Enquiries Touching the Diversity of Languages, and Religions Through the Cheife Parts of the World

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Introductory notes

Enquiries touching the diversity of languages was published in 1614.It was written by Edward Berenwood. It looks at the world in terms of religious inhabitation. Edward Berenwood was born around 1565.He was a mathematician, an antiquarian as well as a scholar. He died in the year 1613.Berenwood’s work, Enquiries touching the diversity of languages, is notable for focussing on the Christian way of life as it is practised in India. Primary Reading Berenwood, Edward, Reading Enquiries touching the diversity of languages , John Bill Suggested Reading Microcosmos Heylyn, Peter, A little description of the great world, John Lichfield and William Turner.

RELIGIONS through the
cheife parts of the
By Edw. Brerewood
lately professor of Astronomy
in Gresham Colledge in
Printed for JOHN BILL.

[Page 66]

1. Of the sundry parts of the World inhabited by Christians. CHAP. X.

ALL Europe is possessed by Christians, except the utmost corners of it, toward the East, and the North, for the small companie of Mahumetanes, inhabiting their peculiar villages about Wilna in Litunia, or the [Page 67] scattered remnants of Idolaters, in the same province, and in Samogitia, are not woorthy mentioning. But toward the North, Lappia, Scricfinia, Biarmia, Corelia, and the North part of Finmarke (all which together passe commonly under the name of Lapland, and make a region about 900 miles in circuit) are inhabited by Idolaters: and toward the East, all the Region betwixt Tanais and Borysthenes, along Maeotis and the Euxine sea (the true native Country of the ancient Gothes) being more then twise as large as the former, and withall much better peopled, is inhabited by the Tartars called Crimaei or Precopitae, who are all Mahumetans, excepting onely a small remainder of Christians, in some parts of Taurica.

But, in all the Turks dominion that he hath in Europe, inclosed after a peninsular figure, betweene Danubius and the Sea, and containing in circuit about 2300 miles (for Moldavia, Walachia and Transilvania, I rekon not for parts of his dominio) namely, from above Buda, on Danubius side, and from Ragusa, on the sea side Eastward, to the utmost bounds of Europe, as also in the Iles of the Aegaean sea, Christians are mingled with Mahumetans. All which dominion yet of the Turks in Europe, though so much in circuit as I said, is neverthelesse (measured by squares) no greater then Spaine, the continent of it, being no way answearable to the circumference: both, because it runneth far out in sharpe angles, toward the West and South, namely in Hungarie and Moraea, and is beside, in Greece in many places, extraordinarily indented with the sea. And [Page 68] in this dominion of the Turks in Europe, such is notwithstanding the mixture of Mahumetans with Christians, that the Christians make two third parts at least, of the Inhabitants: for the Turke, so that Christians pay him his yearely tribute (which is one fourth part of their increase, and a Sultanie for every poll) and speake nothing against the religion and sect of Mahumet, permitteth them the libertie of their religion, And even in Greece it selfe, although more dissolute then any region of Europe subject to the Turke, (as having beene anciently more wasted with intestine discord, and longest groaned under the Turks oppression) there remain yet neverthelesse in Constantinople, the very seate of the Turkish Empire, above 20 Churches of Christians, and in the Citie of Salonichi (Thessalonica) above 30, (wheras in this later the Mahumetans have but 3) beside very many Churches abroad in the Province under suffragan Bishops, of whom the Metropolitan of Salonichi, hath no lesse then 10, beloging to his Jurisdiction, as there are also recorded yet to remaine under the Metropolitans of Philippi, 150 Churches: of Athens, as many: of Corinth, 100, together with sundry suffragan Bishops under each of them.

