John Leo on Africa
A.D. circa 1526
(Observations of Africa, taken out of John Leo his nine Bookes, translated by Master Pory,
and the most remarkable things hither transcribed. And scanned from Purchas His
Pilgrimes, vol. V)
A most exact description of the Citie of Fez:
A World it is to see, how large, how populous, how well fortified and walled this Citie is. The most part thereof standeth upon great and little Hils: neither is there any plaine ground but onely in the midst of the Citie. The River entreth the Towne in two places, for it is divided into a double branch, one whereof runneth by new Fez, that is, by the South-side of the Towne, and another commeth in at the West-side. And so almost infinitely dispersing it selfe into the Citie, it is derived by certaine conduits and chanels unto every Temple, Colledge, Inne, Hospitall, and almost to every private house. Unto the Temples are certaine square conduits adjoyned, having Cels and Receptacles round about them ; each one of which hath a Cock, whereby water is conveyed through the wall into a Trough of Marble. From whence flowing into the Sinkes and Gutters, it carryeth away all the filth of the Citie into the River. In the midst of each square conduit standeth a low Cisterne, beeing three Cubits in depth, foure in breadth, and twelve in length : and the water is conveyed by certaine Pipes into the foresaid square conduits, which are almost an hundred and fiftie in number. The most part of the houses are built of fine brickes and stones curiously painted. Likewise their bay-windowes and portals are made of partie-coloured bricke, like unto the stones of Majorica. The Roofes of their Houses they adorne with Gold, Azure, and other excellent Colours, which Roofes are made of wood, and plaine on the top, to the end that in Summer-time Carpets may be spred upon them, for here they use to lodge by reason of the exceeding heate of that Countrey. Some houses are of two and some of three Stories high, whereunto they make fine staires, by which they passe from one roome to another under the same roofe: for the middle part of the house is alwayes open or uncovered, having some Chambers built on the one side, and some on the other. The Chamber doores are very high and wide: which in rich mens houses are framed of excellent and carved wood. Each Chamber hath a Presse curiously painted and varnished belonLyinLy thereunto, being as long as the Chamber it selfe is broad: some will have it very high, and others but sixe handfuls in height, that they may set it on the Tester of a Bed. All the portals of their houses are supported with bricke Pillars finely playstered over, except some which stand upon Pillars of Marble. The Beames and Transomes upholding their Chambers are most curiously painted and carved. To some houses likewise belong certaine square Cisternes, contayning in breadth sixe or seven Cubits, in length ten or twelve, and in height but sixe or seven handfuls, being all uncovered, and built of brickes trimly playstered over. Along the sides of these Cisternes are certaine Cockes, which convay the water into Marble Troughs, as I have seene in many places of Europe. When the foresaid Conduits are full of water, that which floweth over, runneth by certaine secret pipes and conveyances into the Cisternes: and that which overfloweth the Cisternes, is carryed likewise by other passages into the common Sinkes and Gutters, and so into the River. The said Cisternes are alwayes kept sweete and cleane, neyther are they covered but onely in Summertime, when Men, Women, and Children bathe themselves therein.
Moreover, on the tops of their houses they usually build a Turret with many pleasant roomes therein, whither the women for recreations sake, when they are wearie of working, retyre themselves; from whence they may see wel-nigh all the Citie over.
Of Mahumetan Temples and Oratories there are almost seven hundred in this Towne, fiftie whereof are most stately and sumptuously built, having their Conducts made of Marble and other excellent stones unknowne to the Italians; and the Chapiters of their Pillars be artificially adorned with painting and carving. The tops of these Temples, after the fashion of Christian Churches in Europe, are made of Joyses and Plankes: but the pavement is covered with Mats which are so cunninly sowed together that a man cannot see the breadth of a finger uncovered. The wals likewise on the inner side are lined a mans height with such Mats. Moreover, each Temple hath a Turret or Steeple, from whence certaine are appointed with a lowd voice to call the people at their set-time of Prayer. Every Temple hath one onely Priest to say Service therein; who hath the bestowing of all Revenues belonging to his owne Temple, as occasion requireth: for thereby are maintayned Lampes to burne in the night, and Porters to keepe the doores are paid their wages out of it, and so likewise are they that call the people to ordinarie Prayers in the night season: for those which cry from the said Towres in the day time have no wages, but are onely released from all Tributes and Exactions.
The chiefe Mahumetan Temple in this Towne is called Caruven, beeing of so incredible a bignesse, that the circuit thereof and of the buildings longing unto it, is a good mile and a halfe about. This Temple hath one and thirtie gates or portals of a wonderfull greatnesse and height. The Roofe of this Temple is in length one hundred and fiftie, and in breadth about fourescore Florentine Cubits. The Turret or Steeple, from whence they cry amayne to assemble the people together, is exceedingly high ; the breadth whereof is supported with twenties and the length with thirtie Pillars. On the East, West, and North-sides, it hath certaine Walkes or Galleries, fortie Cubits in length, and thirtie in breadth. Under which Galleries there is a Cell or Storehouse, wherein Oyle, Candles, Mats, and other such necessaries for the Temple are layd up. Every night in this Temple are burnt nine hundred Lights; for every arch hath a severall Lampe, especially those which extend through the mid-quire. Some Arches there are that have one hundred and twentie Candles a piece : there are likewise certaine Brasse Candlestickes so great and with so many Sockets, as they will hold each one fifteene hundred Candles: and these Candlestickes are reported to have beene made of Bels, which the King of Fez in times past tooke from Christians.
About the wals of the said Temple are divers Pulpits, out of which those that are learned in the Mahumetan Law instruct the people. Their Winter Lectures beginne presently after Sunrise, and continue the space of an houre. But their Summer Lectures hold on from the Sunne going downe, till an houre and a halfe within night. And here they teach as well Morall Philosophie as the Law of Mahumet. The Summer Lectures are performed by certaine private and obscure persons; but in Winter such onely are admitted to read, as bee reputed their greatest Clerkes. All which Readers and Professours are yearely allowed most liberall Stipends. The Priest of this .great Temple is enjoyned onely to read Prayers, and faithfully to distribute almes among the poore. Every Festivall day he bestoweth all such Corne and Money as he hath in his custodie, to all poore people according to their need.
The Treasuror or Collector of the Revenues of this Church hath every day a Duckat for his pay. Likewise he hath eight Notaries or Clerkes under him; every one of which gayneth sixe Duckats a moneth: and other sixe Clerkes who receive the rent of houses, shops, and other such places as belong to the Temple, having for their wages the twentieth part of all such Rents and Duties as they gather.
Moreover, there belong to this Temple twentie Factors or Baylies of Husbandry, that without the Citie wals have an eye to the Labourers, Ploughmen, Vine-planters, and Gardeners, and that provide them things necessaries their gaine is three Duckats a moneth. Not farre from the Citie are about twentie Lime-kils, and as many BrickeIcils, serving for the reparation of their Temple, and of all houses thereto belonging.
The Revenues of the said Temple daily received, are two hundred Duckats a day; the better halfe whereof is layd out upon the particulars aforesaid. Also if there bee any Temples in the Citie destitute of living, they must all be mayntayned at the charges of this great Temple: and then that which remayneth after all expenses, is bestowed for the behoofe of the Common-wealth: for the people receive no Revenues at all. In our time the King commanded the Priest of the said Temple to lend him an huge summe of money, which he never repayed againe.
