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dressing them, said: "we have the assurances of our Prophet that he who defends his lord shall inherit paradise, and if you shew yourselves devoted to the obedience of my orders, that happy lot awaits you." Animated to enthusiasm by words of this nature, all deemed themselves happy to receive the commands of their master, and were forward to die in his service. The consequence of this system was, that when any of the neighbouring princes, or others, gave umbrage to this chief, they were put to death by these his disciplined assassins; none of whom felt terror at the risk of losing their own lives, which they held in little estimation, provided they could execute their master's will. Thus there was no person, however powerful, who having become exposed to the enmity of the Old Man of the Mountain, could escape assassination. His territory being situated within the dominions of Ulaù (Hulagu), the brother of the grand khan (Mangu), that prince had information of his atrocious practices, as above related, as well as of his employing people to rob travellers in their passage through his country, and in the year 1262, sent one of his armies to besiege this chief in his castle. It proved, however, so capable of defence, that for three years no impression could be made upon it; until at length he was forced to surrender from the want of provisions, and being made prisoner, was put to death. His castle was dismantled, and his garden of Paradise destroyed.'-Marco Polo, pp. 112-114.
Now the whole of this story, abating the extravagance of the diction, and high colouring of the picture, (which, as Marco derived it from Persia, furnishes an additional proof of his fidelity in repeating what he heard,) is a well authenticated historical fact.* Divested of the marvellous, it is simply this:-The term mulihet, or 'impious,' was applied by the orthodox Musselmans to an odious and fanatic sect, who began to flourish about the year 1090, and dwelt in the mountainous district of Kohistan. Hassan (the hero of the beautiful tale of Abu Hassan in the Thousand and One Nights') was the name of the founder, but in the time of Marco Polo, the reigning old man' was, as he says, Alo-eddin, against whom and his son an expedition was undertaken by the Moghuls, on account of their numerous massacres and other cruelties; and though this intelligent traveller may be mistaken a few years in the date of Alo-eddin's castle being dismantled, and his paradise destroyed,' yet it is quite certain that Hulagu Khan, the grandson Gengis, put this chief, and, according to Mirkhoud, 12,000 of his infatuated followers, to death, about the time mentioned by Marco
The name of the Old Man of the Mountain,' has given to it an air of romance, which the sober and more accurate translation of Sheikh al Jebal, Chief of the Mountaineers,' at once destroys-for the word Sheikh, like Signor, (as Mr. Marsden has observed,) bears the double meaning of Elder and Lord.
Such is the origin and history of the Old Man of the Mountain and his Assassins,'* a branch of whom, having established themselves in the mountains of Anti-Libanus, rendered these names famous and formidable in the histories of the Crusades.
The next traveller, in point of time, was FRIAR ODERICUS of Friule, one of the Fratres Minores, and usually called Beatus Odericus. This good friar set out with unbounded zeal to convert the heathens of the East to Christianity. He travelled over the same ground nearly as the family of the Poli had done before him, and though his narrative has now and then a sprinkling of the marvellous, and shews the author to have received, with too credulous an ear, the strange stories related to him in the course of his travels, yet, it contains many very curious facts that were not known to the western world before his return, and which he could have learnt only in the countries where they exist. He describes, for instance, the vast resort of pilgrims to the great temple of Jaggernaut, the procession of the enormous Car, under the wheels of which many pilgrims put themselves, to the end that their false god may go over them; and all they, over whom the chariot runneth, are crushed in pieces and divided asunder in the midst, and slaine.' He also describes, with great accuracy, the Hindoo worship of the Cow, the consecration of virgins to the service of their idols, the human sacrifices, the custom of wives burning themselves on the funeral pile of their husbands, and many other heinous and abominable villanies committed by that brutish beastly people.' In Sumatra, he mentions the abundance of gold, silver, and camphor. In Java he finds cloves, nutmegs, and other spices; and trees that yield meal, honey, and the most deadly poison in the world; in which we readily recognize the sago palm and the poison-tree, better known by the name of Upas. He notices, also, the stones which are found in the joints of the bamboo, a plant which he describes as a cane of immense size, as large as a tree. These are things with which, at this early period, he could not have become acquainted, but on the spot. His narrative is concluded with the story of the Old Man of the Mountain,' and his paradise, described much in the same manner as related by Marco Polo, followed, however, by the de
There are few words whose etymology has exercised, and, at the same time, baffled the ingenuity of the learned more than this. Perhaps, the following may not be very remote from the truth. Throughout all the East a preparation of hemp, which we call bang, is universally used to exhilarate the feelings by a luxurious species of intoxication.' This is known to the Orientals by the name of Haschisch, and those who are addicted to it are called Haschischin and Haschaschin, two expressions,' says De Sacy, which explain why the Ismaëlians have been called by the historians of the Crusades, at one time Assissini, and at another Assassini:' so that, instead of a secret murderer,' assassin implies, in point of fact, an habitual drunkard.'
