106 THE TRAVELS OF
the water whereof is derived from the sea, and extendeth twelve days' journey into the land.1 The whole population of this city, as well as of all Manzi and Upper India, worship idols. And this city hath shipping so great and vast in amount that to some it would seem well nigh incredible. Indeed all Italy hath not the amount of craft that this one city hath.2 And here you can buy three hundred pounds of fresh ginger for less than a groat !3 The geese too are bigger and finer and cheaper" than anywhere in the world. For one of them is as big as two of ours, and'tis all white as
of the country to which it belonged, a practice which probably originated that city of Bengala which has given so much trouble to geographers. Indeed, I find that Rashid and Al Biruni distinctly apply the name Mahachin to a city, no doubt Canton.
Though Zaitun and Kanfu (the ancient port of Kingsé or Hangcheufu) appear to have been the havens most frequented by western trade under the Mongol dynasty, Canton was a very early resort of the Arabs and Persians. In 758 they were numerous enough to master and pillage and burn the city. (See illarignolli infra ; I bn Batuta, iv, 92, 255, 268, 274 ; D' Ohsson, 418, 638 ; Deguignes, i, 59 ; Elliott's Historians of M. India, p. 46 ; and Sprenger, Post-und-Reiserouten des Orients, p. 90.)
1 This is very obscure ; " cujus aqua propter ipsum mare ascendit ultra terrain bene xii dietis". I have translated as if the tidal flow were alluded to, but with great doubt as to the meaning. Hakluyt's translation runs, " the water whereof, near unto the mouth where it gxonerateth itself into the sea, doth overflow the land for the space of twelve days' journey." It may be a reference to the breadth of the estuary, which is about eighty miles at the mouth. But the passage seems corrupt in all copies.
2 "Hundreds of thousands" of boats, says Fortune. " In the river and port alone," says Linschoten, " there is more craft of different kinds (barques et frégates) than in the whole of Spain." (Three Years' Wanderings, p. 148; Linsch., p. 40).
3 MIN. RAM. has " 700 lbs. for a ducat."
4 "In meliori foro," a dog-latinism which Venni does not seem to have understood, for he proposes to read "meliori forma." Yet the Italians have boon mercato, as the French have meilleur marché, and our old English had good cheap, though we have cut it down into an elliptical adjective. The old translation of Mendoza says on the same matter, which continued to strike visitors to a much later date : " All things is so good cheape that almost it seemeth they sell them for nothing." Early in last century from 3d. to 6d. a head covered the expences of Ripa's party for a good dinner, supper, and lodging. (Major.'s edit. of Mendoza, HAK. Soc., i, 12; Father
Ripa, p. 133.)