Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 9

Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Bernal Diaz, and Albrecht Durer

The period between the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe and the rise of the modern nation-states during the Renaissance was once called the medieval age, or even the "dark ages," but is now more often referred to as the premodern or early pre-modern period. Whatever the terminology, these centuries represented a profound transition in the history of technology, economy, religion, and social life ... and in the emergence of modern urban civilization. The early modern period was also an extraordinary age of travel and discovery, of cultures intersecting in ways that would determine the course of world history. The Venetian merchant Marco Polo (1254-1324) was not the first European to encounter China, but the account of his travels to the Mongol Empire of Kublai Khan and of his participation in the imperial Chinese government, first published as The Book of Marco Polo in 1299, was nothing less than a revelation. Accompanied by his father and his uncle, Polo left for the East in 1275 and did not return until 1295. During the intervening years, he experienced the wonders of a vast and advanced civilization that knew printing, used paper money, invented gunpowder, and had developed an intricate and efficient form of political and social organization that Europeans could only wonder at. In the passage here reprinted - "Of the Noble and Magnificent City of Kin-sai" - Polo may be criticized for possible exaggerations and a self-aggrandizing habit of referring to himself in the third person. But all in all, his observations on the present-day city of Hangzhou are dazzling, full of wonder, and imbued with a quickening sense of possibility. An even more extraordinary traveler of this period was Ibn Battuta (1307-1377). Born in Morocco, Ibn Battuta spent the better part of his life exploring and writing about the full extent of the Muslim world. In 1326, he traveled across North Africa to Cairo, Palestine, Syria, and Mecca. In the years following, up until 1354 when he wrote The Rihla (My Travels), he visited Persia and Iraq, Arabia and East Africa, Anatolia, the Central Asian steppes and the Empire of the Golden Horde, India and Ceylon, Malaysia and China, and finally Spain and West Africa. In this passage, Ibn Battuta describes the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. A century later, in 1453, Constantinople would fall to the Ottoman Turks and be reconstituted as the Muslim city of Istanbul. But when Ibn Battuta encounters the city, the Byzantine emperor still rules (although Battuta refers to him as a "sultan"), and the court and the city are described as foreign, even exotic. Bernal Diaz del Castillo (1492-1581 ?) came to the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan not as a traveler but as a conqueror, a conquistador. Born in Spain in the year of the first Columbus voyage, Diaz pursued gold and glory in Panama and the Yucatan before joining Hernan Cortes on the historic expedition to the Valley of Mexico (15191521) that brought the Aztec Empire under Spanish control. As with Marco Polo's description of Kin-sai, Diaz's account of Mexico, especially the city of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), is full of astonishment and wonder. He and the other soldiers, some of whom had seen Constantinople

"FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNTS OF GREAT CITIES"

There are within the city ten principal squares or market-places, besides innumerable shops along the streets. Each side of these squares is half a mile in length, and in front of them is the main street, forty paces in width, and running in a direct line from one extremity of the city to the other. It is crossed by many low and convenient bridges. These market-squares are at the distance of four miles from each other. In a direction parallel to that of the main street, but on the opposite side of the squares runs a very large canal, on the nearer bank of which capacious warehouses are built of stone, for the accommodation of the merchants who arrive from India and other parts with their goods and effects. They are thus conveniently situated with respect to the marketplaces. In each of these, upon three days in every week, there is an assemblage of from forty to fifty thousand persons, who attend the markets and supply them with every article of provision that can be desired. [...] At all seasons there is in the markets a great variety of herbs and fruits, and especially pears of an extraordinary size, weighing ten pounds each, that are white in the inside, like paste, and have a very fragrant smell. There are peaches also, in their season, both of the yellow and white kind, and of a delicious flavour. Grapes are not produced there, but are brought in a dried state, and very good, from other parts. This applies also to wine, which the natives do not hold in estimation, being accustomed to their own liquor prepared from rice and spices. From the sea, which is fifteen miles distant, there is daily brought up the river, to the city, a vast quantity of fish; and in the lake also there is abundance, which gives employment at all times to persons whose sole occupation it is to catch them. The sorts are various according to the season of the year. At the sight of such an importation of fish, you would think it impossible that it could be sold; and yet, in the course of a few hours, it is all taken off, so great is the number of inhabitants, even of those classes which can afford to indulge in such luxuries, for fish and flesh are eaten at the same meal. Each of the ten market-squares is surrounded with high dwelling-houses, in the lower part of which are shops, where every kind of manufacture is carried on, and every article of trade is sold; such, amongst others, as spices, drugs, trinkets, and pearls. In certain shops nothing is vended but the wine of the country, which they are continually brewing, and serve out fresh to their customers at a moderate price. The streets

