Asia. The first part being an accurate description of Persia, and the several provinces thereof : the vast empire of the Great Mogol, and other parts of India, and their several kingdoms and regions : with the denominations and descriptions of the cities, towns, and places of remark therein contain'd : the various customs, habits, religion, and languages of the inhabitants : their political governments, and way of commerce : also the plants and animals peculiar to each country
Ogilby, John, 1600-1676.

The Countrey of Georgia.

*THis Countrey comprehends all that Land which the Ancients nam'd Col∣chos, and Iberia, as also a part of Arme∣nia, and some of Albania; within whose Limits (as Strabo tells us) is inclos'd the Countrey inhabited by the Moschi: for Georgia extends in length from the Eastern Shore of the Black Sea, almost to the Caspian. Others make Georgia com∣prise the ancient Iberia, and the Countrey of Geor∣gia mention'd by Pliny and Mela. It hath for Neighbor on the East, the Countrey of Albania, now under the Jurisdiction of the Persians, and wherein the Towns of Bacu, and Demircapi or Derbend lie; and bending from thence a little Southerly, it touches upon the Province of Scir∣van; in the West it verges with the Black Sea;* in the North, fronts the Caspian Mountains, which are Branches of Mount Caucasus, and extend along from the Black to the Caspian Sea, and defend Geor∣gia from the Northern Blasts, as also from the In∣vasion of the Salvages; on the South it conter∣minates with that part of Armenia which borders upon Media, and somewhat lower Westerly to∣wards Trebizonde, with a part of Cappadocia, and is by the Circassian and Caspian Mountains divided from Muscovy.

*The right Name of this Countrey (according to Texeira) is Gurgistan, that is, The Countrey of the Page  86

[illustration]
Gurgians. It is also call'd Garia and Chartuelaba, as a Georgian in the Countrey Language, Chartueli or Kartueli; which word Della Valle affirms to sig∣nifie a Christian. The Turks name them Kurchin or Gurgin or Jurian, to which must be added the Turkish word Lar, a sign of the plural Number, and is pronounced Jurianu-Lar. The Name of Georgia or Georgians, some suppose they have re∣ceiv'd from St. George, whom they highly reve∣rence, and carry his Picture in their Standards; though Postellus affirms, from the information of the Georgians in Constantinople, that the Name of St. George is altogether unknown to them.

*Georgia is by some divided into several Provin∣ces, the chiefest whereof are Imereti or Busciaciuk, Cacheti, Cardel or Carduel, Curiel, and Mengrelia.

This Countrey of Georgia is very fertile,* and in many places produces plenty of Corn, Wine, and other Fruits. Most of the Vines grow up by the Trees. There are likewise many Woods and Mountains, and abundance of Mulberry-ttees for the feeding of Silk-worms, which furnish Persia with great quantities of Silk.

Wild Beasts are also here in great numbers,* and likewise Faulcons and Eagles, which they call Avigi.

*It is water'd by the Rivers Araxes, now call'd Aras; Cyrus, now Cur, and the Canak.

The Cyrus or Cur, which the Natives of the Countrey call Ser, the Turks Chur, and others Elkar, takes its original with the Araxes out of Mount Taurus in Armenia, from whence it glides down to the Plains of Georgia, where augmented with the Waters of many Rivers, and at last united with the Araxes, disembogues into the Caspian Sea.

There are also two very eminent Lakes; the one call'd Geluchalatdu, in the North, is four days Journey in circumference, and hath on its Banks the Castle of St. Leonard; the other nam'd Esechie, is taken for the ancient Lake Licinitis.

*The Georgians are very civil and courteous after their manner. The Nobles are call'd Asnaure, which going continually Arm'd, always maintain War against the Unbelievers or Mahumetans: But they are not so much inclin'd to Learning, as the Greeks; neither are they so ambitious, proud, and subtle, but very meek and honest, of an affable nature, and so easie of belief, that their greatest misfortunes have fall'n upon them from the Mahumetans through their too much credulity.

Cootwick tells us, that the Georgians are much inclin'd to Drinking, and that they will not En∣gage with an Enemy before they have drank their Fill. The Women are very courteous, civil, mo∣dest, and the best featur'd in all Asia; both Men and Women are tall and slender, having generally brown Hair, black full Eyes, white and ruddy Complexions, occasion'd perhaps by the abundance of Wine which they drink.

*Through the whole Countrey is but one sort of Language spoken, which being peculiar and com∣mon to these People, is by them call'd Cardueli; it is written with two distinct Characters or Letters, the one call'd Cudsuri, which is us'd onely in godly Books, and in their Churches; and the other Chedroli, is us'd in all other Affairs.

The Alphabet of the vulgar Georgians hath thirty six Letters, shap'd like those represented in the Sculp.

Figueroa tells us, that the Georgian Characters differ from the Caldean, Hebrew, and Armenian, and that they write like the Europeans, from the left hand to the right.

*The Georgians receiv'd the Christian Religion in the time of the Emperor Constantine (who kept his Court at Constantinople,) from the Greeks, by means of a strange Slavess, of whom they relate many great Wonders, but to this day none of them know her Name; yet the Roman-Catholicks, in their Book of Martyrs, call her Ancella. And as they receiv'd the Christian Religion from the Greeks, so they likewise observe their Church Ceremonies and Liturgies. They perform Divine Service in their own Language, and not in the Page  87Greek, as Minadoi and others affirm; nor do they boast the antiquity of their Church, as the Greeks do; and though they acknowledge the Patri∣arch of Constantinople, yet nevertheless they are not subject to him, for they chuse their own Church-Rulers. They bear great reverence to Rome, St. Peter, St. Paul, and the Pope, to whom (contrary to the Greeks) they attribute the anti∣quity of their Church. They shun the company of the Armenians, and abhor their Superstition, but affect, the Latines and Roman-Catholicks; and what Conquests soever the Turks and other People have gain'd over them, yet they have always re∣main'd firm in the Christian Faith; and though their Princes have very often apostatiz'd, and forc'd many after several ways to change their Opinions, yet nevertheless the Christian Religion hath gotten the upper hand, and the Christians have regain'd the Dominions which they had lost, or forc'd their Princes again to embrace Christia∣nity, which they had forsaken.

Many Ways lead into Georgia, especially three, the first and shortest whereof is through Constanti∣nople, from whence they travel thither by Land, viz. through Scutarie in Asia with the Caravans, who go along the Way of Trabizonde, and finish their Journey in a Moneth; though it is much shorter over the Black Sea, viz. in five or six days, more or less, according to the Season. The second Way is through Persia, from whence they go easi∣ly with the Caravans into the Prince Luarsab's Countrey. The third and last Way is through Poland cross the Black Sea, from whence in a few days you arrive in Georgia, as we said before.

This Countrey was formerly Govern'd by a King,* whom the Persians (as Texeira affirms) call'd Schach of Gurgistan: for Anno 1430. Cara-Issuf falling into Gurgistan, slew Constantine in Battel, who then was King of the Countrey. An. 1507. it was Govern'd by a King call'd Pancrace; after which the King dividing his Kingdom into four parts, gave the same to his four Sons, giving them equal Power, leaving onely the Superiority to the eldest, to whom he had given the best and biggest part; wherefore this Prince is respected by all the other, and being of greater eminency, is ho∣nor'd with the Title of Mepet-Mepe, which in the Countrey Language signifies The King of Kings, the rest being contented to be call'd Princes of Georgia, which at this day are six in number: for besides the four before mention'd, Extracted from Royal Blood, there are two others, who at first were Deputies to Mepet-Mepe, being Governors of two great parts of hs Dominions beyond the Black Sea; but at last rebelling against him, made themselves Masters thereof, as we shall hereafter relate more at large.

The Province of Imereti or Basciaciuk,

THe Province of Imereti or being the Centre and strongest part of the Countrey, was without doubt the ancient Iberia. It is fortifi'd with several Mountains, especially to∣wards the South side of Persia, wherefore the Per∣sians never make any Inroad that way. It borders on the West at Dadian or Mengrelia, and at Gunel.

This Countrey hath a City of the same De∣nomination, besides many other inferior Towns.

*The King or Prince or King that Governs this Countrey, is call'd Ghiorghi, that is, Georgian, and with a shorter Title of Mepet-Mepe, which they use onely in writing, but speaking they generally call him Giorghi Mepe, that is, The Georgian King; but the Turks call the Princes as well as the Countrey People thereof, Basciascive or Basciaciuk, that is, Bare, or Uncover'd Head.

Formerly the Princes of Dadian and Guriel were subject to the Prince of Basciaciuk or Imereti, and serv'd him as Gentlemen of the Horse, one holding his Stirrup, and the other the Bridle, when he mounted on Horseback; but being of late grown more powerful, they have not onely freed them∣selves from his Authority, but made themselves his Equals; nay, by their Warring against him, are fear'd, not onely by him, but by other neigh∣boring Princes.

Anno 1622. when the Prince of Dadian had obtain'd a Victory against the Prince of Imereti, and done him much hurt, he forc'd him to send Agents into Persia, to request Aid there, with pro∣mise to become Tributary to the Sofi, if he would send him the Soldiers which lay in Garrison in the Towns of Teflis and Gori, under the Command of a Georgian Nobleman call'd Battoni Mehrab; but Schach Abbas receiv'd the Message with much dis∣pleasure, refusing their Presents and Request, say∣ing that they did it out of a private Design and treacherous Intention; yet proffer'd him some Persian Soldiers; but the King disliking to admit Strangers into his Countrey, refus'd that Offer, and Espous'd one of the Prince of Dadian's Sisters, so closing the Breach that had been made upon him.

