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0094 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 94 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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78   57. BARGU

eat the mutton which is offered to them for their sustenance unless they kill the sheep themselves. The population suffers by it. The Emperor said ' These [Mussulmans and others] are our slaves; in their drink and food, how dare they not follow [the customs of] our dynasty? ' An edict prohibited [the Mussulman mode of slaughtering], and the instructions of the Imperial edict were issued to the foreign rulers within and beyond the seas. » We seem to have to do here with two facts registered under the same date, but apparently unconnected. As a matter of fact, the complete text of the edict, translated in « spoken » Chinese from Mongolian, is preserved in Yuan tien-chang (57, 16 a-17 a), and shows that the gerfalcons were brought by Mussulmans from Pali-hui « straight to the North », and it is on account of the difficulties raised by these Mussulmans about their food that the rules already laid down by Chinghiz-khan and his successors against the Mussulman and Jewish custom of cutting the throat of animals were reinforced by Qubilai's edict (on previous cases of the same sort, cf. Oh, II, 94, 100; DEFRÉMERY, Hist. des Khans mongols, 53-54). The Pa-êrh-wa-na (= Parvana, Parwânah) whose death, at the hand of Abaya, is alluded to in the Chinese edict, is the one who was executed on July 23, 1278 (cf. Hal, z, 299), and an account of whose death is given by Hethum (Hist. des Crois., Arm., II, 179-180, 308-309; cf. also BROSSET, Hist. de la Géorgie, I, 587-588; Y, I, 312).

This edict of January 27, 1280, must have greatly moved the Mussulmans, since it came to the knowledge of Rasidu-'d-Din (BI, II, 521, and App. 52; QUATREMÉRE, Hist. des Suit. Mamlouks, I, 93). According to the Persian historian, Mussulman traders had brought to the Emperor,

from the land of the s)19 Quri, the   Barqu (= Bar) u), and the Kirghiz, one or several gerfalcons
(sonqor) with white feet and red beak and a white eagle ('ugâb). Qubilai, to show the Mussulmans favour, gave them portions from the Imperial table, but they refused to eat them; this was the cause of the edict, which was due also, according to Rand, to the hostility towards the

Mussulmans of 'Isa kälämäZi, 'Isa the Interpreter, that is to say the famous Christian   0 Ai-
hsieh of Chinese texts.

There can be no doubt that these Baryu, the Pa-Ii-hui of the Chinese edict, named along with the Quri and the Kirghiz, did not live near the Khingan mountains, but just east of the Baikal, at Baryujin, in the region of the modern Barguzin river. We can thus safely conclude that Polo's « plain of Bargu » is also the Bargujin. It may even be that we have some sort of echo of the edict of 1280 or of the sensation it created among Polo's Persian friends when he adds that Qubilai, when he wants gerfalcons, sends to the « plain of Bargu ». And perhaps, on account of the incidents of 1279-1280, the « plain of Bargu » took in Polo's mind an undue importance and extension.

As a designation of the gerfalcon, Raid uses the name sonqor which, with minor changes (. ungar, etc.), is the common name of that noble bird in Turkish, Mongolian and Persian (cf. QUATREMÉRE'S detailed note in Hist. des Sult. Mamlouks, II, 90-96). The Chinese name is

hai-ch'ing or i4 j   hai-tung-ch'ing, « Grey-blue from the Sea » or « Grey-blue from
East of the Sea » (cf. the « blue gerfalcon » in QUATREMÉRE, Hist. des Suit. Mamlouks, I, 94), and this is generally explained as meaning that they come from Liao-tung and Corea, « East of the Sea» (the explanation of Bl, II, 521, « un oiseau de proie qui se nourrit des poissons qu'il pêche », is wrong). This is a fact and we hear of gerfalcons from Nu-êrh-kan in Upper Manchuria ( YS, 59,