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0245 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 245 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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127. CATORS   229

and passed as such to the northern neighbours of China. But « Chao-kuan » would give Jaugon, not Jauqut; in the Mongol period at least, we should not expect the k- of kuan to be rendered as q-, and the finals are moreover different. But the Mongols have given forms of the plural to similar borrowed names; for instance Nan-chia occurs in Mongolian first as Nangias, later as Nangiad (see « Mangi »), that is to say, only in plural form; and a Mongol plural of Jaugon would be *Jaugot. For the -q-, we must not forget that, in such transcriptions, -q- can always have the value of either -q- or -y-; moreover, the transcription was not made by Raid direct from a Chinese original, but represents a form which had already passed into Mongolian. Finally, it may be that the Mongols themselves did not take the name direct from the Chinese, but inherited it from the Ch'i-tan or from the Chin. This seems to be almost certain because, when the Mongols entered the field, the Sung had already been driven away from North China for too long a time to give it its Mongol name. My conclusion is that if « Jauqut » actually goes back to « Chao-kuan », the term, and its plural form, must be due to the Ch'i-tan, or less probably to the JOen. The very form of the plural, which is Mongolian, causes no surprise, since the Ch'i-tan spoke a Mongol dialect.

Rasidu-'d-Din says that the southern limit of Hïtai was the Qara-mörän, i. e. the Huang-ho (cf. QUATREMÉRE, Hist. des Mongols, xcii-xciii). Such was also Polo's notion of « Catai ». We must remember, however, that the course of the Huang-ho was then different from what it is now; from east of K'ai-fêng-fu it deflected to the south-east, instead of the north-east as at present.

The equivalence of « Catai» or « Cathay » with China was forgotten in Europe after the Mongol period. Ricci, who had soon recognized it, as early at least as 1596, had great difficulty in convincing his brethren, the missionaries of north-western India. BENTO DE GOES'S journey was especially intended to solve the problem, and no doubt on the point should have survived it (cf. WESSELS, Early Jesuit travellers in Central Asia, 3-6). However the desire to discover somewhere the prosperous Christian communities of Cathay spoken of by Polo was so great that belated attempts continued to be made to distinguish Cathay from China. After the first journey of Antonio DE ANDRADE to western Tibet in 1624, the account of his experiences, written by himself at Agra on November 8, 1624, was still published in 1626 under the misleading title Novo Descobrimento do gram Cathayo.


cators F, TA' chartos TA3 chatorni V coturnices LT

perdelis FB perdris FA

pernici et quaglie R

pernise VL pernixe VA quatros VB

Polo, who is enthusiastic about the water-fowl of Ciagannor (q. v.), speaks of its cranes, pheasants and partridges (« perdrices »), describes the five kinds of cranes to be found there, and