The Province of Cacheti.

*EAstward from the Province of Imereti lies Cacheti, which being a part of Iberia, and perhaps also of Albania, was the Domini∣on of the youngest Brother of the four before∣mention'd, call'd Teimuraz, who kept his Court in a City nam'd Zagain or Zagam, which is one of the chiefest in this Countrey, and next to that, Grim or Grien.

The King and Nobles, whom they call Asnauri, take more pleasure in living in Huts in the Coun∣trey than in the City, which they account a fit place for Handicrafts, Mechanicks, and the vulgar sort of People to dwell in. All the Georgians are wedded to this Opinion, that all those who are not Asnauries or Noblemen, will not debase them∣selves to live in the City, or drive any manner of Trade, but leave it to be perform'd by Strangers, as Armenians, Jews, and many other the like Peo∣ple, themselves spending their time either in the Wars, or in Tilling of their own Lands; for which reason they were by the ancient Greeks justly call'd Georgi, that is, Agricultors or Husbandmen.* For this reason also there are but few Cities in this Countrey, and those but of small consequence; yet is it every where well inhabited, and full of large Timber Houses, after the fashion of the Page  88Countrey, and likewise many handsom and well built Churches.

This Countrey was formerly Govern'd by peculiar Princes, the last whereof was call'd Tei∣muraz.

The Province of Cardel or Carduel.

*THe Province of Cardel or Carduel, lying Southward from Cacheti or Imereti, bor∣ders with its South side upon Persia, a extends Westward to that of Teimuraz, and lies near Great Armenia, of which perhaps it is a part. The chiefest City call'd Teflis, lies in a very se∣cure place, which being water'd by a small Ri∣ver nam'd The Chiur, gliding from an adjacent Mountain, and falling into the Araxes, is ac∣counted to be the Zogocara of Ptolomy, a City of Great Armenia; and (as Joseph Barbosa affirms) there are yet to be seen the Tombs of the Kings who Rul'd this part of Georgia, which in the be∣ginning of this Age had a Prince call'd Simon, who afterwards dy'd in Prison at Constantinople; and afterwards another nam'd Luarzab, Heir and Nephew of Simon, who with Teimuraz, Prince of Cacheti, was by the Persians driven out of his Countrey, and carry'd alone to Persia, where he dy'd without Issue. After him, about the Year 1622. the King of Persia plac'd a Mahumetan, Son to a deceased Bagred Myrza, and Nephew to the Prince of Luarzab, in this Dominion, not to pos∣sess it as supream Governor, but as a Deputy or Chan, as all other Chans of Persia; the occasion whereof hapned thus:* In the War between the Turks and Persians whil'st they Treated about a Peace, and the Armies of both Parties stood each on their Defence, and disputed the Business of the two aforesaid Georgian Princes, under whose Sub∣jection they were to stand (for the Turks would have them under their Jurisdiction,) the King of Persia told the Turkish Agent, who Treated with him about Peace, That Teimuraz and Luarzab were, and ever had been his Subjects, in testimony of which he could command them into his Army when he pleas'd: Whereupon the Agent reply'd. That they should be his if he could make them come: Upon which the King sending for them, they in obedience to his Command were coming, but seeing the Turkish Army so near, durst not de∣clare themselves for the Persians, but flatter'd the one as well as the other, excusing themselves to the Persians, but came not into his Army, which highly incens'd the King against them, and as soon as a Peace was concluded, and the Turkish Army gone out of his Dominions, the King of Persia growing subtilly malicious, and plotting Revenge, sow'd the Seeds of Contention between Luarzab and Teimuraz, and at last wrought it to that heighth, that they fell to open War one with ano∣ther, notwithstanding they were nearly related (for Teimuraz his second Wife was Sister to Luar∣zab) and had undoubtedly given Battel to one an∣other, their Armies being already drawn into the Field, if they had not been prevented by means of some faithful Councellors, who offering them∣selves to be Mediators between them in order to a Reconciliation, discover'd to them, that their Difference was occasion'd by the King of Persia, who sought nothing but their utter ruine.

Moreover, the King of Persia bred also Discon∣tent and Difference between Teimuraz and his Mother Ketevan Dedupali, or Queen Ketevan, who then was a Widow: for he perswaded Teimuraz into a belief, that she was resolv'd to Marry with an eminent Commander, in whom for his valor and grand policy in State Affairs she repos'd great confidence; and that she endeavor'd first to de∣stroy him, that so she might bestow the Realm on another Son, which she might have by her se∣cond Husband; all which so incens'd the inno∣cent Teimuraz, that he caus'd the foremention'd Commander, who was the prime Man of the Countrey, to be put to death, and took the Go∣vernment from his Mother; but being young, un∣experienc'd and little regarded by his Nobility, he found himself involv'd in great troubles: for the King of Persia still prosecuted his Design, ma∣king him to be despis'd, and esteem'd but a Child amongst the Nobles, who whensoe're they came into Persia, were courteously receiv'd by the King, who also gave them great Presents, and permit∣ted them to use their own Religion, which high∣ly satisfi'd and pleas'd them; and by this means they grew Strangers to their natural Prince. After the King had for a considerable time thus acted his part, he march'd with a great Army into Georgia and conquer'd the same Anno 1613.* under pre∣tence that Teimuraz had Marry'd the Princess of Chaurascian, Sister to Luarzab (who had first been promis'd to him) against his Consent: Where∣fore coming upon their Borders, he commanded both Teimuraz and Luarzab, to come into his Ar∣my, to give an account of their Transactions, and bring the Bride with them, whom he himself had so long desir'd, and that he might break off the Match with Teimuraz, which had been so long before celebrated, as if that which the Mahume∣tans make a common practice, were also allow'd amongst the Christians. The Georgian Princes (be∣ing betray'd by their Nobles, who freely shew'd the King the Way into this Countrey) were ex∣ceedingly amaz'd, not knowing what they should do; but Luarzab being the weakest, surrendred himself to his Majesty, who sent him to the Pro∣vince of Esterebad near the Caspian Sea, very remote from Georgia, where the Chan of that Countrey kept him a long time, though with all civility ima∣ginable, giving him liberty to go wheresoe're he pleas'd, whil'st the King without any opposition, or going thither himself, sent one Rairei or Bagred Myrza to Govern his Countrey: And though this Bagred Myrza was of the same Family, and Grand∣son to Luarzab, yet he had long before deny'd the Christian Faith, and turn'd Mahumetan.* About the Year 1621. there Reign'd one of the said Rairei's Sons, not as absolute Prince, but Tributary to the Persian. After Luarzab had spent some years in Esterabad, the King, that he might the better be assur'd of his Person, commanded him to be sent to the Province of Fars or Persia, where he was kept in a strong Prison not far from the City Schi∣ras: and lastly. Anno 1621. when those of his Party had greatest hopes of his Enlargement, and the King on a certain day had appointed to see him, it fell out contrary to all their expectations: for the King being inform'd by an eminent and powerful Georgian, a Mahumetan, and an Enemy to Luarzab (who had formerly promis'd to take one Page  89of his Sisters to Wife, which he afterwards refu∣sed and despised) that he would never possess Lu∣arzab's Countrey in quiet so long as he liv'd, be∣cause his Subjects had a natural affection for him, and had still hopes, during his Life, at one time or other to have him again: Whereupon the jealous Persian pretending that he had discover'd a Plot of some Georgians against his Person, wherein Lu∣arzab was concern'd, commanded that he should be strangled with a Bowe-string in the Castle where he was kept Prisoner. But Teimuraz be∣ing more subtil, would no ways venture to come to the King, though commanded, but excus'd himself, alledging, that he durst not come, for fear of his Majesty's exceeding displeasure, which he was inform'd of, neither was it possible for him to send his Wife, it being contrary to the Custom of the Christians, nor would his Honor give him leave to deliver his Wife; yet to shew how willing he was to obey him, he sent his own Mother and Sister, then a young Virgin, in his stead, and also his two little Sons, Levan and Alexander, hoping thereby to reconcile and pacifie him, but all in vain: for he would by no means be reconcil'd, unless he might enjoy the Princess Chuarascian, Teimuraz's Consort; and though he knew that his Request was unreasonable, and that which Tei∣muraz neither could nor would grant, he again commanded Teimuraz to come and surrender him∣self; which he refusing, the King kept his Mother, never suffering her to return, but sent her with her Grandchildren to Schiras, to be kept there by Imaneuli, Chan of that Place, and Son to Allack∣verdi, Chan. And besides this, the King march'd with his Army into Georgia, that was under the Jurisdiction of Teimuraz, to whom all the No∣bles treacherously submitted. Whereupon the Georgian Prince seeing his destruction so near at hand, and having no Army ready, nor time to raise one, fled with his Wife and a great number of Christians, into the strongest part of the Pro∣vince of Imereti, where he stay'd a while with the Prince of that Countrey; and after that going farther, tarry'd with the Prince of Odisci or Dadian, whil'st many of the Nobles, tempted with vain hopes, surrendred themselves freely to the King of Persia, deny'd their Religion, and took up Arms against their own natural Prince.

