to their destination.

[Page 28]

The Fathers were delighted at the King's kindly reception and were conducted rejoicing to their quarters. For they were persuaded that these signs foretold the speedy conversion of the king to the true religion and the worship of Christ.

[Page 29]

On the next day we were most kindly entertained by the priest who had been summoned by the king from Gangaris (as has been F. J. Pereira. mentioned above), and who was then in residence at Fattepurum. As it was Lent, the diet was simple, fish only.

[Page 30]

Fattepurum (that is the city of victory) had been recently built by the King on his return to his seat of government after the successful termination of this Gedrosian war. It is placed on a spur of the mountain range which in former times Mas called, I believe, Vindius, and which stretches westwards for a hundred miles towards Azmiris. The site is rocky and not very beautiful, near to an old town which for this reason is called Purana Siquiris, (for Purana means ' old ' in the vernacular, and Siquiris is the name of the place). In the past nine years the city has been marvellously extended and beautified, at the expense both of the royal treasury and of the great nobles and courtiers, who eagerly follow the King's example and wishes.

The most noteworthy features of Fattepurum are, firstly, the King's audience chamber, which is of huge size and very beautiful in appearance, overlooking the whole city: secondly, a great building supported on arches, around which is a very spacious courtyard: thirdly, the Circus where elephants fight, gladiatorial displays take place, and a game is played, on horseback, with a wooden ball which is hit by hammers also of [Page 31] wood : fourth, the baths : fifthly, the bazaar, which is more than half a mile long, and is filled with an astonishing quantity of every description of merchandise, and with countless people, who are always standing there in dense crowds.

To supply the city with water a tank has been carefully and laboriously constructed, two miles long and half a mile wide. The work was performed, by the King's directions, in the following manner. Across the end of a low-lying valley which was filled with water in the rains, (although the water afterwards drained away or dried up), a great dam was slowly built. By this means not only was a copious supply of water assured, but the discomfort of the climate was mitigated. For when the sun gets low in the sky, the heat, which in Fattepurum is very great, is tempered by a cool and pleasant breeze blowing over the tank. Besides this the King descends to the lake on holidays, and refreshes himself with its many beauties.


[Page 32]

Agara is a magnificent city, both for its size and for its antiquity. It stands on the river Jomanes.

[Page 35]

[...]it has the advantage over almost all other cities of that region in respect of its mild climate, of its fertile soil, of its great river, of its beautiful gardens, of its fame spread to the end of earth, and of its large size. For it is four miles long and two broad. All the necessaries and conveniences of human life can be obtained here, if desired. This is even true of articles which have to be imported from distant corners [Page 36] of Europe. There are great numbers of artizans, iron-workers and gold-smiths. Gems and pearls abound in large numbers. Gold and silver are plentiful, as also are horses from Persia and Tartary. Indeed the city is flooded with vast quantities of every type of commodity. Hence Agara is seldom visited by dearth of food supplies. In addition to this its central position (for it is, as it were, the navel of the whole kingdom) enabled the King, whenever he had the occasion, easily to go himself in any direction, or to summon his subjects to meet him. However, as so often happens in human affairs, the event proved different from what he had hoped. For, when the work of building was completed, and the King went to reside in his new fortress and palace, he found (for such was God's good pleasure) the place overrun with ghosts, which rushed to and fro, tore everything to pieces, terrified the women and children, threw stones, and finally began to hurt everyone there. Perhaps these drawbacks might have been put up with, if the thing had stopped there. But the cruel spite of the Evil One began to wreak itself on the children of the King, who were slain a day or two after birth. Two or three were thus destroyed.

[Page 47]

A few days later the priests went to the palace, where the King saw them, summoned them, withdrew with them into an inner room, and of his own accord declared that it was his desire that Christians should live freely in his empire, and build their churches, as he had heard was the case in Turkey. No one could think this an innovation, since he allowed the idolaters to live in and build their temples in his empire. He made this declaration with plain signs of great love and kindliness.

[Page 48]

After Easter the Fathers moved from their inn, which was crowded and inconvenient, to the house which the King had offered them in the precincts of the palace. When the King heard of their arrival he came alone to their house, and proceeded straight to the chapel, where (having laid aside his turban and shaken out his long hair) he prostrated himself on the ground in adoration of the Christ and his Mother. He then began to talk about divine things. A week later he brought three of his sons and several nobles to see the chapel. He himself and all the others took off their shoes [Page 49] before entering. He told his sons to do reverence to the pictures of Christ and his Virgin Mother. One of the nobles exclaimed with emotion that she who was sitting on her throne in such beautiful garments and ornaments was in truth the Queen of Heaven. The King himself accepted with the greatest delight a very beautiful picture of the Virgin, which had been brought from Rome and was presented to him by the Fathers in the name of the Superior of the Province. All these events filled the priests with the greatest joy [...]The King gave this task to a certain young man, of a keen and capable mind, by whose careful help Rudolf, who had very considerable intellectual ability, made such progress, that in three months he could easily make himself understood in Persian, although he could not indeed speak as yet in a polished or fluent manner. Persian is a very beautiful language, ,and its vocabulary is well suited to the use of those who are devoted to learned and philosophical studies.

[Page 50]

Rudolf's quickness in learning not only gave him a great reputation for cleverness and wisdom, but even roused the admiration of the whole court. They were astonished that a stranger and foreigner could learn so easily an unknown language.

[Page 52]

They agreed to undertake the education of the prince, both because they had vivid expectations of success, and because the work of education is the peculiar function of the Society, though indeed, with the characteristic humility of Jesuits, they would willingly have declined so great an honour. On the day when the prince's education began, the King gave his son's teacher a golden coin weighing five sestertia for this is the custom of the country. But the teacher refused to accept the gift, at which both the King and the other nobles expressed unbounded admiration and unqualified praise for such disregard of money. The prince's education was conducted as follows— at the beginning of each lesson he called devoutly upon the names of Jesus and Mary as is the Christian custom ; then he made the sign of the Cross on his forehead, face and breast ; finally he paid reverence to the picture of Christ which was in his book. The same practice was observed by the prince's schoolmates, who had been chosen by the King from the children of the higher nobility.

The children were taught Christianity out of a little book of Christian doctrine, and their copy-books contained pious sentiments as the examples they had to copy. The young prince was an ideal pupil as regards natural ability, good conduct and intellectual capacity. In all these respects it would have been hard to find any Christian youth, let alone a prince, surpassing him.

[Page 58]

The common report of the King's extraordinary kindness towards the priests prevented their meeting him, and they hence began to plan to remove their quarters into a house which was actually built against the palace wall, so that by making a door through this wall a secret means of meeting might be devised. When they told the King of this plan and its purpose, he immediately ordered the ointments, perfumes and very numerous jars of scented water to be conveyed out of that house into another ; for the house (which the priests wanted) was used for the manufacturing and storing of ointments and perfumes, whence it was called the Storehouse of Perfumes.

[Page 59]

Since Christmas was at hand, the Fathers asked him to come on that day. They adorned their chapel with rich silken curtains. They made models of the grotto where Christ was born, of the crib in which his mother laid him, and of the mountain on which the shepherds watched. The people were represented by tiny statues, and all was made true to life. The King, and a few of his intimate friends, whom he brought with him, were greatly delighted by this spectacle.

[Page 60]

The priests' new quarters were rendered very noisy on account of their nearness to the scribes, who were continually thronged by crowds of clients. The King, therefore, as a sign of favour to the priests and without their knowledge, ordered these scribes to move away. The fame of the beautiful statue of the blessed Virgin had been spread so widely that crowds of Musalmans and Hindus (the latter bringing offerings) came to the chapel. When they beheld the statue, they lifted their hands to heaven and did reverence before it. In other respects they may be no better than those Christian revolutionaries, the 'iconoclasts;' but in this respect at least they are certainly their superiors.

[Page 61]

The wives of the Brachmaus— a famous class of nobly-born Hindus—are accustomed, in accordance with an ancient tradition of their religion, to burn themselves on the same pyres as their dead husbands. The King ordered the priests to be summoned to see an instance of this. They went in ignorance of what was to take place ; but when they found out, they plainly indicated by their saddened faces how cruel and savage they felt that crime to be.

