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0454 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 454 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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baptism.' The patriarch gave the needful orders for the despatch of priests and teachers. The Christianity of the Keraits, as a tribe, is also attested by Rashid-eddin, the Mahomedan historian of the Mongols.2

The seat of these Keraits lay originally about the sources of the Amur ; but on being invaded by the Khitan in the ninth century, a large body of them took refuge in the mountains north of the Hoang Ho, called Inshan, and there became powerful, spreading across the river into the territory called in our maps the Ortu country ; the region so occupied by them on both banks being, as we have seen,3 the Tendue of Marco Polo. Here they lived on good terms with their neighbours of the adjoining empire. The connexion between these people in Tendue, or Tathoung, and those of their tribe who had remained north of the desert, appears to have heen maintained or renewed ; but the light on this point is not very distinct. Certainly, however, we find that the chief of the Keraits in the time of Chinghiz and his father occupied the country about Kara Korum ; whilst it is seen from Marco Polo that Tendue was a part of the same chief's dominions. Tribes of Keraite lineage are found to this day in the country which Polo called Tendue.

The chief of the Kerait just alluded to is he who is introduced as line Cham in the second part of the story of Rubruquis, and whom Marco Polo, whilst giving him the same name, identifies with Prester John. His proper name is called 'Dili by the Chinese, and Togrul by the Persian historians, the name of Une being a corruption of the Chinese title Wang, or King, which had been conferred on him by the Kin sovereign of Northern China, after which he called himself Wang-Khan. The circumstance mentioned by Rubruquis of his having abandoned Christianity, does not appear to be alluded to by the eastern writers ; but one would rather hope that it was true, for his career does no credit to Christianity. He at first obtained the sovereignty of the Keraits by the murder of two of his

1 So says Assemanni, pp. 484, 485. But I cannot find the story in Pococke's Abulfaragins.

2 Quoted by St. Martin, Mémoires sur l'Arménie, ii, 280.

3 See note on Odoric, p. 146.