From a Ship-board in the Port of Della Saline of Cyprus,Sept. 6. 1625.
DUring my stay at Aleppo, from whence I writ my last to [ I] you, on the seventh of August I took the Altitude of the Sun with an Astrolabe, and found him decline South∣wards from the Zenith, 19 degrees, 20 minutes. He was that day, according to the Ephemerides of David Origano, which I Page 274 much esteem but have now with me in the — deg. —
August the twelfth, The great Caravan of Bassora arriv'd at A∣leppo; it set forth a considerable time before us, but had encoun∣ter'd so many difficulties in the Desart, that our sufferings were pleasures in respect of theirs.
August the sixteenth, I was inform'd by Sig. Gio. Maria de Bo∣na, of many passages of the Turkish affairs, which as appertaining to things before, or hereafter to be mention'd in these Letters, and to the full knowledg of the history of things in my time, I will not omit to relate in this place. He gave me certain intel∣ligence how Sultan Mustafa, Brother of the deceased Sultan Ah∣med, who reign'd in Constantinople at my being there, reign'd, and was depos'd for an Ideot (as really he is) twice; namely once before, and once after Sultan Othman. How Othman, who was a Prince sufficiently odd humor'd, being ill-bent against the Christians, and very desirous to make an Expedition against Rome after the bad success befallen him in Poland, was slain by his own Grandees, who would not suffer his government, which was somewhat rigorous and violent: and that, as a sign of his be∣ing slain, he that slew him, carri'd one of his ears to Musta∣fa's Mother, who was yet living, and was likely to be well-pleas'd therewith. That it was not true that the said Othman in the beginning of his Reign had put to death Qizlagarasi of so great authority in the time of Sultan Ahmed his Father, because he had too much power, having been the man that depos'd Musta∣fa, and plac'd Othman himself in the Throne; but indeed he banisht him from Constantinople, sending him into a kind of exile to live privately in Aegypt; from whence he was afterwards re∣call'd by the present Emperor, and restor'd to his ancient favour, and at length dy'd of a disease at Constantinople. How the present Emperor was Sultan Murad, Son of Sultan Amed, and Sultana Chiose, of whom in the time of Amed I have elsewhere in these made long mention; And that Murad was not the eldest Son of Chiose, who was seen at Constantinople in my time, and was of the same age with Othman; but was a Son much younger, that elder having been put to death by Othman, when he design'd to go into Poland. How the said Sultana Chiose was still living, and of more authority then ever, her Son Murad now raigning since the death of Othman, (wherein perhaps she had a hand, be∣cause he was not her Son but the Son of another Woman) after the second deposition of Mustafa; and indeed I fore-saw many years ago, that the said Chiose, having one day remov'd all other pretenders would at length by her wisdom and the power she had in Court bring the Scepter into the hand of one of her sons, as accordingly she hath done. How the Government of the Turks was very ill-manag'd in this nonage of the Emperor and all their affairs grew worse and worse; because there being no head, there was likewise no obedience; all the Ministers did what they pleas'd, every one more or less according as he had Page 275 more or less power, without any regard of the Prince, whom as a child they not only esteem'd kept remote from the Goverment, but endeavour'd to keep always so by educating him only to de∣lights and pleasures. Lastly, how the Serdar or Grand Vizier lately sent to the War of Persia, was Hhapidh. Mahhammed Basha; that he was not sent from Constantinople, but created Serdar or Grand Vzier whilst he was at Amid or Diarbekir, as Basha or Gover∣nor; from whence, without being seen to pass by Aleppo, or spending much time by the way, he hapned to be the same year in Meso∣potamia; which, I said above, that I much wondred at, and could not believe, in case he had come from Constantinople, as or∣dinarily it uses to be. He told me, that indeed he was still at Amid, and had not pass'd