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0100 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 100 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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84   61. BARSCOL

lies at the south-western corner of the « Dalài-nur » or Pu-yü-êrh-hai, as POZDNi`EV expressly says

(Mongoliya i Mongoly, II, 330, 332). This is the   t ►j:   Ta-êrh hai-tzü (« *Dal Lake »;
not «Toro-hai-tzû» as in POZDNtEV) of YS, 118, 3 a, the Dalai-nör situated about 120 kilometres north-north-east of Dolon-nör or Lama-miao, and not the Buir-nôr or the Khulun which is also called Dalai-nôr on our maps. Cf. also YANAI's map.

But this is not the Bars-boto of the Jesuit maps. Bars• koto is the place which is wrongly

designated as «Para-Hotun» in D'ANVILLE'S Atlas, Tartarie Chinoise, feuille vii, located on the northern bank of the Kerulen, at about 114° E. I have checked the name on the corresponding Chinese maps, and there it is Pa-êrh-ssû-ch'êng, « Bars Town », equivalent to Mongolian Barsboto or Bars-boton; SCHMIDT, who did not read Chinese, perhaps found the correct name in a manuscript copy of the Jesuit maps sent to Russia. Some information on Bars-boto is found in the Holt ch'u sai chi, an account written by one of the officials who participated in K'ang-hsi's campaigns against Galdan at the end of the 17th cent. The author describes there the ruins of a temple, with a much defaced inscription still showing, according to him, that it went back to the time of the Liao, and was consequently prior to 1125 (cf. PoPov, Men-gu-yu-mu-czi, 392393). If so, the town could not have been founded by Toyon-tämür in 1368, notwithstanding what is said by «Sanang Setsen ». And even if the author of the Hou ch'u sai chi was mistaken as to the date, the fact remains that Bars-boto is not Ying-ch'ang. A solution would be to admit that there is an error in the Hou ch'u sai chi as to the date, and to suppose that the Chinese texts are wrong in assuming that Toyon-tämür settled in the district city of the Yingch'ang-lu; he may have fled to the territory of which Ying-ch'ang-lu was the administrative centre, but founded the city of Bars-koto much farther to the north, on the northern bank of the Kerulen. I am not in a position to decide this point.

But this is not a sufficient clue to Polo's «Barscol», even if we admit that the «Tiger City» existed before 1368, since there is no necessary connection between a «Tiger City » and Barsköl, a «Tiger Lake », or Bars-yoi, a « Tiger River ».

We do not know of a Bars-) of in any text, but « Sanang Setsen » mentions a Bars-köl

(misread «Bars-kill » in SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 217). YULE noticed it, but added that «Sanang Setsen »'s Bars-köl seemed to be in Western Mongolia, and was perhaps Lake Barkul of our maps, whereas Polo's «Barscol» must have been « on the Manchu frontier ». The historical geography of Mongolia is still so little known that I dare not be positive as to «Sanang Setsen »'s Bars-köl, but I must point out that it is a Turkish, not a Mongolian name. Bars, «tiger », is common to both languages, but köl, «lake », is only Turkish. There is consequently no likelihood that Bars-köl should be in Mongolia proper, and YULE'S idea of Lake «Barkul» (more exactly Barköl), north of Ha-mi (Qomul), is the only one worthy of being retained. Although the explanation of Barköl by Bars-köl, «Tiger Lake » has been sometimes denied (but BARTHOLD accepts it in 12 Vorlesungen. 215-216), I intend to show some day that there were

i n the Ming dynasty transcriptions really based on Bars-köl (for the name in the T'ang period, cf. TP, 1929, 251; for a derived form Barêuq from bars, with the same fall of -s as in Barköl, cf. TP, 1930, 55-56; JA, 1934, I, 60; a « Barbula [q] » in YS, 169, 4 a, may be *Bars-bulaq, « Tiger Spring », also with the fall of -s).