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0400 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 400 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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called SUNZUMATU,1 which bath a greater plenty of silk than perhaps any other place on earth, for when silk there is at its dearest you can still have forty pounds for less than eight groats. There is in the place likewise great store of all kinds of merchandize, and likewise of bread and wine, and all other good things. [And seeing that there were in this place more people than I had seen in any other, when I asked how that came to pass, they told me that it was because the air of the place was so salubrious, insomuch that there were few that died of aught but old age].9

Wei-ho, the Chang-ho, and the Tien. This must surely be the canal itself, and the name seems to show that it has been in some way identified with the Hoang-ho. Linching is probably also the Lingui of Polo, and the Lincegam of Nieuhof.

1 There can be little doubt this is the Singuimatu of Polo, who nearly always substitutes gui for zu or chu, a Tartar idiom according to Martini (p. 145). Matu (matheu) signifies a place of river trade; literally a "horse's head", and so a "jetty". Marsden and Baldello Boni are probably right in identifying Singuimatu with Lintsin-chu, a well known city of Shantung, near the junction of the canal with the Wei River coming from the south-west. I am aware of what Klaproth has written on this subject, identifying the place with that called Fenchui-nanwang, where the river Wen-ho, introduced from the north-east, is made to divide its waters north and south in the manner described by Marco. He supposes the name in Polo to be a corrupt transcript of Fenchui-matheu, The Port of the Division of the Waters". I venture to doubt this ingenious suggestion; first, because the independent occurrence of the name in Odoric shows that it is not corrupt ; secondly, because Marco says distinctly that the stream in question comes from the south, which corresponds with the Wei and not with the Wen ; and, thirdly, because we have no evidence adduced that this Fenchui was a place of trade at all; whereas Trigautius Martini Nieuhof and others concur with later authorities in speaking of Lintsin as one of the most important commercial towns of the empire, in ac-

cordance with Odoric's notice. E. g., Trigautius says :   Lincinum urbs
est e maximis, et commercio celebris in paucis (?), ad earn enim non provincialia solum mercimonia sed e toto quoque regno pervadunt." (Polo in Ram., cliii; Klaproth, Mem. Rel. à l'Asie, iii, 325 ; Trigautii, Exp. Sinensis, 345 ; Martin Atlas Sinensis in loc. ; Astley, iii, 418.)

MIN. RAM. places Sunzomatu four days from Peking, which would tend to identify it with Tientsin. But Tientsin is said to be quite modern. (Biot in voc.) P.S. I find since writing the above that Pauthier (Le Livre de Marc Pol, p. 444) considers the Singui of Polo to be certainly Thsiningcheu. And if he is right in saying that the vulgar pronunciation of that name would be Thsinju, this may well be accepted.