further, because he continually waited for the coming up of the Army, which was not yet gather'd together. Whereby it appears to be true what I had always affirm'd at Basso∣ra; namely, that nothing would be done this year in the War of Baghdad, because it would scarce suffice for the uniting of an Army, the expedition being begun, and the same year, and the Serdar who was to be General being newly created. Sig. Giovan Maria ad∣ded to these relations concerning the Turks some news about the affairs of the European Tartars, pertaining also to the former; namely, that the Tartarian Princes of Cafa were three Brothers; Chan, who first reigned, a man of spirit and valour; Chan who was a hostage at Constantinople; and a third Chan, an enemy to the two others but a Vagabond from his own Country, and a fugitive at the Court of the Persian, on whom he depends, and where he was seen by me in the year 1618. when we marcht against the Turkish Army. Now of late years I know not upon what occasion the first Chan being sent for to Constantinople, was there detain'd Prisoner, and his Brother Chan their Hostage, a person of little valour and age establish'd in his stead; under whom the affairs of his State proceeded very ill, and the forces were very feeble; by which occasion the Chan that was in Persia being in∣vited, by the help of the Persian, and many Tartars of the same Stare devoted to him, he enter'd with an Army into his pa∣ternal Territories, and driving his Brother from the Throne, made himself Lord thereof by force; continuing also to possess himself of all that Country by the help of the Cossacks of Po∣land with whom he confederated in despight of the Turks; a thing indeed of very prejudicial consequence to them.
August the second, I saw at Aleppo a Mahometan of the Coun∣try, [ II] who writing in the right hand of a Child or Woman of any Age whatsoever, certain words and characters, (which again he presently defaced by making a great blot of Ink in the palm of the hand, and pouring Oil over it) caused by the power of in∣chantments and words which he spake fast and bravingly, that the said Child or Woman saw in the Oil in their hands what∣ever was desir'd; yea certain Spirits spoke to them, and an∣swered to questions, although the By-standers heard and saw no∣thing Page 276 but only the Woman or Child related what he or she saw and heard. He also caused two persons to sit upon the ground one opposite to the other, and giving them four Arrows into their hands, which both of them held with the points downward, and, as it were, in two right lines united one to the other. Then a question being put to him about any business, he fell to murmur his inchantments, and thereby caused the said four Arrows of their own accord to unite their points together in the middest (though he that held them stir•ed not his hand) and according to the future event of the matter, those of the right side were placed over those of the left, or on the contrary. I know well that such things are not difficult to be done by the art of the De∣vil, nor yet to gain belief, the Devil being naturally a Lyar; but because the severity in our Countries makes such pranks ve∣ry rare, I therefore mention these here.
August the ninteeenth, Being ready to depart from Aleppo to Alexandretta, there to go aboard a small French Ship which was ready to set sail (the great Dutch Ships being already gone be∣fore I could be ready), though I hoped to find them in Cyprus, and perhaps to imbarque in a Flemmish Ship called the Neptune for more security with a Caravan of the same French. When I sent my Goods aboard, I hid the Coffin of Sitti Maani in a great Ball of Cotten Yarn; and as such it passed at the Custom-house, being seal'd wit this mark P † V, N 6. the Letter de∣noting my Name, and the figure signifying the number of trunks and bundles that I carri'd with me, being set upon every one of them, after the Mercantile fashion. By this means the said Cof∣fin was happily convey'd both in and out, without being under∣stood what it was either by the Turks, or Mariners of the Ship, who otherwise would undoubtedly through their vain Auguries have scrupled to carry it.
