The Tour of the world project:

Pedro Ordóñez de Ceballos,
El viaje del mundo (Madrid: 1614).

Prologue to the reader

Uploaded on 17 October 2011 by .

Permalink for this paragraph 0 [p. iv r]

Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Divine Chrysostom1 teaches us that there are two aims with which which we will please God in what we we do in public, or produce in writing, and which may be deduced privately: these are the greater glory of God, and some example, or comfort, for the listeners. The Lord himself says so according to St Matthew chapter 5[:16]: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven’.2 With these two aims (prudent reader) I dared to write this story, for the glory of God, for whose love I lived most of my experiences, some difficult, others happy. And so that you are encouraged in your own pilgrimages and trials, and that wherever these may happen, even in the Orient, you consider that if what you do has these two aims then you are born for God; and in your Sunset consider that this life is ending so that you can delight in the Lord himself in the next. And in this way (doing these good works) you will spend mid-day3 wishing for the celestial Jerusalem, which is beatitude, which can be reached with a good beginning, middle, and end.4

Permalink for this paragraph 0 God had a great wish that his Israelite people had the will to conquer the promised land, as can be seen in the Book of Numbers chapter 13, where it says that His Captain Moses sent explorers to see it and survey all of it, and – after it was had been well inspected and [p. iv v] reviewed – bring some fruit as a sign of its fertility and abundance, so that seeing it, and eager to enjoy such a fertile and abundant land, they were motivated to conquer it and win it from the idolaters that possessed it. The explorers went in, and brought that bunch of grapes which, being so extremely fertile, had to be hoisted on a thick spear, and born on their shoulders.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 From the age of nine, the divine Moses, Jesus Christ, sent me around the world in the company of his explorers, and even [among] his most humble. From this age until I was forty-seven I wandered as a pilgrim, seeing the world, travelling in it over thirty thousand leagues5, as you will see in the progress of this story, touching all its five parts, Europe, Africa, Asia, America and Magallanica. Europe, having been born in it, and going to all of its greater kingdoms, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Flanders, and its States, Jerusalem in Syria, visiting all the holy sites, where our Redemprion took place: ports in Arabia Felix,6 in Karamania,7 Greece, Georgia, and the infinity of islands of the Mediterranean Sea, the Kingdoms of Denmark and ports on its mediterranean sea, Norway, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Iceland. In Africa, Tunisia, Ceuta, Morocco, Fez, the Cape Verde [Islands], the rivers in Congo, the port in Monomotapa,8 in the Principality of Cefala,9 Madagascar, and Magadojo,10 in Abasia,11 in Russia, and others. In Asia, in, the Philippines, China, in the Kingdoms of Cochinchina, where I picked the bunch of the most fertile fruit, which was to baptise the Queen, Viceroys, Captains, and [p. v r] a great number of other people, as far as the Kingdom of Champa, and the cape of Cicir.12 I stopped at ports Cambodia, Malacca, Siam, Pegu Now Bago, in Burma; the Kingdoms of the great Mogor,13 Meliapur,14 the Kingdom of Narsinga or Bisnaga,15 where I visited the holy sepulchre of the Apostle St Thomas, cape Camori,16 [and] fisheries and Kingdoms, as far as the famous city of Goa, head of the Orient. I stopped in Dio17 and Damam,18 ports of the great Kingdom of de Cambaya, and in others of Persia, as far as Oromuz,19 and in many islands, Japan, the Javas, Humatria,20 Ceylon, and another infinite number of islands. In the lands of América, which are the Indies of Castile, I have been in all its Kingdoms and Provinces: Cartagena, Santa Marta, Veragua, Santa Fé, the New Kingdom of Granada, Antioquia, Popayán, the Kingdom of Quito, and in the provinces of the Quijo [Indians] I picked another great such fruit from the idolaters of war, where the trials [undergone] were so immense, that I had to carry [this fruit] even on my shoulders, putting my life in such risks, and spending a great quantity of money. There I settled twelve towns of Aucae [Indians], baptising them and teaching them. I travelled around all of Peru, as far as Potosi, Charcas, Cuzco, Lima, and other provinces; all of New Spain,21 as far as Acapulco; Brasil; the Rio de la Plata; Tucuman; Paraguay; and some ports on the Magellan Straight, which I wanted to enter but was not able; and such an infinity of islands. And the fifth part of the world, which is the Magellanica, or tierra incógnita, of which I reached the part facing the Northern Sea, near the Magellan Straight, [stopping] in two ports.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 [p. v v]

