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0129 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 129 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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86. BULARGUCI   113

HAMMER, rather inconsequently, writes and registers bulayur2 as well as bularyun, without remark). Polo's definition is good; the title is formed with the suffix -6 of a nomen agentis, and bularyu certainly meant « lost property », « property gone astray »; YULE has quoted a charter of 1320 from the ilkhan Abù-Said, known only in Italian, where mention is made of « bolargo » horses.

In Ragidu-'d-Din's description of the Mongol Court at Peking, we find a word sli>> and ,i->!

which, since KLAPROTH (JA, 1833, 356), has been read « belargoui » or « bälarghui ». PAUTHIER (Pa, 331) has explained it by the Mong. balarqai, given in SCHMIDT'S Dictionary as meaning « écrit, mémoire peu net avec des ratures ou phrases retranchées », and this explanation has been adopted in Y1, III, 122, and Bl, iI, 479. I do not know SCHMIDT'S authority for balarqai, which does not appear in the later and fuller dictionaries of KOVALEVSKII and GOLSTUNSKIY; but the word is really known, with the required meaning, in Western Mongolian (cf. RAMSTEDT, Kalmuck.

Wörterbuch, 31). Nevertheless, the context is not in favour of PAUTHIER'S explanation; Raid says that officers « capture » the b.laryu, and send them along with a « report of the circumstances »; I have no doubt that, in Ragid's text, we should read bûlaryui and bûlaryu, « men (or animals) gone astray ».

I have transcribed bularyucï, in agreement with Polo's vocalization, but the charter of 1320 writes « bolargo »; the Mongol and Arabic writings can give no clue as to the proper pronunciation. The word is unknown now. RADLOV (iv, 1670) registers bölaryue1 in Cay., I do not know from what source; but his reading bô- is due to the fact that he derives the word from böla-, «to report », and this is certainly wrong : bôla- is a late denominative verb, borrowed from Chin. gt pao, « to report ». The word bularyu remains of obscure formation.

The terms bularyu and bularyuei do not occur in Chinese texts, but we have a number of

mentions of, and detailed regulations about the   po-lan-hsi, also called pu-lan-hsi (with

pu- and (. pu-). PALLADIUS has seen in them « Farangi » falconers, Frank falconers (Vosto5nii Sbornik, I [1877], 47), and the notion of the « Bo-lan-ghi » falconers has thus passed to Br, I, 188, and to Y, I, 408. But there is no doubt that po-lan-hsi means «men (and things) gone astray »; its Chinese synonym in the texts of the period is NN j lan-i.

CHARIGNON (Ch, II, 97-98) was right in saying that the pu-lan-hsi of Chinese texts corresponds

to the bularyu, but mistaken in seeking for pu-lan-hsi a Chinese etymology. It is certainly a transcription, which, according to the rules of transcription in use during the Mongol and early Ming dynasties, cannot represent *bularki, but only *buralki or *buralgi. Pu-lan-hsi is also a common proper name (about twenty Pu-Ian-hsi are listed from YS in WANG Hui-tsui, 26, 8 b-10 a), and I have no doubt that it is the same name which appears fairly often in Ragidu-'d-Din under

the forms 11)y Buraigi and   1)y Buralyi (cf. for instance Bl, II, 121, 124, 185; Hai, II, 409,
«Buraighi» and, wrongly, «Buralighi »). Perhaps it then meant «foundling »; the Mongols, out of superstition, often gave to their children ill-sounding names.

*Buralki, *buralgi, as a common noun (that is not as a proper name), has not been met with as yet in any Mongol document, and its probable linguistic connection with bularyu is not clear; there seems to have been one of those metatheses so frequent in Central Asia, but we cannot say which way the transposition was effected until we are more clear about the etymology