The Library of History

Page 188

Page 188 They invite likewise Strangers to their Feasts, and after all's over, they ask who they are, and what's their Business. In the very midst of Feasting, upon any small occasion, it's ordinary for them in a heat to rise, and without any regard of their Lives, to fall to it with their Swords. For the opinion of Pythagoras prevails much amongst them, that Mens Souls are Immortal, and that there is a Transmigration of them into other Bodies, and after a certain time they live again; and therefore in their Funerals they write Letters to their Friends, and throw them into the Funeral Pile, as if they were to be read by the Deceas'd. In their Journeys and Fights they use Chariots drawn with Two Horses, which carry a Charioteer and a Souldier, and when they meet Horsemen in the Battle, they fall upon their Enemies with their Saunians; then quitting their Chariots, they to it with their Swords. There are some of them that so despise Death, that they'l Fight naked, with something only about their Loyns. They carry along with them to the Wars for their Servants Libertines, chosen out of the poorer sort of People, whom they make use of for Wagoners, and Pedees. When the Army is drawn up in Battalia, it's usual for some of 'em to step out before the Army, and to challenge the stoutest of their Enemy to a single Combat, brandishing their Arms to terrify their Adversary. If any comes forth to fight with them, then they sing some Song in commendation of the valiant Acts of their Ancestors, and blazon out their own Praises: On the contrary they vilify their Adversary, and give forth slighting and contemptuous Words, as if he had not the least Courage. When at any time they cut off their Enemies Heads, they hang 'em about their Horses Necks.

They deliver their Spoils to their Servants, all besinear'd with Blood, to be carry'd before them in Triumph, they themselves in the mean time singing the triumphant Paean. And as the chief of their Spoils, they fasten those that they have kill'd, over the Doors of their Houses, as if they were so many Wild Beasts taken in Hunting. The Heads of their Enemies that were the chiefest Persons of Quality, they carefully deposite in Chests, emblaming them with the Oyl of Cedars, and shewing them to Strangers, glory and boast how that some of their Ancestors, their Fathers or themselves (though great Sums of Money have been offer'd for them) yet have refus'd to accept 'em.

Some glory so much upon this account, that they refuse to take for one of these heads its weight in Gold; in this manner exposing their barbarous Magnanimity. For it's brave and generous indeed not to sell the Ensigns of true Valour; but to fight with the dead Bodies of those that were Men like our selves, resembles the cruelty of wild Beasts.

Their Garments are very strange; for they wear party coloured Coats, interwoven here and there with divers sorts of Flowers; and Hose which they call Brac •. They make likewise their Cassocks of † Basket-work join'd together with Laces on the inside, and chequer'd with many pieces of work like Flowers; those they wear in Winter are thicker, those in Summer more slender.

Their defensive Arms are a Shield, proportionable to the height of a Man, garnish'd with their own Ensigns.

Some carry the shapes of Beasts in Brass, artifically wrought, as well for Defence as Ornament. Upon their Heads they wear Helmets of Brass, with large Pieces of Work rais'd upon 'em for ostentation sake, to be admir'd by the Beholders; for they have either Horns of the same Mettal joyn'd to them, or the shapes of Birds and Beasts carv'd upon them. They have Trumpets after the Barbarian manner, which in sounding make a horrid noise, to strike a terror fit and proper for the occasion. Some of them wear Iron Breast-plates, and hookt; but others, content with what Arms Nature affords them, fight naked. For Swords, they use a long and broad Weapon call'd Spatha, which they hang cross their right Thigh by Iron or Brazen Chains. Some gird themselves over their Coats, with Belts gilt with Gold or Silver. For Darts they cast those they call Launces, whose Iron Shafts are a Cubit or more in length, and almost Two Hands in breadth.

For their Swords are as big as the Saunians of other People; but the Points of their Saunians are larger than those of their Swords; some of them are straight, others bow'd and bending backwards, so that they not only cut, but

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books