*By this means the Persians possess'd Georgia; but weighing the difficulty and charge of main∣taining their new Conquest, they not onely re∣solv'd not to keep the Countrey, but judg'd it con∣venient to march thence with their Army the nearest and safest way. But though they could not keep the Countrey, yet they would not lose so great a Booty of so many brave People as they had taken, and such as perhaps were worth more to them than the Countrey it self: for which rea∣son they forc'd them all, both Men and Women, as well Noble as Ignoble, great and small, with what Moveables they were able to carry, to for∣sake their native Countrey, whil'st the King's Army marching behind, drove them into Persia, where afterwards they were sent into several Pro∣vinces remote from Georgia; and by this means the Provinces of Persia proper, Kirman or Garma∣nia, Mazanderan at the Caspian Sea, and many more, are at this day so full of Georgian and Cir∣cassian Inhabitants; amongst whom the Vulgar who are the greatest number, remain Christians, yet are but meanly instructed, by reason their Pa∣stors are both few and ignorant; but the No∣bles, and most of the Soldiers, as also many of the common People, stirr'd up partly by ambition, and partly out of covetousness, hoping that by changing their Religion they might obtain some∣thing from the King, who was always favorable to such Apostates, and gave them Gifts continu∣ally, to draw them to his Opinion, and partly forc'd thereto by necessity, are turn'd Mahume∣tans.

With these kind of People the King's Army was so much increas'd, that Anno 1622. he had above thirty thousand Georgians, besides a great number of Circassians, and some strange Armeni∣ans, some of which bore the chief Command, as well in the Army as Civil Government of the Countrey, and were rais'd to many of the highest Dignities, as Sultans and Chans. But besides these, a great number of them, not onely of the Vulgar, but also of the Nobility, who resisting the Persians at their coming into Georgia, were subdu'd, and by force brought from thence, and made perpetual Slaves; the number whereof was formerly so great, that there was scarce a House in all Persia which was not full of them.

*None of the Persian Nobility but covet to Marry with a Georgian rather than their own Countrey Women, because they are generally more beautiful and well Limb'd. King Abbas himself had his Court full of them, both Men and Women, and scarce made use of any other.

But to return to Teimuraz,* who spent some time in ranging through the Countreys of other Princes, at last he went into the Turks Domini∣ons where staying some years, he was made Go∣vernor of the City Cogni, and some other places of Cappadocia, being for the most part inhabited by Greek Christians: During his abode here he stu∣dy'd how to revenge himself on the Persians, and to get footing again in his own Countrey, and at length in 1618. obtain'd a potent Army of Turks and Tartars, besides his own Militia, which for the most part consisted in the Nobility of Georgia who had declar'd themselves on his side, and ma∣ny others, who had always faithfully serv'd and accompany'd him during his Misfortunes: These Nobles also took their Wives, Arm'd and Moun∣ted on good Horses, along with them, who fol∣lowing the Examples of their Husbands, perfor∣med many heroick Acts. Teimuraz thus rein∣forc'd, march'd farther into Persia than ever any of the Turks Armies had done before, and at last came up to the City Ardebil, which being by the Persians accounted a holy place or Sanctuary, be∣cause of the Tomb of their prime Saint Schach Sefi, and the Royal Seat of the King, he endea∣vor'd by all means possible to destroy, whil'st the Serdar or General Hali Bassa should with another Army of three hundred thousand Turks and Tar∣tars, keep the Persians employ'd in another part. This General had also Command, that however it hapned, he should endeavor to make himself Master of Ardebil, and afterwards settle Teimuraz Chan, and Dellu Melik again in their Dominions, and also to Winter in some convenient place in Carabag, and re-take the Province of Scirvan, and the Metropolis Schamachie. This Dellu Melik was a Melik or Armenian Lord, and formerly a Chri∣stian, but apostatiz'd, and became Substitute to the King of Persia, against whom he rebell'd: for the King having commanded him to carry all the Ar∣menian Christians to Ferhabad, he on the contrary carry'd them to Georgia, where he united himself Page  82with Temuraz Chan, who both submitted them∣selves to the Turks protection; and by this means Melik became a great Enemy of the Persians, and had himself been in the last Fight. Mean while two Capigies or Messengers came into the Turkish Army with great speed from the Grand Seignior at Constantinople, to the Serdar or General, to tell him, that he should endeavor to make as advanta∣geous an Agreement with the Persians as he could possible, and return with all expedition to Con∣stantinople, because the Europeans had invaded him in other parts; so that this great preparation of the Turks came to nothing, to the loss of many of his Men, whil'st the Persian return'd Conqueror to his Court; Teimuraz also march'd back to his Countrey which the Turk had given him to Go∣vern.

The Province of Guriel.

*Southward from Mengrelia, and beyond the Black Sea, on the Borders of Cappadocia, Tra∣bizonde, and Cogni, lies a Province call'd Guriel, which (as Della Valle affirms) being a part of Cappadocia or Colchos, and lying more Southerly from Imereti than Mengrelia, was Anno 1620. Go∣vern'd by one of the two last Princes call'd Jese, and the other Prince Govern'd Mengrelia.

The Province of Mengrelia, anciently Colchis.

*THe Countrey which the Ancients call'd Colchis, is at this day by the Inhabitants nam'd Dadian and Odisci, and by the Turks, Mengrelia: It borders in the East, upon the River Fas or Faso, by the Inhabitants nam'd Ri∣one, near the Province of Imereti or Basciaciuk; in the South looks upon Guriel; in the North tou∣ches the Countrey of the Abcassians; in the West conterminates with the Black Sea and Circassian Mountains; and in the North-East respects at some distance Mount Caucasus. Niger and Ana∣nias make it to border in the East, upon Georgia; in the West, at a Bay of the Black Sea; in the North, at the Asiatick Sarmatia; and in the South, on a part of Cappadocia and the Countrey of Trebi∣zonde, towards the side of the Black Sea, and a part of Great Armenia. From Constantinople they can travel in less than eight days by Water into Men∣grelia, which is the best and most populous Coun∣trey of all Georgia.

The Air of this Province is very moist by rea∣son of its Situation:* for on the one side it hath Mount Caucasus, out of which flow many Streams. The Woods with which it is overgrown prevent the swift passing of the Clouds, and the nearness of the Sea, and constant Winds which blow from the same, bring commonly Mists and Rain.

*The Inhabitants are generally troubled with the Spleen, which turns to the Dropsie, if they use not good Medicines. The Tertian and Quartan Agues are also very common here. Ancient Peo∣ple commonly die of Rheums and Apoplexies; Youth of the Jaundise and Dropsie.

The Cold is also very great here, though there is no appearance of it till the latter end of Decem∣ber; from which time there likewise falls abun∣dance of Snow, till April.

The Countrey is very Morassie near the Sea, but very Hilly up into the Inland.

*Mengrelia is also divided by several Rivers, which, like most of the great Rivers of Asia, have their head Springs in Mount Caucasus, and disem∣bogue into the Black Sea. The first of them, which rises Eastward, is the Stream by the Ancients call'd Fasis, and now Faso or Fas, by the Scythians (according to Thevet) Debbassetcha, and by the In∣habitants, Rione, which (as Procopius affirms) falls with such force and violence into the Sea, that it makes the Water fresh for some Miles. But this is contradicted by Agricola: And Archangel Lam∣berti, who hath seen the same several times, says this River at first runs very swift from its Fountain Head, but coming amongst the Plains, it is so slow, that 'tis scarce discern'd to move, and yet certain it is, that its Water doth not commix with the Sea.

The Stream Faso disembogues it self into the Sea through two Mouths, between which it makes an Island, by the Ancients call'd Ea, wherein the Turks in the Year 1578. built a Fort, which was since pull'd down. At the same time the Turkish Emperor Amurat took the City Teflis from the Persians, supposing it would have been a very con∣venient Harbor for him to keep his Galleys in, that from thence they might go with the more ease to conquer Persia (which then he design'd) and make himself Master of the City Colatis, the En∣trance and Key into the Countrey on that side; to which purpose his Galleys also went a great way up the Stream: But the Georgians having for∣tifi'd themselves at the Entrance of the River, where it is narrowest, Entertain'd them so rough∣ly, that they forc'd them to return. Above the Island the Stream is above half a Mile broad, where its Banks are also overgrown with Trees, and frequented by Fishermen, who come thither to catch Sturgeon. Farther up into the River lie many small Islands, of which several are Inhabi∣ted: To each House which is built on the same belongs a small Barque, made of a hollow Tree, in which the Women Row from place to place.

Arrianus, who by the Emperor Adrian's Com∣mand went to discover this River, saith in one of his Letters, that on the left side of the Mouth of the River he saw the Image of the Goddess Rhea in a Temple, which in the time of the Emperor Emperor Zenon was Dedicated to the Virgin Recas.

The next River is Sceni-Skari, that is, The Horse-River, by reason of its swiftness.

Arrianus, and all those Geographers that fol∣low him, place other Rivers between the Faso and Sceni, but by mistake: for it is certain, that the Sceni is the first Stream which falls into the Faso, but afterwards receives the Abassin and Tachut; the Abassin is the Glaucus of Strabo, and the Tachut the Sigam of Arrian, though he places it towards Copo.

