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0051 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 51 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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221. ESCA   647

LAMCARANO's hesitation, p. 194) that Liang-chou is meant. MINORSKY's attempt to find the same name on Kâsyari's map would carry it back to 1076 at least; but the correction proposed (Mi, 230) is not very probable.

Polo's « Ergiuul » seems to represent a form *ÄrJu ul, the final element of which, maintained in all the Mss., is mysterious. I have thought of a final in -'ul, -'ii/, such as the one which, from Sart, Sartaq, Sartagèin, has derived the name of Sarta'ul given to the Mussulmans in Mongolian since the days of Chinghiz-khan. But the phonetic conditions are not identical, and the hypothesis may be wrong. The -1 may be an accidental addition, perhaps of an origin similar to that of some final -r (see « Bettela », « Caccia modun », « Succiu »; and, for a final -1 due to misreadings, see « Cuigiu »). As to *Ar1i'u, *Arjü, it must be a Hsi-Hsia name.

221. ESCA

esca Z

The word occurs only in Z, in the legend about the first Uighur king, said to have « sprung up from a certain fungus which is made up from the sap of trees, what indeed [is accustomed] among us to be called esca » (cf. Vol. I, 156; II, xx). In B1, 73, esca is retained without any note, and it is omitted from the Index. Ricci-Ross retain esca in English, and, in the Index, explain it as « tinder ». In the Introduction to our Vol. I, 49, Sir E. D. Ross, while duly connecting the legend with that of the origin of the Qïpèaq, whose ancestor was born in the hollow of a tree (Turk. qavuq), remarks that « curiously enough there is an alternative form of this name, gave'aq, and in old Turkish qav means tinder (esca) ».

Latin esca, « food », had lost this original meaning already at the end of classical times, and had soon come to mean « what served to light and feed fire », hence « tinder », a sense attested in the Middle Ages for French esche, èche, aiche, which has survived in It. esca, Span. yesca. Èche survives now in French only in the classical sense of « fish bait ». In the Codex Cumanicus (KuuN ed., 90; GRONBECH facsimile ed., 40 a), mediaeval Lat. esca is rendered in Persian as « puç », = pue", and in Turkish as « chou » = qou, both meaning « tinder ». The dialectical forms of the latter word in RADLOv's dictionary are qav, qau, gabô, gabû, qov, qô, qû, qay, qoy, one or two of them being perhaps due to an uncertain transcription of the forms in Arabic writing. If there was, as we must probably assume, a French prototype (direct or indirect) for that chapter of Z, it must have given « èche » or « esche ». But the text is not quite correct, as it was not the fungus (tuber) which was called « èche » or « esca », but the tinder made from it. As to the phonetic analogy between qavuq, « hollow of a tree », and qav, « tinder », I think it is fortuitous.

The legend given in Z for the origin of the first Uighur king has been very naturally connected by Ross with the one which is told by Rasidu-'d-Din and Abu-'l-Ghazi to explain the name of the Qïpèaq. It also occurs in the legend of Oyuz-khan in Uighur, and I have discussed the latter in TP, 1930, 279-282 (cf. also BANG and RACHMATI, in SPA W, 1932, 708); in my opinion, Qipèaq