Moreover, in the Citle of Fez are two most stately Colledges, of which divers roomes are adorned with curious painting; all their beames are carved, their wals consisting both of Marble and Freestone. Some Colledges heere are which contayne an hundred studies, some more, and some fewer, all which were built by divers Kings of the Marin Family. One there is among the rest most beautifull and admirable to behold, which was erected by a certaine King called Habu Henon. Here is to be seene an excellent Fountaine of Marble, the Cisternc whereof contayneth two Pipes. Through this Colledge runneth a little streame in a most cleere and pleasant chanell, the brimmes and edges whereof are workmanly framed of Marble, and stones of Majorica. Likewise heere are three Cloysters to walke in, most curiously and artificially made, with certaine eight square Pillars of divers colours to support them. And betweene Pillar and Pillar the arches are beautifully over-cast with Gold, Azure, and divers other Colours ; and the Roofe is very artificially built of wood. The sides of these Cloysters are so close, that they which are without cannot see such as walke within. The wals round about as high as a man can reach, are adorned with Playster-worke of Majorica. In many places you may find certaine Verses, which declare what yeare the Colledge was built in, together with many Epigrams in the Founders commendation. The Letters of which Verses are very great and black, so that they may be read a farre off. This Colledge gates are of Brasse most curiously carved, and so are the doores artificially made of wood. In the Chappell of this Colledge standeth a certaine Pulpit mounted nine stayres high, which staires are of Ivorie and Ebonie. Some affirme, that the King, having built this Colledge, was desirous to know how much money hee had spent in building it; but after he had perused a leafe or two of his Account-booke, finding the summe of fortle thousand Duckats, he rent it asunder, and threw it into the foresaid little River, adding this Sentence out of a certaine Arabian Writer: Each precious and amiable thing, though it costeth deare, yet if it be beautifull it cannot choose but bee Rood cheape: neither is any thing of too high a price, which pleaseth a mans affection. Howbeit a certaine Treasurer of the Kings, making a particular account of all the said expenses, found that this excellent building stood his Master in foure hundred and eightie thousand Duckats. The other Colledges of Fez are somewhat like unto this, having every one Readers and Professors, some of which read in the forenoone, and some in the afternoons.
In times past the Students of those Colledges had their apparell and victuals allowed them for seven yeares, but now they have nothing gratis but their Chamber.
For the warre of Sahid destroyed many possessions, whereby Learning was maintayned; so that now the greatest Colledge of all hath yeerely but two hundred, and the second but an hundred Duckats for the maintenance of their Professors. And this perhaps may bee one reason, among many, why the government not onely of Fez, but of all the Cities in Africa, is so base.
Now these colledges are furnished with no Schollers but such as are strangers, and live of the Citie Almes: and if any Citizens dwell there, they are not above two or three at the most. The Professor being readie for his Lecture, some of his Auditors readeth a Text, whereupon the said Professor dilateth, and explayneth obscure and difficult places. Sometimes also the Schollers dispute before their Professor.
Many Hospitals there are in Fez, no whit inferiour, either for building or beauties unto the foresaid Colledges. For in them whatsoever strangers came to the Citie were entertayned at the common charge for three dayestogether. There are likewise as faire and as stately Hospitals in the Suburbes. In times past their wealth was marvellous great; but in the time of Sahids warre, the King standing in need of a great summe of money, was counselled by some of his greedie Courtiers to sell the Livings of the said Hospitals. Which when the people would in no case yeeld unto, the Kings Oratour or Speaker, perswaded them that all those Livings were given by his Majesties Predecessours, and therefore (because when the warres were ended, they should soone recover all againe) that it were farre better for them by that meanes to pleasure their Soveraigne, then to let his Kingly Estate fall into so great danger. Whereupon all the said Livings being sold, the King was prevented by untimely and sudden death before he could bring his purpose to effect: and so these famous Hospitals were deprived of all their maintenance.
The poore indeed and impotent people of the Citie are at this day relieved ; but no strangers are entertayned, save only learned men or Gentlemen. Howbeit there is another Hospitall for the reliefe of sicke and diseased strangers, who have their dyet onely allowed them, but no Physician or Medicine: certaine women there are which attend upon them, till they recover their former health, or dye. In this Hospitall likewise there is a place for frantike or distracted persons, where they are bound in strong Iron Chaines; whereof the part next unto their walkes is strengthened with mightie beames of Wood and Iron. The Governour of the@e distracted persons, when he bringeth them any sustenance, hath a Whip of purpose to chastise those that offer to bite, strike, or play any mad part.
Likewise this Hospitall hath many Roomes for the Purveyors, Notaries, Cookes, and other Officers belonging to the sicke persons; who each of them have some small yeerely stipend. Being a young man, I my selfe was Notarie heere for two yeeres which Office is worth three Duckats a moneth.
In this Citle are moe then an hundred Bath-stoves very artificially and stately built; which though they bee not of equall bignesse, yet are they all of one fashion. Each Stove hath foure Halls, without which are certaine Galleries in an higher place, with five or sixe staires to ascend unto them: here men put off their apparell, and hence they goe naked into the Bath. In the midst they alwaies keepe a Cisterne full of water. First therefore, they that meane to bathe themselves, must passe through a cold Hall, where they use to temper hot water ana cold together, then they goe into a roome somewhat hotter, where the servants clense and wash them; and last of all, they proceede into a third Hot-house, where they sweate as much as they thinke good. The fire that heateth their water is made of nought else but beasts dung: for which purpose many boyes are set on worke to run up and downe to Stables, and thence to carrie all the dung, and to lay it on heapes without the Towne-walles; which being parched in the Sunne for two or three moneths together, they use for fuell. L,ikewise, the women have their Stoves apart from the men. And yet some Hot-houses serve both for men and women, but at sundrie times, namely, for men from the third to the fourteenth houre of the day, and the residue for women. While women are bathing themselves, they hang out a rope at the first entrance of the house, which is a signe for men, that they may then proceede no farther. Neither may husbands here be permitted to speake with their owne wives; so great a regard they have of their honestie. Here men and women both, after they have done bathing, use to banquet and make merrie with pleasant Musicke and singing. Young Striplings enter the Bath starke naked without any shame, but men cover their privities with a linnen cloth. The richer sort will not enter the common Bath, but that which is adorned and finely set forth, and which serveth for Noble-men and Gentle-men. When any one is to be bathed, they lay him along upon the ground, anointing him with a certaine oyntment, and with certaine instruments doing away his filth. The richer sort have a Carpet to lie on, their head lying on a woodden Cushion, covered with the same Carpet. Likewise, here are many Barbers and Chyrurgions which attend to doe their office. The most part of these Baths pertaine to the Temples and Colledges, yeelding unto them a great summe of money for yearely rent: for some give an hundred, some an hundred and fiftle Duckats a yeare. Neither must I here omit the Festivall-day which the Servants and Officers of the Bathes celebrate; who with Trumpets and Pipes calling their friends together, goe forth of the Towne, and there gather a wild Onion, putting it in a certaine brazen vessell, and covering the same with a linnen cloth wet in Lee: afterward with a great noise of Trumpets and Pipes, they solemnely bring the said Onion unto the Hot-house doore, and there they hang it up in the little brazen vessell or Laver, saying, That this is a most happy boading, or signe of good luck unto their Stove. Howbeit, I suppose it to be some such Sacrifice, as the ancient Moores were wont in times past, when they were destitute of Lawes and civilities to offer, and that the same custom hath remained till this very day. The like is to be seene even among Christians, who celebrate many Feasts, whereof they can yeeld no reason. Likewise, every African towne had their peculiar Feast, which, when the Christians once enjoyed Africa, were utterly abolished and done away.
