The Travels of Marco Polo, Volume 2
Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

Part 10 out of 23

stables of Akbar an imperial horse drew daily 2 lbs. of flour, 1-1/2 lb.
of sugar, and in winter 1/2 lb. of _ghee_! (_Ain. Akb._ 134.)

It is told of Sir John Malcolm that at an English table where he was
present, a brother officer from India had ventured to speak of the sheep's
head custom to an unbelieving audience. He appealed to Sir John, who only
shook his head deprecatingly. After dinner the unfortunate story-teller
remonstrated, but Sir John's answer was only, "My dear fellow, they took
you for one Munchausen; they would merely have taken me for another!"

NOTE 18.--The nature of the institution of the Temple dancing-girls seems
to have been scarcely understood by the Traveller. The like existed at
ancient Corinth under the name of [Greek: Ierodouloi], which is nearly a
translation of the Hindi name of the girls, _Deva-dasi_. (_Strabo_, VIII.
6, sec. 20.) "Each (Dasi) is married to an idol when quite young. The
female children are generally brought up to the trade of the mothers. It is
customary with a few castes to present their superfluous daughters to the
Pagodas." (_Nelson's Madura Country_, Pt. II. 79.) A full account of this
matter appears to have been read by Dr. Shortt of Madras before the
Anthropological Society But I have only seen a newspaper notice of it.

NOTE 19.--The first part of this paragraph is rendered by Marsden: "The
natives make use of a kind of bedstead or cot of very light canework, so
ingeniously contrived that when they repose on them, and are inclined to
sleep, _they can draw close the curtains about them by pulling a string_."
This is not translation. An approximate illustration of the real statement
is found in Pyrard de Laval, who says (of the Maldive Islanders): "Their
beds are hung up by four cords to a bar supported by two pillars.... The
beds of the king, the grandees, and rich folk are made thus that they may
be swung and rocked with facility." (_Charton_, IV. 277.) In the _Ras
Mala_ swinging cots are several times alluded to. (I. 173, 247, 423.) In
one case the bed is mentioned as suspended to the ceiling by chains.

[Illustration: Pagoda at Tanjore.]

[1] "_Audax omnia perpeti_," etc.

[2] The G.T. has _nuns_, "_Li nosnain do mostier._" But in Ramusio it is
_monks_; which is more probable, and I have adopted it.

[3] M. Pauthier has suggested the same explanation in his notes.

[4] Running _a-muck_ in the genuine Malay fashion is not unknown among the
Rajputs; see two notable instances in _Tod_, II. 45 and 315. [See

[5] See _Journ. Asiat._ ser. VI. tom. xi. pp. 505 and 512. May not the
_dinar_ of red gold have been the gold _mohr_ of those days, popularly
known as the _red tanga_, which Ibn Batuta repeatedly tells us was
equal to 2-1/2 dinars of the west. 220 red tangas would be equivalent
to 550 western dinars, or _saggi_, of Polo. (_Elliot_, II. 332, III.

[6] I observe, however, that Sir Walter Elliot thinks it possible that the
_Paraya_ which appears on the oldest of Indian inscriptions as the name
of a nation, coupled with Chola and Kerala (Coromandel and Malabar), is
that of the modern despised tribe. (_J. Ethn. Soc._ n.s. I. 103.)



[Illustration: Ancient Cross with Pehlevi Inscription on St. Thomas's
Mount, near Madras. (From Photograph.)]

The Body of Messer St. Thomas the Apostle lies in this province of Maabar
at a certain little town having no great population. 'Tis a place where
few traders go, because there is very little merchandize to be got there,
and it is a place not very accessible.[NOTE 1] Both Christians and
Saracens, however, greatly frequent it in pilgrimage. For the Saracens
also do hold the Saint in great reverence, and say that he was one of
their own Saracens and a great prophet, giving him the title of
_Avarian_, which is as much as to say "Holy Man."[NOTE 2] The
Christians who go thither in pilgrimage take of the earth from the place
where the Saint was killed, and give a portion thereof to any one who is
sick of a quartan or a tertian fever; and by the power of God and of St.
Thomas the sick man is incontinently cured.[NOTE 3] The earth, I should
tell you, is red. A very fine miracle occurred there in the year of
Christ, 1288, as I will now relate.

A certain Baron of that country, having great store of a certain kind of
corn that is called _rice_, had filled up with it all the houses that
belonged to the church, and stood round about it. The Christian people in
charge of the church were much distressed by his having thus stuffed their
houses with his rice; the pilgrims too had nowhere to lay their heads; and
they often begged the pagan Baron to remove his grain, but he would do
nothing of the kind. So one night the Saint himself appeared with a fork
in his hand, which he set at the Baron's throat, saying: "If thou void not
my houses, that my pilgrims may have room, thou shalt die an evil death,"
and therewithal the Saint pressed him so hard with the fork that he
thought himself a dead man. And when morning came he caused all the houses
to be voided of his rice, and told everybody what had befallen him at the
Saint's hands. So the Christians were greatly rejoiced at this grand
miracle, and rendered thanks to God and to the blessed St. Thomas. Other
great miracles do often come to pass there, such as the healing of those
who are sick or deformed, or the like, especially such as be Christians.

[The Christians who have charge of the church have a great number of the
Indian Nut trees, whereby they get their living; and they pay to one of
those brother Kings six groats for each tree every month.[1]]

Now, I will tell you the manner in which the Christian brethren who keep
the church relate the story of the Saint's death.

They tell that the Saint was in the wood outside his hermitage saying his
prayers; and round about him were many peacocks, for these are more
plentiful in that country than anywhere else. And one of the Idolaters of
that country being of the lineage of those called _Govi_ that I told
you of, having gone with his bow and arrows to shoot peafowl, not seeing
the Saint, let fly an arrow at one of the peacocks; and this arrow struck
the holy man in the right side, insomuch that he died of the wound,
sweetly addressing himself to his Creator. Before he came to that place
where he thus died he had been in Nubia, where he converted much people to
the faith of Jesus Christ.[NOTE 4]

The children that are born here are black enough, but the blacker they be
the more they are thought of; wherefore from the day of their birth their
parents do rub them every week with oil of sesame, so that they become as
black as devils. Moreover, they make their gods black and their devils
white, and the images of their saints they do paint black all over.[NOTE 5]

They have such faith in the ox, and hold it for a thing so holy, that when
they go to the wars they take of the hair of the wild-ox, whereof I have
elsewhere spoken, and wear it tied to the necks of their horses; or, if
serving on foot, they hang this hair to their shields, or attach it to
their own hair. And so this hair bears a high price, since without it
nobody goes to the wars in any good heart. For they believe that any one
who has it shall come scatheless out of battle.[NOTE 6]

NOTE 1.--The little town where the body of St. Thomas lay was MAILAPUR the
name of which is still applied to a suburb of Madras about 3-1/2 miles
south of Fort St. George.

NOTE 2.--The title of _Avarian_, given to St. Thomas by the Saracens, is
judiciously explained by Joseph Scaliger to be the Arabic _Hawariy_ (pl.
_Hawariyun_), 'An Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.' Scaliger somewhat
hypercritically for the occasion finds fault with Marco for saying the
word means "a holy man." (_De Emendatione Temporum_, Lib. VII., Geneva,
1629, p. 680.)

NOTE 3.--The use of the earth from the tomb of St Thomas for miraculous
cures is mentioned also by John Mangnolli, who was there about 1348-1349.
Assemani gives a special formula of the Nestorians for use in the
application of this dust, which was administered to the sick in place of
the unction of the Catholics. It ends with the words "_Signatur et
sanctificatur hic_ Hanana _(pulvis) cum hac_ Taibutha _(gratia) Sancti
Thomae Apostoli in sanitatem et medelam corporis et animae, in nomen P. et
F. et S.S._" (III. Pt. 2, 278.) The Abyssinians make a similar use of the
earth from the tomb of their national Saint Tekla Haimanot. (_J.R.G.S._
X. 483.) And the Shiahs, on solemn occasions, partake of water in which
has been mingled the dust of Kerbela.

Fa hian tells that the people of Magadha did the like, for the cure of
headache, with earth from the place where lay the body of Kasyapa, a
former Buddha. (_Beal_, p. 133.)

[Illustration: The Little Mount of St. Thomas, near Madras.]

NOTE 4.--Vague as is Polo's indication of the position of the Shrine of
St. Thomas, it is the first geographical identification of it that I know
of, save one. At the very time of Polo's homeward voyage, John of Monte
Corvino on his way to China spent thirteen months in Maabar, and in a
letter thence in 1292-1293 he speaks of the church of St. Thomas there,
having buried in it the companion of his travels, Friar Nicholas of

But the tradition of Thomas's preaching in India is very old, so old that
it probably is, in its simple form, true. St. Jerome accepts it, speaking
of the Divine Word as being everywhere present in His fullness: "_cum Thoma
in India_, cum Petro Romae, cum Paulo in Illyrico," etc. (_Scti Hieron
Epistolae_, LIX, _ad Marcetlam_.) So dispassionate a scholar as Professor
H.H. Wilson speaks of the preaching and martyrdom of St. Thomas in S.
India as "occurrences very far from invalidated by any arguments yet
adduced against the truth of the tradition." I do not know if the date is
ascertainable of the very remarkable legend of St. Thomas in the apocryphal
Acts of the Apostles, but it is presumably very old, though subsequent to
the translation of the relics (real or supposed) to Edessa, in the year
394, which is alluded to in the story. And it is worthy of note that this
legend places the martyrdom and original burial-place of the Saint _upon a
mount_. Gregory of Tours (A.D. 544-595) relates that "in that place in
India where the body of Thomas lay before it was transported to Edessa,
there is a monastery and a temple of great size and excellent structure and
ornament. In it God shows a wonderful miracle; for the lamp that stands
alight before the place of sepulture keeps burning perpetually, night and
day, by divine influence, for neither oil nor wick are ever renewed by
human hands;" and this Gregory learned from one Theodorus, who had visited
the spot.

The apocryphal history of St. Thomas relates that while the Lord was still
upon earth a certain King of India, whose name was Gondaphorus, sent to
the west a certain merchant called Abban to seek a skilful architect to
build him a palace, and the Lord sold Thomas to him as a slave of His own
who was expert in such work. Thomas eventually converts King Gondaphorus,
and proceeds to another country of India ruled by King _Meodeus_, where he
is put to death by lances. M. Reinaud first, I believe, pointed out the
remarkable fact that the name of the King Gondaphorus of the legend is the
same with that of a King who has become known from the Indo-Scythian
coins, _Gondophares_, Yndoferres, or _Gondaferres_. This gives great
interest to a votive inscription found near Peshawar, and now in the
Lahore Museum, which appears to bear the name of the same King. This
Professor Dowson has partially read: "In the 26th year of the great King
Guna ... pharasa, on the seventh day of the month Vaisakha." ...
General Cunningham has read the date with more claim to precision: "In
the 26th year of King Guduphara, in the Samvat year 103, in the month of
Vaisakh, the 4th day." ... But Professor Dowson now comes much closer to
General Cunningham, and reads: "26th year of the King, the year 100 of
Samvat, 3rd day of Vaisakha." (See _Rep. of R. As. Soc._, 18th January,
1875.) In ordinary application of _Samvat_ (to era of Vikramaditya) A.D.
100--A.D. 43; but the era meant here is as yet doubtful. Lassen put
Yndoferres about 90 B.C., as Cunningham did formerly about 26 B.C. The
chronology is very doubtful, but the evidence does not appear to be strong
against the synchronism of the King and the legend. (See _Prinsep's
Essays_, II. 176, 177, and Mr. Thomas's remarks at p. 214; _Truebner's
Record_, 30th June, 187; Cunningham's _Desc. List of Buddhist Sculptures
in Lahore Central Museum; Reinaud, Inde_, p. 95.)

Here then may be a faint trace of a true apostolic history. But in the 16th
and 17th centuries Roman Catholic ecclesiastical story-tellers seem to have
striven in rivalry who should most recklessly expand the travels of St.
Thomas. According to an abstract given by P. Vincenzo Maria, his preaching
began in Mesopotamia, and extended through Bactria, etc., to China, "the
States of the Great Mogul" (!) and Siam; he then revisited his first
converts, and passed into Germany, thence to Brazil, "as relates P. Emanuel
Nobriga," and from that to Ethiopia. After thus carrying light to the four
quarters of the World, the indefatigable Traveller and Missionary retook
his way to India, converting Socotra as he passed, and then preached in
Malabar, and on the Coromandel Coast, where he died, as already stated.

Some parts of this strange rhapsody, besides the Indian mission, were no
doubt of old date; for the Chaldaean breviary of the Malabar Church in its
office of St. Thomas contains such passages as this: "By St. Thomas were
the Chinese and the Ethiopians converted to the Truth;" and in an Anthem:
"The Hindus, the Chinese, the Persians, and all the people of the Isles of
the Sea, they who dwell in Syria and Armenia, in Javan and Romania, call
Thomas to remembrance, and adore Thy Name, O Thou our Redeemer!"

The Roman Martyrology calls the city of Martyrdom _Calamina_, but there is
(I think) a fair presumption that the spot alluded to by Gregory of Tours
was Mailapur, and that the Shrine visited by King Alfred's envoy, Sighelm,
may have been the same.

