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gowns, lining sleeves, cloaks, a bed, etc., but it can scarcely have been
for mere stiffening, as the colour of the buckram is generally specified
as the same as that of the dress.

A number of passages seem to point to a _quilted_ material. Boccaccio (Day
viii. Novel 10) speaks of a quilt (_coltre_) of the whitest buckram of
Cyprus, and Uzzano enters buckram quilts (_coltre di Bucherame_) in a list
of _Linajuoli_, or linen-draperies. Both his handbook and Pegolotti's
state repeatedly that buckrams were sold by the piece or the half-score
pieces - never by measure. In one of Michel's quotations (from _Baudouin de
Sebourc_) we have:

"Gaufer li fist premiers armer d'un auqueton
Qui fu de _bougherant_ et _plaine de bon coton_."

Mr. Hewitt would appear to take the view that Buckram meant a quilted
material; for, quoting from a roll of purchases made for the Court of
Edward I., an entry for Ten Buckrams to make sleeves of, he remarks, "The
sleeves appear to have been of _pourpointerie_," i.e. quilting. (_Ancient
Armour_, I. 240.)

This signification would embrace a large number of passages in which the
term is used, though certainly not all. It would account for the mode or
sale by the piece, and frequent use of the expression _a_ buckram, for its
habitual application to _coltre_ or counterpanes, its use in the
_auqueton_ of Baudouin, and in the jackets of Falstaff's "men in buckram,"
as well as its employment in the frocks of the Mongols and Tibetans. The
winter _chapkan_, or long tunic, of Upper India, a form of dress which, I
believe, correctly represents that of the Mongol hosts, and is probably
derived from them, is almost universally of quilted cotton.[1] This
signification would also facilitate the transfer of meaning to the
substance now called buckram, for that is used as a _kind_ of quilting.

The derivation of the word is very uncertain. Reiske says it is Arabic,
_Abu-Kairám_, "Pannus cum intextis figuris"; Wedgwood, attaching the
modern meaning, that it is from It., _bucherare_, to pierce full of holes,
which might be if _bucherare_ could be used in the sense of _puntare_, or
the French _piquer_; Marsh connects it with the _bucking_ of linen; and
D'Avezac thinks it was a stuff that took its name from _Bokhara_. If the
name be local, as so many names of stuffs are, the French form rather
suggests _Bulgaria_. [Heyd, II. 703, says that Buckram (Bucherame) was
principally manufactured at Erzinjan (Armenia), Mush, and Mardin
(Kurdistan), Ispahan (Persia), and in India, etc. It was shipped to the
west at Constantinople, Satalia, Acre, and Famagusta; the name is derived
from Bokhara. - H. C.]

(_Della Decima_, III. 18, 149, 65, 74, 212, etc.; IV. 4, 5, 6, 212;
_Reiske's_ Notes to _Const. Porphyrogen._ II.; _D'Avezac_, p. 524; _Vocab.
Univ. Ital.; Franc.-Michel, Recherches_, etc. II. 29 seqq.; _Philobiblon
Soc. Miscell._ VI.; _Marsh's Wedgwood's Etym. Dict._ sub voce.)

[Illustration: Castle of Baiburt.]

NOTE 2. - Arziron is ERZRUM, which, even in Tournefort's time, the Franks
called _Erzeron_ (III. 126); [it was named _Garine_, then
_Theodosiopolis_, in honour of Theodosius the Great; the present name was
given by the Seljukid Turks, and it means "Roman Country"; it was taken by
Chinghiz Khan and Timur, but neither kept it long. Odorico (_Cathay_, I.
p. 46), speaking of this city, says it "is mighty cold." (See also on the
low temperature of the place, Tournefort, _Voyage du Levant_, II. pp.
258-259.) Arzizi, ARJISH, in the vilayet of Van, was destroyed in the
middle of the 19th century; it was situated on the road from Van to Erzrum.
Arjish Kalá was one of the ancient capitals of the Kingdom of Armenia; it
was conquered by Toghrul I., who made it his residence. (Cf. Vital Cuinet,
_Turquie d'Asie_, II. p. 710). - H. C.]

