National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project
Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books

> > > >
Color New!IIIF Color HighRes Gray HighRes PDF   Japanese English
0119 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 119 (Color Image)

New!Citation Information

doi: 10.20676/00000246
Citation Format: Chicago | APA | Harvard | IEEE

OCR Text


80. BRAZIL   103

CLXVII. I have adopted it because I do not wish to invent a spelling of my own; but, taking into account the various readings, my own feeling would be in favour of an original spelling like « Bracmain ». On bra'hmana, «brahman », and its various forms in Western languages, cf. HobsonJobson2, 111.


beçi F

berci TA', TA3, Z; H berçi F, L, Z

berer (de mastica) LT

berty G

berzi VA

birci, lurci P

oro dimesticho TAI

orzi V verçi L verzi L, V, VB verzin, verzino R

Brazil, or brazil-wood, Caesalpinia sappan, was much used as a dye-wood in the Middle Ages; the oldest known mention is of 1140 (HEYD, Hist. du commerce, II, 587-590). The oft-told story that Brazil in America owed its name to the dye-woods discovered there is discountenanced by the earlier legend of an Isle of Brazil which was supposed to exist in the Atlantic (cf. Y, II, 380-38114; Hobson-Jobson2, s. v. « Brazil-wood »; DALGADO, Glossdrio Luso-Asicitico, i, 149-150). LOKOTSCH (Etym. Wörterbuch, No. 190) says that the word « brazil » is still unexplained, and at the same time, No. 2157, agrees with MEYER-LÜBKE in deriving the Italian name of the brazil-wood, verzino, from Arab. wars, Memecylon tinctorium, a well-known saffron-like plant yielding a yellow dye (cf. LAUFER, Sino-Iranica, 315-316). But brazil-wood and Memecylon tinctorium have nothing in common; moreover, French brésil, brasil, and Ital. berçi (in F) or verzino cannot be distinguished. The old explanation of brésil from Fr. braise, « glowing coal », on account of the red colour of the dye, still doubted by MURRAY, is adopted in BLocH's Dict. étymol., s. v. « braise », and finds strong support in the dialectical forms of « braise » collected by VON WARTBURG, Franz. Etym. Wörterbuch, I, 506.

The ordinary Arabic name of brazil-wood is baqam, bagqam (< Pers. bakam, VULLERS, II, 254), also used in Persian and in Turkish (cf. Fe, 246; KUUN, Codex Cumanicus, 92, where Lat.

braçile » is rendered in Persian « bacha » [__ « bacham »] and in Turkish « bachan » [for « bacham »]); forms borrowed from bagqam exist in Armenian (Hist. des Crois., Arm., I, 750 « bayyam »), in Roumanian and in Russian (LoxoTSex, No. 190). In Polo's inventory (cf. Vol. I, 557), mention is made of « chamocha bachami clapo. I. grando », « a big bundle of chamocha bachami ». The «chamocha » is a damask (see « Camocas »), and « bachami » must be an epithet, in the same way as the « chamocha blava » mentioned in the text is « blue camocas ». Now, among the names of colours of the Codex Cumanicus (KuuN, 108), there is in Latin a word « bachami », rendered identically in Persian and in Turkish; it is evidently a Persian adjectival form *baggmi, which means « of the colour of baqam », i. e. of reddish colour. I have no doubt that the « Latin» form of the Codex Cumanicus is a form which was actually used in Venetian Italian, and that we have