Marco, as we see, speaks of certain houses belonging to the church, and of
certain Christians who kept it. Odoric, some thirty years later, found
beside the church, "some 15 houses of Nestorians," but the Church itself
filled with idols. Conti, in the following century, speaks of the church in
which St. Thomas lay buried, as large and beautiful, and says there were
1000 Nestorians in the city. Joseph of Cranganore, the Malabar Christian
who came to Europe in 1501, speaks like our traveller of the worship paid
to the Saint, even by the heathen, and compares the church to that of St.
John and St. Paul at Venice. Certain Syrian bishops sent to India in 1504,
whose report is given by Assemani, heard that the church had _begun_ to be
occupied by some Christian people. But Barbosa, a few years later, found it
half in ruins and in the charge of a Mahomedan Fakir, who kept a lamp

There are two St. Thomas's Mounts in the same vicinity, the Great and the
Little Mount. A church was built upon the former by the Portuguese and
some sanctity attributed to it, especially in connection with the cross
mentioned below, but I believe there is no doubt that the _Little Mount_
was the site of the ancient church.

The Portuguese ignored the ancient translation of the Saint's remains to
Edessa, and in 1522, under the Viceroyalty of Duarte Menezes, a commission
was sent to Mailapur, or San Tome as they called it, to search for the
body. The narrative states circumstantially that the Apostle's bones were
found, besides those of the king whom he had converted, etc. The supposed
relics were transferred to Goa, where they are still preserved in the
Church of St. Thomas in that city. The question appears to have become a
party one among Romanists in India, in connection with other differences,
and I see that the authorities now ruling the Catholics at Madras are
strong in disparagement of the special sanctity of the localities, and of
the whole story connecting St. Thomas with Mailapur. (_Greg. Turon. Lib.
Mirac._ I. p. 85; _Tr.R.A.S._ I. 761; _Assemani_, III. Pt. II. pp. 32,
450; _Novus Orbis_ (ed. 1555), p. 210; _Maffei_, Bk. VIII.; _Cathay_, pp.
81, 197, 374-377, etc.)

The account of the Saint's death was no doubt that current among the
native Christians, for it is told in much the same way by Marignolli and
by Barbosa, and was related also in the same manner by one Diogo
Fernandes, who gave evidence before the commission of Duarte Menezes, and
who claimed to have been the first Portuguese visitor of the site. (See
_De Couto_, Dec. V. Liv. vi. cap. 2, and Dec. VII. Liv. x. cap. 5.)

[Illustration: St. Thomas Localities at Madras.]

As Diogo de Couto relates the story of the localities, in the shape which
it had taken by the middle of the 16th century, both Little and Great
Mounts were the sites of Oratories which the Apostle had frequented;
during prayer on the Little Mount he was attacked and wounded, but fled to
the Great Mount, where he expired. In repairing a hermitage which here
existed, in 1547, the workmen came upon a stone slab with a cross and
inscription carved upon it. The story speedily developed itself that this
was the cross which had been embraced by the dying Apostle, and its
miraculous virtues soon obtained great fame. It was eventually set up over
an altar in the Church of the Madonna, which was afterwards erected on the
Great Mount, and there it still exists. A Brahman impostor professed to
give an interpretation of the inscription as relating to the death of St.
Thomas, etc., and this was long accepted. The cross seemed to have been
long forgotten, when lately Mr. Burnell turned his attention to these and
other like relics in Southern India. He has shown the inscription to be
_Pehlvi_, and probably of the 7th or 8th century. Mr. Fergusson considers
the architectural character to be of the 9th. The interpretations of the
Inscription as yet given are tentative and somewhat discrepant. Thus Mr.
Burnell reads: "In punishment (?) by the cross (was) the suffering to this
(one): (He) who is the true Christ and God above, and Guide for ever
pure." Professor Haug: "Whoever believes in the Messiah, and in God above,
and also in the Holy Ghost, is in the grace of Him who bore the pain of
the Cross." Mr. Thomas reads the central part, between two small crosses,
"+ In the Name of Messiah +." See _Kircher, China Illustrata_, p. 55
seqq.; _De Couto_, u.s. (both of these have inaccurate representations
of the cross); _Academy_, vol. v. (1874), p. 145, etc.; and Mr. Burnell's
pamphlet "_On some Pahlavi Inscriptions in South India_." To his kindness
I am indebted for the illustration (p. 351).

["E na quelle parte da tranqueira alem, do ryo de Malaca, em hum citio de
Raya Mudiliar, que depois possuyo Dona Helena Vessiva, entre os
Mangueiraes cavando ao fundo quasi 2 bracas, descobrirao hua + floreada de
cobre pouco carcomydo, da forma como de cavaleyro de Calatrava de 3 palmos
de largo, e comprido sobre hua pedra de marmor, quadrada de largura e
comprimento da ditta +, entra huas ruynas de hua caza sobterranea de
tijolos como Ermida, e parece ser a + de algum christao de Meliapor, que
veo em companhia de mercadores de Choromandel a Malaca." (_Godinho de
Eredia_, fol. 15.)--_MS. Note_.--H.Y.]

The etymology of the name _Mayilappur_, popular among the native
Christians, is "Peacock-Town," and the peafowl are prominent in the old
legend of St. Thomas. Polo gives it no name; Marignolli (circa 1350)
calls it _Mirapolis_, the Catalan Map (1375) _Mirapor_; Conti (circa
1440) _Malepor_; Joseph of Cranganore (1500) _Milapar_ (or _Milapor_); De
Barros and Couto, _Meliapor_. Mr. Burnell thinks it was probably
_Malai_-ppuram, "Mount-Town"; and the same as the Malifatan of the
Mahomedan writers; the last point needs further enquiry.

NOTE 5.--Dr. Caldwell, speaking of the devil-worship of the Shanars of
Tinnevelly (an important part of Ma'bar), says: "Where they erect an image
in imitation of their Brahman neighbours, the devil is generally of
Brahmanical lineage. Such images generally accord with those monstrous
figures with which all over India orthodox Hindus depict the enemies of
their gods, or the terrific forms of Siva or Durga. They are generally
made of earthenware, and _painted white to look horrible in Hindu eyes_."
(_The Tinnevelly Shanars_, Madras, 1849, p. 18.)

NOTE 6.--The use of the Yak's tail as a military ornament had nothing to
do with the sanctity of the Brahmani ox, but is one of the Pan-Asiatic
usages, of which there are so many. A vivid account of the extravagant
profusion with which swaggering heroes in South India used those ornaments
will be found in _P. della Valle_, II. 662.

[1] Should be "year" no doubt.



When you leave Maabar and go about 1,000 miles in a northerly direction
you come to the kingdom of MUTFILI. This was formerly under the rule of a
King, and since his death, some forty years past, it has been under his
Queen, a lady of much discretion, who for the great love she bore him
never would marry another husband. And I can assure you that during all
that space of forty years she had administered her realm as well as ever
her husband did, or better; and as she was a lover of justice, of equity,
and of peace, she was more beloved by those of her kingdom than ever was
Lady or Lord of theirs before. The people are Idolaters, and are tributary
to nobody. They live on flesh, and rice, and milk.[NOTE 1]

It is in this kingdom that diamonds are got; and I will tell you how.
There are certain lofty mountains in those parts; and when the winter
rains fall, which are very heavy, the waters come roaring down the
mountains in great torrents. When the rains are over, and the waters from
the mountains have ceased to flow, they search the beds of the torrents
and find plenty of diamonds. In summer also there are plenty to be found
in the mountains, but the heat of the sun is so great that it is scarcely
possible to go thither, nor is there then a drop of water to be found.
Moreover in those mountains great serpents are rife to a marvellous
degree, besides other vermin, and this owing to the great heat. The
serpents are also the most venomous in existence, insomuch that any one
going to that region runs fearful peril; for many have been destroyed by
these evil reptiles.

Now among these mountains there are certain great and deep valleys, to the
bottom of which there is no access. Wherefore the men who go in search of
the diamonds take with them pieces of flesh, as lean as they can get, and
these they cast into the bottom of a valley. Now there are numbers of
white eagles that haunt those mountains and feed upon the serpents. When
the eagles see the meat thrown down they pounce upon it and carry it up to
some rocky hill-top where they begin to rend it. But there are men on the
watch, and as soon as they see that the eagles have settled they raise a
loud shouting to drive them away. And when the eagles are thus frightened
away the men recover the pieces of meat, and find them full of diamonds
which have stuck to the meat down in the bottom. For the abundance of
diamonds down there in the depths of the valleys is astonishing, but
nobody can get down; and if one could, it would be only to be
incontinently devoured by the serpents which are so rife there.

There is also another way of getting the diamonds. The people go to the
nests of those white eagles, of which there are many, and in their
droppings they find plenty of diamonds which the birds have swallowed in
devouring the meat that was cast into the valleys. And, when the eagles
themselves are taken, diamonds are found in their stomachs.

So now I have told you three different ways in which these stones are
found. No other country but this kingdom of Mutfili produces them, but
there they are found both abundantly and of large size. Those that are
brought to our part of the world are only the refuse, as it were, of the
finer and larger stones. For the flower of the diamonds and other large
gems, as well as the largest pearls, are all carried to the Great Kaan and
other Kings and Princes of those regions; in truth they possess all the
great treasures of the world.[NOTE 2]

In this kingdom also are made the best and most delicate buckrams, and
those of highest price; in sooth they look like tissue of spider's web!
There is no King nor Queen in the world but might be glad to wear them.
[NOTE 3] The people have also the largest sheep in the world, and great
abundance of all the necessaries of life.

There is now no more to say; so I will next tell you about a province
called Lar from which the Abraiaman come.

NOTE 1.--There is no doubt that the kingdom here spoken of is that of
TELINGANA (_Tiling_ of the Mahomedan writers), then ruled by the Kakateya
or Ganapati dynasty reigning at Warangol, north-east of Hyderabad. But
Marco seems to give the kingdom the name of that place in it which was
visited by himself or his informants. MUTFILI is, with the usual Arab
modification (e.g. Perlec, Ferlec--Pattan, Faitan), a port called
MOTUPALLE, in the Gantur district of the Madras Presidency, about 170
miles north of Fort St. George. Though it has dropt out of most of our
modern maps it still exists, and a notice of it is to be found in W.
Hamilton, and in Milburne. The former says: "_Mutapali_, a town situated
near the S. extremity of the northern Circars. A considerable coasting
trade is carried on from hence in the craft navigated by natives," which
can come in closer to shore than at other ports on that coast.--[Cf.
_Hunter_, _Gaz. India_, _Motupalli_, "now only an obscure fishing
village."--It is marked in _Constable's Hand Atlas of India_.--H.C.]

The proper territory of the Kingdom of Warangol lay inland, but the last
reigning prince before Polo's visit to India, by name Kakateya Pratapa
Ganapati Rudra Deva, had made extensive conquests on the coast, including
Nellore, and thence northward to the frontier of Orissa. This prince left
no male issue, and his widow, RUDRAMA DEVI, daughter of the Raja of
Devagiri, assumed the government and continued to hold it for
twenty-eight, or, as another record states, for thirty-eight years, till
the son of her daughter had attained majority. This was in 1292, or by the
other account 1295, when she transferred the royal authority to this
grandson Pratapa Vira Rudra Deva, the "Luddur Deo" of Firishta, and the
last Ganapati of any political moment. He was taken prisoner by the Delhi
forces about 1323. We have evidently in Rudrama Devi the just and beloved
Queen of our Traveller, who thus enables us to attach colour and character
to what was an empty name in a dynastic list. (Compare _Wilson's
Mackenzie_, I. cxxx.; _Taylor's Or. Hist. MSS._ I. 18; _Do.'s Catalogue
Raisonne_, III. 483.)

Mutfili appears in the _Carta Catalana_ as _Butiflis_, and is there by
some mistake made the site of St. Thomas's Shrine. The distance from
Maabar is in Ramusio only 500 miles--a preferable reading.

NOTE 2.--Some of the Diamond Mines once so famous under the name of
Golconda are in the alluvium of the Kistna River, some distance above the
Delta, and others in the vicinity of Kadapa and Karnul, both localities
being in the territory of the kingdom we have been speaking of.