Arjish is the ancient _Arsissa_, which gave the Lake Van one of its names.
It is now little more than a decayed castle, with a village inside.

Notices of Kuniyah, Kaisariya, Sivas, Arzan-ar-Rumi, Arzangan, and Arjish,
will be found in Polo's contemporary Abulfeda. (See _Büsching_, IV.
303-311.)

NOTE 3. - Paipurth, or Baiburt, on the high road between Trebizond and
Erzrum, was, according to Neumann, an Armenian fortress in the first
century, and, according to Ritter, the castle _Baiberdon_ was fortified by
Justinian. It stands on a peninsular hill, encircled by the windings of
the R. Charok. [According to Ramusio's version Baiburt was the third relay
from Trebizund to Tauris, and travellers on their way from one of these
cities to the other passed under this stronghold. - H. C.] The Russians, in
retiring from it in 1829, blew up the greater part of the defences. The
nearest silver mines of which we find modern notice, are those of
_Gumish-Khánah_ ("Silverhouse"), about 35 miles N.W. of Baiburt; they are
more correctly mines of lead rich in silver, and were once largely worked.
But the _Masálak-al-absár_ (14th century), besides these, speaks of two
others in the same province, one of which was near _Bajert_. This
Quatremère reasonably would read _Babert_ or Baiburt. (_Not. et Extraits_,
XIII. i. 337; _Texier_, _Arménie_, I. 59.)

NOTE 4. - Josephus alludes to the belief that Noah's Ark still existed, and
that pieces of the pitch were used as amulets. (_Ant._ I. 3. 6.)

Ararat (16,953 feet) was ascended, first by Prof. Parrot, September 1829;
by Spasski Aotonomoff, August 1834; by Behrens, 1835; by Abich, 1845; by
Seymour in 1848; by Khodzko, Khanikoff, and others, for trigonometrical
and other scientific purposes, in August 1850. It is characteristic of the
account from which I take these notes (_Longrimoff_, in _Bull. Soc. Géog.
Paris_, sér. IV. tom. i. p. 54), that whilst the writer's countrymen,
Spasski and Behrens, were "moved by a noble curiosity," the Englishman is
only admitted to have "gratified a tourist's whim"!

NOTE 5. - Though Mr. Khanikoff points out that springs of naphtha are
abundant in the vicinity of Tiflis, the mention of _ship-loads_ (in
Ramusio indeed altered, but probably by the Editor, to _camel-loads_), and
the vast quantities spoken of, point to the naphtha-wells of the Baku
Peninsula on the Caspian. Ricold speaks of their supplying the whole
country as far as Baghdad, and Barbaro alludes to the practice of
anointing camels with the oil. The quantity collected from the springs
about Baku was in 1819 estimated at 241,000 _poods_ (nearly 4000 tons),
the greater part of which went to Persia. (_Pereg. Quat._ p. 122;
_Ramusio_, II. 109; _El. de Laprim._ 276; _V. du Chev. Gamba_, I. 298.)

[The phenomenal rise in the production of the Baku oil-fields between
1890-1900, may be seen at a glance from the Official Statistics where the
total output for 1900 is given as 601,000,000 poods, about 9,500,000 tons.
(Cf. _Petroleum_, No. 42, vol. ii. p. 13.)]


[1] Polo's contemporary, the Indian Poet Amír Khusrú, puts in the mouth
of his king Kaikobád a contemptuous gibe at the Mongols with their
cotton-quilted dresses. (_Elliot_, III. p. 526.)




CHAPTER IV.

OF GEORGIANIA AND THE KINGS THEREOF.


