CXXXVI PRELIMINARY ESSAY.
served for many years in the armies of Bajazet and Timur, and returned to his native land in 1427.1
109. More detail is found in the narrative of Nicolo Conti, as taken down in Latin by Poggio Bracciolini about 1440, of which a version has been given in " India in the fifteenth Century". The narrative does not distinctly assert that Nicolo himself had been in Cathay ; but I think there is internal evidence that he must have been. He briefly notices Cambalec (CAMBALESCHIA) and another city of great size which had been established by the emperor, to which he gives the name of NEMPTAI, and which was the most populous of all.' He speaks of the great wealth of the
Tangus, which means Pig Emperor (supra, p. liii). The best of all merchandise coming to Samarkand was from China (it is not quite clear whether Clavijo understands Cathay and China to be the same) ; especially silk, satins, musk, rubies, diamonds, pearls, and rhubarb. The Chinese were said to be the most skilful workmen in the world. They said themselves that they had two eyes, the Franks one, and the Moors (Mahomedans) none, (an expression which we find repeatedly quoted by different authors). Cambalu, the chief city of Cathay, was six months from Samarkand, two of which were over steppes. In the year of the embassy 800 laden camels came from Cambalu to Samarkand. The people with them related that the city was near the sea and twenty times as big as Tabriz. Now Tabriz is a good league in length, so Cambalu must be twenty leagues in length (bad geometry Don Ruy !). The emperor used to be a Pagan but was converted to Christianity (dlarkham's Trans., pp. 133 seq., 171, 173 seq.).
1 Schiltberger seems to have been at Samarkand at the same time with Clavijo. All that he says of China is with reference to the embassy spoken of by the latter, and Timur's scheme of invasion : " Now at this time had the Great Chan, the King of CHETEY, sent an envoy to Thämerlin with four hundred horses, and demanded tribute of him, seeing that he had neglected to pay it and kept it back for five years past. So Thämerlin took the envoy with him to his capital aforesaid. Then sent he the envoy away and bid him tell his master he would be no tributary nor vassal of his, nay he trusted to make the emperor his tributary and vassal. And he would come to him in person. And then he sent off despatches throughout his dominions to make ready, for he would march against Cetey. And so when he had gathered 1,800,000 men he marched for a whole month," etc. (Reisen des Johannes Schiltberger, etc., München, 1859, p. 81).
2 I suppose this to be Nanking. The "ab imperatore condita" appears to imply recent construction or reconstruction, which would justly apply to Nanking, established as the capital of the Ming dynasty at the time the Mongols were expelled (1367-8). Indeed Ramusio's Italian version of