Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/45

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CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS

richtly bound, and certain religious pictures sent by the Archbishop of Goa; and he continued, in season and out of season, to press the faith upon his acceptance. The Shah, who was surrounded by Christians both in the harem and the Court, treated these importunities with toleration, and his courtesy encouraged the zealous priest to hope that he might number him among his converts.[1] A Persian merchant, who noticed with surprise the civility of the king towards Christians, had already circulated a report in Italy of his approaching admission into the Church, and Gouvea was surprised to meet at Ispahan with an embassy of Carmelite fathers sent by Clement VIII., with instructions to arrange the details attending the conversion of the country. These extravagances prejudiced the position of the Portuguese fathers, and they found that the Shah was beginning to grow weary of the whole affair. He, however, granted them leave to turn a large disused palace into a monastery, and to build a church.

Gouvea quitted Ispahan in company with a Persian envoy bound for Spain, who was the bearer of a letter from the Shah to Philip. The two other fathers remained behind to supervise the interests of their community. While Gouvea was still on his way to the coast, he received the pleasing news that war between Turkey and Persia had actually broken out.

The war was carried on by Rudolph in Europe and Abbas in Asia, till 1607, when the Emperor concluded the Peace of Sitvatorok, without consulting the convenience of his ally. The Shah was extremely displeased by an act that, without any warning, left him to bear the whole brunt of the campaign. It was while he was still suffering from the unfaithfulness of his European allies that Gouvea appeared for the

  1. Op. cit. pp. 134, 174.