From MascatJanuary 19. 1625.
HAving determin'd to return to my Country, not by way of Portugal but by that of Bassora, and from thence by land to A∣leppo, which seem'd to me the best and shortest; and having accord∣ingly obtain'd licence of the Viceroy, (who in this and other mat∣ters hath always done me many favours) which licence was neces∣sary, because in Goa 'tis rigorosly prohibited to all to go into Europ by this way of Turky; and being prepared with every thing neces∣sary by the opportunity of the Cafila and Armada which went from Goa for Cambaia, in which there was one Ship which was to go from Ciaul to Bassora, I resolv'd to embarque in a Ship of the Armada that was to go to Ciaul, intending there to go aboard that which was to go to Bassora. In order whereunto having taken leave of all my friends, and at last got the Viceroy's licence, who was then at Pangi, and gave me certain Letters of impor∣tance written to his King, which I was to consign to the Portugal Agent at Rome, that he might transmit the same to his Master; on the fifteenth of November about evening, I went down the River in a Mansina or Wherry to the mouth of the Sea, and Page 224 there went aboard the Ship I had taken, whereof Francesco Gomez was Captain.
In this Voyage there came with me Marian Tinatin, Eugenia Cingala her servant, a Venetian Merchant, my Friend nam'd Marc' Antonio Lanza, whom I took for my company, with his servant nam'd Giovanni, Michael a servant given me by Sig: An∣tonio Baracho, to accompany me to Rome, a trusty person, to whom he had therefore given liberty; and another ser∣vant of his, nam'd Giovan Boracho, who was to accompany me onely to Ciaul, whither also his Master Antonio intended shortly to follow him.
November the sixteenth, Before day we set sail, and met the Armada of Chebore, Diu Bossaria, and Ciaul, (Countries on the North of Goa) sailing to Goa; at night we cast Anchor short of the Rocks, call'd Los Ilheos quemados. Our course was alwayes Northwards, the Land alwayes winding from us on the Right Hand.
November the twentieth, We set sail about day-break, and at three a clock after noon cast Anchor a little short of Ciaul, be∣cause the wind was contrary, in a Bay, where there is a Vil∣lage call'd Pascet; here we stay'd three dayes in expectation of some ill-arm'd Vessels of the Cafila, which lagg'd behind.
On the four and twentieth at night, We enter'd the Port of Ciaul, which is within the jaws of a fair River. I sent my servant to look for a House, and in the mean time remain'd for this night in the Ship, but the next day we landed with all our Goods.
November the nine and twentieth, News came to Ciaul that [ II] Dutch Ships were gone from Surat to Ormuz, with intent to help the Persians against the Portugals; it being suspected that they have made some agreement with the King of Persia, to have a share of that place, and to inhabit it. Some said the Ships were four; others, that seven more were preparing at Surat, with a Petache for the same design, either all Dutch, or Dutch and Eng∣lish together. Be it as it will, the arrival of Enemy-Ships at Ormuz, before the Portugal Armada, I account very prejudicial to the Portugals design upon the place; for 'tis difficult for Ruy Freira to hinder them only with an Armada of Oars from relieving it, which may be done in one day; and being done, 'tis suf∣ficient to prolong the Warr and the Siege for another year. And if it be true, that so many Ships of those Hereticks are going not onely to Ormuz, but also to Mascat and all the Coasts of India, I look upon it as a matter of dangerous consequence; it being rumor'd not without ground that they are agreed with the Persians to make Warr upon Mascat, and to do great matters against the Portugals, which God forbid.