The strange legend related here is very ancient and widely diffused. Its
earliest known occurrence is in the Treatise of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of
Salamis in Cyprus, concerning the twelve Jewels in the _Rationale_ or
Breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest, a work written before the end of
the 4th century, wherein the tale is told of the _Jacinth_. It is
distinctly referred to by Edrisi, who assigns its locality to the land of
the _Kirkhir_ (probably Khirghiz) in Upper Asia. It appears in Kazwini's
_Wonders of Creation_, and is assigned by him to the Valley of the Moon
among the mountains of Serendib. Sindbad the Sailor relates the story, as
is well known, and his version is the closest of all to our author's. [So
_Les Merveilles de l'Inde_, pp. 128-129.--H.C.] It is found in the
Chinese Narrative of the Campaigns of Hulaku, translated by both Remusat
and Pauthier. [We read in the _Si Shi Ki_, of Ch'ang Te, Chinese Envoy to
Hulaku (1259), translated by Dr. Bretschneider (_Med. Res._ I. p. 151):
"The _kinkang tsuan_ (diamonds) come from _Yin-du_ (Hindustan). The people
take flesh and throw it into the great valleys (of the mountains). Then
birds come and eat this flesh, after which diamonds are found in their
excrements."--H.C.] It is told in two different versions, once of the
Diamond, and again of the Jacinth of Serendib, in the work on precious
stones by Ahmed Taifashi. It is one of the many stories in the scrap-book
of Tzetzes. Nicolo Conti relates it of a mountain called Albenigaras,
fifteen days' journey in a northerly Direction from Vijayanagar; and it
is told again, apparently after Conti, by Julius Caesar Scaliger. It is
related of diamonds and Balasses in the old Genoese MS., called that of
Usodimare. A feeble form of the tale is quoted contemptuously by Garcias
from one Francisco de Tamarra. And Haxthausen found it as a popular legend
in Armenia. (_S. Epiph. de_ XIII. _Gemmis_, etc., Romae, 1743; _Jaubert,
Edrisi_, I. 500; _J.A.S.B._ XIII. 657; _Lane's Ar. Nights_, ed. 1859,
III. 88; _Rem. Nouv. Mel. Asiat._ I. 183; _Raineri, Fior di Pensieri di
Ahmed Teifascite_, pp. 13 and 30; _Tzetzes, Chil._ XI. 376; _India in XVth
Cent._ pp. 29-30; _J. C. Scal. de Subtilitate_, CXIII. No. 3; _An. des
Voyages_, VIII. 195; _Garcias_, p. 71; _Transcaucasia_, p. 360; _J.A.S.B._
I. 354.)

The story has a considerable resemblance to that which Herodotus tells of
the way in which cinnamon was got by the Arabs (III. 111). No doubt the
two are ramifications of the same legend.

NOTE 3.--Here _buckram_ is clearly applied to fine cotton stuffs. The
districts about Masulipatam were long famous both for muslins and for
coloured chintzes. The fine muslins of _Masalia_ are mentioned in the
Periplus. Indeed even in the time of Sakya Muni Kalinga was already famous
for diaphanous muslins, as may be seen in a story related in the Buddhist
Annals. (_J.A.S.B._ VI. 1086.)



Lar is a Province lying towards the west when you quit the place where the
Body of St. Thomas lies; and all the _Abraiaman_ in the world come
from that province.[NOTE 1]

You must know that these Abraiaman are the best merchants in the world,
and the most truthful, for they would not tell a lie for anything on
earth. [If a foreign merchant who does not know the ways of the country
applies to them and entrusts his goods to them, they will take charge of
these, and sell them in the most loyal manner, seeking zealously the
profit of the foreigner and asking no commission except what he pleases to
bestow.] They eat no flesh, and drink no wine, and live a life of great
chastity, having intercourse with no women except with their wives; nor
would they on any account take what belongs to another; so their law
commands. And they are all distinguished by wearing a thread of cotton
over one shoulder and tied under the other arm, so that it crosses the
breast and the back.

They have a rich and powerful King who is eager to purchase precious
stones and large pearls; and he sends these Abraiaman merchants into the
kingdom of Maabar called Soli, which is the best and noblest Province of
India, and where the best pearls are found, to fetch him as many of these
as they can get, and he pays them double the cost price for all. So in
this way he has a vast treasure of such valuables.[NOTE 2]

These Abraiaman are Idolaters; and they pay greater heed to signs and
omens than any people that exists. I will mention as an example one of
their customs. To every day of the week they assign an augury of this
sort. Suppose that there is some purchase in hand, he who proposes to buy,
when he gets up in the morning takes note of his own shadow in the sun,
which he says ought to be on that day of such and such a length; and if
his shadow be of the proper length for the day he completes his purchase;
if not, he will on no account do so, but waits till his shadow corresponds
with that prescribed. For there is a length established for the shadow for
every individual day of the week; and the merchant will complete no
business unless he finds his shadow of the length set down for that
particular day. [Also to each day in the week they assign one unlucky
hour, which they term _Choiach_. For example, on Monday the hour of
Half-tierce, on Tuesday that of Tierce, on Wednesday Nones, and so
on.[NOTE 3]]

Again, if one of them is in the house, and is meditating a purchase,
should he see a tarantula (such as are very common in that country) on the
wall, provided it advances from a quarter that he deems lucky, he will
complete his purchase at once; but if it comes from a quarter that he
considers unlucky he will not do so on any inducement. Moreover, if in
going out, he hears any one sneeze, if it seems to him a good omen he will
go on, but if the reverse he will sit down on the spot where he is, as
long as he thinks that he ought to tarry before going on again. Or, if in
travelling along the road he sees a swallow fly by, should its direction
be lucky he will proceed, but if not he will turn back again; in fact
they are worse (in these whims) than so many Patarins![NOTE 4]

These Abraiaman are very long-lived, owing to their extreme abstinence in
eating. And they never allow themselves to be let blood in any part of the
body. They have capital teeth, which is owing to a certain herb they chew,
which greatly improves their appearance, and is also very good for the

There is another class of people called _Chughi_, who are indeed
properly Abraiaman, but they form a religious order devoted to the Idols.
They are extremely long-lived, every man of them living to 150 or 200
years. They eat very little, but what they do eat is good; rice and milk
chiefly. And these people make use of a very strange beverage; for they
make a potion of sulphur and quicksilver mixt together and this they drink
twice every month. This, they say, gives them long life; and it is a
potion they are used to take from their childhood.[NOTE 5]

There are certain members of this Order who lead the most ascetic life in
the world, going stark naked; and these worship the Ox. Most of them have
a small ox of brass or pewter or gold which they wear tied over the
forehead. Moreover they take cow-dung and burn it, and make a powder
thereof; and make an ointment of it, and daub themselves withal, doing
this with as great devotion as Christians do show in using Holy Water.
[Also if they meet any one who treats them well, they daub a little of
this powder on the middle of his forehead.[NOTE 6]]

They eat not from bowls or trenchers, but put their victuals on leaves of
the Apple of Paradise and other big leaves; these, however, they use dry,
never green. For they say the green leaves have a soul in them, and so it
would be a sin. And they would rather die than do what they deem their Law
pronounces to be sin. If any one asks how it comes that they are not
ashamed to go stark naked as they do, they say, "We go naked because naked
we came into the world, and we desire to have nothing about us that is of
this world. Moreover, we have no sin of the flesh to be conscious of, and
therefore we are not ashamed of our nakedness, any more than you are to
show your hand or your face. You who are conscious of the sins of the
flesh do well to have shame, and to cover your nakedness."

They would not kill an animal on any account, not even a fly, or a flea,
or a louse,[NOTE 7] or anything in fact that has life; for they say these
have all souls, and it would be sin to do so. They eat no vegetable in a
green state, only such as are dry. And they sleep on the ground stark
naked, without a scrap of clothing on them or under them, so that it is a
marvel they don't all die, in place of living so long as I have told you.
They fast every day in the year, and drink nought but water. And when a
novice has to be received among them they keep him awhile in their
convent, and make him follow their rule of life. And then, when they
desire to put him to the test, they send for some of those girls who are
devoted to the Idols, and make them try the continence of the novice with
their blandishments. If he remains indifferent they retain him, but if he
shows any emotion they expel him from their society. For they say they
will have no man of loose desires among them.

They are such cruel and perfidious Idolaters that it is very devilry! They
say that they burn the bodies of the dead, because if they were not burnt
worms would be bred which would eat the body; and when no more food
remained for them these worms would die, and the soul belonging to that
body would bear the sin and the punishment of their death. And that is why
they burn their dead!

Now I have told you about a great part of the people of the great Province
of Maabar and their customs; but I have still other things to tell of this
same Province of Maabar, so I will speak of a city thereof which is called

NOTE 1.--The form of the word _Abraiaman, -main or -min_, by which Marco
here and previously denotes the Brahmans, probably represents an incorrect
Arabic plural, such as _Abrahamin_; the correct Arabic form is

What is said here of the Brahmans coming from "_Lar_, a province west of
St. Thomas's," of their having a special King, etc., is all very obscure,
and that I suspect through erroneous notions.

Lar-Desa, "The Country of Lar," properly _Lat-desa_, was an early name for
the territory of Guzerat and the northern Konkan, embracing _Saimur_ (the
modern Chaul, as I believe), Tana, and Baroch. It appears in Ptolemy in
the form _Larike_. The sea to the west of that coast was in the early
Mahomedan times called the Sea of Lar, and the language spoken on its
shores is called by Mas'udi _Lari_. Abulfeda's authority, Ibn Said, speaks
of Lar and Guzerat as identical. That position would certainly be very ill
described as lying west of Madras. The kingdom most nearly answering to
that description in Polo's age would be that of the Bellal Rajas of Dwara
Samudra, which corresponded in a general way to modern Mysore. (_Mas'udi_,
I. 330, 381; II. 85; _Gildem._ 185; _Elliot_, I. 66.)

That Polo's ideas on this subject were incorrect seems clear from his
conception of the Brahmans as a class of _merchants_. Occasionally they
may have acted as such, and especially as agents; but the only case I can
find of Brahmans as a class adopting trade is that of the Konkani
Brahmans, and they are said to have taken this step when expelled from
Goa, which was their chief seat, by the Portuguese. Marsden supposes that
there has been confusion between Brahmans and Banyans; and, as Guzerat or
Lar was the country from which the latter chiefly came, there is much
probability in this.

The high virtues ascribed to the Brahmans and Indian merchants were
perhaps in part matter of tradition, come down from the stories of
Palladius and the like; but the eulogy is so constant among mediaeval
travellers that it must have had a solid foundation. In fact it would not
be difficult to trace a chain of similar testimony from ancient times down
to our own. Arrian says no Indian was ever accused of falsehood. Hiuen
Tsang ascribes to the people of India eminent uprightness, honesty, and
disinterestedness. Friar Jordanus (circa 1330) says the people of Lesser
India (Sind and Western India) were true in speech and eminent in justice;
and we may also refer to the high character given to the Hindus by Abul
Fazl. After 150 years of European trade indeed we find a sad
deterioration. Padre Vincenzo (1672) speaks of fraud as greatly prevalent
among the Hindu traders. It was then commonly said at Surat that it took
three Jews to make a Chinaman, and three Chinamen to make a Banyan. Yet
Pallas, in the last century, noticing the Banyan colony at Astrakhan, says
its members were notable for an upright dealing that made them greatly
preferable to Armenians. And that wise and admirable public servant, the
late Sir William Sleeman, in our own time, has said that he knew no class
of men in the world more strictly honourable than the mercantile classes
of India.

We know too well that there is a very different aspect of the matter. All
extensive intercourse between two races far asunder in habits and ideas,
seems to be demoralising in some degrees to both parties, especially to
the weaker. But can we say that deterioration has been all on one side? In
these days of lying labels and plastered shirtings does the character of
English trade and English goods stand as high in Asia as it did half a
century ago! (_Pel. Boudd._ II. 83; _Jordanus_, p. 22; _Ayeen Akb._ III.
8; _P. Vincenzo_, p. 114; _Pallas, Beytraege_, III. 85; _Rambles and
Recns._ II. 143.)

NOTE 2.--The kingdom of Maabar called _Soli_ is CHOLA or SOLADESAM, of
which Kanchi (Conjeveram) was the ancient capital.[1] In the Ceylon
Annals the continental invaders are frequently termed _Solli_. The high
terms of praise applied to it as "the best and noblest province of India,"
seem to point to the well-watered fertility of Tanjore; but what is said
of the pearls would extend the territory included to the shores of the
Gulf of Manar.

NOTE 3.--Abraham Roger gives from the Calendar of the Coromandel Brahmans
the character, lucky or unlucky, of every hour of every day of the week;
and there is also a chapter on the subject in _Sonnerat_ (I. 304 seqq.).
For a happy explanation of the term _Choiach_ I am indebted to Dr.
Caldwell: "This apparently difficult word can be identified much more
easily than most others. Hindu astrologers teach that there is an unlucky
hour every day in the month, i.e. during the period of the moon's abode
in every _nakshatra_, or lunar mansion, throughout the lunation. This
inauspicious period is called _Tyajya_, 'rejected.' Its mean length is one
hour and thirty-six minutes, European time. The precise moment when this
period commences differs in each nakshatra, or (which comes to the same
thing) in every day in the lunar month. It sometimes occurs in the daytime
and sometimes at night;--see _Colonel Warren's Kala Sankatila_, Madras,
1825, p. 388. The Tamil pronunciation of the word is _tiyacham_, and when
the nominative case-termination of the word is rejected, as all the Tamil
case-terminations were by the Mahomedans, who were probably Marco Polo's
informants, it becomes _tiyach_, to which form of the word Marco's
_Choiach_ is as near as could be expected." (MS. Note.)[2]

The phrases used in the passage from Ramusio to express the time of day
are taken from the canonical hours of prayer. The following passage from
_Robert de Borron's Romance of Merlin_ illustrates these terms: Gauvain
"quand il se levoit le matin, avoit la force al millor chevalier del
monde; et quant vint a heure de prime si li doubloit, et a heure de tierce
aussi; et quant il vint a eure de midi si revenoit a sa premiere force ou
il avoit este le matin; et quant vint a eure de nonne et a toutes les
seures de la nuit estoit-il toudis en sa premiere force." (Quoted in
introd. to _Messir Gauvain_, etc., edited by _C. Hippeau_, Paris, 1862,
pp. xii.-xiii.) The term _Half Tierce_ is frequent in mediaeval Italian,
e.g. in Dante:--

"Levati sut disse'l Maestro, in piede:
La via e lunga, e'l cammino e malvagio:
E gia il Sole a mezza terza riede." (Inf. xxxiv,)

_Half-prime_ we have in Chaucer:--

"Say forth thy tale and tary not the time
Lo Depeford, and it is half way prime."
--(Reeve's Prologue.)