In this Citie are almost two hundred Innes, the greatest whereof are in the principall part of the Citie neere unto the chiefe Temple. Every of these Innes are three stories high, and containe an hundred and twenty, or moe Chambers apiece. Likewise, each one hath a Fountaine, together with Sinks and Water-pipes, which make avoidance of all the filth. Never, to my remembrance, did I see greater building, except it were the Spanish Colledge at Bologna, or the Pallace of the Cardinall di San Giorgio at Rome; of which Innes all the Chamberdoores have Walkes or Galleries before them. And albeit the Innes of this Citie are very faire and large, yet they affoord most beggerly entertainement to strangers; tor there are neither Beds nor Couches for a man to lie upon, unlesse it be a course Blanket and a Mat. And if you will have any victuals, you must goe to the Shambles your selfe, and buy such meate for your Host to dresse, as your stomack stands-to. In these Innes certaine poore Widdowes of Fez, which have neither wealth nor friends to succour them, are relieved: sometimes one, and sometimes two of them together are allowed a Chamber; for which courtesie they play both the Chamberlaines and Cookes of the Inne. The Inne-keepers of Fez being all of one Family, called Elcheua, goe apparelled like Women, and shave their Beards, and are so delighted to immitate Women, that they will not onely counterfeits their speech, but will sometimes also sit downe and spin. Each one of these hath his Concubine, whom hee accompanieth as if she were his owne lawfull Wife; albeit the said Concubines are not onely ill-favoured in countenance, but notorious for their bad life and behavior. They buy and sell wine so freely, that no man controles them for it. None resort hither but most lewd and wicked people, to the end they may more boldly commit vilany. The very company of these Inne-keepers is so odious, and detestable in the sight of all honest men, learned men, and Merchants, that they will in no wise vouchsafe to speake unto them. And they are firmely enjoyned not to enter into the Temple, into the Burse, nor into any Bath. Neither yet are they permitted to resort unto those Innes which are next unto the great Temple, and wherein Merchants are usually entertained.
In this Citie are Mills in foure hundred places at least. And every of these places containeth five or sixe Mills; so that there are some thousands of Mills in the whole City. Every Mill standeth in a large roome upon some strong pillar or post, whereunto many Country-people use to resort. All the said Mills pertaine either to the Temples or Colledges.
Each trade or occupation hath a peculiar place allotted thereto, the principall whereof are next unto the great Temple: for there first you may behold to the number of fourescore Notaries or Scriveners shops, whereof some joyne upon the Temple, and the residue stand over against them: every of which Shops hath alwaies two Notaries. Then Westward there are about thirtie Stationers or Booke-sellers. The Shoo-merchants which buy Shooes and Buskins of the Shoo-makers, and sell them againe to the Citizens , inhabite on the Southside of the Temple: and next unto them, such as make Shooes for children onely, their Shops being about fiftie. On the East-side dwell those that sell vessels, and other commodities made of brasse. Over aaainst the great Gate of the said Temple stands the fruit-market, containing fiftie Shops, where no kind of fruit is wanting. Next unto them stand the Waxe-merchants, very ingenious and cunning workmen, and much to be admired. Here are Merchants factors likewise, though they bee but few. Then followes the Herbe-market, wherein the Pome-citrons, and divers kinds of greene Boughes and Herbes doe represent the sweete and flourishing Spring, and in this Market are about twenty Tavernes: for they which drinke Wine, will shrowd themselves under the shadie and pleasant Boughes. Next unto them stand the Milke-sellers: I thinke there passeth scarce one day over their heads, wherein they utter not five-and twentie tunnes of Milke. Next unto these are such as sell Cotton, and they have about thirtie shops: then follow those that sell Hempe, Ropes, Halters, and such other hempen commodities. Then come you to the Girdlers, and such as make Pantofles, and Leatherbridles embrodered with silke: next their shops adjoyne that make Sword-scabberds, and Caparisons for Horses. Immediately after dwell those that sell Salt and Lime; and upon them border an hundred Shops of Potters, who frame al kind of earthen vessels adorned with divers colours. Then come you to the Sadlers Shops: and next of all to the streete of Porters, who (as I suppose) are above three hundred: these Porters have a Consull or Governour, who every weeke allotteth unto part of them some set businesse. The gaine which redoundeth thereof, they put into a Coffer, dividing it at the weekes end among them, which have wrought the same weeke. Strange it is to consider how exceedingly these Porters love one another: for when any of them deceaseth, the whole company maintaineth his widow and fatherlesse children at their common charge, till either she die, or marrieth a new Husband. The children they carefully bring up, till they have attained to some good Art or occupation. Next unto the Porters companie dwell the chiefe Cookes and Victuallers. Here also stands a certaine square house covered with Reed, wherein Pease and Turnep-rootes are to bee sold, which are so greatly esteemed of in Fez, that none may buy them of the country people at the first hand, but such as are appointed, who are bound to pay tole & tribute unto the Customers: and scarcely one day passeth, wherein more then five hundred sacks of Pease and Turneps are not sold. On the Northside of the Temple is a place whither all kind of Hearbs are brought to make Sallets withall: for which purpose there is fortie Shops appointed. Next whereunto is the place of Smoke, so called, by reason of continuall smoke: here are certaine Fritters or Cakes fried in Oyle, like unto such as are called at Rome, Pan Melato. They roste their flesh not upon a spit, but in an Oven: for making two Ovens one over another for the same purpose, in the lower they kindle a fire, putting the flesh into the upper Oven when it is well het; you would not beleeve how finely their meat is thus rosted; for it cannot be spoiled either by smoke or too much heate: for they are all night rosting it by a gentle fire, and in the morning they set it to sale. The foresaid Steakes and Fritters they sell unto the Citizens in so great abundance, that they daily take for them moe then two hundred Ducats; for there are fifteene Shops which sell nothing else. Likewise here are sold certaine Fishes and flesh fried, and a kind of excellent savorie bread, tasting somewhat like a Fritter; which being baked with Butter, they never eate but with Butter and Honie. Here also are the feete of certaine beasts sodden, wherewith the Husbandmen betimes in the morning breake their fast, and then hie them to their labour. Next unto these are such as sell Oyle, Salt, Butter, Cheese, Olives, Pome-citrons and Capers: their shops are full of fine earthen vessels, which are of much greater value then the things contained in them. Then follow the Shambles, consisting of about forty Shops, wherein the Butchers cut their flesh a pieces, and sell it by weight. They kill no beasts within the Shambles, for there is a place allotted for this purpose neere unto the River, where having once dressed their flesh, they send it to the Shambles by certaine servants appointed for that end. But before any Butcher dare sell his flesh unto the Citizens, he must carrie it to the Governour of the Shambles, who so soone as he seeth the flesh, he sets downe in a piece of paper the price thereof, which they shew together with their meate unto the people; neither may they in any case exceed the said price. Next unto the Shambles, standeth the Market where course cloathes are sold, which containeth at least an hundred Shops: the said cloth is delivered unto certaine Criers (which are about threescore in number) who carrying the cloth from Shop to Shop, tell the price thereof. Then follow their Shops that scowre and sell Armour, Swords, Javelings, and such like warlike instruments. Next unto them stand the Fishmongers, who sell most excellent and great Fish. Next unto the Fishmongers dwel such as make of a certaine hard Reed, Coopes and Cages for Fowles; their Shops being about fortie in number: for each of the Citizens useth to bring up great store of Hennes and Capons. And that their houses may not be defiled with Hennesdung, they keepe them continually in Coopes and Cages. Then follow their Shops that sell liquide Sope. Next of all are certaine of their Shops that sell Meale, albeit they are diversly dispersed throughout the whole Citie. Next unto them are such as sell Seede-graine and Seede-pulse. Then are there tenne Shops of them that sell Straw. Next them is the Market where Thread and Hempe is to be sold, and where Hempe useth to bee kempt: which place is built after the fashion of great Houses, with foure Galleries, or spare-roomes round about it : in the first whereof they sell Linnen-cloth, and weigh Hempe: in two other sit a great many women, having abundance of sale-thread, which is there sold by the Criers.