December the second, I went to view a Town of the Moors, subject to Nizam-Sciah, and his Governour Melik Ambar, and because near Ciaul, call'd Ciaul di Riba, that is, Upper Ciaul. The way leading to it is fair and handsome, amongst Groves of Page 225 Palms and other Fruit-trees, and it stands on the same bank of the River more Northwards with Ciaul of the Portugals. 'Tis a large Town well inhabited both by Moors and Gentiles, espe∣cially near the Bazar or Market-place, where the Shops afford plenty of all things necessary for Food and Clothing, according to the fashion of the Country, as also very fine Cotton Clothes of several sorts, with other commodities which are brought thither from the more inward parts. Beyond the Bazar, the Houses stand not so close together, but scatter'd here and there amongst Gardens, or rather woods of Palmes and other Fruit-trees, which are very thick, tall, and handsome, affording shadow to the streets all the way, which are broad, long, green, and very delightful. A little distant from the Bazar is a great Artificial Lake or Cistern, surrounded, as their custom is, with stone stairs; they call it Tanle Nave Nagher. The Moors for the most part dwell near the Bazar towards the River, which passes not far off, and is navigable seven or eight leagues upwards: Here also the Mahometans have their Meschita's, hot Baths, (which the Gentiles use not, because they wash themselves publickly in their Cisterns), and places of Sepulture; a Dogana, or Custom-house; and lastly, a Divan, or Court of Justice, and what-ever belongs to their Government.
Most of the Gentiles, who are the greatest part, live in Houses re∣mote [ III] from the Bazar, amongst Gardens and Trees, where in several places they have sundry Temples of their Idols, as one principal, which I saw, of Zagadanba a Goddess, who, they say, is the same with Leksemi, Wife of Visenu; another good one dedicated to Amrut Suer, who, they say, is the same with Maha∣deu, and is figur'd by a round stone like him of Cambaia. Other Temples I saw of Neraiena, and others of their Idols; but the greatest and chiefest of all, both for esteem and devotion, stands remote from the Bazar upon the way to Ciaul of the Portugals, and is dedicated to Rami, or Ramisuer; it adjoynes to a great Artificial Lake or Cistern, each side whereof is about 73 of my paces, environ'd after the usual fashion with banks and stairs of stone, leading down to the surface of the water; there are also round about it very broad walks shadow'd with high, thick, and goodly Trees, which make the place opacous and very lovely. In the front of the Temple next the Cistern, under a Cupolet supported by four Pilasters, is the statue of an Ox or Bull sitting with all the four Legs gather'd under it, being the same that I saw in Canara, call'd Basuana, but here Nandi; they told me, it was a Male, and different from Gaietry Vasca, which was the Wife of Rama. The head and breast of this figure looks towards the Gate of the Temple, the back and tayl towards the Cistern; and the Gentiles who come to visit this Temple, first go down to wash their Face, Hands, and feet in the Cistern, and then come to kiss and touch with their Head in token of Reverence, (or at least with their Hands reverently bow'd down after their man∣ner) Page 226 the tayle of the said Nandi; after which they put off their Pantofles, and so enter the Temple bare-foot to pray and worship after their manner; of which I have else-where spoken. Some go round about the Temple before they enter, beginning from the right side, and coming about to the left, as I said before they did also at Canara in their Processions and Ceremonies. Others offer Fruits and other things to the Idols, or else strew grains of Rice before them in Oblation: The like they do to the Statue of the Ox Nandi, and also to a Sprig of Basil, planted there upon a square Pedestal of earth, on one side of the little Chap∣pel of Nandi. There stand also upon the Lake, and other-where about the Temple, many other little Chappels inclos'd with walls, having several Idols in them. In one behind the Temple stands the Idol of the Scimione Haniment, in his usual and ridi∣culous Figure of an Ape, and sitting like a Man; and indeed, 'tis strange that these wretched people are not asham'd to wor∣ship such things. This Haniment was one of those Scimioni, or Apes which helped Rama to recover his Wife, for which service they merited Divine Honours; and therefore 'twas reason he should here have a place near the Temple of Rama, which re∣sembles the subjoyned Plat-form.
- 1. The Street or High-way.
- 2. The Gate leading to the Cistern.
- 3. The place about the same.
- 4. Gardens and Groves about the said Street.
- 5. The Cistern or Artificial Lake.
- 6. Stairs about it.
- 7. Another Gate leading out of the Street or High-way to the Temple.
- 8. The open space where the Temple stands, enclos'd towards the Street with walls, and else-where with Gardens.
- 9. The Statue of Bue Nandi, under his Cupolet upon a pave∣ment some-what rais'd from the ground.
- 10. A Pedestal with a sprig of Basil.
- 11. The Entrance of the Temple.
- 12. A little Porch of the same.
- 13. The Temple-Gate.
- 14. The Temple, empty within, saving that it hath a few wooden figures of Idolets, or other things.