August the twenty second, I was visited in the Consul's House by Metran Iscivaiab or Isciva-jahab, Archbishop of Mufarquin, a Syrian Nestorian, who had been sometimes a great intimate to F. Fra. Tomaso de Novara, and joyn'd with him in the reduction of that Nation to the obedience of the Catholick Church. He told me, he was very desirous to go to Rome, and in a manner of∣fer'd himself to accompany me, though I was to depart the next day: but because he said, he had not his Patriarch's Letters for that purpose, but expected them shortly, therefore (according to the prudent judgment of other persons who had inform'd me of his affairs, namely, that there was little likelyhood of his having Let∣ters of much importance from the Patriarch, and that his desire of going to Rome was chiefly upon hope to get something there) I counsell'd him by no means to get to Rome, without his Patriarch's Letters, inasmuch as the same would render his reception un∣doubtedly more favourable. He came to be of my opinion, and said he would follow me as soon as his Letters arriv'd; but in the mean time he desir'd me, that I would carry with me two men of his Page 277 Nation, who were honest persons, and would serve me in the voy∣age. Whereunto I readily consented, both to do him a kindness, and because I wanted Servants, having but two; and not know∣ing where to get others that were trusty and fit for my purpose. I offer'd him also my House at Rome, and my Person likewise in what-ever it might be useful to his service; remembring the Obligation I had to his whole Nation for the sake of Sitti Maani Giocrida, my dear and esteem'd Wife, who was of it. With these and other the like Complements to him and the Priest Rezqallah who brought him, and who was Son of the Priest Joseph Elbani, a Maronite, (who read Arabick to me when I was before at Aleppo) he departed, giving me many benedictions after their manner, and leaving a great Frienship establish'd with me.
August the third, In the Morning I went to see the Synagogue [ III] of the Jews at Aleppo, fam'd for fairness and antiquity. Their Street is enter'd into by a narrow Gate, and lyes so much lower then the rest, that it is descended to by a considerable number of steps. After I had gone through many of their narrow Lanes, which they contrive so, purposely to hide the goodness of the Building from the Turks, I came at length to the Synagogue; which is a good large square uncover'd Court, with cover'd Walks or Cloysters round about, upheld by double Pillars di∣spos'd according to good Architecture. On the right hand of the entrance, is a kind of great Hall, which they make use of for their Service in the Winter, when it is cold or rains; as they do of the Court in Summer and fair weather. In the middle of the Court four Pillasters support a Cupoletta, under which in a high and decent place, like our Altar, lyes the volume of the Law, and there also their Doctor and principal Rabbi stands reading in a kind of musical tone, to whom all the people alter∣natively answer. They stand in very great number dispers'd in the Court, Cloysters, and Hall, with their bonnets on their Heads, and promiscuously like us in our Churches, Men and Women together (though I have sometimes seen it otherwise in Italy); yet they are mixt in such order that those of one fa∣mily Men and Women stand all together; and, I believe too, they have their peculiar places and benches to sit upon. More∣over, the right side of the Synagogue was fill'd with Jews origi∣ginaries of the Country from ancient time; but the left with Europaean Jews, who although inhabitants, and marry'd at Aleppo, yet are originally adventitious; and these are all Spaniards, and speak Spanish for their natural Language; yea, many of them were born and bred up if not Spain or Portugal, at least in Italy, Germany, or other Countries of Christendome. I was carry'd to see this Synagogue by a Jew nam'd Baruch, or in our Lan∣guage Blessed, whom I had known at my last being at Aleppo; He was born and bred in Mantua, a man well qualifi'd, danc'd, play'd, and sung competently well; and upon these accounts Page 278 came to my familiarity. We sat together a good while in the Synagogue amongst his fellow-Jews, beholding their Ceremo∣nies; and, after I had seen enough, I went away and left Baruch at his devotions. As I went home I pass'd by the Carvanserai, (or Market) of Silk, as they call it, because in times past, Silk and other Persian Commodities were brought thither more then to other places, but now it is little frequented. Here buying some few things of certain Vzbeghi Tartars, newly come to Alep∣po with a Caravan; I enquir'd concerning their Countries, and they told me, that no Tartars are call'd Vzbeghi, but those of the Countries of Balch, Buchara, and Sarmacand, who, at this day, are divided under two Princes, Brethren; one whereof hath his Seat at Balch, and is call'd Nedhir Muhhammed Chan, on whom depends an inferior Prince, nam'd Bahadar, (which sig∣nifies Gallant or Stout) and sirnam'd, Jelan Tusc, from his spoyl∣ing and killing his Enemies in war; for in their Language Jelan signifies to Spoil, and Tusc to Kill. The other Brother nam'd Imanculi Chan, hath under him Buchera, Sarmacand, Tosc-Kiend, Endigian or Endigan, with other Territories, and both of them border upon those of the Persian Empire, and reign in the Coun∣tries, anciently call'd Sogdiana, Bactriana, and perhaps also Hircania; but by the Moderns, Giagata, Maurenucher, and Tur∣kistan. The same day after dinner I took leave of the Consul, with all my other Friends, and was by his Servants, and many others of the Italian Nation, accompany'd out of the City.
