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0161 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 161 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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109 A. CAMOCAS   145

Marignolli, when discussing the first garments worn by Adam and Eve, expresses the opinion that they must have been made of vegetable fibres, like the rain-cloaks of the Indian « camalli, portantes scilicet onera », who were also litter-bearers, and adds that he brought back to Rome (portavi; not « wore » as in YULE) one of these cloaks of the camalli, similar to S. John the Baptist's garment ( Wy, 539-540, Y1, III 241). Of course the «portantes onera» are Iiammâl, an Arabic word still used in India, especially to designate palankin-bearers (cf. YULE, Hobson-Jobson 2, S.V. «hummaul »; DALGADO, Glosscirio Luso-Asir tico, s.v. «amal »; LOKOTSCH, Etym. Wörterbuch, No. 806 [correct for Prov. eamâlo, doubtful for French « camelot » in the sense of « petty haberdasher»; cf. O. BLOCH, Dict. étymol., s.v. « Camelot II »]). But at the same time, Marignolli seems to have confused the /Jammed themselves with their wool- or hair-coat, frequently mentioned after the Portuguese conquest in forms varying from camlees or kummul in English to a more fixed cambolim in Portuguese; it is sometimes referred to as «a cloak for rainy weather » (cf. Hobson-Jobson 2, s. v. «cumbly, cumly, cummul »; DALGADO, Glossârio Luso-Asiâtico, s. v. « cambolim »; add «cambals» in FILCH's relation of c. 1591, in J. C. LOCKE, The first Englishmen in India [1930], 117, 199). Barbosa speaks of cambolim at Socotra and DAMES (Barbosa, I, 63; II, 233) said that the word was « evidently identical with the old French and English cameline ». This is a mistake, although it also occurs in MURRAY'S NED. Cambolim and the other forms posterior to A. D. 1500 represent an adjectival form based on Skr. kambala, «wool », such as Hindi kamli or Konkan. kâmblém. «Kembeli» has passed into Malay as the name of a coarse hair cloth (FAVRE, Dict. malais-français, I, 352). A connection would only be possible if «camelin» and «cameline» could go back to the same original as cambolim, an assumption which the early date and the conditions of the appearance of these forms make, I think, impossible.


This word does not occur in Polo's text, and it is by mistake that it has been introduced as «camucca» by BENEDETTO into his translation (B 1, 140, 452), instead of the correct «camut» (q. v.). But we know from Polo's inventory that the traveller left several pieces of «chamocha» (cf. Vol. I, 556, 557), so that a note on « Camocas » may not be out of place here.

The word occurs hundreds of times in mediaeval inventories, but not before the beginning of the 14th cent. Its forms are many : Fr. « camocas », « camocaz », « camocatz », «camoukaa », « kamoukas », «kamokaus» (pi.), «kamoquau », « quamoquau », «camoquois»; It. «camucc;a », « cammocca » (in Pegolotti), « chamucha », « camucha », « camocato »; Engl. « camaca » (still given in MURRAY'S NED), «camacaa», «cammaka»; Med. Lat. « camoca », « camocatus » (DU CANGE; KUUN, Codex Cumanicus, 108), « camboca »; Span. « camocan » and « camucan » (in Clavijo, but with some inconsistencies; cf. also DOZY, Glossaire2, 246); Med. Greek, xatouxâs, rarely xa(.couxâs; Buig. «kamuha », Hung. «kamuka ». The difference between certain French forms in -au and Clavijo's forms in -an is perhaps due to misreadings. The bulk of the quotations have