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0252 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 252 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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236   132. CENCHU

According to Polo, it was the place of origin of the third of the Magi Kings. Odoric locates at Kagan (« Casan ») the place from which the Magi Kings started towards Jerusalem (cf. Y, I, 81; Y', II, 106-107; Wy, 429; HALLBERG, 123-124).

W. JACKSON had supposed that Polo's « Cala Ataperistan» should be identified with Kàgân, but, when he wrote, the name of Kagan had not yet been traced in Polo himself. JACKSON'S view seems no longer acceptable, although «Cala Ataperistan » must have been in the neighbourhood.

Polo says that the Magi, on their arrival, found Jesus thirteen days old; in Odoric, the

length of thirteen days for their journey is given only in John the Long's French version, and it has been taken over by Maundeville. But the coincidence of the thirteen days mentioned by both Polo and Odoric is not due to local information; it represents the thirteen days between the traditional date of the birth of Christ (December 25) and the Epiphany or «Jour des Rois»

(January 6), both days included.

BENEDETTO (B, 25) is surely mistaken when he introduces a spelling « Cashan » into his text of F; sh for § never occurs in the Pollan mss.

Kagan appears, transcribed   ff K'o-shang (*Ka"sang; for the nasalization of -an, see
«Badascian »), on the Chinese map of c. 1330 and in the corresponding list of YS, 63, 16 b; cf. Br, II, 112.

Thomas HERBERT mentions at Kagan, in 1628, a tomb of « Nycador oglan », though no mention of it is to be found elsewhere (see « Negodar »).

132. CENCHU cenchu R

I agree with MOULE'S explanation that this must represent Ch. .f 0 ch'ien-hu « chiliarch» (JNCB, 1915, 32; 1927, 26-27); that is in exact agreement with Polo's statement that the « Cathayan » whom he calls « Cenchu » « had under him a thousand men ». Cf. the similar case of « Vanchu ». It is a pity that this explanation should have been ignored in B', 440, who adopts « Cenciu » instead of the «Cenchu » of R, our only source, and thinks that the name represents IR A Chang I, one of the conspirators. But «Cenchu» (where ch before u = k) cannot be reconciled phonetically with Chang I; moreover, it was I * Wang Chu who was the initiator of the plot, and we know from Chinese texts that he was really a ch'ien-hu. See « Vanchu» and « Acmat D.

133. CHADI, see ESCEQE