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0204 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 204 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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188   122. CARAUNAS

etymology based on Mong. qarba-, « to shoot »?), the information is too scanty to allow of any conclusion.

YULE says (Y, r, 101) that, according to Wassàf, the Qaraunas are « a kind of goblins rather than human beings, the most daring of all the Mongols », and adds that Mirhiind speaks in like terms. The quotation is taken from HAMMER (Hal, I, 309, 344; Hat, 223), who speaks of « devils ' (Dämonen), although he translates the same words of Wassàf which QUATREMÈRE (Not. et Extr. xiv, 282) has rendered by « who are like apes »; the word näsnâs means at the same time a kind of ape, and a human monster hopping on one leg. But we must not attach too much importance to Wassàf's words. That « prince of rigmarole », as YULE calls him, would not miss the chance to make a pun, and what he really says is that the Qaraunas are similar to apes (näsnâs), not to men (nä rids). The only conclusion we can draw is that the Qaraunas must not have had a very attractive appearance.

Apart from their revolts and inroads, no information has come to us on the Qaraunas, except in a passage which QUATREMÈRE (Not. et Extr. )(iv, 282) has quoted from the Nuzhatu-'lQuliub of Qazwini, completed in 1340 (Bib'. Nat., Persian, Anc. fonds 139, p. 173). The passage occurs in the botanical section, still untranslated. According to QUATREMÈRE, Qazwini, « speaking

of the tree called   , ' boxwood ', says ..w „w,'1 4;)y, \~   ~' ~~ ti ' It is called säry-i kohl (lit.
« mountain-cypress »), and the Qarauna name it oros.' » QUATREMÈRE admitted that he did not know what was the language of the Qaraunas, and that he could make nothing of « oros ». In the zoological portion of his work, which was published in 1928 by J. STEPHENSON and to which I have devoted a long paper (BSOS, vi [1931], 555-580), Qazwini quotes Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Mongol words, but never any « Qarauna » word, and why should he if the Qaraunas spoke ordinary Mongolian? On the other hand, the word quoted is not known in any language under

a form « oros ». QUATREMÈRE has said   ',clear meant « boxwood », but this seems to be a slip,
as 'arear really means « juniper-tree », and such is also the sense of säry-i kohl in Persian. Now the word for « juniper-tree » is well known in Altaic languages; in Eastern Mongolian it is area (= arca [c ts]); in Kaim., are; in Buriat, arsa; these forms are hardly reconcilable with the Arabic spelling of Qazwini (I do not know the form used by the Moghols of Afghanistan, if they still have the word). The Turkish forms are widely divergent, ranging from Uigh. artue to Alt. Tel. arein; a form artis exists in the Kazan and Cayatai dialects. Something must be wrong in QUATREMÈRE'S quotation. At my request, H. MASSE was good enough to examine the ms., and, after consulting with Muhammad Khan QAZwiNi and Abbas IQsAL, he came to the conclusion that Qarauna was a misreading for A;;\%;, an Arabic plural of Qazwini, meaning « the people of Qazwin ». As to the name of the tree in the Qazwin dialect, it is not oros as QUATREMÈRE read it, but ;'~ avirs, which is known in Persian as one of the names of the juniper-tree. I have no doubt that MASSE is right; thus no text quotes any word special to the language of the Qaraunas.

We hear first of the « army » (laskar) of the Qaraunas; at a date which seems to be 12821283, they were organized into a tümän or myriarchy (see « toman »; cf. Not. et Extr. xrv, 282; Ber. I, 174), and YULE may be right (Y, i, 101) in supposing that the existence of this tümän is responsible for the average number of « ten thousand » men which Polo attributes to the gather-