connected with the market-squares are numerous, and in some of them are many cold baths, attended by servants of both sexes. The men and women who frequent them have from their childhood been accustomed at all times to wash in cold water, which they reckon highly conducive to health. At these bathing places, however, they have apartments provided with warm water, for the use of strangers, who cannot bear the shock of the cold. All are in the daily practice of washing their persons, and especially before their meals. In other streets are the quarters of the courtesans who are here in such numbers as I dare not venture to report. Not only near the squares, which is the situation usually appropriated for their residence, but in every part of the city they are to be found, adorned with much finery, highly perfumed, occupying well-furnished houses, and attended by many female domestics. These women are accomplished, and are perfect in the arts of caressing and fondling which they accompany with expressions adapted to every description of person. Strangers who have once tasted of their charms, remain in a state of fascination, and become so enchanted by their wanton arts, that they can never forget the impression. Thus intoxicated with sensual pleasures, when they return to their homes they report that they have been in Kin-sai, or The Celestial City, and look forward to the time when they may be enabled to revisit this paradise. In other streets are the dwellings of the physicians and the astrologers, who also give instructions in reading and writing, as well as in many other arts. They have apartments also amongst those which surround the market-squares. On opposite sides of each of these squares there are two large edifices, where officers appointed by the Great Khan are stationed, to take immediate notice of any differences that may happen to arise between the foreign merchants, or amongst the inhabitants of the place. It is their duty likewise to see that the guards upon the several bridges in their respective vicinities are duly placed, and in cases of neglect, to punish the offenders at their discretion. The inhabitants of the city are idol and they use paper money as currency. The men as well as the women have fair complexions, and are handsome. The greater part of them are always clothed in silk, in consequence of the vast quantity of that material produced in the territory of Kin-sai, exclusively of what the merchants import from other provinces.

MARCO

and other European capitals, had never seen anything to compare to the magnificence and splendor of the Aztec city. As Diaz notes in his Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva Espana (first published in 1636), the market-places, the temples, the court of Montezuma - all leave the Spanish awestruck. The biggest wonder of all, as Diaz freely admits, is that such an empire could fall to a desperate band of less than 400 soldiers! Our final traveler is not an adventurer or a conqueror but a German artist. Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was one of the great painters and engravers of the Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Durer studied art in Venice and became the court painter for two Holy Roman Emperors, Maximilian I and Charles V. He also traveled throughout Western Europe at a time when travel was still difficult and indulged in mostly by itinerant merchants. During his travels to the Low Countries, Diarer, something of an art merchant himself, visited other artists and sought out commissions for portraits from prosperous burghers. Durer also observed the cities and social customs of the people he visited, and his description of the Great Procession before the cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium, impressed Lewis Mumford (p. 92) as a notable example of the "urban drama." In The City in History (1960), Mumford writes, "Note the vast number of people arrayed in this procession. As in the church itself, the spectators were also communicants and participants: they engaged in the spectacle, watching it from within, not just from without ... Prayer, mass, pageant, life-ceremony . . . the city itself was stage for these separate scenes of the drama ..." Each in his own way, all of the travelers represented in this modest selection experienced a heightened sense of "urban drama" as diverse urban civilizations, formerly kept apart by history and geography, begin to interact. In the record of these contacts, we see the beginning of a process that today reaches an unprecedented level of intensity in the instantaneous communications between all parts of a globalized economy dominated by global urban command and control centers.

