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The voyage, wherein Osep Napea the Moscovite Ambas- sadour returned home into his countrey, with his entertainement at his arrivall, at Colmogro: and a large description of the maners of the Countrey.

THE twelfth of Maye, in the yeare of our Lorde 1557 there departed from Gravesend , foure good shippes well appointed for Marchants, which were presently bound into the Baye of S. Nicholas in Russia : with which shippes was transported, or caried home, one Osep Gregoriwich Napea, who was sent Messenger from the Emperour and great Duke of Moscovia. The foure ships were these, whose names follow, viz.
  • The Primerose Admirall.
  • The John Evangelist Viceadmirall.
  • The Anne and the Trinitie Attendants.

The 13 of July, the foresayd foure shippes came to an anker in the Baye of S. Nicholas, befor an Abbey, called the Abbey of S. Nicholas, whereas the sayde Messenger, Osep Gregoriwich Napea went a shoare, and as many English men as came to serve the Emperour remained with him at the Abbey for the space of sixe daies, untill he had gotten all his things a shoare, and laden the same in barkes, to goe up the river Dwina, unto Vologhda, which is by water 1000 verstes, and every verste is about three quarters of an English mile.

The 20 of July, we departed from S. Nicholas, and the 24 of the same, we came to Colmogro, where we remained eight daies: and the sayd Messenger was there of all his acquaintance welcommed home, and had presents innumerable sent unto him, but it was nothing but meate and drinke. Some sent white bread, some rie bread, and some buttered bread & pancakes, beefe, mutton, bacon, egges, butter, fishes, swannes, geese, duckes, hennes, and all maner of victuals, both fish and flesh, in the best maner, that the rude people could devise: for among them, these presents are highly esteemed.

The 29 of July, we departed from Colmogro, and the 14 of August we came to Ustiug, where we remained one day, and changed our barkes or boates.

The 27 of August, we came to Vologhda, where we remained 4 daies unlading the barkes, and lading our chestes and things in small waggons, with one horse in a piece, which in their tongue are called Telegos, and with these Telegoes they caried our stuffe from Vologhda unto the Mosco, which is 500 verstes: and we were upon the same way 14 daies: for we went no faster then the Telegoes.

There are three great townes betweene the Mosco and Vologhda, that is to say, Yeraslave, Rostave, and Pereslave. Upon one side of Yeraslave runneth a famous river, which is called Volga . It runneth into the Caspian sea, and it devideth it selfe before it come into the Mare Caspium, in 50 parts or more, and neere unto the same sea there stands a great Citie, called Boghar, the inhabitants of the which are called by the same name.

The people of the said Citie doe traffique unto the Citie of Mosco: their commodities are spices, muske, ambergreese, rubarbe, with other drugs. They bring also many furres which they buy in Siberia comming towards the Mosco: the sayd people are of the sect of Mahomet.

The 12 of September we came unto the citie of Mosco, where we were brought by Napea, and two of the Emperours gentlemen unto a large house, where every one of us had his chamber appointed.

The 14 of September we were commanded to come unto the Emperour, and immediatly after our comming we were brought into his presence, unto whom each of us did his duetie accordingly, and kissed his right hand, his majestie sitting in his chaire of estate, with his crowne on his head, and a staffe of goldsmiths worke in his left hand well garnished with rich and costly stones: and when we had all kissed his hand and done our dueties, his majestie did declare by his interpreter that we were all welcome unto him, and into his countrey, & thereupon willed us to dine with him: that day we gave thanks unto his majestie, and so departed untill the dinner was readie.

When dinner time approched, we were brought againe into the Emperours dining chamber, where we were set on one side of a table that stoode over against the Emperours table, to the end that he might wel behold us al: and when we came into the foresayd chamber, we found there readie set these tables following.

First at the upper end of one table were set the Emperour his majestie, his brother, & the Emperour of Cazan, which is prisoner. About two yardes lower sate the Emperour of Cazan his sonne, being a child of five yeeres of age, and beneath him sate the most part of the Emperors noble men.

And at another table neere unto the Emperours table, there was set a Monke all alone, which was in all points as well served as the Emperour. At another table sate another kind of people called Chirkasses, which the Emperour entertaineth for men of warre to serve against his enemies. Of which people and of their countrey, I will hereafter make mention.

