Home  »  The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile Kt  »  Of the Province of Galilee, and where Anti-Christ shall be born. Of Nazareth. Of the age of Our Lady. Of the Day of Doom. And of the Customs of the Jacobites and the Syrians; and of the Usages of the Georgians

Sir John Mandeville. Marvellous Adventures. 1895.

Chapter X

Of the Province of Galilee, and where Anti-Christ shall be born. Of Nazareth. Of the age of Our Lady. Of the Day of Doom. And of the Customs of the Jacobites and the Syrians; and of the Usages of the Georgians

FROM this Country of the Samaritans that I have spoken of before go Men to the Plains of Galilee, and Men leave the Hills on the one Side.

And Galilee is one of the Provinces of the Holy Land, and in that Province is the City of Nain—and Capernaum, and Chorazin and Bethsaida. In this Bethsaida were Saint Peter and Saint Andrew born. And thence, a 4 Mile, is Chorazin. And 5 Mile from Chorazin is the City of Kedar whereof the Psalter speaketh: “Et habitavi cum Habitantibus Kedar;” that is to say, “And I have dwelled with the Men dwelling in Kedar.” In Chorazin shall Antichrist be born, as some Men say. And other Men say he shall be born in Babylon; for the Prophet saith: “De Babilonia Coluber exiet, qui totum Mundum devorabit;” that is to say, “Out of Babylon shall come a Worm that shall devour all the World.” This Antichrist shall be nourished in Bethsaida, and he shall reign in Capernaum: and therefore saith Holy Writ; “Væ tibi, Chorazin! Væ tibi Bethsaida! Væ tibi Capernaum!” that is to say, “Woe be to thee, Chorazin! Woe to thee, Bethsaida! Woe to thee, Capernaum.” And all these Towns be in the Land of Galilee. And also Cana of Galilee is 4 Mile from Nazareth: of that City was Simon the Canaanite and his Wife Canee, of the which the Holy Evangelist speaketh: there did our Lord the first Miracle at the Wedding, when He turned Water into Wine.

And in the End of Galilee, at the Hills, was the Ark of God taken; and on the other Side is the Mount Hendor or Hermon. And, thereabout, goeth the Brook of Kishon; and there beside Barak that was Abimelech’s Son with Deborah the Prophetess overcame the Host of Idumea, when Sisera the King was slain of Jael the Wife of Heber. And Gideon chased beyond the River Jordan, by Strength of Sword, Zeeb and Zebah and Zalmunna, and there he slew them. Also a 5 Mile from Nain is the City of Jezreel that sometime was clept Zarim, of the which City Jezabel, the cursed Queen, was Lady and Queen, that took away the Vine of Naboth by her Strength. Fast by that City is the Field Megiddo, in the which the King Joram was slain of the King of Samaria and after was translated and buried in the Mount Sion.

And a Mile from Jezreel be the Hills of Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan, that were so fair, died; wherefore David cursed them, as Holy Writ saith: “Montes Gilboæ, nec Ros nec Pluvia, &c.;” that is to say, “Ye Hills of Gilboa, neither Dew nor Rain come upon you.” And a Mile from the Hills of Gilboa toward the East is the City of Cyropolis, that was clept before Bethshan; and upon the Walls of that City was the Head of Saul hanged.

After go Men by the Hill beside the Plains of Galilee unto Nazareth, where was wont to be a great City and a fair; but now there is but a little Village, and Houses abroad here and there. And it is not walled. And it sits in a little Valley, and there be Hills all about. There was our Lady born, but she was begotten at Jerusalem. And because that our Lady was born at Nazareth, therefore bare our Lord this Surname of that Town. There took Joseph our Lady to Wife, when she was 14 Year of Age. And there Gabriel greet our Lady, saying, “Ave Gratia plena, Dominus tecum!” that is to say, “Hail, full of Grace, our Lord is with thee!” And this Salutation was done on the Place of a great Altar of a fair Church that was wont to be sometime, but it is now all down, and Men have made a little Receptacle, beside a Pillar of that Church, to receive the Offerings of Pilgrims. And the Saracens keep that Place full dearly, for the Profit that they have thereof. And they be full wicked Saracens and cruel, and more despiteful than in any other Place, and have destroyed all the Churches. There nigh is Gabriel’s Well, where our Lord was wont to bathe Him, when He was young, and from that Well bare the Water often-time to His Mother. And in that Well she washed oftentime the Clothes of her Son Jesu Christ. And from Jerusalem unto thither is 3 Days’ Journey. At Nazareth was our Lord nourished. Nazareth is as much as to say, “Flower of the Garden;” and by good Reason may it be clept Flower, for there was nourished the Flower of Life that was Christ Jesu.