[Page 62]

The wretched women are rendered quite insensible by means of certain drugs, in order that they may feel no pain. For this purpose opium is used, or a soporific herb named bang, or—more usually—the herb 'duturo,' which is known to the Indians, although entirely unfamiliar alike to modern Europeans and to the ancients. Sometimes they are half-drugged : and, before they lose their resolution, are hurried to the pyre with warnings, prayers and promises of eternal fame [Page 64] He visited one of the Fathers when he was ill, and greeted him in Portuguese as a sign of respect. There would have been no end to his gifts, had the Fathers not frequently told him that all they needed was food and clothing, and these of the most simple description. This reply pleased him so much that he repeated it publicly : and each month sent them as much money, under the guise of alms, as he thought would be sufficient for their daily expenses. This kindness of the King towards the Fathers greatly confirmed and increased the rumour that he had abjured Muhammad; so that it was publicly reported that he wished to become a Christian. It happened that he was not in the habit of saying the customary Musalman prayers at the times appointed by Muhammad, and did not observe the month's fast which is called Ramadan.

[Page 68]

Xamansurus pressed his plots with all diligence, and spent a great deal of pains in estranging the hearts of his subjects from the King. The strength of the Tartar armies lies in their cavalry [...]

[Page 70]

However Mirsachimus, having prepared an array of fifteen thousand Mongol cavalry, boldly and safely crossed sajadabalis, and Adris, broad and rapid rivers, the last-named of which (a little smaller than the others) flows from the north past Lahorum which is a very great and wealthy city. He was compelled to halt for a time near Lahorum. The fortress of [Page 71] Ruytasiumi was held by Josephus, who refused to surrender it : for he said it had been given into his charge by Zelaldinus, and that he could not give it up unless it were stormed and captured. However Mirsachimus did not consider it dangerous to leave enemies unsubdued behind him, and after a time marched forward. He had given strict orders to his troops that they should do no harm to anyone : no fields were to be devastated : and the citizens of Lahorum were to remain unmolested.

[Page 74]

When all was in readiness for the campaign, the priests approached the King and declared themselves eager to share his journeys and his labours, if it so pleased him He thanked them, and said that he had already seen ample proof of their good-will toward him, but that his opinion was that men of religion, devoted to peace and literary ease and divine meditations, should not be dragged away from their pleasant pursuits. Hence he had laid upon his mother the charge of their kindly and hospitable treatment. He begged them to accept his decision without demur, and to pray for him. The priests replied that this was continually upon their hearts, and that they would gladly obey his orders, though they were greatly attached to him and desired to be with him. The next day he happened to meet the teacher of his son in the school-room, and said to him, ‘Make your preparations. Father, for a journey ; for you are going with me’. Forthwith he ordered all necessary transport and provision to be immediately supplied. The King, as was the way with him, declared that he was going hunting, and ordered his royal pavilion to be set up four miles away from the city.

[Page 75]

The King ordered the camp to be made in the traditional Mongol style. The ancient custom is that the royal pavilion (which they call the Pexqhanaae, or chief house should be placed in a pleasant open space, if such can be found.

[Page 76]

A separate bazaar is established for the King and each of the princes and the great nobles, near the tent of the general who is in attendance on each. Those of the King and the princes are very large and very well-stocked, not only with stores of grain and other provisions, but also with all sorts of merchandise, so that these bazaars seem to belong to some wealthy city instead of to a camp. They are always made on one plan, so that anyone who has spent a few days in camp knows his way about the bazaars as well as he does about the streets of his own city. These bazaars are called Urdu. During the advance for a campaign the artillery is grouped together in front of the camp, opposite the entrance to the royal quarters, in the broadest part of the open ground. The King had with him twenty-eight field guns, which would have been useless, however, for siege-purposes, as the largest of these guns was not as big as a hemisphere (to adopt the common military term). In this same spot a flaming torch is each night erected on the top of a tall mast, to act as a guide to stragglers. If any [Page 77] tumult arises in the camp, everyone immediately rushes to this torch, as though it were the heart and head of the whole camp. During the return from a campaign the artillery is collected in the rear, behind the royal quarters. The King uses two pavilions, identical in size and appearance, which are employed for alternate marches, one being carried on ahead, while he occupies the other. These pavilions have curtains instead of walls, which divide the entrance-apartment from the rest of the tent. The area they cover is very great. The King has also a roofed building, like an ordinary house, with steps up to the roof. Such is the style and arrangement of the Mongol camp.

The army began to advance on February 8th, 1581. The next day the King devoted to hunt ing as was his wont. Orders are always given that no one is to approach the line of march. The object of this is both to avoid crowds, to lessen the risk of treachery, and to prevent wild beasts being frightened away. These beasts are the same as those of Europe, with the exception of the blue cow, which is very similar to the reddeer, except as regards its size and the shape of its head. Zelaldinus spends enormous sums on keeping countless hunting panthers ; for hounds such as those of the Gallic and Alan breeds are unknown in this country. These panthers are drown by horses, under the care of keepers, [Page 78] to the place where the game is feeding. They are blind-folded so that they may not attack anyone on the way. When they are freed, they dash ravenously upon the quarry; for they are kept in a state of starvation. The Mongols are not very fond of hawking. It is regarded, however, as a mark of royal dignity for the King to be accompanied on the march by fowlers carrying many birds on their wrists. These birds are fed on crows to save expense.

[Page 79]

For the first few days the army seemed remarkably small. However, it increased so rapidly that it soon seemed to hide the earth. It extended over the breadth of a mile and a half, covering the fields and filling the woods with a crowding multitude. No beast, if surprised on the way, could break through the ranks and escape. Even the birds, wearied by trying to fly out of danger, and terrified by the shouts of the soldiers, fall down exhausted to the earth.

The priest who was with the army was astonished by the cheapness of grain amongst so great a multitude, especially considering the number of elephants. This was achieved by the careful skill and foresight of the King himself. For he despatched agents chosen for their diligence, to the neighbouring cities and towns with instructions to bring in provisions from all sides [Page 80] and he announced to the merchants who brought grain, maize, pulse, and all manner of provisions and other merchandise into the camp, that if they would sell at cheap rates he would exempt them from imposts and taxes.

When he advanced beyond the frontiers of his empire, the King's foresight and carefulness was seen in the way in which he sent heralds to announce to the inhabitants of the country (in such a way that news of the announcement might be carried far and wide), that no one would be harmed or deported who did not take up arms: that, if they would bring supplies to the camp, they should be made to pay no imposts, but should be free to sell as they liked : that on his return after his victory they should receive his thanks and favour : but that if they disobeyed him they would be heavily punished. He bound to him the petty kings of the regions through which he passed by means of treaties, gifts and promises. All of them, terrified as they were by his huge army, could not doubt but that he would be victorious: and thus, even if at first unwilling, they obeyed him out of self-interest, especially when they saw how generous he was. Hence it was brought about that, in spite of the vastness of the army, there were no high prices and no lack of necessary provisions, even in a hostile country.

The King also saw to it, with careful diligence, that his army should not suffer for lack of water. For, since water is more plentiful near the foot of the mountains, and the hunting is better there, he ordered the army to be led towards those mountains. He overcame the difficulty of the roughness of the roads, which is due to the rocks and crags and deep torrent-beds, by sending sappers and labourers to level the way as far as possible. In charge of these was an officer who had formerly been governor of Agra fort, having been [Page 81] raised to that exalted dignity from the humble position of a sapper, but who had lately fallen under suspicion of treason. He preferred the swampy glens of the mountains, as the scene of his labours, to the dry gravel of the plains, or perhaps of the amphitheatre. In addition to this the King overcame the difficulty and danger of constructing bridges; for if these are built over a broad river-bed they are apt to be swept away by the force of the current, and hence to bring disaster upon an army crossing them. It is the custom in India to make temporary bridges of boats, which are tied together only by grass ropes. Over these boats is laid a roadway made of branches of trees, bushes and hay. The King, however, gave orders that care should be taken to see that only one type of troops or transport should approach the bridges at a time : and that the cavalry, the infantry, the camels, the other baggage-animals, the Hocks and the herds, should pass over both separately and in single file, so that, if a bridge parted, the river should take no great toll of men or supplies. Wherefore on nearing a river, a small blockhouse was set up and occupied by the King's officers, who took care that a large number should not carelessly crowd the bridge at one and the same time, and so sink the boats. Moreover, elephants were not allowed to cross such bridges, lest they should sink them by their weight.

