Sir John Mandeville gives a very brief account of the Kingdom of Manzi; in fact, his summary of his supposed travels there lasts less than two pages. The Kingdom of Manzi, as he describes it, is “the best region of India”. Due to his wrongful notion that India is somehow a collection of islands, Mandeville claims that to reach this land one must voyage for several days cross the Indian Ocean. Once there, however, the Kingdom of Manzi is presented as being glorious and exotic.
Mandeville begins by describing the people of the Kingdom of Manzi. He first states that both Christians and Saracens live in the Kingdom due to its size, and later explains that its largest city houses “religious men, Christian friars, devout men”. This is strange, as Christianity in India in the Middle Ages was rare if present at all. He goes on to explain that there is no begging, because in all of the two thousand cities the kingdom holds, there is not a single poor person, which seems unlikely. He comments that the men have “wispy beards like a cat’s whiskers”, which is in keeping with his outlandish descriptions of the other strange people on the islands of India, and finishes by claiming that there are “fair-complexioned women in this region, and therefore some people call it Albania on account of its white people”. Because John Mandeville describes the Kingdom of Manzi as wonderful, pleasing and apparently perfect in every way, it can be assumed that his view of the people who live in the Kingdom of Manzi reflects what he values in people worldwide.
His first and main point is that it is a place populated by Christians, specifically devout and religious ones. This makes sense, as John Mandeville was a monk who would obviously value others under his religion. He goes into great detail describing the monastic abbey of the city of Cassay, the largest city in the Kingdom of Manzi (and apparently in “the whole world”). Mandeville apparently spends time with a monk of the abbey who is responsible for feeding the animals there, who are apparently the souls of dead men doing time in purgatory. He justifies using the leftover food in this way because the Kingdom of Manzi holds no poor people, which leads into the next claim.
Mandeville’s second claim is a little stranger; he claims that there are no poor people present in the entirety of the kingdom. Although traditionally, wealth and power are not supposed to be highly valued by Christians (especially monks, who live a humble and modest life), Mandeville clearly puts some stock in the idea of money. It is possible that his life of modesty in a monastery has caused him to look with greater fondness and even yearning to those who have more, which would explain why he references it so often throughout his narrative. It is also likely that he knows his audience will be impressed by wealth and power, and so he goes into great detail describing it, claiming that the people of Manzi have “plenty of food, and also great snakes, which they use in lavish feasts”, “fine towers”, “married women [who wear] crowns on their head”, et cetera. The strangest part of this is when Mandeville describes the animals; he claims that “the gentle and attractive animals [are] the souls of aristocrats and gentlemen, and those that are ugly [are] the souls of commoners”. This is a brutal perpetration of the elitism and classism that was common in the medieval period, but for a monk to make the claim is unusual and even contradictory to traditional Christian values.
Finally, Mandeville describes the people of the Kingdom of Manzi as being white. This is a clear sign that Mandeville bought into the idea of the “superior” white man and aversion to any people not like himself that was so common at the time. He needs the people of Manzi to be white so that it can be the greatest place on Earth in his eyes.