Let us now come to the West part, which stretcheth from the Temple to that Gate that leadeth to Mecnase. Next unto the Smokie place before mentioned, their habitations directly stand, that make Leather-tankards to draw water out of Wells, of whom there are some foureteene Shops. Unto these adjoyne such as make Wicker-vessels, and other, to lay up Meale and Corne in : and these enjoy about thirty Shops. Next them are one hundred and fifty Shops of Taylors. And next the Taylors are those that make Leather-shields, such as I have often seene brought into Europe. Then follow twenty Shops of Landresses or Washers, being people of a base condition; to whom the Citizens that have not Maids of their owne, carry their Shirts and other foule linnen, which after few dayes are restored unto them so cleane and white, as it is wonderfull. These Landresses have divers Shops adjoyning together in the same place: but here and there throughout the Citie are above two hundred Families of such persons. Next unto the Landresses are those that make Trees for Saddles; who dwell likewise in great numbers Eastward right in the way to the Colledge founded by King Abuhinan. Upon these adjoyne about fortie shops of such as worke Stirrops, Spurres, and Bridles, so artificially, as I thinke the like are not to be seene in Europe. Next standeth their streete, that first rudely make the said Stirrops, Bridles and Spurres. From thenc you may goe into the streete of Sadlers, which cover the Saddles before mentioned threefold with most excellent Leather : the best Leather they lay uppermost, and the worst beneath, and that with notable Workmanship, as may bee seene in most places of Italy: and of them there are moe then an hundred Shops. Then follow their long Shops that make Pikes and Launces. Next standeth a Rocke or Mount, having two Walkes thereupon; the one whereof leadeth to the East-gate, and the other to one of the Kings Palaces, where the Kings Sisters, or some other of his Kindred are usually kept. But this is by the way to be noted, that all the foresaid Shops, or Market, begin at the great Temple.
The Burse you may well call a Citie, which being walled round about) hath twelve Gates, and before every gate an Iron-chaine, to keepe Horses and Carts from comming in. The said Burse is divided into twelve severall Wards or parts: two whereof are allotted unto such Shoo-makers as make Shooes onely for Noblemen and Gentlemen, and two also to Silke-merchants) or Haberdashers, that sell Ribands, Garters, Scarfes and such other like ornaments; and of these there are about fiftie Shops. Others there are that sell Silke onely for the embrodering of Shirts, Cushions, and other such furniture made of Cloth, possessing almost as many Shops as the former. Then follow those that make Womens Girdles of course Wooll (which some make of Silke) but very grossely, for I thinke they are moe then two fingers thicke, so that they may serve almost for Cables to a Ship. Next unto these Girdlers are such as sell Woollen and Linnen-cloth brought out of Europe : which have also Silke-stuffes, Caps, and other like commodities to sell. Having passed these, you come to them that sell Mats, Mattrasses, Cushions, and other things made of Leather. Next adjoyneth the Customers Office ; for their Cloth is sent about by certaine Criers to be sold, who before they can passe, must goe to the Customers to have the said Cloth sealed) and to pay Toll unto the Customers. Criers here are to the number of sixtie, which for the crying of every Cloth have one Liardo allowed them. Next of all dwell the Taylors, and that in three severall streetes. Then come you to the Linnendrapers, which sell Smocks and other apparell for women: and these are accounted the richest Merchants in all Fez, for their wares are the most Gainefull of all others. Next unto these are certaine Woollen garments to be sold, made of such Cloth as is brought thither out of Europe. Every afternoons Cloth is sold in this place by the Criers, which is lawfull for any man to doe, when necessary occasion urgeth him. Last of all is that place where they use to sell wrought Shirts, Towels, and other embrodered works; as also where Carpets, Beds, and Blankets are to be sold.
Next unto the said Burse, on the Northside, in a streight lane, stand an hundred and fifty Grocers and Apothecaries Shops, which are fortified on both sides with two strong Gates. These Shops are garded in the night season by certaine hired and armed Watchmen, which keep their station with Lanthornes and Mastives. The said Apothecaries can make neither Sirrups, Oyntments, nor Electuaries: but such things are made at home by the Physicians, and are of them to be bought. The Physicians houses adjoyne for the most part unto the Apothecaries: howbeit , very few of the people know either the Physician, or the use of his Physick. The Shops here are so artificially built and adorned, that the like (I thinke) are no where else to be found. Being in Tauris, a Citie of Persia, I remember that I saw divers stately Shops curiously built under certaine Galleries, but very darke, so that (in my judgement) they be far inferiour unto the Shops of Fez. Next the Apothecaries are certaine Artificers that makes Combes of Boxe and other wood. Eastward of the Apothecaries dwell the Needle-makers, possessing to the number of fifty shops. Then follow those that turne Ivory, and such other matter, who (because their craft is practised by some other Artizans) are but few in number. Unto the Turners adjoyne certaine that sell Meale, Sope, and Broomes: who dwelling next unto the Thread-market before mentioned, are scarce twenty shops in all : for the residue are dispersed in other place; of the City, as we will hereafter declare. Amongst the Cotten-merchants are certaine that sell ornaments for Tents and Beds. Next of all stand the Fowlers, who, though they be but few, yet are they stored with all kind of choice and dainty Fowles: whereupon the place is called the Fowlers market. Then come you to their shops that sell Cords and Ropes of Hempe: and then to such as make high Coorke-slippers for Noblemen and Gentlemen to walk the streets in, when it is foule weather: these Corke-slippers are finely trimmed with much silke, and most excellent upper leathers, so that the cheapest will cost a Ducat, yea some there are of ten Ducats, & some of five and twenty Ducats price. Such slippers as are accounted most fine and costly are made of blacke and white Mulberie-tree, of blacke Walnut-tree, and of the jujuba tree, albeit the Corke-slippers are the most durable and strong. Unto these adjoyne ten shops of Spanish Moores, which make Crosse-bowes: as also those that make Broomes of a certaine wilde Palme-tree, such as are dayly brought out of Sicilie to Rome. These Broomes they carry about the City in a great basket, either selling them, or exchan-ainl, them for Bran, Ashes, or old Shooes: the Bran they sell againe to Shepheards, the Ashes to such as white Thread, and old Shooes to Coblers. Next unto them are Smithes that make Nailes; & Coopers which make certain great vessels in forme of a bucket, having Corne-measures to sell also: which measures, when the Officer, appointed for the same purpose, hath made triall of he is to receive a farthing a-peece for his fee. Then follow the Wooll-chapmen, who having bought wooll of th Butchers, put it foorth unto others to be scowred an washed: the Sheepe-skinnes they themselves dresse: but as for Oxe-hides they belong to another occupation, and are tanned in another place. Unto these adjoyne such a make certaine Langols or Withs, which the Africans put upon their horses feet. Next of all are the Brasiers: the such as make Weights and Measures; and those likewise that make instruments to carde Wooll or Flaxe. At length you descend into a long street, where men of divers occupations dwell together, some of which doe polish and enamell Stirops, Spurres, and other such commodities, as they receive from the Smithes roughly and rudely hammered. Next whom dwell certaine Cart-wrights, Plowwrights, Mill-wrights, and of other like occupations. Diers have their aboad by the Rivers side, and have each of them a most cleere Fountaine or Cisterne to wash their Silke-stuffes in. Over against the Diers dwell makers of Bulwarkes or Trenches, in a very large place, which being planted with shady Mulberrie-trees is exceeding pleasant in the Summer time. Next them are a company of Farriers, that shooe Mules and Horses: and then those that make the Iron-worke of Crosse-bowes. Then follow Smithes that make Horse-shooes; and last of all, those that white Linnen-cloth: and here the west part of the City endeth, which in times past (as is aforesaid) was a City by it selfe, and was built after the City on the East side of the River.
