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0314 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 314 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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298   158. CINGHIS

not require, as « inggis» does, the addition of «khan n. We know in fact of cases like Ong-khan, Buiruq-khan, Tayang-khan, in which the first element is itself a title. I agree, however, that

«   » is probably an epithet, or name, not a title.

Perhaps, though not actually in Chinghiz-khan's lifetime, but soon after his death, a whole

network of legends had been woven around his accession to the throne and the conditions in which he had adopted his world-famed title. Yet, the Secret History, completed only thirteen years after the death of the conqueror, and despite its epic character, is still very sober in the present case. It merely states that Tämüjin was proclaimed « inggis-qa'an » (read « Cinggis-khan »; §§ 123, 202) ; the shaman Kököcü Täb-tängri plays no part in the ceremony. and only comes in at some length later on, when he is about to meet his tragic end. The Shêng-wu ch'in-ch.êng lu and the Yüan ship keep the same reserve. But Juwaini (r, 28), in the middle of the 13th cent., had already heard that Täb-tängri (misread « But-tängri »), by the will of Heaven, had given to Tämüjin the title of « Cingiz-khan ». Raidu-'d-Din expands on Kököcü Täb-tängri's intervention and arrogance (Ber, I, 158-160) ; he also relates that Kököcü was believed to ride up to Heaven on a white horse.

Later Mongol chronicles tell another tale. In « Sanang Setsen » (SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-

Mongolen, 71), a five-coloured bird similar to a lark came down three successive mornings on a square stone in front of the tent of Tämüjin, calling « Cinggis, Cinggis »; and Chinghiz-khan was named from the cry of a bird. The text of 'JIGS-MED NAM-MKHA (HIRTH, Gesch. des Buddhismus, II, 15-16) is an almost word for word translation of this passage. According to SCHMIDT (ibid. 379) and BANZAROV (Cernaya Véra, 76), the tradition about this bird also occurs in Chinese sources, but this is a mistake. GAUBIL (Kist. de Gentchiscan, 12) and VISDELOU (Supplement to D'HERBELOT, 150), who mention it, state definitely that they heard it, orally, from some Mongols, and DE GUIGNES (Hist. gén. des Huns, III, 22), who speaks of Chinese sources for the legend of the bird, seems merely to have misunderstood GAUBIL.

Similar tales had spread abroad, however, at an early date. The Armenian monk Malakia,

who lived in the 13th cent., says that an angel, who had taken the appearance of a golden-winged eagle, appeared among the Mongols, summoned their leader « Cangz » (Chinghiz-khan) and delivered to him, in their own language, the text of his laws, the yasaq. This being done, the angel called the leader « kaan », so that thenceforward the latter called himself « Cangz-kaan » (PATKANOV, Istoriya Mongolov inoka Magakii, 4). On the other hand, Malakia's countryman Hethum relates how the old smith « Cangius » (= Chinghiz-khan) had a vision of an armed knight, riding a white horse, who ordered him in the name of God to free the Mongols and to become their king (Hist. des Croisades, Arm., rr, 148, 284). One of the legends must be connected with the later Mongolian story told by « Sanang Setsen », while the other recalls Kököcü and the white horse on which he used to ride up to Heaven, in the legend transmitted by Rasidu-'d-Din.

This atmosphere of legend and supernatural intervention must be taken into account in

discussing the last two explanations of « Cinggis » which we have to examine. One must be fairly ancient, since it was already mentioned by GIBBON (BURY ed., vii, 3), but I have not traced its origin; this is the one which connects « Cinggis » with Turk. tängiz, Osm. den"iz, «sea », « ocean ». ERDMANN alludes to it as unworthy of refutation (Temudschin, 600). Yet, it was again thought of, simultaneously and independently, by RAMSTEDT (Mogholica, 25) and by me (cf. Pe, 23). In a