[Page 83]

When the levy was held the King had summoned for this war fifty thousand cavalry, five hundred fighting elephants and camels, and an almost countless number of infantry. Some of the cavalry were Mongols, some Persians, others Turquimanni, Chacattcei, Osbequii, Arachosii, Balochii, Patnanei, Indians and Gedrosii. There were Musalmans and also Hindus, in whom he put a great deal of confidence. Many Parthians, Arii and Paropanisadte also came to reinforce the royal army. And this was the reason why no one dared to raise a hand against Zelaldinus, or to contrive his death, even though he was reckoned an infamous outlaw by the Musalmans.

[Page 84]

The Balochii ride on camels and use bows and arrows. The Indians train elephants to fight. There are indeed extraordinary numbers of elephants in the royal camps and cities. They are taught to carry baggage as well as to fight, though the baggage is mainly carried by the females. Most of the males are trained for battle and are furnished with defensive armour, which they also use for offensive purposes, though indeed they are quite as dangerous without this armour. For they catch up the enemy's soldiers with their trunks, dash them down under their feet, and trample upon them. They do not cease from crushing their wretched victims till they are ground and smashed to pieces. Others they toss up into mid-air, so that they are killed by the fall ; others they split in twain by placing a foot on one of their victim's legs, seizing the other leg with their trunk and tearing it forcibly upwards. The males go so violently mad for about three months of every year that sometimes they kill even their keepers ; they are most useful for fighting during this period. When the time of madness is past, if they have to be enraged again on account of an impending battle, this is effected by giving them cat's flesh to eat mixed with their other food. They are kept quiet and harmless at home by the company of female elephants : for all their rage abates as soon as [Page 85] they see a female. Some are trained to carry guns on their backs. When the black powder is ignited and the gun is discharged with a thunderous roar, the elephant does not become in the slightest terrified or unmanageable. The King directed that fifty elephants thus trained and armed should bring up the rear of the advancing army. They were under the control of Indians.

I must further remark in regard to elephants, that they become accustomed to the voice of their keepers and obey them implicith. They can tie and untie knots, push anything, lift it, put it down again, turn it over. They can cast nooses, and unfasten them : gather up tiny straws and coins. They can even be taught to dance. In short they are ready to do anything that they are told by their keepers. They live in herds in the forests, having a sort of joint family life under the leadership of the father (as it were) of the herd and family, who is obeyed by his offspring and followed like a general in the wars which they carry on with the other elephants. When they are being hunted the herd retreats or attacks according to the command of this leader, who marches with a proud and insolent air, like a true general in the midst of his forces, and seems to threaten all who approach. He paces slowly to and fro, terrible to behold, and spares none but those who grant himself and his family feeding ground.

[Page 86]

Their keepers say that elephants live to two hundred years of age, reach full maturity at fifty, maintain their full strength for a hundred years, and grow old after they are over one hundred and fifty, dying at about two hundred. But they are very liable to diseases and especially to fever. If they are exposed to severe cold, or become ill of ague, they waste away and die in twentyfour hours. When they are sick they groan, toss themselves about like a sick man in his bed, weep, and allow themselves to be treated medicinally without resisting as do other animals. The females are extraordinarily timid. They are especially afraid of fire, and the noise of guns, muskets or thunder. They fly in such headlong panic as to endanger the life of anyone who is caught unawares. Their young are at one year old hardly as big as a pig. They are first submitted to training when they are ten. Those that are being trained to fight are fed by impious barbarians on human flesh, in order to make them more savage against man. Criminals are crushed to death beneath their feet.

[Page 88]

To return to my subject—although the infantry, which has various types of arms, is entirely a fighting force, yet the cavalry is regard ed as in every way the flower of the army. Hence the King spares no expense in order permanently [Page 89] to maintain an efficient, and, as far as possible, perfectly equipped force of cavalry to guard the empire. There are forty-five thousand cavalry, five thousand elephants and many thousand infantry, paid directly from the royal treasury. In addition to these there are troops whose command is inherited by their chief officers from father to son, like an hereditary estate ; these troops, consisting of cavalry, infantry, and elephant detachments, are paid by their commanding officers out of the revenues of the provinces which they hold from the King. [...]The Mongols retain their ancestral system of dividing their troops into regiments, each under its own hereditary chief. In Persian these regiments are called 'Lascar.' Each regiment-commander has his own bazaar; these bazaars are called in the Tartar language 'Urdu,' or as the Portuguese pronounce it 'Ordae.' [Page 90] But let us now return to the advancing army. Four days after leaving Fattepurum, Maturanum was reached, a city dating from the first appearance in these regions of the superstitious religion of the Brachmanae. The city is believed to have been founded by Crustnu who is also called Viznujat at any rate there is no doubt that he was born in a small town near Maturanum.

[Page 91]

The Hindus throughout India worship Crustnu as a god. They say that he was the son of Parabramaia whom they call Para Maessuris, that is ' immortal God ' and that he had two brothers, Maessuris II and Brama, and a sister Sethis, who was born from the forehead of Paramaessur without a mother, and married Maessur, just as Juno married Jupiter. For the Evil One, in order to avoid inconsistency, implanted in the minds of the men of ancient India the same ideas about the birth of the gods as he implanted in the minds of our own foolish ancestors.

[Page 95]

Delinum was reached in six days after leaving Maturanum. It is a very great and very rich city, built near the Jomanis, and has been the capital of India from the time of the Christian kings. After their fall it was the seat of the Patau kings. Emaumus, the father of Zelaldinus, was very fond of it, residing here during his lifetime and meeting here his tragic death. He is buried in a tomb built by his son Zelaldinus.

[Page 96]

This tomb is of great size, and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. One of his wives the mother of Mirsachimus, king of Chabulum, who was then fighting against Zelaldinus, had loved Emaumus so faithfully that she had had a small house built close by the tomb and had watched there till the day of her death. Throughout her widowhood she devoted herself to prayer and to alms-giving. Indeed she maintained five hundred poor people by her alms. Had she only been a Christian, hers would have been the life of a heroine. For, as some writer has wisely said, the Musalmans are the apes of the Christians. In many ways they imitate the piety of the Christians, though without gaining the reward of that piety ; for they have wandered away from the true faith and the true charity. Delinum is noteworthy for its public buildings, its remarkable fort (built by Emaumus), its walls, and a number of mosques, especially the one said to have been built by king Peruzius-is This mosque is constructed of wonderfully polished white marble, the exterior is covered with brilliant whitewash, made by mixing lime with milk, instead of water. It shines like a mirror ; for this mixture of lime and milk is not only of such remarkable consistency that no cracks appear in it anywhere, but also when polished it shines most magnificently. Peruzius, who was by race a Patan, was much devoted to piety ; for he gave orders that throughout his dominions, at intervals of every two miles, resting-places should be built, in which a shady tree should be planted, a well dug whence man and beast might get water, and a mosque built, where travellers might pray. He also planted trees in a long avenue on both sides of the roads, wherever there was room, in order that tired wayfarers might find shelter. He [Page 97] built bridges over torrents, rivers and ditches. He reduced the gradients on the roads, and paved them in soft and marshy places. In short he omitted nothing which might contribute to the public convenience and to his own magnificence. In a valley three miles from Delinum he built a wonderfully beautiful and very costlv palace. On the terrace in front of it he set a solid marble column all in one piece, thirty feet high and about five feet thick. He also had a subterranean passage made to Old Delinum, where the Christian Kings are believed to have lived, (a distance of nearly forty stadia ) in order that he might withdraw unattended from the Court and from state business, as often as he had leisure, and refresh himself in the solitude of his country-seat there. Many stories are told of his kindly actions, which—if they are true—would have exalted him to heaven, if only he had been a Christian. Delinum is inhabited by substantial and wealthy Brachmanae, and of course by a Mongol garrison. Hence its many fine private mansions add considerably to the magnificence of the city. For the neighbourhood is rich in stone and lime, and the rich men construct for themselves well-built, lofty and handsomely decorated residences. Thanks to Emaumus. who was devoted to architecture and loved fine buildings and broad roads, the streets of the city are more imposing and impressive than in other Musalman towns. They are planted down the middle with beautiful green trees which cast a grateful shade.

