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0121 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 121 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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82. BRIUS   105


bregane VL   breganega V   breganege VL, It

This word unattested otherwise, but occurring on three occasions in different Polian mss., certainly refers to the bamboo (the word « bamboo » was not known before the middle of the 16th cent. ; the equivalence wambasium = bamboo in Pa, 327, although repeated in HALLBERG, 63, is of course wrong; see « Cotton »). The etymology is not known. I agree with PENZER (Pe, 208) in rejecting the Persian form *bargdnaya, « leafy », proposed by Sten KoNOw, or the Hindustani bargd, « poutre ». PENZER himself, who knew only the « berganegas » occurring in SANTAELLA'S Spanish version and in the English translation made from the Spanish by FRAMPTON, thought of a corruption of *bengalega, a form possibly derived from Span. cana de Bengala, « cane of bamboo ». Such a sense of cana de Bengala in Spanish, cana de Bengala and also bengala alone in Portuguese is well attested (cf. the examples in DALGADO, Glossdrio Luso-Asidtico, i, 116-117; the word is not in LOKOTSCH, Etym. Wörterbuch), but breganega recurs in too many instances to be regarded as being altered from a hypothetical *bengalega. Moreover, « cana de Bengala » and « bengala » are purely Spanish and Portuguese terms, not older than the 16th cent., which can have no bearing on the etymology of an Italian mediaeval word. PENZER'S mention of DIEZ, Etymol. Wörterbuch der roman. Sprachen, without indication of catch word or of page, seems to refer only to cana de Bengala. Venetian brega, « net », leads us nowhere. One might think of German *brekan, «to break », from which several Provençal forms beginning with bregaare derived (cf. VON WARTBURG, Franz. Etym. Wörterbuch, i, 511) ; the name may be attributable to the « crackling » of the bamboo under the action of fire. But I am afraid this is only a wild guess.

  1. BRIUS

briuis VA   brunis TA', TA3   ligays LT

brius F, FA, FB, P, L, VB, brus Z VL,R,S

Here practically all the mss. agree (except that a reading « Brins », the only one given in Pa, 386, is sometimes possible according to B', 439, and Z has « Brus ») ; and the name can only apply to the Upper Yang-tzû, before its confluence with the Min River at Hsü-chou (the Sui-fu of our maps).

Writing about 1730, Orazio DELLA PENNA gives to the Upper Yang-tzû the name of «Bic'iu »,