THE ITALIAN MERCHANT MARCO POLO DESCRIBES THE MAGNIFICENT CHINESE CITY OF KIN-SAI (1299) Marco Polo, "Of the Noble and Magnificent City of Kin-sai," The Travels of Marco Polo (1299), translated by William Marsden and Manuel Komroff
Upon leaving Va-giu you pass, in the course of three days' journey, many towns, castles, and villages, all of them well inhabited and opulent. The people have abundance of provisions. At the end of three days you reach the noble and magnificent city of Kin-sai capital; Hang-chau, a name that signifies 'The Celestial City', and which it merits from its preeminence to all others in the world, in point of grandeur and beauty, as well as from its abundant delights, which might lead an inhabitant to imagine himself in paradise. This city was frequently visited by Marco Polo, who carefully and diligently observed and inquired into every circumstance respecting it, all of which he recorded in his notes, from whence the following particulars are briefly stated. According to common estimation, this city is a hundred miles in circuit. Its

streets and canals are extensive, and there are squares, or market-places, which being necessarily proportioned in size to the prodigious concourse of people by whom they are frequented, are exceedingly spacious. It is situated between a lake of fresh and very clear water on the one side, and a river of great magnitude on the other, the waters of which, by a number of canals, large and small, are made to run through every quarter of the city, carrying with them all the filth into the lake, and ultimately to the sea. This furnishes a communication by water, in addition to that by land, to all parts of the town. The canals and the streets being of sufficient width to allow boats on the one, and carriages on the other, to pass easily with articles necessary for the inhabitants. It is commonly said that the number of bridges, of all sizes, amounts to twelve thousand. Those which are thrown over the principal canals and are connected with the main streets, have arches so high, and built with so much skill, that vessels with their masts can pass under them. At the same time, carts and horses can pass over, so well is the slope from the street graded to the height of the arch. If they were not so numerous, there would be no way of crossing from one place to another.

F MARCO POLO [...]

The natural disposition of the native inhabitants of Kinsai is peaceful, and by the example of their former kings, who were themselves unwarlike, they have been accustomed to habits of tranquility. The management of arms is unknown to them, nor do they keep any in their houses. They conduct their mercantile and manufacturing concerns with perfect candour and honesty. They are friendly towards each other, and persons who inhabit the same street, both men and women, from the mere circumstance of neighbourhood, appear like one family. In their domestic manners they are free from jealousy or suspicion of their wives, to whom great respect is shown, and any man would be accounted infamous who should presume to use indecent expressions to a married woman. To strangers also, who visit their city in the way of commerce, they give proofs of cordiality, inviting them freely to their houses, showing them friendly attentions, and furnishing them with the best advice and assistance in their mercantile transactions. On the other hand, they dislike the sight of soldiery, not excepting the guards of the Great Khan, for they remind them that they were deprived of the government of their native kings and rulers. [...] By a regulation which his Majesty has established, there is a guard of ten watchmen stationed, under cover, upon all the principal bridges, of whom five do duty by day and five by night. Each of these guards is provided with a sonorous wooden instrument as well as one of metal, together with a water device, by means of which the hours of the day and night are ascertained. As soon as the first hour of the night is expired, one of the watchmen gives a single stroke upon the wooden instrument, and also upon the metal gong, which announces to the people of the neighbouring streets that it is the first hour. At the expiration of the second, two strokes are given; and so on progressively, increasing the number of strokes as the hours advance. The guard is not allowed to sleep, and must be always on the alert. In the morning, as soon as the sun begins to appear, a single stroke is again struck, as in the evening, and so onwards from hour to hour. Some of these watchmen patrol the streets, to observe whether any person has a light or fire burning after the hour appointed for extinguishing them. Upon making the discovery, they affix a mark to the door, and in the morning the owner of the house is taken before the magistrates, by whom, if he cannot assign a

