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0042 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 42 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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638   215. EGIPTE

ginally a Hsi-Hsia name (PALLADIUS, in Y, r, 225, was mistaken in believing that the name occurred first under Qubilai); N. A. NEVSKI' (Zap. Inst. Vostokoved., 1933, 129-150) has made it probable that it represents Hsi-Hsia * Riie-njä, « Black River », the ~' ,j Hei-shui of Chinese texts. A road connected Eçina and Qara-qorum, and I agree with PALLADIUS that this is the reason why Polo, having inserted after Kan-chou his digression on Eçina, adds to it his notice on Qara-qorum, a place which he never visited.

The notice in YS, 60, 11 b, says : « Circuit (lu) of I-chi-nai; 3rd rank. Lies 1.500 li to the north of Kan-chou. North-east of the city, there is a great marshy lake. North-west, it confines with the Sandy desert (= Gobi). This is the ancient city of 14 Chü-yen of the commandery (chün) of Hsi-hai (« Western Sea ») of the Han. The [Hsi-] Hsia kingdom established there the [seat of the]

military district (chün) of IA   Wei-fu. [The place] made its submission in 1226. In 1284, a
tsung-kuan fu was established there. » The text goes on with an account, in smaller characters, of the irrigation works undertaken in the region in 1286, including the making of the canal of Ha-chi (* Qazi ? ?).

Eçina still occurs in Mongolian as Isina in the unpublished Sino-Mongol inscription of the Prince Indu (Hindu), dated 1362. It must have been abandoned some time after the overthrow of the Mongols, during the second half of the 14th century, though the name I-chi-nai is found under the

year 1490 in 4 j.4 J   Shu yü chou tzû lu, 17, 3 a, a rare work by   ft it Yen Ts'ung-
chien, reprinted in 1930.

For finds of Han relics in the region of the Edzin-yol, cf. TP, 1932, 264.


egipte F

egitto TA3   egypte FA, FB

In agreement with the habit of the time, Polo usually speaks of Egypt as « Babilonie » (q. v.) ; he also once mentions Cairo (see « Chaiero »). But in the Prologue, we are told that the two elder Polo, on reaching Acre, found « Teald de Plajence » appointed legate for the Church of Rome « in all the realm of Egipte » (cf. Vol. I, 80). In Vol. I, 23-25, MOULE has explained the chronological difficulties which this information entails; I am concerned here only with the sense which we must attach in the present case to « Egypt ». Whether a legate or not, Theobald of the Visconti of Placentia a certainly wielded great authority in the Holy Land, but he does not seem to have visited Egypt. My opinion is that, by « all the realm of Egypt », we must understand all the territories under the authority of the Mamiûk sultans, that is to say not only Egypt, but also Palestine and a great part of Syria.

The name « Egypt » did not pass into Asiatic languages at an ancient date; its Chinese transcription gi7, Ai-chi is modern. Shortly before and after our era, the Chinese knew Alexandria (see «Alexandre2»), and it is only from the second half of the 12th cent. that Egypt itself is mentioned in Chinese texts; it was then known to the Chinese under the Arabic name of ,.a, Misr (cf. Hebrew