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0458 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 458 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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The next letters are those of FRIAR JORDANUS the Dominican, the author of the Mirabilia, of which a translation was published by the HAKLUYT SOCIETY in 1863. There are a few remarks to make in addition to what was said of Jordanus in the preface to

that translation.

We have nothing to guide us as to the age of Jordanus at the time of his appointment to be Bishop in India. But it is just possible that we trace the journey of his party to the East as early as 1302, when Thomas of Tolentino took out with him to Asia twelve friars, of whom it is reported incidentally that they proceeded first to Negropont, and afterwards to Thebes. Now, it is obvious from the second and third pages of the Mirabilia that this was precisely the route followed by Jordanus, and as it seems a somewhat peculiar one the coincidence is worthy of note. The company doubtless was chiefly composed of Franciscans, but so was that party with which he went to India.I

One of the letters translated here appears perhaps to imply that Jordanus had been to Columbum before his landing at Tana with the Franciscans.2 And it seems to me certain that he wrote the Mirabilia before he went out again as bishop. His appointment to that office appears to have taken place in 1328,3 though he did not leave Europe till 1330, and as the heading of the book sets forth his episcopal designation, it is probable that he noted down the Mirctbilia in the interval between those two dates.

That he had been at Columbum before he was made bishop is confirmed by the following circumstance. Among the Ecclesiastical Records, besides the Pope's letter to the Christians of that place there is another in like terms commending the new bishop "to the whole body of Christian people dwelling in Molephatam."4

1 Wadding, vii, p. 11.

Loca sunt tria ubi Fratres multum fructificare poterunt et communiter vivere, quas ego seio : et unus est alter est in contracta de Parocco alter Columbus." This is the only place I know in which the latter name appears in the nominative case, so that it would seemingly have been more correct to call it Columbus than Columbum as I have done, following the French editor of the Mirabilia.

8 Bzovii Annal. Ecclesiast., Coloni, 1618, tom. xiv, col. 531.

4 Odoric. Raynaldi Annales Ecelesiast., 1330, lv. Molephatam (Malifatan) is mentioned by the historian Rashideddin as one of the cities of