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Of (the Tartars) manners both good and bad (around 400 years ago)
|| 4/19/2008 || 3:26 pm || Comments Off on Of (the Tartars) manners both good and bad (around 400 years ago) || ||

1732 Map of Great Tartary by Herman Moll
Obtained from the David Rumsey Map Collection

Today’s entry follows up my successful layout of Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure for Love and employs the same side by side Latin / English text. Below you will find Chapter 5 of Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation – Volume 2 published 1598-1600 in London, England.

Richard Hakluyt was an English author, editor, translator, and personal chaplain to Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, principal Secretary of State to Elizabeth I and James I. A great history of his life and works can be found in his Wikipedia entry. Most notably, he was one of the biggest advocates for English colonization of Virginia. Some of his other exploration-related works include the Discovery of Muscovy, Voyagers Tales, Voyages in Searth of the North-West Passage, and numerous similar volumes related to The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation (Project Gutenberg lists a total of 12 volumes altogether).

In the chapter below he describes the manners of the people of Tartary. This antiquated geographic name was used by Europeans from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century to designate the great tract of northern and central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean (see map above). Inhabited by Turkic and Mongol peoples of the Mongol Empire who were generically referred to as “Tartars”, the present day geography includes the current areas of Siberia, Turkestan (including East Turkestan), Greater Mongolia, and parts China. In many ways the book reminds me of how an antiquarian National Geographic article might have read. The aim of this book, and many of his other works, was to consolidate what others had written about different regions around the known world and in doing so help spread the diffusion of geographic & ethnographic knowledge.

Lastly, in regards to the transcription below, I did not modify the original Project Gutenberg text, so when reading please note that there are some typographic differences in the old English and contemporary English. Remember to change the lowercase V to a lowercase U and in some cases, change the I’s to J’s. I did consider updating the text to modern English, but in some ways I feel that it would be better to keep the text in it’s originally transcribed format. Unlike Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure for Love, I did not include the line numbers because they were not given in the original text. I did, however, separate the text into easy to read paragraphs. If you are reading this entry via Google Reader, the chapter can be better read by hiding the sidebar that shows your subscriptions by clicking the small arrow on the left separator or by pressing “u” on your keyboard to switch to wide screen.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did:


De moribus eorum bonis et malis. | Of their manners both good and bad.

Habent autem mores quosdam quidem commendabiles, et quosdam detestabiles.
[Sidenote: [Greek: peitharchia].] Magis quippe sunt obedientes Dominis
suis, quàm aliqui qui in mundo sint homines, siue religiosi siue seculares.

Nam eos maximè reuerentur, nec illis de facili mentiuntur verbis factisue:
rarò vel nunquam ad inuicem contendunt, belláque vel rixæ, vulnera vel
homicidia nunquam inter eos contingunt.

[Sidenote: Abstinentia.] Prædones etiam ac fures rerum magnarum ibi
nequaquam inueniuntur, ideoque stationes et currus eorum, vbi thesauros habent,
seris aut vectibus non firmantur.

Si aliqua bestia perdita fuerit,
quicunque inuenit eam vel dimittit, vel ad illos,
qui ad hoc positi sum, eam ducit.

[Sidenote: Comitas. Temperantia.] Apud quos ille, cuius est bestia, illam
requirit, et absque vlla difficultate recipit. Vnus alium satis honorat, et
familiaritatem ac cibaria, quamuis apud eos sint pauca, liberaliter satis communicat.

Satis etiam sunt sufferentes, nec cùm ieiunauerint vno die, vel duobus, omninò
sine cibo, videntur impatientes, sed cantant et ludunt, ac si bene comedissent.

In equitando multum sustinent frigus, calorem quoque nimium patiuntur.

Inter eos quasi nulla placita sunt, et quamuis multum
inebrientur, tamen in ebrietate sua nunquam contendunt.

Nullus alium spernit, sed iuuat et promouet,
quantum congruè potest.

[Sidenote: Castitas.] Castæ sunt eorum mulieres,
nec aliquid inter eos auditur de ipsarum impudicitia.
Quædam tamen turpia satis habent et impudica.

[Sidenote: Insolentia aduersus exteros.] Porrò erga cæteros homines ijdem
Tartari superbissimi sunt, omnesque nobiles et ignobiles quasi pro nihilo
reputantes despiciunt.