legitimate excuse for his offence, he is punished. Should they find any person abroad at an unseasonable hour, they arrest and confine him, and in the morning he is carried before the same tribunal. If they notice any person who from lameness or other infirmity is unable to work, they place him in one of the hospitals, of which there are several in every part of the city, founded by the ancient kings, and liberally endowed. When cured, he is obliged to work at some trade. Immediately upon the appearance of fire breaking out in a house, they give the alarm by beating on the wooden machine, when the watchmen from all the bridges within a certain distance assemble to extinguish it, as well as to save the effects of the merchants and others, by removing them to the stone towers that have been mentioned. The goods are also sometimes put into boats, and conveyed to the islands in the lake. Even on such occasions the inhabitants dare not stir out of their houses, when the fire happens in the night, and only those can be present whose goods are actually being removed, together with the guard collected to assist, which seldom amounts to a smaller number than from one to two thousand men. In cases also of tumult or insurrection amongst the citizens, the services of this police guard are necessary; but, independently of them, his M a j e s t y a l w a y s k e e p s on foot a large body of troops, both infantry and cavalry, in the city and its vicinity, the command of which he gives to his ablest officers. [... ] At the distance of twenty-five miles from this city, in a direction to the northward of east, lies the sea, where there is an extremely fine port, frequented by all the ships that bring merchandise from India. Marco Polo, happening to be in the city of Kin-sai at the time of making the annual report to his Majesty's commissioners of the amount of revenue and the number of inhabitants, had an opportunity of observing that the latter were registered at one hundred and sixty tomans of fire-places, that is to say, of families dwelling under the same roof; and as a toman is ten thousand, it follows that the whole city must have contained one million six hundred thousand families.

THI TR/ BY; Ibn froi


132

So4 Our or a the , Whi pala whc plat whi( and Em[ in hi by f khat she whe us a also mot ordf indc wer fish, aud

Ac( His Batt to t still and exe ship at C the into eaci witf plat Sun

"FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNTS OF GREAT CITIES"

THE NORTH AFRICAN MUSLIM TRAVELLER IBN BATTUTA DESCRIBES BYZANTINE CONSTANTINOPLE (1354) Ibn Battuta, "Constantinople the Great," from The Travels of lbn Battuta, AD 13251354, H.A.R. Gibb (ed.), Hakluyt Society, 1962
Our entry into Constantinople was made about noon or a little later, and they beat their church gongs until the very skies shook with the mingling of their sounds. When we reached the first of the gates of the king's palace, we found it guarded by about a hundred men, who had an officer of theirs with them on top of a platform, and I heard them saying 'Sarakinu, Sarakinu' which means `Muslims'. They would not let us enter, and when the members of the khatun's [the Byzantine Emperor's daughter] party told them that we had come in her suite they answered, 'They cannot enter except by permission', so we stayed by the gate. One of the khatun's party sent a messenger to tell her of this while she was still with her father. She told him about us, whereupon he gave orders to admit us and assigned us a house near the residence of the khatun. He wrote also on our behalf an order that we should not be molested wheresoever we might go in the city, and this order was proclaimed in the bazaars. We remained indoors for three nights, during which hospitality-gifts were sent us of flour, bread, sheep, fowls, ghee, fruit, fish, money and rugs, and on the fourth day we had an audience of the sultan [Emperor Andronicus III].

Y ,
a, Ill

Account of the sultan of Constantinople


His name is Takfur, son of the sultan Jirjis. [Here Ibn Battuta uses Arabic names and Muslim titles to refer to the Eastern Roman Emperor.] His father ... was still in the bond of life, but had renounced the world and become a monk, devoting himself to religious exercises in the churches, and had resigned the kingship to his son.... On the fourth day from our arrival at Constantinople, the khatun sent her page Sumbul the Indian to me, and he took my hand and led me into the palace. We passed through four gateways, each of which had porticoes in which were footsoldiers with their weapons, their officer being on a carpeted platform. When we reached the fifth gateway, the page Sumbul left me, and going inside returned with four

