The Travels Of Marco Polo - Volume 2 Of 2 By Marco Polo And Rustichello Of Pisa











































 -  414). Mas'udi also says: The Russians
have in their country a silver-mine similar to that which exists in
Khorasan - Page 920
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414).

Mas'udi also says:

"The Russians have in their country a silver-mine similar to that which exists in Khorasan, at the mountain of Banjhir" (i.e. Panjshir; II. 15; and see supra, vol. i. p. 161). These positive and concurrent testimonies as to Russian silver-mines are remarkable, as modern accounts declare that no silver is found in Russia. And if we go back to the 16th century, Herberstein says the same. There was no silver, he says, except what was imported; silver money had been in use barely 100 years; previously they had used oblong ingots of the value of a ruble, without any figure or legend. (Ram. II. 159.)

But a welcome communication from Professor Bruun points out that the statement of Ibn Batuta identifies the silver-mines in question with certain mines of argentiferous lead-ore near the River Mious (a river falling into the sea of Azof, about 22 miles west of Taganrog); an ore which even in recent times has afforded 60 per cent. of lead, and 1/24 per cent. of silver. And it was these mines which furnished the ancient Russian rubles or ingots. Thus the original ruble was the saumah of Ibn Batuta, the sommo of Pegolotti. A ruble seems to be still called by some term like saumah in Central Asia; it is printed soom in the Appendix to Davies's Punjab Report, p. xi. And Professor Bruun tells me that the silver ruble is called Som by the Ossethi of Caucasus.[2]

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