In GEORGIANIA there is a King called David Melic, which is as much as to
say "David King"; he is subject to the Tartar.[NOTE 1] In old times all
the kings were born with the figure of an eagle upon the right shoulder.
The people are very handsome, capital archers, and most valiant soldiers.
They are Christians of the Greek Rite, and have a fashion of wearing their
hair cropped, like Churchmen.[NOTE 2]

This is the country beyond which Alexander could not pass when he wished
to penetrate to the region of the Ponent, because that the defile was so
narrow and perilous, the sea lying on the one hand, and on the other lofty
mountains impassable to horsemen. The strait extends like this for four
leagues, and a handful of people might hold it against all the world.
Alexander caused a very strong tower to be built there, to prevent the
people beyond from passing to attack him, and this got the name of the
IRON GATE. This is the place that the Book of Alexander speaks of, when it
tells us how he shut up the Tartars between two mountains; not that they
were really Tartars, however, for there were no Tartars in those days, but
they consisted of a race of people called COMANIANS and many besides.[NOTE
3]

[Illustration: Mediaeval Georgian Fortress, from a drawing dated 1634. "La
provence est tonte plene de grant montagne et d'estroit pas et de fort"]

[In this province all the forests are of box-wood.[NOTE 4]] There are
numerous towns and villages, and silk is produced in great abundance. They
also weave cloths of gold, and all kinds of very fine silk stuffs. The
country produces the best goshawks in the world [which are called
_Avigi_].[NOTE 5] It has indeed no lack of anything, and the people live
by trade and handicrafts. 'Tis a very mountainous region, and full of
strait defiles and of fortresses, insomuch that the Tartars have never
been able to subdue it out and out.

There is in this country a certain Convent of Nuns called St. Leonard's,
about which I have to tell you a very wonderful circumstance. Near the
church in question there is a great lake at the foot of a mountain, and in
this lake are found no fish, great or small, throughout the year till Lent
come. On the first day of Lent they find in it the finest fish in the
world, and great store too thereof; and these continue to be found till
Easter Eve. After that they are found no more till Lent come round again;
and so 'tis every year. 'Tis really a passing great miracle![NOTE 6]

That sea whereof I spoke as coming so near the mountains is called the Sea
of GHEL or GHELAN, and extends about 700 miles.[NOTE 7] It is twelve days'
journey distant from any other sea, and into it flows the great River
Euphrates and many others, whilst it is surrounded by mountains. Of late
the merchants of Genoa have begun to navigate this sea, carrying ships
across and launching them thereon. It is from the country on this sea also
that the silk called _Ghellé_ is brought.[NOTE 8] [The said sea produces
quantities of fish, especially sturgeon, at the river-mouths salmon, and
other big kinds of fish.][NOTE 9]


NOTE 1. - Ramusio has: "One part of the said province is subject to the
Tartar, and the other part, owing to its fortresses, remains subject to
the King David." We give an illustration of one of these mediaeval
Georgian fortresses, from a curious collection of MS. notices and drawings
of Georgian subjects in the Municipal Library at Palermo, executed by a
certain P. Cristoforo di Castelli of that city, who was a Theatine
missionary in Georgia, in the first half of the 17th century.

The G. T. says the King was _always_ called David. The Georgian Kings of
the family of Bagratidae claimed descent from King David through a prince
Shampath, said to have been sent north by Nebuchadnezzar; a descent which
was usually asserted in their public documents. Timur in his Institutes
mentions a suit of armour given him by the King of Georgia as forged by
the hand of the Psalmist King. David is a very frequent name in their
royal lists. [The dynasty of the Bagratidae, which was founded in 786 by
Ashod, and lasted until the annexation of Georgia by Russia on the 18th
January, 1801, had nine reigning princes named David. During the second
half of the 12th century the princes were: Dawith (David) IV. Narin
(1247-1259), Dawith V. (1243-1272), Dimitri II. Thawdadebuli (1272-1289),
Wakhtang II. (1289-1292), Dawith VI. (1292-1308). - H. C.] There were two
princes of that name, David, who shared Georgia between them under the
decision of the Great Kaan in 1246, and one of them, who survived to 1269,
is probably meant here. The name of David was borne by the last titular
King of Georgia, who ceded his rights to Russia in 1801. It is probable,
however, as Marsden has suggested, that the statement about the King
_always_ being called David arose in part out of some confusion with the
title of _Dadian_, which, according to Chardin (and also to P. di
Castelli), was always assumed by the Princes of Mingrelia, or Colchis as
the latter calls it. Chardin refers this title to the Persian _Dád_,
"equity." To a portrait of "Alexander, King of Iberia," or Georgia Proper,
Castelli attaches the following inscription, giving apparently his
official style: "With the sceptre of David, Crowned by Heaven, First King
of the Orient and of the World, King of Israel," adding, "They say that he
has on his shoulder a small mark of a cross, '_Factus est principatus
super humerum ejus_,' and they add that he has all his ribs in one piece,
and not divided." In another place he notes that when attending the King
in illness his curiosity moved him strongly to ask if these things were
true, but he thought better of it! (_Khanikoff; Jour. As._ IX. 370, XI.
291, etc.; _Tim. Instit._ p. 143; _Castelli_ MSS.)