[ IV] Before we mounted our Camels, I was desirous to see, in the Suburbs of Aleppo, the Churches of the Oriental Christians, which stand in a Street call'd Giudeida, not from the Jews, as some who skill not of Languages erroneously imagine, but from the Ara∣bick word Gedida, which signifies New; perhaps, because this place of the Suburbs was built more lately then others. Here, a little out of the Street on the right hand, I found four Churches all together, led unto by one Gate onely from the Street, but (the place being spacious enough within) conveniently divided and separated about the Court or Yard: Two of them belong'd to the Armenians, the greater (a fair one indeed) call'd Santi Quaranta, or the forty Saints; and the less, Della Madonna, or our Lady. One of the other two call'd San Nicolo, belong'd to the Greeks; and the other, which is the least of all, to the Maronite Catholicks, call'd Sant' Elia. In another place a good distant from this, I saw alone by it self another Church, han∣some and large for the Country, built after our manner, with three Naves or Isles upon Pillars; it belong'd to the Syrian Jaco∣bites, and was call'd Sitaa Assedi, or Santa Maria. This Church hath adjoyning to it a good House, with a little Garden and other conveniences according to the use of the Country, wherein lives the Patriarch of the Jacobits, calld Heda, for whom I had brought from Bassora a Letter of F. Basilio di San Francesco, a dis∣calciated Carmelite, wherein he invited him to a mutual friend∣ship Page 279 and correspondence, from which he might draw some bene∣fit to the service of God, by reason of his skill in the Arabick, and his residence here in behalf of the Christians of the Country. This Letter I had gotten presented to the Patriarch, and trans∣mitted his answer to F. Basilio, but had never visited him as the Father desir'd me in order to second his Letter, and settle a friendship between them; because he liv'd far from the Venetian Consul's House where I resided; and all the while I remain'd in A∣leppo, I was lame of one foot by a hurt caus'd by walking in ill shoos that day when we were in danger of being assaulted by thievs; so that I could not walk, and was not wholly cur'd when I depart∣ed. Nevertheless hapning to be so near his Church now, I would not omit to visit him. I found him a very compleat, civil, and court∣ly man according to the mode of the Country: he had not the fame of being learned, but yet was accounted wise and gene∣rous. He told me, he was glad of F. Basilio's Letter, and residing at Bassora, and building a Church there so peaceably, and with so much favour of the Turks, as he advertis'd him; and that he would continue correspondence with him. He also shew'd me two fair Books of the Gospels written in large Parchment-sheets, with excellent Syrian Characters, one of them, (as I remember) written four hundred years ago; the Letters whereof were all either of Gold or Silver▪ and this Book, they say, was found by the Turks in Cyprus when they took the Island, and carri'd to Con∣stantinople, from whence it was afterwards redeem'd with mo∣ney, and brought hither. Indeed no Manuscript could be more goodly or rich with gold and miniature; it had also a velvet Co∣ver adorn'd with Silver gilt, but made by themselves; the anci∣ent Cover, which they said was set with jewels of great value, be∣ing taken away by the Turks. 'Tis the custom of the Orientals to make great account of Books so fairly written and richly ador∣ned, as likewise S. Jerom reports they us'd to do in his time; though himself, being a Scholar, was better contented, as he saith, with his schedules of a less fair Character, but correct. The other Gospel which the Patriarch shew'd me, was more ancient, namely, four hundred and fifty years old, but written with ordi∣nary ink and few miniated Figures; this, he told me, they bought lately at Cyprus for two hundred Piastres. He added, that the Church of Aleppo was not his Patriarchal See, although under his jurisdiction; but it was near the City of Mousul, which is in the place of the ancient Niniveh. After much more discourse, he caus'd very good Sherbets of Sugar with snow, to be given us to drink as the custom is; and offer'd us a Collation of fruits, which we receiv'd not because it was already late and time to be gone. At last, at my taking leave, he pray'd me to do reverence to his Ho∣liness in his name; and so when he had given me many benedicti∣ons, as their manner is, I left him and departed.
