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0226 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 226 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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210   123. CASCAR

correct list of the names of its metropolitan sees. ASSEMANI's compilations have been of the highest service, but one cannot help wishing that such important documents as these lists were critically examined anew.

Polo's notice of Kâsyar raises another interesting problem. The people of the country, according to him, spoke a language of their own. STEIN (Ancient Khotan, 70) wondered at this, because the fact that the Qutai'yu-bilig had been written in Turkish at Kâsyar in 1069 should have led us « to conclude that Turki was in Marco Polo's days, as it is now, the language current in Kashgar ». Polo says nothing of the same sort for Yârkänd, Khotan or Cärcän.

Different solutions may be suggested. Several mss., omitting « the people of the country », make the remark on the language apply to the Nestorian Christians (cf. vol. I, 143). As MOULE says, they « may possibly be right », although I do not think it is very probable. I feel more inclined to the view that Polo, arriving from Iranian-speaking countries, found in Kâsyar people who spoke Turkish, and noticed the change of language. He abstained from doing the same afterwards, because Yârkänd, Khotan and eärnän spoke the same language as Kâsyar.

But there is also the possibility, however remote, that a native Kashgarian tongue, not Turkish, should have still been used at Kâsyar in Polo's days. While we now have very precise information as to the native languages spoken at Kun and at Khotan in the second half of the first millennium A. D., the early ethnic or linguistic connections of the Kashgarians in the same period still escape us almost completely. Hsüan-tsang says of the people of Kâsyar that they tattoo their

bodies and have green eyes   wen-shên lii-thing; cf. JULIEN, Mémoires, II, 220).
The pilgrim mentions this last characteristic only for another nation, the people of Waban in the

Pamir, «the majority of whom have blue-green eyes (0   pi-lü), by which they are different
from other people » (JULIEN, Mémoires, II, 201; both passages have been copied in the Hsin T'ang shu [cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 121, 165], but only with pi, « blue-green », as the colour of the eyes in both cases). Hsüan-tsang adds that « the language they [i. e. the Kashgarians] speak and the pronunciation are different from those of other countries ». Such a statement falls in remarkably well with Polo's remark, but we must add that, in Hsüan-tsang's time, Yàrkänd and Khotan also had languages of their own, duly noticed by the pilgrim, while Polo speaks of a special language only for Kâsyar. Moreover, six centuries had elapsed between the travels of Hsüan-tsang and those of Polo. It so happens, however, that the gap between the two is bridged over by a man who had authority to speak of Kâsyar since he was born there, Kâsyari. If Polo by the «language of their own» of the Kashgarians really meant something else than Turki, Kâsyari cannot be said in a sense to confirm such a statement, since in Kâsyar itself, according to Kâsyari, «royal» (hagani) Turkish was used. But Kâsyari adds that in the districts of Kâsyar, a non-Turkish language was spoken, called kcinfliki (cf. Mi, 280; BARTHOLD, 12 Vorlesungen, 82, 135; or känaiki ?). In the Mongol period, Känjak or Käncäk is frequently mentioned as a place which was somewhere to the north-west of Talas (cf. Wa§sâf, in Ha 2, 24 [misread « Känjäl »], 127

and 128 [misread «Künlük»]; Juwaini, II, 248 [left as   f by the editor]) ; it must be Käsyari's
Käncäk-sängir (BROCKELMANN, 245). Although he speaks of the kcinjäki (or käncäki) as a non-Turkish language, Kâsyari includes the Käncäk, whom he often mentions, among the Turkish tribes. They were known to him to the extent of listing a special verb käncäklänmäk, «to dress