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0406 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 406 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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390   162. CIUGIU

« Nurgän » in Mongolian writing. It may be that this Mongolian form is merely retranscribed from the Chinese, but both the usual « Nu-êrh-kan », and the earlier « Nu-êrh-ko » of the report of 1273 point to an original * Nürgä or *Nürgän. With such an original, Polo's form cannot be reconciled. It would be futile to imagine that on the one hand, there should have been in the name an alternation between j- and n- as in *Jurcen and Nü-chên, and that, on the other, Polo's median -ç-, though attested as occurring in the prototype of Z by the readings in Fra Mauro, RAMUSIO, and Z, may be an early corruption of -c-, so as to reconstruct for Polo an original form representing * Jörgä. The simplest solution, I think, would be to admit that Polo spoke of the island as « Ciorcia », i. e. Jürcä, because « Ciorcia » was the north-easternmost country of which the name was familiar to him, and also because he probably believed, and not without some foundation, that the « desert island », i. e. Nu-êrh-kan, was still within the limits or the sphere of influence of « Ciorcia ». Moreover, the way in which Polo speaks of the original seat of the Mongols as lying between « Bargu » and « Ciorcia » implies that his notion of « Ciorcia » was a very extensive one, practically identical with ours of « Manchuria », and thus would naturally comprise Nu-êrh-kan.

162. CIUGIU (c. 138).

cignj TA"

cinçu Z

cinghi TA2

cingiu Ft

cingni TA', TA3

cingui DT cinguy FAt ciugiu F, L congaj, conganj (?), congnj VB

(? militen two days from

pequi VB)

cuigiu, cuigui F siguy FA singuy FB vigui V

The readings of the mss. point to « Ciugiu »; but, from Polo's itinerary, the only possible identification is r4, Su-ch'ien (or Hsü-ch'ien), on the northern bank of what became after 1324 the course of the Huang-ho, between the ancient P'ei-chou and Huai-an; the Commissioners of 1276 passed through Su-ch'ien (TP, 1915, 397, 415). On this point I agree with PAUTHIER, YULE and CHARIGNON. It is more difficult to account for the name. In Polo's time, what was from 1324 to 1853 the lower Yellow River, was still the {iNi 01 Ssû-ho, and there existed until quite recently a SA-chou, the seat of which is north of the Huai and far to the south-west of Su-ch'ien. But we cannot accept outright PAUTHIER's statement that Su-ch'ien was once called Ssû-chou, nor is there any good ms. that gives the form « Sigiu » adopted by YULE, PAUTHIER and CHARIGNON as the basis for their transcriptions.

The place was a district (hsien) already in Han times, and was renamed ra fit Su-yii towards A. D. 400. In the beginning of the T'ang dynasty and until 735, Su-yü was the seat of the department of SA-chou. In 762, the name of Su-yü was changed to Su-ch'ien on account