But in Afrique, all the Regions in a maner, that Christian religion had gained from Idolatry, Mahumetanisme hath regained from Christianitie: Insomuch, that not onely the North part of Afrique, lying along the Mediterrane sea, namely, betwixt it and the Mountaine Atlas, even from Spaine to Aegypt, where Christianitie sometime exceedingly [Page 69] flourished, as the we reade Synodes of above 200 Bishops to have beene gathered, and 300 Catholique Bishops to have beene there expelled, by Gensericus K. of the Wandales: And in some one Province alone, Zengitana by name, (it is that wherein Carthage stood) to have beene 164 Bishops under one Metropolitan:) Not onely that North part of Afrique I say, is at this present utterly voide of Christians, excepting a few Townes belonging to the King of Spaine, (of which onely Septa and Tanger are Episcopall Cities:) but even in all the vast continent of Aphrique, being about thrice as large as Europe, there is not any Region entierly possessed by Christians, but the kingdome of Habassia, no, nor yet, (which is more lamentable) any other, where Christians are mingled, either with Mahumetans, but onely Aegypt: or where with Idolaters, but the kingdomes of Congo and Angola: which two about 120 yeares agoe (An. 1491) beganne first to receive Christianity: All the rest of Afrique, being entirly governed, and possessed by Pagans, or Mahumetans. To which, if I should adde, those few places in Afrique, afore mentioned, near the Strait of Gibraltar, which the KK. of Portugall and Castile, have conquered from the Mores, with the other few dispersed fortresses, which the Portugalles hold in other places on the coast of Afrique (altogether even betwixt Spaine and India are but 11 or 12) I know not where to finde, even among all the native Inhabitants of Aphrique, any Christians more. For, as for the large region of Nubia, which had from the Apostles time, (as is [Page 70] thought) professed the Christian faith, it hath againe above 100 yeares since, forsaken it, and embraced in steade of it, partly Mahumetanisme, and partly Idolatrie, and that by the most miserable occasion that might befall, namely famine of the word of God through lacke of Ministers: for as Albarez hath recorded, at his being in the K. of Habassia his Court, there were Embassadours out of Nubia, to intreat him for a supply of Ministers, to instruct their nation, and repaire Christianity gone to ruine among them: but were rejected.

And yet are the Christians of Aegypt, namely those of the native Inhabitants, but very few in respect of that infinitenesse of people, wherwith Aegypt doth, and ever did abound, as being esteemed, not to passe 50000. And, as touching the Kingdome of Habassia, neither is it all Christians, but a great part of Gentiles, namely toward the West, and South bounds of it, and some part Mahumetans, toward the East border: neither so large and spations, as many mens relations have made it thought to be. For although I cannot assent to them, who assigne to that great Kingdome, but about 662 leagues of compasse, by which reckoning (suppose they were Spanish leagues) it should be little larger then Germany, (for I know full well, by infallible observations, that sparing limitation of theirs, to be untrue) yet, neither can I yeeld to them, who esteem it greater, then the vast dominions of the Emperours of Turkie or of Tartarie &c: Or, to them, that extend it from the one Tropique, to the other, and from the red sea, almost to the [Page 71] west Ocean. For first, certaine it is (that I may speake a little of the limits of this kingdome) that it attaineth not to the redde sea (Eastward) neither within the straits of Babel mandel, nor without: for within those straits, along the Bay of Arabia, there is a continuall ledge of mountaines, knowne to bee inhabited with Moores, betwixt that Bay, and the dominion of Habassia: So that, only one Port there is, along all that coast, (Ercoco by name) where those mountaines open to the Sea, that at this present belongeth to it. Neither without those Straits doth it any where approach to the Ocean. All that coast, as farre as Mozambique, being well knowne to be inhabited with Arabians.

