The City of the Sun
Tommaso Campanells

The City of the Sun

by Tommaso Campanells

A Poetical Dialogue between a Grandmaster of the Knights
Hospitallers and a Genoese Sea-Captain, his guest.

G.M. Prithee, now, tell me what happened to you during
that voyage?

Capt. I have already told you how I wandered
over the whole earth. In the course of my journeying I came
to Taprobane, and was compelled to go ashore at a place, where
through fear of the inhabitants I remained in a wood. When I
stepped out of this I found myself on a large plain immediately
under the equator.

G.M. And what befell you here?

Capt. I came upon a large crowd of men and armed women,
many of whom did not understand our language, and they con-
ducted me forthwith to the City of the Sun.

G.M. Tell me after what plan this city is built and how it
is governed.

Capt. The greater part of the city is built upon a high hill,
which rises from an extensive plain, but several of its circles
extend for some distance beyond the base of the hill, which is
of such a size that the diameter of the city is upward of two
miles, so that its circumference becomes about seven. On ac-
count of the humped shape of the mountain, however, the diam-
eter of the city is really more than if it were built on a plain.

It is divided into seven rings or huge circles named from
the seven planets, and the way from one to the other of these is
by four streets and through four gates, that look toward the
four points of the compass. Furthermore, it is so built that
if the first circle were stormed, it would of necessity entail a
double amount of energy to storm the second; still more to
storm the third; and in each succeeding case the strength and
energy would have to be doubled; so that he who wishes to
capture that city must, as it were, storm it seven times. For
my own part, however, I think that not even the first wall could
be occupied, so thick are the earthworks and so well fortified
is it with breastworks, towers, guns, and ditches.

When I had been taken through the northern gate (which
is shut with an iron door so wrought that it can be raised and
let down, and locked in easily and strongly, its projections run-
ning into the grooves of the thick posts by a marvellous device),
I saw a level space seventy paces[1] wide between the first and
second walls. From hence can be seen large palaces, all joined
to the wall of the second circuit in such a manner as to appear
all one palace. Arches run on a level with the middle height
of the palaces, and are continued round the whole ring. There
are galleries for promenading upon these arches, which are
supported from beneath by thick and well-shaped columns, en-
closing arcades like peristyles, or cloisters of an abbey.

But the palaces have no entrances from below, except on the
inner or concave partition, from which one enters directly to
the lower parts of the building. The higher parts, however,
are reached by flights of marble steps, which lead to galleries
for promenading on the inside similar to those on the outside.
From these one enters the higher rooms, which are very beauti-
ful, and have windows on the concave and convex partitions.
These rooms are divided from one another by richly decorated
walls. The convex or outer wall of the ring is about eight
spans thick; the concave, three; the intermediate walls are one,
or perhaps one and a half. Leaving this circle one gets to the
second plain, which is nearly three paces narrower than the
first. Then the first wall of the second ring is seen adorned
above and below with similar galleries for walking, and there
is on the inside of it another interior wall enclosing palaces.
It has also similar peristyles supported by columns in the lower
part, but above are excellent pictures, round the ways into the
upper houses. And so on afterward through similar spaces
and double walls, enclosing palaces, and adorned with galleries
for walking, extending along their outer side, and supported
by columns, till the last circuit is reached, the way being still
over a level plain.

But when the two gates, that is to say, those of the outmost
and the inmost walls, have been passed, one mounts by means
of steps so formed that an ascent is scarcely discernible, since
it proceeds in a slanting direction, and the steps succeed one
another at almost imperceptible heights. On the top of the
hill is a rather spacious plain, and in the midst of this there
rises a temple built with wondrous art.

G.M. Tell on, I pray you! Tell on! I am dying to hear

Capt. The temple is built in the form of a circle; it is not
girt with walls, but stands upon thick columns, beautifully
grouped. A very large dome, built with great care in the cen-
tre or pole, contains another small vault as it were rising out of
it, and in this is a spiracle, which is right over the altar. There
is but one altar in the middle of the temple, and this is hedged
round by columns. The temple itself is on a space of more
than 350 paces. Without it, arches measuring about eight
paces extend from the heads of the columns outward, whence
other columns rise about three paces from the thick, strong, and
erect wall. Between these and the former columns there are
galleries for walking, with beautiful pavements, and in the re-
cess of the wall, which is adorned with numerous large doors,
there are immovable seats, placed as it were between the inside
columns, supporting the temple. Portable chairs are not want-
ing, many and well adorned. Nothing is seen over the altar
but a large globe, upon which the heavenly bodies are painted,
and another globe upon which there is a representation of the
earth. Furthermore, in the vault of the dome there can be dis-
cerned representations of all the stars of heaven from the first
to the sixth magnitude, with their proper names and power to
influence terrestrial things marked in three little verses for each.
There are the poles and greater and lesser circles according to
the right latitude of the place, but these are not perfect because
there is no wall below. They seem, too, to be made in their re-
lation to the globes on the altar. The pavement of the temple
is bright with precious stones. Its seven golden lamps hang
always burning, and these bear the names of the seven planets.

At the top of the building several small and beautiful cells
surround the small dome, and behind the level space above the
bands or arches of the exterior and interior columns there are
many cells, both small and large, where the priests and relig-
ious officers dwell to the number of forty-nine.

A revolving flag projects from the smaller dome, and this
shows in what quarter the wind is. The flag is marked with
figures up to thirty-six, and the priests know what sort of year
the different kinds of winds bring and what will be the changes
of weather on land and sea. Furthermore, under the flag a
book is always kept written with letters of gold.

G.M. I pray you, worthy hero, explain to me their whole
system of government; for I am anxious to hear it.

Capt. The great ruler among them is a priest whom they
call by the name Hoh, though we should call him Metaphysic.
He is head over all, in temporal and spiritual matters, and all
business and lawsuits are settled by him, as the supreme au-
thority. Three princes of equal power -- viz., Pon, Sin, and
Mor -- assist him, and these in our tongue we should call Power,
Wisdom, and Love. To Power belongs the care of all matters
relating to war and peace. He attends to the military arts, and,
next to Hoh, he is ruler in every affair of a warlike nature.
He governs the military magistrates and the soldiers, and has
the management of the munitions, the fortifications, the storm-
ing of places, the implements of war, the armories, the smiths
and workmen connected with matters of this sort.

But Wisdom is the ruler of the liberal arts, of mechanics,
of all sciences with their magistrates and doctors, and of the
discipline of the schools. As many doctors as there are, are
under his control. There is one doctor who is called Astrolo-
gus; a second, Cosmographus; a third, Arithmeticus; a fourth,
Geometra; a fifth, Historiographus; a sixth, Poeta; a seventh,
Logicus; an eighth, Rhetor; a ninth, Grammaticus; a tenth,
Medicus; an eleventh, Physiologus; a twelfth, Politicus; a thir-
teenth, Moralis. They have but one book, which they call
Wisdom, and in it all the sciences are written with conciseness
and marvellous fluency of expression. This they read to the
people after the custom of the Pythagoreans. It is Wisdom
who causes the exterior and interior, the higher and lower walls
of the city to be adorned with the finest pictures, and to have
all the sciences painted upon them in an admirable manner.
On the walls of the temple and on the dome, which is let down
when the priest gives an address, lest the sounds of his voice,
being scattered, should fly away from his audience, there are
pictures of stars in their different magnitudes, with the powers
and motions of each, expressed separately in three little verses.

On the interior wall of the first circuit all the mathematical
figures are conspicuously painted -- figures more in number
than Archimedes or Euclid discovered, marked symmetrically,
and with the explanation of them neatly written and contained
each in a little verse. There are definitions and propositions,
etc. On the exterior convex wall is first an immense drawing
of the whole earth, given at one view. Following upon this,
there are tablets setting forth for every separate country the
customs both public and private, the laws, the origins and the
power of the inhabitants; and the alphabets the different people
use can be seen above that of the City of the Sun.

On the inside of the second circuit, that is to say of the second
ring of buildings, paintings of all kinds of precious and com-
mon stones, of minerals and metals, are seen; and a little piece
of the metal itself is also there with an apposite explanation
in two small verses for each metal or stone. On the outside
are marked all the seas, rivers, lakes, and streams which are
on the face of the earth; as are also the wines and the oils and
the different liquids, with the sources from which the last are
extracted, their qualities and strength. There are also vessels
built into the wall above the arches, and these are full of liquids
from one to 300 years old, which cure all diseases. Hail and
snow, storms and thunder, and whatever else takes place in the
air, are represented with suitable figures and little verses. The
inhabitants even have the art of representing in stone all the
phenomena of the air, such as the wind, rain, thunder, the rain-
bow, etc.

On the interior of the third circuit all the different families
of trees and herbs are depicted, and there is a live specimen of
each plant in earthenware vessels placed upon the outer parti-
tion of the arches. With the specimens there are explanations
as to where they were first found, what are their powers and
natures, and resemblances to celestial things and to metals, to
parts of the human body and to things in the sea, and also as
to their uses in medicine, etc. On the exterior wall are all the
races of fish found in rivers, lakes, and seas, and their habits
and values, and ways of breeding, training, and living, the pur-
poses for which they exist in the world, and their uses to man.
Further, their resemblances to celestial and terrestrial things,
produced both by nature and art, are so given that I was as-
tonished when I saw a fish which was like a bishop, one like a
chain, another like a garment, a fourth like a nail, a fifth like
a star, and others like images of those things existing among
us, the relation in each case being completely manifest. There
are sea-urchins to be seen, and the purple shell-fish and mus-
sels; and whatever the watery world possesses worthy of being
known is there fully shown in marvellous characters of paint-
ing and drawing.