All the tables aforesayde were covered onely with salt and bread, and after that we had sitten a while, the Emperour sent unto every one of us a piece of bread, which were given and delivered unto every man severally by these words: The Emperour and great Duke giveth the bread this day, and in like manner three or foure times before dinner was ended, he sent unto every man drinke, which was given by these words, The Emperour and great Duke giveth thee to drinke. All the tables aforesayd were served in vessels of pure and fine golde, as well basons and ewers, platters, dishes and sawcers, as also of great pots, with an innumerable sorte of small drinking pottes of divers fashions, whereof a great number were set with stone. As for costly meates I have many times seene better: but for change of wines, and divers sorts of meads, it was wonderfull: for there was not left at any time so much void roome on the table, that one cuppe more might have bin set, and as far as I could perceive, all the rest were in the like maner served.

In the dinner time there came in sixe singers which stood in the midst of the chamber, and their faces towards the Emperor, who sang there before dinner was ended three severall times, whose songs or voices delighted our eares little or nothing.

The Emperour never putteth morsell of meate in his mouth, but he first blesseth it himselfe, & in like maner as often as he drinketh: for after his maner he is very religious, & he esteemeth his religious men above his noble men.

This dinner continued about the space of five houres, which being ended, and the tables taken up, we came into the midst of the chamber, where we did reverence unto the Emperors majestie, and then he delivered unto every one of us with his own hands a cup of mead, which when every man had received and drunke a quantity thereof, we were licenced to depart, & so ended that dinner. And because the Emperour would have us to be mery, he sent to our lodging the same Evening three barrels of meade of sundry sortes, of the quantitie in all of one hogshed.

The 16 day of September the Emperour sent home unto our lodging for every of us a Tartarie horse to ride from place to place as we had occasion, for that the streetes of Mosco are very fowle and mirie in the Summer.

The 18 of September there were given unto master Standish doctor in Phisick, and the rest of our men of our occupations, certaine furred gownes of branched velvet and gold, and some of red damaske, of which master Doctors gowne was furred with Sables, and the rest were furred some with white Ermine, and some with gray Squirel, and all faced and edged round about with blacke beaver.

The 1 of October in the morning we were commanded to come unto the Emperors court, and when we came thither, we were brought unto the Emperor unto whom we did our duties accordingly: wherupon he willed us to dine with him that day, and so with thanks unto his majestie, we departed untill dinner time, at which time we came and found the tables covered with bread and salt as at the first: & after that we were all set upon one side of the table, the Emperors majestie according to his accustomed maner sent unto every man a piece of bread by some of the Dukes which attended on his highnesse.

And whereas the 14 of September we were served in vessels of gold, we were now served in vessels of silver, and yet not so abundantly as was the first of gold: they brought drinke unto the table in silver boles which conteined at the least sixe gallons a piece, and everie man had a smal silver cuppe to drinke in, & another to dip or to take his drinke out of the great boll withall: the dinner being ended, the Emperour gave unto every one of us a cup with meade, which when we had received, we gave thanks and departed.

Moreover, whensoever the Emperors pleasure is that any stranger shall dine with him, he doth send for them in the morning, and when they come before him, he with his owne mouth biddeth them to dinner, and this order he alwaies observeth.

The 10 of October the Emperour gave unto M. Standish 70 rubles in money, and to the rest of our men of occupations 30 rubles apiece.

The 3 of November we dined againe with the Emperour, where we were served as before.

The 6 of December being S. Nicholas day, we dined againe at the Emperours, for that is one of the principall feasts which the Moscovites hold: we were served in silver vessels and ordered in all points as before, and it was past 7 of the clocke at night before dinner was ended.

The Emperors majestie useth every yeare in the moneth of December, to have all his ordinance that is in the citie of Mosco caried into the field which is without the Suburbs of the citie, and there to have it planted and bent upon two houses of Wood filled within with earth: against which two houses there were two faire white markes set up, at which markes they discharge all their ordinance, to the ende the Emperour may see what his Gunners can doe. They have faire ordinance of brasse of all sortes, bases, faulcons, minions, sakers, culverings, cannons double and royall, basiliskes long and large, they have sixe great pieces whose shot is a yard of height, which shot a man may easily discerne as they flee: they have also a great many of morter pieces or potguns, out of which pieces they shoote wild fire.

The 12 of December the Emperors Majestie and all his nobility came into the field on horsebacke, in most goodly order, having very fine Jennets & Turkie horses garnished with gold & silver abundantly. The Emperors majestie having on him a gowne of rich tissue, & a cap of skarlet on his head, set not only with pearles, but also with a great number of rich and costly stones: his noble men were all in gownes of cloth of gold, which did ride before him in good order by 3. & 3. and before them there went 5000 harquebusiers, which went by 5 and 5 in a rank in very good order, every of them carying his gun upon his left shoulder, and his match in his right hand, and in this order they marched into the field where as the foresayd ordinance was planted.