Definitions of these terms as given by Sir H. Nicolas and Mr. Thomas
Wright (_Chron. of Hist._ p. 195, and _Marco Polo_, p. 392) do not agree
with those of Italian authorities; perhaps in the north they were applied
with variation. Dante dwells on the matter in two passages of his
_Convito_ (Tratt. III. cap. 6, and Tratt. IV. cap. 23); and the following
diagram elucidates the terms in accordance with his words, and with other
Italian authority, oral and literary:--

"_Te lucis ante terminum._"

X 12 6
Compieta. .
* 11 5
Mezza-Vespro. .
* 10 4
Vespro. X 9 3
. E
. c
* 8 c 2 P.M.
. l
Mezza-Nona. . e C
. s i
* 7 i 1 v
. a i
Nona. . s l
. t
# 6 i 12
. c H
Sesta. . a o
. l u
* 5 11 r
. H s
. o
. u A.M.
* 4 r 10
. s
Terza. .
X 3 9
* 2 8
Mezza-Terza. .
* 1 7
Prima. .
X 12 6

"_Jam Lucis orto Sidere._"

NOTE 4.--Valentyn mentions among what the Coromandel Hindus reckon unlucky
rencounters which will induce a man to turn back on the road: an empty
can, buffaloes, donkeys, a dog or he-goat _without_ food in his mouth, a
monkey, a loose hart, a goldsmith, a carpenter, a barber, a tailor, a
cotton-cleaner, a smith, a widow, a corpse, a person coming from a funeral
without having washed or changed, men carrying butter, oil, sweet milk,
molasses, acids, iron, or weapons of war. Lucky objects to meet are an
elephant, a camel, a laden cart, an unladen horse, a cow or bullock laden
with water (if unladen 'tis an ill omen), a dog or he-goat _with_ food in
the mouth, a cat on the right hand, one carrying meat, curds, or sugar,
etc., etc. (p. 91). (See also _Sonnerat_, I. 73.)

NOTE 5.--_Chughi_ of course stands for JOGI, used loosely for any Hindu
ascetic. Arghun Khan of Persia (see Prologue, ch. xvii.), who was much
given to alchemy and secret science, had asked of the Indian Bakhshis how
they prolonged their lives to such an extent. They assured him that a
mixture of sulphur and mercury was the Elixir of Longevity. Arghun
accordingly took this precious potion for eight months;--and died shortly
after! (See _Hammer_, _Ilkhans_, I. 391-393, and _Q.R._ p. 194.) Bernier
mentions wandering Jogis who had the art of preparing mercury so admirably
that one or two grains taken every morning restored the body to perfect
health (II. 130). The _Mercurius Vitae_ of Paracelsus, which, according to
him, renewed youth, was composed chiefly of mercury and antimony.
(_Opera_, II. 20.) Sulphur and mercury, combined under different
conditions and proportions, were regarded by the Alchemists both of East
and West as the origin of all the metals. Quicksilver was called the
mother of the metals, and sulphur the father. (See _Vincent. Bellov. Spec.
Natur._ VII. c. 60, 62, and _Bl. Ain-i-Akbari_, p. 40.)

[We read in Ma Huan's account of Cochin (_J.R.A.S._ April, 1896, p.
343): "Here also is another class of men, called Chokis (Yogi), who lead
austere lives like the Taoists of China, but who, however, are married.
These men from the time they are born do not have their heads shaved or
combed, but plait their hair into several tails, which hang over their
shoulders; they wear no clothes, but round their waists they fasten a
strip of rattan, over which they hang a piece of white calico; they carry
a conch-shell, which they blow as they go along the road; they are
accompanied by their wives, who simply wear a small bit of cotton cloth
round their loins. Alms of rice and money are given to them by the people
whose houses they visit."

(See _F. Bernier_, _Voy._, ed. 1699, II., _Des Gentils de l'Hindoustan_,
pp. 97, seqq.)

We read in the _Nine Heavens_ of Amir Khusru (_Elliot_, III. p. 563): "A
_jogi_ who could restrain his breath in this way (diminishing the daily
number of their expirations of breath) lived in an idol to an age of more
than three hundred and fifty years."

"I have read in a book that certain chiefs of Turkistan sent ambassadors
with letters to the Kings of India on the following mission, viz.: that
they, the chiefs, had been informed that in India drugs were procurable
which possessed the property of prolonging human life, by the use of which
the King of India attained to a very great age ... and the chiefs of
Turkistan begged that some of this medicine might be sent to them, and
also information as to the method by which the Rais preserved their health
so long." (_Elliot_, II. p. 174.)--H.C.]

"The worship of the ox is still common enough, but I can find no trace of
the use of the effigy worn on the forehead. The two Tam Pundits whom I
consulted, said that there was no trace of the custom in Tamil literature,
but they added that the usage was so truly Hindu in character, and was so
particularly described, that they had no doubt it prevailed in the time of
the person who described it." (_MS. Note by the Rev. Dr. Caldwell_.)

I may add that the _Jangams_, a Linga-worshipping sect of Southern India,
wear a copper or silver _linga_ either round the neck _or on the forehead_.
The name of Jangam means "movable," and refers to their wearing and
worshipping the portable symbol instead of the fixed one like the proper
Saivas. (_Wilson, Mack. Coll._ II. 3; _J.R.A.S._ N.S.V. 142 seqq.)

NOTE 6.--In G.T. _proques_, which the Glossary to that edition absurdly
renders _porc_; it is some form apparently of _pidocchio_.

NOTE 7.--It would seem that there is no eccentricity of man in any part of
the world for which a close parallel shall not be found in some other
part. Such strange probation as is here spoken of, appears to have had too
close a parallel in the old Celtic Church, and perhaps even, at an earlier
date, in the Churches of Africa. (See _Todd's Life of St. Patrick_, p. 91,
note and references, and _Saturday Review_ of 13th July, 1867, p. 65.) The
latter describes a system absolutely like that in the text, but does not
quote authorities.

[1] From Sola was formed apparently _Sola-mandala_, or _Cholatnandala_,
which the Portuguese made into Choromandel and the Dutch into

[2] I may add that possibly the real reading may have been _thoiach_.



Cail is a great and noble city, and belongs to ASHAR, the eldest of the
five brother Kings. It is at this city that all the ships touch that come
from the west, as from Hormos and from Kis and from Aden, and all Arabia,
laden with horses and with other things for sale. And this brings a great
concourse of people from the country round about, and so there is great
business done in this city of Cail.[NOTE 1]

The King possesses vast treasures, and wears upon his person great store
of rich jewels. He maintains great state and administers his kingdom with
great equity, and extends great favour to merchants and foreigners, so
that they are very glad to visit his city.[NOTE 2]

This King has some 300 wives; for in those parts the man who has most
wives is most thought of.

As I told you before, there are in this great province of Maabar five
crowned Kings, who are all own brothers born of one father and of one
mother, and this king is one of them. Their mother is still living. And
when they disagree and go forth to war against one another, their mother
throws herself between them to prevent their fighting. And should they
persist in desiring to fight, she will take a knife and threaten that if
they will do so she will cut off the paps that suckled them and rip open
the womb that bare them, and so perish before their eyes. In this way hath
she full many a time brought them to desist. But when she dies it will
most assuredly happen that they will fall out and destroy one
another.[NOTE 3]

[All the people of this city, as well as of the rest of India, have a
custom of perpetually keeping in the mouth a certain leaf called
_Tembul_, to gratify a certain habit and desire they have,
continually chewing it and spitting out the saliva that it excites. The
Lords and gentlefolks and the King have these leaves prepared with camphor
and other aromatic spices, and also mixt with quicklime. And this practice
was said to be very good for the health.[NOTE 4] If any one desires to
offer a gross insult to another, when he meets him he spits this leaf or
its juice in his face. The other immediately runs before the King, relates
the insult that has been offered him, and demands leave to fight the
offender. The King supplies the arms, which are sword and target, and all
the people flock to see, and there the two fight till one of them is
killed. They must not use the point of the sword, for this the King
forbids.][NOTE 5]

NOTE 1.--KAIL, now forgotten, was long a famous port on the coast of what
is now the Tinnevelly District of the Madras Presidency. It is mentioned
as a port of Ma'bar by our author's contemporary Rashiduddin, though the
name has been perverted by careless transcription into _Bawal_ and
_Kabal_. (See _Elliot_, I. pp. 69, 72.) It is also mistranscribed as
_Kabil_ in Quatremere's publication of Abdurrazzak, who mentions it as "a
place situated opposite the island of Serendib, otherwise called Ceylon,"
and as being the extremity of what he was led to regard as Malabar (p.
19). It is mentioned as _Cahila_, the site of the pearl-fishery, by Nicolo
Conti (p. 7). The _Roteiro_ of Vasco da Gama notes it as _Caell_, a state
having a Mussulman King and a Christian (for which read _Kafir_) people.
Here were many pearls. Giovanni d'Empoli notices it (_Gael_) also for the
pearl-fishery, as do Varthema and Barbosa. From the latter we learn that
it was still a considerable seaport, having rich Mahomedan merchants, and
was visited by many ships from Malabar, Coromandel, and Bengal. In the
time of the last writers it belonged to the King of Kaulam, who generally
resided at Kail.

The real site of this once celebrated port has, I believe, till now never
been identified in any published work. I had supposed the still existing
Kayalpattanam to have been in all probability the place, and I am again
indebted to the kindness of the Rev. Dr. Caldwell for conclusive and most
interesting information on this subject. He writes:

"There are no relics of ancient greatness in Kayalpattanam, and no
traditions of foreign trade, and it is admitted by its inhabitants to be a
place of recent origin, which came into existence after the abandonment of
the true Kayal. They state also that the name of Kayalpattanam has only
recently been given to it, as a reminiscence of the older city, and that
its original name was Sonagarpattanam.[1] There is another small port in
the same neighbourhood, a little to the north of Kayalpattanam, called
Pinna Cael in the maps, properly Punnei-Kayal, from _Punnei_, the Indian
Laurel; but this is also a place of recent origin, and many of the
inhabitants of this place, as of Kayalpattanam, state that their ancestors
came originally from Kayal, subsequently to the removal of the Portuguese
from that place to Tuticorin.

"The Cail of Marco Polo, commonly called in the neighbourhood _Old Kayal_,
and erroneously named _Koil_ in the Ordnance Map of India, is situated on
the Tamraparni River, about a mile and a half from its mouth. The Tamil
word _kayal_ means 'a backwater, a lagoon,' and the map shows the
existence of a large number of these _kayals_ or backwaters near the mouth
of the river. Many of these kayals have now dried up more or less
completely, and in several of them salt-pans have been established. The
name of Kayal was naturally given to a town erected on the margin of a
_kayal_; and this circumstance occasioned also the adoption of the name of
Punnei Kayal, and served to give currency to the name of Kayalpattanam
assumed by Sonagarpattanam, both those places being in the vicinity of

"KAYAL stood originally on or near the sea-beach, but it is now about a
mile and a half inland, the sand carried down by the river having silted
up the ancient harbour, and formed a waste sandy tract between the sea and
the town. It has now shrunk into a petty village, inhabited partly by
Mahommedans and partly by Roman Catholic fishermen of the Parava caste,
with a still smaller hamlet adjoining inhabited by Brahmans and Vellalars;
but unlikely as the place may now seem to have been identical with 'the
great and noble city' described by Marco Polo, its identity is established
by the relics of its ancient greatness which it still retains. Ruins of
old fortifications, temples, storehouses, wells and tanks, are found
everywhere along the coast for two or three miles north of the village of
Kayal, and a mile and a half inland; the whole plain is covered with
broken tiles and remnants of pottery, chiefly of China manufacture, and
several mounds are apparent, in which, besides the shells of the
pearl-oyster and broken pottery, mineral drugs (cinnabar, brimstone, etc.),
such as are sold in the bazaars of sea-port towns, and a few ancient coins
have been found. I send you herewith an interesting coin discovered in one
of those mounds by Mr. R. Puckle, collector of Tinnevelly.[2]

"The people of the place have forgotten the existence of any trade between
Kayal and China, though the China pottery that lies all about testifies to
its existence at some former period; but they retain a distinct tradition
of its trade with the Arabian and Persian coasts, as vouched for by Marco
Polo, that trade having in some degree survived to comparatively recent
times.... Captain Phipps, the Master Attendant at Tuticorin, says: 'The
roadstead of Old Cael (Kayal) is still used by native craft when upon the
coast and meeting with south winds, from which it is sheltered. The depth
of water is 16 to 14 feet; I fancy years ago it was deeper.... There is a
surf on the bar at the entrance (of the river), but boats go through it at
all times.'

