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0313 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 313 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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158. CINGHIS   297

is, moreover, the mediaeval expression of a belief which goes back to the early Hsiung-nu. So «(inggis» has nothing to do with t'ien-tz'û. The same may be said of VASIL'EV's alternative solution (ibid. iv, 379) that « Cinggis » may be a transcription of t'ien-tzü, «Son of Heaven »; the mediaeval transcriptions from Mongolian or into Mongolian are much too accurate to admit of such an unaccountable corruption. I shall not stop to discuss the « Chingsze, i. e. perfect warrior» of DOUGLAS, The life of Jenghis Khan, 54.

Raid says three times (Ber, I, 159; III, 8, 112) that «( ingiz » is the plural of ding, which in Mongolian means « firm » (...... ), or « powerful and strong » (.mow 5 s,;), so that the name is tantamount to « king of kings » (pâdsâh-i pâdsâhc-tn) or «emperor of emperors » (sahinsâh). This plural was, according to Raid (Ber, I, 159) a plural majestatis applied to Chinghiz-khan himself; D'OHSSON's «khan of the powerful ones» (Oh, I, 99) is not in accordance with the text. The tradition passed on to Abu-'i-Ghazi (DESMAISONS, text, 81; transi., 88) who says, in Turkish, that « Cingiz » is the plural of ding, and that the latter word means « great » (uluy) and « firm » (qatï). SCHMIDT objected (Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 379) that cing was an adverb, meaning « solidly », « immoveably », which could have no plural, and BANZAROV concurred with him. But in vain : ERDMANN, relying on the consensus of Mussulman writers, maintained that they could not have erred, and derived from their explanations the very title of his book, « Temudschin der Unerschütterliche» (cf. his long note, pp. 599-609). SCHMIDT'S argument was not of the soundest. Ling often is an adverb, but it can also be used as an adjective (the cognate einya is only an adjective), and plurals of adjectives are known in ancient Mongolian (for instance yäkäs in the Secret History, §§ 230, 271). A much stronger objection would have been to point out that, if ding had a plural, it could only have been *cingut, not cinggis. It seems clear that Rasid's informants had no longer a tradition to guide them to the meaning and origin of « einggis », and that they imagined an etymology which afterwards met with undue success. Their ignorance is shown by the parallel case of gürban, always explained by Raid in the passage where he comments on « Cingiz ». According to

him, gür means « firm » (:,...), or « powerful and great »   ). The world gür existed,
however, and still exists in Mongolian, and the translators of the Secret History have correctly rendered it « universal » (see « Catai »). Except for the sake of completeness, I would not mention BLOCHET's explanation of « Cinggis ban » (Moufazzal, 532-533) as a « purely Mongolian » title « Cinkkiz qayan », « Emperor of the brave men », -z being the mark of the plural. Neither a word *cinkki, nor a plural in -z exist in Mongolian.

BANZAROV (Cërnaya Véra, 78) proposed to see in « L`inggis » the old Hsiung-nu title transcribed in Chinese as `41; - shan-yü, the ancient sound of which, according to BIaRIN, was « cen-yü ». This was for the time a clever suggestion, which ERDMANN'S supercilious refutation (Temudschin, 607-608) hardly affects. But BANZAROV was misinformed about the ancient pronun-

ciation of the Chinese : shan-yü is an ancient *zidn jiu (? from a more archaic *ziän-giu), and I do not believe that the ancient sonant initial of the Hsiung-nu original could give an initial - in Mongolian (I leave out the pronunciation tan-yü, *tun j iu, adopted by DE GROOT, which I consider to be erroneous). On the other hand, we should not lay too much stress on the following point, the only reasonable one among the seven raised by ERDMANN, that if « tinggis » was the mediaeval form of the term transcribed shan-yii in ancient times, it would form a title by itself, which would