On the fourth interior wall all the different kinds of birds are
painted, with their natures, sizes, customs, colors, manner of
living, etc.; and the only real phoenix is possessed by the inhabi-
tants of this city. On the exterior are shown all the races of
creeping animals, serpents, dragons, and worms; the insects,
the flies, gnats, beetles, etc., in their different states, strength,
venoms, and uses, and a great deal more than you or I can think

On the fifth interior they have all the larger animals of the
earth, as many in number as would astonish you. We indeed
know not the thousandth part of them, for on the exterior wall
also a great many of immense size are also portrayed. To be
sure, of horses alone, how great a number of breeds there is and
how beautiful are the forms there cleverly displayed!

On the sixth interior are painted all the mechanical arts, with
the several instruments for each and their manner of use among
different nations. Alongside, the dignity of such is placed, and
their several inventors are named. But on the exterior all the
inventors in science, in warfare, and in law are represented.
There I saw Moses, Osiris, Jupiter, Mercury, Lycurgus, Pom-
pilius, Pythagoras, Zamolxis, Solon, Charondas, Phoroneus,
with very many others. They even have Mahomet, whom
nevertheless they hate as a false and sordid legislator. In the
most dignified position I saw a representation of Jesus Christ
and of the twelve Apostles, whom they consider very worthy
and hold to be great. Of the representations of men, I per-
ceived Caesar, Alexander, Pyrrhus, and Hannibal in the high-
est place; and other very renowned heroes in peace and war,
especially Roman heroes, were painted in lower positions, under
the galleries. And when I asked with astonishment whence
they had obtained our history, they told me that among them
there was a knowledge of all languages, and that by persever-
ance they continually send explorers and ambassadors over the
whole earth, who learn thoroughly the customs, forces, rule and
histories of the nations, bad and good alike. These they apply
all to their own republic, and with this they are well pleased.
I learned that cannon and typography were invented by the
Chinese before we knew of them. There are magistrates who
announce the meaning of the pictures, and boys are accustomed
to learn all the sciences, without toil and as if for pleasure; but
in the way of history only until they are ten years old.

Love is foremost in attending to the charge of the race. He
sees that men and women are so joined together, that they bring
forth the best offspring. Indeed, they laugh at us who exhibit
a studious care for our breed of horses and dogs, but neglect
the breeding of human beings. Thus the education of the chil-
dren is under his rule. So also is the medicine that is sold, the
sowing and collecting of fruits of the earth and of trees, agri-
culture, pasturage, the preparations for the months, the cook-
ing arrangements, and whatever has any reference to food,
clothing, and the intercourse of the sexes. Love himself is
ruler, but there are many male and female magistrates dedi-
cated to these arts.

Metaphysic, then, with these three rulers, manages all the
above-named matters, and even by himself alone nothing is
done; all business is discharged by the four together, but in
whatever Metaphysic inclines to the rest are sure to agree.

G.M. Tell me, please, of the magistrates, their services and
duties, of the education and mode of living, whether the gov-
ernment is a monarchy, a republic, or an aristocracy.

Capt. This race of men came there from India, flying from
the sword of the Magi, a race of plunderers and tyrants who
laid waste their country, and they determined to lead a philo-
sophic life in fellowship with one another. Although the com-
munity of wives is not instituted among the other inhabitants
of their province, among them it is in use after this manner:
All things are common with them, and their dispensation is by
the authority of the magistrates. Arts and honors and pleas-
ures are common, and are held in such a manner that no one
can appropriate anything to himself.

They say that all private property is acquired and improved
for the reason that each one of us by himself has his own home
and wife and children. From this, self-love springs. For
when we raise a son to riches and dignities, and leave an heir to
much wealth, we become either ready to grasp at the property of
the State, if in any case fear should be removed from the power
which belongs to riches and rank; or avaricious, crafty, and
hypocritical, if anyone is of slender purse, little strength, and
mean ancestry. But when we have taken away self-love, there
remains only love for the State.

G.M. Under such circumstances no one will be willing to
labor, while he expects others to work, on the fruit of whose
labors he can live, as Aristotle argues against Plato.

Capt. I do not know how to deal with that argument, but
I declare to you that they burn with so great a love for their
fatherland, as I could scarcely have believed possible; and in-
deed with much more than the histories tell us belonged to the
Romans, who fell willingly for their country, inasmuch as they
have to a greater extent surrendered their private property.
I think truly that the friars and monks and clergy of our coun-
try, if they were not weakened by love for their kindred and
friends or by the ambition to rise to higher dignities, would be
less fond of property, and more imbued with a spirit of charity
toward all, as it was in the time of the apostles, and is now in a
great many cases.

G.M. St. Augustine may say that, but I say that among this
race of men, friendship is worth nothing, since they have not
the chance of conferring mutual benefits on one another.

Capt. Nay, indeed. For it is worth the trouble to see that
no one can receive gifts from another. Whatever is necessary
they have, they receive it from the community, and the magis-
trate takes care that no one receives more than he deserves. Yet
nothing necessary is denied to anyone. Friendship is recog-
nized among them in war, in infirmity, in the art contests, by
which means they aid one another mutually by teaching. Some-
times they improve themselves mutually with praises, with con-
versation, with actions, and out of the things they need. All
those of the same age call one another brothers. They call all
over twenty-two years of age, fathers; those that are less than
twenty-two are named sons. Moreover, the magistrates gov-
ern well, so that no one in the fraternity can do injury to an-

G.M. And how?

Capt. As many names of virtues as there are among us, so
many magistrates there are among them. There is a magis-
trate who is named Magnanimity, another Fortitude, a third
Chastity, a fourth Liberality, a fifth Criminal and Civil Justice,
a sixth Comfort, a seventh Truth, an eighth Kindness, a tenth
Gratitude, an eleventh Cheerfulness, a twelfth Exercise, a thir-
teenth Sobriety, etc. They are elected to duties of that kind,
each one to that duty for excellence in which he is known from
boyhood to be most suitable. Wherefore among them neither
robbery nor clever murders, nor lewdness, incest, adultery, or
other crimes of which we accuse one another, can be found.
They accuse themselves of ingratitude and malignity when any-
one denies a lawful satisfaction to another of indolence, of sad-
ness, of anger, of scurrility, of slander, and of lying, which
curseful thing they thoroughly hate. Accused persons under-
going punishment are deprived of the common table, and other
honors, until the judge thinks that they agree with their cor-

G.M. Tell me the manner in which the magistrates are

Capt. You would not rightly understand this, unless you
first learned their manner of living. That you may know, then,
men and women wear the same kind of garment, suited for war.
The women wear the toga below the knee, but the men above;
and both sexes are instructed in all the arts together. When
this has been done as a start, and before their third year, the
boys learn the language and the alphabet on the walls by walk-
ing round them. They have four leaders, and four elders, the
first to direct them, the second to teach them, and these are men
approved beyond all others. After some time they exercise
themselves with gymnastics, running, quoits, and other games,
by means of which all their muscles are strengthened alike.
Their feet are always bare, and so are their heads as far as the
seventh ring. Afterward they lead them to the offices of the
trades, such as shoemaking, cooking, metal-working, carpentry,
painting, etc. In order to find out the bent of the genius of
each one, after their seventh year, when they have already gone
through the mathematics on the walls, they take them to the
readings of all the sciences; there are four lectures at each read-
ing, and in the course of four hours the four in their order ex-
plain everything.

For some take physical exercise or busy themselves with pub-
lic services or functions, others apply themselves to reading.
Leaving these studies all are devoted to the more abstruse sub-
jects, to mathematics, to medicine, and to other sciences. There
are continual debate and studied argument among them, and
after a time they become magistrates of those sciences or me-
chanical arts in which they are the most proficient; for every-
one follows the opinion of his leader and judge, and goes out
to the plains to the works of the field, and for the purpose of
becoming acquainted with the pasturage of the dumb animals.
And they consider him the more noble and renowned who has
dedicated himself to the study of the most arts and knows how
to practise them wisely. Wherefore they laugh at us in that we
consider our workmen ignoble, and hold those to be noble who
have mastered no pursuit, but live in ease and are so many
slaves given over to their own pleasure and lasciviousness; and
thus, as it were, from a school of vices so many idle and wicked
fellows go forth for the ruin of the State.