[Page 98]

The parks and gardens are filled with a rich profusion of fruit and flowers ; for the climate is mild, and the land around Delinum is very rich and fertile. The ruined towers and half-fallen walls of old Delinum may still be seen. They show it to have been a populous city. It is situated at a distance of about thirty-two stades from the new city, to the westward. Two days later Sonipatum was reached—a small town, but more famous than many a city on account of the swords, scimitars, daggers, poniards, and steel points for spears, pikes and javelins, which are skilfully manufactured here and exported to all parts of the empire. For there is in that region great store of iron and steel, the ore for which is mined in the neighbouring spurs of the Himalayas, and very many manufacturers of this kind of weapon live here.

[Page 99]

About this time the army was compelled to halt for some time owing to a violent tempest, which rendered the roads impassable by reason of mud and sudden torrents. As soon as the weather cleared, the advance was resumed; and to the east the snow-covered Himalaya mountains were seen gleaming white.

[Page 100]

The Hindus who inhabit Cumautn do not own allegiance to Zelaldinus, and are protected by exceedingly thick forests. The source of the Jomanis is said by the inhabitants to be situated in this district on the side of the mountains which looks westward towards the district of Delinum. The source of the Ganges is however on the opposite, i.e., eastward, slope of the mountains. To adopt the language of geographers, it is in the same latitude (as the source of the Jomanis) but is 280 miles eastward in longitude. Next, Ambala was reached. On a large plain near to this city Emaumus, the father of Zelaldinus, caught the Patanaei, who had been repulsed from before the town of Sarindum (or Ceynandum). Having been entrapped in a deep and precipitous ravine they were put to the sword.

[Page 101]

Ceynandum is two days' journey distant from Ambala. Camp was pitched in the eastern outskirts of the city, which is said to owe its name to the following circumstance. It is recounted that in this place a certain king fought wnth and vanquished a lion. The town is also called Sarindum.

[Page 102]

The city is of great size and is divided into separate quarters, in which respect it resembles Memphis in Egypt, which is commonly called Cayrum. At Sarindum is a very famous school of medicine, from which doctors are sent out all over the empire. Bows, quivers, shoes, greaves and sandals are also made here and exported by traders to all the cities of the empire. Sarindum is situated in a very broad plain, beautified by many groves of trees and pleasant gardens. This plain is dry ; but the inhabitants have met the difficulty of lack of water by the making of a deep artificial lake on the southern side of the city. Care is taken to fill this lake during the rainy season by means of irrigation channels. In the middle of the lake stands a tower, which is open to the public for their enjoyment. From this tower there is a pleasant prospect over the lake and the surrounding parks and gardens.


[Page 103]

[...]the army encamped on the bank of the Satanulga, which was called by the ancients the Zaradrus. A halt was necessary while a wooden bridge was being built. The source of this river is not far distant from that place. The King next ordered the army to be led towards the Himalayas, from which the Zaradrus flows towards the west, joining the Indus. This river contains crocodiles, or water-lizards, of the girth of a barrel. They are called 'cissares,' that is 'three-headed'. They have six feet, on which they crawl: and they swallow men unawares from below when they are swimming in the water. They seize by the foot, and drag down under the water, oxen and buffaloes and sheep and other animals whilst drinking at the side of the river, The ignorant people call this same river 'Machivara' from the neighbouring village, or 'Ludiana' from the town of Ludianum. The latter place is about 26 miles downstream from Machivara along the direct road to Basilipolis (by which flows a stream whose water is a deadly person), Govindivicus and Lahurum. However, the arrny left this road on the left-hand; and after reaching the Zaradrus at Machivara followed the river up towards the mountains. Here the camp was pitched in a rough and very cold country.

On the fifth day after leaving the Zaradrus a certain stronghold of the Patanaei was reached, which is called Dungarii. that is two hours. Here the King ordered fifty pieces of gold, to be given to the Priest, in order that he might distribute them to the Christians.

[Page 104]

The King hastened with a few chosen cavalry to Nagarcottumi in order to help a cer tain petty king, who had been driven out by his son and had begged for assistance. When the usurper heard of the arrival of Zelaldinus he hid himself, with his band of soldiers, in a fastness situated amongst precipitous and inaccessible mountains, and hence the King had to return to camp without fulfilling his errand. This district produces in abundance those fruits and crops which are characteristic of Spain and Italy, but which are not found elsewhere in India.

On the next day the army crossed the Bibasis by a wooden bridge, and advanced nearly ten miles, to the neighbourhood of the town of Pachangarum in the district of Peytanum.

[Page 106]

Eastward of this fortress the valleys of the inner Himalayas are inhabited by a savage and barbarous people, called the Bothi or Bothentes. They have no king, but dwell in villages by clans. They clothe themselves as far as possible in a fabric of felt such as is used for hats. This is sewn tightly on to their bodies, and is never taken off again till it is worn out or has been so rotted away by sweat that it falls to pieces of itself On their heads they wear a conical cap, made of the same kind of felt.

[Page 107]

Many of them have fine eyes, round in shape. They are armed with short swords, bows and arrows. They wear blankets made out of camel's wool, of which they have an abundance. For purposes of sale they also make shawls of the finest wool. Such articles of trade they bring to Xagarkottum, and sell them. The snows on the slopes of the Himalayas towards India lie unmelted throughout the year, except in the months of June, July, August and September, in which they are melted by the extreme heat of the sun in that region. These Bothi are very pious and merciful. They give alms generously, and entertain travellers (so the Joges say) very kindly and hospitable They are peaceful and hate war. Their country is fertile in wine, wheat and many European fruits. There are also abundant herds of cattle, sheep, camels and wild asses. There is also said to be a kind of wild sheep, as large as a goat, which lacks joints in its legs and thighs, and thus progresses by leaps only. Hence it is easily captured, and yields in captivity a very fine quality of wool, finer indeed than silk. From this wool the shawls mentioned above are woven.

[Page 108]

Advancing from Calanurum, the army crossed the river Baohi which is also called the Adris, by means of a bridge which was built for the purpose. The river Cingarous as next crossed, close to the foot-hills of the Himalayas. Thence, along a rough and dangerous road, with constant steep rises and descents amongst marshy glens and overhanging crags, the town of Sambas was at length reached. This town is situated in a strong position on the slope of the Himalaya, and belongs to a tribal chief, who owns allegiance to Zelaldinus. In its fertile soil and its abundant population it resembles Nagaracottum. The inhabitants, with the exception of the Moghul garrison, are of the heathen religion of the Brachmanae. The climate is European in type, for this region stretches northward from the thirtieth to the thirty-second degree of latitude. The majority of the inhabitants are tall and thin ; they are light-brown in colour, and wear their hair and beards long.

Advancing from Samba, the army encamped on a green and pleasant plain beside the river Nanis, which flows into the Sanda balis four miles from Samba. The region from the Adris to the Sandabalis, lying as it does between two rivers, excels all others in the north for beauty [Page 109] and fertility, for the variety of its gardens, and for the number of its hamlets and villages. On the next day the Sandabalis was crossed, but with a good deal of difficulty. For the river would brook no bridge, and a number of those who tried to ford it were drowned. The King and many others crossed in a boat. The whole army was delayed for three days during the crossing. For there were extraordinarily few boats to be had, although the King ordered any available to be brought from the neighbouring villages and towns.

[Page 110]

In spite of all his care, however, the army suffered severly from thirst on the first day's march away from the Sandabalis. This march was seven miles in length ; but on the next day, in order that the same trouble might not recur, the King extended the march to fifteen miles, (although a shorter route was taken than had been originally intended) : and encamped by the Bydaspes, where he granted the army eight days' rest. Each day he took his sons out hunting. Meanwhile a bridge was being built over the river, which has a broad and deep bed, and is unfordable even to elephants. It cannot even be crossed by swimming in the case of cavalry and infantry. Hence it was essential to build a strong bridge. This river flows into the Indus, and forms the frontier of the kingdom of Lahorum. The original inhabitants of this kingdom were the Getae,of whom the ancients called Geretae. They regard it as a sin to cut the hair or the beard, since these are the chief and distinctive signs of manhood.

