Mikrokosmos: A Little Description of the Great World

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Introductory notes

Microcosmos A little description of the great world was published in 1625.It was written by Peter Heylyn. It is a chronological and historical account of the world as the way the author sees it.Heylyn was born in 1599.He was a clergyman who wrote a large number of tracts that had theological as well as historical and political relevance. He died in 1662. Selections have been made from Microcosmos relating to information about India from an European perspective. Primary Reading Microcosmos Heylyn, Peter, A little description of the great world, John Lichfield and William Turner. Suggested Reading Berenwood, Edward, Reading Enquiries touching the diversity of languages , John Bill.

Augmented and revised.
MART. EPIG. 4. Lib. 1.
Aethereas lascius cupis volitare per auras:
I, fuge; sed poteras tutior esse domi.

Printed by JOHN LICHFIELD and WILLIAM TURNER, and are to be sold by W. TURNER and T. HUGGINS, An. Dom. 1625.

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INDIA is bounded on the East with China, on the West with the river Indus, from whence it taketh denomination; on the North with Tartarie, on the South with the Ocean.

This Country extendeth in length from China to Persia, 3600 miles; and stretcheth from Taurus to the Ocean: this being the biggest country, comprehended under one name, of any in the world, excepting Tartaria and China. It is situate betweene the first and sixt Climats, the longest day being in the South parts of 12 houres only; but in the North fifteen houres and a halfe.

Concerning the monst ous fables which foregoing times have delivered unto us, give me leave to say; that as the Poets of old, used to fill up the times of which they were ignorant, with strange fictions, & prodigious metamorphoses; or as our [Page 673] moderne Geographers in their Maps of the world, fill up those unknowne parts thereof, of which they can give us no certaine description, with strange pictures, and uncouth shapes of beasts and trees: so also the writers in former ages, have filled the more remote Countries of which they knowe little, with such impossible and incredible relations. Hence there have beene attributed to this India, the tales of men with dogges heads; of men with one legge only, yet of great swiftnesse; of such as live by sent; of men that had but one eye, & that in their foreheads; and of others whose eares did reach unto the ground. It is reported also, that this people by eating a Dragons heart and liver, attain to the understanding of the languages of beasts; that they can make themselves, when they list, invisible; that they have two tubbes, whereof the one opened yeelds winde, the other raine, and the like. But of these relations & the rest of this straine, I doubt not but the understanding Reader knoweth how to judge, and what to beleeve; for my part I am of the same minde with Curtius, Plura equidem transcribe quàm credo; nec enim affirmare ausus sum quae dubito, nec subducere sustineo quae accepi.

The old inhabitants of this Country were the Daedalae, Mazaga, Abisarae, Sop ites, Gangarides, Phartasii, Sobij, Malli, Sabracae, Musicani, Oxydracae, &c. all conquered by Alexander in his expedition into this Country. The Malli and Oxydracae are most famous, for a story attributed unto them, which is this. Alexander besieging the chiefe Citty of the Oxydracae, saith Curtius (of the Malli, saith Plutarch) was the first that scaled the walls, and the last that could doe so; the ladder breaking as soone as he was at the top. Standing thus alone as a marke to all their darts, he was by his Souldiers desired to leap downe among them; but he in a daring bravado leaped into the towne among his enemies: where it was not only his good hap to light upon his feet, but to have an old tree at his back to defend him behinde. In this posture he is said to have maintained the fight a long time against all the townsmen; killing two of them with his owne hands, and by that example teaching the rest to bee more mannerly: till being wearied and dangerously wounded, [Page 674] he was forced to leave his feet, and commit the weight of his body to his knees. In this case Leonatus Peucestes, and some other of his Captaines came to assist him, who defended their dying master, till the whole Army entred the Towne, and put all the people to the sword; in revenge of their King, whose life they had little hope to enjoy, though he with much danger did afterward recover. For my part, I give little or no credence to this story, ranging it in the same catalogue of truth with the adventures of Donzel del Phoebo, Rosicleer, Beliavis, Amadis, and the rest of the rabble of Knights errant: neither is this the first time that Curtius hath disgraced the soundnesse of Alexanders judgement, and the truth of his actions, with the like idle and impossible tales, though indeed in this particular he saith that it was multò magis ad temeritatis quàm ad gloriae famam. The principall rivers of this Country are, 1. Indus the boundary of the Persian and Indian Empires; which having his head in the mountaine Caucasus, now called Naugrariot; openet himselfe with two mouthes into the Indian Ocean; having first runne a course of 900 miles. 2 Ganges, of which more anon. 3 Hydaspes, on whose banks Alexander built Bucephalia in honour of his horse Bucephalus there dying. On the bankes of this river stood the Citty of Nysa also, the chiefe Citty of India in the time of Alexander. 4 Acesines. 5 Hirotis. and 6 Zaradus; all three emptying themselves into the Indus.