The rest of the officials, however, are chosen by the four
chiefs, Hoh, Pon, Sin and Mor, and by the teachers of that art
over which they are fit to preside. And these teachers know
well who is most suited for rule. Certain men are proposed
by the magistrates in council, they themselves not seeking to
become candidates, and he opposes who knows anything against
those brought forward for election, or, if not, speaks in favor
of them. But no one attains to the dignity of Hoh except him
who knows the histories of the nations, and their customs and
sacrifices and laws, and their form of government, whether a
republic or a monarchy. He must also know the names of the
lawgivers and the inventors in science, and the laws and the
history of the earth and the heavenly bodies. They think it
also necessary that he should understand all the mechanical
arts, the physical sciences, astrology and mathematics. Near-
ly every two days they teach our mechanical art. They are not
allowed to overwork themselves, but frequent practice and the
paintings render learning easy to them. Not too much care
is given to the cultivation of languages, as they have a goodly
number of interpreters who are grammarians in the State.
But beyond everything else it is necessary that Hoh should
understand metaphysics and theology; that he should know
thoroughly the derivations, foundations, and demonstrations of
all the arts and sciences; the likeness and difference of things;
necessity, fate, and the harmonies of the universe; power, wis-
dom, and the love of things and of God; the stages of life and
its symbols; everything relating to the heavens, the earth, and
the sea; and the ideas of God, as much as mortal man can know
of him. He must also be well read in the prophets and in as-
trology. And thus they know long beforehand who will be
Hoh. He is not chosen to so great a dignity unless he has at-
tained his thirty-fifth year. And this office is perpetual, be-
cause it is not known who may be too wise for it or who too
skilled in ruling.

G.M. Who indeed can be so wise? If even anyone has a
knowledge of the sciences it seems that he must be unskilled
in ruling.

Capt. This very question I asked them and they replied
thus: "We, indeed, are more certain that such a very learned
man has the knowledge of governing, than you who place ig-
norant persons in authority, and consider them suitable merely
because they have sprung from rulers or have been chosen by a
powerful faction. But our Hoh, a man really the most capable
to rule, is for all that never cruel nor wicked, nor a tyrant, inas-
much as he possesses so much wisdom. This, moreover, is not
unknown to you, that the same argument cannot apply among
you, when you consider that man the most learned who knows
most of grammar, or logic, or of Aristotle or any other author.
For such knowledge as this of yours much servile labor and
memory work are required, so that a man is rendered unskilful,
since he has contemplated nothing but the words of books and
has given his mind with useless result to the consideration of
the dead signs of things. Hence he knows not in what way
God rules the universe, nor the ways and customs of nature and
the nations. Wherefore he is not equal to our Hoh. For that
one cannot know so many arts and sciences thoroughly, who is
not esteemed for skilled ingenuity, very apt at all things, and
therefore at ruling especially. This also is plain to us that he
who knows only one science, does not really know either that
or the others, and he who is suited for only one science and has
gathered his knowledge from books, is unlearned and unskilled.
But this is not the case with intellects prompt and expert in
every branch of knowledge and suitable for the consideration
of natural objects, as it is necessary that our Hoh should be.
Besides in our State the sciences are taught with a facility (as
you have seen) by which more scholars are turned out by us
in one year than by you in ten, or even fifteen. Make trial, I
pray you, of these boys."

In this matter I was struck with astonishment at their truth-
ful discourse and at the trial of their boys, who did not under-
stand my language well. Indeed it is necessary that three of
them should be skilled in our tongue, three in Arabic, three in
Polish, and three in each of the other languages, and no recrea-
tion is allowed them unless they become more learned. For
that they go out to the plain for the sake of running about and
hurling arrows and lances, and of firing harquebuses, and for
the sake of hunting the wild animals and getting a knowledge
of plants and stones, and agriculture and pasturage; sometimes
the band of boys does one thing, sometimes another.

They do not consider it necessary that the three rulers assist-
ing Hoh should know other than the arts having reference to
their rule, and so they have only a historical knowledge of the
arts which are common to all. But their own they know well,
to which certainly one is dedicated more than another. Thus
Power is the most learned in the equestrian art, in marshalling
the army, in the marking out of camps, in the manufacture of
every kind of weapon and of warlike machines, in planning
stratagems, and in every affair of a military nature. And for
these reasons, they consider it necessary that these chiefs
should have been philosophers, historians, politicians, and
physicists. Concerning the other two triumvirs, understand
remarks similar to those I have made about Power.

G.M. I really wish that you would recount all their public
duties, and would distinguish between them, and also that you
would tell clearly how they are all taught in common.

Capt. They have dwellings in common and dormitories, and
couches and other necessaries. But at the end of every six
months they are separated by the masters. Some shall sleep in
this ring, some in another; some in the first apartment, and
some in the second; and these apartments are marked by means
of the alphabet on the lintel. There are occupations, mechani-
cal and theoretical, common to both men and women, with this
difference, that the occupations which require more hard work,
and walking a long distance, are practised by men, such as
ploughing, sowing, gathering the fruits, working at the thresh-
ing-floor, and perchance at the vintage. But it is customary to
choose women for milking the cows and for making cheese. In
like manner, they go to the gardens near to the outskirts of the
city both for collecting the plants and for cultivating them. In
fact, all sedentary and stationary pursuits are practised by the
women, such as weaving, spinning, sewing, cutting the hair,
shaving, dispensing medicines, and making all kinds of gar-
ments. They are, however, excluded from working in wood
and the manufacture of arms. If a woman is fit to paint, she
is not prevented from doing so; nevertheless, music is given
over to the women alone, because they please the more, and of
a truth to boys also. But the women have not the practise of
the drum and the horn.

And they prepare their feasts and arrange the tables in the
following manner. It is the peculiar work of the boys and
girls under twenty to wait at the tables. In every ring there
are suitable kitchens, barns, and stores of utensils for eating
and drinking, and over every department an old man and an old
woman preside. These two have at once the command of those
who serve, and the power of chastising, or causing to be chas-
tised, those who are negligent or disobedient; and they also
examine and mark each one, both male and female, who excels
in his or her duties.

All the young people wait upon the older ones who have
passed the age of forty, and in the evening when they go to
sleep the master and mistress command that those should be
sent to work in the morning, upon whom in succession the duty
falls, one or two to separate apartments. The young people,
however, wait upon one another, and that alas! with some un-
willingness. They have first and second tables, and on both
sides there are seats. On one side sit the women, on the other
the men; and as in the refectories of the monks, there is no
noise. While they are eating a young man reads a book from
a platform, intoning distinctly and sonorously, and often the
magistrates question them upon the more important parts of
the reading. And truly it is pleasant to observe in what man-
ner these young people, so beautiful and clothed in garments
so suitable, attend to them, and to see at the same time so many
friends, brothers, sons, fathers, and mothers all in their turn
living together with so much honesty, propriety, and love. So
each one is given a napkin, a plate, fish, and a dish of food. It
is the duty of the medical officers to tell the cooks what repasts
shall be prepared on each day, and what food for the old, what
for the young, and what for the sick. The magistrates receive
the full-grown and fatter portion, and they from their share
always distribute something to the boys at the table who have
shown themselves more studious in the morning at the lectures
and debates concerning wisdom and arms. And this is held
to be one of the most distinguished honors. For six days they
ordain to sing with music at table. Only a few, however, sing;
or there is one voice accompanying the lute and one for each
other instrument. And when all alike in service join their
hands, nothing is found to be wanting. The old men placed
at the head of the cooking business and of the refectories of the
servants praise the cleanliness of the streets, the houses, the ves-
sels, the garments, the workshops, and the warehouses.

They wear white under-garments to which adheres a cover-
ing, which is at once coat and legging, without wrinkles. The
borders of the fastenings are furnished with globular buttons,
extended round and caught up here and there by chains. The
coverings of the legs descend to the shoes and are continued
even to the heels. Then they cover the feet with large socks,
or, as it were, half-buskins fastened by buckles, over which they
wear a half-boot, and besides, as I have already said, they are
clothed with a toga. And so aptly fitting are the garments,
that when the toga is destroyed, the different parts of the whole
body are straightway discerned, no part being concealed. They
change their clothes for different ones four times in the year,
that is when the sun enters respectively the constellations Aries,
Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, and according to the circum-
stances and necessity as decided by the officer of health. The
keepers of clothes for the different rings are wont to distribute
them, and it is marvellous that they have at the same time as
many garments as there is need for, some heavy and some
slight, according to the weather. They all use white clothing,
and this is washed in each month with lye or soap, as are also
the workshops of the lower trades, the kitchens, the pantries
the barns, the store-houses, the armories, the refectories, and
the baths.

Moreover, the clothes are washed at the pillars of the peri-
styles, and the water is brought down by means of canals which
are continued as sewers. In every street of the different rings
there are suitable fountains, which send forth their water by
means of canals, the water being drawn up from nearly the bot-
tom of the mountain by the sole movement of a cleverly con-
trived handle. There is water in fountains and in cisterns,
whither the rain-water collected from the roofs of the houses
is brought through pipes full of sand. They wash their bodies
often, according as the doctor and master command. All the
mechanical arts are practised under the peristyles, but the spec-
ulative are carried on above in the walking galleries and ram-
parts where are the more splendid paintings, but the more sacred
ones are taught in the temple. In the halls and wings of the
rings there are solar time-pieces and bells, and hands by which
the hours and seasons are marked off.

G.M. Tell me about their children.

