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0147 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 147 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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between China and Western Asia, not only introduced strangers from the remote West to China and its borders, but also carried Chinese to vast distances from the Middle Kingdom. Not only were corps of Alans and Kipchaks seen fighting in Tunking, but Chinese engineers were employed on the banks of the Tigris, and Chinese astronomers, physicians, and theologians could be consulted at Tabriz.' The missions of Kublai himself extended to Madagascar.

103. There must have been other Frank travellers to Cathay contemporary with the Polos, such as the German engineer, whom Marco mentions as employed under his father, his uncle, and himself, in the construction of mechanical artillery to aid Kublai Khan in his attack on the city of Saianfu or Siangyangfu in Hukong, but no other narrative from the time of their sojourn in China has come down to us.

An interesting chapter on Cathay is found in the geographical part of the work of Hayton, Prince of Gorigos, already alluded to. This prince, after long experience of eastern war and politics, having become in Cyprus a Monk of the Order of Preemonstrants, and afterwards visiting Avignon, Pope Clement V gave him an abbey in the city of Poitiers. Here in 1307 he dictated his history in French to Nicholas Faulcon. It contains in sixty chapters a geography of Asia, the history of the Mongol Khans, and notices of the Holy Land and the Eastern Christians.

The first fifteen chapters contain short successive accounts of the chief kingdoms of Asia, and form altogether probably the best geographical summary of that continent which had yet been

six feet and a half long by ten inches wide. The seal is thrice impressed on the face of the letter in red. It is five inches and a half square, containing six characters; " Seal of the Minister of State, Pacificator of Nations." The second letter is from I£hodabandah, otherwise called Oljaitu, and written in 130. The seal in this case contains the words, " By a supreme decree the Seal of the Descendant of the Emperor charged to reduce to obedience the 10,000 barbarous nations". A duplicate of this perhaps went to Edward II, as his reply, dated Northampton 16th October 1307, is in Rymer's Foedera (Remusat, u.s.)

1 See Polo, iii, 35; D' Ohsson, ii, 611; iii, 265; Quatremère's Rashid, pp. 195, 417, and Rashid's own grandiloquence, p. 39. Marco Polo's will bequeaths liberty and a legacy to a Tartar servant, thirty years after his return home.