The second part of Fez situate Eastward, is beautified with most stately Palaces, Temples, Houses, and Colledges; albeit there are not so many trades and occupations as in the part before described. For here are neither Merchants, Taylors, Shoo makers, &c. but of the meaner sort. Heere are notwithstandin thirty shops of Grocers. Neere unto the walles dwefl certaine Bricke-burners and Potters : and not farre from thence is a great Market of white Earthen Vessels, Platters, Cups and Dishes. Next of all stands the Corne-market, wherein are divers Granaries to lay up Corne. Over against the great Temple there is a broad street paved with Brick, round about which divers handicrafts and occupations are exercised. There are likewise many other trades diversly dispersed over this East part of the City. The Drapers and Grocers have certaine peculiar places allotted unto them. In the East part of Fez likewise there are five hundred and twenty Weavers houses, very stately and sumptuously built: having in each of them many worke-houses and Loomes, which yeeld great rent unto the owners. Weavers there are (by report) in this City twenty thousand, and as many Millers. Moreover, in this part of Fez are an hundred shops for the whiting of thread; the principall whereof being situate upon the River, are exceedingly well furnished with Kettles, Cauldrons, and other such vessels: here are likewise many great houses to sawe wood in, which worke is performed by Christian captives, and whatsoever wages they earne, redoundeth unto their Lords and Masters. These Christian captives are not suffered to rest from their labours, but onely upon Fridayes, and upon eight severall dayes of the yeere besides, whereon the Moores feasts are solemnized. Heere also are the common stewes for Harlots, which are favoured by great men, and sometime by the chiefe Governours of the City. Likewise there are certaine Vintners, who are freely permitted to keepe Harlots, and to take filthie hire for them. Heere are also moe then sixe hundred cleere Fountaines walled round about and most charily kept, every one of which is severally conveyed by certaine pipes unto each House, Temple, Colledge, and Hospitall: and this Fountaine water is accounted the best: for that which commeth out of the River is in Summer oftentimes dried up: as likewise when the Conduits are to be clensed, the course of the River must of necessitie bee turned out of the City. Wherefore every family useth to fetch water out of the said Fountaines, and albeit in Summer-time the chiefe Gentlemen use River-water, yet they will often call for Fountaine-water, because it is more coole and pleasant in taste. But in the Sprina-time it is nothing so. These Fountaines have their Originall for the most part from the West and South, for the North part is all full of Mountaines and Marble Rockes, containng certaine Caves or Cels, wherein Corne may be kept or many yeeres; of which Caves some are so large, that they will hold two hundred bushels of Corne. The Citizens dwelling neere those Caves, and such as possesse them do sufficiently maintaine themselves in taking yeerely every hundred bushell for rent. The South part of East Fez is almost halfe destitute of Inhabitants ; howbeit the gardens abound with Fruits and Flowres of all sorts. Every Garden hath an house belonging thereunto, and a Christall-fountaine environed with Roses, and other odoriferous Flowres and Herbes; so that in the Spring-time a man may both satisfie his eyes, and solace his mind in visiting this part of the City: and well it may be called a Paradise, sithence the Noblemen doe here reside from the moneth of Aprill till the end of September. Westward, that is, toward the Kings Palace, standeth a Castle built by a King of the Luntune Familie, resembling in bignesse an whole towne: wherein the Kings of Fez, before the said Palace was built, kept their Royall residence. But after new Fez began to be built by the Marin Kings, the said Castle was left onely to the Governor of the City. Within this Castle stands a stately Temple built (as aforesaid) what time it was inhabited by Princes and Nobles, many places being afterward defaced and turned into Gardens: howbeit certaine houses were left unto the Governour, partly to dwell in, and partly for the deciding of controversies. Heere is likewise a certaine Prison for captives supported with many pillars, and being so large, that it will hold (as divers are of opinion) three thousand men. Neither are there any severall roomes in this prison : for at Fez one prison serveth for all. By this Castle runneth a certaine River very commodious for the Governour.
In the City of Fez are certaine particular Judges and Magistrates: and there is a Governour that defineth civill controversies, and giveth sentence against Malefactors. Likewise there is a Judge of the Canon Law; who hath to doe with all matters concerning the Mahumetan Religion. A third Judge there is also, that dealeth about marriages and divorcements, whose authoritie is to heare all witnesses, and to give sentence accordingly. Next unto them is the high Advocate, unto whom they appeale from the sentence of the said Judges, when as they doe either mistake themselves, or doe ground their sentence upon the authoritie of some inferiour Doctor. The Governour gaineth a great summe of money by condemning of parties at severall times. Their manner of proceeding against a Malefactor is this: having given him an hundred or two hundred stripes before the Governour, the Executioner putteth an Iron-chaine about his necke, and so leadeth him starke-naked (his privities onely excepted) through all parts of the City: after the Executioner followes a Serjeant, declaring unto all the people what fact the guilty person hath committed, till at length having put on his apparell againe, they carry him backe to prison. Sometimes it falleth out that many offenders chained together are led about the Citie : and the Governour for each Malefactor thus punished, receiveth one Ducat and one fourth part ; and likewise at their first entrance into the Gaole, he demands of each one a certaine duety, which is paid particularly unto him by divers Merchants and Artificers appointed of purpose. And amonst his other livings, he gathered out of a certaine Mountaine seven thousand Ducats of yeerely Revenue: so that when occasion serveth, he is at his proper costes to finde the King of Fez three hundred horses, and to give them their pay.
Those which follow the Canon law have neither stipend nor reward allowed them: for it is forbidden by the Law of Mahumet, that the Judges of his Religion should reape any commoditie or Fees by their Office; but that they should live onely bv reading of Lectures, and by their Priesthood. In this faculty are many Advocates and Proctors, which are extreme idiots, and utterly voyd of all good learning. There is a place also in Fez whereinto the Judges use to cast the Citizens for debt, or for some light offence. In all this City are foure Officers or Serjeants onely; who from midnight till two a clocke in the morning doe walke about all parts of the Citie; neither have they any stipend, but a certaine Fee of such Malefactors as they lead about in chaines, according to the qualitie of every mans crime; moreover, they are freely permitted to sell Wine, and to keepe Harlots. The said Governour hath neither Scribes nor Notaries, but pronounceth all sentences by word of mouth. One onely there is that gathereth Customes and Tributes over all the City, who daily payeth to the Kings use thirty Ducats. This man appointeth certaine substitutes to watch at every Gate, where nothing, be it of never so small value, can passe before some Tribute be paid. Yea, sometime they goe foorth of the City to meet with the Carriers & Muliters upon the high wayes, to the end they may not conceale nor closely convey any merchandize into the City. And if they be taken in any deceit, they pay double. The set order or proportion of their Custome is this, namely, to pay two Ducats for the worth of an hundred: for Onix-stones, which are brought hither in great plentie, they pay one fourth part: but for Wood, Corne, Oxen, & Hens, they give nothing at all. The said Governor of the Shambles hath alwaies twelve men wayting upon him, and oftentimes bee rideth about the Citie to examine the weight of bread, and finding any bread to falle of the duewaight, he causeth the Baker to be beaten with cudgels, and to bee led in contempt up and downe the Citie.