Capt. When their women have brought forth children, they
suckle and rear them in temples set apart for all. They give
milk for two years or more as the physician orders. After that
time the weaned child is given into the charge of the mistresses,
if it is a female, and to the masters, if it is a male. And then
with other young children they are pleasantly instructed in the
alphabet, and in the knowledge of the pictures, and in running,
walking, and wrestling; also in the historical drawings, and in
languages; and they are adorned with a suitable garment of
different colors. After their sixth year they are taught natural
science, and then the mechanical sciences. The men who are
weak in intellect are sent to farms, and when they have become
more proficient some of them are received into the State. And
those of the same age and born under the same constellation
are especially like one another in strength and in appearance,
and hence arises much lasting concord in the State, these men
honoring one another with mutual love and help. Names are
given to them by Metaphysicus, and that not by chance, but de-
signedly, and according to each one's peculiarity, as was the
custom among the ancient Romans. Wherefore one is called
Beautiful (Pulcher), another the Big-nosed (Naso), another
the Fat-legged (Cranipes), another Crooked (Torvus), an-
other Lean (Macer), and so on. But when they have become
very skilled in their professions and done any great deed in war
or in time of peace, a cognomen from art is given to them, such
as Beautiful the Great Painter (Pulcher, Pictor Magnus), the
Golden One (Aureus), the Excellent One (Excellens), or the
Strong (Strenuus); or from their deeds, such as Naso the
Brave (Nason Fortis), or the Cunning, or the Great, or Very
Great Conqueror; or from the enemy anyone has overcome,
Africanus, Asiaticus, Etruscus; or if anyone has overcome
Manfred or Tortelius, he is called Macer Manfred or Tortelius,
and so on. All these cognomens are added by the higher mag-
istrates, and very often with a crown suitable to the deed or art,
and with the flourish of music. For gold and silver are reck-
oned of little value among them except as material for their
vessels and ornaments, which are common to all.

G.M. Tell me, I pray you, is there no jealousy among them
or disappointment to that one who has not been elected to a
magistracy, or to any other dignity to which he aspires?

Capt. Certainly not. For no one wants either necessaries
or luxuries. Moreover, the race is managed for the good of
the commonwealth, and not of private individuals, and the mag-
istrates must be obeyed. They deny what we hold -- viz., that it
is natural to man to recognize his offspring and to educate them,
and to use his wife and house and children as his own. For
they say that children are bred for the preservation of the
species and not for individual pleasure, as St. Thomas also as-
serts. Therefore the breeding of children has reference to the
commonwealth, and not to individuals, except in so far as they
are constituents of the commonwealth. And since individuals
for the most part bring forth children wrongly and educate
them wrongly, they consider that they remove destruction from
the State, and therefore for this reason, with most sacred fear,
they commit the education of the children, who, as it were, are
the element of the republic, to the care of magistrates; for the
safety of the community is not that of a few. And thus they
distribute male and female breeders of the best natures accord-
ing to philosophical rules. Plato thinks that this distribution
ought to be made by lot, lest some men seeing that they are kept
away from the beautiful women, should rise up with anger and
hatred against the magistrates; and he thinks further that those
who do not deserve cohabitation with the more beautiful
women, should be deceived while the lots are being led out of
the city by the magistrates, so that at all times the women who
are suitable should fall to their lot, not those whom they desire.
This shrewdness, however, is not necessary among the inhab-
itants of the City of the Sun. For with them deformity is un-
known. When the women are exercised they get a clear com-
plexion, and become strong of limb, tall and agile, and with
them beauty consists in tallness and strength. Therefore, if
any woman dyes her face, so that it may become beautiful, or
uses high-heeled boots so that she may appear tall, or garments
with trains to cover her wooden shoes, she is condemned to cap-
ital punishment. But if the women should even desire them
they have no facility for doing these things. For who indeed
would give them this facility? Further, they assert that among
us abuses of this kind arise from the leisure and sloth of women.
By these means they lose their color and have pale complexions,
and become feeble and small. For this reason they are without
proper complexions, use high sandals, and become beautiful not
from strength, but from slothful tenderness. And thus they
ruin their own tempers and natures, and consequently those of
their offspring. Furthermore, if at any time a man is taken
captive with ardent love for a certain woman, the two are al-
lowed to converse and joke together and to give one another
garlands of flowers or leaves, and to make verses. But if the
race is endangered, by no means is further union between them
permitted. Moreover, the love born of eager desire is not
known among them; only that born of friendship.

Domestic affairs and partnerships are of little account, be-
cause, excepting the sign of honor, each one receives what he
is in need of. To the heroes and heroines of the republic, it
is customary to give the pleasing gifts of honor, beautiful
wreaths, sweet food, or splendid clothes, while they are feast-
ing. In the daytime all use white garments within the city, but
at night or outside the city they use red garments either of wool
or silk. They hate black as they do dung, and therefore they
dislike the Japanese, who are fond of black. Pride they con-
sider the most execrable vice, and one who acts proudly is
chastised with the most ruthless correction. Wherefore no
one thinks it lowering to wait at table or to work in the kitchen
or fields. All work they call discipline, and thus they say that
it is honorable to go on foot, to do any act of nature, to see with
the eye, and to speak with the tongue; and when there is need,
they distinguish philosophically between tears and spittle.

Every man who, when he is told off to work, does his duty,
is considered very honorable. It is not the custom to keep
slaves. For they are enough, and more than enough, for them-
selves. But with us, alas! it is not so. In Naples there exist
70,000 souls, and out of these scarcely 10,000 or 15,000 do any
work, and they are always lean from overwork and are getting
weaker every day. The rest become a prey to idleness, avarice,
ill-health, lasciviousness, usury, and other vices, and contam-
inate and corrupt very many families by holding them in servi-
tude for their own use, by keeping them in poverty and slavish-
ness, and by imparting to them their own vices. Therefore
public slavery ruins them; useful works, in the field, in military
service, and in arts, except those which are debasing, are not
cultivated, the few who do practise them doing so with much

But in the City of the Sun, while duty and work are dis-
tributed among all, it only falls to each one to work for about
four hours every day. The remaining hours are spent in learn-
ing joyously, in debating, in reading, in reciting, in writing, in
walking, in exercising the mind and body, and with play. They
allow no game which is played while sitting, neither the single
die nor dice, nor chess, nor others like these. But they play
with the ball, with the sack, with the hoop, with wrestling, with
hurling at the stake. They say, moreover, that grinding poverty
renders men worthless, cunning, sulky, thievish, insidious, vag-
abonds, liars, false witnesses, etc.; and that wealth makes them
insolent, proud, ignorant, traitors, assumers of what they know
not, deceivers, boasters, wanting in affection, slanderers, etc.
But with them all the rich and poor together make up the com-
munity. They are rich because they want nothing, poor be-
cause they possess nothing; and consequently they are not
slaves to circumstances, but circumstances serve them. And on
this point they strongly recommend the religion of the Chris-
tians, and especially the life of the apostles.

G.M. This seems excellent and sacred, but the community
of women is a thing too difficult to attain. The holy Roman
Clement says that wives ought to be common in accordance with
the apostolic institution, and praises Plato and Socrates, who
thus teach, but the Glossary interprets this community with
regard to obedience. And Tertullian agrees with the Glossary,
that the first Christians had everything in common except

Capt. These things I know little of. But this I saw among
the inhabitants of the City of the Sun, that they did not make
this exception. And they defend themselves by the opinion of
Socrates, of Cato, of Plato, and of St. Clement; but, as you say,
they misunderstand the opinions of these thinkers. And the
inhabitants of the solar city ascribe this to their want of educa-
tion, since they are by no means learned in philosophy. Never-
theless, they send abroad to discover the customs of nations,
and the best of these they always adopt. Practice makes the
women suitable for war and other duties. Thus they agree with
Plato, in whom I have read these same things. The reasoning
of our Cajetan does not convince me, and least of all that of
Aristotle. This thing, however, existing among them is ex-
cellent and worthy of imitation -- viz., that no physical defect
renders a man incapable of being serviceable except the decrepi-
tude of old age, since even the deformed are useful for consulta-
tion. The lame serve as guards, watching with the eyes which
they possess. The blind card wool with their hands, separating
the down from the hairs, with which latter they stuff the
couches and sofas; those who are without the use of eyes and
hands give the use of their ears or their voice for the conven-
ience of the State, and if one has only one sense he uses it in the
farms. And these cripples are well treated, and some become
spies, telling the officers of the State what they have heard.

G.M. Tell me now, I pray you, of their military affairs.
Then you may explain their arts, ways of life and sciences,
and lastly their religion.

Capt. The triumvir, Power, has under him all the magis-
trates of arms, of artillery, of cavalry, of foot-soldiers, of archi-
tects, and of strategists; and the masters and many of the
most excellent workmen obey the magistrates, the men of each
art paying allegiance to their respective chiefs. Moreover,
Power is at the head of all the professors of gymnastics, who
teach military exercise, and who are prudent generals, advanced
in age. By these the boys are trained after their twelfth year.
Before this age, however, they have been accustomed to wres-
tling, running, throwing the weight, and other minor exercises,
under inferior masters. But at twelve they are taught how to
strike at the enemy, at horses and elephants, to handle the spear,
the sword, the arrow, and the sling; to manage the horse, to
advance and to retreat, to remain in order of battle, to help a
comrade in arms, to anticipate the enemy by cunning, and to

The women also are taught these arts under their own magis-
trates and mistresses, so that they may be able if need be to
render assistance to the males in battles near the city. They
are taught to watch the fortifications lest at some time a hasty
attack should suddenly be made. In this respect they praise the
Spartans and Amazons. The women know well also how to
let fly fiery balls, and how to make them from lead; how to
throw stones from pinnacles and to go in the way of an attack.
They are accustomed also to give up wine unmixed altogether,
and that one is punished most severely who shows any fear.