Vnde vidimus in curia Imperatoris magnum Russiæ ducem,
et filuim regis Georgianorum, ac Soldanos multos et magnos
nullum honorem debitum recipere apud eos.

[Sidenote: Iracundia.] Quinetiam Tartari eisdem assignati,
quantumcunque viles essent illos antecedebant,
sempérque primum locum et summum tenebant,
imò etiam sæpè oportebat illos post eorum posteriora sedere.

Præterea iracundi sunt, et indignantis naturæ multum erga cæteros homines,
et vltra modum erga eosdem mendaces. In principio quidem blandi sunt,
sed postmodum vt Scorpiones pungunt.

[Sidenote: Fraudulentia.] Subdoli enim et fraudulenti sunt, et omnes homines
si possunt astutia circumueniunt.

[Sidenote: Sordes. Temulentia.] Quicquid mali
volunt eis facere, miro modo occultant, vt sibi non possint prouidere, vel contra
eorum astutias remedium inuenire.

Immundi quoque sunt in cibo et potu sumendis,
et in cæteris factis suis.

Ebrietas apud illos est honorabilis: cùmque multum aliquis biberit,
ibidèmque reijcit, non ideo cessat,
quin iterim bibat.

[Sidenote: [Greek: dorodoxia.]] Ad petendum maximi sunt exactores,
tenacissimi retentores, parcissimi donatores.
Aliorum hominum occisio apud illos est pro nihilo.

[Sidenote: Their obedience.] Their manners are partly prayse-worthie, and
partly detestable: For they are more obedient vnto their lords and masters,
then any other either clergie or laie-people in the whole world.

For they doe highly reuerence them, and will deceiue them, neither in wordes nor
deedes. They seldom or neuer fall out among themselues, and, as for
fightings or brawlings, wounds or manslaughters, they neuer happen among them.

[Sidenote: Their abstinence] There are neither theeues nor robbers of
great riches to be found, and therefore the tabernacles and cartes of them
that haue any treasures are not strengthened with lockes or barres.

If any beast goe astray, the finder thereof either lets it goe, or driueth it to
them that are put in office for the same purpose, at whose handes the owner
of the said beast demaundeth it, and without any difficultie receiueth it againe.

[Sidenote: Their courtesie.] One of them honoureth another
exceedingly, and bestoweth banquets very familiarly and liberally,
notwithstanding that good victuals are daintie and scarce among them.

They are also very hardie, and when they haue fasted a day or two without any
maner of sustenance, they sing and are merry as if they had eaten their bellies full.

In riding, they endure much cold and extreme heat.

There be, in a maner, no contentions among them, and although they vse commonly to be
drunken, yet doe they not quarrell in their drunkennes.

Noe one of them despiseth another but helpeth and furthereth him,
as much as conueniently he can.

[Sidenote: Their chastity.] Their women are chaste, neither is
there so much as a word vttered concerning their dishonestie. Some of them
will notwithstanding speake filthy and immodest words.

[Sidenote: Their insolencie against strangers.] But towards other people, the
said Tartars be most insolent, and they scorne and set nought by all other noble and
ignoble persons whatsoeuer.

For we saw in the Emperours court the great duke of Russia,
the kings sonne of Georgia, and many great Soldanes receiuing
no due honour and estimation among them.

So that euen the very Tartars assigned to giue attendance vnto them,
were they neuer so base, would alwaies goe before them,
and take the vpper hand of them, yea,
and sometimes would constraine them to sit behinde their backes.

Moreouer they are angrie and of a disdainfull nature vnto other people,
and beyond all measure deceitfull, and treacherous towards them.
They speake fayre in the beginning, but in conclusion, they sting like scorpions.

For craftie they are, and full of falshood, circumuenting all men whom they are able,
by their sleights.

Whatsoeuer mischiefe they entend to practise against a man
they keepe it wonderfully secrete so that he may by no meanes
prouide for himselfe, nor find a remedie against their conspiracies.

They are vnmanerly also and vncleanly in taking their meat and their drinke,
and in other actions.

Drunkennes is honourable among them, and when any of them hath
taken more drinke then his stomacke can well beare,
hee casteth it vp and falles to drinking againe.

They are most intollerable exacters, most couetous possessours,
and most nigardly giuers. The slaughter of other people is accompted
a matter of nothing with them.




Post Title: Of (the Tartars) manners both good and bad (around 400 years ago)
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Posted in: Antique, China, history, Latin, Location, Mongolia, Russia, World



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