SYNOPSIS OF KRUMP'S JOURNEY FROM ASSIUT TO ESNA, UPPER EGYPT



On 30 October 1700 Krump arrived at Assiut from the north by boat. "This town," he wrote, "is especially renowned because all caravans that come to Egypt from Upper Egypt, all of Nubia, Borno, Fezzan, al-Gharb, the Funj kingdom and other Moorish [Islamic] lands, or who wish to go from here to the above-mentioned places, direct their journey to this spot. Here they form [into caravans] or deposit their goods. These latter can be carried very cheaply by water along the river Nile to Cairo, and the transaction thus be completed." [p. 179] Upon disembarking, the travelers did not enter the town, but went to "the camp where the jallabs (that is, the merchants) of the Ethiopian caravan along with their Barabra [Nubian-speaking servants; singular, Barbarin] stay. This place is directly adjoining the town, and resembles a great, wide courtyard." [p. 170] Because the missionaries were on exceptionally good terms with the local Turkish governor their party was given a private courtyard nearby in which to pitch their tents and secure their supplies.

On 1 November 1700 Krump observed that "today a great yearly fair was held here, to which people brought, among other things, a great number of camels and donkeys for the caravan." [p. 171] The missionaries began to purchase the necessary supplies for the impending desert journey. On 15 November 1700 they were introduced to "the commander and guide of our caravan," whose name was `Abdin. "He was the foremost of the merchants," Krump explained, "not only because he was an old, highly experienced man, but also because he had been sent by the king of Sinnar to Egypt to purchase things for him and necessities for the kingdom." [p. 179]

The Pasha of Manfalut told the assembling caravan that the customary route by way of al-Wah ("the oasis," probably meaning Kharga) was presently impassible due to the occupation of the oasis by hostile "Arabs." The royal merchants of Sinnar led by `Abdin advised patience, for though they were accompanied by a squadron of Funj cavalry, they wished to avoid combat. "The poorer Barabra," Krump noted, "could not wait for us, for they had already consumed a great deal and did not possess the means to maintain their camels for so long." [p. 178]

At Assiut, Krump was joined by Father Carlo da Cilento, age thirty-two. He had been a member of the Franciscan mission at Achmim for two years; fluent in Arabic and theology, he was also familiar with medicine and surgery. There arrived also the superior of the mission, who had been delayed in Cairo by a fever. Father Francisco Maria da Salemi was sixty-six and pale, but well-preserved for his age and very zealous. The final member of the Franciscan party was Father Joseph of Jerusalem, whom Krump found to be "experienced in all matters." [p. 186] The Franciscans were joined by two Jesuit Fathers, Antoine Granier and Antonio Paoletti. These were of French nationality, and had been greatly assisted by the French consul in Cairo. Krump and his colleagues suspected them of serving French political interests toward Ethiopia, but the men of both orders remained on friendly terms.

The caravan left Assiut on 25 November 1700. After a feint toward Kharga to confuse their enemies, they directed their march parallel to the Nile toward Esna.



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