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0581 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 581 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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186. CUBLAI   565

PoPPE's attempt (Ungar. Jahrbücher, vi [1926], 115) to connect qirmiz > Turk. qirmiz with Turk. gizil, « red », can hardly be retained; it would require a reversal of the problem, and would pre-suppose that qirmiz was originally Turkish. Such a solution would dispose of the difficulty of the -z of the Arabic qirmiz, but at the same time we should have to abandon all connection with krmi- and kirm, and to suppose that the word passed from the Turks to the Arabs at too early a date to be acceptable.

Through unknown channels, the word has reached Mongolian, where barminjin is the designation of a red cloth; it may also represent the Russian karmazin, of identical meaning (cf. VLADIMIRCOV, in Zap. Koll. Vostok. v, 81).

BLOCH (Dirt. étymol., I, 187) dates in 1315 the first occurrence of cramoisi in French; once more, French lexicographers have left Polo out of account.

Like « purple » (purpura), « cremosi » was first a colour and later became the designation o f a textile, and one might suppose that, as in the case of « purple », it was later used irrespective of the colour (the case of « scarlet », écarlate, is the reverse; it was first a textile, and afterward s became a colour). However, in the early mentions I find of the textile, no colour is indicated (cf. for instance Francisque MICHEL, loc. cit. II, 261, 474); Pegolotti (EVANs ed., p. 430 : carmusi, chermisi, chermusi) and Uzzano (cf. Y, I, 65) give no indication of its nature. From Polo's text we can deduce that the « cremosi » manufactured at Bagdad was a costly fabric; perhaps it was a sort of red velvet, and was dyed with the Armenian qirmiz, Porphyrophora Hamelii, as surmised by HEYD (II, 608). That it was most probably red is confirmed by the general value of the term in the East in Polo's day. In the Codex Cumanicus (KuuN ed., 108), « cremixi » (x = z) is transcribed in the same manner for Latin, Persian, and Turkish, as the name of a colour which is listed between virmilium, « red », and « bachami » (identical in the three languages), i. e. baggarni, lit. « dyed with brazil-wood », « reddish » (see « Brazil »). For later mentions of

« cramoisi », cf. GAY, Glossaire archéologique, I, 487-488.


acublay, cubtai L

cablau, chablay, choblay, chobray TA'

cabli (?) VL

chabbav, chabbay, chabblau, chobblai, choblai, chonblai TA'

chelabas, cholai, choli, tubeli V

chublai VA

chublay VL

clobai, clobi, poblai VB

coblai VB, Z

comblay, cublim LT

croblai F

cublai F, FA, L, VA,

VL, Z; R cublau FAt

cublay FA, FB, L, LT,

0, P, P5, VL, Z; G cumblay 0

lubai V, VB

The true Mongolian form of the name of this famous Emperor is « Qubilai », clearly a derivative form of qubi, « lot », « portion », but the mode of its derivation is obscure. VLADI-