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0332 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 332 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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316   158. CINGHIS

year (1227) given for his death by Rand, in ramadan 624 (août 1227) has been discussed above. After his death, the Mongol leaders, killing all those they met on the way so that the news should not spread, carried Chinghiz-khan's coffin back to the ordo in Mongolia. His death was then announced, and the wailing began. Nothing in the text suggests that Chinghiz-khan, after he had arrived at the Liu-p'an-shan, should have left it before he died. In the account of Mongka's reign, Rand recalls that Chinghiz fell ill (ränjvär) and died at the Liu-p'an-shan (BI, II, 325). The account in Abû-'l-Ghâzi (DESMAISONS, 141-142) is but a distorted iteration of that in Rand. It will be noticed that Rand agrees with the Shêng-wu ch'in-cheng lu in making Chinghiz-khan start against the Hsi-Hsia in the autumn of 1225, and not in the spring of 1226 as in the YS.

The account in the Secret History (§§ 265-268) is not clear. It makes Chinghiz move against Tangut (= Hsi-Hsia) in the autumn of the « dog » year (1226). In the winter, Chinghiz was hunting wild horses (qulan) at Arbuqa when his affrighted horse Josotu-boro (« Reddish-Grey ») threw him and he was gravely injured. He then went to Co'orgat, and the next morning his wife told the princes and the nobles that he had had a high temperature (qala'un) in the night. The princes and nobles wished to retreat, and return when the fever had subsided. But Chinghiz, to whom this was reported, said that in such a case the Hsi-Hsia people would think that he was afraid of them and that he wanted to nurse himself at Co'orgat. Envoys were dispatched to reproach the Hsi-Hsia sovereign with his past attitude; but they brought back a fierce answer, which enraged Chinghiz-khan. Feverish as he was, « I should rather die » he said, and, marching at the head of his troops, he won a great victory over the Hsi-Hsia commander Ma-gambu in the Alasan region (see

« Caraunas »).   Chinghiz-khan spent the [next] summer (1227) at tasutu (the « Snowy »),
Hsüeh-shan (« Snowy mountains ») in the Chinese translation. Leaving the Casutu, he went on to Uraqai (cf. above), and passing Uraqai, laid siege to Dörmägäi (= Ling-chou). At this juncture, the Hsi-Hsia sovereign came to render homage and offer presents. Chinghiz made him wait three days at the entrance of his tent, and then ordered Tolun-cärbi to kill him (Tolun is the would-be « Koang-luen » of Chi, I, 203). « In the pig year (1227), Chinghiz-khan went to Heaven. »

It seems clear that the compilers of the Secret History have somehow gone astray in relating

the succession of these events, and the situation has been made worse by the commentators. The mention of the « pig » year (1227) comes only in the last sentence, whereas the seasons indicated in the text would suppose that the stay at the Casutu should have been dated 1227. On the other hand, the passage relating to Uraqai and Dörmägäi surely belongs to 1226. Asa-gambu plays in the Secret History the same part as Wei-ming ling-kung in the YS; both may be in fact different names of the same man; gambu (<, Tib. sgam po) is a title, like Ch. ling-kung (> Mong. lingqu,

lingqun, lingqum); Ma may be his personal name; Wei-ming is a family name.   Unfor-

tunately, the place-names are mostly unidentifiable.   Li Wên-t'ien had the strange idea

(14, 1-2) that the compilers of the Secret History had by mistake dated in 1226, during the campaign against the Hsi-Hsia, an equestrian accident which we know from the Hsi-yu chi to have occurred in 1223 in the West, when Chinghiz-khan was shooting a boar (cf Br, I, 97) : consequently, Arbuqa is identified with Almaliq, (o'orgat with Samarkand and the « Snowy mountains »

with the Hindukush (!).   K'o Shao-wên (Hsin Yiian-shih k'ao-chêng, 3, 11 a) concurs with

Lt Wên-t'ien. According to gi   SHIH Yüan-chieh and KAO Pao-ch'uän (loc. cit. 14, 1-2),