And as touching the west limits of Habassia, I can not finde by any certaine history or relation (unskilfull men may rumour what they will, and I know also that the common Charts represent it otherwise) I cannot find I say, that it stretcheth beyond the river Nilus, so far commeth it short of the West Ocean. For it is knowne, that all the west bank of Nilus, from the river of Zaire to the confines of Nubia, is possessed by the Anzichi, being an idolatrous and man-eating nation, & subject to a great Prince of their own, thus then it is with the bredth of the Empire of Habassia, betwixt East and West: And now to speake of the length of it, lying north and South, neither doth it approach northward on Nilus side, further then the south end of the Isle of Meroe, (Meroe it selfe is inhabited by Mahumetans, and the deadly enemies of the king of Habassia) nor on the Sea side farther then about the port [Page 72] of Suachem. And toward the south, although the bounds of that kingdom, be not perfectly known, yet that it approacheth nothing neere the circle of Capricorne, as hath bin supposed, is most manifest, because the great kingdomes of Moenhemage, and Benomotapa, and some others, are situate betwixt Habassia and that circle. But, as neere as I am able to conjecture, having made the best search that I can, in the itineraries and relations, that are extant of those parts, the south limit of that Empire, passeth not the south parallel of six or seven degrees at the most, where it confineth with Moenhemage. So that to make a respective estimate of the largenesse of that dominion, by comparing it with our knowne regions of Europe, It seemeth equall to Germany and France, and Spaine, and Italie laid together: Equall I say in dimension of ground, but nothing neere equall in habitation or multitude of people, which the distemperature of that climate, and the drye barrennes of the ground, in many regions of it, wil not allow. For which cause the torride parts of Afrique, are by Piso in Strabo resembled to a Libbards skinne, the distance of whose spots, represent the dispersednesse of habitations or townes in Afrique. But if I should absolutely set downe the circuit of that whole dominion, I esteeme the limitation of Pigafetta, nere about the truth, namely, that it hath in circuference 4000. miles (about 1500. in length, and about 600. in breadth:) beeing inclosed with Mahumetans on the north, and east, and with Idolaters, on the West and South.

Such then as I have declared, is the condition of [Page 73] Christians in the continent of Afrique: but the Inhabitants of the Isles along the west coast of Africk, as namely Madera; the Canaries, the Isles of Cabo verde, and of S. Thomas, and some other of lesse importance, are by the Portugals and Castilians instruction, become Christian: but on the East side of Afrique, excepting only Zocotora, there is no Christian Isle.

Even such is the state of Christians in the firme land, and the adiacent Isles of Afrique. And it is not much better in Asia, for excepting first the Empire of Russia, (and yet of it, a great part is Idolatrous, namely the region betweene the rivers of Pechora and Ob, and some part of Permia) secondly, the regions of Circassia, and Mengrelia, lying along Maeoetis and the Euxine sea, from Tanais Eastward as farre as the river Phasis. Thirdly, the province of Georgia, and fourthly the mountaine Libanus in Syria, (and yet the last of these is of the Turkes dominion) excepting these few I say, there is not any region in all Asia, where Christians live several, without mixture, either of Mahumetans, or of Pagas, for although Vitriacus a man well experienced in some parts of the orient, (as being Bishop of Acon and the Popes Legate in the East, at what time Palestina and Syria were in the hands of Christians) hath left registred, that the Christians of the Easterlie parts of Asia, exceeded in multitude the Christians of the Greek and Latine Churches: yet in his time (for he writ almost 400. yeares agoe) Christianity began to decline, and since his time, it hath proceeded infinitely to decay, in all those parts of Asia: [Page 74] first, by the inundation of the idolatrous Tartars, who subdued all those regions, and after by the intertaining of Mahumetanisme in many of them. The time was indeed, (and but about 400. yeares agoe) when the King of Tenduc, whom the histories of those times name Presbyter Johannes, a Christian, but a Nestorian Prince, ruled farre and wide, in the Northeast part of Asia: as having under his dominion, beside Tenduc, (which was his owne native and peculiar kingdome) all the neighbouring provinces, which were at that time for a great part, Christian: but after that his Empire was brought to ruine, and he subdued by Chingis a rebell of his owne dominion (and the first founder of the Tartarian Empire) which happened about the yeare 1190. the state of Christian Religion became in short time strangely altered in those parts, for I find in Marcus Paulus, who lived within 50. yeares after Vitriacus, and was a man of more experience in those parts then hee, as having spent seventeene yeares together in Tartarie, partly in the Emperours Court, and partly in travailing over those Regions, about the Emperours affaires, that except the Province of Tenduc, which as I saide was the kingdome of Presbyter Johns residence (for it was the Prince of that kingdoe, which is rightly & usually, by the ancieter historians named Presbyter [Page 75] John, howsoever the mistaking fantasies of many, have trasported it out of Asia into Africk and by errour bestowed it on the K. of Habassia,) except that Province of Teduc I say, whereof Marcus Paulus cofesseth the greater part, to have professed the Christia religion at his being in Tartary, the rest of the inhabitats, being partly Mahumetans, and partly Idolaters: in all the other provinces of those parts beside, that, hee observeth the Christians to bee but few, as namely in the kingdomes of Tanguth, of Chinchintales, of Succhuir, of Caraiam, of Cassar, of Carcham, of Ergimuli, of Cerguth, of Egrigaia, and in the other regions of Tartary mentioning no Christians at al. Two cities onely I finde in him excepted, the one was Cingiangifu in Mangi, (that is China) where he noteth, that many Christians dwelt, and the other Quinsay, in which later yet, (although the greatest city in the world) he hath recorded to be found but one Church of Christians. But, these [Page 76] places excepted before mentioned. I can finde no certaine relation, neither in Paul Venetus, nor anie other, of any Christians of the native inhabitants, in all the East of Asia, but Idolatrie keepeth still her ould possession, and overspreadethall.