There is at this day another Tract of Land, through which this Stream flowing receives its Denomination.

As to what concerns the River Cobo, the mo∣dern Page  [unnumbered]

[illustration]
TABULA COLCHIDIS HODIE MENGRELIE
Page  91Inhabitants call the same Ciani Skari, and in the Maps Cianeus, from a People which dwell on its Banks, and come very often to Trade in Mengrelia.

Next follows the River Enguria, anciently call'd Asteltes, which Arrian places near the Cia∣neus: It falls with extraordinary swiftness from the Mountains inhabited by the Sovanies, and swelling with the melted Snow that likewise glides from them, to that heighth, that it cannot be cross'd without a Barque.

The next in order to the Enguria, is the Rivu∣let Heti, which is not found in the Maps by reason of its smalness, but is very eminent for a strange sort of Fish which is taken therein: It discharges its Water into the Black Sea, at a place call'd Gah∣bidas.

Another River nam'd d'Ochums glides through a Tract of Land call'd Tarscen, from which per∣haps the Name Tarsura had its original, and by which it is mention'd in the Maps.

The next is the Echalis; and after that the Stream Moquis, which borrows its Denomination from the City and Bishoprick of Moquis, through which it passes.

The last is the Stream call'd Coddors, anciently Corax. This divides Mengrelia from the Abascians, as the Fasis from Guriel and Georgia.

In many places of Mengrelia are great Lakes, especially on the Plains where the Ground sounds hollow when any one Rides over it, which is no small testimony of the affinity between the Black and Caspian Seas; to which may be added, that in these two Seas one sort of Fishes are found: for there is abundance of Sturgeon in the Black as well as in the Caspian Sea.

*At the Mouth of the Paso and Enguria, the In∣habitants catch abundance of Sturgeon from April till August, of which they have three sorts, one of which call'd Zuthi, being of a far better taste than the rest, is carry'd to the Court, and dres'd for the King's Table. The second sort call'd An∣giachia, differs not much from the first, onely it is the bigger, and the Flesh not altogether so good. The third sort nam'd Poronci is yet larger, and al∣most like a Buffalo, but its Flesh is not compara∣ble to the other. The Inhabitants cut these Fish into pieces of two Hands breadth, which the Salting, dry in the Sun, and afterwards use as Rarity. Of the Rocs they make Caveare, which putting into small Vessels, they Salt, setting it in the Sun till it condense into a Body or thick Sub∣stance. The least Sturgeon call'd Zuthi, hath a bigger Roe than the rest, neither is any part of thrown away but the flat Bones which stick in the top of the Skin, besides which it hath no other except a Gristle about a Finger thick, which ex∣tends from the Head to the Tail.

The Fishermen have certain signs whereby to know when it is best Fishing, as by the hollow∣ness of the Water, which from the melted Snow falling into the same, is greedily coveted by the Sturgeon.

They also take here another sort of Fish call'd Suia, and by the Turks, Calcan Baluch, which signi∣fies a Pilcher, being exactly of that form, and co∣ver'd with little Scales, but hath two Eyes on one side, the one grey and the other white.

This Fishing begins in December, and continues till April.

In some Seasons there are abundance of Her∣rings in this Sea, and the greater the number of them is, the more Sturgeons they are sure to catch that year.

Anno 1642. the Sea had thrown so great a num∣ber of Herrings on the Shore between Trebizonde and the Countrey of the Abcassians, that they lay above half a yard thick upon one another, like a Bank.

There are also Oysters, which the Fishermen throw into the Sea again when they catch them in their Nets; yet some of them have course Pearls in them, such as Pliny writes he saw in the Bosphorus of Thracia.

The Rivers are full of Voorn, of which there are two sorts, the one call'd Calmakka, is very small, and the other Aragoli, which is bigger; the first sort are catch'd in the North Sea, and the other onely in the Rivers; in which, and on whose Banks are likewise Beavers, contrary to Aristotle's opinion, who affirms, that no four-footed Beasts can live in the Sea.

*The Countrey abounds also with all manner of Venison, and great numbers of Pheasants, which Bird hath its Denomination from the Ri∣ver Fasis, about whose Banks it breeds, as also through all Mengrelia, from whence (if Marshal may be credited) the Argonautes carry'd them into Greece.

There are all manner of Birds of prey, but especially Goshawks,* which they teach in eight days time, and use for the taking of Quails, whose Season being over, they set them at liberty to seek for their Food where they can get it.

Eagles are likewise very common here, and are taken by the Inhabitants onely for their Wings, the Feathers whereof they fallen to their long Arrows.

Every Man in Mengrelia, though never so poor,* keeps a Horse, for it costs them nothing. Some Noblemen have two hundred, and the Prince himself two thousand, which are every year Train'd in the Field; they never shoe them but in the time of War.

Sheep do not thrive well in this Countrey, by reason of the moistness thereof, yet their Wooll is exceeding fine.

In the Mountains breeds also a certain Beast, which is half like a Goat, and half like a Stag, and of the same bigness, with brown Hair; its Horns are like a Goats, bending backwards. The Flesh of this Beast is very delicate, and accounted bet∣ter than that of a Stag. They also breed in Cir∣cassia.

There are likewise all sorts of wild Beasts which are in Europe, and many white Bears, espe∣cially on the Mountain Cyrus, which seem to be peculiar to that place, because there are none in any of the neighboring parts.

On the Borders of the Abcassians are said to breed wild Buffalo's and Wolves, which do great mischief to the grazing Cattel, which get toge∣ther in a Body, and defend themselves with their Heels.

There are no Foxes, but a Beast call'd Tourra, which resembles them, but are somewhat big∣ger, and hath more shaggy Hair; they go toge∣ther in Herds, and make a great noise in the Night; they are very mischievous, besides their Prey carrying away Shoes, Boots, or other Ap∣parel, from such People as lodge in the Fields.

This Countrey hath great variety of Fruits.

On the Banks of the River Fasis grows sweet Wood.

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In this Countrey is also the best Honey in the whole World,* although Strabo and some of the an∣cient Writers affirm that it is very unwholsom, and causes vertiginous swimmings in the Head.

They have also another sort of white and hard Honey, like Sugar: Its colour perhaps caus'd Pliny to affirm, that there bred white Bees about the Pontus Euxinus, or Black Sea; which the In∣habitants contradict, affirming, that the Bees which make this Honey are like others, and that the whiteness thereof proceeds from the abundance of Dew which falls in this Countrey, out of which the Bees extract the Honey. This white Honey is much coveted in this Countrey, but not carry'd to Constantinople like the other, because gather'd in Winter, when they drive no Trade, the Sea being lock'd up. The Inhabitants oftentimes put their Honey into the Rind or Shells of bitter Citrullen, from whence Strabo writes, that the Honey which is gather'd on the Mountains in the time when the Lawrel blossoms, makes all those vomit that eat of the same, and therefore is taken by them for a Vomit in Physick.

It is certainly believ'd, that there is plenty of Gold and Silver on that part of Mount Caucasus which verges this Countrey, but the Inhabitants conceal it, because they would not intice the Turks thither.

They get abundance of Gold near the City Arudan, in the Province formerly subject to the Prince Artabegi. There is also Antimony.

Some have reported, that the Prince of Imereti keeps divers Men at work in the Mines in his Dominions, but so privately, that he caus'd one of his Subjects resident in Dadian, at his Return from Constantinople, whither he had carry'd a Proof of the Gold and Silver which was digg'd out of those Mines, to have his Hands and Feet cut off, as a Punishment for his holding Correspondence with the Turks.

They say there is also a Gold-Mine in the Bishoprick of Cavis.

*The Mengrelians are of several Degrees and Qualities; the first call'd Ginasca, are eminent Lords; the second Ginandi, are Nobles; the third Sakkurs, are the Rich; and the fourth nam'd Moinalli, are the Commonalty.

The Ginasca onely attend upon the Prince, and are themselves serv'd by the Ginandi; and these again are waited upon by the Sakkurs and Moi∣nalli.

None can attain to a higher degree of Honor than the Family in which they were born: for he that is born amongst the Commonalty can never rise higher, though he be the richest Man in the whole Countrey.

The Moinalli, or common sort of People, do all servile Offices for the Nobility, viz. chop their Wood, follow them on foot, carry their Baggage when they travel, and the like, The richest of them must give a Cow, a Basket full of Corn, Bread, Wine, and Fruits, for an acknowledgment of their Vassalage; nay further, they must Lodge all Strangers which the Nobility send to them, and also Entertain their Landlords whensoe're they are minded to visit them.

When a Family of the Peasants is wholly ex∣tinct, their Lords inherit their Goods; and some∣times when all are dead except one, they sell him to the Turks; so that their greatest Riches con∣sists in having many Slaves.

All the Mengrelians spend their time in Tilling and Manuring their Lands, and the rather, because they have no manner of Corn brought them from any other Parts. Their greatest Labor after they have Sow'd their Corn, is Weeding; to which purpose the Fields are always full of Workmen, who are Entertain'd by their Master with great Feasting: for after their Day-labor is finish'd, they go Singing to his House, where is provided for them great store of Meat, as also Wine; which that they may not want at that time, they generally in Harvest-time Consecrate some Tuns of their best to St. George, with promise not to taste it till the Feast-day of St. Peter and St. Paul, which is the time before mention'd; but when that is come, they bring a Priest in all his Ha∣bits into their Wine-Cellar, where reciting some Prayers, he broaches the Cask, and sends a Pot full of the Wine to St. George's Church.