The inhabitants of the City of the Sun do not fear death,
because they all believe that the soul is immortal, and that when
it has left the body it is associated with other spirits, wicked or
good, according to the merits of this present life. Although
they are partly followers of Brahma and Pythagoras, they do
not believe in the transmigration of souls, except in some cases
by a distinct decree of God. They do not abstain from injuring
an enemy of the republic and of religion, who is unworthy of
pity. During the second month the army is reviewed, and every
day there is practice of arms, either in the cavalry plain or
within the walls. Nor are they ever without lectures on the
science of war. They take care that the accounts of Moses, of
Joshua, of David, of Judas Maccabaeus, of Caesar, of Alexander,
of Scipio, of Hannibal, and other great soldiers should be read.
And then each one gives his own opinion as to whether these
generals acted well or ill, usefully or honorably, and then the
teacher answers and says who are right.

G.M. With whom do they wage war, and for what reasons,
since they are so prosperous?

Capt. Wars might never occur, nevertheless they are exer-
cised in military tactics and in hunting, lest perchance they
should become effeminate and unprepared for any emergency.
Besides, there are four kingdoms in the island, which are very
envious of their prosperity, for this reason that the people de-
sire to live after the manner of the inhabitants of the City of
the Sun, and to be under their rule rather than that of their
own kings. Wherefore the State often makes war upon these
because, being neighbors, they are usurpers and live impiously,
since they have not an object of worship and do not observe the
religion of other nations or of the Brahmins. And other
nations of India, to which formerly they were subject, rise up
as it were in rebellion, as also do the Taprobanese, whom they
wanted to join them at first. The warriors of the City of the
Sun, however, are always the victors. As soon as they suffered
from insult or disgrace or plunder, or when their allies have
been harassed, or a people have been oppressed by a tyrant of
the State (for they are always the advocates of liberty), they
go immediately to the Council for deliberation. After they
have knelt in the presence of God, that he might inspire their
consultation, they proceed to examine the merits of the busi-
ness, and thus war is decided on. Immediately after, a priest,
whom they call Forensic, is sent away. He demands from the
enemy the restitution of the plunder, asks that the allies should
be freed from oppression, or that the tyrant should be deposed.
If they deny these things war is declared by invoking the ven-
geance of God -- the God of Sabaoth -- for destruction of those
who maintain an unjust cause. But if the enemy refuse to re-
ply, the priest gives him the space of one hour for his answer,
if he is a king, but three if it is a republic, so that they cannot
escape giving a response. And in this manner is war under-
taken against the insolent enemies of natural rights and of re-
ligion. When war has been declared, the deputy of Power
performs everything, but Power, like the Roman dictator, plans
and wills everything, so that hurtful tardiness may be avoided.
And when anything of great moment arises he consults Hoh
and Wisdom and Love.

Before this, however, the occasion of war and the justice of
making an expedition are declared by a herald in the great
Council. All from twenty years and upward are admitted to
this Council, and thus the necessaries are agreed upon. All
kinds of weapons stand in the armories, and these they use often
in sham fights. The exterior walls of each ring are full of
guns prepared by their labors, and they have other engines for
hurling which are called cannons, and which they take into
battle upon mules and asses and carriages. When they have
arrived in an open plain they enclose in the middle the provis-
ions, engines of war, chariots, ladders, and machines, and all
fight courageously. Then each one returns to the standards,
and the enemy thinking that they are giving and preparing to
flee, are deceived and relax their order: then the warriors of
the City of the Sun, wheeling into wings and columns on each
side, regain their breath and strength, and ordering the artillery
to discharge their bullets they resume the fight against a disor-
ganized host. And they observe many ruses of this kind.
They overcome all mortals with their stratagems and engines.
Their camp is fortified after the manner of the Romans. They
pitch their tents and fortify with wall and ditch with wonderful
quickness. The masters of works, of engines and hurling
machines, stand ready, and the soldiers understand the use of
the spade and the axe.

Five, eight, or ten leaders learned in the order of battle and
in strategy consult together concerning the business of war,
and command their bands after consultation. It is their wont
to take out with them a body of boys, armed and on horses, so
that they may learn to fight, just as the whelps of lions and
wolves are accustomed to blood. And these in time of danger
betake themselves to a place of safety, along with many armed
women. After the battle the women and boys soothe and re-
lieve the pain of the warriors, and wait upon them and encour-
age them with embraces and pleasant words. How wonderful
a help is this! For the soldiers, in order that they may acquit
themselves as sturdy men in the eyes of their wives and off-
spring, endure hardships, and so love makes them conquerors.
He who in the fight first scales the enemy's walls receives after
the battle of a crown of grass, as a token of honor, and at the
presentation the women and boys applaud loudly; that one who
affords aid to an ally gets a civic crown of oak-leaves; he who
kills a tyrant dedicates his arms in the temple and receives from
Hoh the cognomen of his deed, and other warriors obtain other
kinds of crowns.

Every horse-soldier carries a spear and two strongly tem-
pered pistols, narrow at the mouth, hanging from his saddle.
And to get the barrels of their pistols narrow they pierce the
metal which they intend to convert into arms. Further, every
cavalry soldier has a sword and a dagger. But the rest, who
form the light-armed troops, carry a metal cudgel. For if the
foe cannot pierce their metal for pistols and cannot make
swords, they attack him with clubs, shatter and overthrow him.
Two chains of six spans length hang from the club, and at the
end of these are iron balls, and when these are aimed at the
enemy they surround his neck and drag him to the ground; and
in order that they may be able to use the club more easily, they
do not hold the reins with their hands, but use them by means
of the feet. If perchance the reins are interchanged above the
trappings of the saddle, the ends are fastened to the stirrups
with buckles, and not to the feet. And the stirrups have an ar-
rangement for swift movement of the bridle, so that they draw
in or let out the rein with marvellous celerity. With the right
foot they turn the horse to the left, and with the left to the right.
This secret, moreover, is not known to the Tartars. For, al-
though they govern the reins with their feet, they are ignorant
nevertheless of turning them and drawing them in and letting
them out by means of the block of the stirrups. The light-
armed cavalry with them are the first to engage in battle, then
the men forming the phalanx with their spears, then the archers
for whose services a great price is paid, and who are accus-
tomed to fight in lines crossing one another as the threads of
cloth, some rushing forward in their turn and others receding.
They have a band of lancers strengthening the line of battle,
but they make trial of the swords only at the end.

After the battle they celebrate the military triumphs after the
manner of the Romans, and even in a more magnificent way.
Prayers by the way of thank-offerings are made to God, and
then the general presents himself in the temple, and the deeds,
good and bad, are related by the poet or historian, who accord-
ing to custom was with the expedition. And the greatest chief,
Hoh, crowns the general with laurel and distributes little gifts
and honors to all the valorous soldiers, who are for some days
free from public duties. But this exemption from work is by
no means pleasing to them, since they know not what it is to be
at leisure, and so they help their companions. On the other
hand, they who have been conquered through their own fault,
or have lost the victory, are blamed; and they who were the first
to take to flight are in no way worthy to escape death, unless
when the whole army asks their lives, and each one takes upon
himself a part of their punishment. But this indulgence is
rarely granted, except when there are good reasons favoring it.
But he who did not bear help to an ally or friend is beaten with
rods. That one who did not obey orders is given to the beasts,
in an enclosure, to be devoured, and a staff is put in his hand,
and if he should conquer the lions and the bears that are there,
which is almost impossible, he is received into favor again.
The conquered States or those willingly delivered up to them,
forthwith have all things in common, and receive a garrison
and magistrates from the City of the Sun, and by degrees they
are accustomed to the ways of the city, the mistress of all, to
which they even send their sons to be taught without contribut-
ing anything for expense.

It would be too great trouble to tell you about the spies and
their master, and about the guards and laws and ceremonies,
both within and without the State, which you can of yourself
imagine. Since from childhood they are chosen according to
their inclination and the star under which they were born,
therefore each one working according to his natural propensity
does his duty well and pleasantly, because naturally. The same
things I may say concerning strategy and the other functions.

There are guards in the city by day and by night, and they
are placed at the four gates, and outside the walls of the seventh
ring, above the breastworks and towers and inside mounds.
These places are guarded in the day by women, in the night by
men. And lest the guard should become weary of watching,
and in case of a surprise, they change them every three hours,
as is the custom with our soldiers. At sunset, when the drum
and symphonia sound, the armed guards are distributed. Cav-
alry and infantry make use of hunting as the symbol of war
and practise games and hold festivities in the plains. Then
the music strikes up, and freely they pardon the offences and
faults of the enemy, and after the victories they are kind to
them, if it has been decreed that they should destroy the walls
of the enemy's city and take their lives. All these things are
done on the same day as the victory, and afterward they never
cease to load the conquered with favors, for they say that there
ought to be no fighting, except when the conquerors give up the
conquered, not when they kill them. If there is a dispute
among them concerning injury or any other matter (for they
themselves scarcely ever contend except in matters of honor),
the chief and his magistrates chastise the accused one secretly,
if he has done harm in deeds after he has been first angry. If
they wait until the time of the battle for the verbal decision,
they must give vent to their anger against the enemy, and he
who in battle shows the most daring deeds is considered to have
defended the better and truer cause in the struggle, and the
other yields, and they are punished justly. Nevertheless, they
are not allowed to come to single combat, since right is main-
tained by the tribunal, and because the unjust cause is often
apparent when the more just succumbs, and he who professes
to be the better man shows this in public fight.

