Home  »  The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile Kt  »  Of the Land of Job; and of his Age. Of the Array of Men of Chaldea. Of the Land where Women dwell without Company of Men. Of the Knowledge and Virtues of the true Diamond

Sir John Mandeville. Marvellous Adventures. 1895.

Chapter XIV

Of the Land of Job; and of his Age. Of the Array of Men of Chaldea. Of the Land where Women dwell without Company of Men. Of the Knowledge and Virtues of the true Diamond

AFTER the departing from Cornaa, Men enter into the Land of Job that is a full fair Country and a plenteous of all Goods. And Men call that Land the Land of Susiana. In that Land is the City of Theman.

Job was a Paynim, and he was Son of Aram of Gosre, and held that Land as Prince of that Country. And he was so rich that he knew not the 100th Part of his Goods. And although he were a Paynim, nevertheless he served well God after his Law. And our Lord took his Service to His Pleasure. And when he fell in Poverty he was 78 Year of Age. And after, when God had proved his Patience that it was so great, He brought him again to Riches and to higher Estate than he was before. And after that he was King of Idumea after King Esau, and when he was King he was clept Jobab. And in that Kingdom he lived after that 170 Year. And so he was of Age, when he died, 248 Year.

In that Land of Job there is no Default of anything that is needful to Man’s Body. There be Hills, when Men get great Plenty of Manna in greater Abundance than in any other Country. This Manna is clept Bread of Angels. And it is a white Thing that is full sweet and right delicious, and more sweet than Honey or Sugar. And it cometh of the Dew of Heaven that falleth upon the Herbs in that Country. And it congealeth and becometh all white and sweet. And Men put it in Medicines for the rich to make the Womb lax, and to purge evil Blood. For it cleanseth the Blood and putteth out Melancholy. This Land of Job marcheth with the Kingdom of Chaldea.

This Land of Chaldea is full great. And the Language of that Country is more great in sounding than it is in other Parts beyond the Sea. Men pass to go beyond by the Tower of Babylon the Great, of the which I have told you before, where that all the Languages were first changed. And that is a 4 Days’ Journey from Chaldea. In that Realm be fair Men, and they go full nobly arrayed in Clothes of Gold, orfrayed and apparelled with great Pearls and precious Stones full nobly. And the Women be right foul and evil arrayed. And they go all bare-foot and clothed in evil Garments large and wide, but short to the Knees, and long Sleeves down to the Feet like a Monk’s Frock, and their Sleeves be hanging about their Shoulders. And they be black Women foul and hideous, and truly they be as foul as they be evil.

In that Kingdom of Chaldea, in a City that is clept Ur, dwelled Terah, Abraham’s Father. And there was Abraham born. And that was in that Time that Ninus was King of Babylon, of Arabia and of Egypt. This Ninus made the City of Nineveh, the which Noah had begun before. And because that Ninus performed it, he called it Nineveh after his own Name. There lieth Tobit the Prophet, of whom Holy Writ speaketh. And from that City of Ur Abraham departed, by the Commandment of God, from thence, after the Death of his Father, and led with him Sarah his Wife and Lot his Brother’s Son, because that he had no Child. And they went to dwell in the Land of Canaan in a Place that is clept Shechem. And this Lot was he that was saved, when Sodom and Gomorrah and the other Cities were burnt and sunken down to Hell, where that the Dead Sea is now, as I have, told you before. In that Land of Chaldea they have their own Languages and their own Letters.

Beside the Land of Chaldea is the Land of Amazonia. And in that Realm are all Women and no Men; not, as some Men say, that Men may not live there, but because that the Women will not suffer any Men amongst them to be their Sovereigns.