*Before Prince Dadian invited the Armenians to Trade in his Countrey, there was no Money, but they barter'd Commodities for Commodities; but this Prince, to his great benefit and advantage, caus'd a Coin to be made with Arabian Hierogly∣phicks, like that which passes in Persia, and is call'd Abassi; notwithstanding the Inhabitants rather affect Pieces of Eight, and other strange Coin.

They Trade with the Turks in several places, and at several Fairs, the biggest whereof is kept in September, just before the Church of Cipourias and the other in St. George's Church.

*The Turks about this time coming from Con∣stantinople, bring Carpets, Stools, Bowes, Arrows, Cloth, Iron, Copper, Wooll, Cotton-Clothes, Salt, &c. for which they carry back Honey, Flax, Yarn, Swords, Beaver Skins, Slaves, and Box∣wood, by which they gain great Sums of Money: for 'tis evident, that for every four hundred Crowns-worth of Salt which they bring into this Countrey, they get above five thousand of Wood.

The Lords sell their Subjects for Slaves to the Turks, and the Men their Wives, whereof the chief Lord of the Soil always receives a third part, the Parents of the Women another part, and the Husband the rest.

A Nobleman once having a mind to a Turkish Horse, gave his own Mother in Exchange for him.

The Mengrelians, who account it a happiness to change their Habitations when they please,* like the Tartars, never bestow any great cost on their Buildings, notwithstanding they have all manner of Materials to Build withal, but especially good white Stone. Common Houses are not divided into several Apartments, but consist in one large Room, in which the Master, Mistress, Servants, and all, both Men and Women, dwell together. They always keep a great Fire in the middle of the Hall in the Winter. The Walls of their Houses are of Wood, and the Roofs cover'd with Straw, which makes them very subject to take fire. Their Halls are generally full of Smoak, and dark, having no other Light than what comes in at the Door. They leave these Houses with great willingness, whensoe're they are minded to remove.

In the Winter they commonly goe into the Woods, where being secur'd from the sharp Winds, they spend their time in Hunting. In the Summer they dwell on the Hills, and in the Spring and Harvest they chuse such places for their abode, where they may have the benefit Page  93both of warm Weather and cold but they al∣ways dwell a great distance from the Sea, partly for the bad Aire, and partly to be secure from the Invasion of Pyrates.

Before Noblemens Houses are generally large Squares, surrounded with Moats and Gardens, planted full of Trees; round about the Squares are built divers Lodges at a certain distance one from the other to prevent Fire; that which stands next to the Entrance is call'd Ochus, where they receive all Strangers, the rest serving either for Cellars, Kitchins, and Wardrobes, which being stronger than the rest, are built in the form of a Tower. In the middle of all these Lodges or little Houses, which stand round about the Garden inclosing the Square, there commonly stands a Chappel, wherein they all go to Mass.

The common People are generally very poor,* wearing onely a woollen Lappet about their Bo∣dies, from their middle down to their Knees. Per∣sons of Quality Clothe themselves in foreign Stuffs, but wear a Girdle cover'd with a Plate, at which they hang their Sword, and all other things which are requisite to be us'd on a Journey, viz. a Knife, a Hone, a Leather of three Inches broad, and half a Yard long, a Tinder-box, a lit∣tle Bag full of Salt, and another full of Pepper and other Spices, and a Wax Candle. The Shirts which they wear are wrought with Gold at the bottom and about their Necks, and hang out over their Knees; their upper Garment is also shorter than their Shirts. In cold Weather they wear Furr'd Coats. Their Bonnets or Caps are sharp on the top. They account the European Hats an easie and commodious Wear; but since none in that Countrey could learn to make them of Wooll, some have made them of Straw, and co∣ver'd them with Sear-cloth, as also with Woollen Cloth and other Stuffs; which Hats they put on over their Bonnets or Caps in rainy Weather, or else against the heat of the Sun.

*By reason of the poorness of the Countrey they very seldom make any Feasts or great Enter∣tainments; yet they live plentifully, and are very free of what they have. Amongst other Dishes they boyl pounded Barley to a Dough, which they set on a woodden Peel before their Guests, who eat the same instead of Bread. They bring this first to the Table, and the Person appointed for that purpose runs with it from one Man to an∣other; which done, he gives another sort of finer Dough to the most noble Person on a Chip, the Cook serving up the other Dishes in the mean time. They never set Chairs nor Stools for their Guests, but they stand round about the Table, which serves them also both for Dishes and Tren∣chers. When they have any Spoon-meat they make a Hole in their Dough, into which they put their Broths: In stead of a Table-cloth they spread a Carpet of Leather, which is thirty Foot long, and so greasie, that the sight thereof is enough to turn a squeamish Stomach.

As these People spend their whole Life-time in the Field, so their greatest delight is Hunting, in which every one recreating himself, hath made a Proverb amongst them, That a Mans Happiness in this World consists in a Horse, a good Dog, and a Hawk. The Prince appoints set-times for Hunting, to which he invites all his Nobles. The time which Prince Dadian generally chose to Hunt in, was when the Deer went a Rutting, at which time going into the Thickets with his Attendants, he ambuscado'd himself, and shot the Stags as they pass'd by.

Amongst other Games and Pastimes,* they use to play with a Ball on Horseback after this man∣ner: The Gamesters standing in a row, the Ball is thrown up into the Air by him that stands at the upper end, whilst others following him, endea∣vor with a Racket of four or five Foot long, to strike the Ball forward; he that catches it last, throws it to the end of the Line, and begins the Game again.

All trouble and charges of celebrating their Nuptials, consist in Presents,* which the Men are bound to give to the Brides Parents.

Some years since the Prince of Odisci Courted the Princess Casciach Mepe, Daughter to the Prince of Circassia, who demanded of him a hundred Slaves loaden with Cloth and Carpets, two hun∣dred Head of Cows and Oxen, and a hundred Horses.

When a young Man or Suitor goes to visit his Mistress, he is oblig'd to carry some Wine and an Ox with him, with which her Parents Feast and make Merry. On the Wedding Day, if the Bi∣shop or Priest be not present to Betroth them, they go into their Cellar, a place no less reve∣renc'd amongst these People than the Temples; the Priest holding two Garlands, and first setting one on the Bridegrooms Head, says, N.N. Be Crown'd the Servant of God for the Maid N. of God; the se∣cond he sets on the Brides, saying, The Maid of God N. N. be Crown'd for the Servant of God N. which done he takes a Glass of Wine, and prof∣fers the same to the Bridegroom, whil'st the Clerk holds the Garlands, and after they have drank, cuts the Thred which held their Clothes toge∣ther, and so ends the Ceremony.

When any of their Parents or Friends die,* all those that dwell in the House lament with many distracted signs of sorrow; the nearest Relations pull off their Clothes, and go naked from their Middle upwards; then they divide themselves in∣to two Parties, who make Responces one to ano∣ther, often repeating the word Ohi. This time of Mourning sometimes lasts three years. The Bi∣shop also celebrates Mass for the Deceased, to his great benefit, getting many times five hundred Crowns. After Mass is finish'd they all give the Bishop a Treat, and new Habits to all the Priests which attended the Funeral: for the greatest Costs and Charges which they bestow on any thing, is on these Solemnities. They also invite the Prince or Lord of the Countrey to mourn over the Deceased, whose Dogs they place under one Pavilion, his Horses under another, and un∣der a third his Sword, as also other things which he us'd when he was living. The Prince being naked from his Middle upwards, and bare-footed, falls on his Knees under each Pavilion, where gi∣ving himself several blows on the Face, he cries, prays, and sighs: after which rising, he goes to the House of the Person which invited him, where a Feast is prepar'd for him, and also a Present.

*The next day after Easter-day, is the Comme∣ration of the Deceased, on which they carry Meat to the Graves, where they set a Chest strew'd on the top with Flowers, putting also a lighted Wax-Candle thereon. The Priest having Consecrated the Mat, they carry it to a great Tree which stands before the Temple, where each Family eat their own. This kind of making Merry they believe to be a very meritorious Act.

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*There is no Place in the World where Physi∣ans are better receiv'd and approv'd of, and espe∣cially French and Italians, of which when they get one, they endeavor by all means to stay him in their Countrey; and the reason of this may be, because they have none of their own, but a sort of Women, who pretend experience and knowledge in the Vertue and Preparation of some medicinal Plants and Drugs.

They give no other Food to their Sick but stamp'd Barley, mix'd with some Leaves of Cori∣ander, and a little Wine. In the greatest Fea∣vers they cover the Patient with Willow Leaves. They never Purge them, unless desir'd, and then give them the Juice of Tithimal or Devils-Milk. They also make use of Rhubarb, infus'd into some kind of Liquor proper against Feavers and Agues. Those that have onely Physick to provoke Seige, pass for able Physicians in this Countrey.

For Feavers they have learnt this Medicine from the Abcassians, viz. They put the Patient into the coldest Water that can be got in all the Countrey, and hold him a considerable time therein by two lusty Fellows; and this they ac∣count an infallible Remedy.

