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0311 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 311 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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158. CINGHIS   295

(cf. Turk. ot-tegin,   '1 Otägin = Ot-tägin in Juwaini, > Mong. ot-6gin). The alternations in the

transcriptions are due to the fact that there was no longer a tradition as to the pronunciation, and -q- or -'-, s or s, t or d, k or g, o or u are not distinguished in Mongolian script. The -digit- of the Secret History suggests that -tiki- and -tigi- may stand for -tiki[t]- and -tigi[t], but a fall of the final -n of tigin is also possible in Mongolian manuscripts. Whether we should take the whole name to stand for Aiaqus, who was known as Aiaqus-tigin, « Prince Aiaqus» (in Turkish), and had the additional title of quri, or as Aiaqus, who was a tigit-quri, « chief of princes » (there is also a plural in ja'ut-quri), the fact remains that quri was a title, which I hold to be identical with the quri of ja'ut-quri. In La Haute Asie (p. 27), I have accepted the explanation of ja'ut-quri as « centurion », « head of a century », and I still believe that it has a fair chance of being etymologically correct (a connection of f a'ut with the mysterious .L troops of the Liao and the Chin, if we read the character as *chao, though not impossible, is improbable; on these troops, cf. TP, 1929, 128-129; Chin shih, 57, 10 b). But it may be that, taking the term at its face value, I have underrated what it represented. Of course, the titles given to chiefs of non-Jucen tribes remained much inferior to the real Chinese titles of the Jucen officials; not only a Ja'ut-quri, but even a Wang, « king », like Ong-khan, ranked low in the Liao and Jucen hierarchy. We must take into account, however, that we find quri as the title of the chief of the Öngüt, who were a numerous tribe, long in the service of the Chin, and of great importance to them because they guarded the frontier. Though all quri need not have been of the same importance, Tämüjin, «chief of hundreds [ ? not only ' of a century » may, after all, have already been more than an insignificant local leader in 1196.

THE ENTHRONEMENT OF 1206. — Polo says that Chinghiz-khan was chosen king of the «Tartars» in 1187. RAMUSIO alone gives «1162» instead, and PENZER (Pe, 188) says that the latter date « agrees with the Chinese annals »; but the Chinese annals give 1162 as the date of Chinghizkhan's birth, not of his election as king. Most of Polo's dates are unreliable; one may doubt, moreover, Polo's ability to equate a more or less remote Chinese, Uighur, or Persian date to a precise year of the Western calendar. In the present case, Polo has very naturally been supposed to refer to Chinghiz-khan's final proclamation as overlord of Mongolia and potential universal monarch, which must have taken place in 1206. But the Secret History suggests an earlier proclamation as king of the Mongols. « Sanang Setsen » (SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 71), the Sum-pa Hutubtu (cf. VASIL'EV, in ZVOIRAO, Iv, 375) and 'JIGS-MED NAM-MKHA (Cf. HIRTH, Gesch. des Buddhismus, ii, 15) agree in saying that in 1189 Chinghiz-khan was hailed as king of the Mongols (« Sog » or « Bete »). According to T'u CHI (3, 1 a), the same date is given in the Secret History. As a matter of fact, the Secret History (§ 141) merely speaks of a « hen » year, which would agree indeed with 1189, but with 1201 as well, and the latter date is much more probable (NAKA, Chingisu-kan jitsuroku, 143, adopts 1201). The texts which give 1189 have confused two duodenary cycles. The Li-tai fo-tsu t'ung-t'sai (0, xi, 30 a) makes Chinghiz begin his campaigns in 1191, we do not know on what authority. I leave aside the texts of « Sanang Setsen » (SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongalen, 83-85) and of the Sum-pa Hutubtu (VASIL'EV, ibid. 376) according to which Chinghiz-khan became « Emperor of China » in 1194 : both texts seem to refer to the final