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0302 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 302 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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286   158. CINGHIS

birth in ting-hai is quite different. In all the other cases, that of ting-hai for Sung T'ai-tsu as well as the double chia-hsii, i-hai and ping-tza for both Sung T'ai-tsu and Chinghiz-khan, Yang Weichêng's parallels must be taken with the full value of both the elements which determine the cyclical position of the year. The same should hold good in the case of the birth of Chinghiz-khan, and the only significance I can see in Yang Wei-chêng's parallel is that he actually believed that Chinghizkhan was born in the ting-hai year, i. e. in 1167.

I think, moreover, that we can trace the same tradition in other Chinese works more or less contemporary with Yang Wei-chêng's memorial. In WANG Kuo-wei's edition (64 b) of the Shêngwu ch'in-chêng lu, it is stated that in 1226, Chinghiz-khan was sixty-five years old (counted in the Chinese fashion, i. e. sixty-four for us), which is in agreement with the later official date of his birth in 1162. But this is the result of a correction : all the ancient texts of the work say he was then

« sixty years old » (IJ   ' ''` --   ), which would imply that he was born in 1167. Of course,
the correction seems at first sight justified by the fact that, just before speaking of 1204 and so, apparently, referring to 1203, the same work speaks of Chinghiz as being then « forty-two years old » (forty-one for us), which would date his birth in 1162. I shall not dwell on the discrepancy with Ra"sidu-'d-Din, according to whom the events recorded in the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu under 1203 appear in the « rat » year, which began on February 3, 1204. More stress should be laid, I believe, on the manner in which the age is indicated under 1203. That the age of the Emperor should be mentioned when he starts for his last campaign (in the course of which he died) need cause no surprise. But the situation is different when, in 1203, after relating other events which seem to have taken place in the same year, and before passing on to chia-tzû (1204), the texts begins the account of the attempt made by Tayang-khan of the Naiman to make the Öngüt sovereign join in a league against Chinghiz-khan with the unusual mention « when the age of the Emperor was forty-

two » (   1C UJ -f   J ). I think that, except perhaps for the last word, we might have to deal
here with an interpolation (there is at least one other interpolation in the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu as we have it now; cf. WANG Kuo-wei, 58 b, and my paper Sur un passage du « Cheng-wou ts'intcheng lou », in Ts'ai Yüan P'ei Anniversary Volume, 937). This is the only explanation I can think of if the original text under the year 1226 really says that the Emperor was then « sixty years old ». The opinion is literally confirmed by the Li-tai fo-tsu t'ung-tsai (ch. 32; ibid. 37 a), which, under 1226, and exactly in the same words as the original Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu, says that the

Emperor was then « sixty years old » ( L .   - f ). Now it is out of the question that a corrupt
reading which might in the Ming period have crept into the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu should have contaminated at a still later date the Buddhist chronicle of 1344, or that our ancient texts of the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu should have been altered on the authority of the Buddhist chronicler. That the compiler of the Li-tai fo-tsu t'ung-tsai knew the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu is established

by the fact that his entry under 1206 (   ]tftr7 gtoz0i4 4 Ii   Fl   û

, ,•) is a verbatim quotation from the latter work (46 b). The only admissible conclusion is that the chronicler of 1344 used a copy of the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu which already attributed sixty (Chinese) years to the age of Chinghiz-khan in 1226, or in other words which implied that 1167 was the year of his birth. This was certainly the ancient tradition, of which we have yet another mention in Yang Wei-chêng's memorial.