[A descendant of these Princes was in St. Petersburg about 1870. He wore
the Russian uniform, and bore the title of Prince Bagration-Mukransky.]

NOTE 2. - This fashion of tonsure is mentioned by Barbaro and Chardin. The
latter speaks strongly of the beauty of both sexes, as does Della Valle,
and most modern travellers concur.

NOTE 3. - This refers to the Pass of Derbend, apparently the Sarmatic Gates
of Ptolemy, and _Claustra Caspiorum_ of Tacitus, known to the Arab
geographers as the "Gate of Gates" (_Báb-ul-abwáb_), but which is still
called in Turkish _Demír-Kápi_, or the Iron Gate, and to the ancient Wall
that runs from the Castle of Derbend along the ridges of Caucasus, called
in the East _Sadd-i-Iskandar_, the Rampart of Alexander. Bayer thinks the
wall was probably built originally by one of the Antiochi, and renewed by
the Sassanian Kobad or his son Naoshirwan. It is ascribed to the latter by
Abulfeda; and according to Klaproth's extracts from the _Derbend Námah_,
Naoshirwan completed the fortress of Derbend in A.D. 542, whilst he and
his father together had erected 360 towers upon the Caucasian Wall which
extended to the Gate of the Alans (i.e. the Pass of Dariel). Mas'údi says
that the wall extended for 40 parasangs over the steepest summits and
deepest gorges. The Russians must have gained some knowledge as to the
actual existence and extent of the remains of this great work, but I have
not been able to meet with any modern information of a very precise kind.
According to a quotation from _Reinegg's Kaukasus_ (I. 120, a work which I
have not been able to consult), the remains of defences can be traced for
many miles, and are in some places as much as 120 feet high. M. Moynet
indeed, in the _Tour du Monde_ (I. 122), states that he traced the wall to
a distance of 27 versts (18 miles) from Derbend, but unfortunately,
instead of describing remains of such high interest from his own
observation, he cites a description written by Alex. Dumas, which he says
is quite accurate.

["To the west of Narin-Kaleh, a fortress which from the top of a
promontory rises above the city, the wall, strengthened from distance to
distance by large towers, follows the ridge of the mountains, descends
into the ravines, and ascends the slopes to take root on some remote peak.
If the natives were to be believed, this wall, which, however, no longer
has any strategetical importance, had formerly its towers bristling upon
the Caucasus chain from one sea to another; at least, this rampart did
protect all the plains at the foot of the eastern Caucasus, since vestiges
were found up to 30 kilometres from Derbend." (_Reclus, Asie russe_, p.
160.) It has belonged to Russia since 1813. The first European traveller
who mentions it is Benjamin of Tudela.

Bretschneider (II. p. 117) observes: "Yule complains that he was not able
to find any modern information regarding the famous Caucasian Wall which
begins at Derbend. I may therefore observe that interesting details on the
subject are found in Legkobytov's _Survey of the Russian Dominions beyond
the Caucasus_ (in Russian), 1836, vol. iv. pp. 158-161, and in Dubois de
Montpéreux's _Voyage autour du Caucase_, 1840, vol. iv. pp. 291-298, from
which I shall give here an abstract."