- 15. A wall'd Inclosure or Penetral within the Temple, which I saw not, wherein is the Statue of Rama.
- 16. The little Chappel of the Idol Haniment.
- 17. Little Chappels of other Idols, to which certain Gioghi, who stand there to beg Alms, sometimes repair.
- 18. Other little Houses, perhaps, belonging to the Ministers of the Temple.
- 19. A great Tree with a round bank of Earth about it, where oftentimes some Gioghi sit reading and contemplating after their manner; of which sort of Trees many are planted in this inclos'd space.
I was one day at this Temple, (whither I often went for [ IV] Recreation) and I saw many Men and Women come to worship, and wash themselves in the Lake; some of the Women were young and handsome, yet shun'd not being seen by any one that pass'd by. There came also many Mainati, that is, Washers, both Men and Women to wash their clothes here, and, in brief, I took much pleasure, and sometimes dined and spent the whole day here, enjoying the shadow of the Trees, and the coolness of the Lake. It would be too long to speak here of the Idols of these Gentiles, how many, and what they are; perhaps I shall one day communicate something to the world about the princi∣pal of them in another Language.
December the seventh, My Friend Sig: Antonio Baracho arrived at [ V] Ciaul as I expected; he came by the Vice-Roy's Order to make provision for the Galeoons which were sending to Ormuz, being seven well armed Ships, daily expected to arrive there.
December the ninth, Sig: Antonio having dispatched his busi∣ness at Ciaul, and taken Order for my imbarquing in the above Page 229 mentiond Vessel that was going to Bassora, whereof one Antonio Giovanni was Captain; and his much business which he had to do for the Armada at Bassaim, requiring haste in the Evening he departed in the same Almadia or Shallop wherein he came: Our separation was not without tears, and much regret on both sides; but I was something comforted, by his promise of vi∣siting me at Rome as soon as he could get leave to go to Portugal about his other Affairs.
December the fifteenth, The Galeoons of the Armada of Goa arrived at Ciaul; they were but six, and said that two more were coming after them, and that they had Orders, in case they un∣derstood the Ships of the Enemies were already departed from Surat to Ormuz, (as indeed they were) not to go after them, (be∣cause it would be a vain thing to think of hindering the sup∣plying of Ormuz with Victuals, since it might be done if they arrived there but one day before the Portugals) but to go directly to Surat to try what dammage they could do there. But in case the Enemies Ship were not yet gone from Surat to Ormuz, then to go directly to Ormuz as speedily as they could, and get thither before them, and hinder the besieged place from being succoured; which 'twas impossible for Ruy Freira to do only with his small Vessels of Oars. Now according to these orders (the Dutch Ships being already gone from Surat to Or∣muz, as is abovesaid) it was held fit at Ciaul that the Galeoons should without more ado go to Surat, and after they had there done what mischief they could to the Enemies, then sail to Ormuz.
December the sixteenth, The Ship wherein I was to imbarque, being to set sail the night following, I put my Goods aboard, and having taken leave of my Friends, I was accompanied to the Sea-side by Sig. Luigi Cabreira, from whom I separated with ma∣ny embraces, and much regret on either side. As soon as I was in the Ship the Captain weighed Anchor, intending to set sail as soon as we should have a good wind, although the Captain of Ciaul sent a publick Notary to the Captain of our Ship not to go out of the Port this night, the service of the King so requiring; I believe it was, that we might stay for some other Ships which were to go out the next morning, to the end we might go alto∣gether more secure from the Malabars, the greatest dangers of whom is at the going out of Ports, about which they lie wai∣ting, and near the Land where they ply up and down, more then in the main Sea. We had no wind in the night, and there∣fore went not out of the Port.
December the seventeenth, In the morning we set out of the [ VI] Port with a small gale, and at the same time three or four other Ships set forth for several parts. We had not sail'd far, but we descry'd some Vessels coming towards us, which we took for Pirats, and therefore prepar'd to fight them; but at length we lost sight of them, and hois'd the great sail, directing our course Page 230 almost Northwest; having first rehears'd the Litanies of our La∣dy, and invok'd the Divine Assistance, and her's, propitious to our Voyage.