But yet indeede, in the more Southerly partes of Asia (especially in those where Christianity was first planted, and had taken deepest roote) as Natolia, Syria, Palestine, Chaldaea, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Media, Persia, the North part of Arabia, and the South of India, Christians are not onely to be found, but in certaine of those regions, as in Natolia, Armenia, Syria, Mesopotamia, somewhat thicke mingled with Mahum [...] tans: as they are also in the South of India not farre from the Promontorie of Comorijn, in some reasonable number, in the kingdome of Contan, of Cranganor, and of Choromandeb, but mingled with Idolaters. But yet, is not this mixture of Christians with them of other religions, in any part of Asia, after the proportio of their mixture in Europe (where I observed the Christians to make the prevailing number) but they are farre inferiour, to the multitude of the Mahumetans, and of the Idolaters, among whom they are mingled, and yet touching their number, decrease everie day, in all the parts aforesaid, India onely excepted. Where since the Portugales held Goa (which they have erected into an Archbishopricke) and intertained Malabar, and some other parts of India, what with commerce, and what with amitie, the number of Christians is greatly multiplied, in sundrie places of that region, but yet not so, as to [Page 77] compare in any sort, with the Mahumetans, and much lesse with the Idolaters among whom they live.

Thus it is with Christians in the firme Land of Asia: but in the Islands about Asia, Christianitie is as yet but a tender plant: for although it hath made some entrance into the Isles called Philippinas, namely into 30 of them, for so manie onely of 11000 termed by that name, are subject to the King of Spaine. Th. Ies. de Conu. gent. l. 1. c. 1. by the industrie of the Castilians, as also by the preaching of the Portugales, into Ormuz in the Bay of Persia, and into C [...] ilan in the Sea of India, and some few other of the infinite multitude of Islands, dispersed in that Easterne sea, yet hath it hetherto found in all those places, rather some faire beginning, then any great proceeding. Onely in Japonia Christianity hath obtained (notwithstanding many hinderances and oppositions) more prosperous successe. Insomuch that many yeares since, there were recorded to have beene by estimation, about 200000 Christians in Japonia.

Lastly, in America, there be foure large regions, and those of the most fruitefull and populous part of it, possessed and governed by the Spaniards, that is, Nu [...] ua Espana, Castilla del Oro (otherwise termed Nu [...] bo Reino) Peru, and part of Brasile, the first three, by the Castilians, and the fourth, by the Portugales, all which together, may by estimation, make a region as large as Europe. In which, as also in the Islands, specially in the greater Islands of Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto rico, the Christian [Page 78] religion is so largely spred, that one hath presumed, to equall in a manner, the Christians of America, to those of the Latine Church in Europe: And another, hath left recorded, that within a few yeares after the entrance of the Gospell among them, there were no lesse then seven Millions, or as others reported fourteene Millions, that in the sacrament of baptisme had given their names to Christ. But especially in the kingdome of Mexico (or Nueva Espanna) Christian Religion obtained that plentifull and prosperous successe, that we finde recorded of sundrie of the Preachers, employed about the conversion of that people, that they baptised ech one of them, above 100000. and that in few yeares. Insomuch that (as is storied by Surius) It is to be found among the records of Charles the fift, that some old Priest hath baptised 700000. another, 300000, and certaine others verie great multitudes. But yet, what maner of Christians manie of those proselytes were, I am loth to remember, or report (and it may be by this time, they are better affected and instructed then they were) for certainely, Oviedo, and Benzo, men that had long lived, and were well experienced in those parts, have left recorded, the first of Cuba, that there was scare any one, or but very few, that willingly became Christians, and both Oviedo of them, and Benzo of the Christians of Nueva Espanna, that they had nothing almost belonging to Christianitie, but onely the bare name of Christians, being so utterly mindelesse, and carelesse of Christian religion, that they remembred not any thing of the covenant [Page 79] and profession, they made in their baptisme: Onely, they kept in minde, the name they receaved then, which very name also, they forgot soone after. But all the rest of America except the regions afore mentioned, which compared to the parts possessed by theCastilians and Portugales (to make estimation by the Mappes that wee have of those regions, for the North and West coasts of America, are not yet perfectly discovered) may be as sixe to one, is possessed by Idolaters.

