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0312 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 312 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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296   158. CINGHIS

enthronement in 1206, and the date of 1194 seems also to be due to an error of a complete duodenary cycle.

The final enthronement calls for one more remark. We always date it in 1206, because the year ping-yin, a « tiger » year, roughly corresponds to 1206, but it runs into 1207. The Cho-kêng lu, however, adds (I, 11 a) that it was in the 12th month, which, in the Chinese calendar, corresponds to December 31, 1206--January 29, 1207. The enthronement ought thus to be dated in January 1207. But the statement of the Cho-kêng lu, although accepted by T'u Chi (3, 1 a), is not above suspicion. In 1206, the Mongols did not follow the Chinese calendar, nor probably even the Uighur calendar, which is slightly divergent from the Chinese; this is the first reason of uncertainty. Another is that the Cho-kêng lu, a very sound source for the later period of the Mongol dynasty, has for Chinghiz-khan's birth the probably wrong date of 1162, and may depend here too upon untrustworthy information. If we add that climatic reasons did not favour the holding of important gatherings in Mongolia during the winter, and that the later important diets for which we have precise dates actually took place in other seasons of the year, it seems an almost necessary conclusion that the « twelfth month » of the Cho-kên lu cannot be retained. According to Raid (Ber, III, 8), the diet of 1206 was convened in the beginning of spring; but this is not binding either.

THE TITLE « CHINGHIZ-KHAN ». - Whether adopted at the end of the 12th cent., or in 1203, or only in 1206, the title « Cinggis khan » has been explained in many different ways. One point seems very plausible. If Chinghiz-khan chose a new title instead of appropriating the old Mongol title of gür-khan, « universal khan », already used by the Qara-Hitai and the Kerait (see « Catai »), it must have been because an opposing Mongol diet had lessened its value in his eyes by granting it to his rival Jumuqa (cf. Ber, III, 110, 112; Oh, I, 98-99). The Ch'ien-lung Commissioners did not attempt an etymology of «Cinggis» (Yuan shih yü-chieh, I, 2 b). GAUBIL (Hist. de Gentchiscan, 12) considered that « Cinggis » had no meaning in Mongolian, and SCHMIDT (Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 379) repeats this and BANZAROV agrees with him (Cernaya véra, 77).

Chao Hung, our earliest source, says : « Some say that Ch'êng-chi-ssû (Cinggis) renders the

two characters   gg t'ien-tz'û» (Meng-Ta pei-lu, 3 a). In VASIL'EV's translation (Trudy VOIRAO,
Iv, 218), this is translated : « Some say that Cingis is a corruption of the double term t'ien-tz'û ». Though not literal, VASIL'EV's interpretation may be correct ; what I have translated as « renders » is

Pg i yü, which may mean both a translation or a phonetic transcription. It is more probable, however, that Chao Hung thought « Ch'êng-chi-ssû » « translated » (and not « transcribed ») t'ien-tz'iï (this texte was already known to VISDELOU; cf. his Supplement to D'HERBELOT, 150). At any rate, it is disconcerting to find that, to the last, VASIL'EV should have stuck (cf. ZVOIRAO, Iv, 379) to Chao Hung's etymology, which is clearly fantastic. T'ien-tz'û means « granted by Heaven », and, according to Chao Hung (12 b), the term occurred at the beginning of the Mongol tablets of authority (p'ai-tzii), before the name of « the Emperor Ch'êng-chi-ssû ». It is the translation of tängriyin öggüksän, «given by Heaven », which is still prefixed to the name of Tämüjin in « Sanang Setsen» (SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 63). Chao Hung's information about the tablets has been confirmed by the recent discovery, in Jehol province, of a gold tablet bearing the very formula given in the Mêng-Ta pei-lu (cf. HANEDA, in Memoirs ... of the Toyo Bunko, No. 8, 85-91). It