*All the Mengrelians go to War, insomuch that the Prince, notwithstanding the Countrey is but small, is able in a short time to raise thirty thou∣sand Men, but commonly every House provides one Man, but all the Nobility in general are obli∣ged to follow their Prince.

As these People are mightily inclin'd to War∣ring, so they carry all the best things they have with them. They never make any Attempts in the Night, but spend it in Mirth and Jollity. They keep no Order or Discipline in their Bat∣tels, yet nevertheless they gain daily remarkable Conquests on the Prince of Imereti or Basciaciuk's Subjects, and force the Prince himself to be always in a posture of Defence, sometimes driving him to the City of Cottis, and compelling his Subjects to secure themselves in the Mountains, whensoe're the Dadians make an Invasion into his Countrey. The Dadian having of late years endeavor'd to make himself Master of his Countrey, and to that purpose caus'd his Guns to be carry'd thither, but having no Persons that were able to manage a Siege, he was forc'd to desist.

The Women as well as the Men travel on Horseback, with a sharp Crown'd Hat made of Cloth, Lin'd with Sable Skins, and with Embroi∣der'd Coats. Ladies of Honor, according to the Custom of the Countrey, generally follow their Princess in rich Habits; Page also comes after with a Foot-stool, cover'd with Velvet, and Em∣broider'd with Silver, on which they mount and dismount their Horses. When the Court travels it is a most pleasant Sight, to behold the several troops of Ladies, all mounted on stately Steeds, follow the Prince.

*The Mengrelians are for the most part very civil and hospitable to Strangers, the greatest Lords ac∣counting themselves oblig'd, if a Stranger request any thing of them. When they salute any Per∣son, they kneel down on the Ground. To those that bring them good tydings they give a Spoon∣ful of Sugar, which the Prince with his own Hand puts into the Mouths of his Messengers.

*The Countrey of Mengrelia is at this day Go∣vern'd by a supream Prince, who is styl'd Chesilpes Dadian; Chesilpes signifies King, and Dadian is the Name of his Family: he is one of the powerfullest Princes of this Countrey, yet not deriv'd from the Kings of Georgia, but from one of his Comman∣ders or Servants, who took this part of the Domi∣nion into his possession, of which he was Eristave or Governor.

*The ancient Kings of Georgia kept their Seat in the City Cottis, and sent Deputies into the several Provinces, to manage Affairs of State and Go∣vernment, the most eminent whereof was the Eristave of Odisci or Colchis, call'd Dadian.

One of these Kings of Georgia, which then pos∣ses'd the whole Countrey between the Caspian and Black Sea, to Mount Taurus and Azerum, and Northerly to Caffa divided his Dominion amongst his Children, keeping nothing for himself but the Territories of Basciaciuk or Imereti, Odisci, Samsche, and Guriel, which also were Govern'd by his Eri∣staves. The Turk on the one side sensible of his weakness, took from him the City Teflis, eight days Journey from Azerum; and on the other side, the Persian took Taurus, and all that part of his Realm which lies between Taurus and Gaguete. The State thus impair'd, the Eristaves or Vice-Roys of the other Provinces found themselves to be almost as powerful as the King himself, and therefore let slip no opportunity to make them∣selves absolute Matters of the Places which they Govern'd.

*Upon a Set-day, on which all the Kings De∣puties sat with him at the Table, his Cup-bearer after Dinner proffer'd him Drink, as also all the other Nobles in order, according to the Custom of the Countrey, by virtue of which all those that had the Cup presented to them, are oblig'd to make Presents to the Cup-bearer, each according to his Quality; Next after the King the Cup was presented to Dadian, who before he made his Present, ask'd Artabeg (one of those that sat near him, and accounted the most ingenious and emi∣nent Person at the Court) what Present he inten∣ded to give the Cup-bearer; whereupon Artabeg answering, A hundred Crowns, mov'd Dadian to make one far greater; which Artabeg observing, promis'd the Cup-bearer a thousand Crowns upon the delivery of the Cup to him. When Dadian saw himself thus deceiv'd, not regarding the Kings Pre∣sence, he fell upon Artabeg, and cut off his Beard; which Injury Artabeg, respecting the King's Pre∣sence, would not at that time revenge; but not long after, Dadian pursuing a Stag into the Gover∣nor Artabeg's Dominions, his Subjects finding him separated from his Company, seiz'd on him, and brought him to their Lord, who put him into a Dungeon under Ground; in the mean while his Followers suspected that he had broke his Neck by Riding down some steep Rock, and accordingly bemoan'd his Death; but at length having re∣main'd a considerable time in Prison, Artabeg went to visit him, where amongst many other Discour∣ses, Dadian declar'd his intention that he had to make himself absolute Master of his Territory, shewing him also the easiness to accomplish it: Whereupon Artabeg promis'd him his aid and as∣sistance, telling him that he had the same De∣sign; so they both invented ways to execute their intent, and made their Subjects to acknowledge them their Kings, who before had the same Power, though derivative, under the Title of Eristaves. The King himself was forc'd, not being willing to hazard the remaining parts of his Kingdom, to acknowledge his Servants for his Companions, insomuch that his Successors entred into a League Page  87with them; yet nevertheless they went to War with him.

*The Chesilpes or King which now Governs Men∣grelia, nam'd Levan Dadian, is the fifth of that Fa∣mily, and Son to thc King of Munacchiar, who up∣on a certain time going a Hunting, Rode with such force unawares againft another Horseman, that his Horse tumbling backwards, broke his Rider's Neck whil'st Prince Dadian was yet very young, so that one of his Uncles, nam'd George Li∣pardian, Govern'd the Realm during his Minority. This young Prince Marry'd afterwards a Daugh∣ter of the Prince of the Abcassians, of the Family of Sciarapsia, which is very much affected by this Nation. Lipardian, though very ancient, also Marry'd a young Virgin, who Name was Dareg∣gian, out of the Family of Ciladze; but this Lady delighted more in the company of Dadian, who was equal to her in years, than in her Husband Lipardians; of which Dadian taking notice, and resolving to slip no opportunity to satifie both his own and her desire, took advantage of this occa∣sion; One of his prime Nobles call'd Paponia, in∣sinuated himself into the Queens Favor, which being nois'd abroad about the Countrey, was fo ill resented by the King, that (according to the Custom of the Greek Church) he Divorc'd her, cut off her Nose, and sent her in the Head of an Army to her Father, and committed Paponia to Prison under the custody of the Prince of Guriel his Nephew: After this more publickly declaring his Amours towards his Uncle's Wife, he took her out of his House, and made all his Subjects acknowledge her for Dalboda or Queen. In the interim, whil'st Dadian kept his Nuptial Feast with all the signs and testimonies of Joy, Lipar∣dian in his House perform'd all the Funeral Cere∣monies, as if his Wife had been dead, going with his whole Court into Mourning, and crying for forty Days together, according to the usual Cu∣stom, each Person also sympathizing with him; he was also visited daily by many of the Nobles, till at last being poyson'd, his Wife became absolute Queen. After this the Countrey had re∣main'd quiet a long time, had not Paponia, to re∣venge himself of Dadian, perswaded the Prince of Guriel to proclaim War against him, and also contriv'd a Plot betwixt him, the Abcassians, and the Prince of Basciaciuk, the design of which was to kill Dadian, and to Crown one of his Brothers, nam'd Joseph, in his stead; to which purpose they hir'd an Abcassian, who on a set-day, as Dadian was looking over a Balcony, ran him through the Back with a Lance; which done, the Assassinate immediately fled, and was never heard of after; but one of the Officers that stood by when the King received the Stab, which was not mortal, being committed to Prison, discover'd the Plot; upon which Paponia was Strangled, and his Body being cut into divers pieces, was ramm'd into a Cannon and shot into the Air; his Brother also was con∣demn'd to have his Eyes put out, and committed to perpetual Imprisonment; the Prince of Guriel was likewise taken Prisoner, and his Eyes put out, his Wife and Children taken from him, and his Territory given to the Patriarch his Uncle, call'd Malachia. Moreover, Dadian afterwards Warred against the Abcassians,* who during these Disturbances had made Incursions into his Domi∣nions, in revenge of the Disgrace done to his first Wife, their Prince's Daughter; but he in a short time reduc'd them, and made them pay Tribute.

*Dadian having finish'd the Civil Wars, bent his study how to conquer Imereti, and accordingly proclaim'd War against it; and though to this day he hath not made himself absolute Master thereof, because the foremention'd Prince always secures himself in the Castle of Cottis, which could never yet be conquer'd; yet he hath miserably harras'd all his Territories.