Greek pages, who searched me to see that I had no knife on my person. The officer said to me, `This is a custom of theirs. Every person who enters the king's presence, be he noble or commoner, foreigner or native, must be searched'. The same practice is observed in the land of India. Then, after they had searched me, the man in charge of the gate rose, took me by the hand, and opened the door. Four of the men surrounded me, two holding my sleeves and two behind me, and brought me into a large audience-hall, whose walls were of mosaic work, in which were pictured figures of creatures, both animate and inanimate. In the centre of it was a waterchannel with trees on either side of it, and men were standing to right and left, silent, not one of them speaking. In the midst of the hall were three men standing, to whom those four men delivered me. These took hold of my garments as the others had done and so on a signal from another man led me forward. One of them was a Jew and he said to me in Arabic, 'Don't be afraid for this is their custom that they use with every visitor. I am the interpreter and I am originally from Syria'. So I asked him how I should salute, and he told me to say 'al-salamu alaikum'. I came then to a great pavilion; the sultan was there on his throne, with his wife, the mother of the khatun. Before him and at the foot of the throne were the khatun and her brothers. To the right of him were six men, to his left four and behind him four, every one of them armed. He signed to me, before I had saluted and reached him, to sit down for a moment, so that my apprehension might be calmed, and I did so. Then I approached him and saluted him, and he signed me to sit down, but I did not do so. He questioned me about Jerusalem, the Sacred Rock, the Church called al Qumama the cradle of Jesus [the Church of the Holy Sepulchre] and Bethlehem, and about the city of alKhalil (peace be upon him) [Hebron], then about Damascus, Cairo, al-Iraq and the land of al-Rum, and I answered him on all his questions, the Jew interpreting between us. He was pleased with my replies and said to his sons, 'Honour this man and ensure his safety'. He then bestowed on me a robe of honour and ordered for me a horse with saddle and bridle, and a parasol of the kind that the king has carried above his head, that being a sign of protection. I asked him to designate someone to ride about the city with me every day, that I might see its wonders and curious sights and tell of them in my own country, and he designated such a guide for me. It is one of the customs

a cross. This door is covered with plaques of silver and gold, and its two rings are of pure gold. I was told that the number of monks and priests in this church runs into thousands, and that some of them are descendants of the Apostles, also that inside it is another church exclusively for women, containing more than a thousand virgins consecrated to religious devotions, and a still greater number of aged and widowed women. It is the custom of the king, his officers of state, and the rest of the inhabitants to come to visit this church every morning, and the Pope comes to it once in the year. When he is at a distance of four nights' journey from the town the king goes out to meet him and dismounts before him; when he enters the city, the king walks on foot in front of him, and comes to salute him every morning and evening during the whole period of his stay in Constantinople until he departs.

THE SPANISH CONQUISTADOR BERNAL DIAZ DESCRIBES TENOCHTITLAN, CAPITAL OF AZTEC MEXICO (1521) Bernal Diaz del Castillo, "About the Great and Solemn Reception which the Great Montezuma Gave Cortes upon Entering the Great City of Mexico," from The Conquest of Mexico (1521)
Gazing on such wonderful sights; we did not know what to say, or whether what appeared before us was real, for on one side, on the land, there were great cities, and in the lake ever so many more, and the lake itself was crowded with canoes, and in the Causeway were many bridges at intervals, and in front of us stood the great City of Mexico, and we - we did not even number four hundred soldiers! ... Let the curious readers consider whether there is not much to ponder over in this that I am writing. What men have there been in the world who have shown such daring? But let us get on, and march along the Causeway. When we arrived where another small causeway branches off ... where there were some buildings like towers, which are their oratories, many more chieftains and Caciques approached clad in very rich mantles, the brilliant liveries of one chieftain differing from those of another, and the causeways were crowded with them. The Great Montezuma had sent these great Caciques in advance to receive us, and when they came before Cortes they bade us welcome

in their language, and as a sign of peace, they touched their hands against the ground, and kissed the ground with the hand. [...] As soon as we arrived and entered into the great court, the Great Montezuma took our Captain by the hand, for he was there awaiting him, and led him to the apartment and saloon where he was to lodge, which was very richly adorned according to their usage A sumptuous dinner was provided for us according to their use and custom, and we ate it at once. So this was our lucky and daring entry into the great city of Tenochtitlan Mexico on the 8th day of November the year of our Saviour Jesus Christ 15 [...] As I am almost tired of writing about this subject and my interested readers will be even more so, I will stop talking about it and tell how our Cortes in company with our captains and soldiers went to see Tlaltelolco, which is the great market-place of Mexico, and how we ascended the great Cue [temple pyramid] where stand the Idols Tezcatepuca and Huichilobos. This was the first time that our Captain went out to see the City, and I will relate what else happened. As we had already been four days in Mexico and neither the Captain nor any of us had left our lodgings except to go to the houses and gardens, Cortes said to us that it would be well to go to the great Plaza and see the great Temple of Huichilobos, and that he wished to consult the Great Montezuma and have his approval ... When Montezuma knew his wishes he sent to say that we were welcome to go; on the other hand, as he was afraid that we might do some dishonour to his idols, he determined to go with us himself with many of his chieftains ... So he went on, and ascended the great Cue accompanied by many priests, and he began to burn incense and perform other ceremonies to Huichilobos. .. When we arrived at the market-place, called Tlaltelolco, we were astounded at the number of people and the quantity of merchandise that it contained, and at the good order and control that was maintained, for we had never seen such a thing before. The chieftains who accompanied us acted as guides. Each kind of merchandise was kept by itself and had its fixed place marked out. Let us begin with the dealers in gold, silver, and precious stones, feathers, mantles, and embroidered goods. Then there were other wares consisting of Indian slaves both men and women; ... and they brought them along tied to long poles, with