And 2 Mile from Nazareth is the City of Sephor, by the Way that goeth from Nazareth to Acre. And an half Mile from Nazareth is the Leap of our Lord. For the Jews led Him upon an high Rock to make Him leap down, and to have slain Him; but Jesu passed amongst them, and leapt upon another Rock, and the Steps of His Feet be yet in the Rock, where He alighted. And therefore say some Men, when they dread them of Thieves on any Way, or of Enemies; “Jesus autem transiens per Medium illorum ibat;” that is to say, “Jesus, forsooth, passing by the Midst of them, went:” in Token and Mind, that as our Lord passed through, out of the Jews’ Cruelty, and escaped safely from them, so surely Men pass the Peril of Thieves. And then say Men 2 Verses of the Psalter 3 Times: “Irruat super eos Formido et Pavor, in magnitudine Brachii Tui, Domine. Fiant immobiles, quasi Lapis, donec pertranseat Populus Tuus, Domine; donec pertranseat Populus Tuus iste, quem possedisti;” (“May Fear and Dread fall upon them; by the Greatness of Thine Arm, O Lord let them be still as a Stone; till Thy People pass over, O Lord, till Thy People pass over, which Thou hast purchased,”) and then may Men pass without Peril.

And ye shall understand, that our Lady had Child when she was 15 Year old. And she was conversant with her Son 33 Year and 3 Months. And after the Passion of our Lord she lived 24 Year.

Also from Nazareth Men go to the Mount Tabor; and that is a 4 Mile. And it is a full fair Hill and well high, where was wont to be a Town and many Churches; but they be all destroyed. But there is yet a Place that Men call the School of God, where He was wont to teach His Disciples, and told them the Privities of Heaven. And, at the Foot of that Hill, Melchisadech that was King of Salem, in the Turning of that Hill met Abraham, in coming again from the Battle, when he had slain Abimalech. And this Melchisadech was both King and Priest of Salem that now is clept Jerusalem. In that Hill Tabor our Lord transfigured Him before Saint Peter, Saint John and Saint James; and there they saw, ghostly, Moses and Elias the Prophets beside them. And therefore said Saint Peter; “Domine, bonum est nos hic esse; faciamus tria Tabernacula;” that is to say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; make we here 3 Dwelling-places.” And there heard they a Voice of the Father that said; “Hic est Filius Meus dilectus, in Quo Mihi bene complacui. (“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”) And our Lord forbid them that they should tell that Vision till that He were risen from Death to Life.

On that Hill and in that same Place, at the Day of Doom, 4 Angels with 4 Trumpets shall blow and raise all Men that have suffered Death, since that the World was formed, from Death to Life; and they shall come in Body and Soul in Judgment, before the Face of our Lord in the Vale of Jehosaphat. And the Doom shall be on Easter Day, such Time as our Lord arose. And the Doom shall begin, such Hour as our Lord descended to Hell and despoiled it. For at such Hour shall He despoil the World and lead His chosen to Bliss; and the others shall He condemn to perpetual Pains. And then shall every Man have after his Desert, either Good or Evil, but and if the Mercy of God passeth His Righteousness.