For sometime there was a King in that Country. And Men married, as in other Countries. And so it befell that the King had War with them of Scythia, the King of which hight Colopeus, that was slain in Battle, and all the good Blood of his Realm. And when the Queen and all the other noble Ladies saw that they were all Widows, and that all royal Blood was lost, they armed them and, as Creatures out of their Wit, they slew all the Men of the Country that were left; for they would that all the Women were Widows as the Queen and they were. And from that Time hitherwards they never would suffer Man to dwell amongst them longer than 7 Days and 7 Nights; nor that any Child that were Male should dwell amongst them longer than he were weaned; and thereon be sent to his Father. And when they will have any Company of Man then they draw them towards the Lands marching next to theirs. And then they have Lovers that use them; and they dwell with them an 8 Days or 10, and then go Home again. And if they have any Boy Child they keep it a certain Time, and then send it to the Father when he can go alone and eat by himself; or else they slay it. And if it be a Female they do away one Pap with an hot Iron. And if it be a Woman of great Lineage they do away the left Pap that they may the better bear a Shield. And if it be a Woman of simple Blood they do away the right Pap, so as to shoot Turkeys with Bows; for they shoot well with Bows.

In that Land they have a Queen that governeth all that Land, and they all be obeissant to her. And always they make her Queen by Election that is most worthy in Arms; for they be right good Warriors and wise, noble and worthy. And they go oftentime in Pay to help other Kings in their Wars, for Gold and Silver as other Soldiers do; and they maintain themselves right rigourously. This Land of Amazonia is an Isle, all environed with the Sea save in 2 Places, where be 2 Entries. And beyond that water dwell the Men that be their Paramours and their Lovers, where they go to solace them when they will.

Beside Amazonia is the Land of Tarmegyte that is a great Country and a full delectable. And for the Goodness of the Country King Alexander first had made there the City of Alexandria, and yet he made 12 Cities of the same Name; but that City is now clept Celsite.

And from that other Coast of Chaldea, toward the South, is Ethiopia, a great Country that stretcheth to the End of Egypt. Ethiopia is parted in 2 principal Parts, that is the East Part and the Meridional Part; the which Meridional Part is clept Mauritania, and the Folk of that Country be black enough and more black than in the tother Part, and they be clept Moors. In that Part is a Well, that in the Day it is so cold, that no Man may drink thereof; and in the Night it is so hot, that no Man may suffer his Hand therein. And beyond that Part, toward the South, to pass by the Sea Ocean, is a great Land and a great Country; but Men may not dwell there for the fervent Burning of the Sun, so passing hot is it in that Country.

In Ethiopia all the Rivers and all the Waters be troubled, and they be somewhat salt for the great Heat that is there. And the Folk of that Country be lightly drunk and have but little Appetite for Meat. And they have commonly the Flux of the Womb. And they live not long. In Ethiopia be many diverse Folk; and Ethiope is clept Cusis. In that Country be Folk that have but one Foot, and they go so fast that it is a Marvel. And the Foot is so large, that it shadoweth all the Body against the Sun, when they will lie and rest them. In Ethiopia, when the Children be young and little, they be all yellow; and, when that they wax of Age, that Yellowness turneth to be all black. In Ethiopia is the City of Saba, and the Land of the which was King one of the 3 Kings that presented Gifts to our Lord in Bethlehem.

From Ethiopia Men go to Ind by many diverse Countries. And Men call the high Ind, Emlak. And Ind is divided in 3 principal Parts; that is, the Greater, that is a full hot Country; and Ind the Less, that is a full temperate Country, that stretcheth to the Land of Media; and the third Part toward the Septentrion is full cold, so that, for pure Cold and continual Frost, the Water becometh Crystal. And upon the Rocks of Crystal grow the good Diamonds that be of troubled Colour. Yellow Crystal draweth Colour like Oil. And they be so hard, that no Man may polish them. And Men call them Diamonds in that Country, and “Hamese” in another Country. Other Diamonds Men find in Arabia that be not so good, and they be more brown and more tender. And other Diamonds also Men find in the Isle of Cyprus, that be yet more tender, and them Men may well polish. And in the Land of Macedonia Men find Diamonds also. But the best and the most precious be in Ind.

And Men find many times hard Diamonds in a Mass that cometh out of Gold, when Men purify it and refine it out of the Mine; when Men break that Mass in small Pieces, and sometime it happens that Men find some as great as Peas and some less, and they be as hard as those of Ind.

