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0059 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 59 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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227. FACFUR   655

the Kusana. I have devoted to the question a special paper, La théorie des Quatre Fils du Ciel, in TP, 1923, 97-125, and made some additions to it in TP, 1932, 174; in the meantime, FERRAND had published fresh information from Mussulman sources in BSOS, vi [1931], 329-339. On the four Sons of Heaven, my main addition of 1932 was Chih-mêng's biography in which it is said that the pilgrim heard from an arhat in Cashmire explanations on the four Sons of Heaven, a statement which proves that the Chinese believed in the Indian origin of this system. But the four Sons of Heaven left out the Mussulmans, Arabs as well as Persians. A fresh development occurred in Mussulman countries, according to which there were five kings, that of 'Iraq, the « king of kings », in the centre, then the « king of men » in China, the « king of wild beasts » among the Turks, the « king of elephants » (or of « wisdom ») in India, and the « king of fine men » in Ram (Byzantium). The Arabian traveller Ibn Wahab (9th cent.) puts this list of the five kings in the mouth of the Chinese Emperor, who of course can have said nothing of the kind. The five kings are of Mussulman origin, and FERRAND cites collateral evidence on them. He has overlooked, as I had done myself, a passage of Ya'gat which it would be interesting to trace in earlier works : at Kirmànsâh was the famous terrace where Chosroes Parwéz had assembled around him the fayfûr, or king of China, the bagân (= qayan) of the Turks, the daher (? = maharaja), or king of India, and the Qai§âr, or king of Ram (cf. BARBIER DE MEYNARD, Dict. géogr. de la Perse, 438). This is an exact counterpart to Ibn Wahab's story. Although Mussulman texts speak only of kings, the connection of the list of five kings with the earlier four Sons of Heaven is not doubtful.

I find it difficult to decide whether the Iranian title of fayfûr was or was not ever used in reference to sovereigns other than the Emperor of China. HORN (Grundriss der neupers. Etymologie, 71) quotes it from VON HAMMER'S, Geschichte der schönen Redekünste Persiens, 94, as being referred to the Byzantine Emperor; but this would require confirmation, in view of VON HAMMER'S carelessness, and of a possible confusion with takfû.r. Another case is more puzzling. In Armenian, the title of the Chinese Emperor occurs as Cenbakur < Cinfayfar, « fayfûr of Cin » (cf. HÜBSCH-MANN, Armen. Grammatik, I, 49), and the Orbelian, professing to be descended from Chinese princes, adopted the clan-name of Cenbakurian. This form bakur is confirmed by a portion of a Syriac catena attributed to Theodore of Mopsuestia, extracts from which have been recently translated by BIDEZ and CUMONT, Les mages hellénisés, II, 117 [cf. also p. 114] ; but the passage in which the term occurs, to judge from its content, is only of the 7th cent. at the earliest. In a list of heathen countries, the catena speaks of « the Chinese with Bagar »; there is not any doubt that we have here, in Syriac, the same type of transcription of baypûr which is represented by bakur in Armenian. But this may entail wider consequences. LOKOTSCH, s. v. « fayfar », gives as a fact that the name occurring in Horace (Odes, 3, 6, 9) and Martial (9, 36) as « Pacorus » is no other than a form of fayfûr. But there are many llecxopoq, IIaxôp lq, Pacorus, Bakar, Afgarsah, etc., in Iranian history, whose names are given in many classical authors besides Horace and Martial; JUST!, Iranisches Namenbuch, 238-239, gives 24 of them, and one may be the prototype of the Mankura, in Chinese transcription Wang-chün, of the Milindapanha (cf. JA, 1914, II, 405; TARN, The Greeks in Bactria and in India, 422) ; but JUST! carefully distinguishes this Iranian name from Armenian bakur < baypûr. If LOKOTSCH were right, all of them would be Bakar < Baypar, and the form bakur of baypûr would be traceable to a date even prior to the Christian era. Although I know of no