Also a Mile from Mount Tabor is the Mount Hermon; and there was the City of Nain. Before the Gate of that City raised our Lord the Son of Widow, that had no more Children. Also 3 Mile from Nazareth is the Castle Safra, of the which the Sons of Zebedee and the sons of Alpheus were. Also a 3 Mile from Nazareth is the Mount Cain, and under that is a Well; and beside that Well Lamech, Noah’s Father, slew Cain with an Arrow. For this Cain went through Briars and Bushes as a wild Beast; and he had lived from the Time of Adam his Father unto the Time of Noah, and so he lived nigh to 2000 Year. And this Lamech was all blind for Eld.

From Safra Men go to the Sea of Galilee and to the City of Tiberias, that sits upon the same Sea. And albeit that Men call it a Sea, yet is it neither Sea nor Arm of the Sea. For it is but a Tank of fresh Water that is in Length 100 Furlongs, and of Breadth 40 Furlongs, and hath within him great Plenty of good Fish, and runneth into River Jordan. The City is not full great, but it hath good Baths within him.

And there, as the River Jordan passeth from the Sea of Galilee, is a great Bridge, where men pass from the Land of Promise to the Land of Bashan and the Land of Gennesaret, that be about the River Jordan and the Beginning of the Sea of Tiberias. And from thence Men may go to Damascus, in 3 Days, by the Kingdom of Traconitis, the which Kingdom lasteth from Mount Hermon to the Sea of Galilee, or to the Sea of Tiberias, or to the Sea of Gennesaret; and all is one Sea, and this the Tank that I have told you of, but it changeth thus the Name for the Names of the Cities that sit beside him.

Upon that Sea went our Lord dry Feet; and there He took up Saint Peter, when he began to drown within the Sea, and said to him, “Modice Fidei, quare dubitasti?” (“O thou of little Faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”) And after His resurrection our Lord appeared on that Sea to His Disciples and bade them fish, and filled all the Net full of great Fishes. In that Sea rowed our Lord often-time; and there He called to Him Saint Peter, Saint Andrew, and Saint James and Saint John, the Sons of Zebedee.

In that City of Tiberias is the Table upon the which our Lord ate with His Disciples after His Resurrection; and they knew Him in breaking of Bread, as the Gospel saith: “Et cognoverunt Eum in Fractione Panis.” And nigh that City of Tiberias is the Hill, where our Lord fed 5000 Persons with 5 Barley Loaves and 2 Fishes.

In that City a Man cast a burning Dart in Wrath after our Lord. And the Head smote into the Earth and waxed green; and it grew to a big Tree. And it groweth yet, and the Bark thereof is all like Coals.

Also in the Head of that Sea of Galilee, toward the Septentrion (or South) is a strong Castle and an high that is hight Saphor. And fast beside it is Capernaum. Within the Land of Promise is not so strong a Castle. And there is a good Town beneath that is clept Saphor. In that Castle Saint Anne our Lady’s Mother was born. And there beneath, was the Centurion’s House. That Country is clept the Galilee of Folk (or the Gentiles) that were taken to Tribute of Zebulon and Napthali.

And in again coming from that Castle, a 30 Mile, is the City of Dan that sometime was clept Belinas or Cesarea Philippi; that sits at the Foot of the Mount of Lebanon, where the River Jordan beginneth. There beginneth the Land of Promise and endureth unto Beersheba in Length, going from North to South. And it containeth well a 180 Miles. And of Breadth, that is to say, from Jericho unto Jaffa, it containeth a 40 Mile of Lombardy, or of our Country, that be also little Miles; these be not Miles of Gascony nor of the Province of Germany, where be great Miles. And wit ye well, that the Land of Promise is in Syria. For the Realm of Syria endureth from the Deserts of Arabia unto Cilicia, and that is Armenia the Great; that is to say, from the South to the North. And, from the East to the West, it endureth from the great Deserts of Arabia unto the West Sea. But in that Realm of Syria is the Kingdom of Judea and many other Provinces, as Palestine, Galilee, Little Cilicia, and many others.