And before the Emperors majestie came into the field, there was a certaine stage made of small poles which was a quarter of a mile long, and about threescore yardes off from the stage of poles were certaine pieces of ice of two foot thicke, and sixe foote high set up, which ranke of ice was as long as the stage of poles, and as soone as the Emperors majestie came into the field, the harquebusiers went upon the stage of poles where they setled themselves in order. And when the Emperors majestie was setled where he would be, and where he might see all the ordinance discharged and shot off, the harquebusiers began to shoot off at the banke of ice, as though it had bin in any skirmish or battel, who ceased not shooting, untill they had beaten all the ice flat on the ground.

After the handguns, they shot off their wild fire up into the aire, which was a goodly sight to behold. And after this, they began to discharge the smal pieces of brasse, beginning with the smallest and so orderly bigger and bigger, untill the last and biggest. When they had shot them all off, they began to charge them againe, and so shot them al off 3 times after the first order, beginning with the smallest, and ending with the greatest. And note that before they had ended their shooting, the 2 houses that they shot unto were beaten in pieces, & yet they were very strongly made of Wood and filled with earth, being at the least 30 foote thicke. This triumph being ended, the Emperour departed and rode home in the same order that he came foorth into the field. The ordinance is discharged every yeare in the moneth of December, according to the order before mentioned.

On Christmas day we were all willed to dine with the Emperors Majestic, where for bread, meat and drinke, we were served as at other times before: but for goodly and rich plate, we never saw the like or so much before. There dined that day in the Emperors presence above 500 strangers, and two hundred Russes, and all they were served in vessels of gold, and that as much as could stand one by another upon the tables. Besides this there were foure cupbords garnished with goodly plate both of gold & silver. Among the which there were 12 barrels of silver, conteining above 12 gallons a piece, and at each end of every barrell were 6 hoopes of fine gold: this dinner continued about sixe houres.

Every yeare upon the 12 day they use to blesse or sanctifie the river Moscua, which runneth through the citie of Mosco, after this maner.

First, they make a square hole in the ice about 3 fadoms large every way, which is trimmed about the sides & edges with white boords. Then about 9 of the clocke they come out of the church with procession towards the river in this wise.

First and foremost there goe certaine young men with waxe tapers burning, and one carying a great lanterne: then follow certaine banners, then the crosse, then the images of our Lady, of S. Nicholas, and of other Saints, which images men carie upon their shoulders: after the images follow certaine priests to the number of 100 or more: after them the Metropolitane who is led betweene two priests, and after the Metropolitan came the Emperour with his crowne upon his head, and after his majestie all his noble men orderly. Thus they followed the procession unto the water, & when they came unto the hole that was made, the priests set themselves in order round about it. And at one side of the same poole there was a scaffold of boords made, upon which stood a faire chaire in which the Metropolitan was set, but the Emperours majestie stood upon the ice.

After this the priests began to sing, to blesse and to sense, and did their service, and so by that time that they had done, the water was holy, which being sanctified, the Metropolitane tooke a litle thereof in his hands, and cast it on the Emperour, likewise upon certaine of the Dukes, & then they returned againe to the church with the priests that sate about the water: but that preasse that there was about the water when the Emperor was gone, was wonderful to behold, for there came above 5000 pots to be filled of that water: for that Moscovite which hath no part of that water, thinks himselfe unhappy.

And very many went naked into the water, both men and women and children: after the prease was a litle gone, the Emperours Jennets and horses were brought to drinke of the same water, and likewise many other men brought their horses thither to drinke, and by that means they make their horses as holy as themselves.

All these ceremonies being ended, we went to the Emperour to dinner, where we were served in vessels of silver, and in all other points as we had bene beforetime.

The Russes begin their Lent alwaies 8 weekes before Easter: the first weeke they eate egs, milke, cheese & butter, and make great cheare with pancakes and such other things, one friend visiting another, & from the same Sunday until our Shrofesunday there are but few Russes sober, but they are drunke day by day, and it is accompted for no reproch or shame among them.

The next weeke being our first weeke of Lent, or our clensing weeke, beginning our Shrofesunday, they make and keepe a great fast. It is reported, and the people do verily beleeve that the Metropolitan neither eateth nor drinketh any maner of thing for the space of seven dayes, and they say that there are many religious men which doe the like.

The Emperors Majestie eateth but one morsel of bread, and drinketh but one draught of drinke once in the day during that weeke, and all men that are of any reputation come not out of their houses during that time, so that the streetes are almost void of company, saving a few poore folkes which wander to and fro. The other sixe weekes they keepe as we do ours, but not one of them will eate either butter, cheese, egs or milke.