This Country, even in ancient times hath beene noted for abundance of all things, either necessary for the maintenance of life, or pleasant to the relish of the palate: as also for abundance of Camels, Apes, Dragons, Serpents, Rhinocerots, & Elephants. These Elephants doe seeme to have a smack of reason, and certainely partake more of humane ingenuitie, then any othe brute creature whatsoever. The Elephant which King Porus rode on, seeing his master strong & lustie, rushed into the thickest of Alexanders Armie; but when he perceaved Porus to grow faint, he withdrew himselfe, and kneeling down receaved all the arrowes shot against his master in his owne trunke.

Bacchus was the first that entred and conquered this Country, as indeed what regions first or last hath not he brought under [Page 675] his winie Empire. Hence one thus descanteth, First Bacchus did this Country over-runne, And set up trophies in the conquered East: Oh would he had gone on as he begunne, And never turned to subdue the West. Might Indus banks have borne his branching vines, Nor Europes streames bin stain'd with sweeter wines.

After Bacchus, Semiramis Q. of Assyria was the first that ever entred India in hostile manner; part whereof she made tributary, and slew Staurobates the king thereof. Next unto her, Alexander the great invaded it, at which time there were many kings and free Cities whom the Gymnosophists perswaded to defend their liberty. These Gymnosophists were to the Indians as the Druides to the Brittaines, and are called by the Indians, Brachmanni. These are had in great reverence: and live for the most part, a very austere and solitary life, in caves and desarts, seeding on herbes, and wearing poore thinne weedes: and for a certaine time abstaine from all kind of vice: But that time once past, they may (as it were) by priviledge, defloure virgins, and commit what riots they list. Others of them live together with the people, as being their ordinary Priests. Of these Alexander surprised 10, one of which was Calanus, to whom hee propounded strange questions, and received strange answers. Hee first dealt with Taxiles a prudent Prince, whose kingdome was bigger then Aegypt; who both overcame and was overcome by Alexander in curtesie. Next with King Porus in a more hostile manner; for he discomfited his Army, and tooke Porus prisoner, who was foure cubits and a shafes length high. Afterward he sailed downe the Ganges, unto the maine Ocean; and was the first and last (till of late) that ever durst adventure such a navigation. After this expedition of Alexander, the Indians enjoyed many yeares of peace. The successours of Alexander were for the most part on the loosing hand: the power of the Romans they rather knew by report, then triall: yet was it not amisse to entertaine a potent, though remote state, in termes of amitie. Therefore they sent Embassadours unto Augustus, who presented him with a number of Tigers, (which [Page 676] beasts till then, the Roman people had never seene;) and which was most pleasing, a litle boy borne without armes, who with his feet could bend a bow, shoot, and play on a winde instrument as exactly, as others with their hands. Traian the Emperour had a great desire to see this Countrie; but after these times by litle & litle, histories have bin in a manner silent concerning it. For not-withstanding that there was continuall trafficke from the Red sea hither: and betweene the Persian, Turkish, and Indian merchants for spices, and the other commodities of this Region: yet were not these merchants acquainted with the state of the country; because they entred not into it, but were met by the Indian merchants at Sarmachand, being (as it were) the common Emporie. Neither did the Aegyptians at all enter into India, but were met by the Indians at Ormus, or some other Iland: (even as now the Chinoys make some of the Philippinae, the staple of their trade with the Spaniards; whom they licence not to come into the Continent among them:) but our moderne navigations have withdrawne the Maske of obscurity, and shew us her lively portraiture in as lively colours. It enjoyeth two summers, an exact temperature of the aire, and double increase. Abound it doth in all manner of Mineralls, except Copper and Lead: stored with all sorts of Cattle, except horses: more particularly with Mines of gold, precious stones, spices of all sorts, and Civet: Wheat only and Vines are wanting, that so this Countrey might be beholding to others, as others to this.

