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0096 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 96 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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80   58. BARIS

d'Acqui's quotation also gives this detail, and if the whole is not a genuine Polo passage, Jacopo d'Acqui may well be indebted to Hethum for at least something of it.

The name of « Mount Olympus » seems to be used here merely figuratively and that of «Mount Baris» is the only one we need to examine. The best solution I can think of is to see in

it a transcription of the name of the Elburz or Elbruz, ;11 Aiburz, in which al- has been dropped, perhaps because it was mistaken for the article (Arabic or Italian). At any rate, I think we must connect « Boris » with another name which occurs in documents of the early 14th cent., but has not been correctly read or explained.

By a bull of April 1, 1318, John XXII fixed the extent of the respective jurisdictions of the Franciscan archbishop of Khan-baliq (Peking) and of the Dominican archbishop of Sultanieh (Sultâniyah). The Dominican archbishopric wielded authority over the territory of the ilkhans of Persia and of the house of Cayatai or « Medium Imperium », the Franciscan archbishopric over Cathay and the Golden Horde, including the Crimea. In the bull (as published by EUBEL in 1897 and 1898), the line of separation between the two jurisdictions was drawn at « Mons Barrarius » (a Monte Barrario; and a dicto Monte Barrario). Jourdain Cathala says of Armenia that it extends in longitude from « Sebast » (= Sivas) to « Orogan » (read « Mogan »), representing over forty days' journey, and in latitude from Mount Barcarius (a monte Barcario) to Thaurisium (Tabriz), representing a good twenty-three days' journey (CORDIER, Les merveilles de l'Asie, 53, 110); Cordier however does not comment on what his translation calls « Mont Barcar ». GOLUBOVICH (Bibl. biobibl. III, 200, 204; also 198, 199) gave the complete text of the bull of 1318, but wrote « Monteharrario », adding in a note « Not Montebarrario. Monsharrarius certainly is Mount Ararat in Armenia. » SORANZO (Il papato, 515-517) objected that the region of Mount Ararat was entirely within the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Sultanieh and that the limit between the two archbishoprics must be looked for more to the north, towards the Caucasus. I have no doubt that GoLUBOVICH was mistaken as to the name and as to the identification. Although he knew Jourdain's form from HALLBERG (cf. Bibl. bio-bibi., II, 543), he took it to be another case of confusion between b- and h-. But there is not the slightest ground for such an assumption. SORANZO'S objections to the Ararat theory are perfectly valid, and the name of the mountain, which begins with b- in both sources, can only be *Barcar or *Barrar. On the other hand, the question is merely one of a clerical error between these two forms, since Jourdain, writing a few years after the bull of 1318, certainly had the bull in mind when he gave the northern limit of Armenia.

Phonetically, the most tempting solution would be to adopt Jourdain's « Barcarius » and to see in «Mount *Barcar » Mount Barkhar, from which the Kur takes its rise (the TIapvcapris of ancient geography according to Hist. des Crois., Arm., I, 136). But, if Mount Barkhar may be said to be the northern limit of Armenia towards Georgia, it was certainly not the northern limit of Armenia in general, nor the limit between the territories of the ilkhans and of the Golden Horde. That limit, which left the whole basin of the Kur and Araxes to the ilkhans, and consequently to the archbishopric of Sultanieh, was at Derbend, on the Caspian Sea (see « Gate of Iron »); this is expressly stated by Hethum (Hist. des Crois., Arm., II, 128, 156, 268, 291) and is confirmed by the whole history of the rivalry between the Mongols of Persia and their cousins of the Golden Horde. Derbend lies north of the Caucasus, but in a very strong position, where a