An incredibly busy day today – exams are drawing near – and so Beach is going to put up a cheat post with apologies, using an extract sent in by a reader. This appeared a couple of weeks ago and was pasted under a previous post on Amazons. However, Beachcombing is not interested, at least for present purposes, in the same thing as his correspondent: female fighting and fighters. His mouth though dropped open when the question of the queen’s language in the extract below came up. So much so that he has spent a lazy few minutes, in an otherwise frenetic day, looking into this question and has got nowhere.
On the second day after our arrival at the port of Kailukari the princess summoned the captain, officers and merchants to a banquet she had prepared for them, according to her custom…. When I greeted the princess she said to me in Turkish, ‘How are you? Are you well?’ She seated me near her…She asked me from which country I came. I said ‘From India’. She said: ‘The pepper country?’ I said yes. She asked about that country and events there and I answered her. She said ‘I must invade it and take possession of it. Its wealth and its soldiers please me.’ I said to her ‘do so….
Some basic background. This text appears in the fourteenth century Travels of Ibn Battutah. Ibn Battutah is a generally and demonstrably truthful correspondent, though there are some concerns about later additions to his original. Kailukari, the port where the queen dwells, is a bit of a mystery. But it is certainly to the east of India. Cambodia is one of the solutions given though there is no need to be so exact. It appears that this was a nation in contact with India and also a nation that was not of the faith (i.e. Islam). Let’s keep it generic and just think of the south-east Asia.
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