The Citizens of Fez goe very civilly and decently attyred, in the Spring time wearing Garments made of outlandish cloth : over their Shirts they weare a jacket or Cassock beeing narrow and halfe-sleeved, whereupon they weare a certayne wide Garment, close before on the brest. Their Caps are thinne and single, like unto the Nightcaps used in Italle, saving that they cover not their eares: these Caps are covered with a certaine Skarfe, which beeing twice wreathed about their head and beard, hangeth by a knot. They weare neither Hose nor Breeches, but in the Spring time when they ride a Journey, they put on Boots: many of the poorer sort have onely their Cassocke, and a Mantle over that called, Barnussi, and a most course Cap. The Doctors and ancient Gentlemen weare a certayne Garment with wide sleeves somewhat like to the Gentlemen of Venice. The common sort of people are for the most part clad in a kind of course white cloth. The women are not altogether unseemely apparelled, but in Summer time they weare nothing save their Smockes onely. In Winter they weare such a wide sleeved Garment, being close at the brest, as that of the men before mentioned. When they goe abroad, they put on certaine long Breeches, wherewith their lerges are all covered, having also, after the fashion of Syria, a Veile hanging downe from their heads,which covereth their whole bodies. On their faces likewise they weare a Maske with two little holes, onely for their eyes to peepe out at. Their eares they adorne with golden Eare-rings, and with most precious jewels: the meaner sort weare Eare-rings of Silver and gilt only. Upon their armes the Ladies and Gentlewomen weare Golden Braclets, and the residue Silver, as likewise Gold or Silver-rings upon their legs, according to each ones estate and abilitie.
Let us now speake somewhat of their victuals and manner of eating. The common sort set on the pot with fresh meate twice every weeke: but the Gentlemen and richer sort every day, and as often as they list. They take three meales a day: their Break-fast consisteth of certaine Fruits and Bread, or else of a kind of liquid Pap made like unto Frumentie: in Winter they sup off the Broth of salt flesh thickned with course meale. To dinner they have Flesh, Sallets, Cheese, and Olives: but in Summer they have greater cheere. Their Supper is easie of digestion, consisting of Bread, Melons, Grapes, or Milke: but in Winter they have sodden flesh, together with a kind of meate called Cuscusu, which being made of a lumpe of Dow is set first upon the fire in certaine Vessels full of holes, and afterward is tempered with Butter and Pottage. Some also use often to have Rostemeat. And thus you see after what sort both the Gentlemen and common people lead their lives: albeit the Noblemen fare somewhat more daintily: but if you compare them with the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Europe, they may seeme to be miserable and base fellowes; not for any want or scarcitie of victuals, but for want of good manners and cleanlinesse. The Table whereat they sit is low, uncovered, and filthy: seates they have none but the bare ground, neyther Knives or Spoones but only their ten talons. The said Cuscusu is set before them all in one only Platter, whereout as well Gentlemen as others take it not with Spoones, but with their Clawes five. The meate and pottage is put all in one Dish ; out of which every one raketh with his greasie fists what hee thinkes good : you shall never see knife upon the Table, but they teare and greedily devoure their meate like hungry Dogges. Neyther doth any of them desire to drinke before he hath well stuffed his panch ; and then will he sup off a cup of cold water as bigge as a Milkebowle. The Doctors indeed are somewhat more orderly at meales: but, to tell you the very truth, in all Italie there is no Gentleman so meane, which for fine Dyet and stately Furniture excelleth not the greatest Potentates and Lords of all Africa.
As touching their Marriages, they observe these courses following. So soone as the Maydes Father hath espoused her unto her Lover, they goe forth-with like Bride and Bridearoome to Church, accompanyed with their Parents and kinsfolkes, and call likewise two Notaries with them, to make record before all that are present of the Covenants and Dowrie. The meaner sort of people usually give for their Daughters Dowrie thirtie Duckats and a woman-slave of fifteen Duckats price; as likewise a particoloured Garment embroydered with Silke and certaine other Silke Skarfes, or Jags, to weare upon her head in stead of a Hood or Veile; then a paire of fine Shooes, and two excellent paire of Startups; and lastly, many prettie Knackes curiously made of Silver and other Metals, as namely, Combes, Perfuming-pans, Bellowes, and such other Trinkets as Women have in estimation. Which beeing done, all the Ghests present are invited to a Banquet, whereunto for great Dainties is brought a kind of Bread fryed and tempered with Honey, which we have before described ; then they bring Rost-meat to the boord, all this being at the Bridegroomes cost: afterward the Brides Father maketh a Banquet in like sort. Who if he bestow on his Daughter some apparell besides her Dowrie, it is accounted a point of liberalitie. And albeit the Father promiseth but thirtie Duckats onely for a Dowrie, yet will he sometimes bestow, in apparell and other Ornaments belonging to Women, two hundred, yea sometimes three hundred Duckats besides. But they seldome give an House, a Vineyard, or a field for a Dowrie. Moreover upon the Bride they bestow three Gownes made of costly cloth ; and three others of Silke Chamlet, or of some other excellent Stuffe. They give her Smockes likewise curiously wrought, with fine Veiles, and other embroydered Vestures; as also Pillowes and Cushions of the best sort. And besides all the former gifts, they bestow eight Carpets or Coverlets on the Bride, foure whereof are onely for seemelinesse to spread upon their Presses and Cupboords: two of the courser they use for their Beds ; and the other two of Leather to lay upon the floore of their Bedchambers. Also they have certaine Rugs of about twentie els compasse or length; as likewise three Quilts beeing made of Linnen and Woollen on the one side, and stuffed with flocks on the other side, which they use in the night in manner following. With the one halfe they cover themselves, and the other halfe they lay under them: which they may easily doe, when as they are both waies about ten ells long. Unto the former they adde as many Coverlets of Silke very curiously embroydered on the upper-side, and beneath lined double with Linnen and Cotton. They bestow likewise white Coverlets to use in Summer-time onely: and lastly, they bestow a Woollen hanging divided into many parts, and finely wrought, as namely with certaine pieces of gilt Leather; whereupon they sowe jags of partie-coloured Silke, and upon every Jagge a little Ball or Button of Silke, whereby the said hanging may for Ornaments sake bee fastened unto a wall.
Here you see what be the Appurtenances of their Dowries; wherein some doe strive so much to excell others, that oftentimes many Gentlemen have brought themselves unto Poverty thereby. Some Italians thinke that the Husband bestowes a Dowrie upon his Wife; but they altogether mistake the matter.
The Bridegroome being readie to carry home his Bride, causeth her to be placed in a woodden Cage or Cabinet eight square covered with Silke, in which shee is carryed by Porters, her Parents and Kinsfolkes following, with a great noyse of Trumpets, Pipes, and Drummes, and with a number of Torches; the Bridegroomes Kinsmen goe before with Torches, and the Brides Kinsfolkes follow after: and so they goe unto the great Market place, and having passed by the Temple, the Bridegroome takes his leave of his Father-in-law and the rest, hying him home with all speed, and in his Chamber expecting the presence of his Spouse. The Father, Brother, and Uncle of the Bride leade her unto the Chamber-doore, and there deliver her with one consent unto the Mother of the bridegroome: who, as soone as she is entred, toucheth her foot with his, and forth with they depart into a severall roome by themselves. In the meane season the Banquet is comming forth: and a certaine woman standeth fiefore the Bridechamber doore, expecting till the Bridegroome having defloured his Bride, reacheth her a Napkin stayned with bloud, which Napkin she carryeth incontinent and sheweth to the Guests, proclayming with a lowd voyce, that the Bride was ever til that time an unspotted & pure Virgine. This woman, together with other women her Companions, first the Parents of the Bridegroom, and then of the Bride, doe honourably entertayne. But if the Bride be found not to be a Virgine, the Marriage is made frustrate, and shee with great disgrace is turned home to her Parents.
But so soone as the new marryed man goeth forth of the house (which is for the most part on the seventh day after the Marriage) hee buyeth great plenty of fishes, which hee causeth his Mother or some other woman to cast upon his Wives feet; and this they, from an ancient Superstitious custome take for a good boding.