On Palme sunday they have a very solemne procession in this maner following.

First, they have a tree of a good bignesse which is made fast upon two sleds, as though it were growing there, and it is hanged with apples, raisins, figs and dates, and with many other fruits abundantly. In the midst of ye same tree stand 5 boyes in white vestures, which sing in the tree before the procession: after this there followed certaine yong men with waxe tapers in their hands burning, & a great lanterne that al the light should not go out: after them followed two with long banners, & sixe with round plates set upon long staves: the plates were of copper very ful of holes and thin: then followed 6 carying painted images upon their shoulders, after the images followed certaine priests to the number of 100 or more, with goodly vestures, wherof 10 or 12 are of white damaske, set and imbrodered round about with faire and orient pearles, as great as pease, and among them certaine Sapphires and other stones. After them followed the one halfe of the Emperours noble men: then commeth the Emperors majestie and the Metropolitane, after this maner.

First, there is a horse covered with white linnen cloth down to ye ground, his eares being made long with the same cloth like to an asses ears. Upon this horse the Metropolitane sitteth sidelong like a woman: in his lappe lieth a faire booke, with a crucifix of Goldsmiths worke upon the cover, which he holdeth fast with his left hand, and in his right hand he hath a crosse of gold, with which crosse he ceaseth not to blesse the people as he rideth.

There are to the number of 30 men which spread abroad their garments before the horse, and as soone as the horse is past over any of them, they take them up againe and run before, and spred them againe, so that the horse doth alway go on some of them. They which spred the garments are all priests sonnes, and for their labours the Emperour giveth unto them new garments.

One of the Emperors noble men leadeth the horse by the head, but the Emperour himselfe going on foote leadeth the horse by the ende of the reine of his bridle with one of his hands, and in the other of his hands he had a branch of a Palme tree: after this followed the rest of the Emperours Noble men and Gentlemen, with a great number of other people. In this order they went from one church to another within the castle, about the distance of two flights shot: and so returned againe to the Emperours Church, where they made an end of their service. Which being done, the Emperours majestie and certaine of his noble men went to the Metropolitane his house to dinner, where of delicate fishes and good drinks there was no lacke.

The rest of this weeke untill Easter day they kept very solemnely, continuing in their houses for the most part, and upon Munday or Thursday the Emperour doth alwayes use to receive the Sacrament, and so doe most of his nobles.

Upon good Friday they continue all the day in contemplation and prayers, and they use every yere on good Friday to let loose a prisoner in the stead of Barrabas. The night following they go to the Church where they sleepe untill the next morning, & at Easter they have the resurrection, & after every of the Lents they eat flesh the next weeke following, Friday, Saturday and all.

They have an order at Easter which they alwaies observe, and that is this: every yere against Easter to die or colour red with Brazell a great number of egs, of which every man and woman giveth one unto the priest of their Parish upon Easter day in the morning. And moreover the common people use to carie in their hands one of their red egs, not onely upon Easter day, but also three or foure dayes after, and gentlemen and gentlewomen have egs gilded which they cary in like maner. They use it as they say for a great love, and in token of the resurrection, whereof they rejoyce. For when two friends meete during the Easter holy dayes, they come & take one another by the hand: the one of them sayth, the Lord or Christ is risen, the other answereth, it is so of a truth, and then they kisse and exchange their egs both men and women, continuing in kissing 4 dayes together.

The 12 of Aprill being Tuesday in the Easter weeke, master Jenkinson and master Graie, and certayne other of us English men dined with the Emperor, where we were served as we had bin before time. And after diner the Emperours majestie gave unto master Jenkinson and unto M. Gray, and so orderly unto every one of us a cup of Mead, according to his accustomed maner which when every man had received and given thanks, M. Jenkinson stepped into the midst of the chamber before the Emperours majestie, and gave thankes to his highnesse for his goodnesse unto him extended, desiring his grace to licence him to depart, and in like maner did Master Gray. His majestie did not onely licence them to depart, but also graunted unto master Jenkinson his letters under his great seale, unto all princes through whose dominions master Jenkinson should have occasion to passe, that he might the sooner and quietlier passe by meanes thereof. Which being granted, master Jenkinson and Gray lowly submitted themselves, thanking his majestie. So the Emperour gave unto either of them a cuppe of mead to drinke, and willed them to depart at their pleasure in Gods peace.