(He then proceeds to give an abstract, of which the following is a part:)

"The famous _Dagh bary_ (mountain wall) now begins at the village of
_Djelgan_ 4 versts south-west of Derbend, but we know that as late as the
beginning of the last century it could be traced down to the southern gate
of the city. This ancient wall then stretches westward to the high
mountains of Tabasseran (it seems the Tabarestan of Mas'údi).... Dubois de
Montpéreux enumerates the following sites of remains of the wall: - In the
famous defile of _Dariel_, north-east of Kazbek. In the valley of the
_Assai_ river, near Wapila, about 35 versts north-east of Dariel. In the
valley of the Kizil river, about 15 versts north-west of Kazbek. Farther
west, in the valley of the _Fiag_ or _Pog_ river, between _Lacz_ and
_Khilak_. From this place farther west about 25 versts, in the valley of
the _Arredon_ river, in the district of _Valaghir_. Finally, the
westernmost section of the Caucasian Wall has been preserved, which was
evidently intended to shut up the maritime defile of _Gagry_, on the Black
Sea." - H. C.]

There is another wall claiming the title of _Sadd-i-Iskandar_ at the S.E.
angle of the Caspian. This has been particularly spoken of by Vámbéry, who
followed its traces from S.W. to N.E. for upwards of 40 miles. (See his
_Travels in C. Asia_, 54 seqq., and _Julius Braun_ in the _Ausland_, No.
22, of 1869.)

Yule (II. pp. 537-538) says, "To the same friendly correspondent
[Professor Braun] I owe the following additional particulars on this
interesting subject, extracted from _Eichwald, Periplus des Kasp. M._ I.
128.

"'At the point on the mountain, at the extremity of the fortress (of
Derbend), where the double wall terminates, there begins a single wall
constructed in the same style, only this no longer runs in a straight
line, but accommodates itself to the contour of the hill, turning now to
the north and now to the south. At first it is quite destroyed, and showed
the most scanty vestiges, a few small heaps of stones or traces of towers,
but all extending in a general bearing from east to west.... It is not
till you get 4 versts from Derbend, in traversing the mountains, that you
come upon a continuous wall. Thenceforward you can follow it over the
successive ridges ... and through several villages chiefly occupied by the
Tartar hill-people. The wall ... makes many windings, and every 3/4 verst
it exhibits substantial towers like those of the city-wall, crested with
loop-holes. Some of these are still in tolerably good condition; others
have fallen, and with the wall itself have left but slight vestiges.'

"Eichwald altogether followed it up about 18 versts (12 miles) not
venturing to proceed further. In later days this cannot have been
difficult, but my kind correspondent had not been able to lay his hand on
information.

[Illustration: View of Derbend

"Alexandre ne poit paser quand il vost aler au Ponent ... car de l'un les
est la mer, et de l'autre est gran montagne que ne se poent cavaucher. La
vre est mout estroit entre la montagne et la mer."]

"A letter from Mr. Eugene Schuyler communicates some notes regarding
inscriptions that have been found at and near Derbend, embracing Cufic of
A.D. 465, Pehlvi, and even Cuneiform. Alluding to the fact that the other
_Iron-gate_, south of Shahrsabz, was called also _Kalugah_, or _Kohlugah_
he adds: 'I don't know what that means, nor do I know if the Russian
Kaluga, south-west of Moscow, has anything to do with it, but I am told
there is a Russian popular song, of which two lines run:

'"Ah Derbend, Derbend Kaluga,
Derbend my little Treasure!"'

"I may observe that I have seen it lately pointed out that _Koluga_ is a
Mongol word signifying a _barrier_; and I see that Timkowski (I. 288)
gives the same explanation of _Kalgan_, the name applied by Mongols and
Russians to the gate in the Great Wall, called Chang-kia-Kau by the
Chinese, leading to Kiakhta."