The morrow after a company of women goe to dresse the Bride, to combe her Lockes, and to paint her Cheekes with Vermillion ; her hands and her feet they dye blacke, but all this Painting presently loseth the fresh hue ; and this day they have another Banquet. The Bride they place in the highest Roome that she may be seene of all. The same night, which was spent in dancing, there are present at the Bridal-house certayne Minstrels and singers, which by turnes sometimes use their Instruments and sometimes Voyce-musick: they dance alwayes one by one, and at the end of each Galliard they bestow a Largesse upon the Musicians. If any one will honour the Dancer, he bids him kneele downe before him, and having fastened pieces of money all over his face, the Musicians presently take it off for their fee. The women dance alone without any men, at the noyse of their owne Musicians. All these things use to bee performed when the Bride is a Mayde. But the Marriages of Widowes are concluded with lesse adoe. Their cheere is boyled Beefe and Mutton, and stewed Hens, with divers juncating Dishes among. In stead of Trenchers, the Guests being ten or twelve in number, have so many great round Platters of wood set before them. And this is the common custom of Gentlemen and Merchants. The meaner sort present their Ghests with certaine sops or bruesle of Bread like unto a Pancake, which beina dipped in flesh-pottage, they eat out of a great Platter not with Spoones but with their fingers onely: and round about each great Platter stand to the number of ten or twelve persons.
Likewise they make a solemne Feast at the Circumcision of their male children, which is
upon the seventh day after their birth ; and at this Feast the Circumcisor, together with all
their Friends and Kinsfolkes is present: which being done, each one, according to his
abilitie, bestoweth a Gift upon the Circumcisor in manner following. Every man layes his
money upon a Lads face which the Circumcisor brought with him. Whereupon the Lad
calling every one by his name, giveth them thankes in particular: and then the Infant
beeing circumcised, they spend that day with as great jollity as a day of Marriage. But at
the birth of a Daughter they shew not so much alacritie.
Climate of Barbary:
. . . Throughout the greatest part of Barbarie stormie and cold weather begin commonly about the midst of October. But in December and January the cold groweth some-what more sharpe in all places: howbeit this happeneth in the morning onely, but so gently and remissely, that no man careth greatly to warme himselfe by the fire. February some-what mitigateth the cold of Winter, but that so inconstantly, that the weather changeth sometime five and sometime sixe times in one day. In March the North and West winds usually blow, which cause the Trees to be adorned with blossomes. In April all fruits attaine to their proper forme and shape, insomuch that Cherries are commonly ripe about the end of Aprill and the beginning of May. In the midst of May they gather their figs: and in mid-June their Grapes are ripe in many places. Likewise their Peares, their sweete Quinces, and their Damascens attayne unto sufficient ripenesse in the monethes of June and July. Their Figs of Autumne may be gathered in August; howbeit they never have so great plentie of Figs and Peaches, as in September. By the midst of August they usually begin to dry their Grapes in the Sunne, whereof they make Rasins. Which if they cannot finish in September, by reason of unseasonable weather, of their Grapes as then ungathered they use to make Wine and Must, especially in the Province of Rifa, as wee will in due place signifie more at large. In the midst of October they take in their Honey, and gather their Pomgranates and Quinces. In November they gather their Olives, not climing up with Ladders nor plucking them with their hands, according to the custome of Europe; for the Trees of Mauritania and Coesarea are so tall, that no Ladder is long enough to reach unto the fruit. And therefore their olives being full ripe, they climbe the Trees, beating them off the boughes with certaine long Poles, albeit they know this kind of beating to be most hurtfull unto the said Trees. Sometimes they have great plentie of Olives in Africa, and sometimes as great scarcities. Certaine great Olive-trees there are, the Olives whereof are eaten ripe by the Inhabitants because they are not so fit for Oyle. No yeare fals out to be so unseasonable, but that they have three monethes in the spring alwayes temperate.
They begin their spring upon the fifteenth day of February, accounting the eighteenth of May, for the end thereof : all which time they have most pleasant weather. But if from the five and twentieth of Aprill, to the fifth of May they have no raine fall, they take it as a signe of ill lucke. And the raine-water which falleth all the time aforesaid they call Naisan, that is, water blessed of God. Some store it up in Vessels, most religiously keeping it, as an holy thing. Their Summer lasteth till the sixteenth of August; all which time they have most hot and cleere weather. Except perhaps some showres of raine fall in July and August, which doe so infect the Aire, that great plague and most pestilent Fevers ensue thereupon; with which plaque whosoever is infected, most hardly escapeth death. Their Autumne they reckon from the seventeenth of August to the sixteenth of November; having commonly in the monethes of August and September not such extreme heate as before. Howbeit all the time betweene the fifteenth of August and the fifteenth of September is called by them the furnace of the whole yeare, for that it bringeth Figs, Quinces, and such kind of fruits to their full maturitie. From the fifteenth of November they beginne their winter-season, continuing the same till the fourteenth day of February. So soone as Winter commeth, they begin to till their ground which lyeth in the Plaines: but upon the Mountaines they goe to plough in October. The Africans are most certainly perswaded that every year contayneth fortie extreme hot dayes, beginning upon the twelfth of June; and againe so many dayes extreme cold beginning from the twelfth of December. Their Equinoctia are upon the sixteenth of March, and the sixteenth of September. For their Solstitia they account the sixteenth of June and the sixteenth of December. These rules they doe most strictly observe, as well Husbandrie and Navigation, as in searching out the houses and true places of the Planets: and these instructions, with other such like they teach their young children first of all.
Many Countrey-people and Husbandmen there be in Africa, who knowing (as they say) never a Letter of the Booke, will notwithstanding most learnedly dispute of Astrologie, and alleage most profound reasons and arguments for themselves. But whatsoever skill they have in the Art of Astrologie, they first learned the same of the Latines: yea, they give those very names unto their Moneths which the Latines doe.
Moreover, they have extant among them a certaine great Booke divided into three
Volumes, which they call, The Treasurie or Store-house of Husbandry. This Booke was
then translated out of Latine into their Tongue, when Mansor was Lord of Granada. In
the said Treasurie are all things contayned which may seeme in any wise to concerne
Husbandry; as namely, the changes and varietie of times, the manner of sowing, with a
number of such like particulars, which (I thinke) at this day the Latine Tongue it selfe,
whereout these things were first translated, doth not contayne. Whatsoever either the
Africans or the Mahumetans have, which seemeth to appertaine in any wise to their Law or
Religion, they make their computation thereof altogether according to the course of the
From the description of Libya:
. . . In this Region there is a barren Desart called Azaoad, wherein neyther water nor any Habitations are to be found in the space of an hundred miles; beginning from the Well of Azaoad, to the Well of Araoan, which is distant from Tombuto about one hundred and fiftie miles. Here both for lacke of water and extremitie of heate, great numbers of men and beast daily perish.
Not farre from Agadez, there is found great store of Manna, which the Inhabitants gather
in certaine little Vessels, carrying it while it is new unto the Market of Agadez: and this
Manna beeing mingled with water they esteeme very daintie and precious drinke. They
put it also into their Pottage, and beeing so taken, it hath a marvellous force of
refrigerating or cooling, which is the cause that here are few Diseases; albeit, the Ayre of
Tombuto and Agadez be most unholsome and corrupt. This Desart stretcheth from North
to South almost three hundred miles.
. . . In the Region of Tegaza, is great store of Salt digged, being whiter then any Marble.
