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0459 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 459 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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Now, this kingdom is mentioned by no one else that we know of except Jordanus himself in his Mirabilia, where he spells the name precisely as in the Pope's letter, a very unusual agreement when Asiatic names are in question. Hence, to me it seems certain that the information which led the Pope to write to Molephatam was given by Jordanus himself, and derived from his personal knowledge.

Indications of date, though slight, may also be gathered from the book. In it (p. 54) he speaks of Elchigaday as the reigning sovereign of the second Tartar (or Chagatai) empire. Ilchikdaï became Khan in 1321, and the date of his death is not given. Some of the histories, indeed, put the death of his successor in 1327, but this is certainly inaccurate as will be shown below. Still, as that successor (Tarmashirin Khan) appears to have had a reign of some length and certainly was dethroned about 1334 at latest, it seems pretty clear that Ilchikdaï must have been dead long before Jordanus could have returned from exercising his episcopate in India. Hence he must have written his work before he went on that mission.

Before the printing of the Mirabilia the name of Jordanus was known, from his connexion with the friars put to death at Tana, but it was not known of what country he was. Hence the Portuguese claimed him as a countryman, and the Portuguese Hagiotogist Cardoso declares that Jordanus himself was eventually a martyr to the faith, but with no particulars or evidence.' It is not known that he ever reached Columbum as bishop ; we only know that there is no mention of him or any Other bishop on Marignolli's visit twenty years later.

I have taken the opportunity of inserting at the end of these remarks a few additional notes to the Mirabilia of Jordanus, in correction of my own mistakes or in further illustration of the author's text.

The last letter is one from PASCAL, a young Spanish Franciscan on a mission to Tartary, written in August 1338 from Almalig,

Ma'abar, in a passage quoted at the end of the third letter in this collection.

1 Kunstran in Phillips and Görres, xxxvii, p. 152.