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0298 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 298 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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282   158. CINGHIS

Temudschin, 567), and that he was born at Däii'ün-boldaq, a place on the right bank of the Onon which is said to be still known under that name (cf. VLADIMIRCOV, Cingis-khan, 18; ERDMANN, Temudschin, 572, relying on an unidentified report of the Nercinsk merchant YuRINSKIï, says it

lies seven versts above the island Yäkä-aral, and three versts from the guard station [?] Kocuev; ABRAMOV of Nercinsk, quoted from the Severn. Pcela, 1854, No. 258, in PALLADIUS, Trudy clenov Rossiiskoi dukhovnoi Missii, iv, 175-176, and BANZAROV, quoted in Ber, ii, 232, locate it « on the right bank of the Onon, somewhat above the Cindant fort, opposite the village Yäkä-aral, about lat. 500 and long. 132° [ = east of Greenwich 114°] »; the coordinates given in WOLFF, Gesch. der Mongolen, 33 [lat. 400 45'; long. 127°], are impossible). But the date of his birth is a very moot problem.

Various years have been given : 1163 by DE GUIGNES, 1161 by MAILLA, 1162 by GAUBIL, 1155 by all those who follow Rasidu-'d-Din.

According to DE GUIGNES (Hist. gén. des Huns, iii, 10), Chinghiz-khan was born in « 1163 »,

« A. H. 559 », a « pig » year. This date can be rejected at once. The year 559 of the hegira begins on November 30, 1163, but it is not a « pig » year; the nearest « pig » years are 1155 and 1167; « 559 » is certainly the result of a wrong reading for « 549 » which is given in most Mussulman sources and corresponds to 1155 (KLAPROTH'S assertion that it is « 549 » which is a corruption for « 559 »

[Asia Polyglotta, 256] is not acceptable). The same may be said of the impossible « A. H. 599 », i. e. A. D. 1202, in Bänâkäti (cf. ERDMANN, Temudschin, 574).

The date of 1161 occurs in MAILLA (Ix, 2, 8), and also in the Mongol chronicle Altan tobci,

completed at the beginning of the 17th cent., where Chinghiz-khan is said to have been born « in the year of the snake » and to have died in the « pig » year at the age of sixty-seven, i. e. sixty-six in European reckoning (cf. GOMBOEV ed., in Trudy Vost. Otd. IRAO, VI, 130, 146). MAILLA (and his editor DESHOUTERAYES, who revised the translation and the notes) had no direct authority for the year of his birth, and calculated it back from the statement in the continuation of the Kang mu that Chinghiz was « sixty-six » years old when he died in 1127. But the years must be counted in Chinese fashion, a child being regarded as being one year old at the moment of his birth, so that the date to be deduced from the Chinese text is « 1162 ». The same mistake lies at the basis of the « year of the snake », i. e. 1161, in the Altan tobci, where this date is immediately followed by the statement that Chinghiz-khan was forty-five (forty-four for us) when he raised the « white standard with nine pennants » « in the tiger-bing year », i. e. ping-yin, 1206. There can be no doubt that the source of the Altan tobci meant that Chinghiz was born in 1162.

This date of 1162 has long been supposed to be the only one to be found in Chinese sources.

It is the one to be deduced from the YS, i, 9 b, where Chinghiz is said to have been sixty-six years old (sixty-five for us) at the time of his death in 1227. The same information occurs before the fall of the Mongol dynasty in the Cho-kêng lu (i, 11a), a work completed in 1366. An earlier text seems to bear testimony to the same tradition; it is the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu, compiled or, more probably, translated from the Mongolian in the second half of the 13th cent. (cf. TP, 1929, 170171), and incorporated between 1350 and 1366 in T'ao Tsung-i's Shuo fu. The Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu (WANG Kuo-wei's edition, 43 a), after relating Ong-khan's death (see « Unc ») which probably took place in 1203, before passing on to events expressly dated chia-tzü (1204), adds that Chinghiz-