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0346 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 346 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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beseeching their gods to give them a fair wind ; which however was all to no purpose. Next came the Saracens, and wrought greatly to have a wind granted to them ; but neither had they anything for all their prayers. Whereupon they enjoined on my comrade and me that we should pour forth our prayers to our God to bestow it upon us. And if this took effect the greatest honour would be shown us. And the skipper said to me, speaking in the Armenian tongue, that

Persia to COLON, a distance of 1200 parasangs, deprived of a regular ministry, but Persia itself is lying in darkness". If this Colon be, as I suppose, Kulam, we may also believe it to be the Mal of Cosmas in the sixth century, seeing that Kulam-Malé is the name applied by the Arabs of the ninth century to the great pepper-port.

I find that Professor Kunstmann of Munich, in his Essays on the Medieval Missions, has taken up the view that Columbum lay upon the east side of Cape Comorin, and was identical with the Cael of Marco Polo. I do not, however, find any material ground alleged for this easterly position, except that it is so represented in the Catalan Map of 1375. This I cannot think of great weight against the chain of evidence for its identity with Quilon, adduced in my preface to Jordaanus, whilst the passage in Marco Polo which is therein alluded to, may very probably have misled the geographer. When Giovanni d'Empoli in 1503 describes the first visit of the Portuguese to Colour, and the delight of the Christians called Nazzareni to receive them, who can doubt that these are the Columbum and the Nasçarini of Jordanus ? And Marignolli tells us precisely that Columbum was in Mynibar (Malabar), which he as precisely distinguishes from. Maabar where St. Thomas lay, i.e. the east side of the Peninsula.

I suspect it will be found that the form Columbum or Columbo, as applied to Quilon, is founded on some form of the name Kulam formerly in use among the merchants and navigators of the Indian Seas. Sir Emerson Tennent tells us of a Hebrew MS. in the possession of the Cochin Jews, which in speaking of Sri Perumal the famous King of Malabar, says his rule extended from Goa to Columbo. This, Tennent takes for Columbo in Ceylon, but as Goa and Quilon would with tolerable precision form the Dan and Beersheba of the Malabar coast, I have little doubt that Quilon is the place meant.

Columbum was often represented as an island, but this must not be taken for Ceylon. Thus Pegolotti (pp. 359, 360) speaks of the "Columbine ginger which was the produce of the Island of Columbo of India". The World-Map in the Portulano of Andrew Bianchi, in St. Mark's library at Venice, also shows opposite the south-west corner of India the "Isola di Colonbi", whilst Fra Mauro's great map has also "Isola Colombo", placed to the east of India, and noted in the rubric for its pepper, great resort of merchants, and black lions (i.e., tigers).