* * * * *

"I am tempted to carry this long account of Kayal a little further, so as
to bring to light the _Kolkhoi_ [[Greek: kolchoi emporion]] of the Greek
merchants, the situation of the older city being nearly identical with
that of the more modern one. _Kolkhoi_, described by Ptolemy and the
author of the Periplus as an emporium of the pearl-trade, as situated on
the sea-coast to the east of Cape Comorin, and as giving its name to the
Kolkhic Gulf or Gulf of Manaar, has been identified by Lassen with
Keelkarei; but this identification is merely conjectural, founded on
nothing better than a slight apparent resemblance in the names. Lassen
could not have failed to identify Kolkhoi with KORKAI, the mother-city of
Kayal, if he had been acquainted with its existence and claims. Korkai,
properly KOLKAI (the _l_ being changed into _r_ by a modern refinement--it
is still called _Kolka_ in Malayalam), holds an important place in Tamil
traditions, being regarded as the birthplace of the Pandyan Dynasty, the
place where the princes of that race ruled previously to their removal to
Madura. One of the titles of the Pandyan Kings is 'Ruler of Korkai.'
Korkai is situated two or three miles inland from Kayal, higher up the
river. It is not marked in the Ordnance Map of India, but a village in the
immediate neighbourhood of it, called _Maramangalam_, 'the Good-fortune of
the Pandyas,' will be found in the map. This place, together with several
others in the neighbourhood, on both sides of the river, is proved by
inscriptions and relics to have been formerly included in Korkai, and the
whole intervening space between Korkai and Kayal exhibits traces of
ancient dwellings. The people of Kayal maintain that their city was
originally so large as to include Korkai, but there is much more
probability in the tradition of the people of Korkai, which is to the
effect that Korkai itself was originally a sea-port; that as the sea
retired it became less and less suitable for trade, that Kayal rose as
Korkai fell, and that at length, as the sea continued to retire, Kayal
also was abandoned. They add that the trade for which the place was famous
in ancient times was the trade in pearls." In an article in the _Madras
Journal_ (VII. 379) it is stated that at the great Siva Pagoda at
Tinnevelly the earth used ceremonially at the annual festival is brought
from Korkai, but no position is indicated.

NOTE 2.--Dr. Caldwell again brings his invaluable aid:--

"Marco Polo represents Kayal as being governed by a king whom he calls
_Asciar_ (a name which you suppose to be intended to be pronounced
_Ashar_), and says that this king of Kayal was the elder brother of
Sonderbandi, the king of that part of the district of Maabar where he
landed. There is a distinct tradition, not only amongst the people now
inhabiting Kayal, but in the district of Tinnevelly generally, that Kayal,
during the period of its greatness, was ruled by a king. This king is
sometimes spoken of as one of 'the Five Kings' who reigned in various
parts of Tinnevelly, but whether he was independent of the King of Madura,
or only a viceroy, the people cannot now say.... The tradition of the
people of Kayal is that ... _Sur-Raja_ was the name of the last king of
the place. They state that this last king was a Mahommedan, ... but though
Sur-Raja does not sound like the name of a Mahommedan prince, they all
agree in asserting that this was his name.... Can this Sur be the person
whom Marco calls Asciar? Probably not, as Asciar seems to have been a
Hindu by religion. I have discovered what appears to be a more probable
identification in the name of a prince mentioned in an inscription on the
walls of a temple at Sri-Vaikuntham, a town on the Tamraparni R., about 20
miles from Kayal. In the inscription in question a donation to the temple
is recorded as having been given in the time of '_Asadia-deva called also
Surya-deva_' This name 'Asadia' is neither Sanskrit nor Tamil; and as the
hard _d_ is often changed into _r_, Marco's _Ashar_ may have been an
attempt to render this _Asad_. If this Asadia or Surya-deva were really
Sundara-pandi-deva's brother, he must have ruled over a narrow range of
country, probably over Kayal alone, whilst his more eminent brother was
alive; for there is an inscription on the walls of a temple at
Sindamangalam, a place only a few miles from Kayal, which records a
donation made to the place 'in the reign of Sundara-pandi-deva.'"[3]

NOTE 3.--["O aljofar, e perolas, que me manda que lha enuic, nom as posso
auer, que as ha em Ceylao e Caille, que sao as fontes dellas: compralashia
do meu sangue, a do meu dinheiro, que o tenho porque vos me daes." (Letter
of the Viceroy Dom Francisco to the King, Anno de 1508). (_G. Correa,
Lendas da India_, I. pp. 908-909.)--_Note by Yule_.]

NOTE 4.--_Tembul_ is the Persian name for the betel-leaf or _pan_, from
the Sanskrit _Tambula_. The latter is also used in Tamul, though
_Vettilei_ is the proper Tamul word, whence _Betel_ (_Dr. Caldwell_).
Marsden supposes the mention of camphor among the ingredients with which
the pan is prepared to be a mistake, and suggests as a possible origin of
the error that _kapur_ in the Malay language means not only camphor but
quicklime. This is curious, but in addition to the fact that the lime is
mentioned in the text, there seems ample evidence that his doubt about
camphor is unfounded.

Garcia de Orta says distinctly: "In chewing _betre_ ... they mix areca
with it and a little lime.... Some add _Licio_ (i.e. catechu), _but the
rich and grandees add some Borneo camphor_, and some also lign-aloes,
musk, and ambergris" (31 v. and 32). _Abdurrazzak_ also says: "The manner
of eating it is as follows: They bruise a portion of _faufel_ (areca),
otherwise called _sipari_, and put it in the mouth. Moistening a leaf of
the betel, together with a grain of lime, they rub the one upon the other,
roll them together, and then place them in the mouth. They thus take as
many as four leaves of betel at a time and chew them. _Sometimes they add
camphor to it_" (p. 32). And Abul Fazl: "They also put some betel-nut and
_kath_ (catechu) on one leaf, and some lime-paste on another, and roll
them up; this is called _a berah. Some put camphor and musk into it_, and
tie both leaves with a silk thread," etc. (See _Blochmann's Transl._ p.
73.) Finally one of the Chinese notices of Kamboja, translated by Abel
Remusat, says: "When a guest comes it is usual to present him with _areca,
camphor, and other aromatics_." (_Nouv. Mel._ I. 84.)

[Illustration: Map showing the position of the Kingdom of ELY in MALABAR]

[Illustration: Sketch showing the position of KAYAL in TINNEVELLY]

NOTE 5.--This is the only passage of Ramusio's version, so far as I know,
that suggests interpolation from a recent author, as distinguished from
mere editorial modification. There is in Barbosa a description of the
_duello_ as practised in Canara, which is rather too like this one.

[1] "Sonagar or Jonagar is a Tamil corruption of _Yavanar_, the Yavanas,
the name by which the Arabs were known, and is the name most commonly
used in the Tamil country to designate the mixed race descended from
Arab colonists, who are called _Mapillas_ on the Malabar coast, and
_Lubbies_ in the neighbourhood of Madras." (Dr. C.'s note)

[2] I am sorry to say that the coin never reached its destination. In the
latter part of 1872 a quantity of treasure was found near Kayal by the
labourers on irrigation works. Much of it was dispersed without coming
under intelligent eyes, and most of the coins recovered were Arabic.
One, however, is stated to have been a coin of "Joanna of Castille,
A.D. 1236." (_Allen's India Mail_, 5th January, 1874.) There is no such
queen. Qu. Joanna I. of _Navarre_ (1274-1276)? or Joanna II. of
_Navarre_ (1328-1336)?

[3] See above, p. 334, as to Dr. Caldwell's view of Polo's Sonderbandi. May
not _Ashar_ very well represent _Ashadha_, "invincible," among the
applications of which Williams gives "N. of a prince". I observe also
that _Aschar_ (Sansk. _Aschariya_ "marvellous") is the name of one of
the objects of worship in the dark _Sakti_ system, once apparently
potent in S. India. (See _Taylor's Catalogue Raisonne_, II. 414, 423,
426, 443, and remark p. xlix.)

["Ils disent donc que Dieu qu'ils appellent _Achar_, c'est-a-dire,
immobile ou immuable." (_F. Bernier, Voy._, ed. 1699, II. p.
134.)--_MS. Note_.--H.Y.]



When you quit Maabar and go 500 miles towards the south-west you come to
the kingdom of COILUM. The people are Idolaters, but there are also some
Christians and some Jews. The natives have a language of their own, and a
King of their own, and are tributary to no one.[NOTE 1]

A great deal of brazil is got here which is called _brazil Coilumin_
from the country which produces it; 'tis of very fine quality.[NOTE 2]
Good ginger also grows here, and it is known by the same name of
_Coilumin_ after the country.[NOTE 3] Pepper too grows in great
abundance throughout this country, and I will tell you how. You must know
that the pepper-trees are (not wild but) cultivated, being regularly
planted and watered; and the pepper is gathered in the months of May,
June, and July. They have also abundance of very fine indigo. This is made
of a certain herb which is gathered, and [after the roots have been
removed] is put into great vessels upon which they pour water and then
leave it till the whole of the plant is decomposed. They then put this
liquid in the sun, which is tremendously hot there, so that it boils and
coagulates, and becomes such as we see it. [They then divide it into
pieces of four ounces each, and in that form it is exported to our parts.]
[NOTE 4] And I assure you that the heat of the sun is so great there that
it is scarcely to be endured; in fact if you put an egg into one of the
rivers it will be boiled, before you have had time to go any distance, by
the mere heat of the sun!

The merchants from Manzi, and from Arabia, and from the Levant come
thither with their ships and their merchandise and make great profits both
by what they import and by what they export.

There are in this country many and divers beasts quite different from
those of other parts of the world. Thus there are lions black all over,
with no mixture of any other colour; and there are parrots of many sorts,
for some are white as snow with red beak and feet, and some are red, and
some are blue, forming the most charming sight in the world; there are
green ones too. There are also some parrots of exceeding small size,
beautiful creatures.[NOTE 5] They have also very beautiful peacocks,
larger than ours, and different; and they have cocks and hens quite
different from ours; and what more shall I say? In short, everything they
have is different from ours, and finer and better. Neither is their fruit
like ours, nor their beasts, nor their birds; and this difference all
comes of the excessive heat.

Corn they have none but rice. So also their wine they make from [palm-]
sugar; capital drink it is, and very speedily it makes a man drunk. All
other necessaries of man's life they have in great plenty and cheapness.
They have very good astrologers and physicians. Man and woman, they are
all black, and go naked, all save a fine cloth worn about the middle. They
look not on any sin of the flesh as a sin. They marry their cousins
german, and a man takes his brother's wife after the brother's death; and
all the people of India have this custom.[NOTE 6]

There is no more to tell you there; so we will proceed, and I will tell
you of another country called Comari.

NOTE 1.--Futile doubts were raised by Baldelli Boni and Hugh Murray as to
the position of COILUM, because of Marco's mentioning it before Comari or
Cape Comorin; and they have insisted on finding a Coilum to the _east_ of
that promontory. There is, however, in reality, no room for any question on
this subject. For ages Coilum, Kaulam, or, as we now write it, Quilon, and
properly Kollam, was one of the greatest ports of trade with Western
Asia.[1] The earliest mention of it that I can indicate is in a letter
written by the Nestorian Patriarch, Jesujabus of Adiabene, who died A.D.
660, to Simon Metropolitan of Fars, blaming his neglect of duty, through
which he says, not only is India, "which extends from the coast of the
Kingdom of Fars to COLON, a distance of 1200 parasangs, deprived of a
regular ministry, but Fars itself is lying in darkness." (_Assem._ III. pt.
ii. 437.) The same place appears in the earlier part of the Arab
_Relations_ (A.D. 851) as _Kaulam-Male_, the port of India made by vessels
from Maskat, and already frequented by great Chinese Junks.

Abulfeda defines the position of Kaulam as at the extreme end of
_Balad-ul-Falfal_, i.e. the Pepper country or Malabar, as you go eastward,
standing on an inlet of the sea, in a sandy plain, adorned with many
gardens. The brazil-tree grew there, and the Mahomedans had a fine mosque
and square. Ibn Batuta also notices the fine mosque, and says the city was
one of the finest in Malabar, with splendid markets and rich merchants, and
was the chief resort of the Chinese traders in India. Odoric describes it
as "at the extremity of the Pepper Forest towards the south," and
astonishing in the abundance of its merchandise. Friar Jordanus of Severac
was there as a missionary some time previous to 1328, in which year he was
at home; [on the 21st of August, 1329, he] was nominated Bishop of the See
of Kaulam, Latinised as _Columbum_ or _Columbus_ [created by John XXII. on
the 9th of August of the same year--H.C.]. Twenty years later John
Marignolli visited "the very noble city of Columbum, where the whole
world's pepper is produced," and found there a Latin church of St. George,
probably founded by Jordanus.[2] Kaulam or Coilon continued to be an
important place to the beginning of the 16th century, when Varthema speaks
of it as a fine port, and Barbosa as "a very great city," with a very good
haven, and with many great merchants, Moors and Gentoos, whose ships traded
to all the Eastern ports as far as Bengal, Pegu, and the Archipelago. But
after this its decay must have been rapid, and in the following century it
had sunk into entire insignificance. Throughout the Middle Ages it appears
to have been one of the chief seats of the St. Thomas Christians. Indeed
both it and Kayal were two out of the seven ancient churches which Indo
Syrian tradition ascribed to St. Thomas himself.[3]

[Illustration: Ancient Christian Church at Parur on the Malabar coast.
(After Claudius Buchanan.)]

