Friar Jordanus

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Friar Jordanus

(c. 1330)

Dominican friar.

Latin.


VI.

HERE FOLLOWETH CONCERNING INDIA TERTIA

2. But all the regions round about watch for the time of the dragons, and when they see that one has fallen, they wait for 70 days, and then go down and find the bare bones of the dragon, and take the carbuncle which is rooted in the top of his head, and carry it to the emperor of the Ethiopians, whom you call Prestre Johan.

6. Between this India and Ethiopia is said to be, towards the east, the terrestrial paradise ; for from those parts come down the four rivers of Paradise, which abound exceedingly in gold and gems.


VII.

HERE FOLLOWETH CONCERNING THE GREATER ARABIA.

4. Of Ethiopia, I say that it is a very great land, and a very hot. There are many monsters there, such as gryphons that guard the golden mountains which be there. Here, too, be serpents and other venomous beasts, of vast size and venomous exceedingly.

5. There, too, are very many precious stones. The lord of that land I believe to be more potent than any man in the world, and richer in gold and silver and in precious stones. He is said to have under him fifty-two kings, rich and potent. He ruleth over all his neighbours towards the south and the west.

6. In this Ethiopia are two burning mountains, and between them a mountain of gold. The people of the country are all Christians, but heretics. I have seen and known many folk from those parts.

7. To that emperor the Sultan of Babylon giveth every year 500,000 ducats of tribute as 'tis said.

8. I can tell nothing more of Ethiopia, not having been there.


XIV.

HERE FOLLOWETH CONCERNING THE DISTANCES OF COUNTRIES.

8. And the dominion of Ethiopia is great exceedingly; and I believe, and lie not, that the population thereof is, at the least, three times that of our Christendom.


Selected editions

Mirabilia descripta. The Wonders of the East of Friar Jordanus, trans. H. Yule (London: 1863)