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0406 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 406 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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On the right hand of the king is placed his first-born son

that shall reign after him; and below stand all who are of the blood royal. And there be four scribes also, to take down all the words that the king may utter. And in front of the king stand his barons and others, an innumerable multitude, and nobody dares say a word unless the lord shall address him, except the jesters, who may say something to amuse their lord. But even they must not be bold enough to transgress the bounds which the king hath laid down for


And before the gates of the palace stand barons as warders, to see that no one touch the threshold of the door ; and if they catch anyone doing so they beat him soundly.l

And when that great lord wishes to make an entertainment he shall have fourteen thousand barons with coronets on their heads waiting upon him at the banquet. And every one of them shall have a coat on his back such that the pearls on it alone are worth some fifteen thousand florins. And the court is ordered passing well, all being ranked by tens and hundreds and thousands, and all having their duties assigned, standing answerable one to another for any breach either to their own charges or in the charges of those subordinate to them.

I, Friar Odoric, was full three years in that city of his,

that the women did not win the victory alone, but by help of their husbands, who came to their rescue ; and as if it were said to them :-

Crowned though ye be, forget not that ye be under the power of your husbands !' and so by a kind of natural reason they seem to have divined that which is written in the Law of God, ` Sub viri potestate errs.' " (Peregrinatores Quatuor, p. 116.) Notices of relics of this Tartar headdress still existing are quoted in the Journ. Asiat., ser. iv, tom. x, 169, xvi, 157. It appears from one of these that the name Bogtac still indicates the headdress of women of a certain age among the Circassians and Ossetes.

1 Marco Polo explains that it was a grievous offence to touch the imperial threshold, and strangers were officially warned of this before their entrance. Rubruquis mentions the same ; his comrade got into a scrape for breaking the rule, and was not allowed again to visit the court. Carpini indeed says: Si quis calcat linen stations alicujus ducis interficitur." (Polo, i, 15 ; Rub., 255, 268 ; 320, 338 ; Carpin, 625, 741.)