Having crossed the Bydaspes, the army encamped at the foot of mount Balnatinus an outlying portion of the Himalaya mountains. These mountains run in an unbroken line from Delinum as far as this, and are everywhere called the Himalaya by the inhabitants.

[Page 111]

The Casmirini or Caspirii were conquered by the Musalmans one hundred years ago, and were compelled to adopt their laws and system of government. But all the inhabitants of that region say that long ago they were, by race and custom, Jews.

[Page 112]

With regard to their mountainous country, although the ascent is rough and difficult and provides the inhabitants with a useful means of defence especially against cavalry : yet at the top there is a level and fertile plain, I am well aware that, in the opinion of some, Alexander is held to have transported the Jews to that district of the Caspian mountains which is near the Caspian Sea. I do not question their opinion. On such an evenly-balanced point I will adopt Terence's saying, ‘If they say so, I say so : If they say no, I sav no.’ Now the Gaccares,who inhabit the plains hereabouts, are Musalmans. They are warlike, of medium stature, sturdy, and much inclined to theft and brigandage on account of the character of their country. They are hated by all ; being notorious for the crime of man-stealing. They lie in wait for, and intercept, free travellers, shave their heads, ham-string them, take them to Persia, and there sell them as slaves. If any other member of their tribe arrive whilst they are in the act of capturing or shaving their wretched victim, the new-comer is made a sharer in the price obtained for him. Their capital's city is called Ruytasium. It has an exceedingly strong citadel, fortified after the European fashion ; by the side of this flows a stream which runs into the Bydaspes. The town is situated on the crest of a ridge which descends westwards, to a [Page 113] distance of about nine miles, from the Balnataeus range. The ridge is barren and rocky, but well-suited to defence.

This Balnath, is very high and steep. Ascent is difficult, and cannot be accomplished on horse-back. On the crest itself is a level space ; on this are built several small dwellings, in which it is said that a certain Balnat used to live, with his sister. He was the founder of a sect of which the following are the customs. For the space of two years before novices are admitted to full membership and allowed to wear the peculiar dress of the sect, they have to act as servants to others who live in that place, helping the cook, cutting the wood, bringing it to the kitchen, pasturing the flocks and herds, fetching water (a very arduous task, especially in summer), and acting as table-servants to the full members, of whom about three hundred are always to be found living here.

[Page 114]

[...]The garments mentioned above are a cloak, a turban and a long dress coming down to the feet (similar to that which was vulgar) called by the ancients the toga harmiclausa, and which some in our time call the 'scapulare'). These are all dyed with a species of red chalk, so that they look as though painted red. Those who have been invested With these garments may go where they will and live by begging. If they do anything unworthy, they are dismissed from the sect.

[Page 115]

When they eat, they give thanks, as it were, to God. Balnath laid upon his followers no restrictions with regard to food or human society. Their mode of living, when at home, is exceedingly frugal : for they eat only cooked lentils and ghi.

[Page 116]

For the sand of the river bed absorbs the water, so that all appears flat, solid and dry. However, if any one goes into such a place, he sinks down and sticks fast, and the more he strives to get out the more deadly is his danger of being swallowed up. Thus the troops aforesaid, thinking there could be nothing to be feared in a level plain, rushed into the gravest danger.

[Page 117]

Next the army halted at the town of Rhavadum, whose inhabitants, like those of the rest of this district, are Gaccares. The nearer one gets to Indoscythia the fiercer do these people become. They exchange men for horses, and have a proverb ‘Slaves from India, horses from Parthia’. The country from Ruytasium to the river Indus is dry and barren, the climate being as harsh and dangerous as the character of the inhabitants. These latter, though born on this side of the Indus, differ markedly, both in colour and speech, from the true Indians. For their complexion is light and their stature short. They have broad shoulders and sturdy legs. From chin to forehead the shape of their heads is low, but they have broad cheek-bones and foreheads. Their faces are covered with wrinkles ; and their appearance clearly indicates that they are hostile rather than hospitable to strangers.

[Page 118]

Camp was pitched on the bank of the Indus in a valley of the district of Hazara.The island mentioned above belongs to a clan of Patanaei who are called Delazacquii. This region is milder and more fertile than the one just traversed. For though it has no fine trees or gardens, the soil is rich and deep, bearing abundance of corn, pulse and grass for grazing. Hence it has many flocks and herds, and abundance of ghi and milk. The character of the inhabitants is gentle and friendly. They are employed in tilling the ground, in pasturing their herds and flocks, and in breeding cattle. Unlike the Gaccares they live in villages. Their language is that of other Patanaei, namely Pastoum.

[Page 121]

The army was allowed a rest on reaching the bank of the Indus. The camp was situated on a large open plain, rich in flocks, and well-stocked with wood and all needful supplies. The Indus is the greatest of all the Indian rivers for it receives from its very source a great body of water gathered from the melting snows of the Himalaya, or Caspian mountains. Moreover it receives, and bears to the sea, the waters of five great rivers, which have been named above. On its banks near its source the neighbouring peoples find great quantities of the best and finest gold. It winds about in various meanderings, amongst mountain-defiles and Himalayan valleys, to the north of Caspiria and Casiria and of the country of the Bothi or Bothantes. Thence it turns westward to reach the plains. It is divided into eight branches, which enclose seven islands in addition to that on which the army was encamped. The force and quantity of water in the river is such that even elephants can only ford it with difficulty.

[Page 134]

When Mirsachimus perceived the serious nature of the invasion, he desired to avoid battle, and to make peace before he should have to fight matters out with his brother. Accordingly he resolved to surrender, and would indeed have done so, had not Faridumcanus, whom he greatly respected alike for his warlike courage and his skill in statesmanship, opposed this resolution with all his might on account of his ancient enmity towards Zelaldinus whom he had basely deserted.

[Page 135]

This region is called after its capital city, as is the custom amongst these tribes, Chabulum. It is divided into three natural areas, that on this side of the Coas, that beyond the Coas and below the junction of the Coas with the Suastus, and that between the Coas and the Suastus. The tract of country which lies on this side of the Coas towards the west is part of the region called by the ancients Paropanisas, and by later ages Indoscythia. The tract beyond the Coas and below the junction of the rivers, lying to the east between the Indus and the Suastus, was called by the ancients Gandara.

[Page 143]

On the day after the King's departure the prince began to advance and in two days' time came to a difficult, steep and narrow pass over a very high range, which is called by the natives Cay bar. The ancients called it the Capissenian Pass. The army crossed this pass, but with the greatest difficulty. Care had been taken to pave the road, though in a hasty manner. Even this had taxed to the utmost the skill of gangs of sappers and workmen. In spite of what they had done, the elephants (of whom there were a great number), the laden camel, and the flocks and herds, found the pass most difficult and dangerous. If they had slipped, they and their riders would have been in imminent danger of death. Amongst these riders were the queens, the princesses, the other noble ladies, and the chief queen of David, king of the Patanaei, by whom he had had several sons.

[Page 144]

The prince regarded it as an honour to be able to show this polite service to his mother and sisters and the other ladies. He himself halted on a high crag until they had reached the crest of the pass. Camp was pitched in a narrow plain near a spring, from which flows a considerable stream of sweet water. This stream, which is large enough to water an army, later joins a brackish torrent, and thus loses its sweetness.

[Page 145]

Advancing yet further, the army came to the narrowest part of the pass, where two high crags overliang it from either side, so that a hundred stout warriors could forbid passage to many thousands; for a laden elephant can hardly get through the defile. Further on a slope was reached, so precipitous that the beasts scarcely found foot-hold, whilst the infantry were compelled to run down the iiill. The cavalry and baggage trains had to make a long detour. At the bottom was a plain large enough to camp upon. In it was a spring flowing from a crag, near which a camp was measured out. The place is called Caybar. In ancient days it was named the city of Capissa. On the plain stood an obelisk, very similar in size, age and workmanship to the one of which I have already given some account.

[Page 146]

The plain is overhung from the west by a crag, on which the ruins of a town can be seen. It is locally called Landighana i.e. the house of women ; and stories are told about its ancient inhabitants, resembling those which are told about the Amazons. It is said that the stronghold used to be occupied by women, who waged war on the surrounding tribes. In order to keep up their numbers they attacked and carried off travellers. Boy-babies were killed or exposed : girls were brought up and trained to arms. They were finally conquered and driven out, but they have left their name in these ruins. In reality, fables apart, a band of wicked women must have lived there given their name to the place : as sometimes happens with fugitive slaves.

