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0490 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 490 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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steering to the north ; and from Menabar [Maabar ?] you sail another 300 miles between north-east and north to Siu SIMMONCOTA) The rest I have not seen, and therefore I say nothing of it.

1 I have endeavoured to reduce to shape and congruity this passage, which is a good deal bungled in the MS. It runs thus : "Navicavisi da isse (or da Issa) infine ad Ormesse et a quelle parti le quali si dice the siano due miglia migliaia di miglia e infra scilocco e levante da Minabar a Maabar ch' entra a tramontana ccc miglia intra levante e scirocco da Menabar a Siu Simmoncota altre ccc migliaia navicavisi intra greco e tramontana."

In the text I have taken da isse, as read by Kunstmann (for esse), to refer to the islands, and this requires rather a forced translation to be intelligible. But if it be a proper name, Issa, as in my transcript, then we should read—" You can sail from Issa to Ormés and so to those parts," etc. In that case Issa must be a port of the Persian Gulf, perhaps AlAhsa, which is a port on the west shore below Al-Katif, and is mentioned by our author's contemporary, Rashid, in connexion with Indi4n trade, in a passage which will be given presently.

The first section of the voyage, then, I understand to be from the Persian Gulf to one of the ports of Malabar (called Minabar, see p. 74, supra); the second from the said port to some city on the Gulf of Manaar ; and the third from the Gulf of Manaar to some place on the Coromandel coast, at least as far north as the church of St. Thomas, i. e., Madras. I say " some city on the Gulf of Manaar," because we shall see presently that Mabar is, with the present writer, a city, and is probably to be identified with that where Marco Polo locates his chief king of Mabar. As Polo seems to specify this as sixty miles west of Ceylon, I judge that it must have been somewhere near Ramnad. It is not Call, because he says distinctly that Call was subject to another of the chiefs, and Call is a good deal more than sixty miles from any part of Ceylon.

The extreme point which our author visited, whether Siu Simmoncota or Giu Gimmoncota (for it is so read by Kunstmann), I cannot determine. It must have been at least as far up the coast as Madras, because he tells us in the first letter that his companion Nicholas of Pistoia was buried it the church of St. Thomas. Samulcotta (S'ydmala Kotta—Black Fort, or Fort of Durga ?), the nearest approach to the name that I can trace among existing towns seems to be too far north. The Buddhists were called Samanas and Samanals in South India, and Saman-Kotta, " The Fort of the Buddhist," might be a probable enough name.

The name, however, taking it abstractedly as it stands, would most nearly represent Siva-Samundra-Kotta. Siva appears constantly in popular pronunciation as Siu or Seo, as in Seodasheogarh, Seopoor, Seoganga, etc., and we find the analogous name of Dwara-Samudra to be written by the Persian and Arabian historians Dur-sammund and Dur-Saman (see Dow's Ferishta, i, 256, 281; Mascclak al-ccbsccr in Not. et. Extr., xiii, 170; and Wassaf in Von Ilammer, op. inf. cit., ii, 202). The only place I can trace