[Here beginne the things that were seene and herde by me, Josaphat Barbaro, citizen of Venice, in twoo voiages that I made thone vnto Tana and thother into Persia.]
Thearthe (as the geometricians by evident reasons do prove) is as little in respect of the firmament, as a pricke made in the middest of the circumference of a circle; whereof by reason that a great parte is either covered wth water or else intemperate by excesse of heat or colde, that parte which is inhabited is by a great deale the lesser parte. Nevertheles, so little is the power of man, that fewe have been founde that have seene any good poron of it, and if I be not deceaved, none at all that hath seene the whole. In our time those that have seene some parte most coonly are merchauntmen or maryners, in which two exercises from the beginneng vnto this daie my Lordes and fathers the Venetians have beene and are so excellent that I believe they may verylie be called the principall. For syns the decaie of the Romaine estate (that sometime ruled over all) this inferior worlde hath been so divided by diversitie of languages, customes and religion, that the greatest parte of this little that is enhabited shulde have been unknowen, if the Venetian merchandise and marinership had not discovered it. Amongst whom, if there be any that have seene ought at this daye, I may reaken myself one: seeing I have spent all my yowthe and a great parte of myne age in ferre cuntries, amongst barbarouse people and men wthout civilitie, much different in all things from our customes, wheare I have proved and seene many things that, bicause they be not vsed in our parties, shulde seem fables to them (as who 4wolde saie) that were never out of Venice. Which in dede hath been the cause that I have not much forced either to write or to talke of that that I have seene.