The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Iii The Voyage from Constantinople To Trebizond.

Black Sea Voyage

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They remained that day, and Thursday, and on good Friday they got under weigh, and reached a port called 'the two castles', at the hour of vespers. On Saturday they went on, and there was a dense fog. Afterwards there was a fresh breeze, and the sea rose, and made great waves; and they knew not whether they were near or far from land. After mid-day they were off a castle in Turkey, called Ninopoli {Ionopolis, now Ainabol ?}, but there was no anchorage, so they went on. At vespers the fog returned, so that they could not see the land, and night came on, while they knew not where they were. The sea rose, and some said that they had passed the harbour, others that they had not come abreast of it yet; and while they were thus consulting, they heard the bark of a dog, so those in the galliot shouted, and those in the castle heard them, and showed a light, so that the galliot reached the port. Outside there were rocks, over which the sea broke, and, not knowing the entrance, they were in danger; but a sailor swam on shore, and took a lantern, lighting up the entrance, so that the galliot entered in safety. On Easter Sunday they were in this harbour. On the top of a rock there was a very strong castle called Quinoli {Cinolis}, belonging to a Moorish knight called Espandiar, who is lord of much land, and tributary to Timur Beg, whose money is used in this land. The lord was not there, but his lieutenant, when he knew that the ambassadors were on board, came to see them, with a sheep, fowls, bread, and wine, as presents. In the forests near the castle of Quinoli, there is the best wood for cross bows in all Romania. On Monday, the 31st of March, they sailed, and at vespers they arrived in the port of a city, which is called Sinope, and anchored there. This city belongs to Espandiar, and when the ambassadors arrived there, they found that he was not there, but in another city, three days journey distant, called Castamea {Kastamuni or Castamon}, with forty thousand men, fighting against the son of the Turk, who hated him, because he paid tribute to Timur Beg. The ambassadors desired much to go there, that they might obtain intelligence of Timur, and they held counsel together, about going on shore. The reason why the lord of this land pays tribute to Timur, is that the Turk Bayazid, whom Timur conquered, killed his father and deprived him of his land; but when Timur Beg was victorious, he restored all the land to this knight, named Espandiar. Early on Saturday, the 5th of April, the ambassadors left this port; but it fell calm, and the galliot remained out at sea, during the night. On Sunday they were off a town, near the sea, called Simiso {Samsun ?}, which has two castles, one belonging to the Genoese, and the other, with the town, to a Mussulman named Chalabi; but they did not wish to touch there, so they were out at sea during that night also, when there was a calm. On Monday, at noon, they reached a harbour, where there was a castle called Hinio {Unieh}, where they anchored, because the wind was foul. Near the port, on some high rocks, there was a small town, inhabited by Greeks; and on a very high hill, near the town, there was a castle, in which, they say, live three hundred Turks. This castle and town belongs to a Greek lord named Melaseno, who pays tribute to Timur Beg. Close to the sea there were some small blacksmiths' shops, for in that place the sea threw up a fine black sand, from which they made iron. On Tuesday they departed from this place; but there was a foul wind, so they took shelter in a harbour of the land of Turkey, called Leona, where there was a castle on some rocks near the sea, which was uninhabited, and they said that it was pillaged by the Genoese, four years ago. This land belonged to a Turkish lord called Arzamir. Leaving this place, they passed a small castle, on the top of a rock, near the sea, called Santo Nicio; and, owing to the foul wind, they anchored off the mouth of a river, and there were several villages in sight, belonging to the said Arzamir, who was said to possess as many as ten thousand or more cavalry, and he paid tribute to Timur Beg. On Wednesday there was a fair wind, but much rain, and they were off a town near the sea, called Guirifonda, on the top of a high rock, with a great wall surrounding it, within which there were many fruit trees. At noon they were off a great town, on the sea shore, called Tripil {Tereboli}, which is in the territory of the emperor of Trebizond, and soon after they passed a castle, near the sea, called Corila, but they did not desire to touch at these places, because there was a fair wind. At the hour of vespers they were off a castle called Viopoli, where they anchored for the night. On Thursday there was a foul wind, with a heavy sea, and they anchored off a castle called Sanfoca, to refresh the people. Leaving this place, they came to a port called Platana, at the hour of vespers; and as the wind was still contrary, they did not attempt to reach Trebizond that night, though it was not more than twelve miles distant. During the night the wind was very strong, and the waves rose, so that they were in some danger. On Friday, the 11th of April, at the hour of vespers, they reached the city of Trebizond; and from the city of Pera, whence they came in this galliot, to this city of Trebizond the distance is nine hundred and sixty miles {The distance is six hundred miles}. The Genoese resided in a fine castle, outside the walls of the city, and the ambassadors went to lodge there, as their guests, and were honorably received.