In that Country and other Countries beyond they have a Custom, when they shall use War, and when Men hold Siege about a City or Castle, and they within dare not send out Messengers with Letters from Lord to Lord to ask Succour, they make their Letters and bind them to the Neck of a Culver, and let the Culver flee. And the Culvers be so taught, that they flee with those Letters to the very Place that Men would send them to. For the Culvers be nourished in those Places where they be sent to, and they send them thus, to bear their Letters. And the Culvers return again where-to they be nourished; and so they do commonly.

And ye shall understand that amongst the Saracens, in one Part and another, dwell many Christian Men of many Manners and diverse Names. And all be baptized and have diverse Laws and diverse Customs. But all believe in God the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; but always fail they in some Articles of our Faith. Some of these be clept Jacobites, for Saint James converted them and Saint John baptized them. They say that a Man shall make his Confession only to God, and not to a Man; for only to Him should Man yield Him guilty of all that he hath misdone. Neither God ordained, nor ever devised, nor the Prophet either, that a Man should shrive him to another, as they say, but only to God. As Moses writeth in the Bible, and as David saith in the Psalter Book; “Confitebor Tibi, Domine, in toto Corde meo,” (“I will confess to Thee, O Lord, in my whole Heart”;) and, “Delictum meum Tibi cognitum feci,” (“I acknowledge my Sin unto Thee”;) and, “Deus meus es Tu, et confitebor Tibi,” (“Thou art my God, and I will confess unto Thee”;) and, “Quoniam Cogitatio Hominis confitebitur Tibi,” (“Since the Thoughts of Man shall confess to Thee”;) &c. For they know all the Bible and the Psalter. And therefore quote they so the Letter. But they quote not the Authorities thus in Latin, but in their Language full openly, and say well, that David and other Prophets say it.

Nevertheless, Saint Augustin and Gregory say thus:—Augustinus: “Qui Scelera sua cogitat, et conversus fuerit, Veniam sibi credat,” (“Let him that would consider his Sins, and would be converted, believe that for him there is Forgiveness.”) Gregorius: “Dominus potius Mentem quam Verba respicit,” (“The Lord looketh rather on the Purpose than on the Letter.”). And Saint Hillary saith: “Longorum Temporum Crimina, in Ictu Oculi pereunt, si Cordis nata fuerit Compunctio,” (“Sins of long Duration perish in the Twinkling of an Eye, if Repentance be born of the Heart.”). And before such Authorities they say, that only to God shall a Man acknowledge his Defaults, yielding himself guilty and crying Him Mercy, and vowing to Him to amend his Ways. And therefore, when they will shrive them, they take Fire and set it beside them, and cast therein Powder of Frankincense; and in the Smoke thereof they shrive them to God, and cry Him Mercy. But Sooth it is, that this Confession was first and natural. But Saint Peter the Apostle, and they that came after him, have ordained to make their Confession to Man, and by good Reason; for they perceived well that no Sickness was curable by good Medicine to lay thereto, but if Men knew the Nature of the Malady; and also no Man may give suitable Medicine, but if he know the Quality of the Deed. For one Sin may be greater in one Man than in another; and therefore it behoveth him that he know the Kind of the Deed, and thereupon to give him Penance.

There be other, that be clept Syrians; and they hold the Belief held amongst us, and of them of Greece. And they all use Beards, as Men of Greece do. And they make the Sacrament of Therf (or Unleavened) Bread. And in their Language they use the Letters of the Saracens. But in the Mysteries of Holy Church they use Letters of Greece. And they make their Confession, right as the Jacobites do.

There be others, that Men call Georgians, that Saint George converted; and him they worship more than any other Saint, and to him they cry for Help. And they came out of the Realm of Georgia. These Folk use shaven Crowns. The Clerks have round Crowns, and the Laymen have Crowns all square. And they hold Christian Laws, as do they of Greece; of whom I have spoken of before.

Other there be that Men call Christian Men of Girding, for they be all girt above. And there be others that Men call Nestorians. And some are Aryans, some Nubians, some of Greece, some of Ind, and some of Prester John’s Land. And all these have many Articles of our Faith, but to some they be variant. And of their Variance were too long to tell, and so I will leave, for the Time, without more speaking of them.