ANTONIO PIGAFETTA

Patrician of Vicenza, and Knight of
Rhodes, to the very illustrious and very excellent
L P V L, the famous
Grand Master of Rhodes, his most
respected Lord.

Since there are several curious persons (very illustrious and very reverend lord) who not only are pleased to listen to and learn the great and wonderful things which God has permitted me to see and suffer in the long and perilous navigation, which I have performed (and which is written hereafter), but also they desire to learn the methods and fashions of the road which I have taken in order to go thither, [and who do] not grant firm belief to the end unless they are first well advised and assured of the commencement.
Therefore, my lord, it will please you to hear that finding myself in Spain in the year of the Nativity of our Lord, one thousand five hundred and nineteen, at the court of the most serene king of the Romans, with the reverend lord, Mons. Francis Cheregato, then apostolic proto-notary, and ambassador of the Pope Leon the Tenth, who, through his virtue, afterwards arrived at the bishoprick of Aprutino and the principality of Theramo, and knowing both by the reading of many books and by the report of many
lettered and well-informed persons who conversed with the said proto-notary, the very great and awful things of the ocean, I deliberated, with the favour of the Emperor and the above-named lord, to experiment and go and see with my eyes a part of those things. By which means I could satisfy the desire of the said lords, and mine own also. So that it might be said that I had performed the said voyage, and seen well with my eyes the things hereafter written.


Now in order to decypher the commencement of my voyage (very illustrious lord); having heard that there was in the city of Seville, a small armade to the number of five ships, ready to perform this long voyage, that is to say, to find the islands of Maluco, from whence the spices come: of which armade the captain-general was Fernand de Magaglianes, a Portuguese gentleman, commander of St. James of the Sword, who had performed several voyages in the ocean sea (in which he had behaved very honourably as a good man), I set out with many others in my favour from Barcelona, where at the time the Emperor was, and came by sea as far as Malaga, and thence I went away by land until I arrived at the said city of Seville. There I remained for the space of three months, waiting till the said armade was in order and eadiness to perform its voyage. And because (very illustrious lord) that on the return from the said
voyage, on going to Rome towards the holiness of our Holy Father, I found your lordship at Monterosa, where of your favour you gave me a good reception, and afterwards gave me to understand that you desired to have in writing the things which God of His grace had permitted me to see in my said voyage; therefore to satisfy and accede to your desire, I have reduced into this small book the principal things, in the best manner that I have been able.


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