Of eodem. cap. 45.
I Haue read yt in Phisiologus booke, that the Elephant is a beast that pas∣seth all other foure footed beasts, in quan∣titie, in wit, and in minde. For among other doings, Elephants lie neuer downe in sléeping: But when they be wearye, they leane to a trée, & so rest somewhat. And men lye in a waite to aspy their re∣sting places priuely, for to cut the trée in the other side: and the Elephaunt com∣meth, and is not ware of the fraud, & lea∣neth to the trée & breaketh it with weight of his body, and falleth downe with the breaking, and lyeth there: and when hée seeth he may not help himselfe in falling, he cryeth & roareth in a wonderful man∣ner, & by his noyse and crieng commeth sodeinly many young Elephants, & reare vp the olde, little and little, with all their strength and might: and while they a∣reare him with wonderfull affection and loue, they bend themselues with al their might and strength. Elephaunts hate the worke of lechery, but onely to gender of springing. And so it is sayde, that when vertue of loue pricketh the Elephants of Inde, the female goeth before Eastward, and the male followeth her vntill they come to a priuie place, and there the fe∣male in some wise gotteth Mandragora, and eateth first the fruit therof, and then her male eateth oft the same, and gende∣reth with her, and shée conceiueth, as it is sayd. But for greatnesse of the foale, the female beareth long time the foale in the wombe, but in time of foaling she fée∣deth and nourisheth her foale in waters, and in Ilands, for dread of the Dragon, least he should swallow the tender foale, or lead him awaye: and while the dam trauaileth in foaling, the male defendeth her with all his strength and might. Al∣so there it is said, that the Elephauntes bones burnt, chase and driue away Ser∣pents and all venimous beasts. Also ther is another thing sayde, that is full won∣derfull: for he sayth, that among the Ae∣thiopians in some countries Elephantes be hunted in this wise: There go in the desart two maydens all naked and bare, with open haire of the head, and one of them beareth a vessell, and the other a swoorde: and these maidens beginne to sing alone, & the beast hath liking when he heareth their song, and commeth to them, and licketh theyr breasts, and fal∣leth a sléepe anone for liking of the song, and then the one maide sticketh him in the throate or in the side with a swoord, & the other taketh his bloud in a vessel, and with that bloud people of the same coun∣trie dye cloth, and doe coulour it there∣with.
(*Iuorie comforteth the heart, & hel∣peth conception. Syluius sayeth, we must take héede that it be not counterfeit, with the bones of other beasts. Iuorie is cold and dry in the first degrée.
The shauings of Iuorye with pure honnie, taketh awaye the spottes in the face. The pouder of Iuory burnt, and dronke with Goats bloud, breaketh the stone in the kidneyes and bledder, with∣out all perill. Gesner in fol. 436.)
¶For the better vnderstanding of Ele∣phantes, in what coast they most a∣bound, I haue forth of Ortelius (set vnto a common view) the Empire of the Abissines, or of Presbiter Iohn, as followeth.
THE Empire of the Abissines or of Presbiter Iohn,* whome the inhabi∣tants of Europe doe call Presbiter Iohn, is surnamed of the Moores Aticlabassi, of his owne people, that is of the Abis∣sines, he is tearmed Acegue & Neguz, yt is Emperour & king for the proper name (as among vs is giuen by the parents.) They séeme also euen as the manner is, among ye Romane Bishops, to alter their proper name in comming to the Empire, Page [unnumbered] for he which in our age entered into the league of friendshippe with the king of Portugale, was called Antoni Tingil, which name when he came to the Em∣pire, he chaunged into Dauid: This Presbiter Iohn, is without doubte to bée reckoned among the greatest Monarchies of our age, as he, whose dominions stret∣cheth betwéene the Tropikes, from the red sea, almost to the Aethiopike Occe∣an, and to describe somewhat more dily∣gently, the limits of his Empire: on the North side he hath Aegypt to neighbor, which is vnder the Turkes: on ye East side it stretcheth out to the red sea, and in parts to the gulfe of Barbary: on the South it is fenced, by nature with the mountains of the Moone, but on ye West it is limited with the kingdome of Ma∣negogue, with the kingdome of Nubea, with the riuer of Nilus. By these writ∣ten limits it seemeth to comprehend, the Aethiop of the auncients, surnamed vn∣der Aegypt: The Countryes Troglo∣ditica, and Cinamoniphera, and a parte of the innermost Affrica: These regions at this day are distinguished with many diuerse names, as the Table doth shew, all the inhabitauntes call themselues A∣bissmi, they are of a browne colour, and Christians, as it appeareth by the letters of the foresayd Dauid, written to Cle∣ment the seauenth, of whose manners, kinde of lyfe, and religion, I haue gathe∣red these fewe lines out of the iourneye booke of Fraunces Aluaretius, imprinted in the Italian tongue.
