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0496 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 496 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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Friar Andrew of Perugia, of the Order of Minor Friars, by Divine permission called to be Bishop, to the reverend father the Friar Warden of the Convent of Perugia, health and peace in the Lord for ever !

.... On account of the immense distance by land and sea interposed between us, I can scarcely hope that a letter from

me to you can come to hand   You have heard then how

along with Friar Peregrine, my brother bishop of blessed

memory, and the sole companion of my pilgrimage, through

much fatigue and sickness and want, through sundry grievous

sufferings and perils by land and sea, plundered even of our

habits and tunics, we got at last by God's grace to the city

of Cambaliech, which is the seat of the Emperor the Great

Chan, in the year of our Lord's incarnation 1308, as well as

I can reckon.

There, after the Archbishop was consecrated, according to the orders given us by the Apostolic See, we continued to abide for nearly five years ; during which time we obtained an Alafal from the empéror for our food and clothing. An alafa is an allowance for expenses which the emperor grants to the envoys of princes, to orators, warriors, different kinds of artists, jongleurs,2 paupers, and all sorts of people of all sorts of conditions. And the sum total of these allowances surpasses the revenue and expenditure of several of the kings of the Latin countries.

As to the wealth, splendour, and glory of this great em-

I Arab. 'alaf, pabulum, and 'ulnfa, a soldier's wages, a stipend or provision. (Freytag.) But Quatremère points out that the exact word used here, 'alafah is employed by Rashideddin to signify (1) the allowance made by the prince for the keep of animals such as elephants, and (2) an allowance for the entertainment of ambassadors and other like personages. He refers to the passage in the text. (Quat., Rashideddin, p. 371.)

2 "Jaculatoribus", but I suppose a misprint for Joculatoribus.