The 14. of Aprill in the morning when M. Gray and I were ready to depart towards Enggland, the Chancellors sent unto us and willed us to come to their office in the Chancerie, where at our comming they shewed us a great number of the Emperors jewels, and rich robes, willing us to marke and beholde them well, to the end that at our arrivall into England, we might make report what we had seene there.

The chiefest was his majesties crowne, being close under the top very faire wrought: in mine opinion, the workmanship of so much gold few men can amend. It was adorned and decked with rich and precious stones abundantly, among the which one was a rubie, which stood a handfull higher then the top of the crown upon a small wier, it was as big as a good beane: the same crown was lined with a faire blacke Sable, worth by report 40. robles.

Wee sawe all his majesties robes which were very richly set with stones, they shewed us manie other great stones of divers kindes, but the most part of them were uneven, in maner as they came out of the worke, for they doe more esteeme the greatnesse of stones, then the proportion of them.

We saw two goodly gownes which were as heavie as a man could easily carrie, all set with pearles over and over: the gards or borders round about them were garnished with saphires and other good stones abundantly. One of the same gownes was very rich, for the pearles were very large, round and orient: as for the rest of his gownes and garments, they were of rich tissue and cloth of gold and all furred with very blacke Sables.

When we had sufficiently perused all these things, they willed master Gray at his arrivall in England, to provide if he could, such jewels and rich clothes as he had seene there, and better if he could, declaring that the Emperour would gladly bestow his money upon such things.

So we tooke our leave the same time, and departed towards Vologda immediatly.

The maners, usages, and ceremonies of the Russes.

Of the Emperour.

THE Emperours name in their tongue is Ivan Vasilivich, that is as much to say, as John the sonne of Vasilie and by his princely state hee is called Otesara, as his predecessors have bene before, which to interprete, is a king, that giveth not tribute to any man. And this word Otesara his majesties interpreters have of late dayes interpreted to be Emperour, so that now hee is called Emperour and great Duke of all Russia , &c. Before his father they were neither called Emperours nor kings but only Ruese Velike, that is to say, great Duke. And as this Emperor which now is Ivan Vasilivich, doeth exceede his predecessors in name, that is, from a Duke to an Emperour, even so much by report he doeth exceede them in stoutnesse of courage and valiantnesse, and a great deale more: for he is no more afraid of his enemies which are not few, then the Hobbie of the larks.

His enemies with whom he hath warres for the most part are these: Litto, Poland , Sweden , Denmarke, Lifland, the Crimmes, Nagaians, and the whole nation of the Tartarians, which are a stoute and a hardie people as any under the Sunne.

This Emperour useth great familiaritie, as wel unto all his nobles and subjects, as also unto strangers which serve him either in his warres, or in occupations: for his pleasure is that they shall dine oftentimes in the yeere in his presence, and besides that he is oftentimes abroad, either at one Church or another, and walking with his noble men abroad. And by this meanes he is not onely beloved of his nobles and commons, but also had in great dread and feare through all his dominions, so that I thinke no prince in Christendome is more feared of his owne then he is, nor yet better beloved. For if he bid any of his Dukes goe, they will runne, if he give any evil or angrie worde to any of them, the partie will not come into his majesties presence againe of a long time if he be not sent for, but will faine him to be very sicke, and will let the haire of his head grow very long, without either cutting or shaving, which is an evident token that hee is in the Emperors displeasure: for when they be in their prosperity, they account it a shame to weare long haire, in consideration whereof, they use to have their heads shaven.

His majesty heareth all complaints himselfe, and with his owne mouth giveth sentence, and judgement of all matters, and that with expedition: but religious matters he medleth not withall, but referreth them wholly unto the Metropolitane.

His majestie retaineth and well rewardeth all strangers that come to serve him, and especially men of warre.

Hee delighteth not greatly in hawking, hunting, or any other pastime, nor in hearing instruments or musicke, but setteth all his whole delight upon two things: First, to serve God, as undoubtedly he is very devoute in his religion, and the second, howe to subdue and conquere his enemies.

He hath abundance of gold and silver in his owne handes or treasurie: but the most part of his know not a crowne from a counter, nor gold from copper, they are so much cumbred therewithall, and he that is worth 2. 3. or 4. grotes, is a rich man.

Of their Religious men.

THE Metropolitane is next unto God, our Lady and S. Nicholas excepted: for the Emperors majesty judgeth & affirmeth him to be of higher dignitie then himselfe; for that, saith he, he is Gods spiritual officer, and I the Emperour am his temporall officer, and therefore his majestie submitteth himselfe unto him in many things concerning religious matters, as in leading the Metropolitans horse upon Palme sunday, and giving him leave to sitte on a chaire upon the 12. day, when the river Mosco was in blessing, his majestie standing on the yce.