The story alluded to by Polo is found in the mediaeval romances of
Alexander, and in the Pseudo-Callisthenes on which they are founded. The
hero chases a number of impure cannibal nations within a mountain barrier,
and prays that they may be shut up therein. The mountains draw together
within a few cubits, and Alexander then builds up the gorge and closes it
with gates of brass or iron. There were in all twenty-two nations with
their kings, and the names of the nations were Goth, Magoth, Anugi, Eges,
Exenach, etc. Godfrey of Viterbo speaks of them in his rhyming verses: -

"Finibus Indorum species fuit una virorum;
Goth erat atque Magoth dictum cognomen eorum
* * * * *
Narrat Esias, Isidorus et Apocalypsis,
Tangit et in titulis Magna Sibylla suis.
Patribus ipsorum tumulus fuit venter eorum," etc.

Among the questions that the Jews are said to have put, in order to test
Mahommed's prophetic character, was one series: "Who are Gog and Magog?
Where do they dwell? What sort of rampart did Zu'lkarnain build between
them and men?" And in the Koran we find (ch. xviii. _The Cavern_): "They
will question thee, O Mahommed, regarding Zu'lkarnain. Reply: I will tell
you his history" - and then follows the story of the erection of the
Rampart of Yájúj and Májúj. In ch. xxi. again there is an allusion to
their expected issue at the latter day. This last expectation was one of
very old date. Thus the Cosmography of Aethicus, a work long believed
(though erroneously) to have been abridged by St. Jerome, and therefore to
be as old at least as the 4th century, says that the Turks of the race of
Gog and Magog, a polluted nation, eating human flesh and feeding on all
abominations, never washing, and never using wine, salt, nor wheat, shall
come forth in the Day of Antichrist from where they lie shut up behind the
Caspian Gates, and make horrid devastation. No wonder that the irruption
of the Tartars into Europe, heard of at first with almost as much
astonishment as such an event would produce now, was connected with this
prophetic legend![1] The Emperor Frederic II., writing to Henry III. of
England, says of the Tartars: "'Tis said they are descended from the Ten
Tribes who abandoned the Law of Moses, and worshipped the Golden Calf.
They are the people whom Alexander Magnus shut up in the Caspian
Mountains."

[See the chapter _Gog et Magog dans le roman en alexandrins_, in Paul
Meyer's _Alexandre le Grand dans la Littérature française_. Paris, 1886,
II. pp. 386-389. - H. C.]:

"Gos et Margos i vienent de la tiere des Turs
Et. cccc. m. hommes amenerent u plus,
Il en jurent la mer dont sire est Neptunus
Et le porte d'infier que garde Cerberus
Que l'orguel d'Alixandre torneront a reüs
Por çou les enclot puis es estres desus.
Dusc' al tans Antecrist n'en istera mais nus."

According to some chroniclers, the Emperor Heraclius had already let loose
the Shut-up Nations to aid him against the Persians, but it brought him no
good, for he was beaten in spite of their aid, and died of grief.

The theory that the Tartars were Gog and Magog led to the Rampart of
Alexander being confounded with the Wall of China (see infra, Bk. I. ch.
lix.), or being relegated to the extreme N.E. of Asia, as we find it in
the Carta Catalana.

These legends are referred to by Rabbi Benjamin, Hayton, Rubruquis,
Ricold, Matthew Paris, and many more. Josephus indeed speaks of the Pass
which Alexander fortified with gates of steel. But his saying that the
King of Hyrcania was Lord of this Pass points to the Hyrcanian Gates of
Northern Persia, or perhaps to the Wall of Gomushtapah, described by
Vámbéry.

Ricold of Montecroce allows two arguments to connect the Tartars with the
Jews who were shut up by Alexander; one that the Tartars hated the very
name of Alexander, and could not bear to hear it; the other, that their
manner of writing was very like the Chaldean, meaning apparently the
Syriac (_anté_, p. 29). But he points out that they had no resemblance to
Jews, and no knowledge of the law.

Edrisi relates how the Khalif Wathek sent one Salem the Dragoman to
explore the Rampart of Gog and Magog. His route lay by Tiflis, the Alan
country, and that of the Bashkirds, to the far north or north-east, and
back by Samarkand. But the report of what he saw is pure fable.

In 1857, Dr. Bellew seems to have found the ancient belief in the legend
still held by Afghan gentlemen at Kandahar.




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