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0055 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 55 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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226. EUROPE   651

his Libellus de notitia orbis, part of which has been published for the first time by A. KERN in Arch. Fratr. Praedic., viii [1938], 82-123; a notice on « Ethiopia » occurs in p. 120-121. There can be no doubt that the true Ethiopia is meant. Archbishop John says that « Orientals call her Iiabassy », and that the country lay in superiore parte Egipti. The notice adds that the Ethiopians were favourably disposed towards the Church of Rome, that he knew from experience that they were eager to receive instruction from Rome, and that he would have gone there himself if he had not been prevented by his work with Tamerlane (per filium Themur; I take filius to be a translation of Pers. pusär, Turk. oyul, Mong. kö'ûn, all meaning « son », but used in the sense of « prince »; in the same way, Äljigidäi's letter to St. Louis was addressed filio regi Francie; cf. Pel, 162, 168). « But, if it would please the Lord, and as I have promised them (= the Ethiopians), I shall go [there] as I am bound to them by the Apostolic See, since they are under the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Sultani' h, as is stated in the bull of John XXII. » The archbishop of Sultanieh must be supposed to have known the area of his own jurisdiction, and since he says in 1404, that Ethiopia, i. e. true Ethiopia, had been placed by Pope John XXII under the authority of the see of Sultanieh, there can be no doubt, I think, that the « Imperator Aethiopum » to whom the same John XXII addressed his letter of December 1, 1329, was no other than the negus of Abyssinia.


eufrate FB

eufrates FA, L, P, VA, VL, Z; G

eufrautes F fates V

hufrates VB

Polo mentions the Euphrates only once, and as one of the rivers flowing into the Caspian, together with the Tigris and the « Gion ». Polo's « Tigris » is the Volga (see « Tigri ») and his « Gion » must be the Oxus (see « Gion »). But he passed south of the Caspian and probably had a very hazy idea of the rivers he names. Moreover, like most of his contemporaries, he must have been influenced by the belief of the four rivers that flowed from Paradise. It would be vain to try and decide here in favour of any particular stream like the Araxes (or Kur) or the Ural. Instead of « Eufrates », RAMUSIO gives « Cur, Araz », Kur et Araxes (or Kur-Araxes), and this would be a good solution if it did not go against all known Mss. As B, 17, says it looks like a textual correction due to RAMUSto himself.

  1.  EUROPE europa Z

« Europa » occurs only in the title-preamble of Z (cf. Vol. I, 93; II, y), and it is not certain that the word was used in Rustichello's original text. If it be the original, the only point of interest for the present notes would be the determination of Polo's conception of our continent, but we lack