BERNAL DIAZ

collars round their necks so that they could not escape, and others they left free. Next there were other traders who sold great pieces of cloth and cotton, and articles of twisted thread, and there were cacahuateros who sold cacao ... There were those who sold cloths of henequen and ropes and cotaras with which they are shod, which are made from the same plant, and sweet cooked roots, and other tubers which they get from this plant, all were kept in one part of the market in the place assigned to them. In another part there were skins of tigers and lions, of otters and jackals, deer and other animals and badgers and mountain cats, some tanned and others untanned, and classes of merchandise. Let us go on and speak of those who sold beans and sage and other vegetables and herbs in another part, and to those who sold fowls, cocks with wattles, rabbits, hares, deer, mallards, young dogs and other things of that sort in their part of the market, and let us also mention the fruiterers, and the women who sold cooked food, dough and tripe in their own part of the market; then every sort of pottery made in a thousand different forms from great water jars to little jugs, these also had a place to themselves; then those who sold honey and honey paste and other dainties like nut paste, and those who sold lumber, boards, cradles, beams, blocks and benches, each article by itself, and the vendors of ocote firewood, and other things of a

market-place with its surrounding arcades was so crowded with people, that one would not have been able to see and inquire about it all in two days. [...) Now let us leave the great market-place ... and arrive at the great courts and walls where the great Cue stands. Before reaching the great Cue there is a great enclosure of courts, it seems to me larger than the plaza of Salamanca, with two walls of masonry surrounding it and the court itself all paved with very smooth great white flagstones. And where there were not these stones it was cemented and burnished and all very clean, so that one could not find any dust or a straw in the whole place. When we arrived near the great Cue and before we had ascended a single step of it, the Great Montezuma sent down from above, where he was making his sacrifices, six priests and two chieftains to accompany our Captain. On ascending the steps, which are one hundred and fourteen in number, they attempted to take him by the arms so as to help him to ascend (thinking that he would get tired), as they were accustomed to assist their lord Montezuma, but Cortes would not allow them to come near him. When we got to the top of the great Cue, on a small plaza which has been made on the top where there was a space like a platform with some large stones placed on it, on which they put the poor Indians for sacrifice, there was a bulky image like a dragon and other evil figures and much blood shed that very day. When we arrived there Montezuma came out of an oratory where his cursed idols were, at the summit of the great Cue, and two priests came with him, and after paying great reverence to Cortes and to all of us he said: similar nature ... But why do I waste so many words "You must be tired. .. from ascending this our great in recounting what they sell in that great market, for I Cue," and Cortes replied through our interpreters who shall never finish if I tell it all in detail. Paper, which in were with us that he and his companions were never this country is called Amal, and reeds scented with tired by anything. Then Montezuma took him by the liquidambar, and full of tobacco, and yellow ointments hand and told him to look at his great city and all the and things of that sort are sold by themselves, and other cities that were standing in the water, and the many much cochineal is sold under the arcades which are in other towns on the land round the lake ... that great market place, and there are many vendors of So we stood looking about us, for that huge and herbs and other sorts of trades. There are also buildings cursed temple stood so high that from it one could see over where three magistrates sit in judgement and there everything very well, and we saw the three causeways are executive officers like Alguacils who inspect the which led into Mexico ... and we saw the fresh water that merchandise. I am forgetting those who sell salt, comes from Chapultepec which supplies the city, and we and saw the bridges on the three causeways which were those who make the stone knives, and how they split built at certain distances apart through which the water of them off the stone itself; and the fisher-women and the lake flowed in and out from one others who sell some small cakes made from a sort of ooze which they get out of the great lake, which curdles, and from this they make a bread having a flavour something like cheese. There are for sale axes of brass and copper and tin, and gourds and gaily painted jars made of wood. I could wish that I had finished telling of all the things which are sold there, but they are so numerous and of such different quality and the great