G.M. This is worth while, so that factions should not be
cherished for the harm of the fatherland, and so that civil wars
might not occur, for by means of these a tyrant often arises, as
the examples of Rome and Athens show. Now, I pray you,
tell me of their works and matter connected therewith.

Capt. I believe that you have already heard about their
military affairs and about their agricultural and pastoral life,
and in what way these are common to them, and how they
honor with the first grade of nobility whoever is considered to
have knowledge of these. They who are skilful in more arts
than these they consider still nobler, and they set that one apart
for teaching the art in which he is most skilful. The occupa-
tions which require the most labor, such as working in metals
and building, are the most praiseworthy among them. No
one declines to go to these occupations, for the reason that from
the beginning their propensities are well known, and among
them, on account of the distribution of labor, no one does work
harmful to him, but only that which is necessary for him. The
occupations entailing less labor belong to the women. All of
them are expected to know how to swim, and for this reason
ponds are dug outside the walls of the city and within them
near to the fountains.

Commerce is of little use to them, but they know the value of
money, and they count for the use of their ambassadors and ex-
plorers, so that with it they may have the means of living.
They receive merchants into their States from the different
countries of the world, and these buy the superfluous goods of
the city. The people of the City of the Sun refuse to take
money, but in importing they accept in exchange those things
of which they are in need, and sometimes they buy with money;
and the young people in the City of the Sun are much amused
when they see that for a small price they receive so many things
in exchange. The old men, however, do not laugh. They are
unwilling that the State should be corrupted by the vicious cus-
toms of slaves and foreigners. Therefore they do business at
the gates, and sell those whom they have taken in war or keep
them for digging ditches and other hard work without the city,
and for this reason they always send four bands of soldiers to
take care of the fields, and with them there are the laborers.
They go out of the four gates from which roads with walls on
both sides of them lead to the sea, so that goods might easily
be carried over them and foreigners might not meet with diffi-
culty on their way.

To strangers they are kind and polite; they keep them for
three days at the public expense; after they have first washed
their feet, they show them their city and its customs, and they
honor them with a seat at the Council and public table, and
there are men whose duty it is to take care of and guard the
guests. But if strangers should wish to become citizens of
their State, they try them first for a month on a farm, and for
another month in the city, then they decide concerning them,
and admit them with certain ceremonies and oaths.

Agriculture is much followed among them; there is not a
span of earth without cultivation, and they observe the winds
and propitious stars. With the exception of a few left in the
city all go out armed, and with flags and drums and trumpets
sounding, to the fields, for the purposes of ploughing, sowing,
digging, hoeing, reaping, gathering fruit and grapes; and they
set in order everything, and do their work in a very few hours
and with much care. They use wagons fitted with sails which
are borne along by the wind even when it is contrary, by the
marvellous contrivance of wheels within wheels.

And when there is no wind a beast draws along a huge cart,
which is a grand sight.

The guardians of the land move about in the meantime,
armed and always in their proper turn. They do not use dung
and filth for manuring the fields, thinking that the fruit con-
tracts something of their rottenness, and when eaten gives a
short and poor subsistence, as women who are beautiful with
rouge and from want of exercise bring forth feeble offspring.
Wherefore they do not as it were paint the earth, but dig it up
well and use secret remedies, so that fruit is borne quickly and
multiplies, and is not destroyed. They have a book for this
work, which they call the Georgics. As much of the land as is
necessary is cultivated, and the rest is used for the pasturage of

The excellent occupation of breeding and rearing horses,
oxen, sheep, dogs, and all kinds of domestic and tame animals
is in the highest esteem among them as it was in the time of
Abraham. And the animals are led so to pair that they may
be able to breed well.

Fine pictures of oxen, horses, sheep, and other animals are
placed before them. They do not turn out horses with mares
to feed, but at the proper time they bring them together in an
enclosure of the stables in their fields. And this is done when
they observe that the constellation Archer is in favorable con-
junction with Mars and Jupiter. For the oxen they observe
the Bull, for the sheep the Ram, and so on in accordance with
art. Under the Pleiades they keep a drove of hens and ducks
and geese, which are driven out by the women to feed near the
city. The women only do this when it is a pleasure to them.
There are also places enclosed, where they make cheese, butter,
and milk-food. They also keep capons, fruit, and other things,
and for all these matters there is a book which they call the
Bucolics. They have an abundance of all things, since every-
one likes to be industrious, their labors being slight and profita-
ble. They are docile, and that one among them who is head
of the rest in duties of this kind they call king. For they say
that this is the proper name of the leaders, and it does not be-
long to ignorant persons. It is wonderful to see how men and
women march together collectively, and always in obedience
to the voice of the king. Nor do they regard him with loath-
ing as we do, for they know that although he is greater than
themselves, he is for all that their father and brother. They
keep groves and woods for wild animals, and they often hunt.

The science of navigation is considered very dignified by
them, and they possess rafts and triremes, which go over the
waters without rowers or the force of the wind, but by a mar-
vellous contrivance. And other vessels they have which are
moved by the winds. They have a correct knowledge of the
stars, and of the ebb and flow of the tide. They navigate for
the sake of becoming acquainted with nations and different
countries and things. They injure nobody, and they do not
put up with injury, and they never go to battle unless when
provoked. They assert that the whole earth will in time come
to live in accordance with their customs, and consequently they
always find out whether there be a nation whose manner of liv-
ing is better and more approved than the rest. They admire
the Christian institutions and look for a realization of the apos-
tolic life in vogue among themselves and in us. There are
treaties between them and the Chinese and many other nations,
both insular and continental, such as Siam and Calicut, which
they are only just able to explore. Furthermore, they have
artificial fires, battles on sea and land, and many strategic se-
crets. Therefore they are nearly always victorious.

G.M. Now it would be very pleasant to learn with what
foods and drinks they are nourished, and in what way and for
how long they live.

Capt. Their food consists of flesh, butter, honey, cheese,
garden herbs, and vegetables of various kinds. They were
unwilling at first to slay animals, because it seemed cruel; but
thinking afterward that is was also cruel to destroy herbs which
have a share of sensitive feeling, they saw that they would
perish from hunger unless they did an unjustifiable action for
the sake of justifiable ones, and so now they all eat meat.
Nevertheless, they do not kill willingly useful animals, such as
oxen and horses. They observe the difference between useful
and harmful foods, and for this they employ the science of med-
icine. They always change their food. First they eat flesh,
then fish, then afterward they go back to flesh, and nature is
never incommoded or weakened. The old people use the more
digestible kind of food, and take three meals a day, eating only
a little. But the general community eat twice, and the boys
four times, that they may satisfy nature. The length of their
lives is generally 100 years, but often they reach 200.

As regards drinking, they are extremely moderate. Wine
is never given to young people until they are ten years old, un-
less the state of their health demands it. After their tenth year
they take it diluted with water, and so do the women, but the
old men of fifty and upward use little or no water. They eat
the most healthy things, according to the time of the year.

They think nothing harmful which is brought forth by God,
except when there has been abuse by taking too much. And
therefore in the summer they feed on fruits, because they are
moist and juicy and cool, and counteract the heat and dryness.
In the winter they feed on dry articles, and in the autumn they
eat grapes, since they are given by God to remove melancholy
and sadness; and they also make use of scents to a great degree.
In the morning, when they have all risen they comb their hair
and wash their faces and hands with cold water. Then they
chew thyme or rock-parsley or fennel, or rub their hands with
these plants. The old men make incense, and with their faces
to the east repeat the short prayer which Jesus Christ taught
us. After this they go to wait upon the old men, some go
to the dance, and others to the duties of the State. Later on
they meet at the early lectures, then in the temple, then for
bodily exercise. Then for a little while they sit down to rest,
and at length they go to dinner.

Among them there is never gout in the hands or feet, nor ca-
tarrh, nor sciatica, nor grievous colics, nor flatulency, nor hard
breathing. For these diseases are caused by indigestion and
flatulency, and by frugality and exercise they remove every
humor and spasm. Therefore it is unseemly in the extreme
to be seen vomiting or spitting, since they say that this is a sign
either of little exercise, or of ignoble sloth, or of drunkenness,
or gluttony. They suffer rather from swellings or from the
dry spasm, which they relieve with plenty of good and juicy
food. They heal fevers with pleasant baths and with milk-
food, and with a pleasant habitation in the country and by grad-
ual exercise. Unclean diseases cannot be prevalent with them
because they often clean their bodies by bathing in wine, and
soothe them with aromatic oil, and by the sweat of exercise they
diffuse the poisonous vapor which corrupts the blood and the
marrow. They do suffer a little from consumption, because
they cannot perspire at the breast, but they never have asthma,
for the humid nature of which a heavy man is required. They
cure hot fevers with cold potations of water, but slight ones
with sweet smells, with cheese-bread or sleep, with music or
dancing. Tertiary fevers are cured by bleeding, by rhubarb
or by a similar drawing remedy, or by water soaked in the roots
of plants, with purgative and sharp-tasting qualities. But it
is rarely that they take purgative medicines. Fevers occurring
every fourth day are cured easily by suddenly startling the un-
prepared patients, and by means of herbs producing effects op-
posite to the humors of this fever. All these secrets they told
me in opposition to their own wishes. They take more diligent
pains to cure the lasting fevers, which they fear more, and they
strive to counteract these by the observation of stars and of
plants, and by prayers to God. Fevers recurring every fifth,
sixth, eighth or more days, you never find whenever heavy
humors are wanting.

