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0295 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 295 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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156. CINCHIM   279

gim?) ; Wassàf (Ha 2, 45, 46),   - Jimkin (or Jimgin?); so it seems that, in Persian usage, a

metathesis had changed *Jingim to Jimgin.

As to Polo's « Cinchim », I must dissent from the latest editors, CHARIGNON (Ch, II, 41), Ricci-Ross (RR, 417) and BENEDETTO (B i, 441). Polo says (in F) that « Cinchin » was so called «por le amor dou buen Cinchin Kan». As « Cinchin Kan » means certainly here Chinghiz-khan, the three editors have introduced into the text, as Chên-chin's name, « Cinghis » instead of «Cinchin » (—« Cinchim ») ; Ross explains at some length in his Introduction (RR, xiv-xv) that otherwise the sentence makes no sense. I think we can prove, on the contrary, that «Cinchim» is correct.

It is perfectly true that there is no connection between the names of Chên-chin and Chinghiz, and also that the mss. which give the present sentence write the two names identically. But it is no less true that all editors agree to read, in other chapters where Chinghiz-khan is meant, his correct name « Cinghis » (F), « Cingis » (R), « Cinghyscan » (Z). In the present chapter, RAMUSIO writes « Cingis » instead of « Cinchim », but without anything in the way of «por le amor dou buen Cinchin Kan » or of the still more developed sentence of the Court French rifacimento followed by PAUTHIER. Ali other texts give here forms akin to « Cinchin », and such is also the case in the four other passages where Qubilai's second son is named by Polo. Now, there is no doubt that «Cinchim », which sounds Cinkim, is a very fair representation of that son's true name. If Polo had spoken of Chên-chin (din-kim) as « Cinghis », wrongly of course, how is it conceivable that copyists should have systematically altered that well-known name of « Cinghis » in such a way as to give by chance the correct name of Chên-chin (tin-kim)? On the other hand, it is evident that Polo knew the two names of Chinghiz-khan and of Chên-chin (PAUTHIER'S remarks in Pa, 263, that personal names were known only after death are absurd). Must we admit that he found a certain phonetic analogy between the two names and so, without confounding them, connected one with the other? That is the conclusion we must arrive at if the whole sentence is genuine. But I see things differently. While the obscure name of « Cinchim » could not contaminate the well-known name of Chinghiz, the reverse is not true. Let us suppose that Polo had simply said that Qubilai's eldest son was called « Cinchim »; readers and copyists would have been struck by the similarity of that name, whether it was written « Cinchim » or « Cinchin », and of that of « Cinghis », and would have imagined a connection. A first one inserts « por le amor dou buen Cinchin Kan », without noticing that elsewhere he always ends Chinghiz-khan's name with -s; the Court French reviser adds « le premier seigneur des Tatars ». But what I believe to be the original text — that is without anything explanatory after « Cinchim »'s name — is still found in ancient recensions, for instance in LT, and also in RAMUSIO. The interesting point is that RAMUSIO, who must not have had in his manuscripts the explanatory sentence about « Cinchim »'s name, altered that name everywhere to « Cingis »; I think he provides us with a striking example of the contagious attraction of the name of Chinghiz-khan. My conclusion is that Polo is not responsible either for the error or for the absurdity which recent editors have put on his shoulders, and that, in any case, we should not correct « Cinchim » to « Cinchis ».

One point remains. I have said that the pronunciation of the name, about 1300, was * in-kim, still attested in Mongolian, and indirectly borne out by the Persian transcriptions.