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0068 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 68 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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The people also have many elephants ; and they have much intercourse for trade with the Indians. And these are said to be Indians who are white from living in the north.

The worms from which the silk filaments are produced are found among these people ; they go through many alternations, and are of various colours. And in the art of keeping these creatures the barbarians show much skill and emulation."

  1. The passing remarks of some scholars have identified the Taugas of this curious passage with some of the tribes of Tur- kestan, but there can be no reasonable doubt that it refers to the

Chinese, though there is no allusion by Theophylactus to Since or   1
Seres, and it is pretty clear that he was repeating what some well-informed person had told him without himself at all understanding where the country lay of which he spoke. Deguignes first showed that the passage referred to China. Gibbon accepted this view, and Klaproth has expounded it in the same sense, apparently unaware that he had been anticipated.' And yet he does not explain the name applied to the Chinese or their capital.

Deguignes explained it as indicating the Ta-göei, great Göei, or Wei dynasty, which preceded the Sui, but there can be little doubt that it represents the obscure name of TAMGHAJ, once applied vaguely to China or some great country lying in the mists of the far east by the western nations of Asia, and by old Arabian and Persian writers. Thus in 1218, when Mahomed, Sultan of Khwarizm, received envoys from Chinghiz Khan, at Bokhara, he sent by night for one of those envoys who was a native of his own territories, and asked him if it was really true that Chinghiz Khan had conquered Tamghaj ?2

  1. I am not aware of any other mention of China in a Greek

1 Gibbon, eh. cxl, notes; Flap. 11Iem. Rel. à, l'Asie, iii, 261-4.

2 D'Ohsson, i, 203. That author refers in a note to the Taugas of Theophylactus. So also Albiruni terms the -city of Yangju in China " the Residence of the Faghfur, who has the title of Tamghc!j Khan" (Sprenger's Post-und Reise-route des Orients, p. 90). Abulfeda says the same quoting the "Kanun," which I believe is Albiruni's work—" the Faghfur of China, who is called Timghaj Khan, and who is the Great King, according to the history of Al-Niswy, where in his account of Khwarizm Shah and the Tartars, it is stated that the name of the King of the Tartars in China is Tooghaj." I take this from MS. extracts of