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0246 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 246 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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goes on to mention a near-by valley where Qubilai had had little houses built to keep « grandismes quantité de cators, que nos apellon les grant perdris ». Most texts either omit the latter part of the paragraph, or speak only either of « partridges » (FA), or of « quails » (« coturnices », LT). RAMUSIO, however, gives «pernici, et quaglie» (« partridges and quails »), and I have little doubt that, like LT, he understood as « quails » the « cators » of F and TA'. In the chapter on Yazd, Polo mentions « pernis et quatornis » (F) ; « de perdrix et de contornis » (FA; but misread « contorvis » in the Glossary of the 1824 ed., 524, and « concornis » in Pa, 71, with a wrong explanation « pheasant » which has passed into Polo's text in MINAEV, 48, and Ch, 55); «perdriz cailles » (FCI); « perdices et coturnices » (Z) ; « et pernici et quaglie » (R). It seems to be obvious that, in the second passage, (( quatornis » is Lat. coturnix, Ital. coturnice, « quail », and the natural inference would be that F's and TAI's « cators » (plural form), V's « chatorni », and VB's « quatros » represent the same word, rightly understood as « quail » by LT and RAMUSIO. It is accordingly rendered « quails » in RR, 96, and BI, 98 (« coturnici »).

Yet there is a difficulty : it sounds absurd to say that Europeans called the quail, which is a much smaller bird than the partridge, « great partridge ». This may be the reason why YULE (Y, I, 297-298) suspected that the name had become corrupt owing to the attraction of coturnix, and suggested that the original form may have been * çacor or * ciacor, « viz. chak6r, a term applied in the East to more than one kind of ' Great Partridge ' ». According to YULE, «chak6r» is the usual designation of a red-legged partridge, larger than the European one; this is the «francolin» of MOORCROFT, the Caccabis Chukor of GRAY. But in Ladakh the name is sometimes used as a designation of the big bird, «as large as a hen-turkey », which goes by the scientific name of Tetraogallus himalayensis.

Let us first dispose of this second identification. CORDIER has added to YULE'S note a note by M. E. D. MORGAN which is full of inaccuracies : instead of «Megaloperdrix tibetanus », we should read Megaloperdix tibetanus; instead of Turk. « ullar », ular; instead of Mong. « hailik », käklik; instead of Tib. « kung-mo », gori-mo. « Chak6r » may have been used in Ladakh for the bird, but the Turkish name of the two species Tetraogallus himalayensis and Tetraogallus tibetanus is ular, occurring already in Kâgyari (BROCKELMANN, 229, with several misprints). The pronunciation aular, copied by RADLOV (I, 77) from SHAW'S Vocabulary (p. 209) is not correct, as I can testify from personal experience. Moreover SHAW himself transcribes « ulâr », p. 26; but I have also heard ôldr at Kuca. It has passed into Mongolian as ularu, but as the designation of a grouse (cf. KOWALEWSKI, 401; Ssa-t'i ho pi wên-chien, 30, 31 b [corresponding to Ross, A Polyglot List of Birds, No. 123]). It is a glaring error in the Turki section of the Polyglot Dictionary to give ular as the Turki name of a stork (Ssû-t'i ho pi wên-chien, 30, 26 b; Ross, loc. cit. No. 15). On the other hand, käklik, as will be seen below, is the Mongol name of the « chakôr », though in the usual value of the latter name, not when it is applied to a Tetraogallus. As to Tib. goli-mo, it is a general name for « grouse ». But the ular is a mountain bird of Central Asia, which would make it out of the question for Cayân-Mir.

YULE'S idea was that «chak6r» could originally have been a Mongol word, « not improbably » Bogor (> coxor; c = ts), «dappled or pied », which had spread to Persia, India and Tibet. YULE round it mentioned by Babur, and also by the Hindi poet Chand. «If the latter passage is