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0171 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 171 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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111. CAMUL   155

20; TING Ch'ien, Yüan Ching-shih ta-tien t'u ti-li k'ao-chêng, 3, 11 b). The kingdom of Ha-mei-li, mentioned in the Ming-ship, 330, 12-13, for an event of 1380, has not been identified by BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, II, 219-220); it is certainly Qomul.

But Qamïl (Qamul, Qomul) is not the only name under which the place has been known. At the beginning of our era, the region of Qomul was inhabited by tribes leading a nomad life for

the greater part. In A. D. 73, the Chinese created a military colony in the region, with a walled

city, which was called the « walled city (j ch'êng) of   j, I-wu-lu (*•I-nguo-luo) » This is of

course the transcription of a native name, Hsiung-nu in all likelihood, and I think it probable that

it is connected with *Kamél and Qamul ; but the latter name is based on the form which the

native name had taken in another language or another dialect (cf., under «Cotan », the forms «Hotan», «Odon», etc., of one and the same name). This form I-wu-lu occurs in Hou Han shu,

2, 8 a ; 53, 6 a (TP, 1907, 156 ; cf. also TP, 1906, 257), but was almost immediately abridged to

I-wu (there is not the slightest foundation for the two different I-wu imagined by HERRMANN, Lou-lan, map facing p. 31, and Atlas of China, map 24, the older I-wu being located between the

Lop-nor and Qaragahr). The military colony of I-wu-lu or I-wu did not thrive like that of Kao-

chang (see « Carachoço »), and was abandoned with the whole of the region in 77. A new occupation in 90 was still less durable. 1 h third effort, in 131, was more successful, but only

for a time, and Qomul had already passed out of Chinese reach at the end of the Han dynasty. The district (hsien) of I-wu established in the 3rd cent. was no longer at Qomul, but in the northern part of Tun-huang territory. The current views on the early history of Qomul, as they are represented by the notes of CHAVANNES's translation of the Wei lio (TP, 1905, 529-535) or in STEIN'S Serindia (705-710) and Innermost Asia (539-540), are biassed by an erroneous interpretation of the text relating to the « new road » laid in A. D. 1-5 to bring into more direct and less dangerous intercourse the region of Beg-balïq (north of the T'ien-shan) and western Kan-su. This road, as was already noticed in 1910 by HERRMANN (Die alten Seidenstrassen, 108, 123, and the accompanying map) went direct from Qara-O)o to Tun-huang. It had nothing to do with Qomul, except to keep clear of it.

This road had been long neglected when a Chinese general, in or about 607, led an army across the desert, and founded, to the east of the ancient Han walled town, a new city which he

called 1:   Â Hsin-I-wu, « New I-wu ». This new city corresponds to the mediaeval and modern

Qomul. As to the I-wu-lu of the Han, which the commentary of 676 on the two passages of the Hou Han shu calls the « ancient small town of I-wu », it was located about 30 miles west of Qomul,

in the district of Na-chih (Lap6uq ; see « Lop » ; cf. also Yüan-ho chün-hsien t'u-chih, 40, 11a). It was this new I-wu of 607 which, after one more term of abandonment, became in 630 the «I prefecture» or fji'JJj I-chou, I being the first element of the former I-wu; I-wu was retained as the name of the hsien established at I-chou. In 710, an «army (4 chün) of I-wu» was created and had its seat in a valley of the eastern T'ien-shan, 300 li north-east of I-chou (cf. TP, 1928, 290). It is I-chou which occurs as «I u» in the Khotanese document of the 9th cent. (?) published by THOMAS and KoNOw (cf. TP, 1930, 230; 1931, 139). The above sketch of the past fortunes of Qomul is based on an unpublished monograph which I had prepared some years ago; a detailed discussion of the sources would be out of place in the present notes.