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0144 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 144 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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128   95. CAIDU

fact only from Western sources. Whatever the case may be, and notwithstanding the fact that Qaidu's hostile policy and even military moves for many years can scarcely be doubted, as late as 1276-1277, when the prince Nomo}-an and others were made prisoners by some of their treacherous companions, Qaidu was no party to the plot; he was dragged afterwards into a quarrel which was not his own (Y, II, 462, is wrong). But from that moment, and although he would not or could not rush to the aid of far-off Nayan in 1287 (see «Naian »), he never laid down his arms. After Polo had left China, and after Qubilai had died (1294), Qaidu continued to fight against Qubilai's grandson and successor, Tämür Öljäitü; Polo's prince Georges (see « Giorge ») then fell a victim in the struggle (1298). In 1299, Tämür Öljäitü replaced the feckless prince Kök6ü, a son of Qubilai (see « Nomogan »), as commander of his armies, by a grandson of Qubilai called Qaisan, who, under the name of Qaigan Küiük, was himself to ascend the Imperial throne in 1307. Qaisan's troops reached the Altai in January 1301; the final battle was fought in September of the same year at Ha-la-ha-t'a; Qaidu died very soon afterwards ( YS, 22, I; cf. also 119, 10 a; 132, 3 a). Ha-la-ha-t'a (*Qara-Bata?; perhaps Mong. *Qara-gada, «Black Rock ») has not been identified, but must be the place in the region of Qayaliq which is mentioned by Wa§sâf as the seat of Qaidu's last battle (Oh, u, 516; I do not find that the battle is stated by YS to have taken place between Qara-qorum and the river Tamir, as is said in Br, II, 37; D'OHSSON [Oh, II, 516] quotes only GAUBIL on that point, and the mention of the Altai and the Naiman in YS, 22, 1 a, seems to establish that *Qara-gata was far to the west-south-west of Qara-qorum; nor do I agree with the identification with the Khangai mountains put forward by T'u Chi, 74, 13 b). According to Raid and the Chinese, Qaidu was defeated; Wa§sàf says he won the day. Even the Chinese account, partial of course to the Imperial family, shows that Qaisan's army was more than once in great danger (cf. T'u Chi, 74, 13 b), and the encounters may have resulted in a drawn battle, which put an end to the war only on account of the fatal wound (BI, II, 9) received by Qaidu. The fierce soldier was buried on a mountain, between the Chu and the Iii (BARTHOLD, 12 Vorlesungen, 186, 197); although said to be « very old » (BI, II, 7), he was in fact scarcely over seventy (« over sixty » according to T'u Chi, 74, 13 b, but he gives very poor reasons). His faithful ally Dua (< Du'a, Duwa; also Tuwa), the son of Baraq, paid him a hearty tribute and procured the election of Qaidu's eldest son Capar (or Cabar) as his successor (Ha', II, 144). But everyone was tired of the long struggle. Dua himself persuaded Capar to make his peace with Tämür (1303; cf. YS, 21, 4 a). Envoys from Tämür, together with others from Capar and Dua, gave the happy news in September 1304 to the ilkhan Öljäitü, then at Mark/a, and this explains why Öljäitü speaks at length of the peace restored among the Mongols in his Mongolian letter to Philip the Fair of France, written in 1305 (BARTHOLD, 12 Vorlesungen, 199-200). A short-lived peace it was. Dua and Capar seemed so close to each other that Hethum, in 1307, says they were brothers (Hist. des Crois., Arm., II, 214, 235). But war had broken out between them in 1305-1306; in 1309, one only of Qaidu's twenty-four sons still held his own (BARTHOLD, 12 Vorlesungen, 201-202). In the course of these infernal struggles, the Mongols split into many factions, which finally brought their power to an end.

The name of Qaidu was known in the West before Polo's book. When Nicholas IV entrusted John of Montecorvino with the mission which finally brought him to Peking, but via