scription of a most terrific valley, which is wholly fictitious; and which we give in the literal translation of Hakluyt.
'Passing by a certaine valley, which is situate beside a pleasant river I saw many dead bodies, and in the said valley also I heard divers sweet sounds and harmonies of musicke, especially the noise of citherns, whereat I was greatly amazed. This valley containeth in length seven or eight miles at the least, into the which whosoever entreth, dieth presently, and can by no means passe alive thorow the middest thereof, for which cause all the inhabitants thereabout decline unto the one side. Moreover I was tempted to go in, and to see what it was. At length, making my prayers, and recommending myself to God in the name of Jesu, I entered, and saw such swarmes of dead bodies there, as no man would believe unlesse he were an eye-witnesse thereof. At the one side of the foresayd valley upon a certaine stone, I saw the visage of a man, which beheld me with such a terrible aspect, that I thought verily I should have died in the same place. But alwaies this sentence "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," I ceased not to pronounce, signing myselfe with the signe of the crosse, and neerer than seven or eight pases, I durst not approach unto the sayd head, but I departed and fled unto another place in the sayd valley, ascending up-into a little sandy mountaine, where looking round about, I saw nothing but the said citherns, which methought I heard miraculously sounding and playing by themselves without the help of musicians. And being upon the toppe of the mountaine, I found silver there like the scales of fishes in great abundance and I gathered some part thereof into my bosome to shew for a wonder, but my conscience rebuking me, I cast it upon the earth, reserving no whit at all unto my selfe, and so, by God's grace, I departed without danger.'-vol. ii. p. 65. Ed. 1599.
'I have never,' says Mr. Murray, 'unless in this author and his copyist Mandeville, met with this story, or any thing resembling it, and can only conjecture that some predatory band having stationed themselves in the valley, may, in order to deter intruders, have sought to throw round it the veil of supernatural terror.' We rather wonder that the account given by Marco Polo of the evil spirits which are said to haunt the great desert of Cobi, did not occur to his recollection.- Marvellous indeed,' says this intelligent traveller, and almost passing belief, are the stories related of these spirits of the desert, which are said at times to fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms.' This account is quite consistent with the tales mentioned by the Chinese geographers, of violent gusts of wind and drenching rain, of musical sounds, and human voices uttering songs and lamentations, to alarm the passenger in crossing the valley of Demons.-Rubruquis, as we have seen, passed it in safety by chaunting the Creed.
VOL. XXIV. NO. XLVIII.