I have been desirous to give some illustration of the churches of that
interesting body, certain of which must date from a very remote period, but
I have found unlooked for difficulties in procuring such illustration.
Several are given in the Life of Dr. Claudius Buchanan from his own
sketches, and a few others in the Life of Bishop D. Wilson. But nearly all
represent the churches as they were perverted in the 17th century and
since, by a coarse imitation of a style of architecture bad enough in its
genuine form. I give, after Buchanan, the old church at Parur, not far from
Cranganore, which had escaped masquerade, with one from Bishop Wilson's
Life, showing the quasi Jesuit deformation alluded to, and an interior also
from the latter work, which appears to have some trace of genuine
character. Parur church is probably _Palur_, or _Pazhur_, which is one of
those ascribed to St. Thomas, for Dr. Buchanan says it bears the name of
the Apostle, and "is supposed to be the oldest in Malabar." (_Christ. Res._
p. 113.)

[Quilon is "one of the oldest towns on the coast, from whose re-foundation
in 1019 A.D., Travancore reckons its era." (_Hunter_, _Gaz._, XI., p.

_How_ Polo comes to mention Coilum before Comari is a question that will be
treated further on, with other misplacements of like kind that occur in
succeeding chapters.

[Illustration: Syrian Church at Caranyachirra (from "Life of Bp. D.
Wilson"), showing the quasi-Jesuit facade generally adopted in modern

[Illustration: Interior of Syrian Church at Kutteiyan in Travancore. (From
"Life of Bp. D. Wilson.")]

Kublai had a good deal of diplomatic intercourse of his usual kind with
Kaulam. De Mailla mentions the arrival at T'swan chau (or Zayton) in 1282
of envoys from KIULAN, an Indian State, bringing presents of various
rarities, including a black ape as big as a man. The Emperor had three
times sent thither an officer called Yang Ting-pi (IX. 415). Some rather
curious details of these missions are extracted by Pauthier from the
Chinese Annals. The royal residence is in these called _A-pu-'hota_[4]
The king is styled _Pinati_. I may note that Barbosa also tells us that
the King of Kaulam was called Benate-deri (_devar?_). And Dr. Caldwell's
kindness enables me to explain this title. _Pinati_ or _Benate_ represents
_Venadan_. "the Lord of the Venadu," or _Venattu_, that being the name of
the district to which belonged the family of the old kings of Kollam, and
_Venadan_ being their regular dynastic name. The Rajas of Travancore who
superseded the Kings of Kollam, and inherit their titles, are still
poetically styled Venadan. (_Pauthier_, p. 603 seqq.; _Ram._ I. f. 304.)

NOTE 2.--The brazil-wood of Kaulam appears in the Commercial Handbook of
Pegolotti (circa 1340) as _Verzino Colombino_, and under the same name
in that of Giov. d'Uzzano a century later. Pegolotti in one passage
details kinds of brazil under the names of _Verzino salvatico_,
_dimestico_, and _columbino_. In another passage, where he enters into
particulars as to the respective values of different qualities, he names
three kinds, as _Colomni_, _Ameri_, and _Seni_, of which the _Colomni_ (or
Colombino) was worth a sixth more than the _Ameri_ and three times as much
as the _Seni_. I have already conjectured that _Ameri_ may stand for
_Lameri_ referring to Lambri in Sumatra (supra ch. xi., note 1); and
perhaps _Seni_ is _Sini_ or Chinese, indicating an article brought to
India by the Chinese traders, probably from Siam.

We have seen in the last note that the Kaulam brazil is spoken of by
Abulfeda; and Ibn Batuta, in describing his voyage by the back waters from
Calicut to Kaulam, says: "All the trees that grow by this river are either
cinnamon or brazil trees. They use these for firewood, and we cooked with
them throughout our journey." Friar Odoric makes the same hyperbolic
statement: "Here they burn brazil-wood for fuel."

It has been supposed popularly that the brazil-wood of commerce took its
name from the great country so called; but the _verzino_ of the old
Italian writers is only a form of the same word, and _bresil_ is in fact
the word used by Polo. So Chaucer:--

"Him nedeth not his colour for to dien
With _brazil_, ne with grain of Portingale."
--_The Nun's Priests Tale_.

The _Eastern_ wood in question is now known in commerce by its Malay name
of _Sappan_ (properly _Sapang_), which again is identical with the Tamil
name _Sappangi_. This word properly means _Japan_, and seems to have been
given to the wood as a supposed product of that region.[5] It is the wood
of the _Caesalpinia Sapan_, and is known in Arabic (and in Hindustani) as
_Bakam_. It is a thorny tree, indigenous in Western India from Goa to
Trevandrum, and growing luxuriantly in South Malabar. It is extensively
used by native dyers, chiefly for common and cheap cloths, and for fine
mats. The dye is precipitated dark-brown with iron, and red with alum. It
is said, in Western India, to furnish the red powder thrown about on the
Hindu feast of the _Huli_. The tree is both wild and cultivated, and is
grown rather extensively by the Mahomedans of Malabar, called _Moplahs_
(_Mapillas_, see p. 372), whose custom it is to plant a number of seeds at
the birth of a daughter. The trees require fourteen or fifteen years to
come to maturity, and then become the girl's dowry.

Though to a great extent superseded by the kindred wood from Pernambuco,
the sappan is still a substantial object of importation into England. That
American dye-stuff which _now_ bears the name of brazil-wood is believed
to be the produce of at least two species of Caesalpinia, but the question
seems to partake of the singular obscurity which hangs over the origin of
so many useful drugs and dye-stuffs. The variety called _Braziletto_ is
from _C. bahamensis_, a native of the Bahamas.

The name of Brazil has had a curious history. Etymologists refer it to the
colour of braise or hot coals, and its first application was to this
dye-wood from the far East. Then it was applied to a newly-discovered tract
of South America, perhaps because producing a kindred dye-wood in large
quantities: finally the original wood is robbed of its name, which is
monopolised by that imported from the new country. The Region of Brazil had
been originally styled _Santa Cruz_, and De Barros attributes the change of
name to the suggestion of the Evil One, "as if the name of a wood for
colouring cloth were of more moment than that of the Wood which imbues the
Sacraments with the tincture of Salvation."

There may perhaps be a doubt if the Land of Brazil derived its name from
the dye-wood. For the Isle of Brazil, long before the discovery of America,
was a name applied to an imaginary Island in the Atlantic. This island
appears in the map of Andrea Bianco and in many others, down at least to
Coronelli's splendid Venetian Atlas (1696); the Irish used to fancy that
they could see it from the Isles of Arran; and the legend of this Island of
Brazil still persisted among sailors in the last century.[6] The story was
no doubt the same as that of the green Island, or Island of Youth, which
Mr. Campbell tells us the Hebrideans see to the west of their own Islands.
(See _Pop. Tales of West Highlands_, IV. 163. For previous references,
_Delia Decirna,_, III. 298, 361; IV. 60; I.B. IV. 99; _Cathay_, p. 77;
_Note by Dr. H. Gleghorn_; _Marsh's ed. of Wedgwood's Etym. Dict._ I. 123;
_Southey, H. of Brazil_, I. 22.)

NOTE 3.--This is the _Colombine_ ginger which appears not unfrequently in
mediaeval writings. Pegolotti tells us that "ginger is of several sorts,
to wit, _Belledi_, _Colombino_, and _Mecchino_. And these names are
bestowed from the producing countries, at least this is the case with the
_Colombino_ and _Mecchino_, for the _Belledi_ is produced in many
districts of India. The Colombino grows in the Island of Colombo of India,
and has a smooth, delicate, ash-coloured rind; whilst the Mecchino comes
from the districts about Mecca and is a small kind, hard to cut," etc.
(_Delia Dec._ III. 359.) A century later, in G. da Uzzano, we still find
the _Colombino_ and _Belladi_ ginger (IV. 111, 210, etc.). The _Baladi_ is
also mentioned by Rashiduddin as an export of Guzerat, and by Barbosa and
others as one of Calicut in the beginning of the 16th century. The
_Mecchino_ too is mentioned again in that era by a Venetian traveller as
grown in the Island of Camran in the Red Sea. Both Columbine (_gigembre
columbin_) and Baladi ginger (_gig. baladit_) appear among the purchases
for King John of France, during his captivity in England. And we gather
from his accounts that the price of the former was 13_d._ a pound, and of
the latter 12_d._, sums representing three times the amount of silver that
they now indicate, with a higher value of silver also, and hence
equivalent to about 4_s._ and 4_s._ 4_d._ a pound. The term _Baladi_
(Ar.), Indigenous or "Country" ginger, indicated ordinary qualities of no
particular repute. The word _Baladi_ seems to have become naturalised in
Spanish with the meaning "of small value." We have noticed on a former
occasion the decay of the demand for pepper in China. Ginger affords a
similar example. This spice, so highly prized and so well known throughout
Europe in the Middle Ages, I have found to be quite unknown by name and
qualities to servants in Palermo of more than average intelligence.
(_Elliot_, I. 67; _Ramusio_, I. f. 275, v. 323; _Dozy and Engelm._ pp.
232-233; _Douet d'Arcq_, p. 218; _Philobiblon Soc. Miscellanies_, vol. ii.
p. 116.)

NOTE 4.--In Bengal Indigo factories artificial heat is employed to promote
the drying of the precipitated dye; but this is not essential to the
manufacture. Marco's account, though grotesque in its baldness, does
describe the chief features of the manufacture of Indigo by fermentation.
The branches are cut and placed stem upwards in the vat till it is three
parts full; they are loaded, and then the vat is filled with water.
Fermentation soon begins and goes on till in 24 hours the contents of the
vat are so hot that the hand cannot be retained in it. This is what Marco
ascribes to the sun's heat. The liquor is then drawn off to another
cistern and there agitated; the indigo separates in flakes. A quantity of
lime-water then is added, and the blue is allowed to subside. The clear
water is drawn off; the sediment is drained, pressed, and cut into small
squares, etc. (See _Madras Journal_, vol. viii. 198.)

Indigo had been introduced into Sicily by the Jews during the time of
Frederick II., in the early part of Polo's century. Jews and Indigo have
long vanished from Sicily. The dye is often mentioned in Pegolotti's Book;
the finest quality being termed _Indaco Baccadeo_ a corruption of
_Baghdadi_. Probably it came from India by way of Baghdad. In the
Barcelona Tariffs it appears as Indigo de _Bagadel_. Another quality often
mentioned is Indigo _di Golfo_. (See _Capmany, Memorias_ II. App. p. 73.)
In the bye-laws of the London Painters' Guild of the 13th century, quoted
by Sir F. Palgrave from the _Liber Horne_, it is forbidden to paint on
gold or silver except with fine (mineral) colours, "_e nient de_ brasil,
_ne de_ inde de Baldas, _ne de nul autre mauveise couleur_." (_The
Merchant and the Friar_, p. xxiii.) There is now no indigo made or
exported at Quilon, but there is still some feeble export of sappanwood,
ginger, and pepper. These, and previous particulars as to the present
Quilon, I owe to the kindness of Mr. Ballard, British Resident at

NOTE 5.--Black Tigers and black Leopards are not very rare in Travancore
(See _Welsh's Mil. Reminiscences_, II. 102.)

NOTE 6.--Probably founded on local or caste customs of marriage, several
of which in South India are very peculiar; e.g., see _Nelson's Madura_,
Pt. II. p. 51.

[1] The etymology of the name seems to be doubtful. Dr. Caldwell tells me
it is an error to connect it (as in the first edition) with the word
for a Tank, which is _Kulam_. The apparent meaning of _Kollam_ is
"slaughter," but he thinks the name is best explained as "Palace" or
"Royal Residence."

[2] There is still a _Syrian_ church of St. George at Quilon, and a
mosque of some importance;--the representatives at least of those
noted above, though no actual trace of antiquity of any kind remains
at the place. A vague tradition of extensive trade with China yet
survives. The form _Columbum_ is accounted for by an inscription,
published by the Prince of Travancore (_Ind. Antiq._ II. 360), which
shows that the city was called in Sanskrit _Kolamba_. May not the real
etymology be Sansk. _Kolam_, "Black Pepper"?

