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0614 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 614 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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598   196. ÇANGHIBAR

(DAMES, I, 26). The Catalan Map omits the whole eastern coast of Africa south of Cape Gardafui. Fra Mauro gives «Châcibar» as an island, and « Xégibar » on the continent. Cf. Y, II, 424; III, 123-124; YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 978; DEVIL, Le pays des Zendjs, Paris, 1883; Fe, 740; Mi, 471472.

The first element of the name is of early occurrence in reference to the African negro countries bordering on the Indian Ocean. Ptolemy speaks of the Zsyy;s âxpa (I, 17, 9) or Zriyycaa âxpa (Iv, 7, 11), and Cosmas in the 6th cent. mentions several times T? Zlyytov. In Arabic sources, the name is written c;j and vocalized as Zän) and Zinj; originally it must have been pronounced Zäng or Zing, with the pronunciation g of y which still obtains in the Egyptian dialect of Arabic. This Zän) < Zäng can hardly be, as FERRAND says (JA, 1924, I, 240; cf. also STORBECK, in MSOS,

XVII [1914], II, 101-102), an Arabized form of Persian z1;') Zäng, which has the same meaning; both forms may more probably go back to a common foreign original, or the Persian form may even have been borrowed from the Arabic.

From the name Zäng of the coast of East Africa, the Persians formed Ai Zängi, « negro [of Eastern Africa] », and ,:,,L..--j Zängistân, « country of the Zäng », also arabized as Zänjistan; Zängistân is the form used in 982 by the Persian author of the Hudûd al-'Alain. The Arabic form ~l ;j Zänjbàr (Zänjibâr ?) is met with for the first time in Ya'qùt (1224; cf. DEVIL, loc. cit., 10; STORBECK, loc. cit., 101; the apparent « Zanguebar » in Idri§i's text of Fe, 173, is misleading; the original gives Zän)); the corresponding Persian one )j Zängibâr (not «Zangi-bar» as in Hobson-Jobsong, 978) occurs in Qazwini (-f- 1283; cf. STORBECK, loc. cit., 101-102), in the Persian version of Islabri (ibid.), c. 1470 in 'Abdu-'r-Razzaq (Fe, 474), etc. The name had long designated a considerable portion of the littoral, from a little south of Cape Gardafui to Sofâia. But Polo's informants left out of « Çanghibar » and north of it the whole region of Mogadiscio (see «Mogedaxo »). Later on, a still more restricted application prevailed; at the time of the Portuguese discoveries c. 1500, the name was specifically referred to the island at it is now (cf. DAMES, Barbosa, I, 2628). On the final -bar of Zängibar, see «Melibar ».

Although Zäng must have been at first the name of a country, the colour of its inhabitants and the number of slaves which came from it soon gave the name the two accessory meanings of «negro» and of «slave ». In the early days of the Abbassid califate, the ZänJ had increased in Mesopotamia to such numbers that for fifteen years, from 868 to 883, they were able to conduct a bloody servile war i n Mesopotamia, recalling those of Eunus and of Spartacus (cf. MASSIGNON, in EI, s. y. «Zandj»).

It is with the value of « negro », and often of « negro slave », that the word Zängi passed to Indonesia, Central Asia and the Far East. A Javanese inscription of 860 mentions the J ngi, while other spellings Tangi and Déni occur in inscriptions dated 1135, 1140 and 1294 (cf. FERRAND, in JA, 1921, I, 164; 1924, I, 241). Luigi or J ngi is still the name of the negroes in Malay; it is Jongi in Battak (cf. BEFEO, iv, 291).

With all the modern intercourse between Egypt, Persia and Turkish-speaking countries, it is no wonder that zängi and zängi should mean «negro» in Osmanli Turkish and in the Turkish of Crimea respectively. But the occurrence of the word in the Quta,yu bilig of 1069-1070 deserves more attention : in two passages, the appearance of the world when the sun is gone is