All matters of religion are reformed by the Metropolitane, he heareth the causes and giveth sentence as himselfe listeth, and is authorized so to doe, whether it be to whip, hang or burne, his will must needs be fulfilled.

They have both monks, friers and nunnes, with a great number of great & rich monasteries: they keepe great hospitalitie, and doe relieve much poore people day by day. I have bene in one of the monasteries called Troietes, which is walled about with bricke very strongly like a castle, and much ordinance of brasse upon the walles of the same. They told me themselves that there are seven hundred brethren of them which belong unto that house. The most part of the lands, towns, and villages which are within 40. miles of it, belong unto the same. They shewed me the church, wherein were as many images as could hang about, or upon the wals of the Church round about, and even the roofe of the church was painted ful of images. The chiefe image was of our Ladie, which was garnished with gold, rubies, saphirs and other rich stones abundantly. In the midst of the church stood 12. waxe tapers of two yards long, and a fathom about in bignesse, & there stands a kettle full of waxe with about 100. weight, wherein there is alwayes the wicke of a candle burning, as it were a lampe which goeth not out day nor night.

They shewed me a coffin covered with cloth of gold which stoode upon one side within their church, in which they told me lay a holy man, who never eate or dranke, and yet that he liveth. And they told me (supposing that I had beleeved them) that he healeth many diseases, and giveth the blind their sight, with many other miracles, but I was hard of belief because I saw him worke no miracle whilest I was there.

After this they brought me into their sellers, and made me taste of divers kinds of drinks, both wine and beere, mead and quassie, of sundry colours and kinds. Such abundance of drink as they have in their sellers, I doe suppose few princes have more, or so much at once.

Their barrels or vessels are of an unmeasurable bignes & sise: some of them are 3. yards long and more, and 2. yards & more broad in their heads: they conteine 6. or 7. tunnes a piece: they have none in their sellers of their owne making that are lesse then a tunne. They have 9. or 10. great vautes which are full of those barrels which are seldome remooved : for they have trunks which come downe through the roofe of the vautes in sundry places, through which they powre drinke downe, having the caske right under it to receive the same, for it should be a great trouble to bring it all downe the stayres.

They give bread, meat and drinke unto all men that come to them, not onely while they are at their abbey, but also when they depart, to serve them by the way.

There are a great number of such monasteries in the Realm, and the Emperors majesty rideth oftentimes from one to another of them, and lieth at them 3. or 4. daies together.

The same monkes are as great merchants as any in the land of Russia , and doe occupy buying and selling as much as any other men, and have boats which passe too and fro in the rivers with merchandize from place to place where any of their countrey do traffike.

They eate no flesh during their lives as it is reported: but upon Sunday, Munday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday it is lawful for them to eate egges, butter, cheese and milke, and at all times to eate fish, and after this sort they lead their lives.

They weare all blacke garments, and so doe none other in all the lande, but at that abbey onely.

They have no preachers no not one in al the land to instruct the people, so that there are many, & the most part of the poore in the country, who if one aske them how many gods there be, they wil say a great many, meaning that every image which they have is a god: for all the countrey and the Emperours majesty himselfe wil blesse and bowe, and knocke their heads before their images, in so much that they will crie earnestly unto their images to helpe them to the things which they need. Al men are bound by their law to have those images in their houses, and over every gate in all their townes and cities are images set up, unto which the people bow and bend, and knocke their heads against the ground before them: as often as they come by any church or crosse they do in like maner. And when they come to any house, they blesse themselves 3. or 4. times before they will salute any man in the house.

They reckon and hold it for great sinne to touch or handle any of their images within the circle of the boord where the painting is, but they keep them very daintily, and rich men deck them over and about with gold, silver and stones, and hang them over and about with cloth of gold.

The priestes are married as other men are, and weare all their garments as other men doe, except their nightcaps, which is cloth of some sad colour, being round, & reacheth unto the eares: their crownes are shaven, but the rest of their haire they let grow, as long as nature will permit, so that it hangeth beneath their eares upon their shoulders: their beards they never shave: if his wife happen to die, it is not lawfull for him to mary againe during his life.

They minister the Communion with bread and wine after our order, but he breaketh the bread and putteth it into the cup unto the wine, and commonly some are partakers with them: and they take the bread out againe with a spoon together with part of the wine, and so take it themselves, and give it to others that receive with them after the same maner.

Their ceremonies are al as they say, according to the Greeke Church used at this present day, and they allow no other religion but the Greeks, and their owne: and will not permit any nation but the Greeks to be buried in their sacred burials, or churchyards.