The people are indifferently civill and ingenious, both men and women imitate a majestie in their train and apparell, which they sweeten with oyles and perfumes, adorning them with jewels, Pearles, and other ornaments befitting. They are now a nation composed of 5 severall people, the Indians or natives, which are in part Gentiles, in part Christians. Those which are Gentiles retaine among them many of their old customes, as not knowing their wives after they have borne them two children; not accompanying them if after five yeares cohabitation they can raise no issue by them, but exchanging them for others; as never being rewarded for any military [Page 677] exploit, unlesse they bring with them an enemies head in their hand; killing their friends before sicknesse withereth them, &c. As for the Christians (to which Religion they were converted by S. Thomas) they still retaine the name and profession, which they have now reformed (I should have said deformed) according to the Church of Rome; which was effected in a Synode held for that purpose at Goa, Anno 1599, at what time they delivered up all their bookes to the censure of the Roman-Spanish Archbishop of Goa, to be by him corrected; and permitted their Liturgie also to be by him altered. Before this union, they used to administer the Sacrament with bread seasoned with salt; secondly insteed of wine (because India affordeth none) to use the juyce of rasins, softned in water one night, & so pressed forth: thirdly not to baptize their children til 40 daies old, unlesse in danger of death: fourthly to permit no images in their Churches but of the Crosse onely: fifthly to debarre their Priests from second marriages: and sixthly to paint GOD with three heads on one body, denotating thereby the Trinity. The second sort of people which inhabite this Country, are Mahumetan Persians and Tartars, especially since the Moguls great victories here. Three Jewes, who live straglingly dispersed in all quarters. Arabians, or Moores, who 200 and odde yeares past, seazed on some haven-townes, driving the Natives up higher into the inland Countrie. And the Portugals, who possessing some few Sea-townes,commodious for trafficke, bragge of the conquest of the whole Country, which they are in no more possibility to conquer, then the French was to subdue Spaine, when he was possessed of the fort of Perpignan, pawned to him by John King of Arragon and Navarre. The river Ganges ariseth in the Scythian hils, and carrying with it an incredible breadth and depth, disburdeneth it selfe into the South Ocean. The breadth of it is in the narrowest place, in the broadest 20 miles; the depth of it is never lesse then 100 foot. That this river is not that which is called in the Scriptures Pison, which compasseth the land of Havilah, where there is gold; we have already proved in Mesopotamia: our reason being drawne from the overlarge extent which must then [Page 678] be necessarily given to Paradise; in which the river Pison is said to have risen. And though indeed India is thought, & that truely, to be the land of Havilah; yet why should Ganges that divideth India, be thought to be Pison, rather then Indus which boundeth it; and which also lieth farre neerer to Tigris & Euphrates, then this Ganges? But to make it more plaine: certaine it is that there were two lands of Havilah; the one so named from Havilah, the sonne of Jocktan, (who with his brothers Ophir and Jobab, dwelt toward the East, Gen. 10. ver. 29.30,) which is this India, or a part of it: and the other so named from Havilah, the sonne of Chush, (of whom mention is made in the 7 verse of the same Chapter,) which is the land of Susiana, a butting North on Mesopotamia. This Ganges yet, though it be none of the rivers of Paradise, is as famous as those which are. For downe this river did Alexander with such danger saile to see the Ocean: To this river the superstitious Indians goe devoutly on pilgrimage; strongly beleeving that they are secure of salvation, if at the time of their death they may drinke of this water. This riverflowing the Country, enricheth it, as Nilus doth Egypt: and finally it divideth the whole Countrey into two parts, viz: India intra Gangem, and India extra Gangem.