This Salt is taken out of certaine Caves or Pits, at the entrance whereof stand their
Cottages that worke in the Salt Mines. And these Workmen are all strangers, who sell the
Salt which they digge unto certaine Merchants, that carrie the same upon Camels to the
Kingdome of Tombuto, where there would otherwise be extreme scarcitie of Salt. Neyther
have the said Diggers of Salt any victuals but such as the Merchants bring unto them: for
they are distant from all inhabited places, almost twentie dayes journey, insomuch, that
oftentimes they perish for lacke of food, when as the Merchants come not in due time unto
them: Moreover, the South-east wind doth so often blind them, that they cannot live here
without great perill. I my selfe continued three dayes amongst them, all which time I was
constrayned to drinke Salt water drawne out of certaine Wels not farre from the Salt Pits.
Fortune-tellers and Magicians of North Africa:
. . . Now let us speake of the Fortune-tellers and Diviners, of whom there is a great number, and three kinds. For one sort useth certaine Geomanticall figures. Others powring a drop of Oyle into a viall or glasse of water, make the said water to be transparent and bright, wherein, as it were in a mirror, they affirme that they see huge swarmes of Devils that resemble an whole Armie, some whereof are travelling, some are passing over a River, and others fighting a Land-battell, whom when the Diviner seeth in quiet, he demandeth such questions of them as he is desirous to be resolved of ; and the Devils give them answere with beckning, or with some gesture of their hands or eyes ; so inconsiderate and damnable is their credulitle in this behalfe. The foresaid Glasse-viall they will deliver into childrens hands scarce of eight yeeres old, of whom they will aske whether they see this or that Devill. Many of the Citie are so besotted with these vanities, that they spend great sums upon them. The third kind of Diviners are Women-witches, which are affirmed to have familiaritie with Devils: some Devils they call red, some white, and some blacke Devils: and when they will tell any mans fortune, they perfume themselves with certaine Odours, saying, That then they possesse themselves with that Devill which they called for: and changing their voyce, they faine the Devill to speake within them: then they which come to enquire, ought with great feare and trembling aske these vile and abominable Witches such questions as they meane to propound; and lastly, offering some fee unto the Devill, they depart. But the wiser and honester sort of people call these women Sahacat, which in Latin signifieth Fricatrices, because they have a damnable custome to commit unlawfull Venerie among themselves, which I cannot expresse in any modester termes. If faire women come unto them at any time, these abominable Witches will burne in lust towards them, no otherwise then lustie Younkers doe towards young Maides, and will in the Devils behalfe demand for a reward, that they may lie with them: and so by this meanes it often falleth out, that thinking thereby to fulfill the Devils command they lie with the Witches. Yea, some there are, which being allured with the delight of this abominable vice, will desire the company of the the Witches, and faining themselves to be sicke, will either call one of the Witches home to them, or wil send their husbands for the same purpose: and so the Witches perceiving how the matter stands, will say, That the Woman is possessed with a Devil, and that she can no way be cured, unles she be admitted into their society. With these words her silly husband being perswaded, doth not only permit her so to do, but makes also a sumptuous banquet unto the damned crew of Witches: which being done, they use to dance very strangely at the noyse of Drums: and so the poore man commits his false wife to their filthy disposition. Howbeit, some there are that will soone conjure the Devill with a good cudgell out of their wives: others faining themselves to be possessed with a Devill, will deceive the said Witches, as their wives have been deceived by them.
In Fez likewise there are a kind of juglers, or Conjurers called Muhazzimin, who of all
others are reported to be most speedie casters out of Divels. And because their
Negromancie sometimes taketh effect, it is a wonder to see into what reputation they grow
thereby: but when they cannot cast forth a Devill, they say, It is an Airie Spirit. Their
manner of adjuring Devils, is this: First, they draw certaine Characters and Circles upon
an ash-heape, or some other place; then describe they certaine signes upon the hands and
fore-head of the partie possessed, and perfume him after a strange kind of manner.
Afterward they make their Inchantment or Conjuiration, enquiring of the Devill, which
way, or by what meanes he entred the party, as likewise what he is, and by what name he is
called; and lastly, charging him to come forth. Others there are that worke by a certaine
Cabalisticall rule, called Zairagia: this rule is contained in many Writings, for it is thought
to be Naturall Magique: neither are there any other Negromancers in all Fez, that will
more certainely and truly resolve a doubtfull question : howbeit, their Art is exceeding
difficult, for the Students thereof must have as great skill in Astrologie, as in Cabala. My
selfe in times past having attained to some knowledge in this faculties continued (I
remember) an whole day in describing one figure onely: which kind of figures are described
in manner following. First, they draw many circles within the compasse of a great circle :
in the first circle they make a crosse, at the foure extremities whereof, they set downe the
foure quarters of the World, to wit, East, West, North and South: at each end of one of the
said crosse lines they note either Pole: likewise about the circumference of the first circle,
they paint the foure Elements: then divide they the same circle and the circle following into
foure parts, and every fourth part they divide into other seven, each one being
distinguished with certaine great Arabian Characters, so that every Element containeth
eight and twenty Characters. In the third circle they set downe the seven Planets: in the
fourth, the twelve Signes of the Zodiack: in the fifth, the twelve Latine names of the
moneths: in the sixth, the eight and twentie Houses of the Moone: in the seventh, the three
hundred sixty five dayes of the yeare ; and about the convexitie thereof, the foure Cardinall
or principall Windes. Then take they one onely letter of the questions opounded,
multiplying the same by all the particulars aforenamed, and the product or summe totall
they divide after a certaine manner, placing it in some roome, according to the quality of
the character, and as the Element requireth wherein the said Character is found without a
figure. All which being done, they marke that figure which seemeth to agree with the
foresaid number, or summe produced, wherewith they proceed as they did with the former,
til they have found eight and twenty Characters, whereof they make one word, and of this
word the speech is made that resolveth the question demanded: this speech is alwaies
turned into a verse of the first kind, which the Arabians call Ethauil, consisting of eight
Stipites and twelve Chordi, according to the Meeter of the Arabian Tongue, whereof we
have entreated in the last part of our Arabian Grammer. And the Verse consisting of those
Characters, comprehendeth alwaies a true and infallible answer unto the question
propounded, resolving first that which is demanded, and then expounding the sense of the
question it selfe. These Practitioners are never found to erre, which causeth their Art of
Cabala to bee had in great admiration: which although it bee accounted Naturall, yet never
saw I any thing that hath more affinitie with supernaturall and Divine knowledge. I
remember that I saw in a certaine open place of King Abulunan his Colledge in Fez, upon a
floore paved with excellent smoothe Marble, the description of a figure. Each side of this
floore or court was fifty ells long, and yet two third parts thereof were occupied about the
figure, and about the things pertaining thereto : three there were that made the
description, every one attending his appointed place, and they were an whole day in setting
it downe. Another such figure I saw at Tunis, drawne by one that was marvelous cunning
in the Art, whose father had written two volumes of Commentaries or expositions upon the
precepts of the same Art, wherin whosoever hath exact skill, is most highly esteemed of by
all men. I my selfe never saw but three of this Profession, namely, one at Tunis, and two
other at Fez: likewise I have seene two Expositions upon the precepts of the said Arte,
together with a Commentarie on one Margian, father unto the foresaid Cabalist which I
saw at Tunis: and another written by Ibn u Caldim the Historiographer. And if any were
desirous to see the Precepts and Commentaries of that Art, he might doe it with the
expence of fiftie Duckats: for sayling to Tunis, a Towne neere unto Italy, hee might have a
sight of all the particulars aforesaid. I my selfe had fit oportunitie of time, and a Teacher
that offered to instruct me gratis in the same Art: howbeit, I thought good not to accept his
offer, because the said Art is forbidden and accounted hereticall by the Law of Mahumet:
for Mahumets Law affirmeth all kind of Divinations to be vaine, and that God onely
knoweth secrets, and things to come: wherefore sometimes the said Cabalists are
imprisoned by the Mahumetan Inquisitors, who cease not to persecute the Proffessors of