BERNAL DIAZ

collars round their necks so that they could not escape, and others they left free. Next there were other traders who sold great pieces of cloth and cotton, and articles of twisted thread, and there were cacahuateros who sold cacao ... There were those who sold cloths of henequen and ropes and cotaras with which they are shod, which are made from the same plant, and sweet cooked roots, and other tubers which they get from this plant, all were kept in one part of the market in the place assigned to them. In another part there were skins of tigers and lions, of otters and jackals, deer and other animals and badgers and mountain cats, some tanned and others untanned, and classes of merchandise. Let us go on and speak of those who sold beans and sage and other vegetables and herbs in another part, and to those who sold fowls, cocks with wattles, rabbits, hares, deer, mallards, young dogs and other things of that sort in their part of the market, and let us also mention the fruiterers, and the women who sold cooked food, dough and tripe in their own part of the market; then every sort of pottery made in a thousand different forms from great water jars to little jugs, these also had a place to themselves; then those who sold honey and honey paste and other dainties like nut paste, and those who sold lumber, boards, cradles, beams, blocks and benches, each article by itself, and the vendors of ocote firewood, and other things of a

market-place with its surrounding arcades was so crowded with people, that one would not have been able to see and inquire about it all in two days. [...) Now let us leave the great market-place ... and arrive at the great courts and walls where the great Cue stands. Before reaching the great Cue there is a great enclosure of courts, it seems to me larger than the plaza of Salamanca, with two walls of masonry surrounding it and the court itself all paved with very smooth great white flagstones. And where there were not these stones it was cemented and burnished and all very clean, so that one could not find any dust or a straw in the whole place. When we arrived near the great Cue and before we had ascended a single step of it, the Great Montezuma sent down from above, where he was making his sacrifices, six priests and two chieftains to accompany our Captain. On ascending the steps, which are one hundred and fourteen in number, they attempted to take him by the arms so as to help him to ascend (thinking that he would get tired), as they were accustomed to assist their lord Montezuma, but Cortes would not allow them to come near him. When we got to the top of the great Cue, on a small plaza which has been made on the top where there was a space like a platform with some large stones placed on it, on which they put the poor Indians for sacrifice, there was a bulky image like a dragon and other evil figures and much blood shed that very day. When we arrived there Montezuma came out of an oratory where his cursed idols were, at the summit of the great Cue, and two priests came with him, and after paying great reverence to Cortes and to all of us he said: similar nature ... But why do I waste so many words "You must be tired. .. from ascending this our great in recounting what they sell in that great market, for I Cue," and Cortes replied through our interpreters who shall never finish if I tell it all in detail. Paper, which in were with us that he and his companions were never this country is called Amal, and reeds scented with tired by anything. Then Montezuma took him by the liquidambar, and full of tobacco, and yellow ointments hand and told him to look at his great city and all the and things of that sort are sold by themselves, and other cities that were standing in the water, and the many much cochineal is sold under the arcades which are in other towns on the land round the lake ... that great market place, and there are many vendors of So we stood looking about us, for that huge and herbs and other sorts of trades. There are also buildings cursed temple stood so high that from it one could see over where three magistrates sit in judgement and there everything very well, and we saw the three causeways are executive officers like Alguacils who inspect the which led into Mexico ... and we saw the fresh water that merchandise. I am forgetting those who sell salt, comes from Chapultepec which supplies the city, and we and saw the bridges on the three causeways which were those who make the stone knives, and how they split built at certain distances apart through which the water of them off the stone itself; and the fisher-women and the lake flowed in and out from one others who sell some small cakes made from a sort of ooze which they get out of the great lake, which curdles, and from this they make a bread having a flavour something like cheese. There are for sale axes of brass and copper and tin, and gourds and gaily painted jars made of wood. I could wish that I had finished telling of all the things which are sold there, but they are so numerous and of such different quality and the great

"FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNTS OF GREAT CITIES"

so !en

, ,

at se in

side to the other, and we beheld on that great lake a great multitude of canoes, some coming with supplies of food and others returning loaded with cargoes of merchandise; and we saw that from every house of that great city and of all the other cities that were built in the water it was impossible to pass from house to house except by drawbridges which were made of wood or in canoes; and we saw in those cities Cues and oratories like towers and fortresses and all gleaming white, and it was a wonderful thing to behold ... ,/- After having examined and considered all that we had seen we turned to look at the great market-place and the crowds of people that were in it, some buying and others selling, so that the murmur and hum of their voices and words that they used could be heard more than a league off. Some of the soldiers among us who had been in many parts of the world, in Constantinople, and all over Italy, and in Rome, said that so large a market-place and so full of people, and so well regulated and arranged, they had never beheld before.

THE GERMAN ARTIST ALBRECHT DURER DESCRIBES A COMMUNAL PROCESSION IN ANTWERP, BELGIUM (1519) Albrecht Durer, "Visit to Antwerp," from Journal of a Voyage to Belgium (1527)
The Church of our Lady (the Cathedral) at Antwerp is so very large that many masses are sung in it at one time without interfering with each other. The altars have wealthy endowments, and the best musicians are employed that can be had. The church has many devout services, much stone-work, and in particular a beautiful tower. I have also been into the rich Abbey of St Michael. There are, in the choir there, splendid stalls of sculptured stone-work. But at Antwerp they spare no cost on such things, for there is money enough ... On the Sunday after our dear Lady's Assumption I saw the great Procession from the Church of our Lady at Antwerp, when the whole town of every craft and rank was assembled, each dressed in his best according to his rank. And all ranks and guilds had their signs, by which they might be known. In the intervals great costly polecandles were borne, and their long old Frankish trumpets of silver. There were also in the German. fashion many pipers and drummers. All the instruments were loudly and noisily blown and beaten.

I saw the Procession pass along the street, the people being arranged in rows, each man some distance from his neighbour, but the rows close one behind another. There were the Goldsmiths, the, Painters, the Masons, the Broderers, the Sculptors, the Joiners, _the Carpenters, the Sailors, the Fishermen, the Butchers, the Leatherers, the Clothmakers, the Bakers, the Tailors, the Cordwainers - indeed workmen of all kinds, and many craftsmen and dealers who work for their livelihood. Likewise the shopkeepers and merchants and their assistants of all kinds were there. After these came the shooters with guns, bows, and crossbows and the horsemen and foot-soldiers also. Then followed the watch of the Lords Magistrates. Then came a fine troop all in red, nobly and splendidly clad. Before them however went all the religious Orders and the members of some Foundations very devoutly, all in their different robes. A very large company of widows also took part in this procession. They support themselves with their own hands and observe a special rule. They were all dressed from head to foot in white linen garments, made expressly for the occasion, very sorrowful to see. Among them I saw some very stately persons. Last of all came the Chapter of our Lady's Church with all their clergy, scholars, and treasurers. Twenty persons bore the image of the Virgin Mary with the Lord Jesus, adorned in the costliest manner, to the honour of the Lord God. In this Procession very many delightful things were shown, most splendidly got up. Wagons were drawn along with masques upon ships and other structures. Behind them came the company of the Prophets in their order and scenes from the New Testament, such as the Annunciation, the Three Holy Kings riding on great camels and on other rare beasts, very well arranged; also how our Lady fled to Egypt - very devout - and many other things, which for shortness I omit. At the end came a great Dragon which St Margaret and her maidens led by a girdle; she was especially beautiful. Behind her came St George with his squire, a very goodly knight in armour. In this host also rode boys and maidens most finely and splendidly dressed in the costumes of many lands, representing various Saints. From beginning to end the Procession lasted more than two hours before it was gone past our house. And so many things were there that I could never write them all in a book, so I let it well alone.