INDIA INTRA GANGEM, called also INDUSTAN, is divided into 47 Provinces or Kingdomes: whereof two have yet their proprietary kings, namely Narsinga and Calecute: the rest are under the command of the great Mogor, Mogul, or Mongul.

The chiefe of the 47 Provinces are NARSINGA, which hath a king acknowledging no superiour command. The people hereof use to burne the wives together with their husbands; and she is thought to have bin most loving during his life, which is now most willing to accompany him in his death: and offer her selfe to his Manes at the funerall pile, whereunto thus alludeth the Poet, Et certamen habent lethi, quae viva sequatur Coniugium; pudor est non licuisse mori. Ardent victrices & praebent pectora flammae, [Page 679] Imponunt{que} suis ora perusta viris. Tis not to die a shame, they therefo e strive Who may be fam'd to follow him alive: The victor burnes, yeeldes to the flame her brest, And her burnt face doth on her husband rest.

This kingdome is confined with the mountaine Guate on the West; and the Gulfe of Bengala on the East, with the mount Guadaverno on the North, and the Promontory Comari on the South: and is in compasse 3000 miles. The chiefe Cities are Maleaper or S. Thomas, where the body of the Apostle was burnt; but Dorotheus saith, that he resteth at Calamina, where he was slaine with a Dart. Narsinga. Bisnagar, burnt by Sarac nicall confederates, Anno 1567. Candragni. The revenues of this Prince are no lesse then 12 millions of Duckats: his forces for warre are wonderfull; he ledde an armie consisting of 31690 horse, 60000 foot, and 558 Elephants, against Idalcan a neighbour Prince, whom he discomfited. To this King also belongeth the city of Tarnassarie, which once had its peculiar kings, who were able to bring into the field 100 Elephants and 100000 horse and foot.

MALAVAR containe the Westerne part of that, which of old was called Aurea Chersonesus, viz: from the mountaine Guate on the East, to the Indian Ocean West; from the Promontory Comari on the South, to the river Gangericor on the North; the length whereof is 900 miles, the breadth nothing comparable. There are 7 Provinces, viz: Travanear, Colan, Cochin, Crangonar, Tavo, Cononor, Calecute, all borrowing their names from their chiefe townes. These were all under one king, till about 80 yeares agoe, and somwhat more: at what time Sema Pereimal the last king, being a Mahumetan; and intending to finish his dayes in Mecha; divided his kingdome into 6 parts, giving them to sixe of his kinsmen. Five of these at this day are under the great Mogul, the other obeyeth the K. of Calecute, who is able to bring into the field 100000 fighting men; of whose valour the Portugals have had often experiment, but alwayes to the losse of the Indians. The chiefe of these townes are Cononor, pleasantly seated for trafficke, as [Page 680] having a harbour no lesse safe, then capacious: it is distant from Calecute 10 leagues. Coccinum, or Cochin, distant from Calecute 30 leagues. The governour of this Town is the Pope or summus Pontifex of the Brachmans and 3 Calecute, which for 3 miles together lyeth along the Sea shore. It is a custome here for the King to give to some of the Brachmanni, the hanselling of his nuptial bed. For which cause not the kings, but the kings sisters sonnes, succeed in the kingdome; as being more certainly knowne to be of the true royall blood: and these sisters of his, choose what Gentleman they please, on whom to bestow their virginities; & if they prove not in a certain time to be with child, they betake themselves to these Brachman stallions. Calecute is a famous mart town, & the staple of al the Indian traffick.

BALASSIA, or the kingdome of Bocan, is famous for its inexhaustible Mines of Gold and Silver; the chiefe Cities are Balassia, Bocan, whence the duplicity of the kingdomes name: the first is seated on the river Gaibon; the last was once the seat of her own Kings. Senergian.