December the twenty third, Having hitherto sail'd prosperously, we came to the altitude of twenty three degrees and a half, un∣der the Tropick of Cancer, leaving the Torrid Zone, under which I had been travelling in sundry parts for about a year and ten Months. Here the wind fail'd us, and we had as quiet a Sea as uses to be at the shores of Italy in the Month of August. We began to find the Sky, which hitherto we had seen constantly clear, (as it uses to be in India during these Months) now inter∣stinguish'd with clouds: and, in short, the mutation of the Climate was manifest. The Coast of Arabia, for which we were bound, could not be far off; but we could not get to discover it for want of wind.
December the twenty seventh, Having hitherto been becalm'd, without advancing but rather being driven backwards by the contrary current of the water; the Portugals, as their custom is, after reciting the Litanies, and praying to God, and Sant' Antonio of Padua, (to whom they bear great devotion) to give us a good wind, intended to bind a little Image of the said S. Anthony which they carry'd in the Ship, as if to imprison it: for thus they use to do, when they would obtain any favour, as if they meant to force it, threatning not to loose it till he grant them what they demand. They intended, I say, to bind S. Anthony that he might give us a good wind; but forbore to do it upon the Pilot's instance, who pass'd his word for the Saint, telling them that he was so honest that without being bound or captivated, he would do what they desir'd. This manner of demanding of fa∣vours of S. Antonio of Padua, is much in use amongst the Portu∣gals, especially the meaner sort of ignorant and superstitious Mariners; though amongst us 'tis a vain thing. A barbarous Su∣perstition indeed; but yet such as sometimes, through the faith and simplicity of those that practise it, uses to be heard.
December the twenty eighth, We had a wind sufficiently brisk and impetuous, yet not only not favourable but altogether con∣trary; so that we could neither bear up against it, nor yet cast anchor because we were in the main Sea, which growing rough and tempestuous, we were forc't to furl our sails, and suffer the Ship to be driven whither the wind pleas'd, which was South∣wards, not without fear falling upon Mombaza, or some other remote Coast of Africk, and consequently suffering shipwrack, and a thousand other Dysasters.
December the twenty ninth, The Captain, with the others of the Ship resolv'd at length to bind S. Anthony, and as chance would have it, it prov'd well; for the wind chang'd, and we sail'd prosperously in our right course all day, and part of the night. A little before mid-night we discover'd the Coast of A∣rabia so neer that we cast anchor in haste for fear of the Shallows Page 231 which are thereabouts. In the morning we saw the Land naked both of Trees and Grass, but rather stony in appearance and De∣sart, although it was part of that Arabia which they call Happy.
December the thirtieth, We began to move forward East South-East, having the Land on the left hand; but a sudden contrary wind arising forc't us to cast anchor again in the place where we were, not without danger; for in the furling of the sail, through the negligence of the Sea-men, it wrapt about the Mast, the wind blowing very furiously against the fore-deck; so that had the Vessel been less sound and strong-sided, or some of the Passengers less diligent to help, it had been overturn'd and sunk, like the Ship of Orontes in the shipwrack of Aeneas, which Virgil describes to have been lost by the like casualty. At night, the contrary wind ceasing, we proceeded in our intended course.
December the one and thirtieth, The wind failing, we cast an∣chor, but in an unsecure place, not without danger of being split upon the shore, whither in spight of our anchors the wind hurri'd us; but tacking about, we got to a more secure place, near that from whence we had mov'd the day before.
On the first of January, and of the year 1625, We stood at [ VII] anchor till night, and then made a little progress; but all the next day we stood at anchor again, and took very good fish; and at night a little wind blowing from the Land, we went forwards now and then, but very little.
January the eighth, Having all the preceding days been about the Coast of Arabia, casting anchor every day, and weighing again at night; (during which, a Boat of Arabians brought us much fresh fish, and an Arabian came swimming to us a great way only to beg a little Rice and Bisket, which we gave him) at length having a good wind this day after noon, we pass'd a Cape which they call Capo falso, because 'tis neer and resembles the Cape Raselhhad, but is not it. At night we passed by the True Cape call'd by the Arabians Raselhhad, that is, the Cape of the Confine, because 'tis the last and most Southern Cape of Arabia, being, as they say, in the latitude of twenty two degrees and a half from the Aequinoctial Northwards, and distant from Mascat, whither we were going, forty leagues; the Portugals call it cor∣ruptly Capo di Rosalgate. Having pass'd this Cape, we steer'd Northwest, still upon the coast of Arabia which lies all the way on the left hand, and enter'd the Persian Gulph, but saw not the opposite Continent of Persia, because for a good way inwards the Gulph is very broad.
