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0108 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 108 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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92   68. BERCA

system, can only be a Sanskritized form *Palûra (cf. BEFEO, III, 406; not «Po-to-to», and not =

Boior », as in LENTZ, ZDMG, 1932, 27) ; as the first vowel is not marked in most Arabic transcriptions, we are justified in reading them as Baiôr or Balûr instead of Bolor; and it was «Pâlor» which was heard by Shaw in modern times (cf. Y, III, 42). The country of Balur or Baluristan is again described in his Ta'rib-i-Ras'idi by Mirza Haidar, who visited it in 1528 (cf. trad. N. ELIAS and E. D. Ross, 135, 385). By Baluristan, Mirza Haidar understands the mountainous tract south of Badahsan, south-west of Yarkand, west of Balti, north and north-west of Kashmir, that is to say the valleys of Chitral, Yassin, and Gilgit; N. ELIAS's note on the subject has been quoted in Y, III, 42-43, and need not be repeated here; cf. also LENTZ, in ZDMG, 1932, 27-28. We must also see Balûr in the ;_} Jj q Po-lü (*Baiûr ? or Palûr?) of Chinese historical texts of the 8th cent. ; there is a Po-lü which is Baltistan and a « Little Po-lü » which is the Gilgit valley (cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 149-154). It is true that Mirza Haidar seems to leave Baltistan out of Baluristan; but the localization may have been viewed differently by others at different dates, and CUNNINGHAM heard the name «Bator» used as a designation of Balti by the Dards of Gilgit ( Y, I, 178). It might also be supposed that the very name of Balti is connected with that of Balûr, but I do not think that such is the case, as the Tibetan texts distinguish sBal-ti from 'Bru-"al or Bru-Ca, and it is Bru-Ia which is likely to be the same name as Po-Iii or Balûr (cf. LAUFER, in TP, 1908, 2-3). In such a case, it is the « Little Po-lü » which would be the true Baiûr; and the extension of the name Po-lü to Baltistan might be due to the fact that the Chinese reached Baltistan by way of Gilgit.

Belor seems to be the form used by Polo, as it is given by all the mss. ; we must then attribute to a simple coincidence that Fra Mauro should write « Balor » (cf. HALLBERG, 74; the other name quoted from Fra Mauro, « Boler », seems to refer to quite a different place far to the north; see «Bolgara »). As to «Boior », adopted in YULE'S edition, it is devoid of authority. A last form looms up occasionally, that of «Billar mountains », understood as « Crystal mountains» (for instance in ELLIOT's History of India, I, 46, 65, where Rasidu-'d-Din copies Al-Birûni); this is simply a case of popular etymology, and it is also represented by the pseudo-Turkish name «Belur-tagh» still used in B', 439. Cf. also STEIN, Ancient Khotan, I, 6; Serindia, 33, 61.


abarca, barcalor FB abarcha, abracha, VB arbaca FA

bacara (?=bolgara) F, L baraba, barba P

barbarba, burba P5

barca F, Fr, FA, FB, 0, VL barch F

barcha F, Fr, LT, TA3, VA,


bargha, bergho TA' bata, bercu Ft berca F, Fr, t, Z bercha F, L, Z bracharchan, tharzara V

This is Bärkä, a Mongol name ; bärkä means «difficult ».

Bärkä was Wöci's third son. The

forms «Bérékeh » of BI, II, 90, 433, 549, App. 54, «Baraka» of Stanley LANE-POOLE, The Mohammedan Dynasties', 230, and «Bereke» of HOWORTH, II, 113, III, 193, and of fry, LIII, 316, are due