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0583 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 583 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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Shang-tu (see « Chemeinfu » and « Ciandu ») ; from that moment, he acted almost as if he was independent of Qara-qorum.

Qubilai having died on February 18, 1294, the news of his death must have been known

to the Mongols in Persia before the end of that year. At that time, the three Polos had probably left Persia, but the report may have reached them on their way home, at or near Trebizond or Constantinople. It seems hard to believe that the news of the death of the Great Khan, mentioned in RAMUSIO'S text, was an arbitrary addition which corresponded to the truth by a mere coincidence (cf. Vol. I, 92). Of course, this is difficult to reconcile with the passages in which, in 1298, Polo speaks of Qubilai as if he were still alive. It may be that, after having heard the news, Polo disbelieved it for lack of more precise confirmation.

Polo says that Qubilai had twenty-two sons from his four wives, and twenty-five from his

concubines (cf. Vol. I, 206-207; Y, I, 356-360). Like all the early Mongol Emperors, Qubilai had four ordo, or, in the plural, ordos, a term which Chinese texts either transcribe phonetically, or render f-r ' hsing-kung, lit. « moveable palace » (see « Cinghis », p. 309) ; so PALLADIUS'S statement, reproduced in Y, I, 358, that Chinese authors translate ordo by « harem » is not quite accurate. The four ordos of Qubilai's principal wives were those of (cf. YS, 106, 2-3; also 95, 7-8. BLOCHET'S translation [Bl, II, 353] is useless, because he has mixed up the order of the

ordos, and mistaken   yu, here meaning « what has been mentioned above», for a designation
of ordos «of the right» which never existed) :

(1)yi   T'ieh-ku-lun, i. e. Tägüiün (not « Toughlouk » as in Bl, II, 353), a feminine

name in -lün derived from the same tägü- as in Tägüdär (see « Caraunas »). From YS, 106, 2 b, we know that Tägüiün, head of the « Great Ordo », had received the title, certainly posthumous, of « Great Empress » (Ta Huang-hou) ; nothing more is said of her in the general table of empresses and concubines, nor is she even so much as named in the biographical notices of Qubilai's empresses (YS, 114, 1 b). Rasidu-'d-Din ignores her. In YS, 118, 2 b, we are told that Tägüiün was the daughter of To'oril, himself a grandson of the Qonyrat Alcin-noyan (Akin-noyan was the elder brother of Börtä, Chinghiz's principal wife; on the name, cf. my paper Sur un passage du ' Cheng-wou ts'in-tcheng lou' [disfigured by misprints], in The Ts'ai

Yivan P'ei Anniversary Volume, Peiping, 1934, I, 907-938). The pên-chi of Qubilai (YS, 4, 5b)

give a list of members of the Imperial family who, according to an edict of January 14, 1261,
were henceforth to receive an annual grant in silver and silk; amongst the beneficiairies was

«the former Empress ( taJj   Ïiä hsien-ch'ao huang-hou) Tägüiün ». The wording is strange,
and hsien-ch'ao would suggest that we have here to deal with a consort of a former emperor; I agree, however, with T'u Chi (19, 7 b) that the Tägüiün of the table of empresses is certainly meant. If she really was Qubilai's consort, she must have died before Qubilai's accession to the throne, or at any rate before January 14, 1261, and hsien-ch'ao would be a clumsy rendering from the Mongolian. The grant was made to her ordo, which must have continued its separate existence after her death, but the texts give no indication as to who was in charge of it after her. But this solution is open to doubt, and there may be an error in the YS as to Qubilai's first ordo (cf. YANAI, 692-694).

(2)   Ch'a-pi, sy ,- abui in Raidu-'d-Din, altered to Cambui in «Sanang Setsen ».