2. Of the parts of the World possessed by Mahumetans. CHAP. XI.

HAving declared the amplitude of Christianitie, I will proceede to shew the state of other religions in the world, & with all, what parts of it, the professours of those religions doe severally inhabite; and lastly, what proportion they may have each to other, and all of them to Christians. To indevour therefore your satisfaction in this behalfe. There are foure sorts or sects of Religion, observed in the sundrie regions of the World. Namely, Idolatrie, Mahumetanisme, Judaisme, and Christianity. Of Christians I have alreadie spoken: now therefore will I relate for your better [Page 80] contentment, of the other three; and first of Mahumetans.

Mahumetans then possesse in Europe, as I said before (having in that part but small mixture of Christians) all the region betwixt Tanais and Boristhenes (Don and Nieper they are now called) being about a twentith part of Europe: beside some villages in Lituania about Wilna, where the use of their religion is by the King of Poland permitted them, for in Greece, Macedon, Thrace, Bulgaria, Rascia, Servia, Bosina, Epirus, the greatest part of Hungaria, and some part of Dalmatia (which may bee together about one foureteenth part of Europe) although the government be wholy the Turkes, yet Mahumetans scarcely passe one third part of the Inhabitants.

But in Afrique Mahumetanisme is spred exceeding farre, for, first to consider the maritime coast: It possesseth all the shoare of the Atlantique Ocean, from Cape Blanco to the Strait of Gibralter, being about 1100 miles. Secondly, on the shoare of the mediterrane, all from that Strait to Aegypt, about 2400 miles, excepting onely on the one coast, and on the other, some seven townes, in the possession of the Spaniards. Thirdly, on the East side of Afrique all the coast of the Bay of Arabia, even from Suez to C. Gardafu., about 1600 miles, excepting onely one port (Ercoco) being of the dominion of the King of Habassia. And thence (doubling that Cape) Southward, all the shore of the Aethiopique sea, as farre as Mozambique (that is over against the middest of Madagascar) about 1800 miles. And in all the coasts of Afrique hitherto mentioned, being [Page 81] altogether about 7000 miles (that is, by some excesse more then halfe the circumference of Afrique) the professors of Mahumeds religion, have both possession and dominion, together with the maritime parts, of the great Isle of Madagascar, and many other Islands along the coast of Afrique. And yet, even beyond Mozambique also, as farre as to the Cape das Corrientes (it is under the circle of Capricorne) although they have there no rule, yet they are found mingled with Idolaters. But yet neverthelesse, observed it is, that along the East shoare of Afrique, namely from Suachem to Mozambique (being towards 3000 miles of the mentioned coast) Mahumetans possesse onely the Margent of the land, or the sea shoare, and have gotten but little footing in the inland parts, except in the kingdomes of Dangali and Adel, confining together, the first within and the second without the straite of Babel Mandel, which yet are but small provinces. And this also (to extenuate their number) is also true, that from the kingdome of Adel, and Cape Guardafu, to Mozambique, there is found among the Mahumetans, some mixture of Idolaters, although the dominion bee onely in the Mahumetans hands.