All their churches are full of images, unto the which the people when they assemble, doe bowe and knocke their heads, as I have before said, that some will have knobbes upon their foreheads with knocking, as great as egges.

All their service is in the Russe tongue, and they and the common people have no other praiers but this, Ghospodi Jesus Christos esine voze ponuloi nashe. That is to say, O Lorde Jesus Christ, sonne of God have mercy upon us: and this is their prayer, so that the most part of the unlearned know neither Pater noster, nor the Beliefe, nor Ten commandements, nor scarcely understand the one halfe of their service which is read in their Churches.

Of their Baptisme.

WHEN any child is borne, it is not baptized until the next Sunday, and if it chance that it be not baptized then, it must tary until the second Sunday after the birth, and it is lawfull for them to take as many Godfathers and Godmothers as they will, the more the better.

When they go to the Church, the midwife goeth formost, carying the childe, & the Godfathers and Godmothers follow into the midst of the Church, where there is a small table ready set, and on it an earthen pot ful of warme water, about the which the Godfathers and Godmothers, with the childe, settle themselves: then the clearke giveth unto every of them a smal waxe candle burning, then commeth the priest, and beginneth to say certaine words, which the Godfathers and Godmothers must answere word for word, among which one is, that the childe shal forsake the devill, and as that name is pronounced, they must all spit at the word as often as it is repeated. Then he blesseth the water which is in the pot, and doth breathe over it: then he taketh al the candles which the gosseps have, and holding them all in one hand letteth part of them drop into the water, and then giveth every one his candle againe, and when the water is sanctified, he taketh the childe and holdeth it in a small tubbe, and one of the Godfathers taketh the pot with warme water, and powreth it all upon the childs head.

After this he hath many more ceremonies, as anoynting eares and eyes with spittle, and making certaine crosses with oyle upon the backe, head, and brest of the childe: then taking the childe in his armes, carieth it to the images of S. Nicholas, and our Ladie, &c. and speaketh unto the images, desiring them to take charge of the childe, that he may live, and beleeve as a Christian man or woman ought to doe, with many other words. Then comming backe from the images, he taketh a paire of sheares and clippeth the yong and tender haires of the childes head, in three or foure places, and then delivereth the childe, whereunto every of the Godfathers & Godmothers lay a hand: then the priest chargeth them, that the childe be brought up in the faith & feare of God or Christ, and that it be instructed to clinege and bow to the images, and so they make an end: then one of the Godfathers must hang a crosse about the necke of the childe, which we must alwayes weare, for that Russe which hath not a crosse about his necke they esteeme as no Christian man, and thereupon they say that we are no Christians, because we do not weare crosses as they do.

Of their Matrimonie.

THEIR matrimonie is nothing solemnized, but rather in most points abhominable, and as neere as I can learne, in this wise following.

First, when there is love betweene the parties, the man sendeth unto the woman a small chest or boxe, wherein is a whip, needles, threed, silke, linnen cloth, sheares, and such necessaries as shee shall occupie when she is a wife, and perhaps sendeth therwithall raisins, figs or some such things, giving her to understand, that if she doe offend, she must be beaten with the whip, & by the needles, threed, cloth, &c. that she should apply her selfe diligently to sowe, and do such things as shee could best doe, and by the raisins or fruites he meaneth if she doe well, no good thing shalbe withdrawn from her, nor be too deare for her: and she sendeth unto him a shirt, handkerchers, and some such things of her owne making. And now to the effect.

When they are agreed, and the day of marriage appointed, when they shall goe towardes the Church, the bride will in no wise consent to go out of the house, but resisteth and striveth with them that would have her out, and faineth her selfe to weepe, yet in the end, two women get her out, and lead her towards the church, her face being covered close, because of her dissimulation, that it should not be openly perceived: for she maketh a great noise, as though she were sobbing and weeping, until she come at the Church, and then her face is uncovered. The man commeth after among other of his friends, and they cary with them to the church a great pot with wine or mead: then the priest coupleth them together much after our order, one promising to love and serve the other during their lives together, &c. which being done, they begin to drinke, and first the woman drinketh to the man, and when he hath drunke he letteth the cuppe fall to the ground, hasting immediatly to tread upon it, and so doth she, and whether of them tread first upon it must have the victorie and be master at all times after, which commonly happeneth to the man, for he is readiest to set his foot on it, because he letteth it fall himselfe, then they goe home againe, the womans face beeing uncovered. The boyes in the streetes crie out and make a noyse in the meane time, with very dishonest wordes.