Being come to the place where the Camels with the Women [ V] waited for me, I took leave of all those friends that had accom∣pani'd Page 280 me thither, and chose not the direct way to Alexandretta, which the Caravans commonly use, but one somewhat longer hard by Antioch, out of a desire to see the remains of that ancient City, which I had not yet seen. After a short travel, we rested till the Moon arose, and then proceeded all the remainder of the night in bad and uneven ways.
August the twenty fourth, We pass'd by some Villages and places cultivated with Olive-trees, which I was joyful to see, not having beheld any for many years. About Noon, we rested amongst certain ruins of Stone-buildings which had once been very magnificent, and seem'd to be the remains of some noble City in ancient times. Here the Archbishop Isciva-jahab's men, the one nam'd Abdisciva, and the other Hendi, overtook me with his Letter: I receiv'd them, and carri'd them with me as I had promis'd. The said place is call'd Hhalqa, which signifies a Circle, because 'tis a great Plain almost surrounded with Hills. Three hours after Noon we set forth again; we pass'd by another Vil∣lage belonging to the Territory of Hhalqa, and at night took up our Quarters near a running Water under another Village call'd Harta. At midnight the Moon rising, we set forth again, and travell'd all the remainder of the night.
August the twenty fifth, Continuing our journey we came in∣to a great Plain, and travelling along the River Orontes accord∣ing to the stream, (which we had found at day-break) we cross'd over the same upon a good Stone-bridge. Here the Plain is con∣tracted, being streightned on the right hand with high, and on the left with lower mountains; travelling in which Valley about Noon, we arriv'd at Antioch, which is fronted with high moun∣tains almost on the North beyond the River Orontes, and back'd with lower toward the South, the walls of the City being ex∣tended over the same. We enter'd at the East-gate, and took up our Quarters near a great Cistern which is on the left hand of the Gate, divided only by a wall from the Street, and pav'd round with white Marble: it is fill'd by a running-water, and stands in a shady retir'd place, very delightful and convenient for travel∣lers to rest in. On the right side of the said Gate, in one of the Towers of the wall, was a large and fair room, as high as the wall, with few windows besides low and half-fill'd loop-holes for de∣fence; so that it was very cool, and would not be inconvenient in hot hours, were it in good repair; but 'tis now all ruinous with∣out a pavement, being made only a Stall for Cattle. The walls of the City were still standing, all of Stone, magnificent, and built with Turrets after the ancient mode. At the Gate where we enter'd, began a Street not very broad but of great length, extended within the City, and pav'd all with white Marble. An∣tioch is now inhabited by few people, who live in little cottages patcht out of the ruins amongst Gardens, of which the City is all full; for of the ancient houses and structures, saving the walls of the City, there is none standing. Near the place where we Page 281 lodg'd, The Turks shew'd us I know not what, which they call'd Paulos de' Christiani, which perhaps had been some Church of Saint Paul; but every thing was so destroy'd, that I neither saw nor understood it well. There being nothing else remarkable to be seen, we went away three hours before night, by the same Gate we had enter'd at (perhaps because the way was