But yet on the North and West parts of Afrique, it is farre otherwise, and farre worse: Mahumetanisme having overspread all the maine land of Afrique, betweene the Mediterraine sea and the great river Neger: and along the course of Nilus, as farre as the Isle of Meroe, which lieth also about the same parallel with the river Niger, and is possessed by Mahumetans. And yet, [Page 82] beyond Niger also, it hath invaded and obtained, all the kingdomes of the Nigrites that border on that river. So that all Barbarie and Biledelgerid, and Libya deserta, and the region of Negroes, are become of that religion. Excepting first some maritime parts toward the Atlantique sea, namely from C. Blanco southward, which are inhabited by Gentils. Secondly, the kingdome of Borno, and some part of Nubia: And thirdly, certaine scattered multitudes of the old African progenie, that still retaine their ancient gentilisme, and are found in divers places heere and there in the mountaines & wilder parts of Barbary, of Biled-elgerid, and of Libya. These I say, beeing excepted, all Afrique beside, fro the mediterrane sea, som what more southward then the river Niger, is overspread with Mahumetans: which (adding these before mentioned, along the east coast of Aethiopia) may by estimation, take up foure nine parts of Afrique.

And yet in Asia, Mahumetanism is farther spred, beeing imbraced and maintained chiefly, by foure mighty nations, namely, the Arabians, Persians, Turkes, and Tartars. Arabia was indeed the nest, that bred and fostered that uncleane bird, and had it bene the cage also, for ever to enclose it, it had bin but too much space and liberty, for Arabia is in circuit above 4000. miles, and except a small mixture of Christians in Eltor, a port towne toward the inmost angle of the bay of Arabia, and Petra, (Krac now it is called) a midland towne, and two Monasteries about the Hill of Sinai, all is possessed with Mahumetans. But from Arabia that poison [Page 83] hath in such sort dispersed it selfe through the veynes of Asia, that neere the one halfe, is at this day corrupted by it. For although it hath not hetherto attained to the north coast of Asia, which is partly inhabited by Christians, namely, from the river of Dwyna to Pechora, and partly by idolaters from Pechora to the East Ocean: nor yet to the east coast, which from the most northerly part of Tartary, to the most southerly part of India, (except some few places in the kingdome of Siam) Idolaters in l ke sort generally obtaine: yet neverthelesse, it is as I saide, namely, that a very great part of Asia, is infected with that pestilence. For first, all the southerly coast of Asia, from the Bay of Arabia to the river Indus, is possessed by Mahumetans: and if wee proceed further along that shore, even beyond the river of Indus also, the great kingdomes of Cambaia, and Bengala, for a great part of them, and about one fourth part of the inhabitants of Malabar, are observed to be Mahumetans. And secondly, to consider the inland parts: all from the westerly bounds of Asia, namely the river Tanais, with the Euxine, Aegaean, and Mediterane seas, as farre Eastward, as the mountaine Imaus, (which is more then halfe the length of Asia) is possessed by them: Except, first the Kirgessi neere Imaus, who are Idolaters: and secondly, the mixture of Christians among them, who yet have very small proportion (for their multitude) to Mahumetans, in any province, of all the mentioned vast circuit, for howsoever Burchardus about 320. yeares agoe, hath left [Page 84] recorded of those parts of Asia, that there were to be found in them 30. Christians for one Mahumetan. Descr. ter. sanct. pa. 2. c. 2. §. 9. yet certainely, that in these present times the excesse of multitude is growne great on the Mahumetans side in respect of Christians, the experience of many putteth out of question. And, if wee shall proceed yet farther eastward, in the inland parts of Asia, and passe in our speculation, beyond the mountaine Imaus, even there also sundry provinces are observed, as Peim, Cotam, Lop, where Mahumetans are the maine and sole inhabitants, and many more, as Cassar, Carcham, Chinchintilus, Tanguth, Ergimul, Cerguth, Tenduc, &c. where they are mingled among idolaters, which may for a great part, countervaile those regions of Asia, which Christians and Idolaters take up on this side that mountaine. So that, in my estimation, having about these points coferred history with Geography in the most circumspect & considerate manner that I was able, about nine parts of 20. of Asia, are possessed by Mahumetans.

Thus then is Mahumetanisme spread over the one halfe almost of the firme land of Asia. And yet moreover in the Ilands also that are about Asia, that religion hath found large intertainment. For not onely a good part of the small Isles of Maldivia, namely those of them that are inhabited, (for they are above 7000. in all, and most without habitation) are possessed with Mahumetans, but moreover, all the ports of the Isle of Ceilan, (except Colombo which the Portugalls have) the Sea coasts of Sumatra, the ports of Java, with the Isle [Page 85] of Sunda, the ports of Banda, of Bornéo and of Gilolo, with some of the ilands Malucos, are in the hands of Mahumetans.

