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0324 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 324 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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But in the winter he goeth to a certain other place [called Axam] 1 which is on the sea called the Sea of Bacuc.2 This city (of Soldania) is a great one, and a cool place, with an excellent supply of water, and many costly wares are brought thither for sales

3. Concerning the City of the Magi ; also of the Sea of Sand, and of the Land of Huz.

Departing from this city with a caravan, that is to say with a certain company, I proceeded in the direction of Upper India, and after travelling that way for many days I halted at the city of the three Magi, which is called CASSAN, a royal city and of great repute.4 But the Tartars have


`' The Caspian was very generally called so in the middle ages, from Baku, the chief port on the western shore. The archives of Genoa contain a curious document relating how, in 1374, one Lucchinus Tarigus of that city, with certain comrades as penniless as himself, started from Caffa with a fusta or light galley, which they took up the Don, and dragged sixty miles overland to the Edil (Wolga), and so descended to the Sea of Bacu, which they scoured, taking many prizes and much plunder, with which they returned, abandoning their vessel. On their way back, however, the heroes of this surpassing feat of buccaneering were taken and stript of much of their gains. (Gräberg de Hemso, Annali di Geog. e di Stattist., ii, 290.)

The Bollandist version says the winter quarter of the Emperor on the sea was called Axam. The usual winter resort of the Il-Khans was the plain of Moghan, on the Caspian, near the mouth of the Kur, which had been the quarter to which the hosts of their predecessors used to retire after their annual ravages. Axam (Asham ?) might however be Aujan, not far from Tabriz, which was often the spring and winter camp of the later Il-Khans, the Hujan of Clavijo, and where Gazan Khan built a fine city (D'Ohsson, v, 277 ; Quatremère's Rashid, p. 21-23). But in that case the mention of the sea of Baku is a mistake. If not, it may perhaps be Actam, which is several times mentioned in the life of Timur, as a place on the plain of Moghan where he used to pitch, especially for great hunting matches. (Cherefeddin, by Petis de la Croix, ii, 390; iii, 208, 398; D'Ohsson, iv, 151, 483.)

3 And in it there is a House of the Preaching Friars and likewise one of the Minor Friars." PAL.

4 Instead of this, PAL. has : " I came to the city of SABA, the place whence the three Magi came."