CAMBAIA called also Guzara, hath on the East Mandao, on the West Gedrsia; on the North Dulcinda; on the South the Ocean. It is a Country very fruitfull, and exceedingly thick set with men and villages, of which last here is thought to bee no lesse then 600000. It was once the seat of the Rusbeti, who are the ancient nobility of this Countrie: whom the Saracens under the leading of one Machumat, subdued about 160 years since. To this Machumat succeeded his sonne Mamudius, to him Badurius; who making an unjust warre against the King of Mandao, compelled him to call Miramudius a Mogul Tartarian of Zagatai to his side: who crushed by force of Badurius, and subdued the great Kingdome of Cambaia to himselfe; and yet the armie of the Cambaian consisted of 150000 horse, and 500000 foot, he had 1000 peeces of Ordinance, 500 Wagons laden with Gunpowder & Bullets, 200 Elephants, and 500 chests full of Gold and Silver. In this kingdome are 60000 Villages, Townes, and Cities. The chiefe whereof are Ardavat once the kings seat. Campanael, Citor, a City of 12 miles compasse, which the King of Cambaia tooke from the [Page 681] Queene of Crementina, Anno 1536. Tanaa. Cambaia a mighty City, and as populous, containing 800000 persons.

MANDAO is so called of Mando the chiefe City, which being 30 miles in compasse, held out a siege of 12 yeares against Miramudius, or Merhumed: after which time it was surrendred. Moltan, where the women ride booted and spurted, a fashion lately imitated by some mimicke dames of England. Scernus on the river so called: and Polymbothea. This Mandao was a kingdome of power sufficient, till Badureus of Cambaia oppressed it; after whose defeat, Marhumid the Mogul feazed also on this kingdome: shewing that the easiest way for a Prince to ruine his own estate, and endanger his neighbours, is to make a gap open for a forrain power, to compose a homebred dissention.

BENGALA is famous for its multitude of Rhinocerots; a kingdome once free, till Echebar the Mogul united it to his Empire. The chief Cities are Catigan and Satagan on the banks of Ganges (called also Chaberis and Guenga.) Bengala, high unto Sinus Gangeticus, now called the Gulfe of Bengala. Nigh unto this towne is the place called Gongasagie, that is the entrie into the sea; in which are many fishes called Sea-dogges; into which place they which are wearie of this world, and desire to have a quick passage into Paradise, cast themselves to be devoured of these fishes: perswading themselves that the next & readiest way thither, is through their jawes. Ouros, the seat of the Bengalan kings: and Banneras, seated on the river Ganges.

ORISTAN or Orissa, is peopled for the most part with Christians of S. Thomas; so called because he converted them. Many of the people have their legges made after the manner of an Elephants legge, which punishment the rest thinke to be inflicted upon them, because their Progenitours massacred the blessed Apostle. The chiefe Cities are Orissa, once the Kings seat. Ramana, Vlna, where (if I remember aright) the women in a foolish pride, blacke their teeth, because dogges teeth (forsooth) are white.

CANORA, called also the kingdome of Decan, was the [Page 682] habitation of Venozarares; whom Sanosaradine king of Delli either totally cast out, or subjected to his command: and as his deputie substituted one Abdessan, to whom in that regencie succeeded his sonne Mamudza. In his time Sanosaradine dying, left his sonne to inherit his estate; as able to rule so many different nations, as Phaëton to rule the Chariot of the Sun. This defect Mamudza perceiving, made himselfe absolute King of Canora; and dividing the whole into 18 parts, he appointed as many Lieftenants Generall to governe them. These 18 Captaines combining together, stripped him of all his dominions; and then falling at oddes about the extent of their kingdomes, were quickely brought under subjection by Adabar the Mogul.

The chiefe cities are Vltabat. Danagar, Lispor, famous for her quarries of Adamants. Melind. Barticala: and Onor. DELLIE, was the ancient seat of Belemi, whom the Saracens vanquished: from which Victors descended Sanosaradine, who Anno 1300, subdued Canora: and from whose successours the Moguls taking it, have ever since honoured Dellie, the chiefe City hereof, with their residence. The other being 2 Chesmnr, famous for the study of Magicke. Tremel. Fatabar.

