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0099 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 99 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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country, east of Scythia, at the extremity of the known world, and occupied by a wealthy and civilised people of character so eminently pacific as to deserve to be called not merely friends of peace but friends of life. Their country furnished an abundance of silk, insomuch that silk dresses, so rare and costly in Armenia, were there common to all classes. It also produced musk, saffron, and cotton. Peacocks were found there. Twenty-nine nations were comprised within its bounds ; and not all of equal civilisation, for one was addicted to cannibalism.1 The king, whose title was Jen pakur, had his residence in the city of Siurhia towards the Terra Incognita. The country of the Sine adjoined Jenasdan and embraced seven nations ; it contained many rivers and mountains, and extended likewise to the Unknown Land.2 According to the same historian, in the reign of Tigranes VI (A.D. 142-178) several bodies of foreign settlers, and amongst others Chinese, were placed in Gordyene or Kurdish Armenia, for the defence of the country.3

To more than one great Armenian family a Chinese descent was attributed. One of these families was that of the Orpelians, which in Georgia was known by the name of Jenpalcuriani from their supposed ancestor the Jen-pakur or Emperor of China. Another family was that of the Mamigonians, one which plays an important part in Armenian history. Their story is told by Moses of Chorene, who refers their establishment in Armenia to a date two hundred years before his own time, and therefore to

I Compare Ptolemy, vi, 16; and Marco Polo, i, 78.

2 St. Martin, Mem. sur l'Armenie, ii, 22, 23, 377. The Jenasdan of Moses of Chorene is perhaps the Empire of the Wei dynasty which ruled in Northern China with varying power from the fourth to the sixth century, and whose authority in Tartary was very extensive. Their capitals were various; Loyang was one of them. I do not know if this could be identified with Siurhia; but it may be observed that in the Syriac of the Singanfu inscription Loyang is supposed to be meant by Saragh. The Since would perhaps represent the Tgin reigning at Nanking.

3 St . Martin, ii, 47.

4 St. Martin says that Pakur is the Faghfur of the Mahomedan writers, the generic name applied to the Emperors of China. See note under § 85, infra.

I notice, however, that Pakor forms a part of the name or title of many of the Georgian kings in Deguuignes's list.