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0306 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 306 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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290   158. CINGHIS

Juwaini (I, 26, 28, 253) has adopted   Tämürcin, while granting the possibility of   Tamil

cin. Of course, a confusion between ) and 9 is easy in Arabic script ; I think, however, that Tämürcin is really the form originally adopted by Juwaini. My opinion rests to some extent on the fact that Juwaini generally gives the Turkish forms of Mongols names, like An-Näsâwi and the

Tabagät-i Näsiri, and the latter two works give Tämürji or Tämürci, not *Tämüci. But there is

more. Bar Hebraeus's information regarding the Mongols is copied wholesale from Juwaini. His Arabic chronicle would seem to favour «Tärriüjin », since such is the form found in PococKE's edition (Historia Dynastiarum, text, 427, 428; transi., 280, 281), though this may be due to the easy misreading of 9 û for) r in Arabic. There is no such ambiguity in Syriac script, however, and Bar Hebraeus, in his Syriac chronicle, writes the name as Tämürcin (i.e. Tämürcin; BRUNS ed., text, 438; transi., 449). That such was the form which reached the West is confirmed by Georgian texts, where the name occurs as «Themurci» (BROSSET, Hist. de la Géorgie, 488).

But tämürci in Turkish, tämürci or tämürcin in Mongolian is the nomen agentis derived

from tämür, « iron », and means « blacksmith » (RAVERTY is mistaken, p. 936, when he says that tämürci means « iron-like », and not «blacksmith »). So we need not be surprised when Rubrouck says that Chinghiz-khan had been a smith. The same tradition is found in Hethum (Hist. des Croisades, Arm., II, 148, 284), in Nuwairi (cf. Oh, I, 36; I cannot trace the original passage),

in Pachymeres (Bonn ed., I, 345-346), and in Ibn-Battûtah (iii, 22). From TIMKOVSKIÏ's travels, it would even seem that some similar belief still lingered in Eastern Mongolia at the beginning of the last century (cf. TIMK0vsKI, Voyage à Péking, I, 179; SCHMIDT'S critic, in Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 376, is prejudiced).

But if the Mongols themselves had a tradition, however unfounded, that Chinghiz-khan had been a smith, that would imply that the Turkish form, Tämürci, was not an erroneous equivalence and that the same meaning attached to «Tämüjin» among the Mongols themselves. This I believe to have been the case. The modern Mongol word for « smith » is tämürci, but I know of no example of the word in mediaeval texts. There is, however, a case quite similar and perfectly clear. The modern Mongol word for a cowherd is ükärci, the nomen agentis of ükär, « ox ». But the mediaeval form, attested in Mongol texts, and, as a proper name, in Chinese and Persian texts as well as in Polo, is hügäci, hiikäcin, with the fall of the final -r of hiikär > ükär (see « Cogacin »). I even suspect that the final -r was dropped with other suffixes than -ci (fi, -cin, fin). The name of Chinghiz-khan's sister «Tämülün» (Secret History, §§ 60, 79, 99) seems to have been formed with tämiir, plus the feminine suffix -liin; and « Tämüdär » (ibid. § 278) probably represents tämiir, plus the suffix -dar, -där.

From HAENISCH in TP, 1913, 21, 113, it would seem that Tämüjin survived as a proper name until the 17th cent. But the name restored by HAENISCH as «Bügen Temücin» is uncertain; there are other possible explanations (*Bugente Mujan, etc.).

According to the Secret History (§§ 60, 61, 68), Chinghiz-khan was nine years old when his father Yäsügäi was poisoned by the Tatars; but he was thirteen according to Rasidu-'d-Din (Ber, II, 89, 90). All sorts of dates have been proferred for Yäsügäi's death by adding either nine or thirteen to the different dates given for his son's birth : they range from 1175 in WOLFF (p. 34)