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0402 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 402 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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386   161. CIORCIA

approach to the original form may be something like * or *Luaun, which is hardly reconcilable with Jüra.t. Above all, the Avars or Juan-juan must have been Mongols, whereas the Nü-chên or Jürcät were Tungus; neither the geographical location nor the ethnical character agrees; in my opinion BANG'S theory cannot be retained.

When I say that there must have been no -r- at the end of the first syllable in the name of the Jou-jan or Juan-juan because none of the Chinese transcriptions shows it, it might be objected that there was almost certainly an -r- in *Jurcen although it does not appear in Nü-chên. But the two cases are not the same. The Chinese pronunciation of the Six Dynasties still possessed occlusive finals, and -t > -' could so well represent a final -r of foreign words or names that it was heard as -r in the T'ang period by the Turks and the Tibetans and has given -r> -1 in Sino-Corean. But the occlusive finals had already practically disappeared from the pronunciation of northern Chinese when the transcription Nü-chên was adopted; from that time, a final -r of foreign words had to be represented by an additional character, either li or êrh; and that additional character was often omitted. This would more or less account for Nü-chên = *Jurcen, if it were not for the initial, which I am still at a loss to explain.

For the sake of completeness, I may had a last hypothesis, which would trace the name of the *lurcen farther back than the tenth century. Under the name of Shih-wei the Chinese of the T'ang period have designated many tribes of eastern Mongolia and Manchuria, most of them

Tungus, but some also Mongol. Among these tribes are those of the 3 ti   Ta Ju-chê, « Great
Ju-chê », and ) J. tp ;iK Hsiao Ju-chê, « Little Ju-chê »; these Ju-chê sent an embassy to the Court in 748 (cf. Ts'ê fu yüan-kuei, 971, 16 b). Just as we find in this list of the Shih-wei tribes the earliest mention of the Mêng-wu, i. e. the Mongols (see «Mongul »), it would be very tempting to recognize in the Ju-chê the ancestors, at least in as far as the name is concerned, of the Nü-chên or *Jurcen. The geographical position would not contradict such a hypothesis. Yet there is a serious difficulty. Ju-chê is an ancient *lçlZkwo-t'sja, that is to say it never had at the end of the first character the occlusive final which would have rendered the -r- of Jurcen. For this reason, and without entirely discarding the possibility of a connection between the two names, I mention the Ju-chê only as an incentive to further research.

From the name of the *Jurcen we may now pass to the historical conditions which prevailed when Polo heard of « Ciorcia ». According to him (r, 161) the original seat of the Tartars, i. e. Chinghiz-khan's Mongols, was « between (I believe this is the correct interpretation of the passage, from a French ' entre ', rather than the ' about ' given in the translation) Ciorcia and Bargu », which evidently means between Manchuria and the region south-east of Lake Baikal (see «Bargu »), and this is quite correct. Elsewhere (r, 200) we are told that Nayan was lord of four great provinces, «Ciorcia », «Cauli », «Barscol », and «Sichintingiu ». In a third passage (r, 363), which we shall leave out of consideration for the present, Polo narrates how Qubilai sent one of his barons into exile «to the desert island named Ciorcia », where he was murdered. The identification of «Barscoi» and particularly of « Sichintingiu » (q. v.) is difficult, but « Cauli » is of course Corea, and «Ciorcia », the Jürcä or Cürcä of the Persians, certainly refers to the whole or part of Manchuria. When the *Juren had conquered northern China, their empire soon ceased to be called by their name, and came to be known as the kingdom of the «Golden King » (see «Roi Dor »), or they were