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0091 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 91 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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56. BARAC   75


balac LT   barach L, P, Pb, V,   baracli V

barac F, FA, FB, L,   VA (?), VL, Z; R   barat FA
TA', TA3, Z

Turkish Baraq, which means a long-haired dog of somewhat fabulous character; see BROCKELMANN, Kâ5yari, 31; RADLOV, Dictionary, iv, 1477; and my note in TP, 1930, 339-340. Baraq is the prince who is generally called Böraq, Börràq, or Buràk, in Ha', II, 407; Hat, 129; Oh, II, 359, etc.; Stanley LANE-POOLE, The Mohammedan Dynasties', 342; Bl, H, 435; BARTHOLD, 12 Vorlesungen, 251; GROUSSET, Hist. de l'Extrême-Orient, 594; Pe, 155; and lastly in B', 438. BLOCHET, who writes « Borak » in Bl, II, 435, and in his Introduction, 223, 233, has nevertheless added in the Index of the Introduction « better Barakh »; I have already shown (TP, 1930, 339-340) that his explanations of that name « Barak » or « Barakh » are fantastic. The fact remains that 00 must be read Baraq, and that Börràq is one of these later « arabizations » which have for instance given birth to a Säibàn and a Säibànid dynasty, when the original Mongol form was Siban > Siban (see also « Berca »). The correct form given by Polo is corroborated by YS, 107, 5 a, who mentions a prince ~ . -ill Pa-la; this is not a transcription of Bala, as is said in BI, II, 155, but of Baraq. Hethum the historian also gives correctly «Barach» (cf. Hist. des Crois., Arm., H, 163, 296, 891). The Georgian chronicle writes « Barakha » (BROSSET, Hist. de la Géorgie, I, I, 575, 580 sq.).

The YS, 107, 5 a, is wrong in making him a son of Qara-Hülägü, whereas he was his nephew; Baraq was the son of Yäsün-toa, himself a grandson of ayatai (cf. Bl, III, 167-168; T'u Chi, 148, 39 b, is absolutely lost as to the identification of Baraq's father).

As Baraq is said in the text to have ruled in Bukhara when the elder Polos stayed there, it would be of some interest to ascertain the dates of his reign over the ulus of Cayatai. YULE (Y, I, 10) says 1264-1270; Stanley LANE-POOLE' (p. 242; followed in B', 438), 1266-1270. But BARTHOLD, generally safer, says that Alyui (more correctly Alut'u; see under « Cibai ») died at the end of 1265 or the beginning of 1266, and was succeeded by Baraq who reigned until 1271 (see BARTHOLD'S note in MINAEV'S Marco Polo, p. 6, and GRUM-GRLIMAYLO, Zapadnaya Mongoliya, II, 481). Later on, in EI, s. v. «Buràk-khan », BARTHOLD brought forward fresh and sometimes contradictory information; the probabilities are that Baraq did not come into power before the spring or summer of 1266, and died about August 1271.

Baraq is named a second time when Polo relates the story of a war with Aryun, who very soon afterwards heard of the death of his father Abaya; this time, Polo says that Baraq was Qaidu's brother. Qaidu was a grandson of Ögödäi, the Baraq of 1266-1271 was a great-grandson of Ögödäi's brother Cayatai; thus these two were not brothers, but cousins, and not of the same generation. It may be supposed that Polo uses « brothers » in the loose Oriental way, in which it means cousins as well, the more so as he uses « flesh-brothers » when he wishes to indicate real