Of the great spreading & inlargement of which religion, if the causes were demanded of mee, I should make answere, that beside the justice of almighty God, punishing by that violent and wicked sect, the sinnes of Christians (for we see that by the conquests of the Arabians, and Turks, it hath cheefly seased on those regions, where Christianity in ancient time most flourished, both in Afrique and Asia, and partly in Europe) one cause I say, of the large spreading of their Religion, is the large spreading of their victories. For it hath ever beene the condition of the conquered, to follow for the most part the religion of the conquerors. A secod, their peremptory restraint, (even on the paine of death) of all disputation touching their religion, and calling any point of it into question. A third, their suppression of the studie of Philosophy, by the light whereof, the grosnesse and vanity of many parts of their religion might bee discovered, which is inhibited to bee taught in their universities, and so hath beene, about these 400. yeares, whereas till then, it greatly flourished among the, in Cordova, in Fess, in Maroccho, in Bagded, and other cities. And yet, as Bellonius and others write, the Turkes fall now againe, to those studies afresh. A fourth cause may well bee assigned, the sensuall liberty allowed by it, namely, to have many wives, and the like promise of sensual pleasures, to succeed after this life (to the Religious observers of it,) in [Page 86] Paradise, wherewith men for the greatest part, as being of things wherewith their sense is affected, & whereof they have had certaine experience, are more allured and perswaded, then with promises of spiritual delights, presented only to their hopes, and for which present and sensible pleasures must in the meane time be forsaken.

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3. Of the Indians or Christians of St. Thomas. CHAP. XX.

THe Christians of India, vulgarly named the Christians of S.Thomas, because by his preaching they are supposed to have beene converted to Christian Religion: (and his bodie as is thought, remaineth among the, buried in the citie of Maliapar on the coast of Choromandel) inhabite in the neerer part of India: namely in that great Promontory, whose base lying betweene the [Page 145] outlets of the rivers Indus & Ganges, stretcheth out the sides far toward the South, (well nigh 1000. miles) till meeting in the point of Comori, they make, together with the base line forementioned, (betwixt Cambaia, and Bengala) the figure almost of an equilateral Triangle. In the more southerly part of this great promontory, I say, neerer to Cape Comori, about the cities of Coulan and Cranganor on the west side, and about Maliapur and Negapatan on the East side, doe these Christians of Saint Thomas dwell, being esteemed afore the Portugals frequeted those parts, about 15000. or 16000. families, or after anothers account 70000. persons. but on the west coast, the farre greater number of them is found, and especially their habitation is thickest, about Angamale, 15. miles from the citie Cochin northward, where their Archbishop keepeth residence.

Now as touching their governement: Their Archbishop till 20. yeares since or little more, acknowledged obediece to the Patriarch of Mozal, by the name of the Patriarch of Babilon, as by those Christians of India he is still tearmed: and certainly, that the Patriarch of Mozal , challengeth their obedience, as being of his Jurisdiction [Page 146] appeareth by the profession of Abil-Isu, a Patriarch of Mozal, of Pope Pius the fourth his Investing (An. 1562) as is to be seene in Sanders booke de visicili Monarchia. But then, the Archbishop of these Indians, revolting from his former Patriarch, submitted himselfe by the Portugalls perswasion, to the Bishop of Rome, [...]etayning notwithstading, the ancient religio of his cuntry, which was also permitted by the Pope. In so much, that in a Synode held in Goa, for that purpose, hee would not suffer any alteration to bee [Page 147] made of their ancient rites or religion, as one that lived in those parts at that time hath recorded. But that Bishop beeing dead, his successour in another Synode, held by the Archbishop of Goa, at Diamper, not farre from Maliapur, An. 1599. made profession, together with his suffragans, and Priests, both of the Roman obedience, and religion, renouncing in such direct sort, the Patriarch of Mozal, and Nestorianisme, that they delivered up all their books, to the censure of the Archbishop of Goa, and suffered their Liturgie, in the points that relished of Nestorianisme to be altered, even in such sort as now it is to be seene in the last Edition of Bibliotheca veteriem Patrum.

