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0117 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 117 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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77. BONUS   101

according to which the «arc de mot » (lit. « word-bow ») was «a bow entrusted by the sultan, as a symbol of delegation of his power, to some one who was to carry out some order ». I am almost inclined to believe that « mot » is wrong somehow, and that the bundugdâr was simply the bearer of the sultan's crossbow (cf. the gorei, « quiver-bearers », of Mongol history). As is shown by the above quotation, the Gestes des Chiprois mistake Baibars himself for a bundugdâr, while he was only al-Bundugdàri, the former servant of a bundugdâr.

One more word on bunduq, funduq. YULE says (Hobson-Jobson2, 127) : «Bundulc, pi. banâdilc, was a name applied by the Arabs to filberts (as some allege) because they came from Venice (Banadilc, comp. German Venedig) ». This derivation is impossible. The filbert, or hazel-nut, was known under that name in the Orient long before Venice had any trade there. Pers. funduq, Arab. bunduq are borrowed from the classical name (xc pvov) 7rovzcxßv, (nux) pontica, which had passed into Aramaean (cf. L. LECLERC, Ibn el-Beithar, Traité des Simples, in Not. et Extr., 23 [1877], I, 273; S. FRÄNKEL, Aramäische Fremdwörter im Arabischen, 139; EI, s.v. fundulc), and is even known in Pahlvi (cf. WEST, Pahlavi Texts, I, 103). On the other hand, the bunduqi, or « sequin », is said in EI to have been so called from «Bundugiya» the name of Venice among the Arabs, with a reference to Abu-l-Fidà; but REINAUD, Géogr. d'Aboulféda,

II, I, 309, transcribes   a;.,,ll as « Benedekyé », and the vocalization with two u's does not seem to
have a real basis. If the name of the bunduqi, «sequin», is really derived from that of Venice, it must at least have been contaminated by the bunduq, «filbert», of identical spelling. But one may entertain some doubts when the Osmanli Turks speak at the same time of their gold coins as fundugli or findigli, which is explained in EI as probably arising from the outer circle of « pearls » of the coins being compared to filberts. I find it hard to dissociate bunduqi from fundugli. Moreover, in Roumanian funduk is used alone as the name of an ancient coin (cf. LOKOTSCH, Etymol. Wörterbuch, Nos. 355, 617).


alboro V   ebano TA', TA3, VA, VL;   ebon (?) VB

bonus F   G, R   ybenus FA, FB

bonusso LT   ebanus L, LT, P, Z

Although we have retained the « bonus » of F, I am not certain that it is the best form, nor that YULE'S remarks on that reading ( Y, II, 272) are really pertinent. The word « ebony » goes back to Lat. ebenus, from Greek éßsvos, which in its turn is borrowed from the Egyptian heben,

probably through a Semitic channel. The Arabo-Persian   abniis, which YULE mentions, is a
retranscription from the Greek. The word was fairly well known in the Middle Ages, in Italian as ebano, in French as ebaine, though the Latin form in -us is also met with. YULE quotes a French inventory where the word is written ibenus. In PoLo's text, FA and FB read « ybenus ». I have little doubt that the « bonus » of F is a wrong apheretic form, and that we ought to adopt