Near to Landighana are the ruins of a town named Xaregolamum, i.e. the city of slaves. It was founded by run-away slaves, as a means of preserving their liberty. They lived by brigandage and were driven from their stronghold, it is said, with great difficulty. For the whole region is rough and mountainous, with forests in which the slaves hid when chased by the neighbouring chiefs. They were wont to make raids out of these forests against the near-by settled districts, and to waylay travellers. Having obtained their booty they would retreat to their stronghold. In order to prevent drought in summer they dug for themselves four tanks of remarkable size and depth, in which all the rain-water from the surrounding hills used to be collected.

Emerging from this pass, the prince encamped on [Page 147] the bank of the Coas near the town of Bissaurum in the neighbouibood of Mount Beedaulatus. This hill is 2000 feet high, 4000 feet long, and about 8000 feet in circumference. It is composed of a single enormous rock, whole and without cracks or interstices. It projects towards the east from the neighbouring range, from which it is divided by deep gullies, to a distance of about two miles. On this mountain, as is commonly reported, the most c ireful examination has never discovered any tree, grass, or other vegetation, not even moss. For this reason Emaumus, father of Zelaldinus, having halted here and observed the mountain's barrenness, gave it the name of Beedaulat, i.e. 'graceless.' On its western side may be seen the openings of many triangular stone cells, which are entered from the top, and in which, they say, hermits used to live. The place is indeed bleak and rough, well-suited to a life of austerity, hardship and mourning.

[Page 148]

This district of the Paropanisus, lying between Caybaris (or rather the pass of that name) and the city of Chabulum, is very mountainous and covered with forest. The peaks are snow-capped all the year round [Page 149] This range is prolonged to within a mile of the city by another snowy height, which bends round so as to enclose within its numerous folds the plain on which the army was encamped. Hence the position of the camp was well-chosen ; for even in the hottest part of summer the climate of Gelalabadum is cool. God the Creator has vouchsafed that the inhabitants of this region should not suffer from want of the necessities of life ; for He has granted that certain plots of ground in the recesses of the snowy mountains shall receive enough heat from the sun to enable them to produce fruits as abundantly as other regions which are far distant from the snows. For the country round Gelalabadum has many vineyards and gardens, in which grow the pear, the vine, the pomegranate, the peach, the mulberry, the fig, and other fruit trees. The inhabitants of the Province are the Patanaei, who are controlled by a Mongol garrison. These Patanaei, whom the Mongols call ‘Aufgan’, live by agriculture. They are miserably off for draught animals and ferry-boats. On land they carry their goods themselves, slung on their backs by means of loops of rope through which they put their arms, just as a breast-plate is worn. They walk upright in this fashion even under heavy burdens. On the rivers the loads are carried by means of ox-skins daubed with liquid pitch. Corn or vegetables are enclosed in these skins, and the steersman binds himself on the top. They launch themselves thus downstream on the rapid current of the river : and endeavour to keep a fairly good course. They wear a short garment coming down to the knee. They are devoted to music and sing sweetly to the pipe or lyre, with free high tones in the European manner, not with low quavering notes in the Asiatic manner.

[Page 150]

Chabulum itself is built in a lofty position, and is so cold in winter that the King is always compelled to descend to Gelalabadum, together with his guards and attendants and the whole court. But in summer the climate is so cool that even midsummer—the worst part of the year—is passed without feeling the heat of the sun ; and for that season the King removes from Gelala badum to Chabulnm. The latter city is remarkable chiefly for two things ; firstly it is the capital, secondly it is crowded with merchants, who resort thilher out of India, Persia and Tartary. For it is situated in the very heart of the mountains, which stretch out their arms, as it were, to touch the surrounding countries—India. Sogdiana, Bactriana, and Tartary.

[Page 152]

On hearing of his brother's flight Zelaldinus ordered his herald to announce to the people of Chabulum that they need have no fear for their safety : for he fought not with merchants, workmen and common people, but with his brother's army which had now fled. When he heard that the city was quiet he entered it in triumph, after first traversing the surrounding region, and took up his quarters in the palace. He was greatly delighted at being permitted by the mercy of God to take his seat upon the ancestral throne once occupied by his father and grandfather, especially since his triumph had not been achieved without a double loss. For whilst Pahari was in command of the advanceguard, a sum of 15,000 pieces of gold sent by the King as part for the prince's troops, had been seized by an ambush of Mirsachimus. The paymaster himself had been captured and ill-treated, though some time later he was ransomed for a large sum. The King upbraided him soundly for his carelessness and cowardice. For it was said that, though he had enough men with him to have enabled him to put up a resistance, he fled in panic and was captured without receiving, much less inflicting, [Page 153] a single wound. In the second place Faridumcanus scouts had fallen upon Xecus Gemalus, the King's brother-in-law, from an ambush, and had put him to flight, though he had a hundred troopers with him. In shame and fear of Zelaldinus, Xecus Gemalus adopted the scanty clothing, bare head and unshod feet of a Darvexius and began to live a religious life after the Musalman pattern. For he knew that the disaster was due to his own fault in not keeping to the direct line of march ; and Zelaldinus is generally severe to breaches of military discipline. However, since the offender was his own brother-in-law, the King gave careful directions that he should be recalled, and when he came, remarked to him that the chances of war are various and uncertain, comforted him in his dejection, and far from sternly reprimanding him merely told him to be careful on the return journey.

The King stayed at Chabulum for 7 days in order to give public indication of his victory after the fashion of his ancestors. His sister came to him, asked for pardon, and begged him to have mercy on his conquered brother and to give him back his kingdom, for he was sorry for what he had done. However the result of her interceding was this only that the King, in reliance on her virtue, faithfulness and tact, handed over the kingdom to her charge. He declared that he would have no dealings with Mirsachimus, whose very name he had forgotten, and whom he could not bear to hear mentioned.

[Page 154]

[...]Having thus addressed his sister, and written out the edict by which the kingdom was given mto her charge, ths King prepared to depart. The army was ordered to move on a certain date, and he himself preceded it by forced marches to the camp at Gelalabadum, attended only by a small staff. The whole army, and the Priest amongst the rest, went out to meet him and congratulate him. He received the Priest's congratulations with a pleased expression, probably because, being very greedy of glory, he hoped that through him his fame would reach Spain.

[Page 156]

On emerging from the Caybar pass and reaching the plain, the King had several villages near the Coas burnt, because their inhabitants had refused him grain and supplies on the way up, and could not be persuaded to sell him any food either by entreaties or by large otfers of money. The wretched people of these villages fled across the river, as soon as they heard that the King was returning, and helplessly watched the burning of their property from a height on the other side. They suffered for their loyalty to Mirsachimus [...]

[Page 157]

He then marched for three clays in the direction of Casmiria. He intended to annex that province as a punishment to its king for his mgratitude. For this king had received marked benefits from Zelaldinus not long before, but had shown no tokens of gratitude for these benefits whilst Zelaldinus was marching through his territory. It was his duty to come to greet the King, either in person or at least through ambassadors, to send presents and supplies, and to offer reinforcements in token of his allegiance. For he had been driven out of his kingdom shortly before by his uncle, and Zelaldinus had re-instated him. However the King was dissuaded from carrying out his intention of invading Casmiria by the advice of his ministers, who plainly pointed out to him that the whole army was exhausted by the eight months' arduous campaign just ended so successfully, and that it must be given an opportunity for rest and refreshment. Moreover the enterprise would be impossible for elephants, since the mountains are steeper, higher and more impassable even than those of Chabulum. Nay more, a large part of the way must be traversed on foot, since horses can hardly struggle along even without a rider. Again, winter was at hand, when the passes are blocked by very deep snow, so that the right path cannot be seen, and hence there would be great danger of numbers of men slipping and falling over the cliffs. In accordance with this advice the King turned back towards Fattepurum, putting off to another occasion his revenge (as he himself called it), or more properly the gratifying of his craving for adding to his dominions.