There is in this Countrye a greate number of Monestaryes of both kindes, and in the Monestaryes of men there en∣tereth no woman, nor liuing creature of the feminine kinde. The Monkes for the most parte, doe fast bread and water fiftye dayes, for among them is greate scarcitie of fish, namelye in the innermost partes of the lande, for al∣though the riuers be full of fish, yet they giue not themselues to fishing: Some of them at that time of theyr fast, doe scarcelye tast bread, but onelye liue by hearbes. There are among them, which during the time of theyr fast sleepe not, but sitting in the water vp to the chin. They say Masse, they goe in procession, with Crosses and Sencers (as the Ro∣mish Apostates doe) the Monkes weare long haire, the Priestes not so, none of them weare shooes, not anye of them with shooes, no not the laye men canne goe with shooes into the Church: They kéepe Saturne day, & Sol day, holy dayes: all bée circumcised, yea, the very women, they are lykewise baptised. In the name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost, but not vntill they bée fortie dayes olde, they which liue not so long, dye without Baptisme: All that are bap∣tised, doe receiue at that present the ho∣ly Eucarist, hauing much colde water cast vpon their mouths, that the children may the easilyer swallow it downe, and the names which are giuen them are sig∣nificant: They saye that they were tur∣ned to the christian religion by Quéene Candace, of whome mention is made in the Acts of the Apostles, assembled toge∣ther at Hierusalem, all the contents whereof they doe most studeouslye ob∣serue: The commen people doe common∣ly kéepe two or thrée Wiues, without breach of lawe, according to the wealth they haue to kéepe them, but such the Church men driue out of their temples: it is also lawefull for them to make di∣uorce. The Gentlemen doe make greate daintie of rawe Cowes flesh, dipped in bloud, as it were in anye broath or Po∣tage.
In all the kingdome of Presbiter Iohn, there is no vse of Copper coyne, but in stéed thereof they way pure & vn∣wrought golde. Moreouer Salt (but this is in vse, not onely in those Countryes, but also almost through out all Affrica,) serueth in the waye of bartering or ex∣chaunge: The same Presbiter Iohn in some places doth pullishe yron in forme of Pellettes. But Pepper is in so great price amonge them, whatsoeuer a man will buy, he may easilye redéeme for it: These Countryes haue well néere all kinde of Beastes and Birdes, as Ele∣phants, Lyons, Tygres, Lynxes, Bad∣gers, Apes, Parrets, and Harts, and this is contrary to the opinion of the auncy∣ents, who denieth that in Affrica bree∣deth Page 365 this beast namely the Elephaunt:* but for the space of sixe yéeres, in yt which Aluaretius made abode in these quar∣ters; he writeth, that he sawe neither Beare, Connie, Godlefinche, nor Cuc∣koe.
Locustes are a peculyar mischieuous plague in these quarters, whose number sometimes groweth so greate, that they seeme to darken the Skye, spoyling now this, nowe that prouince, in a manner of Enimyes, that they deuoute all theyr corne in haruest, they féede vpon leaues, and barkes of trées, and they so spoyle the fieldes, that oftentimes the inhabi∣tants are compelled to leaue their olde dwelling, and for want of foode, to goe to other places.
There is in this Countrye a Citye called Gassumo, sometimes the seate (as it is specified in the Cronicles, of quéene Saba, which they saye was called Ma∣queda) and they saye moreouer, that shée had a sonne by king Salomon, named Meilech, they are perswaded, that this Citie was after inhabited by Queene Candaca, but it is best for the Reader, desirous of these things, to reade Fraun∣ces Alueretius, who hath diligentlye set forth those things which hée: obserued in his Embassage. Let him read also a little booke of Damian A-goes touching mat∣ters of Aethiopia.