And albeit that Men find good Diamonds in Ind, yet nevertheless Men find them more commonly upon the Rocks in the Sea and upon Hills where the Mine of Gold is. And they grow many together, one little, another great. And there be some of the Greatness of a Bean and some as great as an Hazel Nut. And they be square and pointed of their own Nature, both above and beneath, without Working of Man’s Hand. And they grow together, Male and Female. And they be nourished with the Dew of Heaven. And they engender commonly and bring forth small Children, that multiply and grow all the Year. I have often-times assayed, that if a Man keep them with a little of the Rock and wet them with May-dew oft since, they shall grow every Year, and the small will wax great. For right as the fine Pearl congealeth and waxeth great of the Dew of Heaven, right so doth the true Diamond; and right as the Pearl of his own Nature taketh Roundness, right so the Diamond, by Virtue of God, taketh Squareness. And Men shall bear the Diamond on their left Side, for it is of greater Virtue then, than on the right Side; for the Strength of their Growing is toward the North, that is the Left side of the World, and the left Part of Man, when he turneth his Face toward the East.

And if you like to know the Virtues of the Diamond, (as Men may find in the “Lapidary,” that many Men know not), I shall tell you, as they beyond the Sea say and affirm, of whom all Science and all Philosophy cometh. He that beareth the Diamond upon him, it giveth him Hardiness and Manhood, and it keepeth the Limbs of his Body whole. It giveth him Victory of his Enemies in Pleading and in War, if his Cause be rightful. And it keepeth him that beareth it in good Wit. And it keepeth him from Strife and Riot, from Sorrows and from Enchantments, and from Fantasies and Illusions of wicked Spirits. And if any cursed Witch or Enchanter would bewitch him that beareth the Diamond, all that Sorrow and Mischance shall turn to himself through Virtue of that Stone. And also no wild Beast dare assail the Man that beareth it on him. Also the Diamond should be given freely, without Coveting and without Buying, and then it is of greater Virtue. And it maketh a Man more strong and more stalwart against his Enemies. And it healeth him that is lunatic, and him that the Fiend pursueth or travaileth. And if Venom or Poison be brought in Presence of the Diamond, anon it beginneth to wax moist and to sweat.

There be also Diamonds in Ind that be clept “Violastres,” for their Colour is like Violet, or more brown than Violets, that be full hard and full precious. But yet some Men love not them so well as the other; but, in sooth, for me, I would love them as much as the other, for I have seen them assayed.

Also there is another Manner of Diamonds that be all white as Crystal, but they be a little more troubled. And they be good and of great Virtue, and they all be square and pointed of their own Nature. And some be 6 squared, some 4 squared, and some 3 as Nature shapeth them. And therefore when great Lords and Knights go to seek Worship in Arms, they bear gladly the Diamond upon them.

I shall speak a little more of the Diamonds, although I tarry my Matter for a Time, to the End, that they that know them not, be not deceived by Charlatans who go through the Country and sell them. For whoso will buy Diamonds it is needful to him that he know them. Because that Men counterfeit them often of Crystal that is yellow and of Sapphires of citron Colour that is yellow also, and of the Sapphire Loupe and of many other Stones. But I tell you these Counterfeits be not so hard; and also the Points will break lightly, and Men may easily polish them. But some Workmen, for Malice, will not polish them; to that Intent, to make Men believe that they may not be polished. But Men may assay them in this Manner. First cut with them or write with them on Sapphires or Crystals or on other precious Stones. After that, Men take the Adamant that is the Shipman’s Stone that draweth the Needle to him, and lay the Needle before the Adamant; and, if the Diamond be good and virtuous, the Adamant draweth not the Needle to him, whiles the Diamond is there present. And this is the Proof that they beyond the Sea make.

Nevertheless it befalleth often-time, that the good Diamond loseth his Virtue by Sin, and for Incontinence of him that beareth it. And then it is needful to make it recover his Virtue again, or else it is of little Value.