Permalink for this paragraph 0 And because the prodigious experiences and adventures of my life I lived [first] whilst a layman and later becoming a Cleric, it seemed to me, discreet reader, [best] to describe them in two books. And so the first deals with the events [I lived] whilst a layman. And the second, what happened to me as a cleric. And to avoid interrupting my story, and to give news and knowledge of the lands, Kingdoms and Provinces, I composed as third book an Itinerary, or tour, about where one can travel, and its discoverers, and about where I travelled, and the famous things of the[se] Kingdoms, general and particular. And for a fourth book, to repay my debt to the homeland, I write of the glories of the most handsome city of Jaén,  Guard and Defense of the Kingdoms of Castile,22 with twelve of its wonders and twelve famous sons, which its famous history deserves be published in the future by winged fame. This I have left as its own book, which God willing will appear. All this, the one [book] and the other, is for the two aims I stated – the glory and honour of God, and example to fellow man; and also to delight, for it is generally said of stories that they do, and that the benefits that arises from them are great. The Prince of eloquence, Cicero, in the second [book] of De Oratore praised histories with magnificent names, declaring: ‘History is the witness of the times, the light of truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, and the messenger of antiquity’.23 Witness of the times, because through it we know of their creation until today, so that if I were to run over, I could tell [of] infinite writers and books, by whom we know in the present time of all the past; and in some parts what happened in others is known. Light of truth, for it teaches us with [p. vi r] what purpose virtue is to be loved, and what with it the virtuous reached, as well as the despised vice and punishment that the vicious deserve. Life of memory, because memory would be as dead, without histories to teach life, since [through them] some can learn from what others did. And finally, it is messenger of antiquity, since whenever we read histories, it is as if ambassadors were present, declaring their beliefs to us. For all these reasons, and others which I neglect to mention, Christian and prudent reader, you will understand that my eagerness to write this history is not my own praise, because – as Cicero says in the fifth [book] of the Epistulae ad Familiares – it is not just for anyone to praise himself, but rather glory and honour should be given to God, to whom we owe everything, as is said in chapter 51 of Ecclesiasticus, and for the advantage of others in this life, so that in the next He is enjoyed for eternity. Amen.

  1. i.e. St John Chrysostom (ca. 349-407). []
  2. This and other scriptural quotations are taken from the KJV. []
  3. i.e. life. []
  4. The syntax of this passage is extraordinarily contorted, because Ordóñez attempts to play on the words for beatitude ‘bienaventuranza’ and reach ‘alcanzar’ (‘alcanza’). []
  5. 166,680 km, or 103,570.15 miles. []
  6. i.e. the southern Arabian Peninsula. []
  7. South East Anatolia []
  8. Also known as Mutapa, in southern Africa. []
  9. Sofala, now Nova Sofala, in modern-day Mozambique []
  10. Mogadishu, in modern-day Somalia. []
  11. Unclear – May refer to Abazinia (Sp. Abasia or Abaza) in the Greater Caucasus []
  12. Unclear. []
  13. i.e. the Mughal Empire []
  14. Mylapore. []
  15. The Vijayanagara Empire. []
  16. Cape Comorin, or Kanyakumari []
  17. Diu. []
  18. Daman. []
  19. Ormus, or Hormus. []
  20. Sumatra, presumably. []
  21. i.e. Mexico. []
  22. ‘Guarda y defendimiento de los Reinos de Castilla’, which remains the city’s motto. []
  23. De oratore, II, 9, 36. []