They use baths, and moreover they have warm ones accord-
ing to the Roman custom, and they make use also of olive oil.
They have found out, too, a great many secret cures for the
preservation of cleanliness and health. And in other ways they
labor to cure the epilepsy, with which they are often troubled.

G.M. A sign this disease is of wonderful cleverness, for
from it Hercules, Scotus, Socrates, Callimachus, and Mahomet
have suffered.

Capt. They cure by means of prayers to heaven, by
strengthening the head, by acids, by planned gymnastics, and
with fat cheese-bread sprinkled with the flour of wheaten corn.
They are very skilled in making dishes, and in them they put
spice, honey, butter, and many highly strengthening spices,
and they temper their richness with acids, so that they never
vomit. They do not drink ice-cold drinks nor artificial hot
drinks, as the Chinese do; for they are not without aid against
the humors of the body, on account of the help they get from
the natural heat of the water; but they strengthen it with
crushed garlic, with vinegar, with wild thyme, with mint, and
with basil, in the summer or in time of special heaviness. They
know also a secret for renovating life after about the seventieth
year, and for ridding it of affliction, and this they do by a pleas-
ing and indeed wonderful art.

G.M. Thus far you have said nothing concerning their sci-
ences and magistrates.

Capt. Undoubtedly I have But since you are so curious
I will add more. Both when it is new moon and full moon they
call a council after a sacrifice. To this all from twenty years
upward are admitted, and each one is asked separately to say
what is wanting in the State, and which of the magistrates have
discharged their duties rightly and which wrongly. Then
after eight days all the magistrates assemble, to wit, Hoh first,
and with him Power, Wisdom, and Love. Each one of the
three last has three magistrates under him, making in all thir-
teen, and they consider the affairs of the arts pertaining to each
one of them: Power, of war; Wisdom, of the sciences; Love,
of food, clothing, education, and breeding. The masters of all
the bands, who are captains of tens, of fifties, of hundreds, also
assemble, the women first and then the men. They argue about
those things which are for the welfare of the State, and they
choose the magistrates from among those who have already
been named in the great Council. In this manner they assemble
daily, Hoh and his three princes, and they correct, confirm, and
execute the matters passing to them, as decisions in the elec-
tions; other necessary questions they provide of themselves.
They do not use lots unless when they are altogether doubtful
how to decide. The eight magistrates under Hoh, Power,
Wisdom, and Love are changed according to the wish of the
people, but the first four are never changed, unless they, tak-
ing counsel with themselves, give up the dignity of one to an-
other, whom among them they know to be wiser, more re-
nowned, and more nearly perfect. And then they are obedient
and honorable, since they yield willingly to the wiser man and
are taught by him. This, however, rarely happens. The prin-
cipals of the sciences, except Metaphysic, who is Hoh himself,
and is, as it were, the architect of all science, having rule over
all, are attached to Wisdom. Hoh is ashamed to be ignorant
of any possible thing. Under Wisdom therefore are Grammar,
Logic, Physics, Medicine, Astrology, Astronomy, Geometry,
Cosmography, Music, Perspective, Arithmetic, Poetry, Rhet-
oric, Painting, Sculpture. Under the triumvir Love are Breed-
ing, Agriculture, Education, Medicine, Clothing, Pasturage,

G.M. What about their judges?

Capt. This is the point I was just thinking of explaining.
Everyone is judged by the first master of his trade, and thus
all the head artificers are judges. They punish with exile, with
flogging, with blame, with deprivation of the common table,
with exclusion from the church and from the company of
women. When there is a case in which great injury has been
done, it is punished with death, and they repay an eye with an
eye, a nose for a nose, a tooth for a tooth, and so on, according
to the law of retaliation. If the offence is wilful the Council
decides. When there is strife and it takes place undesignedly,
the sentence is mitigated; nevertheless, not by the judge but by
the triumvirate, from whom even it may be referred to Hoh, not
on account of justice but of mercy, for Hoh is able to pardon.
They have no prisons, except one tower for shutting up rebel-
lious enemies, and there is no written statement of a case, which
we commonly call a lawsuit. But the accusation and witnesses
are produced in the presence of the judge and Power; the ac-
cused person makes his defence, and he is immediately acquit-
ted or condemned by the judge; and if he appeals to the trium-
virate, on the following day he is acquitted or condemned. On
the third day he is dismissed through the mercy and clemency
of Hoh, or receives the inviolable rigor of his sentence. An
accused person is reconciled to his accuser and to his witnesses,
as it were, with the medicine of his complaint, that is, with em-
bracing and kissing.

No one is killed or stoned unless by the hands of the people,
the accuser and the witnesses beginning first. For they have
no executioners and lictors, lest the State should sink into ruin.
The choice of death is given to the rest of the people, who en-
close the lifeless remains in little bags and burn them by the
application of fire, while exhorters are present for the purpose
of advising concerning a good death. Nevertheless, the whole
nation laments and beseeches God that his anger may be ap-
peased, being in grief that it should, as it were, have to cut off
a rotten member of the State. Certain officers talk to and con-
vince the accused man by means of arguments until he him-
self acquiesces in the sentence of death passed upon him, or else
he does not die. But if a crime has been committed against
the liberty of the republic, or against God, or against the su-
preme magistrates, there is immediate censure without pity.
These only are punished with death. He who is about to
die is compelled to state in the presence of the people and with
religious scrupulousness the reasons for which he does not de-
serve death, and also the sins of the others who ought to die
instead of him, and further the mistakes of the magistrates.
If, moreover, it should seem right to the person thus asserting,
he must say why the accused ones are deserving of less punish-
ment than he. And if by his arguments he gains the victory he
is sent into exile, and appeases the State by means of prayers
and sacrifices and good life ensuing. They do not torture those
named by the accused person, but they warn them. Sins of
frailty and ignorance are punished only with blaming, and with
compulsory continuation as learners under the law and disci-
pline of those sciences or arts against which they have sinned.
And all these things they have mutually among themselves,
since they seem to be in very truth members of the same body,
and one of another.

This further I would have you know, that if a transgressor,
without waiting to be accused, goes of his own accord before
a magistrate, accusing himself and seeking to make amends,
that one is liberated from the punishment of a secret crime, and
since he has not been accused of such a crime, his punishment
is changed into another. They take special care that no one
should invent slander, and if this should happen they meet the
offence with the punishment of retaliation. Since they always
walk about and work in crowds, five witnesses are required for
the conviction of a transgressor. If the case is otherwise, after
having threatened him, he is released after he has sworn an oath
as the warrant of good conduct. Or if he is accused a second
or third time, his increased punishment rests on the testimony
of three or two witnesses. They have but few laws, and these
short and plain, and written upon a flat table and hanging to
the doors of the temple, that is between the columns. And on
single columns can be seen the essences of things described in
the very terse style of Metaphysic -- viz., the essences of God, of
the angels, of the world, of the stars, of man, of fate, of virtue, all
done with great wisdom. The definitions of all the virtues are
also delineated here, and here is the tribunal, where the judges
of all the virtues have their seat. The definition of a certain
virtue is written under that column where the judges for the
aforesaid virtue sit, and when a judge gives judgment he sits
and speaks thus: O son, thou hast sinned against this sacred
definition of beneficence, or of magnanimity, or of another vir-
tue, as the case may be. And after discussion the judge legally
condemns him to the punishment for the crime of which he is
accused -- viz., for injury, for despondency, for pride, for in-
gratitude, for sloth, etc. But the sentences are certain and true
correctives, savoring more of clemency than of actual punish-

G.M. Now you ought to tell me about their priests, their
sacrifices, their religion, and their belief.

Capt. The chief priest is Hoh, and it is the duty of all the
superior magistrates to pardon sins. Therefore the whole
State by secret confession, which we also use, tell their sins to
the magistrates, who at once purge their souls and teach those
that are inimical to the people. Then the sacred magistrates
themselves confess their own sinfulness to the three supreme
chiefs, and together they confess the faults of one another,
though no special one is named, and they confess especially the
heavier faults and those harmful to the State. At length the
triumvirs confess their sinfulness to Hoh himself, who forth-
with recognizes the kinds of sins that are harmful to the State,
and succors with timely remedies. Then he offers sacrifices
and prayers to God. And before this he confesses the sins of
the whole people, in the presence of God, and publicly in the
temple, above the altar, as often as it had been necessary that
the fault should be corrected. Nevertheless, no transgressor
is spoken of by his name. In this manner he absolves the peo-
ple by advising them that they should beware of sins of the
aforesaid kind. Afterward he offers sacrifice to God, that he
should pardon the State and absolve it of its sins, and to teach
and defend it. Once in every year the chief priests of each
separate subordinate State confess their sins in the presence
of Hoh. Thus he is not ignorant of the wrongdoings of the
provinces, and forthwith he removes them with all human and
heavenly remedies.