*This King Dadian which now Governs this Countrey, is of such excellent Parts, that had he been bred amongst a civiliz'd People, he would undoubtedly have been one of the greatest Princes in his time: for he abhors Gluttony and Drunken∣ness, to which the Natives are much inclin'd, of∣ten dispensing with his Dinner to dispatch Busi∣ness; he is of an undaunted Courage, Prudent, Generous, and a great lover of his Subjects, whom he supports and assists on all occasions, suppressing all manner of Tyranny and Oppression: And that the Turk, his too near Neighbor, may not have an itching desire towards his Countrey, he uses this policy: When he expects Agents from Constanti∣nople, he sends several of his Nobles to meet them upon his Borders, and to conduct them through Mountains, Woods, and the worst Ways they, can find, and also to Lodge them in mean Huts, where they have nothing but a little Straw to lie on, and Cheese to eat: When they are admitted to Audience, he receives them sitting under a Tree on an old Carpet, in mean Clothes, with a great many Servants in pitiful Habits standing about him: After Audience they are Lodg'd in a House which will scarce keep the Weather out; where they are so ill Entertain'd, that the Agents return∣ing to Constantinople, affirm this Countrey to be the meanest in the World. 'Tis not long since he caus'd one of his Noblemens Eyes to be put out for endeavoring to extol his Subjects. He Enter∣tains both Jews and Armenians in his Dominions, and by that means gains a considerable Trade; he also sends for Workmen out of all the adjacent Countreys, whom he obliges to stay, by giving them Wives and Lands. He also makes daily great Presents to the Temple and Spiritual Per∣sons, and wants nothing but Architects, to build magnificent Churches.

*Of all Punishments which they inflict on Ma∣lefactors, they account the bereaving them of their Sight the worst, which they do after this manner, viz. They drive four Stakes into the Ground, to which they tie the Malefactor's Hands and Feet in such a manner, that he is no way able to stir; then they take two sharp Plates of Iron, about the bigness of a Shilling, made fast to two Irons which have one woodden Handle, which making red hot, they put them upon the Malefactor's Eyes, so bereaving him of his Sight with the greatest torment imaginable, which appears sufficiently by the sad effect thereof: for the whole Face and Breast swell, putting the Malefactor into such a condition, that it renders him uncapable of eating in three or four days after. They also cut off their Criminals Hands with a red hot Iron, thereby to prevent the effusion of Blood, and with a Stick take away the Marrow from the Bone, that the Flesh may not putrifie. If the Crime be small, and any one be apprehended for stealing of a Cow, he is bound to restore fifteen times the va∣lue thereof before he can be freed, of which the King receives one third part, the Court of Judi∣cature another, and the injur'd Person the rest. If the Offender be not certainly known, then they Page  96lay a Cross in the bottom of a Kettle of Water, which they hang over a Fire till it boyls, and then force the suspected Person to put his naked Arm into the same, and pull out the Cross; which done, they put his Arm into a Bag, and Sealing up the same, let it remain on three days, after the expiration whereof they open it, and if no signs of scalding appear, then the accused Person is re∣leased. When the Evidence is not clear, and the Crime but small, they cause the Person whom they suspect, to swear by the Images of their Saints. They also make suspicious Persons to fight one with another after this manner, viz. They run a Tilt at each other, and he that is first wounded, is punish'd as Criminal.

*The Mengrelians have no written Laws, yet what they follow are justly executed. In Matters which are of no great difficulty, the Prince him∣self is the Judge, and decides the fame either at his Table, when he is Hunting, or in any other place where he is when it is brought before him; but Matters of consequence are heard and deter∣min'd after this manner: The Parties concern'd chuse each of them an Arbitrator, to whom they refer the Controversie these also chuse a Solici∣tor; they often meet in the Fields under a Tree, where the Plaintiff appearing first, makes his Demand, and then gives room to the Defendant, to whom the Solicitor declares his mind; where∣upon the Defendant also with the same freedom gives his Relation; then the Plaintiff is call'd again, and the Solicitor acquaints him with the Defendant's Answer to his Demands; and if af∣ter this both Parties are silent, then the Judges pass Sentence.

They also maintain another Custom in their Differences, which is, never to go directly to the Person of whom they demand any thing, but al∣ways to make use of a Friend in such a Case.

The People formerly acknowledged the Patri∣arch of Antioch, but now him of Constantinople; yet they have two Patriarchs of their own Coun∣trey, whom they call Catholicks, the one from Georgia, and the other from odisci: He of Georgia hath under him the Provinces of Cardueli, Gaghetti, Baratralu, and Samsche; he of Odisci the Territo∣ries of Odisci, Imereti, Guriel, the Abcassians, and Suaniers.

*These Patriarchs have almost as great a Re∣venue as the Prince himself: for he continually visits his substitute Places, and in stead of ta∣king care to preserve his Flock, he fleeces them by his frequent Visits: for whenever he comes, all are oblig'd to make him great Presents; neither doth he make any Man a Bishop without a Re∣ward of five or six hundred Crowns: The Grand Visier gave him for one days Service eighty Crowns, yet he was not satisfi'd; for not long after the same Visier lying sick, sent for him, who return'd Answer, That it was not worth his while to go to him, since he gratifi'd him so ill at first; yet at last, upon promise of a more noble Reward, he went to him.

Every three or four years the Patriarch carries all the Money which he hath thus gotten, to the holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, verily believing, that by these Offerings he shall purchase for him∣self an entrance into Heaven.

*There were formerly twelve Bishopricks in this Countrey, of which there are now but six remaining, the other six being turn'd into Ab∣bacyes.

The first Bishoprick call'd Andra, lies at the River Carax; the second, Moquis; the third, Bedias; the fourth, Kiais, so call'd from the Mountain Kiais, near which it lies; the fifth. Sca∣lingicas, hath a Cathedral, which is Dedicated to our Saviour, and is the Burying-place of the Princes of the Countrey; the sixth is Scondidi, the Church whereof is Dedicated to All Saints.

The Bishopricks translated into Abbacyes, are Chiaggi, Gippurias, Copis and Obbugi, where formerly the Princes were bury'd, but since carry'd to Sca∣lingicas; the fifth is Sebastoli, ruin'd by the Floods; the sixth, Anarghia, was formerly call'd Heraclea.

The Bishops are richer than any Lords of the Countrey, some of them having three or four Wives, nay more. It hapned some years since, that a Bishop being in Love with a Woman, he sold her Husband for a Slave to the Turks, that he might with the more freedom enjoy her: And not∣withstanding these Extravagancies, yet because they keep their Fasts very strictly, they account themselves better than the Prelates of the Roman Church. They believe that there is no Sin, but what may be wash'd away by the Satisfaction of good Works, neither do they Pennance but very seldom; but when they find their Consciences troubled for some hainous Crime which they have committed, then they make a Present to the Church, believing that so their Sin is expi∣ated.

*The Abbots and Priests are no whit better than the Bishops, but generally more ignorant: for the Priests are forc'd to say Mass in the Georgian Language, because they understand not so much as their A B C. This Ignorance being common amongst all their Clergy, hath made them lose the form of the Sacraments. They never Baptize their Children till they are three or four years old,* when carrying them into a Cellar, which is the place where this Ceremony is perform'd, the Priest, clad in his Vestments, consecrates a great Vessel full of Water, according to the direction of the Greek Liturgy, out of which he onely reads what is written in the fame, not once offering to do what it directs or commands, which he leaves to his Clerk to perform; who then taking a little of their Mirom, or consecrated Oyl, marks the Child therewith in the Forehead with a Cross.

If the Church-doors be lock'd, then they say Mass in the Church-yard. Their Caps are of Wooll, and Calabashes serve them for Oyl-pots.

They believe to have perform'd all the Chri∣stian Commandments, by strictly observing the Fasts.

On Easter-day they do no Pennance, nor receive the Sacrament, but go two hours before day-light to Church, and so quickly return to Feasting.

Their greatest Festival is that of St. George, being celebrated on the twentieth of October at the Church bearing his Name;* whither on the Feast-Eve the Prince after Sun-set goes, accom∣pany'd with a great Train, and sets his Seal on the Church-door, which finding untouch'd in the Morning, he again takes off, and opening the Door, discovers an Ox, which is certainly be∣liev'd by the common People to have been put in there by St. George miraculously, and presage from the motions thereof future Events, viz. If the Ox defends himself against those that endeavor to touch him, then they believe there will be Wars in the Countrey: If he be very dirty, it is a sign of a fruitful year: If he hath red Hair, great Page  97Sickness will rage both amongst Men and Beasts: of all which they write to every part of the Coun∣trey, as a Matter of great consequence. There is also one Family amongst these People, which hath the priviledge to kill this Ox, and distribute the several parts thereof in this manner: The Head with the Horns they send to the Prince, who adorns the fame with Gold and Precious Stones; afterwards each Tribe or Family in the Countrey hath a part thereof; the rest being cut into small pieces, is divided amongst the People, who dry the same, and keep it as an infallible Re∣medy against all Distempers.

They strictly maintain their Fasts,* as we said before, on the three last days whereof (for they continue seven Weeks together, beginning on the Monday after Quinquagesima) they eat no Flesh. On Saturdays and Sundays they eat three times a day, the rest they keep after the manner of the Greeks, eating nothing till the Stars appear.

There is not a more superstitious People under the Sun than the Mengrelians,* which sufficiently appears by their Conceits which they hold of the Moon, accounting all their Misfortunes to pro∣ceed from thence; and therefore they abstain from all manner of Food on Mondays. He that first discovers the new Moon, gives notice thereof to his Neighbors; whereupon he that wears a Sword, draws it out, or else a Knife, wherewith they threaten it.

They also keep Fridays: for it is certain, that those who in the time of Constantine embrac'd Christianity, also kept that day in commemoration of the Passion of our Saviour.

At the Birth of their Children they advise with their Priest, asking him what they must do to make them Happy? who pretending to consult with their Books, counsels them to abstain from Venison, and all things of the like nature.

