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0081 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 81 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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may appertain rather to the missions of the Nestorian Church than to the political relations of the Eastern Empire with China.

40. Another long interval then occurs ; the Mahomedan power now forming a wide and dense barrier between the Empires.

But in 1081, during the reign of Shintsung of the Sung dynasty,

whose capital seems to have been still at Singanfu, an embassy

arrives from Fulin, despatched by the King MILI-I-LING (or

MIKIALING) KAISA. This is supposed by Klaproth and Pauthier

to indicate the Emperor Michael Ducas, who, indeed, was compelled to resign the purple some three years before (1078), but whose envoys, in the uncertainties of Asiatic travel, might have been detained long upon the way.'

Another mission is mentioned without particulars in the year 1091, which would fall in the reign of Alexius I. Comnenus. And the last distinct record of a communication from the Byzantine Empire is found in 1371 under Hongvu of the Ming dynasty, a few years after the expulsion of the House of Chinghiz, when there came to the court an envoy from Fulin called IIicin n Nilcialicaa. This person received presents, and an imperial letter in reply to the requests which he had submitted.' Other envoys from this country, it is vaguely added, came with tribute. I

1 The name of the Byzantine Caesar appears to be read by Pauthier himself, as it had been by Deguignes, Mili-iling. Klaproth makes it llikialing, but probably with some forcing, as Pauthier, though adopting this reading in a later work, says "Mikia-i-ling comme Klaproth a. cru pouvoir lire" (Slap., p. 70; Deguignes, i, 67; Pauthier de l'Auth., p. 33; Do., Hist. des Relations, etc., p. 22). If Michael be not accepted, I suppose the name of the competitor for the empire, Bryennius Ccesar, would be the only alternative ; but why either should have sent a mission to China I cannot venture to suggest.

Panth., 51. This is cited from the Supplement to the Literary Encyclopaedia of Matwanlin. The Great Imperial Geography, also quoted by Pauthier (p. 54), gives a somewhat different account. " Towards the end of the dynasty of the Yuan (a parenthesis says in 1341, but the fall of' the Yuan was in 1368) a man of Fulin named Niktuhin came for purposes of trade to the middle kingdom. In the fourth year of Hongvu of the Ming this merchant of Tathsin was invited to appear at court. The emperor ordered presents to be made to him, and an imperial letter was entrusted to him to be delivered to his king when he should return to his own country, and relate what he had witnessed. In consequence of this an embassy came to China with tribute."