Sacrifice is conducted after the following manner: Hoh
asks the people which one among them wishes to give himself
as a sacrifice to God for the sake of his fellows. He is then
placed upon the fourth table, with ceremonies and the offering
up of prayers: the table is hung up in a wonderful manner by
means of four ropes passing through four cords attached to
firm pulley-blocks in the small dome of the temple. This done
they cry to the God of mercy, that he may accept the offering,
not of a beast as among the heathen, but of a human being.
Then Hoh orders the ropes to be drawn and the sacrifice is
pulled up above to the centre of the small dome, and there it
dedicates itself with the most fervent supplications. Food is
given to it through a window by the priests, who live around
the dome, but it is allowed a very little to eat, until it has atoned
for the sins of the State. There with prayer and fasting he
cries to the God of heaven that he might accept its willing offer-
ing. And after twenty or thirty days, the anger of God being
appeased, the sacrifice becomes a priest, or sometimes, though
rarely, returns below by means of the outer way for the priests.
Ever after, this man is treated with great benevolence and much
honor, for the reason that he offered himself unto death for the
sake of his country. But God does not require death.

The priests above twenty-four years of age offer praises from
their places in the top of the temple. This they do in the mid-
dle of the night, at noon, in the morning and in the evening, to
wit, four times a day they sing their chants in the presence of
God. It is also their work to observe the stars and to note with
the astrolabe their motions and influences upon human things,
and to find out their powers. Thus they know in what part of
the earth any change has been or will be, and at what time it has
taken place, and they send to find whether the matter be as they
have it. They make a note of predictions, true and false, so
that they may be able from experience to predict most correctly.
The priests, moreover, determine the hours for breeding and
the days for sowing, reaping, and gathering the vintage, and
are, as it were, the ambassadors and intercessors and connection
between God and man. And it is from among them mostly that
Hoh is elected. They write very learned treatises and search
into the sciences. Below they never descend, unless for their
dinner and supper, so that the essence of their heads do not
descend to the stomachs and liver. Only very seldom, and that
as a cure for the ills of solitude, do they have converse with
women. On certain days Hoh goes up to them and deliberates
with them concerning the matters which he has lately investi-
gated for the benefit of the State and all the nations of the

In the temple beneath, one priest always stands near the altar
praying for the people, and at the end of every hour another
succeeds him, just as we are accustomed in solemn prayer to
change every fourth hour. And this method of supplication
they call perpetual prayer. After a meal they return thanks
to God. Then they sing the deeds of the Christian, Jewish,
and Gentile heroes, and of those of all other nations, and this
is very delightful to them. Forsooth, no one is envious of an-
other. They sing a hymn to Love, one to Wisdom, and one
each to all the other virtues, and this they do under the direc-
tion of the ruler of each virtue. Each one takes the woman he
loves most, and they dance for exercise with propriety and
stateliness under the peristyles. The women wear their long
hair all twisted together and collected into one knot on the
crown of the head, but in rolling it they leave one curl. The
men, however, have one curl only and the rest of their hair
around the head is shaven off. Further, they wear a slight
covering, and above this a round hat a little larger than the size
of their head. In the fields they use caps, but at home each one
wears a biretta, white, red, or another color according to his
trade or occupation. Moreover, the magistrates use grander
and more imposing-looking coverings for the head.

They hold great festivities when the sun enters the four car-
dinal points of the heavens, that is, when he enters Cancer, Li-
bra, Capricorn, and Aries. On these occasions they have very
learned, splendid, and, as it were, comic performances. They
celebrate also every full and every new moon with a festival,
as also they do the anniversaries of the founding of the city,
and of the days when they have won victories or done any other
great achievement. The celebrations take place with the music
of female voices, with the noise of trumpets and drums, and the
firing of salutations. The poets sing the praises of the most
renowned leaders and the victories. Nevertheless, if any of
them should deceive even by disparaging a foreign hero, he is
punished. No one can exercise the function of a poet who in-
vents that which is not true, and a license like this they think
to be a pest of our world, for the reason that it puts a premium
upon virtue and often assigns it to unworthy persons, either
from fear of flattery, or ambition, or avarice.

For the praise of no one is a statue erected until after his
death; but while he is alive, who has found out new arts and very
useful secrets, or who has rendered great service to the State
either at home or on the battle-field, his name is written in the
book of heroes. They do not bury dead bodies, but burn them, so
that a plague may not arise from them, and so that they may be
converted into fire, a very noble and powerful thing, which has
its coming from the sun and returns to it. And for the above
reasons no chance is given for idolatry. The statues and pict-
ures of the heroes, however, are there, and the splendid women
set apart to become mothers often look at them. Prayers are
made from the State to the four horizontal corners of the
world -- in the morning to the rising sun, then to the setting
sun, then to the south, and lastly to the north; and in the con-
trary order in the evening, first to the setting sun, to the rising
sun, to the north, and at length to the south. They repeat but
one prayer, which asks for health of body and of mind, and
happiness for themselves and all people, and they conclude it
with the petition "As it seems best to God." The public prayer
for all is long, and it is poured forth to heaven. For this rea-
son the altar is round and is divided crosswise by ways at right
angles to one another. By these ways Hoh enters after he has
repeated the four prayers, and he prays looking up to heaven.
And then a great mystery is seen by them. The priestly vest-
ments are of a beauty and meaning like to those of Aaron.
They resemble nature and they surpass Art.

They divide the seasons according to the revolution of the
sun, and not of the stars, and they observe yearly by how much
time the one precedes the other. They hold that the sun ap-
proaches nearer and nearer, and therefore by ever-lessening cir-
cles reaches the tropics and the equator every year a little
sooner. They measure months by the course of the moon,
years by that of the sun. They praise Ptolemy, admire Coper-
nicus, but place Aristarchus and Philolaus before him. They
take great pains in endeavoring to understand the construction
of the world, and whether or not it will perish, and at what time.
They believe that the true oracle of Jesus Christ is by the signs
in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, which signs do not thus
appear to many of us foolish ones. Therefore they wait for
the renewing of the age, and perchance for its end.

They say that it is very doubtful whether the world was made
from nothing, or from the ruins of other worlds, or from chaos,
but they certainly think that it was made, and did not exist
from eternity. Therefore they disbelieve in Aristotle, whom
they consider a logican and not a philosopher. From analo-
gies, they can draw many arguments against the eternity of the
world. The sun and the stars they, so to speak, regard as the
living representatives and signs of God, as the temples and holy
living altars, and they honor but do not worship them. Be-
yond all other things they venerate the sun, but they consider
no created thing worthy the adoration of worship. This they
give to God alone, and thus they serve Him, that they may not
come into the power of a tyrant and fall into misery by undergo-
ing punishment by creatures of revenge. They contemplate and
know God under the image of the Sun, and they call it the sign
of God, His face and living image, by means of which light,
heat, life, and the making of all things good and bad proceed.
Therefore they have built an altar like to the sun in shape, and
the priests praise God in the sun and in the stars, as it were His
altars, and in the heavens, His temple as it were; and they pray
to good angels, who are, so to speak, the intercessors living in
the stars, their strong abodes. For God long since set signs of
their beauty in heaven, and of His glory in the sun. They say
there is but one heaven, and that the planets move and rise of
themselves when they approach the sun or are in conjunction
with it.

They assert two principles of the physics of things below,
namely, that the sun is the father, and the earth the mother;
the air is an impure part of the heavens; all fire is derived from
the sun. The sea is the sweat of earth, or the fluid of earth
combusted, and fused within its bowels, but is the bond of
union between air and earth, as the blood is of the spirit and
flesh of animals. The world is a great animal, and we live
within it as worms live within us. Therefore we do not belong
to the system of stars, sun, and earth, but to God only; for in
respect to them which seek only to amplify themselves, we are
born and live by chance; but in respect to God, whose instru-
ments we are, we are formed by prescience and design, and for
a high end. Therefore we are bound to no father but God, and
receive all things from Him. They hold as beyond question the
immortality of souls, and that these associate with good angels
after death, or with bad angels, according as they have likened
themselves in this life to either. For all things seek their like.
They differ little from us as to places of reward and punish-
ment. They are in doubt whether there are other worlds be-
yond ours, and account it madness to say there is nothing.
Nonentity is incompatible with the infinite entity of God. They
lay down two principles of metaphysics, entity which is the
highest God, and nothingness which is the defect of entity.
Evil and sin come of the propensity to nothingness; the sin
having its cause not efficient, but in deficiency. Deficiency is,
they say, of power, wisdom, or will. Sin they place in the last
of these three, because he who knows and has the power to do
good is bound also to have the will, for will arises out of them.
They worship God in trinity, saying God is the Supreme
Power, whence proceeds the highest Wisdom, which is the same
with God, and from these comes Love, which is both power
and wisdom; but they do not distinguish persons by name, as
in our Christian law, which has not been revealed to them.
This religion, when its abuses have been removed, will be the
future mistress of the world, as great theologians teach and
hope. Therefore Spain found the New World (though its
first discoverer, Columbus, greatest of heroes, was a Genoese),
that all nations should be gathered under one law. We know
not what we do, but God knows, whose instruments we are.
They sought new regions for lust of gold and riches, but God
works to a higher end. The sun strives to burn up the earth,
not to produce plants and men, but God guides the battle to
great issues. His the praise, to Him the glory!

G.M. Oh, if you knew what our astrologers say of the com-
ing age, and of our age, that has in it more history within 100
years than all the world had in 4,000 years before! of the won-
derful inventions of printing and guns, and the use of the mag-
net, and how it all comes of Mercury, Mars, the Moon, and the

Capt. Ah, well! God gives all in His good time. They
astrologize too much.

[1] A pace was 1-9/25 yard, 1,000 paces making a mile


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