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Busbecq's Account


    Non possum hoc loco praeterire, quae de gente accepi, quae etiamnum incolit Tauricam Chersonesum, quam saepe audiveram sermone, moribus, ore denique ipso et corporis habitu, originem Germanicam referre.       I cannot pass over what I have learned about a race which still inhabits the Crimea, which I had often heard to resemble a Germanic origin in speech, customs, in features even and in bodily appearance.
    Itaque me diu cupiditas tenuit videndi ab ea gente aliquem, et si fieri posset inde eruendi aliquid quod ea lingua scriptum esset, sed hoc consequi non potui. Casus tamen utcunque desiderio meo satisfecit.       For a while now the desire has held me of seeing someone from this race, and if it be possible to bring about, of eliciting from this one something which is written in that language, but this I was unable to achieve. Nevertheless happenstance eventually fulfilled my desire.
    Cum essent duo huc illinc delegati, qui nescio quas querelas nomine eius gentis ad principem deferrent, meique interpretes in eos incidissent, memores quid eis mandassem si id usu veniret, ad prandium illos ad me adduxerunt.       Since there were here two delegates from that place, who were conducting I know not what business in the name of that race, and as my interpreters had chanced upon them, mindful of what I had charged them if such should come about, they therefore led them to me for a lunch.
    Alter erat procerior, toto ore ingenuam quandam simplicitatem praeferens, ut Flander videretur aut Batavus:       One of them was taller, displaying in his overall appearance a certain native simplicity, so that he looked like a Fleming or Dutchman:
    alter erat brevior, compactiore corpore, colore fusco, ortu et sermone Graecus, sed qui frequenti commercio non contemnendum eius linguae usum haberet, nam superior vicinitate, et frequenti Graecorum consuetudine sic eorum sermonem imbiberat, ut popularis sui esset oblitus, interrogatus de natura et moribus illorum populorum, congruentia respondebat.       the other was shorter, with a stouter body, a swarthy color, Greek in origin and speech, but who with frequent interaction had a not disrespectable command of that language; for the first one on account of proximity and frequent dealings with Greeks had so taken in their speech as to have forgotten that of his own people; though when asked about the nature and customs of those peoples, he responded sensibly.
    Aiebat gentem esse bellicosam, quae complures pagos hodieque incoleret, ex quibus Tartarorum regulus, cum expediret, octingentos pedites sclopetarios scriberet, praecipuum suarum copiarum firmamentum: primarias eorum urbes, alteram Mancup vocari, alteram Sciuarin.       He was saying that the race was a warlike one which inhabited many villages even today, from which the commander of the Tartars, when he would set out, would enlist eight hundred infantry armed with firearms, the primary foundation of his own forces; and that of their main cities, one was called Mancup, the other Sciuarin.
    Ad haec multa de Tartaris eorumque barbarie: in quibus tamen singulari sapientia non paucos reperiri memorabat. Nam de rebus gravissimis interrogatos, breviter atque apposite respondere.       To this he added many things about the Tartars and their barbarism, but among whom he recounted not few were gifted with particular insight. For when they were asked about the most serious matters, they would respond concisely and to the point.
    Ea de caussa non temere dictitare Turcas, reliquas quidem nationes scriptam in libris habere sapientiam, Tartaros libros suos devorasse, ideo in pectoribus eam habere reconditam, quam promat cum opus sit, et veluti divina fundant oracula.       For this reason the Turks say not casually that, though other nations have wisdom written in books, the Tartars have devoured their books, and have it so stored in their breast, and produce it as the occasion warrants, that they issue something like divine oracles.
    Eosdem esse perquam immundis moribus: si iurulentum aliquid apponatur in mensa, nulla requirere coclearia, sed ius vola manus haurire. Enectorum equorum carnem devorare, nullo foco admotam, offas tantum sub equestri sella explicare, quibus equino calore tepefactis tanquam opipare conditis vesci.       These same ones have the most terrible habits: if some soup is placed on the table, they require no spoon, but rather the custom is to eat with the palm of the hand. They devour the meat of dead horses, served with no flame, but only lay out the pieces under a horse's saddle, and thus warmed by the horse's heat they eat them as if they were lavishly spiced.
    Gentis regulum e mensa argentea cibum capere, primum inferri ferculum caput equi, ut et postremum, quemadmodum apud nos primo novissimoque loco honos habetur butyro.       The chief of this people takes his food from a silver table; the head of a horse is brought in as the first dish, and also the last, just as with us the honor of the first and last dish is held by butter.
    Nunc adscribam pauca vocabula de multis quae Germanica reddebat, nam haud minus multorum plane diversa a nostris erat forma: sive quod eius linguae natura id ferat, sive quod eum fugiebat memoria et peregrina cum vernaculis mutabat: omnibus vero dictionibus praeponebat articulum tho aut the.       Now I will write down a few words of the many which sounded Germanic; for no less had many a form clearly different from ours, either because the nature of the language might cause this, or because his memory escaped him and he was mixing foreign words with native ones. Indeed, he would place the article tho or the before all his words.
    Nostratia aut parum differentia haec erant       Those the same as ours or little different were the following:
Broe. Panis.   Bread.
Plut. Sanguis.   Blood.
Stul. Sedes.   Seat.
Hus. Domus.   House.
VVingart. Vitis.   Vine branch.
Reghen. Pluvia.   Rain.
Bruder. Frater.   Brother.
Schuuester. Soror.   Sister.
Alt. Senex.   Old.
VVintch. Ventus.   Wind.
Siluir. Argentum.   Silver.
Goltz. Aurum.   Gold.
