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of Barakât plundered a caravan from Juddah, near the gates of Meccah."
The facts thus recorded are corroborated by the author of the Ruŭh er-Ruăh, another Arabic chronicle of a later date; but these extracts amply suffice to attest the truth of Varthema's incidental remarks respecting the feud which existed between the rival brothers Barakât, and the general insecurity of the country resulting therefrom. Moreover, a careful comparison of dates, as they may be gathered from our traveller's journal, with those given in the above quotations, renders it highly probable that the Arabs whom the caravan encountered between El-Medînah and Meccah, (see p. 35,) and those also who caused the precipitate rush from Arafât, (see p. 44,) consisted of adherents of one or other of the contending factions.
To return to our review of the narrative. Entering Meccah with the Hajj, Varthema proceeds to give an account of the city and its inhabitants, noticing particularly the great number of foreigners who had arrived there from the east and west, “some for purposes of trade, and some on pilgrimage for the pardon of their sins"; and the various commodities which were imported by them from Africa, the western coast of India, and the Bay of Bengal. Next, he takes us into the Great Mosque, describing the Kä'abah and the well Zemzem, with the various ceremonies performed there ; and thence he accompanies the pilgrims to Arafat, and returns with them in haste through the Valley of Mina, where he witnessed the customary lapidation of the “Great Devil.”
Considering that our author is the first European traveller on record who visited the holy places of the Muhammedans, and taking into account how scanty must have been his previous knowledge of the history and distinctive doctrines of Islâm, his description of Meccah and of the Hajj may fairly claim to be regarded as a literary wonder. With but few exceptions, his minutest details are confirmed by later and far more learned writers, whose investigations on the whole have added comparatively little to the knowledge which we possess of the Mussulman pilgrimage through the pages of Varthema; and the occasional correspondence between some of his statements and those of Burckhardt is so striking, as to give rise to the conjecture that that enterprising traveller had perused his book either before or after his own journey into the Hijâz. Burton, whose eastern learning and personal experience of the Hajj constitute him a most competent judge, bestows this well merited encomium on our author's narrative :“But all things considered, Ludovico Barthema, for correctness of obseryation and readiness of wit, stands in the foremost rank of the old oriental travellers.”l
The Hajj over, Varthema being anxious to visit other countries, or disinclined to return by the same route he had come, meditated escape from his companions. Fortune favoured the design by throwing in his way a Mussulman trader who had been to Europe, and who agreed to aid him in the attempt,
1 Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah, vol. ii. p. 352.
on learning that he intended to manufacture “large mortars,” to be used by the Moslems against the infidel Portuguese, and in consideration of having his goods passed free of duty out of Meccah, through our author's influence with the commander of the Mamlûks. He also furnished him with directions how to reach the court of the King of the Deccan, from which latter circumstance it is clear that Varthema had already contemplated a journey to India. Departing himself with the caravan, the Mussulman confided his charge to the care of his wife, with instructions to despatch him, on the following Friday, by the Indian kâ fila proceeding to Juddah. According to his own statement, Varthema succeeded in gaining the affections of his kind hostess and her young niece, both of whom held out strong inducements for him to remain ; but he prudently “declined all their offers, on account of the present danger,” and started towards the coast with the caravan,“ to the no small regret of the said ladies, who made great lamentations."
At Juddah, our traveller took refuge in a mosque, which was crowded with indigent pilgrims, and, fearing detection, pretended sickness, and even abstained from going abroad except by night in search of food. Nevertheless, his brief account of the place is quite correct, and judging from the number of vessels' then in the harbour, which he estimates at one hundred, “great and small,” the commerce of the port must have been much larger at that time than it is now,-a result mainly attributable to the Cape route having subsequently diverted much of the trade between India and Europe from its older channel við Egypt.
In his description of the voyage down the Red Sea, (which he naïvely remarks is not red,) during which the vessel only sailed by day owing to the numerous coral-reefs and shoals which lie off the coast, Varthema mentions their landing at Jâzân, now an unfrequented place, but at that time one of the principal ports of southern Arabia ; then their skirmish with some wild Bedawîn, who are as wild still ; next, their touching at the island of Camrân, which he tells us was subject to the “Sultan of the Amanni,” meaning the Imâm of Sanäa, but whose territories were invaded a few years later by a combined Egyptian and Turkish army whose fleet anchored in that very place; and finally the passage through the Straits of Bâb el-Mandeb, and their safe arrival at Aden. Here, the day following, being suspected as a Christian spy in disguise, he was forthwith laden with irons, and placed in confinement together with another individual, apparently a fellowpassenger, whose name and country, however, do not transpire. Three days after, some refugees froin a ship, which had been captured by the Portuguese, arriving at Aden, the suspicions of the inhabitants were confirmed, and it was only through the personal intervention of the deputy governor, who decided that the case should be referred to the Sultân, that they were saved from the vengeance of the infuriated inhabitants. Accordingly, after a delay of sixty-five
days, the two captives were mounted on one camel, still in chains, and sent under an escort to Radâä, eight days' journey from Aden, where they underwent a preliminary examination before the Sultân ; but Varthema failing to pronounce the Muhammedan formula of faith, either through fear, or, as he says, “ through the will of God,” he and his companion were again cast into prison.
Leaving them there to chew the bitter cud of repentance, it will not be out of place to notice the coincidence connected with the proceedings of the Portuguese in the Indian seas at this period, and the misfortunes which they entailed on our enterprising traveller.
In a note on the text of this part of the narrative, I have adduced a passage from an Arabian historian, to the effect that in the year a.d. 1502, seven native vessels had been seized by the Franks between India and the island of Hormuz, and most of the crews murdered. I am inclined to believe, however, that the case in which the refugees were concerned may be gathered more definitely, partly from Greene's Collection, and partly from the journal of Thome Lopez. The former has the following:
“Stephen de Gama being arrived on the coast of India, near Mount Deli, to the north of Kananor, he met a ship of great bulk, called the Meri (probably Miri, i.e. state property,] belonging to the Sultan of Egypt, which was very richly laden, and full of Moors of quality, who were going to Mekka. The ship being taken after a vigorous resistance, the General went on board, and sending for the principal