*They carry not the Corps of their Dead into the Church, but onely into the Church-yards, after which they perform Divine Service in the Church, where in, stead of the Corps they set up the Spade with which they made the Grave.

They adorn the Front of their Churches with the Heads of Stags and wild Bears, which they account an Ornament very acceptable to God; and believe that it is of great consequence to have a good Fishing Season, if their Boats be made in a lucky time.

When they are out at Sea, and the Wind fails them, all that are in the, Vessel blow to fetch it again; and when the Wind is good, they permit no body to Sew any thing Aboard, or use any Needle or Thred, alledging, that the Wind with the turning backward and forward of the Needle would be at a stay.

They commonly impute all their Misfortunes which befall them, from the Curses of their Ene∣mies; which to prevent, some of the Nobility cause the Images of their Saints to becarry'd be∣fore them, that so they may clear the Air.

When they buy any thing, they always give a Present to the Seller to bless the same; neither do they ever give the thing which they sell into the Hands of the Buyer, but fetor lay it before him, being perswaded, that if they should do the contrary, all things would be lost out of their House without being able to prevent it.

When they wish for Rain to refresh their Corn, they take an Image of one of their Saints, and set it every day in Water till it Rains, and the first which falls they conclude to proceed from hence.

Avogastes or Avogasie.

*A Vogastes, formerly the Territory of the Saono-Colchans of Ptolomy, is by some call'd Vocasie, and by others Avocasie, but peculi∣arly Afgasie, which is a part of Mengrelia; and from which Government onely separates it, as being under a peculiar Prince. It borders an the North and East, at Circassia, with the Stream Faso be∣tween both,* as likewise at Mengrelia by the River De Cupa.

The Towns thereof are Pezzonde, which Niger calls Prezunde, and takes it to be the Dioscurias of Ptolemy, as Sevastopoli for the ancient Siganeum; the other Towns are Sothia and Matriga.

The several sorts of People about Mengrelia and Mount Caucasus.

*MOunt Caucasus is inhabited by a wild sort of People of several Languages. The nearest to Mengrelia are the Lesgissian Tartars, Sovanians, Abcassians, Alans, Circassians, Ziques and Carocholians. They all boast them∣selves Christians, though they have neither Faith nor Religion amongst them. The most civiliz'd are the Sovanians, who willingly desire to be in∣structed they possess a great part of the Moun∣tains towards the side of Odisci and Imereti, and serve the Prince of Imereti, Vice-Roy to the King of Dadian. They are of a large Stature, and well Limb'd, but ill Featur'd; they are valiant Sol∣diers, good Archers, and have the Art of making Guns and Powder; but yet they are so very slo∣venly, that it would be loathsom to any nice Per∣son to touch them. They have plenty of Provi∣sions, yet come every Spring to Georgia, where they enter into Service, work in the Fields, and after Harvest return, carrying away with them Copper Plates, Kettles, Iron, Linnen Cloth, Carpets, and Salt, but with Silver they will not meddle, and about the beginning of Winter carry Wood to Odisci, which is much wanting there.

The Inhabitants of Mount Caucasus which dwell more Northerly, by the Turks call'd Abasses or Abcassians, are well proportion'd, of a good Complexion, and strong for all laborious Em∣ployments. The Countrey which they inhabit is very healthful, pleasant, and full of fruitful Hills,* and is water'd by two Rivers, the one call'd Soutbesu and the other Subasu: There is also a brave Harbor, nam'd Eschissumeni. They possess great Herds of Cattel. They never eat Fish, though they have great quantities thereof, both in the Sea and Rivers, and utterly abhor Lobsters and Page  98Crabs, mocking their Neighbors the Mengrelians for accounting them delicate Meat. They have no Corn, neither do they make use of Salt. There are an innumerable company of Hawk sand Fal∣cons, which they teach so well in eight days, that letting them flie at the Game, they return with the same upon the gingling of a Bell; and are from thence lent to Constantinople, Persia, and Georgia.

*Hunting and Hawking is their chiefest Busi∣ness and Recreation. They inhabit neither in Towns nor Castles, but fifteen or twenty Fa∣milies together, who erect Tents or Huts on the top of some pleasant Hill, which they fortifie with a kind of Pallisado's, that they may not be sud∣denly surpris'd and taken by their own Natives. Some affirm, that the Woods are their places of Residence, and that when once they setlte them∣selves in any one place, they never desert the same.

They endeavor to take away and sell one another for Slaves to the Turks, who highly esteem these Countrey People.

*Their Riches and Merchandise consist in all manner of Skins, Wax, Honey, and Slaves. Their Nobles commonly sell their Vassals to the Turks, in Barter for other Commodities.

There come yearly into the Haven of Eschissu∣muni several Ships from Lazi, Trebizonde, Constan∣tinople, and Caffa, where they stay sometimes all the Winter. The Merchants which come in them go not ashore with their Commodities, but sell them aboard, having beforehand given Oath or Hostages not to hurt one another.

Amongst other Customs peculiar to these Peo∣ple, one is, That they neither bury nor burn their Dead, but put the Corps into the Body of some hollow Tree, hanging up the Arms and Garments of the Deceased about it.

They go Cloth'd after the manner of the Cir∣cassians, onely their Hair they wear otherwise:* They let their Mustacho's grow, but shave their Beards: On the contrary, the Papari let all their Beards grow.

They maintain constant Wars against the Cir∣cassians and Mengrelians,* and are good Soldiers both on Foot and on Horseback, knowing well how to manage Fire-arms, as also Simiters, Bowes, and Arrows.

The Alans and Zichi agree for the most part in their manner of Living, with the Sovanians and Abcassians.

The Caracholians dwell also to the Northward of Mount Caucasus. Some call them Caraquirquez, that is, Black Circassians; for Cara is Black in the Turkish Language: But they are of a fair Com∣plexion, and therefore we may rather suppose, that this Name was given them because the Air of that Countrey which they inhabit is always dark and cloudy, and full of Snow. They speak the Otto∣man Tongue, notwithstanding they dwell in the midst of so many several forts of People, but so exceeding quick, that they can scarce be under∣stood.

The Jesuite Archange Lamberti affirms, that these People had their original from the Hunnes.

At the Black Sea dwell a sort of Mahumetans call'd Lesgi, who acknowledge no Prince abroad, but being divided amongst themselves, are un∣der many petty Governors, in their Language call'd Myrza, or Princes, of which some have scarce twenty Men under their Command. Moreover, they are a robust, and rude kind of People, chu∣sing rather to live in Villages in the Countrey, than in wall'd Cities. They are salvage and cruel, and implacably hated by their Neighbors, as a People that live by robbing and stealing.

The People call'd Lazi or Curten.

*THe People call'd Lazi, otherwise Curten, border upon Georgia and the Countrey of Trebizonde. They inhabit the high Mountains along the Shore of the Black Sea. They are a laborious People, bred in the Woods, and spend their whole Lives in no other Employ∣ment but keeping of Cattel.

The Black Sea.

*THe Water known to us by the Name of the Black Sea (perhaps from the Exam∣ple of the Greeks, who, according to Bellonius, call'd the same Maurothalassa, that is, Black Sea, or, as Niger affirms, by the Grecian Na∣vigators, Maurum,) is by the Inhabitants of Men∣grelia, and by the Italians, call'd Mar Majore, that is, The Great Sea; and by the ancient Greek and Latine Writers, is mention'd under several Deno∣minations: for Herodotus sometimes calls it The Cimmerian Sea, then The North Sea, and in his fourth Book, Auxiotheaton, that is, Worth the seeing. Plu∣tarch in the Life of Pompey and Eumenes, and after him Ptolomy and Jornandes, call it The Pontick Sea; Pliny, Pontus Axenus, that is, A Sea without Harbors. But the common Name which the Latine Writers give it, is Pontus Euxinus, which in the Greek sig∣nifies, A Sea with Harbors, and is so call'd per anti∣phrasin, as Ammianus Marcellinus affirms; or that afterwards her Shores were provided of Harbors, Towns, and other Accommodations, whereas be∣fore it was inaccessible and desolate, and that so this Sea from Axenus or Harborless, became Euxe∣nus or Receptive.

*The Black Sea is subject to many Storms and tempestuous Weather, especially in Winter, when the North Wind blowing cross the same, fills the Skie over this Sea with Clouds and Darkness, whenas inother Countreys it makes a serene clearness; so that Horace justly said, Illic umbrosiae semper stant aequare nubes, & incerta dies, that is, There always lie dark Clouds on this Sea; from whence probably the Name of The Black Sea which is gi∣ven to it proceeds.

There are no Islands in this Sea, unless some small Rocks mould be nam'd Isles, which lie near the Coast.

The Cossacks from Poland come into this Sea as Pyrates, to meet with the Turks,* and are absolute Masters thereof; their place of Residence is at the entrance of the River Niger, beyond the Mouth of the Black Sea.

Aelian tells us, that there are many Tunneys caught in the Black Sea; though Archangel Lam∣berti,Page  99during his stay in Mengrelia, never saw more than one of them, which was brought as a strange Fish to the Patriarch's Table, neither did the Fishermen of the Countrey know it; but Aelian may perhaps have mistaken a Sturgeon for a Funny.