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0184 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 184 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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168   118. CARACOROM

There must also be some confusion when ELIAS (ELIAS and Ross, Tarikh-i Rashidi, 361) says that « Karakorum was, and even is to the present day, known as Bala Skkun ».

When the capital had been transferred to Peking in 1260, Ho-lin (Qara-qorum) became the seat of a hsüan-wei-ssti, who held at the same time the charge of commander-in-chief (tu-yuan-

shuai fu). Later on, the to-yuan-shuai fu was moved south of the   Jj Chin-shan (= Altai)
and Qara-qorum had only a hsüan-wei-ssti. In 1289, the hsüan-wei-ssû joined in the rebellion of the discontented Mongol princes (see « Caidu »). The following year, a commander-in-chief was re-established. In 1307, a « moving Grand Secretariat » (hsing chung-shu shêng; see « Scieng ») was created at Qara-qorum, with a « general administrator » (tsung-kuan-fu) of Ho-lin; changed in 1309 to a « moving Grand Council » (hsing shang-shu-shêng), it became again a « moving Grand Secretariat » in 1311. In 1312, the « moving Grand Secretariat » of Ho-lin received the new name

of « moving Grand Secretariat » of %   Ling-pei (« North of the Mountains »), and the « general
administrator » (tsung-kuan-fu) of the lu of Ho-lin became « general administrator » of the lu of Ho-ning ( YS, 24, 7 b; 58, 18 a). This was the last administrative change until the dynasty fell in 1368. In the course of the long war with Qaidu (see « Caidu »), Qara-qorum changed hands temporarily, but as a rule remained in the possession of the Emperor.

D'OHSSON (Oh, II, 64), relying on Juwaini (I, 192), said that, although Ögödäi's capital became more famous as Qara-qorum, the name which Ögödäi had given to it was Ordu-baiïq. This has been repeated by CORDIER ( Y, I, 227), VAN WYNGAERT ( IVy, 30), etc. We have seen that Qara-qorum was a Turkish name; such is also the case with Ordu-baiïq, which means in Turkish « City of the [Royal] camp »; the corresponding Mongol name would be Ordu-balyasun. But I am somewhat sceptical about Juwaini's statement. From his own words in that passage and still more from his account of Uighur origins (I, 39-40; Oh, I, 430-431; Br, I, 254-255), we know that Ordu-baiïq was the name of the ancient Uighur capital in the Orkhon region, a name which the Mongols changed to the hybrid Turko-Mongolian name Ma'u-baiïq, « Bad city ». That name of Ordu-baiïq may not be exclusive; for instance, its Turko-Iranian counterpart Ordu-känt or Ordukänd was a name of Kâsyar (BROCKELMANN, 246; BARTHOLD, 12 Vorlesungen, 75; Mi, 494). Yet, we know exactly the site of the ancient Uighur capital ; it is the present Qara-balyasun (Karabalgasun), west of the Orkhon, while Qara-qorum lay east of the river (cf. the map of Y, I, 229). Juwaini visited the ancient Uighur capital, and saw there ancient inscriptions in situ. But these cities, the ancient Uighur capital and the new Mongol one, were not at a great distance from each other. I suspect that Juwaini unduly extended to Qara-qorum a name which properly belonged only to what is now known as « Kara-balgasun » (« Kara-balgasun » is of course a modern Mongol name; BLOCHET is mistaken when he gives it [Moufazzal, 691] as the name by which the Uighur capital was called in the 8th cent.).

BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 123), followed by CORDIER ( Y, I, 228), speaks of Qara-qorum as being the place « where, after the expulsion of the Mongols from China, Togon-temur again had fixed the Mongol court ». This is not quite correct. As may be seen from BRETSCHNEIDER himself (Br, II, 162), Toyôn-tämür, when he fled from Peking in 1368, sought refuge first in Shang-tu (see « Ciandu »), soon fled farther to Ying-ch'ang in South-eastern Mongolia (see « Barscol »), and died in that region in 1370; it was his son who was able to make good his escape