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0342 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 342 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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326   158. CINGHIS

Iao-t'ai has been restored by PoPOV as « Gaitai » (Mên-gu yu-mu czi, 401) and as « Kalotai » by WALEY (Travels of an Alchemist, 31); both are only partly right. In the system adopted by the transcribers of c. 1700, a Mongolian qa- (WALEY's « ka- ») is rendered 14 k'a, and the regular value of pA ko is ya- (PoPov's « ga- »); on the other hand, the vowels of lao cannot be slurred and require an original -law. (-la'u- > -lô-, -lû-); the name is thus to be read yalautai > yaluai, yalatai (« Place with Geese », an adjectival form derived from yala'un, « goose »; *yalautu would be identical). I may add that the name is « Kalotou Nor » (= alotu-nor) in the « Carte générale de la Tartarie Chinoise » of DU HALDE, t. IV. GERBILLON, who camped there on August 1, 1698, describes the place and calls it « Kaloutou Nor » (= yaiûtu-nor; DU HALDE, iv, 411-412). Another yalautu-nör is known in the region of the Ulyui River (south-east of the Uaiia River); cf. PoPov,

284 (where the name of the Ulyui is misread «   »). A third one is outside the north-western
angle of the bend of the Huang-ho (D'ANVILLE'S « Kalotou omo »). The form is confirmed by PozDNiEV, who speaks of «the steppe of Gün-Galûtai» (Mongoliya, II, 443, 444), evidently the « steppe » of the Gün-nor and the yalautai-nör. It is much to be regretted that POZDNÉEV, when he passed the site, had no suspicion of its historical importance.

The question is then to decide whether the «Ha-lao-t'u hsing-kung of the Sa-li Valley » of the YS is to be located in or near the district of Ch'eng-shui in Kan-su, or in the Sa'ari-kä'är west of the Kerulen, where there is still a yalautai, at the very place where, according to Chin Yu-tel., Chinghiz-khan « made himself famous ». In other words, did Chinghiz-khan die in Kan-su or in Mongolia?

One of WANG Kuo-wei's notes (Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu, 3 a) would seem to imply that he believed Chinghiz-khan had died at the Sa'ari-kä'är in Mongolia, but this may be due merely to a too concise redaction. BRETSCHNEIDER is more precise (Br, I, 157-158). According to him, the « Sa-li Valley » of the YS can only be the Sa'ari-kä'är of Mongolia, and he adds that the Secret History and the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu « both agree in stating that, after subduing the Tangut empire, Chinghiz returned home, and then died ». This is not quite accurate. It is true that the Shêng-wu ch'in-chêng lu (64 b) has the sentence : « In ting-hai (1227), [the Emperor] destroyed

their (i. e. the Hsi-Hsia) kingdom and went back » (T   1j   .1:1 ; this may be the source
of a similar statement in the Hsi-Hsia shu-ship, 42, 14 a). But the somewhat awkward wording and the fact that the work avoids speaking of the death itself do not permit us to attach much weight to this statement. As to the Secret History (§ 268), BRETSCHNEIDER relied on PALLADIUS's translation (Trudy Nenov Rossiiskoï dukhovnoi missii, iv, 152), based on the Chinese abridged version; but it is not in the least supported by the original Mongolian text. The IPI 3f E hui-lai, «returned », of the Chinese version, must not be understood as « returned [to Mongolia] », but represents the nökö'ätä ... iräJu, « came ... a second time » of the Mongolian, that is to say Chinghiz « came » for a « second » campaign against Tangut. The death in Kan-su, implied in the account of the YS, and confirmed by its near location at the Liu-p'an-shan in the T'ung-chien hsü pien and in Rasidu-'d-Din and even, to a certain extent, by the late Mongol chronicles which speak of Ling-chou, is moreover supported by an independent text which was first adduced by YANAI (p. 56). In the biography of Sa-ha-lien (* Sahaliyan, « The Black ») in Chin shih, 111, 4 b, there is the following passage : «In the fourth [chêng-ta] year (1227), after the Great Yüan had