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0211 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 211 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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122. CARAUNAS   195

Nägdäri or Nägüdäri (cf. ILMINSKII, Baber-namê, 153, 156, 161; PAVET DE COURTEILLE, Mémoires de Baber, I, 273, 278, 287; The Betbar-Neima, facsimile of the Hyderabad ms., Gibb Memorial, I, 125 b, 128 a, 131 b).

YULE has not even mentioned the possibility of tackling the problem of the Qaraunas and

of Nägüdär by supposing that Cayatai is really meant, that is to say that the Qaraunas are men who separated from him in his lifetime, while he was, if not in « Greater Armenia », at least in Persia. Nägüdär may then have been an officer of Cayatai himself. This was the view taken by PAUTHIER (Pa, 80), and it is upheld by BENEDETTO (B', 430), when he remarks that Cayatai

died in 1242, so that, in Polo's time, Nägüdär must have been an octogenarian. I have no great confidence in the traditional view that the Qaraunas left Armenia in 1269 or even in 1262; we have seen that the first mention of a Qarauna, in 1270, occurs really in a region open to inroads of the Cayatai princes, and that the last mention of the Qaraunas, in 1547, refers to the people of the Cayatai dominions. At the same time, a more remote date would render less surprising Polo's belief in Indo-Tartar half-breeds; the Mongols had occupied Eastern Persia and begun their inroads in India more than thirty years before Hülägü reached Iran. They had sacked Lahore in 1241. and, as a consequence, a revolution occurred in Delhi (cf. Oh, II, 280-281) ; some account of these events may have lingered in Polo's memory, and `Alâ'u-'d-Din, who began to reign in Delhi in 1242, would, phonetically, not be a much worse original than Ghiyâtu-'d-Din (yiyâOu-'d-Din) for Polo's «Asidin» (see « Asidin soldan »). But the fact remains that no mention of the Qaraunas has yet been found before 1270. Contrary to BENEDETTO (B', 446), according to whom several nephews of Cayatai are called Nägüdär, I have not been able to discover a single one. Moreover, Polo speaks of « Negodar » as of somebody alive and active in his own time. And also I have a suspicion that the name of Cayatai, even after his death, continued to be used loosely for his successors, in the same way as, in the beginning of the 14th cent., we still hear of the realms of Qaidu and Dua long after both had died (see «Caidu »). On the whole, and despite all difficulties and uncertainties, I think that Polo's account of the Qaraunas and of « Negodar » refers to a date posterior to Hülägü's arrival in Persia.

I have to add three more remarks on Polo's chapter on the Qaraunas. First, the reader may notice that there is no trace in the translation of the « a scaranis » of Latin version (LT; < TA : dagli Ischerani), which YULE (Y, I, 100-101) thought represented Italian scherani, «bandits ». YULE is right since we already find ischerani in TA', scherani in TA'`; but I suspect that scherani itself has taken the place of caraunas, and that et melandrinis (? < *i. e. malandrinis) has been added as a gloss to a scaranis in LT.

The second remark relates to the magical practices of the Qaraunas by which they were said

to produce darkness in the day-time. According to RAMUSIO, much more detailed here than the other texts, the Qaraunas learned that art in India, when they reached « Malabar ». Ricci and Ross (RR, 43, omitted from the index) have changed this name into «Maabar », which seems to have been BENEDETTO'S first idea, and has left traces in B', 430. But the correction is arbitrary; in Polo's time, the Mongols had reached neither Malabar, nor Malabar. Nevertheless it is possible that owing to some similarity of name, RAMUSIO here « edited » his source. In RAMUSIO, Polo's «Maabar» (=Malabar) and «Melibar» (= Malabar) both become « Malabar »; moreover, RAMUSIO