Kor. Triticum.   Grain.
Salt. Sal.   Salt.
Fisct. Piscis.   Fish.
Hoef. Caput.   Head.
Thurn. Porta.   Door.
Stein. Stella.   Star.
Sune. Sol.   Sun.
Mine. Luna.   Moon.
Tag. Dies.   Day.
Oeghene. Oculi.   Eyes.
Bars. Barba.   Beard.
Handa. Manus.   Hand.
Boga. Arcus.   Bow.
Miera. Formica.   Ant.
Rinck sive Ringo. Annulus.   Ring.
Brunna. Fons.   Well.
VVaghen. Currus.   Wagon.
Apel. Pomum.   Apple.
Schieten. Mittere sagittam.   To shoot an arrow.
Schlipen. Dormire.   To sleep.
Kommen. Venire.   To come.
Singhen. Canere.   To sing.
Lachen. Ridere.   To laugh.
Eriten. Flere.   To cry.
Geen. Ire.   To go.
Breen. Assare.   To roast.
Schuualth. Mors.   Death.
    Knauen tag erat illi Bonus dies: Knauen bonum dicebat et pleraque alia cum nostra lingua non satis congruentia usurpabat, ut       Knauen tag was for him 'Good day'; Knauen meant 'good', and he would use many other terms not agreeing well enough with our language, such as
Iel.  Vita sive sanitas.   Life or health.
Ieltsch. Vivus sive sanus.   Living or healthy.
Iel vburt. Sit sanum.   May it be well.
Marzus. Nuptiae.   Marriage.
Schuos. Sponsa.   Fiancée.
Statz. Terra.   Land.
Ada. Ovum.   Egg.
Ano. Gallina.   Hen.
Telich. Stultus.   Foolish.
Stap. Capra.   She-goat.
Gadeltha. Pulchrum.   Beautiful.
Atochta. Malum.   Bad.
VVichtgata. Album.   White.
Mycha. Ensis.   Sword.
Baar. Puer.   Boy.
Ael. Lapis.   Stone.
Menus. Caro.   Meat.
Rintsch. Mons.   Mountain.
Fers. Vir.   Man.
Lista. Parum.   Too little.
Schediit. Lux.   Light.
Borrotsch. Voluntas.   Desire.
Cadariou. Miles.   Soldier.
Kilemschkop. Ebibe calicem.   Drink up your cup.
Tzo Vvarthata. Tu fecisti.   Thou hast made.
Ies Varthata. Ille fecit.   He made.
Ich malthata. Ego dico.   I say.
    Jussus ita numerabat. Ita, tua, tria, fyder, fyuf, seis, sevene, prorsus, ut nos Flandri. Nam vos Brabanti, qui vos Germanice loqui facitis, hic magnifice vos efferre, et nos soletis habere derisui, ac si istam vocem pronunciemus rancidius, quam vos Seuen effertis.       When asked he counted thus: Ita, tua, tria, fyuf, seis, sevene, just as we Flemings do. For you men of Brabant, who fancy that you speak German, are accustomed to magnify yourselves and take us for a joke, if we should pronounce horribly what you say as Seuen.
    Prosequebatur delude Athe, nyne, thiine, thiinita, thunetua, thunetria etc. Viginti dicebat stega, triginta treithyen, quadraginta furdeithien, centum sada, hazer mille. Quin etiam cantilenam eius linguae recitabat, cuius initium erat huiusmodi:       He continued from there Athe, nyne, thiine, thiinita, thunetua, thunetria, etc. He said stega for 'twenty', treithyen for 'thirty', furdeithien for 'forty', sada for 'one hundred', hazer for 'one thousand'. Moreover he recited a song from this language, whose beginning was like this:
Wara wara ingdolou
Seu te gira Galtzou
Hoemisclep dorbiza ea.

 
    Hi Gothi an Saxones sint, non possum diiudicare.       Whether these be Goths or Saxons is not possible to discern.
    Si Saxones, arbitror eo deductos tempore Caroli magni, qui eam gentem per varias orbis terrarum regiones dissipavit. Cui rei testimonio sunt urbes Transilvaniae hodieque Saxonibus incolis habitatae. Atque ex iis ferocissimos fortasse longius etiam summoveri placuit in Tauricam usque Chersonesum, ubi quidem inter hostes religionem adhuc retinent Christianam.       If Saxons, I suspect that they were brought down in the time of Charles the Great, who scattered that people through the various parts of the world. As a testament to this fact there are Transilvania towns which even today are inhabited by Saxon settlers. And so perhaps it seemed fitting to move the most fierce of these even farther, all the way to the Crimea, where even among enemies they still retain the Christian religion.
    Quod si Gothi sunt, arbitror iam olim eas sibi sedes tenuisse Getis proximas. Nec erraturum fortasse, qui sentiat maiorem partem eius intervalli, quod est inter Gothiam insulam et Procopiam, quam hodie vocant, a Gothis aliquando insessam. Hinc diversa Gothorum, Westgothorum et Ostrogothorum nomina: hinc peragratus orbis victoriis et seminarium ingens barbaricae multitudinis.       But if they are Goths, I suspect that they have held these regions for themselves beside the Getae for a long time already. Perhaps he would not be mistaken, if one thought that the greater part of that expanse which exists between the island Gotland and what they now call Perekup was once settled by Goths. From here came the various names of the Goths, the West Goths and the Ostrogoths; from here a traversal of the world through victories and the great nursery of the barbaric horde.
    Habes quae de Taurica Chersoneso ex his Procopiensibus didici.       Now you have what I learned about the Crimea from these men of Perekup.