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0363 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 363 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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other precious spices. It hath also very great store of all victuals save wine.

The king of this island hath a palace which is truly marvellous. For it is very great, and hath very great staircases, broad and lofty, and the steps thereof are of gold and silver alternately. Likewise the pavement of the palace hath one tile of gold and the other of silver, and the wall of the same is on the inside plated all over with plates of gold, on which are sculptured knights all of gold, which have great golden circles round their heads, such as we give in these parts to the figures of saints. And these circles are all beset with precious stones. Moreover, the ceiling is all of pure gold, and to speak briefly, this palace is richer and finer than any existing at this day in the world.

Now the Great Khan of Cathay many a time engaged in war with this king ; but this king always vanquished and got the better of him. And many other things there be which I write not.

majus of the old botanists came from Madagascar, and we find Andrea Corsali praising the meleghetta of that island. All this does not tend to clear up the subject, which seems densely entangled.

Martin Behaim, the celebrated cosmographer of the 15th century, is found among his other occupations voyaging to the coast of Africa for Malagueta, and Columbus calls the whole coast of Guinea Costa di Mani-guetta. According to Humboldt, from whom the two last facts are borrowed, the malagueta used to come across the Sahra to the -north coast, and was largely exported to Antwerp. This however was perhaps rather the Ethiopic pepper than the Grains of Paradise. Mattioli derives the name from the resemblance of the grains to those of Indian millet, called melega in some parts of Italy. But Humboldt connects it with molago, a Malabar name of pepper proper; and Zedler's Lexicon with Melega, "a city of Africa."

There are several Asiatic species of amomum, producing aromatics resembling more or less the true cardamomum of Malabar (Elettaria cardamomum), two of which (A. Cardamorum and A. Maximum) are found in Java, and one of these may be the melegeta of Odoric, if indeed any precision is to be looked for.

(Pegolotti in Della Decima iii, pp. 57, 114, 296-7; Ramusio i, f 115 v, and 178; Mattioli, Discorsi ne' Sei Libri di Dioscoride, ed. Ven. 1744, p. 24; Gerarde's Herball, ed. 1633, p. 1542 ; Humboldt, Examen critique, etc., i, 257 seq. ; English Cyclopcedia, Arts and Sciences, Art. Cardamom, and Nat. Hist. Articles Amon m and Unona; R,ecs's Cyc., vol. xxiii).