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0130 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 130 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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GHURGHAN and KATIGHORA, the last a name which seems simply borrowed from the Cattigara of Ptolemy ; KHAIGHUN, ASFIRIA,1 BURA, KARNABUL, ASKHRA, SHARKHU or SADCHU, BASHIAR, TAUGHA (recalling the Taugas of Theophylactus), etc. KASHGARA, apparently Kashgar, is put only four days distant from Katighora

upon the China Sea.

Exterior China, apparently corresponding in a general way to the Tangut of later days, is also mentioned by Edrisi. It is bounded by the Taghazghaz on the west, by Tibet on the south, and by the country of the Khizilji Turks on the north.

86. To a date only a few years later than Edrisi belongs Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled between 1159 and 1173, and of whom some account has been given by Mr. Major, in his Introduction to India in the Fifteenth Century, which ,need not be repeated. After speaking of the Island KHANDY, supposed to be Ceylon, this traveller says :-

" From hence the passage to CHINA is effected in forty days. This country lies eastward, and some say that the star Orion predominates in the sea which bounds it, and which is called the Sea of Nikpha. Sometimes the sea is so stormy, that no mariner can conduct his vessel ; and, whenever a storm throws a ship into this sea, it is impossible to govern it; the crew and the passengers consume their provisions and then die miserably, but people have learned how to save themselves from this fate by the following contrivance"; and so he proceeds to tell how the sailors sew themselves in bulls' hides, and being found floating in the sea are carried ashore by great eagles, and so forth. This stuff (literally a cock and a bull story) is all that Benjamin relates in connexion with China.2

It is remarked by the English editor of Benjamin that this author is the first European who mentions China by that name. But Edrisi at least precedes him, and a Sicilian Arab writing of Sin in Arabic at Palermo, has at least as good a title to be considered a European author writing of China, as a Spanish Jew

1 It is very possible that this Asfiria also represents the Ptolemaaan Aspithra, and perhaps some of the other names have a like origin, though too much corrupted to identify with the Greek.

2 Bohn's ed. (in Early Travellers in Palestine), p. 11G-117.