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0159 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 159 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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109. CAMLET   143

The metropolitan see of « Cambaluc » (« Cambaliensis »), created in 1307 for Giovanni de Montecorvino, lasted a fairly long time, theoretically at least; a Dominican friar Jacobus was stillappointed to it in 1426 (cf. C. EUBEL, Hierarchia Catholica, 1898, p. 165).

« Garibalu » of FA, FB, and « Gharibalu » of TA (« Gazibalu » is a misreading of PAUTHIER of his ms. C = our FB) are alterations of Cambaluc. As for the sources of the Catalan Map of 1375, it may be worth noticing that it used a Polo ms. giving that wrong reading (« Guaribalu » and «Chambalech» are the forms of the map); cf. HALLBERG, 235; CORDIER, L'Extrême-Orient..., 14, 38.

Nothing can be made out of MufaNai's fantastic description of the Chinese town of Qarâ, which may or may not have been altered from Ilan-baliq (cf. BLOCHET, Moufazzal, 691).


cambelloti, cambeloti P cameloz FA, FB chamelles FB ciambellotti TA 1, TA 3 cianbellotti TA 3 çambelloti L

çambeloti L, Z

çamelloit, giambellot, giam- belot F

giambelloti, giambeloti LT gianbellotti TA

zambellotti R zambeloti VL zambelotis G zanbelloti V, VA, VB zanbeloti V, VA

YULE ( Y, I, 283) and HEYD (Hiss. du commerce, II, 703), following AMARI (Storia dei Musulmani di Sicilia, III, 890), are in agreement in deriving « camlet », « camelot » from the Arabic haml, «pile or plush », or from bamlah, which JOHNSON'S dictionary explains as « Camelot, silk and camel's hair; also all silk or velvet, especially pily or plushy ». DAMES (Barbosa, I, 120) did not believe that camel's hair had even been used in making « camlet », but that clearly shows that he was unaware of Polo's text. MURRAY'S NED gives the same explanation as YULE and HEYD, but adds that the word had been contaminated at an early date by « camel ». LOKOTSCH (Etym. Wörterbuch, No. 653) shows hesitation. I feel inclined to go further than both and to revive the old opinion that « camel » provides the true etymology of « camlet ». It is also the solution adopted in BLOCH's Dict. étymologique. Although «camelot» is not given under camelus in VON WARTBURG's Franz. etymol. Wörterbuch, I think he agrees with BLOCH since he revised all the notices in the book.

JOHNSON'S rendering of hamlah as « camelot » has a fair chance of being the result of his personal etymology of « camelot » or « camlet » rather than the exact translation of a definition given in native sources; and what follows « camelot » is simply a definition of the latter word as it is to be found in European dictionaries. If « camlet » was a mediaeval borrowing from Arabic Iiamlah, I find it hard to account for the largely prevalent forms with a palatalized initial, from JOINVILLE's «chamelot» to all the readings of the Polian mss. « Camelot » is a Provençal, Picard and Normand dialectical form, which has persisted in classical French and in English. But, if