This mighty Empire now contracted almost into one body, and formerly divided between 47 severall Princes, hath to be amazement both of Indians, and all people whatsoever, beene conquered in lesse then 90 yeares, by the great Moguls: so called (I thinke) for that they descended from the Mogul Tartars; for before the Tartars freed themselves from Uncham King of Tenduc, they were divided into Mercat, Metrit, Summongul, Iccomongul, and Mongul Tartars; from which last the name of Mongul hath most probability to be dirived.

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The revenues of this Empire cannot but be wonderfull, considering that the King of Narsinga's amount to such a value: yet he cannot coster up much treasure, considering the men of warre which hee keepeth in continuall pay. Neither is his strength in field inferior either to the greatnesse of his Empire, or the largenesse of his intrado; he being able to raise 300000 Horse.

The subjects reverence this Prince exceedingly, making it holyday when he cutteth his haire, or shaveth his beard; and spreading the way by which hee is at any time to passe, with costly ornaments, and delicate perfumes. He is alwaies carried on mens shoulders in a pompous chaire, adorned with purple, gold, and precious stones of great value.

There is no Prince either in Europe, Asia, or Africa, to whom the great Monguls shew such great respect and love, as they have done, and now doe, to our late Queene, and present King: They also esteeme our soldiers very much, especially since two or three of the Queenes ships, braved 18 of the Portugals, in the sight of many of his subjects: an adventure which could not but rejoyce him; considering the enmity betweene him & them.


INDIA EXTRA GANGEM hath on the East China, on the West the rest of India. This part of India, Maginus maketh to be the kingdome of China; but upon what ground, or by what reason perswaded, I know not: Sure I am that Ptolomie placeth the Sinae or Chinoys, East of India, and therefore cannot be part of it. As for his division of India intra Gangem, into the lower, containing the Countries already described; and the higher, comprehending the Countries here undernamed; I will not stand to examine it: well knowing this division to have bin [Page 684] for no other cause invented, but that China might with more facilitie be beleeved, to be this India extra Gangem.

This India hath formerly bin divided betwixt 12 Potentates, of no small riches & puissance: but now by the puissance and prosperous fortunes of the King of Barma, it is wholly subject to their command: the most remarkeable of these 12 Kingdomes, are these seaven.

MACIN, famous for the wood called Aloes, by the Arabians called Calambuco, by Latine Writers Lignum vitae. This Wood for its sweet savour, is valued at its waight in pure silver: as being not onely serviceable for the pompous funerals of great Princes; but also for Bathes: and with the Indians is held an unparallell'd medicine, for many grievous and dangerous maladies. The chiefe City is Macin.

ARRACHAN is environed round with mountaines, and impenetrable Woods; the Cities of most note are Arrachan, distant from the Sea 45 miles; and Ava, famous for her abundance of Gemmes.

CAMBOIA taketh its name from the chiefe city Camboia, situate on a river, which arising in China, so augmenteth his waters, that his own Channell being insufficient to receive them, he renteth the Earth into 100 Ilands; and at last he filleth a Lake with his streames of 60 miles long. This Towne is of great trafficke and commerce for its plenty of Gold, Silver, and Aloes.

CAVCHINCHINA aboundeth with the like commodities. The people hereof in some few places are said to be Anthropophagi. The chiefe Cities are Cauchinchina, situate on the Sea, and much frequented by a continuall concourse of Marchants; for Porceline, or China dishes here made. Cacum.

BARMA called by some Brama, was before the comming of the Portugals into India, a kingdome of no estimation; being subject to the command of the Kings of Pegu, whose Lieftenants only they were, till about 60 yeares since: when one of the Barmian Princes, Governour of Tangu, seazed on the kingdomes of Meliotali, Calan, Micand, and Aua. He assaulted Pegu, and wonne it: hee beleagured Odia with 1000000 [Page 685] Souldiers, and forced it: He entered the kingdome of Siam, and totally subdued it, making all the rest of his neighbours his homagers.