But before this alteration of their religion was procured by the Portugals, those Christians of India were Nestorians, as having the dependance that I related, on the Patriarch of theNestorians, they could not well bee any other. Some specialties of whose religion I finde thus recorded. 1. That they distributed the Sacrament of the Eucharist in both kinds. 2. That they celebrated it with bread seasoned with salt, (pane salato, saith my Historian) and in stead of wine, (because India affordeth none) in the juice of Raisons, softened one night in water & [Page 148] so pressed forth. 3 That they baptized not their infants till they were 40. daies old, except in danger of death. 4. That they used not extreame unction. 5. That their Priests were married, but excluded from the second matrimony. Osor. de Reb. Emanuel. l. 3. 6. That they had no images of Saints in their Churches, but onely the crosse. 7. That detesting (the Mall of Nestorianisme) Cyrill of Alexandria, they honoured Nestorius andDioscorus as Saints, which yet mee thinks were strange, being of so contrary opinios, as they were, the first, for two persons in Christ, as well as two natures: the second, for one nature, as well as one Person; but it may be that Dioscorus is by the relater mistaken for Diodorus, who was indeed a great Nestorian, and for it condemned in the fifth general Councell.

8. That they denied the Primacy of the Pope.

9. That their new Testament which in their Churches they formerly read, (and still doe) in the Syriaque toung, was by the Nestorians in sundry places, which are now altered by the Romans, corrupted to the advantage of that heresie, wherin yet, I thinke the reporter is deceaved: because the same corruptions objected to them, (wherof some are no corruptions at all, but agree rightly with the originall text, and much better then doth the vulgar Latine, by comparing whereof he examines them, and censures them for corruptions) the same I say, are found in the Syriaque edition that wee [Page 149] have, being so farre from being corrupted by the Nestorians, that it was brought out of Mesopotamia intoEurope (to be printed by Moses Mardenus, from the Patriarch of the contrary sect, namely, of the Jacobites. But yet notwithstanding, I am indeede certainly perswaded, that the Syriaque translation of the new Testament (whosoever was the Authour of it) is nothing neere of that Antiquity, which the Syrians (as Bellarmine and others report of them) pretend it to bee, namely to have bene the work of S.Marke. First, because S.Mark died in the 8. yeare of Nero, as Hierome with others hath certainely recorded, after which time, many parts of the new Testament, were written: as namely S.Johns Gospell, the Acts of the Apostles, (for all the History from the 24. chapter to the ende, relateth occurents after S. Markes death) the Epistles of [Page 150] S. Paul to the Galathians, Ephesians, Philippians, Collossians, to Philemon, and the second to Timothy. Secondly, because that Syriaque translation is not to bee found once mentioned, in any of all those ancient and learned writers, that lived in those east parts, and diligently sought out and observed the severall editions and translations of the holy scripture. And thirdly, because the dialect discovereth it to be of a farre later age, then that of the Apostles: which they will soone finde to be so, (to omit some other evidences) that shall compare the Syriaque words recorded in the new Testament by the Evangelists, (which all are noted byHierome and by others) with the Syriaque booke: as for example, [undefined span nonLatin alphabet], Mat. 6.24. Mamouno. [undefined span nonLatin alphabet], Joan. 19.13. Gephiphto. [undefined span nonLatin alphabet], Mat. 27.33. Gogoultho. [undefined span nonLatin alphabet], Act. 1.19. Chakal demo, [undefined span nonLatin alphabet], 1. Cor. 16.22. Moraneto. And to be short, there is not almost any Syriaque worde recorded in the new Testament, which varieth not from that ancient pronouncing that was usuall in the Apostles time, either in consonants, or vowels, or both: which could not bee the alteration of any short course of time.

This is a selection from the original text


death, religion, salt, water, wine

Source text

Title: Enquiries Touching the Diversity of Languages, and Religions Through the Cheife Parts of the World

Author: Edward Brerewood

Publication date: 1614

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online at http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home. Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 3618 Physical description: [24], 198, [2] p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Reel position: STC / 1021:03

Digital edition

Original author(s): Edward Brerewood

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Chapters 10, 11, 20


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.