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for the sake of those, that have a mind to travel, that if one or more of them should go into these countries, they might have occasion to make a more accurate enquiry after these things.
CH A P. IX.
Which way I came in my return from Bagdat tbrough
Assyria, the confines of Persia, and the province of the Curters, to the town Carcuch, Capril, &c. and at length to the river Tygris, to Morel, that famous town, which was formerly callid Nineveh.
HEN hinder'd in my travels, for several weighty reasons, I was forced to go back
again ; I look'd up my goods, as I was advised by my good friend the Christian, whereof I made mention here before, and fitted myself for my journey. I got for my companions three Jews, one whereof came down the Euphrates with me, the others came from Ormutz, for I could get no others, to travel with me to Aleppo. We set out on the sixteenth of Dea cember in the year 1574, for Carcuch distant fix days journey, in the confines of Medio, on the other side of the river Tigris, which is still call'd by them in their language Hidekel. By the way we first saw some well-tilld fields, and above us on the river Tygris fome villages, so that I could not but think I should meet with a country that had plenty of corn, muft and honey, &c. as it was commended by the Arch-koob-bearer of the King of Assyria, and compared even with the Land of Promise, but the farther we went, the greater grew the wildernesses, so that we were forced to lodge all night in the fields,
The next morning there appeared a great way off more little villages belonging to the King of Persia : But we went on through the desarts, and my fellowtravellers told me that they extend themselves to Perfia and Media, where we lost our way, and came in the evening into a bog which hindered us so much, that I, because their Sabbath began, whereon according to their laws they must not travel, was forced to stay there with them all night long in it, and also the next day, in great showers of rain, not without great inconveniency and trouble. During our staying there I look'd about me for some plants ; but found none, because they did but first begin to sprout ; but in the moist places some wild Galengal with great round roots, by the inhabitants call'd Soëdt, and by both Latins and Grécians, Cyperus.
The nineteenth day, after we were not without trouble, got out of the mire, our way extended itself till farther thro’ desolate places and desarts. I thought of Julian that impious Roman Emperor, and of his army, which when it went against the Perfians, and was very numerous, over the river Tygris near to Ctefiphon, he was by an ancient Persian that was a prisoner, decoy'd into these desarts, where he was beaten and routed by the Persians. In this great fight when the Emperor himself was mortally wounded, he took up, as Nicephorus and Eufebius fay, a handful of blood and fung into the air, yielded the victory and said, Then Galilean (so he callid Christ, in whom he at first believed, and afterwards deny'd and persecuted) thou haft beaten and conquer'd me. After we had lived for several days very hardly in the desarts, and spent our time in misery, we came on the twentieth by Scherb, a village over an ascent, into another more fruitful and well tilld country, situated on the confines of Perfia, and for the most part inhabited by them, which we could conjecture by the common language.
Now though travelling through the confines uses commonly to be very dangerous, yet, I thank God, we met with none, so that we without any stop or hindrance reach'd that night, the twenty first of December, to Schilb, a curious
village, where we rested all night and refresh'd ourfelves.
From thence we went on through large and fruitful vallies, but I found nothing (for it was but just at the beginning of ploughing time) that was worthy to be mention’d, for the plants did but just begin to sprout; we had by the way several villages, and so we had better opportunity to buy provision. The twenty third at night we came to one where we could buy near one hundred eggs
for two pence. The next day we got up early again, and saw before us the high mountain Tauri, all covered with snow (which extended itself a great way from north and west to the eastward) at a great distance.
