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0075 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 75 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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east is 20 claamy (about 200 feet) high, and is covered with gold-leaf from top to bottom ;1 another of the gates has a golden steelyard over it, and also a clock showing the twelve hours of the day by means of the golden figure of a man who drops a golden ball at every hour ;2 the houses have flat terraced roofs, over which, in hot weather, water is discharged from pipes ; the costume of the sovereign, his jewelled collars and cap, his silken robe embroidered with flowers, and without any opening in front, are all in accordance with particulars to be observed in efagies of the Byzantine emperors.3 But the most convincing proof that the Chinese authors had real information about the empire of Con-

the administrators there were twelve vice-prefects, a number likely to adhere in popular accounts. Gibbon also says : " The successive casualties of inheritance and forfeiture had rendered the sovereign proprietor of many stately houses in the city and suburbs, of which twelve were appropriated to the ministers of state" (cli. liii). Gibbon is, perhaps, here building on Benjamin of Tudela, whose words closely corroborate the popular view as exhibited in the Chinese notices : Twelve princely officers govern the whole empire by (the emperor's) command; each of them inhabiting a palace at Constantinople, and possessing fortresses and cities of his own" (p. 74) .

1 The Saga of Sigurd, quoted above, says : " The Emperor Alexius had heard of King Sigurd's expedition, and ordered the City-Port of Constantinople to be opened, which is called the GoLt-TowER, through which the emperor rides when he has been long absent from Constantinople, or has made a campaign in which he has been victorious" (p. 59). The Golden Gate stood towards the south end of the western wall of the city, not on the east as said in the Chinese reports. " The western side of the city is towards the land," says Masudi, " and there rises the Golden Gate with its doors of bronze" (Prairies d' Or, ii, 319). It was built by Theodosius, and bore the inscription, " Hcec loca Theudosius decorat post fata tgranni ; Aurea Scecla gerit qui portam construit auro." (Insc. Constant., in Banduri, i, p. 156.)

2 Pauthier quotes passages from Codinus about a brazen 9nodius, etc., over the arch of Amastrianus ; but they do not seem to afford any real corroboration of this account. See Banduri, at pp. 18, 73-74; and Du-cange, p. 170. The latter, indeed, speaks of a golden horologe in the Forum of Constantine ; but this is a slip, for the original, which he cites, has XaXrtovv (p. 134).

3 The Chinese story ascribes wing-like appendages to the emperor's cap. Pauthier refers to medals as showing these ; but I have not been able to verify this. The wings attached to the cap are rather an ancient Hindu feature, and are remarkably preserved in the state costume of the kings of Burma and the sultans of Java.

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