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0082 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 82 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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cannot throw any light upon the identity of this Nicholas Coma-nus, or whatever his name was.

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   41. We have seen, in the early part of this Essay, that reason   id

   exists for believing in very early intercourse between India and   j

   China; but the Chinese annals appear to have lost all sight of   0

   this, for their first mention and knowledge of India is referred to   it

   13.C. 122, when Changkian, returning from his adventurous ex-   0

pedition to Bactriana, brought back intelligence about various

regions in the West. When in that country he observed among

j ;~

the articles exposed for sale certain canes, which struck him as being like those grown in the mountains of Kiongshan, and

   cloths also which he recognised as the production of the country   b


of Shu, i.e., Chingtufu in Szechuen. On inquiry he was told that these articles had been purchased by merchants in the

   country of SHINTU, otherwise called THIANCHU (Sind or India).   }i
This country lay some thousand li to the south-east of Tahia or Bactriana, and from all that he could gather could not be far distant from the province of Szechuen, which accounted for the importation of the articles which he had seen for sale. There were three roads by which Shintu might be reached from China; one, leading by the Kiang, very dangerous and difficult ; a second by the north and through the lands of the Hiongnu, who would certainly obstruct attempts at communication ; and a third, which would be the safest, by Szechuen. The emperor, pleased with the hope of adding to the list of his tributaries in those western countries, sent Changkian to attempt to enter India by the way of Kienwei (Siucheufu in Szechuen), and others by different roads. Indeed some ten attempts in all were made, but they were all as unsuccessful as Colonel Sarell's late attempt to follow in the steps of Changkian.1

I See Demailla (I can only refer to the Italian translation, vol. vii) ; Julien in J. As., ser. iv, tom. x, 91-2; Deguignes in lllem. de l'Acad., xxxii, 358. The Italian translation of Demailla is a curiosity. The editor, finding that the Chinese names were distasteful to the readers of his earlier volumes, changes them all into a more pleasing form. Thus Kublai figures as Vobalio, Wang Khan as Govannio, Ilehiktai as G'hitalio.