With this mention Prester John ceases to have any pretension to historical existence in Asia (for we need not turn aside to Mandeville's fabulous revival of old stories or to the barefaced fictions of his contemporary, John of Hese, which bring in the old tales of the miraculous body of St Thomas), and his connexion with that quarter of the world gradually died out of the memory of Europe.(fn 3) When next we begin to hear his name it is as an African, not as an Asiatic prince; and the personage so styled is in fact the Christian king of Abyssinia.
These, of course, are barefaced forgeries, although of very ancient date; so are those which profess to be from the hand of *Ali, one of which is preserved in the same library.
So long as the reserve was available it was drawn upon to supply the void; but when that also was exhausted recourse was had to expedients, such as the borrowing, or rather seizure, of the vakuf revenues (1622) and the sale of crown properties; then ensued a period of barefaced confiscation, until, to restore public confidence in some measure, state budgets were published at intervals, viz.
Hence perhaps the barefaced imposture: "Cyriacus, papa Romanus, qui cum gaudio suscepit sanctas virgines et cum eis Coloniam reversus martyrium suscepit."