15th century Russian explorer of India, sailed down the Volga to Astrahan, was set upon by men and storms. losing wares, provisions - whole ships. Persia, then to India where three years were spent traveling, observing, writing. All this 25 years before da Gama.
He marveled at foreign ways and customs and wrote about as many as he came across in "Voyage Beyond Three Seas." These were simple descriptions of what people wore and ate; their habits, their beliefs. Sometimes the matter-of-fact was wrapped in fable, to wit:
"At Alland there lives the ghuggu, a bird; it flies at night, crying 'ghuggu' whenever it settles on a house-top, someone dies in the house; and when anyone tries to kill it, it begins to spit fire. As for monkeys, they live in the woods; and they have a monkey prince who leads an army. And when anyone harms them, they complain to their prince, who sets his army upon the offender. Then the monkeys fall upon that town and destroy the houses and kill the people. They are said to have a very large army and to speak a tongue of their own."
Six years on the road. Died short of Smolensk.