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0362 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 362 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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sand miles. And the king of it hath subject to himself seven crowned kings. Now this island is populous exceedingly, and is the second best of all islands that exist. For in it grow camphor, cubebs, cardamoms,' nutmegs, and many

imaginations of these old travellers would have seen almost similar golden glories in the palaces and monasteries of Amarapura as they have existed in our own day ; and the walls and corridors sculptured in relief with court-scenes and battle-scenes, are precisely what we do find, on a vastly 'extensive scale, in the galleries of the great Buddhistic monument Boro Bodor, completed, according to Crawfurd, about twenty years after our traveller's visit to the island. That the bas-reliefs of Boro Bodor were gilt, or were intended to be gilt, I have not the slightest doubt. I do not remember whether the halo or glory round sacred 'heads, to which Odoric refers, is to be found round those sculptures ; but it is essentially a Buddhist feature. Burnes mentions it on the paintings behind the great idols at Bamian ; and I have seen examples of figures so glorified in some of the ancient temples at Pagan on the Irawadi, which were very striking from their resemblance to Byzantine Apostles. (Lassen iv, 482; Walckenaer, Sur la chronologie, etc. des Javanais in Mem. Acad. Inscript. 1842, xv, 224; Gaubil, H. de Gentchis Can, etc., pp. 217-219). As to golden palaces, however, see Polybius's account of that at Ecbatana, quoted by Rawlinson (Herodotus i,' p. 194).

The word here translated cardamoms is Melegetce, for which no other concise rendering seems practicable. One Italian dictionary indeed (Vocab. Universale Italiano) does give cardamomo as the explanation of Meleghette; whilst Ducange gives nothing more precise than floris species, quoting this passage from Odoric, and another from Rolandus Patavinus out of Muratori, in which last ;11eleghetce are coupled with camphor, cum-min, cloves, and cardamoms. This, therefore, shows that the two were not properly identical. In two passages also of Peglotti, I find cardamon and meleghette mentioned at short intervals, as if they were different spices. And in the book of G. da Uzzano (Della Decima iv) Meleghette and Meleaghette appear repeatedly, and as distinct from cardamoms. In yet another passage of Pegolotti we have "meleghette o vuoli ti dire Noci sarche o in grano o in polvere the fussero," which might settle what was meant by meleghette in the 14th century, if one could only tell what noci sarche may be !

In later times the name has been applied (Mellighetta, Malagueta, Manighetta) sometimes to two kindred species of amomum exported from different parts of the West African coast (Am. Gran um Paradasi and Am. Illelegueta), and sometimes to a quite different article, the seeds of the Unona Ethiopica or Ethiopic Pepper. It appears to be one of the former which Gerarde and Mattioli describe as the greater cardamoms or melegette, for Gerarde states they were said to come from " Ginny," and were called in England Graines of Paradise." The author of the article Illelligetta in Rees's Cyclopaedia however asserts that the Carclamomum