[Page 159]

I must now give some account of Lahurum. This city is second to none, either in Asia or in Europe, with regard to size, population, and wealth. It is crowded with merchants, who foregather there from all over Asia. In all these respects it excels other cities, as also in the huge quantity of every kind of merchandise which is imported. Moreover there is no art or craft useful to [Page 160] human life which is not practised there. The population is so large that men jostle each other in the streets. The citadel alone, which is built of brickwork laid in cement, has a circumference of nearly three miles. Within this citadel is a bazaar which is protected against the sun in summer and the rain in winter by a highpitched wooden roof—a design whose clever execution and practical utility should call for imitation. Perfumes are sold in this bazaar and the scent in the early morning is most delicious. The remainder of the city (out side the citadel) is widely spread. Its buildings are of brick. Most of the citizens are wealthy Brachmanae and Hindus of every caste, especially Casmirini. These Casmirini are bakers, eating-house-keepers, and sellers of second-hand rubbish, a type of trade which well suits their Jewish descent. The surrounding district is fairly fertile.

Mirsachimus reached this city in his invasion, and established his camp on its eastern side, near some very large gardens. He ordered the commander of the citadel—Mancinus son of Bagoandas—to surrender ; but he replied, I shall not break my promise to your brother Zelaldinus, who gave this fortress into my charge. If you wish to make trial of your fortune, advance to the storm ; for I am ready to resist you. If you trust in your superior forces, I on the other hand am confident on account of the valour of my men, who will a thousand times sooner die than surrender. If you storm and capture the citadel, I care not for my life. I only desire to be faithful to my emperor, Zelaldinus.

However Mirsachimus, hoping that this great town would fall into his hands, and thus desiring to conciliate the citizens, allowed no thefts or plunderings in the city, which has no walls : and assured all the merchants and citizens that they need have no fear for their safety, saying that he was waging war only against the commander of the citadel. He was eventually compelled to abandon the siege, as I have recorded above, by the approach of his brother.


[Page 168]

This war was not yet finished. For Cutubdicanus, the ruler of Barocium, gathered an army of fifteen thousand horse, partly from his own tributaries and partly from those of his son Nourancanus, governor of the district of Campanerum, who was then at the court of Zelaldinus. This army was joined by the forces of the district of Surat. Cutubdicanus then marched upon Damanum, intending to storm the citadel. He overran and devasted the whole district, as far as the river Agassainus, compelling the miserable countrymen and fishermen, and the rest of the common people, to fly to some cliffs on the coast as a place of refuge where the Mongols could not reach them.

[Page 169]

When all this was reported to the priests, they handed on the information to the King, saying that they were grieved at the unprovoked attack on the Portuguese. Whereupon he swore that the war had been started without his orders or knowledge.

[Page 170]

At the request of the priests the King ordered the two generals to withdraw their forces from the district of Damanum ; and they obeyed his orders with immediate promptness. This led the priests strongly to suspect that the King had connived at the commission of the above-mentioned horrible crimes, and that he was fomenting war in a clandestine manner. This was afterwards found to be true; for Zelaldinus ordered a great quantity of arms to be conveyed into Diu hidden in bales of cotton, and instructed the Mongols to approach the town under the pretence of friendship to ask for supplies from the Portuguese as though they were allies and then to seize the fortress as soon as opportunity offered.

[Page 174]

In March the King arranged for a festival to be held in commemoration of his recent (victory. This was called Naorus, i.e ‘the nine days’, or perhaps ‘the new days’. For the Mongols begin the year from the month of March (as also do the Jews), having learnt [Page 175] this, not from Muhammad, but from the Hindus ; and they are accustomed, in accordance with ancient tradition, to regard these days as a holiday. For in Sogdiana, Bactria, Scythia and other countries lying north of the parallel, the fruits of the earth first appear in March, which is the beginning of spring as in Europe. The trees are then clothed with all manner of flowers, sweet scents are wafted from the blossoms, and everything on the uferdant and beautiful plains and hills appears to smile and laugh. Hence during the first nine days of this month the people cease their labours, resort to the fields and gardens, eat splendid banquets, and wear richer and finer clothing than usual. On the present occasion this nine days' festival was celebrated by Zelaldinus with such lavish expenditure of money, with such magnificence of clothing, ornament and all manner of appurtenances, and with such gorgeous games, that the like, as we were told, had not been seen for thirty years. For the walls and colonnades of the palace courtyard were decorated with hangings of cloth of gold and silk. Games were held and pageants conducted each day. The King himself was enthroned on a high golden throne approached by steps. He wore his crown and insignia of royalty. He distributed gifts to many generals who had accompanied him on the campaign; and he gave instructions that all classes of the citizens should be bidden to show their joy either by leaping, singing or dancing. He welcomed all who came to see the festival with largess, free supply of wine, and free banquets. Hence whole communities of Jogues arrived, with their chiefs. These men were evidently devoted to religion in appearance rather than in fact; for they profanely and frivolously laid aside all pretence of piety, danced impudently and shamelessly, and fulsomely flattered the King in the songs they sang.

[Page 191]

The Viceroy of India received first the Priest and then the ambassador very courteously and affectionately. On learning the reason for the latter's coming and the importance of the embassy, the Viceroy, after conference with the nobles, generously made an offer to provide all necessary expenses for the voyage. The Provincial also communicated the matter to the Fathers of the Society, in accordance with the regular procedure, and granted the Priest leave to proceed with the ambassador. However, that year only one ship had arrived in India from Portugal ; and hence all were united in the opinion that it would consort ill with the dignity of such great kings for the ambassador to make the voyage to Portugal in that ship, for it was but small and had already many passengers. It was hence agreed that the embassy must be put off for a year. Thus the Priest transferred his attention and thoughts to the duties of his ministry. When the next year arrived, the state of affairs had occasioned such changes of plans and policy that the project of the embassy was entirely abandoned and delivered over to eternal oblivion. Meanwhile Rudolfus had grown weary of the King's fickleness, for he changed himself into more numerous shapes even than Prot eus. Moreover the Provincial sent frequent letters bidding him to return. Hence he obtained [Page 192] leave to depart, though only with considerable difficulty, and after giving a promise to return if he could. He arrived at Goa during the following year (1583 and the next July was murdered at Conculinum, in the district of Salsetum, by itlolators. When he heard of his death, Zelaldinus was deeply moved and putting his finger into his mouth is reported to have said, ‘Alas, Father, my advice was good that you should not go ; but you would not follow it. you would not follow it.’ This marks the end of the first Mission to the Mongols (the subject of this book) and of the proposed embassy to Portugal, It came to a conclusion so unfortunate that the writer of this book has made no second attempt. Hence we may justly suspect that Zelaldinus had been led to summon the Christian priests not by any divine prompting but by curiosity and too ardent an interest in hearing new things, or perhaps by a desire to attempt the destruction of men's souls in some novel fashion. For if this enterprise had been of God, it could have been hindered by no hardships or obstacles. Since it was not of God it collapsed of itself, in spite of the King's obstinacy.

[Page 197]

Zelaldinus is greatly devoted to hunting, though not equally so to hawking. As he is of a somewhat morose disposition, he amuses himself with various games. These games afford also a public spectacle to the nobility and the common people, who indeed are very fond of such spectacles. They are the following : Polo, elephant-fighting, buffalo-fighting, stag-fighting [Page 198] and cock-fighting, boxing contests, battles of gladiators and the flying of tumbler-pigeons. He is also very fond of strange birds, and indeed of any novel object. He amuses himself with singing, concerts, dances, conjurer's tricks, and the jokes of his jesters, of whom he makes much. However, although he may seem at such times to be at leisure and to have laid aside public affairs, he does not cease to revolve in his mind the heavy cares of state. His military cloak comes down only as far as the knee, according to the Christian fashion ; and his boots cover his ankles completely. Moreover, he himself designed the fashion and shape of these boots. He wears gold ornaments, pearls and jewellery. He is very fond of carrying a European sword and dagger. He is never without arms : and is always surrounded, even within his private apartments, by a body-guard of about twenty men, variously armed. He much approves the Spanish dress, and wears it in private.

