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0623 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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199. ÇIC   607

Plan Carpine mentions both « Circassos » and « terram Siccorum » ( IVy, 90, 111-112). Simon de Saint-Quentin (in Vincent DE BEAUVAIS, Specul. historiale, xxxi, 149) and Rubrouck (Wy, 167)

speak of « Ziquia », but Rubrouck had also heard of the « Cherkis », i. e. Circassians (Fry, 199,

and add the «Kerkisorum» or « Verkisorum» of p. 209, probably for « Cherkisorum », with ch= O. The «Giquis» are referred to in Martin da Canal for events of 1268 (cf. BRXTIANU, Rech.

sur le commerce génois, 249). The Libellus de notitia orbis of John III, archbishop of Sulta-

niyah, has a paragraph (cf. A. KERN, in Arch. Fratr. Praed., viii, 111-113) on «Ziquia sive Tharquesia » (var. «Tharquasia»; read « Charquesia »?) and its two classes of inhabitants « Tarcasi

(also ' Tarcazi', p. 108; read ' Carcasi '?) nigri et albi; nigri nomine non pelle ». Circassian slaves

of both sexes were then in great demand. For instances of sales of two «Zicha» women in 1281, and one man «de proienie Zichi » in 1289, cf. BRÂTIANU, Actes des notaires génois, 164-165,

243. In Pasqual de Vittoria's letter of 1338, the servant said to be «Ziquo natione » was clearly

a Circassian (the passage was misunderstood in Yl, III, 85; cf. TP, 1922, 79-80; Wy, 504). There was a Latin archbishop of «Matrega» in «Zychia», called John (1349-1376); from the

Libellus de notitia orbis, we learn that he belonged to a good Circassian family, but had in his

youth been sold as a slave at Genoa (cf. KERN, in Arch. Fratr. Praed., VIII, 111). Pegolotti also gives some information on the trade with « Zecchia » (EVANS, 54-55). The Directorium ad

passagium faciendum mentions the «Ziqui », in the French text «Ziques », strangely considered

by the editors as the Sarmat «Jaziges» (Hist. des Crois., Arm., II, 386). The Catalan Map has on the north-eastern coast of the Black Sea an « Alba Zechia » (« White Zechia ») and a «Maura

Zechia» («Black Zechia »; BUCHON, in Not. et Extr. XIV, II, 81). On Fra Mauro's map, I find only «Cercassia ». The region which appears in HALLBERG, 571, as «Zichia », without indication of origin, and is erroneously explained as «a name of Scythia », must also be Western Circassia. On these names, cf. DIRR, in Petermann's Mitteil. 54 [1908], 206 and 212, and in EI, s. v. « erkesses ».

The name Zcxla is connected with that of «Adïye», «Adzïye», by which the Circassians call themselves. It occurs in Abkhàz as Zubunï and Azbuâ, « Circassian ». « Jik» is also the Georgian name of the Circassians (cf. BROSSET, Hist. de la Géorgie, I, 510; ii, 18).

The other name, corresponding to our « Circassian », appears only in the Middle Ages, and renders a Turkish form « Öirkäs ». According to DIRR, « Cärkäs» would represent a palatalized

form of the name known in Greek as Kep c Tat. MARQUART (Ueber das Volkstum der Komanen,

181) suggested a doubtful Persian etymology, *cähar-Kas, the « four [tribes of the] Kas». This would connect the name with another designation of the Circassians, which is found in the

Hudicd al-'Âlarn as Kàsak, in Byzantine sources as Kaaraxla, in old Russian as Kasogy, and which survives in Khäsäg, the Osset name of the Circassians (cf. Mi, 446). Stephen Orbelian mentions the «Cérgèzac» (in the plural; cf. SAINT-MARTIN, Mém. sur l'Arménie, II, 121, 268). Far Eastern texts mention the Circassians in connection with the Mongol conquest. They are the «Särkäsüt» and « Särgäsüt « of the Secret History (§§ 262, 270), plural of «Särkäs » and «Särgäs », respectively. The transcribers of the Mongol text into Chinese at the end of the 14th cent. had no means to distinguish between the -k- and the -g-, represented by the same letter in Mongolian script. The change of to s- is of Turco-Mongolian origin. But, even in Mongolian