On the suggestion ventured in this note Dr. Caldwell writes:

"I fancy _Kola_, a name for pepper in Sanskrit, may be derived from
the name of the country _Kolam_, North Malabar, which is much more
celebrated for its pepper than the country around Quilon. This
_Kolam_, though resembling _Kollam_, is really a separate word, and
never confounded with the latter by the natives. The prince of Kolam
(North Malabar) is called _Kolastri_ or _Kolattiri_[A]. Compare also
_Kolagiri_, the name of a hill in the Sanskrit dictionaries, called
also the _Kolla giri_. The only possible derivations for the Tamil and
Malayalim name of Quilon that I am acquainted with are these: (1)
From _Kolu_, the 'Royal Presence' or presence-chamber, or hall of
audience. _Kollam_ might naturally be a derivation of this word; and
in confirmation I find that other residences of Malabar kings were
also called Kollam, e.g. Kodungalur or Cranganore. (2) From _Kolu_,
the same word, but with the meaning 'a height' or 'high-ground'. Hence
_Kollei_, a very common word in Tamil for a 'dry grain field, a
back-yard'. _Kolli_ is also, in the Tamil poets, said to be the name of
a hill in the Chera country, i.e. the Malabar coast. _Kolam_ in
Tamil has not the meaning of pepper; it means 'beauty', and it is said
also to mean the fruit of the jujuba. (3) It might possibly be derived
from _Kol_, to slay;--_Kollam_, slaughter, or a place where some
slaughter happened ... in the absence, however, of any tradition to
this effect, this derivation seems improbable."

[A] see II. 387.

[3] Burnell.

[4] The translated passage about _'Apuhota_ is a little obscure. The
name looks like _Kapukada_, which was the site of a palace north
of _Calicut_ (not in Kaulam), the _Capucate_ of the

[5] _Dr. Caldwell_.

[6] Indeed, Humboldt speaks of Brazil Isle as appearing to the west of
Ireland in a modern English map-_Purdy's_; but I do not know its
date. (See _Examen_, etc., II. 244-245)



Comari is a country belonging to India, and there you can see something of
the North Star, which we had not been able to see from the Lesser Java
thus far. In order to see it you must go some 30 miles out to sea, and
then you see it about a cubit above the water.[NOTE 1]

This is a very wild country, and there are beasts of all kinds there,
especially monkeys of such peculiar fashion that you would take them for
men! There are also _gatpauls_[NOTE 2] in wonderful diversity, with
bears, lions, and leopards, in abundance.

NOTE 1.--_Kumari_ is in some versions of the Hindu cosmography the most
southerly of the nine divisions of Jambodvipa, the Indian world. Polo's
Comari can only be the country about Cape COMORIN, the [Greek:
komaria akron] of Ptolemy, a name derived from the Sanskrit _Kumari_, "a
Virgin," an appellation of the goddess Durga. The monthly bathing in her
honour, spoken of by the author of the _Periplus_, is still continued,
though now the pilgrims are few. Abulfeda speaks of _Ras Kumhari_ as the
limit between Malabar and Ma'bar. _Kumari_ is the Tamul pronunciation of
the Sanskrit word and probably _Comari_ was Polo's pronunciation.

At the beginning of the Portuguese era in India we hear of a small Kingdom
of COMORI, the prince of which had succeeded to the kingdom of Kaulam. And
this, as Dr. Caldwell points out, must have been the state which is now
called Travancore. Kumari has been confounded by some of the Arabian
Geographers, or their modern commentators, with _Kumar_, one of the
regions supplying aloes-wood, and which was apparently _Khmer_ or Kamboja.
(_Caldwell's Drav. Grammar_, p. 67; _Gildem._ 185; _Ram._ I. 333.)

The cut that we give is, as far as I know, the first genuine view of Cape
Comorin ever published.

[Mr. Talboys Wheeler, in his _History of India_, vol. iii. (p. 386), says
of this tract:

"The region derives its name from a temple which was erected there in
honour of Kumari, 'the Virgin'; the infant babe who had been exchanged for
Krishna, and ascended to heaven at the approach of Kansa." And in a note:

"Colonel Yule identifies Kumari with Durga. This is an error. The temple
of Kumari was erected by Krishna Raja of Narsinga, a zealous patron of the

Mr. Wheeler quotes Faria y Souza, who refers the object of worship to what
is meant for this story (II. 394), but I presume from Mr. Wheeler's
mention of the builder of the temple, which does not occur in the
Portuguese history, that he has other information. The application of the
Virgin title connected with the name of the place, may probably have
varied with the ages, and, as there is no time to obtain other evidence, I
have removed the words which identified the _existing temple_ with that of
Durga. But my authority for identifying the _object of worship_, in whose
honour the pilgrims bathe monthly at Cape Comorin, with Durga, is the
excellent one of Dr. Caldwell. (See his _Dravidian Grammar_ as quoted in
the passage above.) Krishna Raja of whom Mr. Wheeler speaks, reigned after
the Portuguese were established in India, but it is not probable that the
Krishna stories of that class were even known in the Peninsula (or perhaps
anywhere else) in the time of the author of the _Periplus_, 1450 years
before; and 'tis as little likely that the locality owed its name to
Yasoda's Infant, as that it owed it to the Madonna in St. Francis Xavier's
Church that overlooks the Cape.

Fra Paolino, in his unsatisfactory way (_Viaggio_, p. 68), speaks of Cape
Comorin, "which the Indians call _Canyamuri_, _Virginis Promontorium_, or
simply _Comari_ or _Cumari_ 'a Virgin,' because they pretend that
anciently the goddess _Comari_ 'the Damsel,' who is the Indian Diana or
Hecate, used to bathe" etc. However, we can discover from his book
elsewhere (see pp. 79, 285) that by the Indian Diana he means Parvati,
i.e. Durga.

Lassen at first[1] identified the Kumari of the Cape with Parvati; but
afterwards connected the name with a story in the Mahabharata about
certain _Apsarases_ changed into Crocodiles.[2] On the whole there does
not seem sufficient ground to deny that Parvati was the _original_ object
of worship at Kumari, though the name may have lent itself to various

[Illustration: Cape Comorin (From a sketch by Mr. Foote, of the Geological
Survey of India)]

NOTE 2.--I have not been able to ascertain with any precision what animal
is meant by _Gat-paul_. The term occurs again, coupled with monkeys as
here, at p. 240 of the Geog. Text, where, speaking of Abyssinia, it is
said: "_Il ont_ gat paulz _et autre gat-maimon si divisez_," etc. _Gatto
maimone_, for an ape of some kind, is common in old Italian, the latter
part of the term, from the Pers. _Maimun_, being possibly connected with
our _Baboon_. And that the _Gat-paul_ was also some kind of ape is
confirmed by the Spanish Dictionaries. Cobarrubias gives: "_Gato-Paus_, a
kind of tailed monkey. _Gato-paus, Gato pablo_; perhaps as they call a
monkey 'Martha,' they may have called this particular monkey 'Paul,'" etc.
(f. 431 v.). So also the _Diccion. de la Lengua Castellana comp. por la
Real Academia_ (1783) gives: "_Gato Paul_, a kind of monkey of a grey
colour, black muzzle and very broad tail." In fact, the word is used by
Columbus, who, in his own account of his third voyage, describes a hill on
the coast of Paria as covered with a species of _Gatos Paulos_. (See
_Navarrete_, Fr. ed. III. 21, also 147-148.) It also occurs in _Marmol,
Desc. General de Affrica_, who says that one kind of monkeys has a black
face; "_y estas comunemente se llaman en Espana_ Gatos Paules, _las quales
se crian en la tierra de los Negros_" (I. f. 27). It is worth noting that
the revisers of the text adopted by Pauthier have not understood the word.
For they substitute for the "_Il hi a_ gat paul _si divisez qe ce estoit
mervoille_" of the Geog. Text, "_et si a moult de_ granz paluz _et moult
grans pantains a merveilles_"--wonderful swamps and marshes! The Pipino
Latin has adhered to the correct reading--"_Ibi sunt_ cati qui dicuntur
pauli, _valde diversi ab aliis_."

[1] _Ind. Alt._ 1st ed. I. 158.

[2] Id. 564; and 2nd ed. I. 103.



Eli is a kingdom towards the west, about 300 miles from Comari. The people
are Idolaters and have a king, and are tributary to nobody; and have a
peculiar language. We will tell you particulars about their manners and
their products, and you will better understand things now because we are
drawing near to places that are not so outlandish.[NOTE 1]

There is no proper harbour in the country, but there are many great rivers
with good estuaries, wide and deep.[NOTE 2] Pepper and ginger grow there,
and other spices in quantities.[NOTE 3] The King is rich in treasure, but
not very strong in forces. The approach to his kingdom however is so
strong by nature that no one can attack him, so he is afraid of nobody.

And you must know that if any ship enters their estuary and anchors there,
having been bound for some other port, they seize her and plunder the
cargo. For they say, "You were bound for somewhere else, and 'tis God has
sent you hither to us, so we have a right to all your goods." And they
think it no sin to act thus. And this naughty custom prevails all over
these provinces of India, to wit, that if a ship be driven by stress of
weather into some other port than that to which it was bound, it is sure
to be plundered. But if a ship come bound originally to the place they
receive it with all honour and give it due protection.[NOTE 4] The ships
of Manzi and other countries that come hither in summer lay in their
cargoes in 6 or 8 days and depart as fast as possible, because there is no
harbour other than the river-mouth, a mere roadstead and sandbanks, so
that it is perilous to tarry there. The ships of Manzi indeed are not so
much afraid of these roadsteads as others are, because they have such huge
wooden anchors which hold in all weather.[NOTE 5]

There are many lions and other wild beasts here and plenty of game, both
beast and bird.

NOTE 1.--No city or district is now known by the name of ELY, but the name
survives in that of Mount _Dely_, properly Monte d'ELY, the _Yeli-mala_ of
the Malabar people, and called also in the legends of the coast
_Sapta-shaila_, or the Seven Hills. This is the only spur of the Ghats that
reaches the sea within the Madras territory. It is an isolated and very
conspicuous hill, or cluster of hills, forming a promontory some 16 miles
north of Cananore, the first Indian land seen by Vasco da Gama, on that
memorable August morning in 1498, and formerly very well known to
navigators, though it has been allowed to drop out of some of our most
ambitious modern maps. Abulfeda describes it as "a great mountain
projecting into the sea, and descried from a great distance, called _Ras
Haili_"; and it appears in Fra Mauro's map as _Cavo de Eli_.

Rashiduddin mentions "the country of Hili," between _Manjarur_ (Mangalore)
and Fandaraina (miswritten in Elliot's copy _Sadarsa_). Ibn Batuta speaks
of Hili, which he reached on leaving Manjarur, as "a great and well-built
city, situated on a large estuary accessible to great ships. The vessels
of China come hither; this, Kaulam, and Kalikut, are the only ports that
they enter." From Hili he proceeds 12 miles further down the coast to
_Jor-fattan_, which probably corresponds to Baliapatan. ELLY appears in
the Carta Catalana, and is marked as a Christian city. Nicolo Conti is the
last to speak distinctly of the city. Sailing from Cambay, in 20 days he
arrived at two cities on the sea-shore, _Pacamuria_ (_Faknur_, of Rashid
and Firishta, _Baccanor_ of old books, and now _Barkur_, the Malayalim
_Vakkanur_) and HELLI. But we read that in 1527 Simon de Melo was sent to
burn ships in the River of _Marabia_ and at _Monte d'Elli_.[1] When Da
Gama on his second voyage was on his way from Baticala (in Canara) to
Cananor, a squall having sprung his mainmast just before reaching Mt.
d'Ely, "the captain-major anchored in the Bay of Marabia, because he saw
there several Moorish ships, in order to get a mast from them." It seems
clear that this was the bay just behind Mt. d'Ely.

Indeed the name of Marabia or _Marawi_ is still preserved in _Madavi_ or
Madai, corruptly termed _Maudoy_ in some of our maps, a township upor the
river which enters the bay about 7 or 8 miles south-east of Mt. d'Ely, and
which is called by De Barros the _Rio Marabia_. Mr. Ballard informs me
that he never heard of ruins of importance at Madai, but there is a place
on the river just mentioned, and within the Madai township, called
_Payangadi_ ("Old Town"), which has the remains of an old fort of the
Kolastri (or Kolatiri) Rajas. A _palace_ at Madai (perhaps this fort) is
alluded to by Dr. Gundert in the _Madras Journal_, and a Buddhist Vihara
is spoken of in an old Malayalim poem as having existed at the same place.
The same paper speaks of "the famous emporium of Cachilpatnam near Mt.
d'Ely," which may have been our city of Hili, as the cities Hili and
Marawi were apparently separate though near.[2]

[Illustration: Mount d'Ely, from the Sea, in last century.]

The state of _Hili-Marawi_ is also mentioned in the Arabic work on the
early history of the Mahomedans in Malabar, called _Tuhfat-al-Mujahidin_,
and translated by Rowlandson; and as the Prince is there called
_Kolturee_, this would seem to identify him either in family or person
with the Raja of Cananor, for that old dynasty always bore the name of

The Ramusian version of Barbosa is very defective here, but in Stanley's
version (Hak. Soc. _East African and Malabar Coasts_, p. 149) we find the
topography in a passage from a Munich MS. clear enough: "After passing
this place" (the river of Nirapura or Nileshwaram) "along the coast is the
mountain Dely (of Ely) on the edge of the sea; it is a round mountain,
very lofty, in the midst of low land; all the ships of the Moors and
Gentiles that navigate in this sea of India sight this mountain when
coming from without, and make their reckoning by it; ... after this, at
the foot of the mountain to the south, is a town called _Marave_, very
ancient and well off, in which live Moors and Gentiles and Jews; these
Jews are of the language of the country; it is a long time that they have
dwelt in this place."

