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0154 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 154 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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138   102. CALATU

Engl. calamar or calamary, the name of a cephalopod, is the same word as calamarium, with a new application. The case of the ancient French calamar, calemer, etc., « inkstand », which has given French calmar, the name of a cephalopod, is of course parallel.


calaiati (city) R calata Ft calati VB

calatu F, Fr, FA, FB, TAi, chalatu TAi, V

LT, VB, Z, V, L,   chatalu TA3
R (gulf)

This represents c - i Qaihat on the coast of Oman, now in ruins. Cf. on it Y, ii, 451; Fe, 336; HALLBERG, 97-98; DAMES, Barbosa, u, 69. The Portuguese form of the early 16th cent. is « Calayate », and this may be responsible for RAMUSio's « Calaiati », since Z has also « Caiatu ». Nevertheless, Conti's « Calacatia » and Fra Mauro's « Calahat » suggest that the pronunciation may have been « Qalahat ».

In 1225, Chao Ju-kua names a « country » of Op Jj; Ch'ieh-li-chi (equivalent to *Kalikit or *Kalkit) which may be Qalhat, as supposed by the translators (HR, 117, 122); but the phonetic correspondence is not very satisfactory.

  1.  CALIF

akhalif Z

calif F, L, Z

califa VB; R

califa, callifa, calliffo, chalifa


califfo TA'

califfus G califica (adj.) L califo VB, VL califus LT, Z caliphe FA, FB caliphus P

calis F

chalefo VA

chalif TA3

chaliffo TAi, TA3, VB

chalifo TAi, V, VA, VB, VL

«Calif» is the Arab. halifa, lit. « lieutenant », « successor », « vice-gerent »; cf. LOKOTSCH, Etym. Wörterbuch, No. 798; YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 146-147. Z gives « califus », but also «alchalif». The latter form is worth noting, as it seems to agree with one of the forms of the word in ancient French, the « algalife » of the Chanson de Roland (a form which came from Spain and refers to the calif of Cordova). The form without the Arabic article al- came from the Crusaders and always referred to the calif of Bagdad. In the case of Z, I hesitate, however, to be too positive, as al- of « alchaiif» might be a misunderstood Italian article, in case Z was retranslated into Latin from Italian.

The name of the calif is mentioned in Mongolian in the Secret History as Qalibai.soltan,