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0330 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 330 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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314   158. CINGHIS

pên-chi of the Emperor Li-tsung in the Sung-shih, under the third pao-ch'ing year (A. D. 1227) : « [In the third pao-ch'ing year,J ... the chief (4 chu) of the Mêng-ku (= Mongols) T'ieh-mu-chên (Tämüjin) died ( ts'u) at the Liu-p'an-shan.» But in fact there is no such text in the Sung shih, under the year 1227 (41, 3 a-b). Nor should we expect to find it there, at least in such terms. Both the Chin shih and the Sung shih, compiled under the Yüan dynasty, always speak retrospectively of the Mongols of Chinghiz-khan as «Ta-Yüan », « Great Yüan », never as «Mêng-ku », and give to Chinghiz-khan himself the title of huang-ti or ti, « Emperor », not merely of chu, «chief»; nor is the word ts'u, « to die», the term to be used for an «imperial» death. As a matter of fact,

both the Chin shih (under the fourth chêng-ta year, A.D. 1227; 17, 3) and the Sung shih deliberately ignore the death of Chinghiz-khan, which in fact is alluded to merely in an indirect way by the Chin shih when we are told that, at the beginning of 1228, an envoy was sent to the

«Great Yüan» to «express condolence ». But although the source is wrongly indicated by T'u Chi, the passage he quotes was certainly not invented by him. Either it is a Chinese rendering of Rasid's statements by an earlier modern scholar, or, as the case certainly is with one of GAuBIL's accounts of Chinghiz-khan's death, it is to be found in some historical work of early Ming date. GAUBIL's direct or indirect source, which must be the same as that of WEI Yüan as well as that of the Tz'û yiian and of the Chung-kuo ti-ming to tz'û-tien can be identified with almost absolute certainty : it is the «continuation» of the T'ung-chien kang-mu composed by f*z Ch'ên Ching,

in 24 chapters, under the title of ij fl fit   T'ung-chien hsü pien : there Chinghiz-khan is made
to die at the Liu-p'an-shan. Ch'ên Ching lived towards the end of the Yüan and saw the beginnings of the Ming dynasty. Though often said to be a Ming writer, the first edition of his T'ung-chien hsü pien was engraved under the Yüan, in 1361 in fact (cf. Ssû-k'u ch'üan-shu, 47, 49-51; Mo Yu-chih's Lü-t'ing chih-chien ch'uan pên shu-mu, 4, 17 a). Ch'ên Ching is not always to be trusted; his work, however, is earlier than both the Cho-kêng lu and the Yüan-shih and sometimes gives more correct names than the official history. On the other hand, writing under the Mongol dynasty, he certainly could not refer to Chinghiz-khan as « Tämüjin, the chief of the Mêng-ku », not at least in the edition of 1361, and so cannot be the author of the passage erroneously quoted by T'u Chi as taken from the Sung shih. Unfortunately the T'ung-chien hsüpien is a rare book (not only in the original edition of 1361, but even in the Ming editions, one of which was published in 1562), and I can only quote the passage on the death of Chinghiz-khan from NAKA's Chingisu-kan jitsuroku, 579. From the T'ung-chien hsü pien, the tradition passed

into the Hsü t'ung-chien kang-mu compiled in 1476 by   !g Shang Lu, where we read (19, 13;
cf. Pa, 183) that «Tämüjin of the Mêng-ku died at the Liu-p'an-shan ». I have no doubt that this is the text which T'u Chi erroneously quoted as from the Sung shih.

The Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu (64 b) merely says that in the autumn of 1225, Chinghiz-khan started again with his army to march against the Hsi-Hsia, reached their country in the spring of 1226, in the course of a year conquered all their cities, and, in 1227, « destroyed their kingdom and

returned» (?y, It   J   ). The next sentence relates to what occurred after Chinghiz-khan had
gone to Heaven.

The second Chinese tradition, which makes Chinghiz die at the Liu-p'an-shan, falls in remarkably well with part of Rasidu-'d-Din's account. According to Rand (Ber, iii, 94-99, 118-