(_Stanley's Correa_, Hak. Soc. pp. 145, 312-313; _Gildem._ p. 185;
_Elliot_, I. 68; _I.B._ IV. 81; _Conti_, p. 6; _Madras Journal_, XIII.
No. 31, pp. 14, 99, 102, 104; _De Barros_, III. 9, cap. 6, and IV. 2, cap.
13; _De Couto_, IV. 5, cap. 4.)

NOTE 2.--This is from Pauthier's text, and the map with ch. xxi.
illustrates the fact of the many wide rivers. The G.T. has "a good river
with a very good estuary" or mouth. The latter word is in the G.T.
_faces_, afterwards more correctly _foces_, equivalent to _fauces_. We
have seen that Ibn Batuta also speaks of the estuary or inlet at Hili. It
may have been either that immediately east of Mount d'Ely, communicating
with Kavvayi and the Nileshwaram River, or the Madai River. Neither could
be entered by vessels now, but there have been great littoral changes. The
land joining Mt. d'Ely to the main is mere alluvium.

NOTE 3.--Barbosa says that throughout the kingdom of Cananor the pepper
was of excellent quality, though not in great quantity. There was much
ginger, not first-rate, which was called _Hely_ from its growing about
Mount d'Ely, with cardamoms (names of which, _Ela_ in Sanskrit, _Hel_
Persian, I have thought might be connected with that of the hill),
mirobolans, cassia fistula, zerumbet, and zedoary. The two last items are
two species of _curcuma_, formerly in much demand as aromatics; the last
is, I believe, the _setewale_ of Chaucer:--

"There was eke wexing many a spice,
As clowe gilofre and Licorice,
Ginger and grein de Paradis,
Canell and setewale of pris,
And many a spice delitable
To eaten when men rise from table."--_R. of the Rose_.

The Hely ginger is also mentioned by Conti.

NOTE 4.--This piratical practice is noted by Abdurrazzak also: "In other
parts (than Calicut) a strange practice is adopted. When a vessel sets
sail for a certain point, and suddenly is driven by a decree of Divine
Providence into another roadstead, the inhabitants, under the pretext that
the wind has driven it thither, plunder the ship. But at Calicut every
ship, whatever place it comes from, or wherever it may be bound, when it
puts into this port, is treated like other vessels, and has no trouble of
any kind to put up with" (p. 14). In 1673 Sivaji replied to the pleadings
of an English embassy, that it was "against the Laws of Conchon"
(Ptolemy's _Pirate Coast!_) "to restore any ships or goods that were
driven ashore." (_Fryer_, p. 261.)

NOTE 5.--With regard to the anchors, Pauthier's text has just the opposite
of the G.T. which we have preferred: "_Les nefs du Manzi portent si grans
ancres de fust_, que il seuffrent moult _de grans fortunes aus plajes_" De
Mailla says the Chinese consider their ironwood anchors to be much better
than those of iron, because the latter are subject to strain. (_Lett.
Edif._ XIV. 10.) Capt. Owen has a good word for wooden anchors. (_Narr. of
Voyages_, etc., I. 385.)

[1] The Town of Monte d'Ely appears (_Monte Dil_) in Coronelli's Atlas
(1690) from some older source. Mr. Burnell thinks Baliapatan (properly
_Valarpattanam_) which is still a prosperous Mappila town, on a broad
and deep river, must be Hili. I see a little difficulty in this.
[Marabia at Monte Dely is often mentioned in _Correa_, as one of the
ports of the Kingdom of Cananor.]

[2] Mr. Burnell thinks _Kachchil_pattanam must be an error (easy in
Malayalim) for _Kavvil_pattanam, i.e. Kavvayi (Kanwai in our map).

[3] As _printed_ by Rowlandson, the name is corrupt (like many others in
the book), being given as _Hubaee Murawee_. But suspecting what this
pointed to, I examined the MS. in the R.A. Society's Library. The
knowledge of the Arabic _character_ was quite sufficient to enable me
to trace the name as [Arabic], _Hili Marawi_. (See _Rowlandson_, pp.
54, 58-59, and MS. pp. 23 and 26, also _Indian Antiquary_, III. p.



Melibar is a great kingdom lying towards the west. The people are
Idolaters; they have a language of their own, and a king of their own, and
pay tribute to nobody.[NOTE 1]

In this country you see more of the North Star, for it shows two cubits
above the water. And you must know that from this kingdom of Melibar, and
from another near it called Gozurat, there go forth every year more than a
hundred corsair vessels on cruize. These pirates take with them their
wives and children, and stay out the whole summer. Their method is to join
in fleets of 20 or 30 of these pirate vessels together, and then they form
what they call a sea cordon,[NOTE 2] that is, they drop off till there is
an interval of 5 or 6 miles between ship and ship, so that they cover
something like an hundred miles of sea, and no merchant ship can escape
them. For when any one corsair sights a vessel a signal is made by fire or
smoke, and then the whole of them make for this, and seize the merchants
and plunder them. After they have plundered them they let them go, saying:
"Go along with you and get more gain, and that mayhap will fall to us
also!" But now the merchants are aware of this, and go so well manned and
armed, and with such great ships, that they don't fear the corsairs. Still
mishaps do befall them at times.[NOTE 3]

There is in this kingdom a great quantity of pepper, and ginger, and
cinnamon, and turbit, and of nuts of India.[NOTE 4] They also manufacture
very delicate and beautiful buckrams. The ships that come from the east
bring copper in ballast. They also bring hither cloths of silk and gold,
and sendels; also gold and silver, cloves and spikenard, and other fine
spices for which there is a demand here, and exchange them for the
products of these countries.

Ships come hither from many quarters, but especially from the great
province of Manzi.[NOTE 5] Coarse spices are exported hence both to Manzi
and to the west, and that which is carried by the merchants to Aden goes
on to Alexandria, but the ships that go in the latter direction are not
one to ten of those that go to the eastward; a very notable fact that I
have mentioned before.

Now I have told you about the kingdom of Melibar; we shall now proceed and
tell you of the kingdom of Gozurat. And you must understand that in
speaking of these kingdoms we note only the capitals; there are great
numbers of other cities and towns of which we shall say nothing, because
it would make too long a story to speak of all.

NOTE 1.--Here is another instance of that confusion which dislocates
Polo's descriptions of the Indian coast; we shall recur to it under ch.

Malabar is a name given by the Arabs, and varies in its form: Ibn Batuta
and Kazwini write it [Arabic], _al-Malibar_, Edrisi and Abulfeda [Arabic],
_al-Manibar_, etc., and like variations occur among the old European
travellers. The country so-called corresponded to the _Kerala_ of the
Brahmans, which in its very widest sense extended from about lat. 15 deg.
to Cape Comorin. This, too, seems to be the extension which Abulfeda gives
to Malabar, viz., from Hunawar to Kumhari; Rashiduddin includes Sindabur,
i.e. Goa. But at a later date a point between Mt. d'Ely and Mangalore on
the north, and Kaulam on the south, were the limits usually assigned to

NOTE 2.--"_Il font_ eschiel _en la mer_" (G.T.). _Eschiel_ is the
equivalent of the Italian _schera_ or _schiera_, a troop or squadron, and
thence applied to order of battle, whether by land or sea.

NOTE 3.--The northern part of Malabar, Canara, and the Konkan, have been
nests of pirates from the time of the ancients to a very recent date.
Padre Paolino specifies the vicinity of Mt. d'Ely as a special haunt of
them in his day, the latter half of last century. Somewhat further north
Ibn Batuta fell into their hands, and was stripped to his drawers.

NOTE 4.--There is something to be said about these Malabar spices. The
cinnamon of Malabar is what we call cassia, the _canella grossa_ of Conti,
the _canela brava_ of the Portuguese. Notices of it will be found in
_Rheede_ (I. 107) and in _Garcia_ (f. 26 seqq.). The latter says the
Ceylon cinnamon exceeded it in value as 4:1. Uzzano discriminates
_canella_ lunga, _Salami_, and _Mabari_. The _Salami_, I have no doubt, is
_Sailani_, Ceylonese; and as we do not hear of any cassia from Mabar,
probably the last was _Malabar_ cinnamon.

_Turbit: Radex Turpethi_ is still known in pharmacy, at least in some
parts of the Continent and in India, though in England obsolete. It is
mentioned in the _Pharmacopoeia of India_ (1868) as derived from _Ipomoea

But it is worthy of note that Ramusio has _cubebs_ instead of _turbit_.
The former does not seem now to be a product of Western India, though
Garcia says that a small quantity grew there, and a Dutch report of 1675
in Valentyn also mentions it as an export of Malabar. (_V., Ceylon_, p.
243.) There is some ambiguity in statements about it, because its popular
name _Kabab-chini_ seems to be also applied to the cassia bud. Cubeb
pepper was much used in the Middle Ages as a spice, and imported into
Europe as such. But the importation had long practically ceased, when its
medical uses became known during the British occupation of Java, and the
demand was renewed.

Budaeus and Salmasius have identified this drug with the [Greek: komakon],
which Theophrastus joins with cinnamomum and cassia as an ingredient in
aromatic confections. The inducement to this identification was no doubt
the singular resemblance which the word bears to the Javanese name of
cubeb pepper, viz., _Kumukus_. If the foundation were a little firmer this
would be curious evidence of intercourse and trade with Java in a time
earlier than that of Theophrastus, viz., the 4th century B.C.

In the detail of 3 cargoes from Malabar that arrived at Lisbon in
September 1504 we find the following proportions: Pepper, 10,000
_cantars_; cinnamon, 500; cloves, 450; _zz._ (i.e. _zenzaro_, ginger),
130; lac and brazil, 750; camphor, 7; cubebs, 191; mace, 2-1/2; spikenard,
3; lign-aloes, 1-1/3.

(_Buchanan's Mysore_, II. 31, III. 193, and App. p. v.; _Garcia_, Ital.
version, 1576, f. 39-40; _Salmas. Exerc. Plin._ p. 923; _Bud. on Theoph._
1004 and 1010; _Archiv. St. Ital._, Append. II. p. 19.)

NOTE 5.--We see that Marco speaks of the merchants and ships of Manzi, or
Southern China, as frequenting Kaulam, Hili, and now Malabar, of which
Calicut was the chief port. This quite coincides with Ibn Batuta, who says
those were the three ports of India which the Chinese junks frequented,
adding Fandaraina (i.e. Pandarani, or Pantalani, 16 miles north of
Calicut), as a port where they used to moor for the winter when they spent
that season in India. By the winter he means the rainy season, as
Portuguese writers on India do by the same expression (IV. 81, 88, 96). I
have been unable to find anything definite as to the date of the cessation
of this Chinese navigation to Malabar, but I believe it may be placed
about the beginning of the 15th century. The most distinct allusion to it
that I am aware of is in the information of Joseph of Cranganore, in the
_Novus Orbis_ (Ed. of 1555, p. 208). He says: "These people of Cathay are
men of remarkable energy, and formerly drove a first-rate trade at the
city of Calicut. But the King of Calicut having treated them badly, they
quitted that city, and returning shortly after inflicted no small
slaughter on the people of Calicut, and after that returned no more. After
that they began to frequent Mailapetam, a city subject to the king of
Narsingha; a region towards the East, ... and there they now drive their
trade." There is also in Caspar Correa's account of the Voyages of Da Gama
a curious record of a tradition of the arrival in Malabar more than four
centuries before of a vast merchant fleet "from the parts of Malacca, and
China, and the Lequeos" (Lewchew); many from the company on board had
settled in the country and left descendants. In the space of a hundred
years none of these remained; but their sumptuous idol temples were still
to be seen. (_Stanley's Transl., Hak. Soc._, p. 147.)[1] It is probable
that both these stories must be referred to those extensive expeditions to
the western countries with the object of restoring Chinese influence which
were despatched by the Ming Emperor Ch'eng-Tsu (or Yung-lo), about 1406,
and one of which seems actually to have brought _Ceylon_ under a partial
subjection to China, which endured half a century. (See _Tennent_, I. 623
seqq.; and _Letter of P. Gaubil_ in _J.A._ ser. II. tom. x. pp. 327-328.)
["So that at this day there is great memory of them in the ilands
Philippinas, and on the cost of Coromande, which is the cost against the
kingdome of Norsinga towards the sea of Cengala: whereas is a towne called
unto this day the soile of the Chinos, for that they did reedifie and make
the same. The like notice and memory is there in the kingdom of Calicut,
whereas be many trees and fruits, that the naturals of that countrie do
say, were brought thither by the Chinos, when that they were lords and
gouernours of that countrie." (_Mendoza, Parke's transl._ p. 71.)] De
Barros says that the famous city of Diu was built by one of the Kings of
Guzerat whom he calls in one place _Dariar Khan_, and in another
_Peruxiah_, in memory of victory in a sea-fight with the Chinese who then
frequented the Indian shores. It is difficult to identify this King, though
he is represented as the father of the famous toxicophagous Sultan Mahmud
Begara (1459-1511). De Barros has many other allusions to Chinese
settlements and conquests in India which it is not very easy to account
for. Whatever basis of facts there is must probably refer to the
expeditions of Ch'eng-Tsu, but not a little probably grew out of the
confusion of _Jainas_ and _Chinas_ already alluded to; and to this I
incline to refer Correa's "sumptuous idol-temples."


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