When they come home, the wife is set at the upper end of the table, and the husband next unto her: they fall then to drinking till they bee all drunke, they perchance have a minstrell or two, and two naked men, which led her from the Church daunce naked a long time before all the companie. When they are wearie of drinking, the bride and the bridegrome get them to bed, for it is in the evening alwayes when any of them are married: and when they are going to bedde, the bridegrome putteth certain money both golde and silver, if he have it, into one of his boots, and then sitteth down in the chamber, crossing his legges, and then the bride must plucke off one of his boots, which she will, and if she happen on the boote wherein the money is, she hath not onely the money for her labor, but is also at such choyse, as she need not ever from that day forth to pul off his boots, but if she misse the boot wherin the money is, she doth not onely loose the money, but is also bound from that day forwards to pull off his boots continually.

Then they continue in drinking and making good cheere three daies following, being accompanied with certaine of their friends, and during the same three daies he is called a Duke, & shee a dutches, although they be very poore persons, and this is as much as I have learned of their matrimony: but one common rule is amongst them, if the woman be not beaten with the whip once a weeke, she will not be good, and therefore they looke for it orderly, & the women say, that if their husbands did not beate them, they should not love them.

They use to marry there very yong, their sonnes at 16. and 18. yeeres olde, and the daughters at 12. or 13. yeeres or yonger: they use to keepe their wives very closely, I meane those that be of any reputation, so that a man shall not see one of them but at a chance, when she goeth to church at Christmas or at Easter, or els going to visite some of her friends.

The most part of the women use to ride a stride in saddles with styrrops, as men do, and some of them on sleds, which in summer is not commendable.

The husband is bound to finde the wife colours to paint her withall, for they use ordinarily to paynt themselves: it is such a common practise among them, that it is counted for no shame: they grease their faces with such colours, that a man may discerne them hanging on their faces almost a flight shoote off: I cannot so well liken them as to a millers wife, for they looke as though they were beaten about the face with a bagge of meale, but their eye browes they colour as blacke as jeat.

The best propertie that the women have, is that they can sowe well, and imbroder with silke and golde excellently.

Of their burial.

WHEN any man or woman dieth, they stretch him out, and put a new paire of shooes on his feete, because he hath a great journey to goe: then doe they winde him in a sheet, as we doe, but they forget not to put a testimonie in his right hand, which the priest giveth him, to testifie unto S. Nicholas that he died a Christian man or woman. And they put the coarse alwayes in a coffin of wood, although the partie be very poor: and when they goe towards the Church, the friends and kinsemen of the partie departed carrie in their hands small waxe candles, and they weepe and howle, and make much lamentation.

They that be hanged or beheaded, or such like, have no testimonie with them: how they are received into heaven,. it is a wonder, without their pasport.

There are a great number of poore people among them which die daily for lacke of sustenance, which is a pitifull case to beholde: for there hath beene buried in a small time, within these two yeeres, above 80. persons young and old, which have died onely for lacke of sustenance: for if they had had straw and water enough, they would make shift to live: for a great many are forced in the winter to drie straw and stampe it, and to make bread thereof, or at the least they eate it in stead of bread. In the summer they make good shift with grasse, herbes and rootes: barks of trees are good meat with them at all times. There is no people in the world, as I suppose, that live so miserably as do the poverty in those parts: and the most part of them that have sufficient for themselves, and also to relieve others that need, are so unmerciful that they care not how many they see die of famine or hunger in the streets.

It is a countrey full of diseases, divers, and evill, and the best remedie is for anie of them, as they holde opinion, to goe often unto the hote houses, as in a maner every man hath one of his owne, which hee heateth commonly twise every weeke, and all the housholde sweate, and wash themselves therein.

The names of certaine sortes of drinkes used in Russia , and commonly drunke in the Emperours Court.

THE first and principall meade is made of the juice or liccour taken from a berrie called in Russia , Malieno, which is of a marvellous sweete taste, and of a carmosant colour, which berry I have seene in Paris .

The second meade is called Visnova, because it is made of a berry so called, and is like a black gooseberrie: but it is like in colour and taste to the red wine of France.

The third meade is called Amarodina or Smorodina, short, of a small berry much like to the small rezin, and groweth in great plentie in Russia .

The fourth meade is called Cherevnikyna, which is made of the wilde blacke cherry.

The fift meade is made of hony and water, with other mixtures.

There is also a delicate drinke drawn from the root of the birch tree, called in the Russe tongue Berozevites, which drinke the noble men and others use in Aprill, May, and June, which are the three moneths of the spring time: for after those moneths, the sappe of the tree dryeth, and then they cannot have it.

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1557 AD (1)
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