better without then within) going about the City on the outside to∣wards the plain on the North. But re-entring afterwards at a breach of the Wall, we walkt a good way within the City, which I found full of Gardens and Orchards, with few dwel∣lings, saving at the end. At length we went out at a Gate which stands in the more Western part of the City, though not full West, where we pass'd over a fair Stone-bridg which lies upon the River Orontes, taking our way to Alexandretta on the Northern banck; for, they that go directly thither from Aleppo, never see this Ri∣ver, but leave it much South. We travell'd along its banks till night, contrary to its stream, and took up our lodging by the River-side, almost directly against the Eastern Gate, at which we enter'd, and which we beheld afar off on the other bank: Antioch is almost square, about a mile long, and hath many Gates; on the South, it is terminated with Mountains, which, they said, were seven, like the seven Hills of Rome, but I could distinguish no more then five, that is, not five Mountains, (for the Mountain appears but one continu'd ridg) but five tops of it. These Mountains are very steep, and therefore I think could not be built upon; but only, that part of them was included within the wall for strength, and that the same might not be pre∣judicial to the City by being left without, in case of War. That which remains of the City at the foot of the said Mountains, is of small circumference; so that the City appear'd to me much less then I imagin'd it. Within, as I said, there is not any Fabrick standing, but infinite ruins, and the earth is everywhere strow'd with great and goodly stones. Only the Walls are almost all sound and intire, with little decay. After midnight the Moon arising, we also got up; and leaving this Station, proceeded on our way.
- 1. The Eastern Gate, at which we enter'd.
- 2. The Cistern.
- 3. The Street pav'd with Stone and extending within the City.
- 4. A few Habitations in the end of the City.
- 5. A Bridg over Orontes without the City, and contiguous to the Gate.
- 6. The River Orontes.
- 7. A Turret with a room within it.
August the twenty sixth, Continuing our Journey, at day-break [ V] we came to an end of the Plains, and began to ascend the mountains which we were to cross over in order to get to the Sea; and, if I am not mistaken, they are part of the Mountain Ama∣no, which, because at a distance it appears black, is called by the Turks Cara Aman, that is, Black Aman; whence also they now corruptly call the Province which is comprehended in the said Mountain, (and was, according to some, the ancient Cilicia) Caramania. We refresht our weary Camels with two hours rest in a place amongst the Mountains, where, though there were no Houses, yet we wanted not Water and wild Figs. After which being arriv'd to the highest part of the Mountain, and re-enter'd the common road from Aleppo, we discover'd the Mediterrane∣an Sea afar off, which to me was a welcome sight, in regard I had not seen it since my departure from Gaza in the year 1616. We descended down by a way where the Precipices are secur'd with good breast-works of earth sometimes for a Mile together; and at length came to the Town of Beilan, from whence the moun∣tains are here denominated Montagne di Beilan. A little be∣yond this Town, we repos'd in a by-place near a running-water, and under the shadow of abundance of Nut-trees; for the Town it self and places adjacent were all taken up by a great Caravan which came from Aleppo to Constantinople by land.