[Page 199]

His table is very sumptuous, generally consisting of more than forty courses served in great dishes. These are brought into the royal dining-hall covered and wrapped in linen cloths, which are tied up and sealed by the cook, for fear of poison. They are carried by youths to the door of the dining-hall, other servants walking ahead and the master-of-the-household following. Here they are taken over by eunuchs, who hand them to the serving girls who wait on the royal table. He is accustomed to dine in private, except on the occasion of a public banquet. He rarely drinks wine, but quenches his thirst with 'post' or water. When he has drunk immoderately of post, he sinks back stupefied and shaking. He dines alone, reclining on an ordinary couch, which is covered with silken rugs and cushions stuffed with the fine down of some foreign plant.

The splendour of his palaces approaches closely to that of the royal dwellings of Europe. They are magnificently built, from foundation to cornice, of hewn stone, and are decorated both with painting and carving. Unlike the palaces built by other Indian kings, they are lofty ; for an Indian palace is generally as low and humble as an idol-temple. Their total circuit is so large that it easily embraces four great royal dwellings, of which the King's own palace is the largest and the finest. The second palace belongs to the queens, and the third to the royal princes, whilst the fourth is used as a store house and magazine. The roofs of these palaces are not tiled, but are dome-shaped, being protected from the weather on the outside by solid piaster covering the stone slabs. This forms a roof absolutely impervious to moisture.

[Page 207]

The King exacts enormous sums in tribute from the provinces of his empire, which is won derfully rich and fertile both for culti vation and pasture, and has a great trade both in exports and imports. He also derives much revenue from the hoarded fortunes of the great nobles, which by law and custom all come to the King on their owners' death. In addition, there are the spoils of conquered kings and chieftains, whose treasure is seized, and the great levies exacted, and gifts received from the inhabitants of newly-subdued districts in every part of his dominions. These gifts and levies are apt to be so large as to ruin outright many of his new subjects. He also engages in trading on his own account, and thus increases his wealth to no small degree ; for he eagerly exploits every possible source of profit.

Moreover, he allows no bankers or money-changers in his empire except the superintendents and tellers of the royal treasuries. This enormous banking-business brings the King great profit ; for at these royal treasuries alone may gold coin be changed for silver or copper, and vice versa. The government officers are paid in gold, silver or copper according to their rank. Thus it comes about that those who are paid in one type of coin need to change some of it into another type.

Such means of increasing the revenue may be thought base, but they have two distinct advantages; for the coinage cannot possibly be debased or adulterated; and the rate of internal exchange is kept constant, since it cannot be manipulated by fraudulent moneychangers. Moreover, as all the money in circulation comes eventually to the royal treasuries, there can be no scarcity of money with consequent high prices.

[Page 208]

There is a law also that no horse may be sold without the King's knowledge or that of his agents. He allows auctions to be freely held, but buys up all the best horses for himself, without however interfering with the bidding, or taking offence if any one tries to outbid him. In order to avoid any suspicion of oppression, the money is publicly counted out on these occasions, and the seller receives several gold pieces beyond the actual price.

Zelaldinus is sparing and tenacious of his wealth, and thus has become the richest Oriental king for at least 200 years. This fact the chieftains who surround him at his court are continually dinning into his ears, in order to ingratiate themselves with him. With the object of exhibiting his wealth four times every year he has sacks of minted copper money publicly piled up (I think in the palace courtyard) into a heap ten feet wide and thirty feet high. By the side of this pile sit the superintendents and tellers of the treasury. They supervise the counting of the money, which is paid out to those who are entitled to receive it, after deduction of the profit which an ordinary banker would have made if it had been deposited with him. Each sack holds about four thousand copper coins.

The crowd of officers, secretaries and paymasters, who administer the royal supplies, and grant safe-conducts, passes, contracts, etc, are accommodated in a very large hall. This secretariat is presided over by a chieftain of great authority and ability who signs the [Page 209] royal 'farmans.' These are eight days afterwards sealed by one of the queens, in whose keeping is the royal signet-ring and also the great seal of the realm. During this eight days' interval every document is most carefully examined by the confidential counsellor and by the King himself, in order to prevent error and fraud. This is done with especial care in the case of gifts and concessions conferred by the royal favour.

[Page 213]

This empire is very beautiful and healthy, although in many places not well provided with fruit trees. On [Page 214] account of the diversity of the climate in different parts it produces many and various types of crops. Thus in the southern area or zone (as geographers would call it), the same crops are found as in the maritime district (near Goa). But the farther one goes towards the north the more similar does one find the staple products to those of Europe, though indeed the following are the only representatives of the long list of European fruits and trees which grow in India with real exuberance (and these only on the Himalaya range), viz. the grape, the peach, the mulberry, the fig (in a few places), and the pine tree. The whole country bears pomegranates in abundance. The Cotonian apple, the pear and similar fruits are imported from Persia. Rice, wheat, millet and pulse are produced in great quantities. Amongst a great number of non-fruit-bearing trees, recognised as European only the plane, though there are willows in Indoscythia. In many places in the neighbourhood of the Indus flax and hemp are sown. The plant which is commonly called bangue, and which when used as a drink produces intoxication and stupefaction of the mind and senses, has leaves very similar to those of the hemp-plant. It does not however grow on one stalk only, but has a low stem, from which spring a number of other branches, like a bush. Indigo and opium are largely grown in the south, and bring no small profit to the royal revenues. Indigo is a plant from which a juice is extracted yielding a blue dye when it hardens. The vernacular name means fas in Persian also blue, but the Portuguese have added a letter, calhng the plant 'anilum' instead of ‘nilum.’

[Page 220]


I finished this commentary at Eynanum in Arabia on the feast of St. Antony of Padua in the month of June, 1590.

The manuscript was taken from me by the Turks at Senaa, but given back again at the feast of the Eleven Thousand Virgins in the month of October of the same year.

I finished copying and revising the manuscript at Senaa in Arabia on the feast of St. Damasus in the month of December, 1590 A.D.


[...]Yet had he been willing to pay the tribute, Temurus had abundant resources for the purpose. For he was supposed to be lar richer than Croesus ever was. The spoils taken from the conquered Payazitus alone brought so much silver and gold into his treasury that its very doors were made of gold, and it included a store-room, also made of gold, in which were a vast number of gold and silver cups, plates, bowls, basins and jugs. Above, in the door of this store-room, was set a single huge pearl, as big as a walnut, and also other smaller pearls, surrounded with heraldic figures and emblems. Besides this he had a golden table with an emerald of extraordinary size inserted in it, also a most beautiful golden oak-tree, and a great number of other gold and silver vessels. He had countless quantities of hoarded money. All these treasures were greatly increased by the fact that in his dominions lay the mountain from which diamonds are extracted. All his treasure and other property, and all his precious plate and furniture, were stored in a certain camp which he had constructed at a great distance from any inhabited place. At this spot his arsenal also was situated, where a thousand artificers made the arms for his troops.

When receiving foreign ambassadors he had most magnificent and sumptuous banquets prepared, and entertained them in some fine colonnade, park or country-seat, or sometimes in a well-fortified camp. The object of this was to make a display of his wealth ; and for the same purpose gold and silver coins, and jewels set in beaten gold, were distributed to the common people. The Mongols thoroughly approved of the opportunity thus given for lavish feasting ; for enormous dishes of horseflesh were set before them. The rest of the army, however, was disgusted by this kind of banquet. On the occasion when the camp of Paiazitiis was sacked, they saw the Mongols fall upon the fat horses, which were wandering in all directions, like an eagle on a hare. A similar savage and horrible practice of theirs is that of drinking without hesitation the blood of horses in order to quench their hunger and thirst, if they have need. For when they are exhausted, they open a vein behind a horse's ear and eagerly quaff the warm blood.

This is a selection from the original text


agriculture, animals, barren, christian, class, climate, crime, dry, food, health, lack, religion, summer, thirst, trade, travel, war, wealth

Source text

Title: The Commentary of Father Monserrate, S. J. on His Journey to the Court of Akbar

Author: Father Monserrate, S. J.

Editor(s): J. S. Hoyland, S. N.Banerjee

Publisher: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press

Publication date: 1922

Original compiled 1582-1590

Original date(s) covered: 1579-1590

Place of publication: LondonBombayMadrasCalcutta

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Internet Archive: Original compiled 1582-1590 Original date(s) covered: 1579-1590

Digital edition

Original author(s): Father Monserrate, SJ.

Original editor(s): J. S. Hoyland, S. N. Banerjee

Language: English


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > non-fiction prose > travel narratives and reports

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.