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0539 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 539 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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183. COTTON   523

course the Caucasus, or some part of it, whilst the kingdom of Cadeli is the country on the Ethil, Adil, or Herdil, i. e. the Volga ». To support this identification of « Cadeli », YULE adds that « the c is constantly substituted for an aspirate by the Italian travellers (e. g. Polo's Cormos for Hormuz).... The ' Caspian Hills ' and the Volga are at some little distance, but that distance does not subtend a great angle from China where Odoric heard the story ! » LAUFER (124-125) insists on the fact that exactly the same tradition occurs in Odoric, who started on his journey between 1316 or 1318 and returned in 1330, and in Sir John Maundeville, « who travelled in Asia from 1322 to 1356 », and on the other hand that Odoric's text is so near the one found in Ch'ang Tê's Hsishih chi that their agreement « proves that both have reproduced with tolerable correctness a bit of folk-lore picked up by them on Persian soil ». It is astonishing that as well-read a scholar as LAUFER should have still referred to Sir John Maundeville's forgery as the account of a real journey; here, Maundeville merely copies Odoric. As to YULE'S identifications of « Cadeli » and the «Caspian mountains », they are mainly due to the remarkable coincidence between Odoric's text and various legends of the 16th cent. which I shall soon discuss. But the equation of « Cadili » with a name of the Volga is far from being evident. YULE'S comparison with Hormuz > Cormos is misleading. There is really an h- at the beginning of Hormuz, but there is none at the beginning of Atil or Etil, the Turkish name of the Volga. YULE'S variant « Herdil », taken from RAMUSIo (cf. vol. I, 994), can only be an accidental spelling, probably in some corrupt text. But the true

mediaeval Turkish form is J31 Atli or Ätii (so in Kâsyari's ms.; BROCKELMANN'S « Ytyl » [p. 244], i.e. Itil, is a mistake), in some later dialects « Ädil » and « Edil » (cf. RADLOV's Dictionary, I, 842, 857); J~ Atil, in the Hudûd al-'Alam (cf. MINORSKY'S Index, s.v. « Atil » and « Itil »), seems to represent an older not palatalized pronunciation (cf. MARQUART, in Ungar. Jahrbücher, ix, 96). The form is confirmed by the early Byzantine transcriptions 'ATTAas, 'Aria, 'ETA, 'ATA, and also by Rubrouck's « Etilia » (cf. ROCKHILL, Rubrouck, 107) and by the « Edil » of the Catalan Map and of a Genoese document of 1374 (cf. Y', I, 307; II, 105). The incorrect forms « Erdir » and « Erdil » occur in Josafa Barbaro (RAMUSIO, H, 98 vO.). So YULE'S explanation of the c- of « Cadeli » falls to the ground. No less erroneous is LAUFER's view that Odoric had picked up the story « on Persian soil ». Odoric narrates the story when he speaks of his stay at « Cambalec », i.e., Peking, and YULE was right in stating that Odoric had heard the story in China. There is no wonder in this, since we have seen that it was current in northern China in the first half of the 14th cent. Finally « Cadeli » is probably a misreading. CORDIER (Odoric de Pordenone, 432) has derided L. DE BACKER for saying that the « great country » meant was Corea. As a rule I do not think highly of DE BACKER'S scholarship, but it is a fact that « Caoli » or « Cauli » is very nearly the form which would best account for the various readings, and it is the very name which was given to Corea in Odoric's time (see « Cauli »). All the mediaeval accounts of the « sowed sheep » locate it outside of China proper, north or west of the Desert. If the name used by Odoric was really the one then generally employed for Corea, it is true that Corea lies neither « north » nor « west » of the Desert, but it is a far away country to the north-east of China, which Odoric knew only by name, where he might have misplaced the legend. But how are we to account for the « montes Caspei », which, as YULE said, certainly are « Caspian mountains » ? Well, they are « Caspian mountains », but that does not imply that they are « of course Caucasus », as YULE believed them to be. ODORIC