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0230 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 230 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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miles without deviations of course, and the time according to the data (deducting the twelve days' halt at Cailac) is fourteen days, giving an average of more than thirty-five miles (crow-flight) daily), and much of it through hilly ground. It is true that the traveller says that they rode daily as far as from Paris to Orleans, say sixty miles ; but the measurement of his first long stretch from the Wolga to Talas gives only about twenty-seven miles a day as the crow flies. If we can venture to suppose that the halt at Cailac was written vii days instead of xii, this would bring the marches between Talas and Alakul to about the saine


The map in "Russians in Central Asia," or some other embracing the

recent Russian surveys, will be serviceable in following these remarks.



(Circa 1550.)

" In the thirty-eighth chapter of Messer Marco Polo's first book he treats of the rhubarb which is produced in the province of SuccviR, and is thence exported into these parts and all over the world. And it seems highly necessary that I should give a particular account of what I chanced to hear on this subject some years ago from a certain Persian of great judgment and intelligence ; for the matter is well worthy of correct knowledge, seeing how universal the use of the article among sick people has become in our time, nor have I ever yet seen so much information regarding it in any book.

GC The name of the narrator was Chaggi Memet, a native of the province of CHILAN on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and from a city called TABAS,I and he had himself been to Succuir, coming afterwards, at the time I speak of, to Venice with a large quantity of the aforesaid rhubarb. Now it happened one day that I had gone out of town to dine at Murano ; a relaxation of business allowed me to get away from the city, and to enjoy it all the more I chanced to have in my party that excellent architect Messer Michele San Michele of Verona, and Messer Tommaso Giunti, both very dear friends of mine, besides this Persian.2 So when dinner was over and the cloth was drawn, he began his narrative, and it was interpreted as he went along by Messer Michele Mambre, a man of great acquirements in the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish tongues,

I I have not been able to find any place of this name in Ghilan. But Tabas in the Salt Desert north of Yezd is called in the Tables of Nasiruddin Tabas Kili or Gili, and this may be meant (see in Hudson, vol. iii).

2 Sanmichele of Verona, the still celebrated architect and engineer of the Venetian Republic, and often called (though wrongly) the inventor of modern bastioned fortification. Giunti, the printer and publisher of Ramusio's great work, and editor of it after the author's death.