Sir John Mandeville

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Sir John Mandeville

(d. 1371)

Medieval traveller.

Anglo-Norman French.

Chapter VII

In Egypt there be two parts: the height, that is toward Ethiopia, and the lower, that is toward Arabia. In Egypt is the land of Rameses and the land of Goshen. Egypt is a strong country, for it hath many shrewd havens because of the great rocks that be strong and dangerous to pass by. And at Egypt, toward the east, is the Red Sea, that dureth unto the city of Coston; and toward the west is the country of Lybia, that is a full dry land and little of fruit, for it is overmuch plenty of heat, and that land is clept Fusthe. And toward the part meridional is Ethiopia. And toward the north is the desert, that dureth unto Syria, and so is the country strong on all sides. And it is well a fifteen journeys of length, and more than two so much of desert, and it is but two journeys in largeness. And between Egypt and Nubia it hath well a twelve journeys of desert. And men of Nubia be Christian, but they be black as the Moors for great heat of the sun.

Chapter XIII

For one sin may be greater in one man than in another, and in one place and in one time than in another; and therefore it behoveth him that he know the kind of the deed, and thereupon to give him penance.

There be other, that be clept Syrians; and they hold the belief amongst us, and of them of Greece. And they use all beards, as men of Greece do. And they make the sacrament of therf bread. And in their language they use letters of Saracens. But after the mystery of Holy Church they use letters of Greece. And they make their confession, right as the Jacobites do.

There be other, that men clepe Georgians, that Saint George converted; and him they worship more than any other saint, and to him they cry for help. And they came out of the realm of Georgia. These folk use crowns shaven. The clerks have round crowns, and the lewd men have crowns all square. And they hold Christian law, as do they of Greece; of whom I have spoken of before.

Other there be that men clepe Christian men of Girding, for they be all girt above. And there be other that men clept Nestorians. And some Arians, some Nubians, some of Greece, some of Ind, and some of Prester John’s Land. And all these have many articles of our faith, and to other they be variant. And of their variance were too long to tell, and so I will leave, as for the time, without more speaking of them.

Chapter XXVIII

Yet there is, toward the parts Meridionals many countries and many regions, as the land of Ethiopia, that marcheth, toward the east to the great deserts, toward the west to the kingdom of Nubia, toward the south to the kingdom of Moretane, and toward the north to the Red Sea.

After is Moretane, that dureth from the mountains of Ethiopia unto Lybia the high. And that country lieth along from the sea ocean toward the south; and toward the north it marcheth to Nubia and to the high Lybia. (These men of Nubia be Christian.) And it marcheth from the lands above-said to the deserts of Egypt, and that is the Egypt that I have spoken of before.

And after is Lybia the high and Lybia the low, that descendeth down low toward the great sea of Spain, in the which country be many kingdoms and many diverse folk.

Now I have devised you many countries on this half the kingdom of Cathay, of the which many be obeissant to the great Chan.

Selected editions

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, ed. A. W. Pollard (London: 1900).