August the twenty seventh, An hour before day we began to descend amongst the streights of these Mountains, where we met a great Caravan of Merchandise which had lately come in two Ve∣netian Ships, and was going to Aleppo: After two or three hours travel we came to Alexandretta, call'd by us Europaeans Scande∣roon, but more correctly in Turkish Eskander, that is, Alexandro Graeco, because they will have it denominated from Alexander the Great. It was sometimes a noble City, but by reason of the bad air (for it is situated upon the Sea in a Moorish Plain, and inclos'd with Hills which keep off the wind) it was never much inhabited; and the year before my being there, it was al-wholly destroy'd by the Pirats of Barbary, who spare none either of a different or of their own Religion, nor yet bear any respect to the States of the Great Turk himself, though their Lord; Page 284 so that I found onely four small Houses, scarce re-edifi'd this year, wherein the Lieutenant of the place (for the right Governour remains at Aleppo) the Vice-Consuls of such Europaean-Nations as trade into Soria, and a very few other people resided. Sig: Antonio Grandi, the Venetian Vice-Consul, having notice of my coming by a Messenger whom I sent to him from Beilan, re∣ceiv'd and lodg'd us in his own House with much Courtesie, upon the recommendation of his Consul, from whom I presented him a Letter. And when I had acquainted him with my desire to depart as soon as possible, and shewn him the Governor's Pass for my self, goods, and people, which I brought with me from Aleppo, toge∣ther with other commendatory Letters to his Lieutenant and other Ministers; the said Sig: Antonio went presently to present the same, and, by the authority he had here obtain'd, much more easily then I expected, that I might imbarque when I pleas'd; yet upon promise, according to the custom of Turkie, of a small Present to the Governor, and also to a Jew his Minister; which was afterwards given to them both. After dinner Captain Fort, Commander of the French Ship S. Anne, wherein I was to im∣barque, came a shore, and I agreed with him to go aboard that night, though he puposed to stay two or three dayes longer, in expectation of more lading before he set sail. Accordingly after I had written to Aleppo, and supp'd in the House of Sig: Antonio Grandi, I was carry'd aboard by the said Captain with all my people, and onely those few goods which I had brought with me from Aleppo; leaving all the rest to be first receiv'd by the said Sig: Antonio, and then convey'd to me by Sea more at leisure. Thus after many years I quitted the Continent of Asia, with a cer∣tain Resolution never to set foot upon it again unless arm'd, and began my Voyage towards my desired Italy; there being with me of Women, Batoni Mariam Tinatin, a Giorgian Virgin, and faithful Companion of most of my Peregrinations; Eugenia an Indian Maid of Scilan; and of Men, F. Fra: Gregorio Orsino, Vicar General of Armenia; and my Servants, Michel di Bengala, commended to me at Goa by Sig: Antonio Barraccio, Giovan Robehh, a Chaldean of Kiumalava, and the two Syrians recom∣mended to me by that Arch-Bishop, namely, Abdisciva, and Hen∣di, Nestorians.
August the nine and twentieth, All my other goods, together with the Coffin of Sitti Maani, (conceal'd in a ball of Cotton yarn) were imbarqu'd, (thanks be to God) without any di∣sturbance. The next day I took the height of the Sun in the Port of Alexandretta, and found him decline at noon from the Zenith 28 degrees. He was that day in the—degree of Virgo. The same day, by the advice of Sig: Antonio Grandi, to prevent all further troubles which might arise from new search∣ing of my goods, and payment of half Gabels, in case I should exchange the Ship wherein I was, for a Flemish Vessel call'd the Neptune, as I had formerly intended to do at Cyprus; I determin'd Page 285 to continue in the same Ship till I came either to Malta or Sicily, and the rather because the Captain was a Person to my liking, and all his people honest Catholicks, with whom I promis'd my self most satisfaction. Besides, though the Flemish Ship was greater, better arm'd, and accompany'd with two others, and conse∣quently, as to danger of Pirats, more safe; yet 'twas known too that the Flemmings were at Truce with the Pirats, and some∣times will not fight with them, but being secure not to lose any thing of their own, use to submit to them, and let them take all the goods of other people that they have in their Ships with∣out the least contest: So that I had some reason not to trust my self with them, (although much perswaded thereunto by the Master of the Ship) because, perhaps, in such case they would not have much car'd for securing me, whom they hated upon the account of Religion. On the other side, though the French Ship wherein I imbarqu'd was small and unprovided of Artil∣lery, yet it was an excellent Sailer, and safe enough from being overtaken by any Pirate, provided it descry'd him first at a little distance, and had but the least advantage: For which purpose a Man was constantly plac'd upon the main-sail to make discove∣ries; and as for being surpriz'd by the Pirats without fore-seeing them, as 'twas possible we might be in a Morning at day-break, falling among them unawares; so, we hop'd, God would preserve us from such misfortune. Of this change of my Resolution, I gave account in my Letters to Aleppo; and I mention it here, to the end, that it may appear that my passing into Italy in so small and disarm'd a Ship, was not folly or rashness, (as, per∣haps, it may otherwise seem) but a considerate determination prudently made upon weighty and important Reasons. Accord∣ingly, after Sig: Antonio Grandi had presented us many refresh∣ments for the Voyage, the same Evening a little before night we set sail.
