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Cooper Ward
Cooper Ward

Manuel Parroco Island Merchants Corporation


Thence it is two days' journey to the great city of Thebes, wherethere are about 2,000 Jews. They are the most skilled artificers insilk and purple cloth throughout Greece. They have scholars learned inthe Mishnah and the Talmud, and other prominent men, and at their headare the chief rabbi R. Kuti and his brother R. Moses, as well as R.Chiyah, R. Elijah Tirutot, and R. Joktan; and there are none like themin the land of the Greeks, except in the city ofp.17Constantinople. From Thebes it is a day's journey to Egripo[39], whichis a large city upon the sea-coast, where merchants come from everyquarter. About 200 Jews live there, at their head being R. ElijahPsalteri, R. Emanuel, and R. Caleb.




Manuel Parroco Island Merchants Corporation



All sorts of merchants come here from the land of Babylon, from theland of Shinar, from Persia, Media, and all the sovereignty of theland of Egypt, from the land of Canaan, and the empire of Russia[42],from Hungaria, Patzinakia[43], Khazaria[44], and the land of Lombardyand Sepharad. It is a busy city, and merchants come to it from everycountry by sea or land, and there is none like it in the world exceptBagdad, the great city of Islam. In Constantinople is the church ofSanta Sophia, and the seat of the Pope of the Greeks, since the Greeksdo not obey the Pope of Rome. There are also churches according to thenumber of the days of the year. A quantity of wealth beyond telling isbrought hither year by year as tribute from the two islands and thecastles and villages which are there. And the like of this wealth isnot to be foundp.21 in any other church in the world. And in thischurch there are pillars of gold and silver, and lamps of silver andgold more than a man can count. Close to the walls of the palace isalso a place of amusement belonging to the king, which is called theHippodrome, and every year on the anniversary of the birth of Jesusthe king gives a great entertainment there. And in that place men fromall the races of the world come before the king and queen withjugglery and without jugglery, and they introduce lions, leopards,bears, and wild asses, and they engage them in combat with oneanother; and the same thing is done with birds. No entertainment likethis is to be found in any other land.


This King Emanuel built a great palace for the seat of his Governmentupon the sea-coast, in addition to the palaces which his fathersbuilt, and he called its name Blachernae[45]. He overlaid its columnsand walls with gold and silver, and engraved thereon representationsof the battles before his day and of his own combats. He also set up athrone of gold and of precious stones, and a golden crown wassuspendedp.22 by a gold chain over the throne, so arranged that hemight sit thereunder[46]. It was inlaid with jewels of pricelessvalue, and at night time no lights were required, for every one couldsee by the light which the stones gave forth. Countless otherbuildings are to be met with in the city. From every part of theempire of Greece tribute is brought here every year, and they fillstrongholds with garments of silk, purple, and gold. Like unto thesestorehouses and this wealth, there is nothing in the whole world to befound. It is said that the tribute of the city amounts every year to20,000 gold pieces, derived both from the rents of shops and markets,and from the tribute of merchants who enter by sea or land.


Thence one returns to the land of Khuzistan which is by the riverTigris, and one goes down the river which falls into the Indian Oceanunto an island called Kish[170]. It is a six days' journey to reachp.89this island. The inhabitants neither sow nor reap. Theypossess only one well, and there is no stream in the whole island, butthey drink rain-water. The merchants who come from India and theislands encamp there with their wares. Moreover, men from Shinar,El-Yemen and Persia bring thither all sorts of silk, purple and flax,cotton, hemp, worked wool, wheat, barley, millet, rye, and all sortsof food, and lentils of every description, and they trade with oneanother, whilst the men from India bring great quantities of spicesthither. The islanders act as middlemen, and earn their livelihoodthereby. There are about 500 Jews there. 041b061a72


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