SIAM, or regnum Sornaum, was not long since the Queene and Lady of this part of India: but now is subject to the King of Barma, who wonne it Anno 1565. The principall Cities are Malacca, in compasse 20 miles; seated in an unwholsome aire, yet a towne of great resort for the trafficke of spices. It is now subject to the Portugals, who have here an Archbishop and a Colledge of Jesuites. Siam, the people whereof are very opiniative, that after 2000 yeares, the World shall bee consumed with fire; and that under the ashes shall remaine two egges, whence shall come forth one man, and one woman, who shall repeople the World anew. It is situate on the banke of the river Menan, which every yeare overfloweth the Country for the compasse of 120 miles: by which floud, the King of Pegu besieging this Towne, Anno 1567, with an Army of 900000 men, was forced to raise his siege; leaving behind him in the waters, all his souldiers, except 70000 onely. This is a most pleasing city, whose statelinesse giveth name to the whole kingdomes. Here are besides the Natives, about 30000 housholders of Arabians. Odia on the river Cuipumo, on which 200000 boats great and litle, are continually floating: This Towne containeth 400000 families, and is the residence of the Kings of Barma. Tonazarin, where they use to hang their dead bodies, supposing it to be more honourable to be eaten of birds, then wormes.

PEGU so called of the chiefe city Pegu, is blessed with a rich soyle and a harborous seashore, extending 300 miles in length, in which the principall haven is Martabane. As for the city of Pegu, it is the fairest and most elegant City of all India; strengthned with large and defensive walls, and adorned with neat and proportionable houses. It standeth on a river so named, and is distant from the sea 25 miles. The other townes of note are Tavay, and Losmin; a Towne of great commerce. This Country about the yeare 1560, acknowledged no king but her owne; whom about that time one of the Governours of Tangu [Page 686] deposed; possessed himselfe of the chiefe City Pegu; & Anno 1567, having discomfited the king of Siam, united these divers members under one head: and dying, lest his newrais'd Empire to his sonne, a Prince of a vicious and tyrannicall nature; & not more cruell to his subjects, then they disobedient to him. Whereupon preparations are made on both sides, the people to defend their liberty, the king to preserve his royalty. During these civill discords, the titulary King of Siam, whose late overthrow was not yet fully digested; came violently into the Country of Pegu: burning Corne, Grasse, and Fruits; killing man, woman, and childe; and having satisfied his fury, returned to his home. This spoyle of the fruits of the earth, was but a prologue to an unsupportable famine; which consumed all the inhabitants of this flourishing Kingdome: except such whom the Granaries of the City Pegu preserved, Anno 1598. For here the fathers devoured their children: the stronger preied upon the weaker; not onely devouring their more fleshie parts, but their entrails also: nay they broke up the skulls of such as they had slaine, and sucked out their braines. This calamity incited another tributary Prince of Tangu, to make his best advantage out of his neighbours affliction; he therefore assaulted and entred Pegu, where he found as much treasure as 600 Elephants, and as many horses, could conveniently carry away. This havock being made, he villainously murdered the King, Queene, and their children, and departed; leaving the gleaning of his spoyle to the King of Arrachan; who, Anno 1600, was expelled by the King of Siam, who enjoyed it not long: for the King of Barma having with an Army of 100000 fighting men, and 40000 Elephants, subdued the kingdomes of Macin and Arrachan: followed the current of his victories; conquered Siam, drove the King thereof from Pegu, where he hath built a most magnificent palace; and is now the sole Monarch of the 12 kingdomes of this India.

A more particular relation of this king, and his newsetled estate, we cannot yet understand: what his revenues are, what his government, what his forces. Merchants whose inquisitivenesse into the statematters of other Princes is dangerous; [Page 687] cannot give us any satisfaction: Schollers and experienced statists are not permitted to observe: and such of the natives as could give most light to these obscurities, are not suffered to leave the smoake of their own chimnies.

Thus much of India.

This is a selection from the original text


gentile, mighty, power, rhinoceroses, war

Source text

Title: Mikrokosmos: A Little Description of the Great World

Author: Peter Heylyn

Publisher: John Lichfield, William Turner

Publication date: 1625

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: Oxford

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.) / 13277 Bibliographic name / number: Madan, I, p. 1234./ Physical description: [16], 380, 391812, [2] p., folded table Copy from: British Library Reel position: STC / 1661:14

Digital edition

Original author(s): Peter Heylyn

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) TP, pages 672-87


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.