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0095 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 95 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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58. BARIS   79

3 b), and of the 24 postal stages established for the purpose of bringing gerfalcons from Liao-yang (YS, 18, 7 a; 22, 9 a). In the middle of the 12th cent., the A atWu tsung chih (ed. Chihpu-tsu-chai ts'ung-shu, 21 b) says that in the woods on the se -cliffs of Têng-chou (Shantung) there are hawks which come in one flight from Kao-li (Corea) over the sea, and are called « Grey-blues from East of the Sea ». But it may be that, at least in the Mongol period, hai-ch'ing and hai-tung-ch'ing were also understood to mean « Grey-blue from East of the [Baikal] Sea », that is to say from Baryu; in any case, the Mongols got them from far in the north, and Polo has only a very hazy notion of the «islands» of the northern « Ocean » where they were caught.

Polo states that the gerfalcons carried to Tartar dominions by Christians did not go to the Emperor, but only to Aryun and the other princes of the Levant. YULE ( Y, I, 273) has only quoted a case of three white gerfalcons sent by James II of Aragon to the Sultan of Egypt. But there is a text to corroborate more expressly Polo's remark. In a letter written in 1276 from Viterbo to King Edward I by John and James Vassal, messengers of Abaya, the two messengers warn the king against some Catalans and a Nestorian who had been sent by Abaya with money and with a gold tablet ornamented with a gerfalcon (the hai-ch'ing p'ai-tzei of Chinese texts) to go and buy gerfalcons for Aba}'a in Norway (« Noroaigue »; see « Noroech »), and who were to go to England after they had tried in Sicily to pose as official envoys (cf. Ch. KOHLER and Ch. V. LANGLOIS, Lettres inédites concernant les croisades, in Bibl. Ec. des Chartes, LII [1891], 56-57). This is a striking illustration of the lengths to which Oriental princes would go at that time to procure gerfalcons.

58. BARIS baris I

The name occurs only in a passage of Jacopo d'Acqui's Imago mundi, the Polian origin of which has not been established beyond doubt (cf. B, cxcviii, 15e).

This « Mount Baris » or « Mount Olympus », as is clear from the text itself, cannot be Ararat, which Polo without naming it describes both before and after when he speaks of Noah's Ark. Moreover the name of the biblical Ararat was well known to mediaeval travellers : Simon de Saint-Quentin speaks of Mount « Arath » (_ *ArÇath = *Ararath; in Vincent de Beauvais, xxxi, 97); it is also mentioned by Rubrouck (Illy, 319) and by Marignolli (Wy, 541) ; « Harach », in the French version of Odoric, must also stand for *Hararath (Yi, II, 102; CORDIER, Odoric de Pordenone, 6; «monte Gordico » in the corresponding passage of RAMUSio A may either be corrupt for the same name or mean *« Curdic », from the name of the Kurds). In Hethum, we find not only the name of Mount Ararat, but also the information that on top of the snowy mountain there is a « grant chose noire » which is said to be Noah's Ark (Hist. des Crois., Arm., ii, 128, 268). Jacopo