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0241 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 241 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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the Island of Java (probably Sumatra).1 In the extreme south east is a great Island of TAPROBANE. It exhibits a number of cities, the names of which seem to be imaginary, and it is stated in the rubric to be the remotest island of the east called by the Tartars GREAT KAULI. Kaoli was the Chinese and Tartar name for Corea,2 and this great Taprobane is perhaps a jumble of Corea and Japan.

The great river which separates India from China, rising in the mountains of BALDASSIA (Badakhshan), and flowing into the Bay of

Bengal, appears to be a confusion between Indus and Ganges, a confusion still more elaborately developed in the map of Fra Mauro. BENGALA itself is placed with admirable correctness.

The width of the Great Desert of Central Asia is greatly overestimated, and this has the effect of shoving up KAMUL and other cities of Eastern Turkestan into immediate contact with Siberia and the Eastern Wolga regions.

In the extreme north-east of Asia we have the nations of Gog and Magog, shut up within mountains by Alexander the Great to await the latter days.3

The Orontes is represented as a branch diverging from Euphrates ; and in this we are again reminded of a similar error of Ibn Batuta's.4

The Tigris is connected with the Euphrates by a branch or canal (the

traces of which seem really to exist) near Baghdad (BALDACH), but flows into the sea by a separate mouth. Another great river, a duplicate of

Tigris, having no prototype in nature, but perhaps an amalgamation of the two Zabs and other rivers east of Tigris, flows from the seas of AItGIS and MARGA (Lakes Van and Urumia), and enters the Persian Gulf to the eastward.

1 In the facsimile the name is written Jana. The same clerical error occurs in Jordanus (p. 30), and perhaps he was one of the authorities used. For near it we have also the Island of the Naked Folk which that friar mentions. In Jana also the map shows us the Regio Feminarum, which Polo, Conti, Jordanus, and Hiwen Thsang all concur in placing in the western part of the Indian Ocean. But a Chinese authority quoted by Pauthier places it in the immediate vicinity of Java (Polo, iii, ch. 33; Conti, p. 20; Jordans, p. 44; Vie de H. Thsang, p. 208; Pauthier's Polo, p. 559).

2 V. infra, pp. 257, 268.

3 The name given to the mountains (Caspis) shows the curious jumble between the Wall of Darband and the Wall of China, between the Caucasian nations, the Tartars, and the Gog Magog of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse which was involved in this legend. It is very old, for it is found in the Pseudo-Callisthenes edited by Miller (pp. 139, 143). It seems that a prince of the Shut-Up Nations found his way out in the sixteenth century, but he had better have stayed where he was : " It is reported by certain writers that the King of Tabor came from those parts to seek Francis I of France and Charles V the Emperor, and other Christian princes, in order to gain them secretly over to Judaism. But by the command of Charles V at Mantua in 1540 his temerity was punished in the fire" (Dlagini, Geografia, Venet., 1598, f. 171, y.)

4 Infra, p. 432.