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0203 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 203 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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countries with which they desire to have commerce. Next they reached NAJA,t tributary to Thathâh. IIere they have wine, figs, and black meddlars, and a kind of wood which fire will not burn. The Christians carry this wood away, believing that Christ was crucified upon it. Next they came to the BAJNAx,2 a people with beards and mustachios, and went twenty-two days through their territory which extended north to the confines of the SCLAVES. Next to the Jilin, a people who keep no cattle ; they marry their daughters and sisters without regard to unlawful affinities, and are subject to the Turks. They have a herb called Kalkan which they boil with their meat.3 Bezoars are found here, and malignant serpents haunt the country in the beginning of winter. Their houses are of wood and clay. Then to the BAG$RAJ, whose king is descended from 'Ali, and who are very skilful in the manufacture of arms.4 Next to TOBBAT, and travelled forty days therein. There was a great city there built of reeds and a temple made of ox leather covered with varnish. There is also an idol made of the horns of musk oxen.5 Next they came to KI`rAK, where the houses are of the skins of beasts, and there are vines with grapes which are half black and half white. There is also a stone here with which they produce rain as often as they will.' Gold is found on the surface, and diamonds are disclosed by the rivers. They have no king nor temple. They venerate greatly those who attain eighty years without being ill. The travellers were thirty-five days among them.' Then they came to the GIIUZ, whose city is of stone,

1 Or Baja.

2 On the three preceding peoples or countries, Harkah, Thathdh, and Naja, I can throw no light. The Bajnak are the Pechinegs, or IIaTgivaKtrac of the Greeks, much discoursed of by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who evidently stood in great fear of them, in his book De Administrando Imperio. In his time they were on the Dnieper and Dniester, but he tells us that fifty years before they had been driven from their original seats on the Atil and Geech (Wolga and Iaic) by the Uz (or Ghuz) and Khazars. Their original settlement is described by an Arab writer as having on the north Kipchak, to the south the Khazars, to the east the Ghuz, to the west the Slaves (Const. Porph. in Banduri Imper. Orientale, vol. i ; Defrémery, Fragments de Geographes, etc., in Jour. As., ser. iv, tom. xiii, 466 ; Dlasudi, Prairies cl' Or, i, 262) .

3 Kalank in Pers. is the kitchen herb purslain. The Ashkal, Szekely or Siculi, no doubt the same as these Jikil, are mentioned in the extracts by Defrémery just quoted (p. 473), as being to the south of the Majgars or Majars, who again were south of the Bajnaks.

4 Qu. Georgians ? (whose kings were Bagratidce); or Bulgarians ? (of the Wolga).

5 Some region of Siberia ?

6 On the rain-stone used by the Turk and Tartar tribes to conjure rain, and still known among the Kalmaks, see one of Quatremère's long but interesting notes on Rashiduddin, pp. 428 segq. ; also Hammer's Golden Horde, pp. 42 and 436. This stone was called by the Turks Jadah (Pers. Yadah). Is this the origin of our Jade-stone ? and is it connected with the (Pers.) word Jcidla, conjuring, in common use in India ?

7 The Kimaks are represented by Edrisi as the greatest of the Turk (or Tartar) nations. They had the Taghazghaz to the south, the Khiziljis

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