A General History And Collection Of Voyages And Travels - Volume 1 - By Robert Kerr


















































































































 -  Though
entitled the travels of two Mahomedans, the travels seem to have been
mostly performed by one person only; the - Page 80
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Though Entitled The Travels Of Two Mahomedans, The Travels Seem To Have Been Mostly Performed By One Person Only; The

Latter portion being chiefly a commentary upon the former, and appears to have been the work of one Abu Zeid

Al Hasan of Siraf, and to have been written about the 803d year of the Hegira, or A.D. 915. In this commentary, indeed, some report is given of the travels of another Mahomedan into China. The MS. employed by Renaudot belonged to the library of the Count de Seignelay, and appears to have been written in the year 619 of the Hegira, or A.D. 1173. The great value of this work is, that it contains the very earliest account of China, penned above four hundred years earlier than the travels of Marco Polo, who was esteemed the first author on the subject before this publication appeared.

There are many curious and remarkable passages in these travels, which convey information respecting customs and events that are nowhere else to be found; and though some of these carry a fabulous appearance, the greatest part of them have been confirmed and justified by the best writers in succeeding ages. The first portion, or the actual narrative, begins abruptly, on account of some portion of the original manuscript being lost, which would probably have given the name and country of the author, and the date and occasion of his voyage.

In the accompanying commentary by Abu Zeid, we are informed that the date of the narrative was of the Hegira 237, A.D. 851, which circumstance was probably contained in the missing part of the manuscript; but though written then, it is probable that the first journey of the author was undertaken at least twenty years before that date, or in 831, as he observes, that he made a second journey into the same countries sixteen years afterwards, and we may allow four years for the time spent in the two journies, and the intervening space, besides the delay of composition after his last return.

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