January the seventh, Having in the night foregoing had a good wind, by day-light we were got eighteen leagues beyond the Cape, near the place where the City of Calatat, which Al∣buquerque destroy'd, sometimes stood, upon a good River, at the foot of certain little Mountains, of which almost the whole coast consists. Here the wind fail'd us, and having labour'd with the oar all day, we got no further then Teive, a place inhabited Page 232 by Arabians. At night we were troubled with rain, which pas∣sing through all covers, wetted us sufficiently, and kept us from sleeping. The next day we hois'd sail, and had scarce dry'd our Clothes, but more rain surpriz'd us; and through want of wind all the day, we did not get so far as Curiat, which lyes eight Leagues forward, and twelve short of Mascat.
On the eleventh of the same Moneth, having no wind, we made use of Oars, till we came to an Anchor a little beyond Curiat; and the next day hoising sail, we pass'd by an Island call'd Scoglio di Curiat, sailing through a narrow arm of the Sea which divides it from the Continent, which is all stony and full of Cliffs, like the fair Mountain Posilippo near Naples in Italy. Before night we cast Anchor a little beyond; for our Oars helpt the Ship but little; being only serviceable to such heavy Vessels to sur∣pass a Cape, or get into a Port, or the like, in case of need for a short way. At night we weigh'd Anchor, and soon afterwards cast it again, having made but little way.
January the thirteenth, Having sail'd all day, and pass'd the Tropick of Cancer, we enter'd the Northern Temperate Region, and towards night arriv'd at the Port of Mascat, which is well clos'd and encompass'd about with little Mountains, but lyes open to the North-west, whereby it receives much dammage. The Town, whereof the least part are wall'd Houses, and the greatest onely sheds made of Palm-boughs, stands directly in the innermost recess of the Port, surrounded behind with Moun∣tains; amongst which, nevertheless, there want not wayes of access to it from the in-land parts; so that, to secure their Houses from the incursions of the Arabians, they had in my time begun to raise an earthern wall, but plain and weak, with a few Basti∣ons, very distant one from another; which wall, drawn from Mountain to Mountain, incloses and secures their Houses on that side, as the Sea doth on the opposite and inaccessible little Moun∣tains on the two other sides. On the top of one of these Moun∣tains, on the right hand as you enter the Port, stands the Castle, difficult indeed to be taken by assault or otherwise then by Fa∣mine, if well defended; for though the wall be not very strong, yet the natural situation secures it, and it hath a Plat-form le∣vell'd to the Sea, whereby it defends the Port with Artillery, and is descended to from the Castle by a cover'd Ladder, which is very good. On the other side of the Port, upon another Mountain stands another Port of less consideration, having been anciently the Castle; yet it hath Artillery, and may be of some advantage. The Town is small, but for its bigness sufficiently peopled, especially since the loss of Ormuz, from whence many repair hither. The people is mix'd of Portugals, Arabians, In∣dians, Gentiles, and Jews. It hath onely two Churches; one which is the See of the Vicar, who is no Priest but an Augustine Fryer; one of their Covent, alwayes coming to officiate there, and to discharge the place of Vicar and Parish-Priest: the other Page 233 is of Augustine Fryers, where live about four of that Order, and both are dedicated to our Lady, with several Titles; to wit, that of the Fryers Della Gratia; and the other, Del Rosario. The Captain lives not always in the Castle by reason of the incon∣venience of its situation, but onely during the hotter monthes of Summer for coolness; for upon the lower ground the heat is insupportable, both because the Climate is of it self hot, and because the dwellings lie in a low and inclos'd place, encompas∣sed, as I said, with Mountains, which keep off all wind, and re∣verberate the Sun more strongly; besides that, the Soil is dry and saltish, which consequently increases the heat. The Cap∣tain whom I found there, was call'd Sig: Martino Alfonso de Melo. I also found dwelling here a Nephew, or Brother's Son of the Captive King of Ormuz, whose Father was also King of the same place before this Brother of his, who is at this day prisoner in Persia. This Nephew, they told me, was call'd after his Uncle's Name Muhhamed-Sciah; and the Portugals make him be acknowledg'd Prince in Arabia by all the Arabians that were lately subject to the King of Ormuz, and are now exempt from the oppression of the Persians or Rebellion, as nearest Kinsman and lawfullest Heir (of any now at liberty) to the imprison'd King. At the same time of our Arrival, there was also at Mascat upon his journey Hhabese-Chan, Ambassador of the King of Dacan, Nizam-Sciah, who was returning to his Master from Persia, where he had been many years with Sciah-Abbas. It being night when we arriv'd at Mascat, we went not ashore; onely the Captain of the Ship was sent for by the Governour to speak with him, and give him account of his purposes.