The true source of both stories, however, may, we think, be traced to Marco Polo, whose travels were well known in Italy many years before the death of Odericus, which took place in 1331.-But, we are quite convinced that neither the story of the Old Man of the Mountain,' nor of the Deadly Valley,' was among those which were put down by Friar William de Solanga, in writing, even as the forsayd friar Odoricus uttered them by word of mouth;' but that they are the interpolations of some copyist. In the first place, they do not accord with his manifest reluctance to make any statements that may appear marvellous to his readers; observing as he does more than once, ' that he could have told things more wonderful, but they were such that no mortal would or could believe, unless he had seen them with his own eyes:' and, in the second place, they are dove-tailed into the recital of his travels in so clumsy a manner as to show that both could not proceed from the same hand. Thus, in the chapter entitled, ‘Öf a certain rich man fed by fiftie virgins,'-immediately after the mention of two very remarkable facts, not noticed by Marco Polo, nor by any other writer that we know of before the time of Odoric,* he jumps, at once, to the seat of the Old Man of the Mountain,' which, instead of south from China,' (as here described,) lies to the northward of west, and at the distance of nearly 3000 miles;— and after dedicating a whole chapter to the death of the 'Old Man,' and the terrible Valley,' retrogrades instantaneously to the place from which he started, and finishes his narrative respecting China, with an account of the honour and reverence done unto the great Can,' which, in the genuine copy, we have not a doubt immediately followed the account of the rich man and his fiftie virgins.'
It would be a difficult, we may add a hopeless task, at this time, to trace the interpolator of these stories, but we strongly suspect our countryman Sir JOHN MANDEVILLE. That he was in possession of Odoric's manuscript, admits of no doubt; indeed, in one of the Latin editions he avows it, though it is omitted in others: but his avowal is not necessary to prove that the second part, which relates to the countries beyond Syria, embraces the whole of Odoric's observations, but split into texts, as it were, on each of which he has built his fabulous superstructures. As Mr. Murray has admitted this ancient Munchausen into the list of travellers
These facts, which speak volumes in favour of the authenticity of what Odoric did dictate, relate to the long nails and the little feet of the Chinese. It is accounted, he says, · a great grace for the men of that country to have long nailes upon their fingers, and especially upon their thumbes, which nailes they may folde about their hands: but the grace and beauty of their women is to have small and slender feet; and therefore the mothers, when their daughters are yoong, doe biude up their feet, that they may not grow great.'
to whom we are indebted for the progressive geography of the eastern world, it may be right to show, by a few examples, how little he is entitled to such a distinction.
Odoric, as we have stated, describes the productions of Java such as we know them to be at this day. Mandeville also travels into Java, and sees all, and more than all the wonders related by Odoric. This latter had stated that the tortoises there are as large as an oven; and I am a liar,' says Mandeville, if I have not seen there a single shell in which three men might completely hide themselves, and all white.' Jonson has made a pleasant use of this monstrous exaggeration in the trick played on poor Sir Politic, in the Silent Woman.
Ou leaving Java, Odoric travelled farther by the Ocean sea towards the south,' passing by numerous islands to a very large one, called Lammori. By Lammori is probably meant Borneo ;* but here is obviously an error of the press, south being printed for north. Mandeville, however, also travels south, till he finds the elevation of the Antarctic Pole, by his astrolabe, to be $3° 16', which is about Botany Bay, in New Holland, on one side, and Cape Leuven on the other. Here he revels in all the delights of fiction. Here he meets with nations of giants twenty-five feet high; of pigmies as many inches; of monophthalmi, cynocephali, and acephali,—' and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders!'
Odoric, in travelling through Persia, mentions the sea of sand, which, he says, is a most wonderful and dangerous thing.' This hint is not lost on Sir John, who not only saw it rolling incessantly its high waves like water, but eat some of the fish which had been cast up on the shore, and found them very good. This sea of sand had an appropriate river of running rocks, which, at certain periods, three days in every week, rushed along with a noise so tremendous, that no one could presume to approach it: near the source of these running rocks, he observed certain trees which, rising out of the sand with the rising sun, grow up with him, and ripen their fruit just as he attains his meridian height; after which the trees descend as the sun declines, and totally disappear when he sinks below the horizon.
It would be to little purpose to chase this coryphæus of liars through any more of the interpolations with which we believe him to have debased the narrative of Odoric; and we shall, therefore, pass on to the work before us.
Mr. Murray has admitted into his collection another traveller, whose name has long become a bye-word. It is not Shakspeare,
This is still more evident from his shortly after mentioning the kingdom of Simoltra (Sumatra) towards the south.