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0200 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 200 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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184   122. CARAUNAS

desired. Unfortunately, too many texts remain unpublished, or poorly published, or not indexed, or untranslated. While I hope to clear the way by disposing of a number of wrong forms and mis-statements, the solutions I shall propose have themselves, on some essential points, only a provisional character.

One thing is certain. Polo's « Caraunas » is an absolutely correct transcription of L,,A;9y Qaraunas, the very form most frequently used by Persian historians of the Mongol period for a particular group of troops living then in Persia. The late spellings JA;);; Qarâunas (or *Qarônas

Qaraunas) of the 'afar-neimä (cf. QUATREMÉRE, loc. cit., 282) and „ U3y Qaràwânâs of the Ta'rih-i Rasidi of 1547 (transi. ELIAS and Ross, A History of the Moghuls, 148) have no primary authority. The name occurs also once in Armenian chronicles, under the form «Karavunas» (cf. PATKANOV, Istoriya Mongolov, I, 57, 95; BROSSET, Hist. de la Siounie, 260).

The first to tackle the question of the Qaraunas with the use of Persian texts is HAMMER

who mentioned the « Karawinas or Karawunas » in the Jahrbücher der Literatur of January-March 1837 (t. 77, 8), with a note the substance of which is that according to Wasiâf (so in HAMMER'S note; I do not know why PAUTHIER, Pa, 78, says Rasidu-'d-Din), the « Karawinas » were the (( artificers » (Feuerwerker) of the Mongol army, and that, « in all likelihood », they had given their name, at the time of the Mongol invasions in Europe, to the « carbineers » (Karabinire). In all his later works, HAMMER used « Karawinas » to the exclusion of « Karawunas », of course to suit his etymology of « carbineers »; the « Karawinas » had become in the meantime « throwers of naphtha fire» (cf. Hai, 214; Ha', r, 17, 270, 309; Hat, 223, 260). HAMMER'S etymology of « carbineer », repeated by ERDMANN (Temudschin, 183) and HOWORTH (III, 389), has been admitted as possible by YULE (Y, I, 101). CORDIER ought to have suppressed it. Qaraunas was never pronounced « Qarawinas ». As to « carbineer » and « carbine », the words do not go back, even in the forms « carabineer » and « carabine », farther than the 16th cent., and certainly are not derived from an Oriental word. Above all, neither QUATREMÈRE nor D'OHSSON has alluded to any text mentioning the Qaraunas as « artificers » or « throwers of naphtha fire ». I strongly suspect that the whole story was suggested to HAMMER by his etymology of « carbineers ».

Apart from Qaraunas, the name appears often in Persian texts of the Mongol period with another form, ,6,y, which QUATREMÈRE transcribed « Karaveneh ». With all his immense erudition in Semitic languages and in Persian, QUATREMÈRE knew no Mongolian. It is evident that this second form must be transcribed Qarauna, and represents a singular, the plural of which is regularly Qaraunas in Mongolian.

Many attempts have been made to explain « Qaraunas ».

MARSDEN'S Skr. karana (and Hindi karâni), BIRD'S « KOPANO » on Indo-Scythian coins (adopted in Pa, 78-79, where a whole theory is based upon it, and retained in Ch, I, 61), have been justly discarded by YULE as etymologies of Qaraunas (Y, I, 101; YULE'S note in Hobson-

Jobson2, s. v. « cranny », is to say the least ambiguous); but CORDIER ought to have suppressed « KOPANO » itself; it has been a well-known fact for more than forty years that the third letter is not a Greek P, but a special letter representing a sort of ., and that the word is simply the equivalent of Kusana.