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0056 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 56 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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652   227. FACFUR

the necessary data. Nowadays, our Europe reaches the Ural Mountains in the north, and ends at some distance west of the Ural River in the south. In the Middle Ages, Europe was not conceived as extending so far to the east. On the Catalan Map, the eastern limit of Europe seems to be the Don (« Tanais »; cf. Not. et Extr., XIV, II, 10), and this is expressly stated in 1404 in the Libellus de notitia orbis (cf. KERN, in Arch. Fratr. Preadic., VIII [1938], 89). But on Fra Mauro's map, the name « Europa » appears between the Don and the Volga, which marks already an advance toward the east that has been carried further in modern times.


alefur V   fanfur R   ffacfur P

facfur F, LT, P, VA, Z   fatfur FA, FB   fuschur, scufogi VL

factur, fucfur Z   fatur VB   synifey G

fafur TAl, TM

Polo's « facfur » is a very correct transcription of Pers. Js' fayfûr, a common designation of the Chinese Emperor in Mussulman sources. Etymologically it certainly means « Son of God », but the corresponding Skr. bhagaputra alleged by VULLERS and HORN (Grundriss der neupers. Etymologie, p. 71) does not exist, not even as a term of lexicographers. An old Iranian *bagapu6rais not attested either. But bypwhr (= * baypuhr) occurs in Parthian Pahlavi, with the meaning of « Son of God », = Jesus (cf. F.W.K. MÜLLER, Handschriften-Reste in Estrangeloschrift, 1904, p. 34), hence Sogdian *baypûr > paypûr, faypûr; pay > fay, *fuy (r , fay) has even passed in later Sogdian from the sense of « god » to that of « idol » (cf. GAUTHIOT, in JA, 1911, I, 53, 58). The attempt made to derive Sogd. payp ûr not from Parthian Pahlavi, but from Khotanese (the so-called « Saka »), cannot be accepted (cf. HENNING, in BSOS, x, 94). Sogdian paypûr, in its turn, was arabicized as baybûr and fayfûr, and the latter form taken back by the Persians from Arabic (cf. FERRAND, in JA, 1924, I, 243; S. LÉvI, in JA, 1934, I, 19). The baybûy or baybûn of Idrisi can be only the result of wrong readings. It may be that takfur, as a designation of the Byzantine Emperor, which etymologically seems to be connected with Armenian tavagor, « king » (from Pers. *tûy[> taJ], « crown », + Armenian suffix a-vor; cf. HÜBSCHMANN, Armen. Grammatik, I, 153), was modified, as YULE supposes (Y, II, 148), as a « jingling match » to fayfûr.

If we except the unique example of Parthian Pahlavi *baypuhr used in reference to the « Son of God », i. e. Jesus, fayfûr, in all its forms, is the designation of the Chinese Emperor (for this value of Sogd. paypûr, faypûr, in a text which seems to be from the end of the 2nd cent. A. D., cf. my remarks in TP, 1931, 458-459; for a bibliography of the Mussulman texts on fayfûr, cf. VAN BERCHEM, in TP, 1911, 724, 725, and Fe, Index, 691, 702; add JA, 1925, II, 280). So it early occurred to

western scholars that it must be a rendering of the Chinese   t'ien-tzû, « Son of Heaven ».
There is, however, a difficulty. T'ien, in Chinese, is « heaven » or « Heaven », and sometimes the Emperor is said to have Heaven as father, and Earth as mother; yet « Heaven » does not simply