Remaining in the Ship this night, and for my Recreation ob∣serving [ VIII] the Stars a little before day, I beheld (as I had at other times in India) the Austral Cross, which the Spaniards call Crucero, and is the nearest visible Constellation to the Southern Pole, ser∣ving in the other Hemisphere as the Pole-Star of the North doth in ours; so that this Cross is discerned even in the parallel of Mascat, which is in the Elevation of 23 derees 36′.7″. Indeed it appears low, but a little above the Horizon. I noted here that in these Indian Seas this Cross is seen at the time above-said, (to wit, a little before day, very erect; for it rises late in the night, and at first appears a-thwart, till the Heaven wheeling about with a short circle, a little before day it appears in its erect Figure, which is of this form,
January the fourteenth, Having procur'd a Lodging, about Page 234 noon I landed with my people, and went to possess it. In the Evening I visited the Veador de Fazenda, or Treasurer, Sig: Ni∣colo da Silva my Friend, and known to me many years in Persia; who at first not knowing me, was afterwards much pleas'd to see me here safe and sound.
January the fifteenth, I visited the Captain or Governour of Mascat, in whose House I found lodg'd Sig: Don Francesco Contigno Covacio, my Friend, at Goa, who upon some disgusts be∣tween himself and the Vice-Roy, came in the same Armada that I did to Ciaul, and from thence hither, in Order to go to the siege of Ormuz.
January the seventeenth, I was visited by the F. Provincial of the Augustines in Manil, whom I had seen, but not convers'd with at Goa, and who was going onely to Bassora. His conver∣sation was very pleasing to me, because he was a person of much and various Erudition, both in Mathematicks and History; be∣sides that he was also an excellent Preacher.
January the eighteenth, At noon I took the Altitude of the Sun, whom I found forty four degrees distant from the Zenith, being this day in the 27th degree of Capricorn, according to Ori∣ganus, and declining from the Aequinoctial towards the South 20 degrees 23′.53″. which taken from 44 degrees, leave 23 de∣grees 36′.7″. So that Mascat lyes 23 degrees 36′.7″. distant from the Aequinoctial towards the North; and consequently, hath the North-Pole so much elevated. The same day a Petache arriv'd from Ormuz, bringing News of the Arrival there of ten Ships from Surat, namely, six Europaean Men of War, and four Merchant Ships of Moors and other people; so that with those formerly arriv'd, there were at Ormuz between English and Dutch ten Ships of War, and the Portugal Armada not yet arriv'd. This Petache, they say, Ruy Freira sent to Mascat, to avoid falling amongst so many Enemies, being alone. He stay'd still there with his Vessels of Oars, yet with no hope of hindring Ormuz from being reliev'd both with Men, Ammunition, and Victual at their pleasure.
January the nineteenth, I went to see a Village of the Arabi∣ans, a little distant from Mascat, and call'd Kelbuh; it lyes without the Mountains that incompass the Castle and Houses of Mascat on the side towards Sohar; the way that leads to it, is a nar∣row passage, and because dangerous for the letting in of Enemies, the Portugals have wisely guarded it with a rampart, and some few pieces of Artillery. The Town is small, consisting onely of cottages or sheds made of Palm-boughs, and so low that one cannot stand upright in them, but onely sitting upon the ground after the manner of the Moors: yet for its bigness, it hath people enough; because this miserable sort of Men very wretchedly, but easily accommodate themselves to their own mode in any little place.