We went on a-pace, and advanced to Tauk early in good time, and before their Sabbath began again. This town is not very strong and lieth on a plain, We went into a camp without it, and rested there all the Sabbath. After Sun-fet, when it began to grow dark, they defired of me to light a candle, I remembred then immediately, that they could not do it themselves, being forbid by law, as you may find in the thirty fifth chapter of Exodus, where you may see that they must kindle no fire in any of their habitations, wherefore they furnish themselves the day before with all sorts of provifions and neceflaries, that they may not need to do any labour on the Sabbath, and yet may not want, When these Jews fay their prayers, they use the same ceremonies as the Christians and Heathens in the eastern parts do : For first they lift up their hands, then they bow down forwards with their whole body, and at last they kneel down and kiss the ground. These Jews bragged continually of their Patriarchs, and made mention of the laws ; but of the ten commandments they knew nothing, wherefore I took an occasion to repeat them before them in the Portugal language, which is very much spoke in the Indies, as well as I could, and they did admire when they heard them, how I came to know them. But when I began to speak of Christ and his offices, they burst out into such blasphemies, that I was glad to say no more, but hold my tongue. Not far off from Tauk, we saw a very strong castle,
near unto a wood, that is guarded by a Turkish garrison: This is situated in the province of the Curters, which beginneth there, and lieth between Media and Mefopotamia, all along the river Tygris and reacheth to Armenia. These Curters, which are almost all Neftorians, speak a peculiar language, which was unknown to my fellow-travellers, wherefore they could not speak to them in the Persian nor Turkish language, which is spoke all along from Bagdat through Asyria, in the confines of two potent monarchs, to that place. We were therefore forced to desire others that understood both languages, to be our interpreters through the country of the Curters. But whether this language did run upon that of their neighbours the Medians or no, I could not certainly learn; but yet I was inform'd that the Parthians, Medes, and Persians, as peculiar nations, had their peculiar languages, as histories tell us, and we may also perfectly see in the Acts of the Apostles the second chapter and the eight verse, where it is thus written: And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, &c. All which people almost are fubject unto the Sophi, the mighty King of Persia. The before-mention'd Curters were formerly callid Carduchi, and afterwards also Cardueni (as chiefly Xenophon testifieth) have had their peculiar policy and government. But after many changes and wars, they are at length fubdued and brought under the dominion of the Turkish Emperor, to whom they are still subject to this day, and he hath every where his garrisons in opposition to the Sophi. But what is farther to be said of them, chiefly concerning their religion, shall be hereafter mention'd, when I shall give you an account among other Chriftians, of those that live in the temple of mount Calvaria in Jerusalem.
After the Sabbath of the Jews, my companions, was over, we went on again, and came the twenty fixth of December to Carcuck, a glorious fine city lying in a plain, in a very fertile country ; at four miles distance is another that lieth on an ascent, whither we also travell’d, my companions having business in both of them, and so we spent two days in them before we were ready to go on again.
The twenty ninth we travell’d through large and dry heaths, and came at night to some tents, which were made of hair or hair-cloath, wrought out of goats and affes hair, and fix'd in such an order, that they made streets and allies like unto a market-town. In one of these we went to lodge with these poor people, (that were white Moors, and like unto the Gypsuns in their shape and figure) and to stay there all night long. But whether these people are subject to the Turkish Emperor, or to the King of Persia, or to any other, I could not find out by their cloaths, because they all wear the same hereabouts, nor could I discern any thing by their language, To us came a little after some more travellers, so that we had hardly room to lie down in. These people were very diligent and busy to get us some meat and drink, for the husband went foon out of doors to gather dry boughs and stalks of herbs, which I could not at that time discern what they were, and brought them to us to boil or dress some meat with them, The woman was not idle neither, but brought us milk and eggs to eat, so that we wanted for nothing ; he made also some dough for cakes, which were about a finger thick, and about the bigness of a trencher (as is usual to do in the wildernesses, and sometimes in towns also) she laid them on hot stones and kept them a turning, and at length fhe Aung the ashes and embers over them, and so bak’d them thoroughly. They were very good to eat, and very favory. This way of baking cakes is not new, but hath been very usual among the ancients, so we find in Scripture mention made of bread bak'd among the athes ; the Romans call'd it, Panes Subcineritios ; and so we read in Genefis the eighteenth chapter, of cakes made upon the hearth, which Sarah made in haste when the three men came to fee Abraham.
The thirtieth we went from thence, and about noon we came to a town call d Prefa, which is chiefly towards the river whereon it lieth, very well fortify'd, but what the inhabitants call that river, I do not remember, but according to it's situation it must be that which Ptolomy cali'd Gorgus, which runs below into the Tyger. In this place they make Aoats, which a'. though they are not very big, nor have much wood 'n