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0037 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 37 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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13. ALAINS   21

But there is in all these texts no mention of the Asut, while there are several concerning Chên-ch'ao; I shall quote the main ones :

a. YS, 132, 4 b, biography of Ang-chi-êrh, a Hsi-Hsia man (not an Alan as is said in Mo, 141) : Ang-chi-êrh's father had submitted to Chinghiz-khan with his men in 1221, and Ang-chiêrh succeeded in the command of these Hsi-Hsia troops, to which others of the same nation were added. When Bayan passed south of the Yang-tzû, he ordered Ang-chi-êrh to remain in the north and to pacify the western half of the region between the Huai and the Yang-tzû. «The [seat of the] military district of Chên-ch'ao submitted and was garrisoned by Asut troops. The population would not tolerate their harshness. The [former Sung] commander [of the military district] (tu-t'ung), ttt )!WI Hung Fu, killed the whole [Asut] garrison and revolted. Ang-cbi-êrh attacked and stormed the city and captured [Hung] Fu ... »

ß. YS, 132, 1 a [and cf. T'u Chi, 102, 11 a], biography of the Asut Hang-hu-ssû : «In 1270, the son of Hang-hu-ssû, A-t'a-ch'ih, helped in conquering the important pass of Wu-ho-k'ou (in the district of Wu-ho, Anhui). In 1274, he helped in conquering the prefectures of fa 71 Sungchiang and others (I suspect that the text is altered and I propose to read Vii}ZL yen chiang, 'along the Yang-tzû'; Sung-chiang is the region in which lies Shanghai, far from Anhui) and garrisoned Chên-ch'ao. The population would not accept the orders. The Sung general Hung Fu, who had submitted, resorted to trickery, and taking advantage of an occasion when [A-t'a-ch'ih] was drunk, he killed him. Shih-tsu (= Qubilai) expressed compassion for [A-t'a-ch'ih's] death and granted to his family 500 tads of silver, 3,500 strings of cash in paper money and [the ownership of] 1539 families of Chên-ch'ao ».

y. YS, 132, 2 b [and cf. T'u Chi, 102, 12 a], biography of the Asut Yü-wa-shih : Yü-washih's father, Yeh-lieh (Eliya?), who had been appointed chiliarch in the army of the Asut, « helped in conquering Hsiang-yang (see 'Saianfu'), then helped in conquering the cities along the Yang-tzû. The Sung governor (an fu) Hung [Fu], after he had submitted, revolted again; he induced [Yeh-lieh] to enter the city, and, at a banquet, profiting from his [Yeh-lieh's] drunkenness, he killed him ... Yü-wa-shih succeeded his father as chiliarch of the army of the Asut, and followed the minister Bayan in the pacification of the Sung. He was granted [the ownership of] 2,052 families of Chên-ch'ao. »

Of course, it might be supposed that another massacre of drunken Mans, of which there is no trace in history, took place when Ch'ang-chou revolted; but the coincidence is hardly possible, and the texts quoted above leave no doubt, in my opinion, that the Alans were killed at Chênch'ao, not at Ch'ang-chou. Polo has wrongly connected with Ch'ang-chou an incident which occurred elsewhere; the rebellion of both cities after they had submitted and the phonetic similitude between Chên-ch'ao and Ch'ang-chou are probably responsible for the confusion.

The date of the massacre at Chên-ch'ao cannot be 1274, as is stated in Mo, 262; T'u Chi, 102, 12 a, has adopted 1276, which is not quite certain either. Hung Fu's stubborn resistance and death at Chên-ch'ao are narrated in his biography in the Sung shih, 451, 2 b, but without any allusion to the Asut and without precise dates. According to the pen-chi of the Sung shih, 47, 4 b, 5 a, after the seat of the military district of Chên-ch'ao had submitted to the Mongols, it was reconquered by Hung Fu in 1275, 4th moon, on the day jen-yin (April 28), and, as a consequence,