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0195 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 195 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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119. CARAGIAN   179

(transi. SAINSON, 110, 198), is of a more ancient type and points to a Sung date. Mo-ho-lo-ts'o probably was the traditional transcription of the title in Chinese from the 10th or the 11th cent., but Uriyangqadai's biography, here as in its other portions going back to a Mongol original, gives the Mongol form, which was of course with -a- vowels (maharaja; or mahârcg maharäJ as in Uighur).

This title, established by Persian and Chinese sources, also seems unexpectedly to occur in

the West. In Fra Mauro's map, ZURLA noticed the mention of the « Çardandam » (see « Çardandan ») and of « Uocà » (see « Uncian »), but omitted those of « Iâzu » and of « Maharaç », also lacking as a consequence in HALLBERG. « Iâzu » certainly is the « Iaci » of other texts (cf. « Iazo » in V; « Iàzu » is not « Ianzu » Yang-chou, correctly given elsewhere on the map), and « Maharaç », though entered on the map far enough from « Charazan » and « Charaian », can hardly be anything else than the title maharaja of the Ta-ii sovereign; Fra Mauro mentions it in a form which is in strict agreement with Rasid's *mahârâz and the *mahârâs, *mahârâz (; maharaj) which the transcription used in Uriyangqadai's biography made us suppose. Such must have been the form taken by the title in Mongolian and Persian speech, and consequently it is the one we should expect to find in Polo. But none of our Polo mss. mentions the maharaja of the Qara-fang.

The solution of the difficulty may be sought for in two directions. A number of names on

Fra Mauro's map have convinced me that Fra Mauro, a century before RAMUSIO, had knowledge of the complete ms. to which we owe so many paragraphs and even chapters in R and Z, but which is avowedly abbreviated in Z almost until we come to the point where the travellers embark on the homeward journey. There may have been, in the complete ms., a paragraph on the « maharaç » of the Qara-Jang. In such a case, the paragraph was omitted by both R and Z, and we could not even suspect its former existence if it were not for the « maharaç » entered on

his map by Fra Mauro.

This is the first hypothesis which occurred to me, and I do not reject it altogether; but it

has its weak points, particularly when what must be a title is actually marked on the map as the name of a city. Moreover, another explanation is possible. Apart from Polo, Mauro's main modern source for Transgangetic India is Nicolà de' Conti, who travelled in the second quarter of the 15th cent. All our texts of Conti go back to the narrative taken down from Conti's lips and put into Latin, probably in 1439, by Poggio Bracciolini. But Conti, a man of Chioggia, died only in 1469; in the meantime, he went several times to Venice, for instance in 1454 and 1455. The forms of the names which, on Fra Mauro's map, are plainly traceable to Conti are spelt in such a way as to show that Fra Mauro is clearly not dependent on Poggio's text for this nomenclature and must have had direct intercourse with Conti. Poggio's humanism has been more detrimental to Conti's account than Rustichello's taste for romance was to Polo's. The names have particularly suffered in Poggio's text; for instance, the Latin account speaks of «Pauconia » (or « Panconia »), whereas Fra Mauro gives on his map the correct form «Paigu », i. e. Malay. Paigu, our Pegu (cf. YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 693; LONGHENA, Viaggi ... de Nicol() de' Conti, 147). Unfortunately there is no satisfactory critical edition of Conti's account, and none in particular which studies Fra Mauro's names systematically. Now, there is in Conti a