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Of Moscovie, which is also called Russia .

MOSCOVIE, which hath the name also of Russia the white, is a very large and spacious Countrey, every way bounded with divers nations. Towards the South and the East, it is compassed with Tartaria: the Northren side of it stretcheth to the Scytian Ocean: upon the West part border the Lappians, a rude and savage nation, living in woods, whose language is not knowen to any other people: next unto these, more towards the South, is Swecia, then Finlandia , then Livonia , and last of all Lituania . This Countrey of Moscovie, hath also very many and great rivers in it, and is marish ground in many places: and as for the rivers, the greatest and most famous amongst all the rest, is that, which the Russes in their owne tongue call Volga , but others know it by the name of Rha. Next unto it in fame is Tanais , which they call Don, and the third Boristhenes which at this day they call Neper. Two of these, to wit, Rha, and Boristhenes yssuing both out of one fountaine, runne very farre through the land: Rha receiving many other pleasant rivers into it, & running from the very head or spring of it towards the East, after many crooked turnings and windings, dischargeth it selfe, and all the other waters and rivers that fall into it by divers passages into the Caspian Sea. Tanais springing from a fountaine of great name in those partes, and growing great neere to his head, spreds it selfe at length very largely, and makes a great lake: and then growing narrowe againe, doth so runne for certaine miles, untill it fall into another lake, which they call Ivan: and therehence fetching a very crooked course, comes very neere to the river Volga : but disdaining as it were the company of any other river, doth there turne it selfe againe from Volga , and runnes toward the South, and fals at last into the Lake of Moeotis. Boristhenes, which comes from the same head that Rha doth, (as wee sayde before) carieth both it selfe, and other waters that are neere unto it, towards the South, not refusing the mixture of other small rivers: and running by many great and large Countreys fals at last into Pontus Euxinus. Besides these rivers, are also in Moscovie certaine lakes, and pooles, the lakes breede fish by the celestiall influence: and amongst them all, the chiefest and most principall is called Bealozera, which is very famous by reason of a very strong towre built in it, wherein the kings of Moscovie reserve and repose their treasure in all time of warre and danger.

Touching the Riphean mountaines, whereupon the snow lieth continually, and where hence in times past it was thought that Tanais the river did spring, and that the rest of the wonders of nature, which the Grecians fained and invented of olde, were there to be seene: our men which lately came from thence, neither sawe them, nor yet have brought home any perfect relation of them, although they remained there for the space of three moneths, and had gotten in that time some intelligence of the language of Moscovie. The whole Countrey is plaine and champion, and few hils in it: and towards the North it hath very large & spacious woods, wherein is great store of Firre trees, a wood very necessarie, and fit for the building of houses: there are also wilde beastes bred in those woods, as Buffes, Beares, and blacke Wolves, and another kinde of beast unknowen to us, but called by them Rossomakka: and the nature of the same is very rare and wonderfull: for when it is great with yong, and ready to bring foorth, it seeketh out some narrow place betweene two stakes, and so going through them, presseth it selfe, and by that meanes is eased of her burden, which otherwise could not be done. They hunt their buffes for the most part a horsebacke, but their Beares a foot, with woodden forkes. The north parts of the Countrey are reported to be so cold, that the very ice or water which distilleth out of the moist wood which they lay upon the fire is presently congealed and frozen: the diversitie growing suddenly to be so great, that in one and the selfe same fiebrand, a man shall see both fire and ice. When the winter doth once begin there it doth still more & more increase by a perpetuitie of cold: neither doth that colde slake, untill the force of the Sunne beames doth dissolve the cold, and make glad the earth, returning to it againe. Our mariners which we left in the ship in the meane time to keepe it, in their going up onely from their cabbins to the hatches, had their breath oftentimes so suddenly taken away, that they eftsoones fell downe as men very neere dead, so great is the sharpenesse of that colde climate: but as for the South parts of the Countrey, they are somewhat more temperate.

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Volga (Russia) (6)
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