September the first, In the Evening we pass'd by Capo Chanzir, [ VI] or, as 'tis now commonly call'd, Capo Porco, lying thirty miles from Alexandretta, and the next Evening we discover'd the Island of Cyprus, where we were to touch and stay some dayes.
September the third, In the Morning we doubled the Cape of S. Andrea, on the South of the said Island, being to put in at Porto della Saline, or the Port of the Salt-pits, which is now the principal and most frequented landing-place of Cyprus.
September the fourth, We enter'd the said Port, which lyes on the South part of Cyprus in a large Bay, surrounded with Land, spacious and secure enough for all sort of Ships. It lyes two hundred miles from Alexandretta, and is the Port where the Turkish Army landed when they took the Island. As soon as we had enter'd, we were visited in the Ship by Sig: Dimitrio Todorini, a prime Greek Merchant, but not a Cypriot, who offer'd me his House; and Sig: Giovan Francesco Parente, a Ve∣netian, my ancient Friend and correspondent in Aleppo, (from Page 286 whence, upon certain discontents befallen him there, he had be∣taken himself hither) who visited me not onely upon his own account, but also in the Name of Sig: Alessandro Goneme, the Venetian Consul in that Island, who excus'd his not coming in Person, for that he was just then call'd away by the Cadhi, upon a certain business.
September the fifth, The said Venetian Consul with Sig: Parente, and some others of his House visited me in the Ship: And though I intended not to go ashore notwithstanding all his intreaties and invitations, yet he resolutely refus'd to depart till I went with him. Wherefore I obey'd him, and went onely with one servant, leaving F. Orsino, and the Women in the Ship. On the seaside I found some few dwellings, and magazines or storehouses, which are those that they properly call delle Saline, from the Salt-pits hard by; where the Turks have a small square Castle, with a Plat-form, and Artillery to guard the Sea, but of little import∣ance. Here taking Horse, we rode a little mile within Land, to another Village call'd Larnaca, where the Franks live for the most part, and there we alighted at the Consul's House. And because it was yet early, after a little repose, we went to the Franciscan's Church, call'd Santa Maria; and there heard Mass, which was sung with the Office pro mortuis, for the Soul of Sig: Giovan Ma∣ria Parente, Brother to Sig: Francesco, who the day before pass'd to a better Life. In the Evening, I visited Sig: Dimitrio Todorini in his own House, and lodg'd in that of the Consul. I will not omit that the Venetians have alwayes a Consul at Cyprus, who is not of the Nobility, but of the Order of Eminent Citizens, whereof many Secretaries of the Republick use to be; so that though the Consul of Cyprus be not dependent upon him of Alep∣po, as Vice-Consuls are; yet he of Aleppo, as noble, and a more principal Minister in these parts, hath something of superiority over this of Cyprus.
[ VII] September the sixth, This Morning I am return'd a Ship-board, where I conclude this Letter, and commit it to F. Fra: Giovanni di Segovia, a Spanish reform'd Franciscan, who came hither in the same Ship with us from Alexandretta, and is the same Person who, disguis'd in a secular and Souldier-like garb, for fear of being hindred in his passage by the Portugal Ministers, came (in com∣pany of F. Fra: Roderigo di San Michele, a Discalceated Augustine, and Provincial of Manila) in the same Ship with us from Mascat to Bassora, passing under the name of l' Alfiere, or Ensign, till he arriv'd safe at Aleppo, where laying off his disguise, he resum'd his proper name and Fryer's habit; and because the Provincial of Manila, with whom he came into India, could not dispatch his affairs but stay'd behind at Aleppo; therefore he being desirous to arrive speedily at Rome and Spain, in order to the affairs of his Religion, is just now departing, and hath promis'd me to de∣liver this to you, and to salute you in my name, as I do most heartily.