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0402 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 402 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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This latter city hath twelve gates, between every two of which there is a space of two long miles ; and betwixt the two cities also there is a good amount of population, the compass of the two together being more than forty miles. Here the Great Khan' hath his residence, and hath a great palace, the walls of which are some four miles in compass. And within this space be many other fine palaces. [For within the great palace wall is a second enclosure, with a distance between them of perhaps half a bowshot, and in the midst between those two walls are kept his stores and all his slaves ; whilst within the inner enclosure dwells the Great Khan with all his family, who are most numerous, so many sons and daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren hath he ; with such a multitude of wives and councillors and secretaries and servants, that the whole palace of four miles' circuit is inhabited.] 2

And within the enclosure of the great palace there bath been a hill thrown up on which another palace is built, the most beautiful in the whole world. And this whole hill is planted over with trees, wherefrom it bath the name of the Green Mount. And at the side of this hill bath been formed a lake [more than a mile round] ,2 and a most beautiful bridge built across it. And on this lake there be such multitudes of wild-geese and ducks and swans,3 that it is something to

I am not sure that a faithful version should not render Magnus Canis as the "Great Dog," for in most copies the word is regularly declined, Canis, Cani, Canem, as if he were really a bow-wow. According to Ludolf, an old German translation of Mandeville does introduce the mighty prince as Der Grosse Hund. That author thinks that some such double entendre may have led to the story in Pliny about a people who have a dog for their king, a suggestion which would have been a happy one had the people in question dwelt in the heart of Asia instead of the heart of Africa. (Ludolf, Supp. to Comm. in Hist. .Jthiop. p. 26.) The familiarity of North Italy with the Can Grande of Verona may have made Odoric and his contemporaries look less strangely on the denomination.


3 The word is in all the best MSS. Cesani or Cesence, for which Mus. substitutes a gloss "avium aquaticarum." The word is not to be found in