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0403 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 403 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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161. CIORCIA   387

referred to in Mongolian as Kitat, because they had replaced the true Kitat (a Mongolian plural of Kitan < Qitan), i. e. the Ch'i-tan or Liao of Chinese texts; and in their turn the true Kitat, those who had remained in northern China as well as those who had migrated to Russian Turkestan, were henceforth known as Qara-Kitat or Qara-Iotai, the «Black Kitan» (see « Catai »). As to the name Jürcä, or in its Mongolian form Jürcät, it survived only as the designation of the original home of the nation in eastern Manchuria. In the Secret History the Jürcät of § 247, 248, 255, and 274 are only the Manchurian Jürcät. Such is the case also when Ra"sidu-'d-Din (Bl, II, 498) speaks of Japan as of a great island in the ocean, «in the vicinity of the coasts of the pro-inces of Jürêä and Kali (Corea) ». So Polo's use of « Ciorcia » is in perfect agreement with the custom of the time. His « Ciorcia » is in principle the country beginning east of the Liao River, and extending south of the Ch'ang-pai-shan to the Japan Sea, but it may also have extended to the north-east as far as the lower Amur, and even corresponded to the whole of Manchuria. About the time of the capture of Peking by the Mongols, the Chin officer iii w ;J,; tit P'u-hsien Wan-nu had started east of the Liao River an independent kingdom, which he first called J I Ta-Chên

(« Great [Nü-]chên »), and afterwards   Tung-Hsia (« Eastern Hsia ») and A   Tung-chên
(« Eastern [Nü-]chên ») ; he was reduced by the Mongols in 1233 (cf. GIBERT, Dictionnaire, 754755). Prior to the downfall of P'u-hsien Wan-nu, Chinghiz-khan had allotted the whole of his territory as part of the appanage of his youngest brother Tämügä-otcigin, and Nayan (see « Naian ») had inherited it as great-great-grandson of the latter (cf. T'u Chi, 75, 1 a). So Polo's information is once more correct.

While all commentators have agreed that, in the first two cases, Polo's « Ciorcia » represents the same name as *Juren and Nü-chên and is in principle a designation of south-eastern Manchuria, more hesitation has been felt about « the desert island named Ciorcia ». YULE ( Y, II, 262), citing RAMUSIO, speaks of « a certain island named Zorza (Chorcha ?) », but does not seem expressly to identify the two names, and CORDIER'S Index, while referring under « Zorza » to « Chorcha », and under « Chorcha » to « Churchin », leaves out the reference to II, 262, under this last name. BENEDETTO, who correctly identifies « Ciorcia » with the *Jurcen (B1, 441), says under « Zorza » (B', 449) : « Unidentified ... I doubt that it can be the same as Ciorcia, since it is spoken of as being an island ». Ross alone (RR, 417, 439), although separating under two different entries the names « Chorcha, Manchu country » and « Zorza, island Chorcha or Juchin », shows by his very explanation « Juchin », i. e. Ju-chen, that he held the two to be identical.

Leaving for the moment the name itself, I shall try to determine which was the place referred to by Polo. During the Mongol dynasty people were banished to various parts of the Empire. For instance ( YS, 29, 3 a), on January 22, 1324, princes who were guilty of conspiracy were respec-

tively banished to Yün-nan, Hai-nan, f( E   Nu-êrh-kan, and «the Sea Islands» (i, hai-tao).
In Polo's text, « Yün-nan » is excluded, being neither in the sea nor near the sea. « Hai-nan » too is out of the question, since it designates the island of Hai-nan, which was not « desert » and the name of which was well known to Polo (see « Cheynam »). The anonymous « sea islands » might be taken into consideration if it were not that Polo would probably not have called them by a distinct name when the annals themselves do not ; moreover these « sea islands » must have been off the coasts of China proper (perhaps the Chu-san islands, where Nayan's partisans had been