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0135 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 135 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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P REIM" INA I,i' ESSA1".   cYiX

93. After establishing his power over so much of China as we have said, Okkodai raised a vast army and set it in motion to-

That geographer's contemporary, Firdusi, also uses the name (see Journ. As., ser. iv, tom. iv, 259 ; Klaproth, Mena., iii, 257, seqq.) But the majority, not knowing the meaning of the expression, seem to have used it pleonastically coupled with Chin to denote the same thing, " Chin and Machin"; a phrase having some analogy to the way Sind and Hind was used to express all India, but a stronger one to Gog and Magog, as applied to the northern nations of Asia ; for Sind and Hind are capable of divorce. And eventually Chin was discovered to be the eldest on of Japhet, and Machin his grandson ; which is much the same as saying that Britain was the eldest son of Brut the Trojan, and Great Britain his grandson. In the Mongol days, when Chinese affairs were for a time more distinctly known in Western Asia, and the name of Manzi as the southern portion of the empire was current in men's mouths, it would appear that this name was confounded with illcchi,t, and the latter word thus acquired a specific application, though an erroneous one. For though accident thus gave a specific meaning to Machin, I cannot find that Chin ever had a similar specific meaning given to it. One author of the sixteenth century, indeed, quoted by Klaproth, distinguishes North and South China as the Chin and Machin of the Hindus (Journ. As., ser. ii, tone. i, 115). But there is no proof that the Hindus ever made this distinction, nor has anyone that I know of quoted an instance of Chin being applied peculiarly to Northern China. Ibn Batuta, on the contrary, sometimes distinguishes Sin as South China from Khitai as North China.

In times after the Mongol régime, when intercourse with China had ceased, the double name seems to have recovered its old vagueness as a rotund way of saying China. Thus Barbaro speaks of Cini and illacini, Nikitin of Chin and Machin, the commission of Syrian bishops to India (supra, p. civ) of Sin and Masin, all apparently with no more plurality of sense than there is in Thurm.and Taxis. And yet, at the same time, there are indications of a new application of Machin to the Indo-Chinese countries. Thus Conti applies it to Ava or Siam, in which Fra Mauro follows him, and the Ayin Akbari, if I remember rightly, applies it to Pegu.

The use of a double assonant name, sometimes to express a dual idea but often a single one, is a favourite Oriental practice. As far back as Heroclotus we have Crophi and Mophi, Thyni and Bithyni ; the Arabs have converted Cain and Abel into Kabil and Habil, Saul and Goliah into Talut and Jalut, Pharaoh's magicians into Risam and Rejam, of whom the Jewish traditions had made Jannes and Jambres ; whilst Christian legends gave the names of Dismas and Jesmas to the penitent and impenitent thieves in the Gospel. Jarga and Nargah was the name given to the great circle of beaters in the Mongol hunting matches. In geography we have numerous instances of the same thing, e.g., Zabulistan and Kabulistan, Koli Akoli, Longa Solanga, Ibir Sibir, Kessair and Owair, Kuria Muria, Ghnz and Maghuz, Mastra and Castra (F,, Artag and