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589. And it came to pass, after many days, that some ships of the king of Portugal went out to plunder, and to make spoil in the land of Cush*, which is on the shores of the Great Ocean towards sunset: and thence they went round towards the ornament of countries^ and the east: this was their custom continually. And they took for themselves cities on the sea-shore, and builded there fortresses, in which they have dwelled until this day. Moreover, they brought daily some of the inhabitants of the country, and sold them for slaves and for handmaidens in the four corners of the world. And as they returned every year, they extended their voyage until thou come to Tarshish; and they reached also

* ^Ethiopia; but here Africa in generalf ^^n. Palestine is meant. See Buxtorf Lexicon Rabbinicum.



unto Calicut*, which was under the government of the great Turk; and they bound their princes with chains, and their nobles with fetters of ironf: so the country became theirs: and they made a covenant with the inhabitants, who have been slaves to the king of Portugal until this day. Thence they brought also spices, and silver, and gold, in abundance, and thus filled their dwellings with spoil. All that was done at Calicut was reported to the Great Turk, and he became zealous for his people and his gods. At his command, they brought workmen, who builded cruizing ships of war, and bore them away on camels to the sea; for from this sea the Turks go into the great Sea of Suf j, which is that sea which compasses the world. And they put into their ships valiant men, all drawing the sword; and one of their princes was over them as captain. With them was a Venetian, a wise and mighty man of valor. And the king commanded the pasha, the general of the army, saying, "Fall not out by the way§; and do all that the Venetian adviseth you; and according to his word, so shalt thou do." Then the pasha replied, "O lord, my king, I will do according to thy words." As they journeyed thence they came to a great city, the glory of all the surrounding

* Blj^Np. f Ps. cxlix. 8.

J «PD D\ The sea of weeds, usually the Red Sea.
§ Gen. xlv. "24.


countries, whose king was a greatly honored Arab*, a confederate of all the uncircumcised at that time. And the pasha sent unto him, saying, "Come down to me, tarry not for the king, because the Great Turk has sent me to thee to deliver thee this day from the hands of these uncircumcised." Then the king answered, "Who is he that maketh bold to say to me, ' Come down?' Let him come up to my house, for I am a king; yea, and the son of a king!" And the wrath of the pasha was kindled against him; and he sent to the king with subtlety, and slew him, and plundered the country. But the Venetian rebuked him, and said, "Why hast thou done thus, to make me stink before the inhabitants of the country ?f for they will not again assist us, neither will they give us any provision, and we shall die of hunger." And as the Venetian spake, so it was: for the kings of those cities said, "Is it not better to serve the uncircumcised, than to die by the hand of this cruel man?" So they hated him, and turned their backs to him, and not their faces, though at first they favored him. And the Turks were forced to retreat without success. And it came to pass, when they were in Egypt, that the Venetian told one of his friends what had befallen him; and that man told his

f Gen. xxxiv. 30.


words to the pasha, and he hated the Venetian in his heart. And the Venetian desired to return to his master; but the pasha intreated him, and said, "No; thou shalt come with us." And they went their way. And it came to pass, when they were near Constantinople, that the janissaries strave among themselves and slew the Venetian; so that he died before he returned to his master. It was not known who had slain him; and it grieved the Turk exceedingly.

590. There was a man in Castile, which is in Spain, Americo by name, who had a great ship, and he stored it plentifully with provisions, according to his heart's desire; and his heart impelled him also* to go forth in person to take spoil wherever he could find it, and even to extend his voyage far from the borders of landf. And there gathered themselves unto him vain fellows, who embarked with him and went their way. And they continued their voyage many days, in a tract by which no man had passed, from the day that the Almighty created earth and heaven. And they went on even until they could no longer see the star

* Exod. xxv. 2.

.\ Rabbi Joseph apparently confounds Amerigo Vespucci with Columbus, and means to say that Americo ventured to cross the high seas, instead of coasting within sight of landmarks, which was formerly the usual mode of navigation.

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