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0132 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 132 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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728   233. GAINDU

the Polos may have misunderstood their informers, and we should almost expect the « three » to be Mani's three predecessors as prophets according to the Manichaean creed, i. e. Jesus, Zoroaster and Buddha.

Even making due allowances for an exaggeration in Polo's figures, these would-be Christians were quite numerous. On the other hand, and according to the text itself, they had always been

  • reckoned as idolaters » and were claimed as such by the « head of the worshippers of idols ». This implies that the adepts of the said sect had no recognized official hierarchy of their own, exercising spiritual and in some cases temporal jurisdiction. This again fits the Manichaeans. Under the Mongol dynasty, there were regular officers attending to the affairs of the Confucians, the Taoists, the Buddhists, the Christians, the Mohammedans, the adepts of the White Lily, those of the White Cloud, those of the Dhùta, and those of the Great Unity; there was none for the Manichaeans. Such a situation accounts also for the debate at Qubilai's Court. Any individuals added to one's jurisdiction meant an increase of resources; a great temptation indeed for both the head of the Christians and the head of the worshippers of idols !

We should like to determine the date of the Polos' acquaintance with the pseudo-Christians of Fu-chien. The suggestion has been made that Marco may have passed through Fu-chou « in 1288 and 1289 on his way to or from India » (Mo, 143). Marco's return from India seems to me to fall more probably in the years 1289-1290. But the main point is this : Did the elder Polos accompany Marco on his various errands ? Personally, I doubt it, and the way in which the texts speak of

  • Marco »'s return, and immediately afterwards of the desire of the three Polos to go home, seems to imply that the elder Polos had not been party to the Indian mission. The natural conclusion would then be that Polo and his uncle — his father having other things to attend to — went to inquire about the pseudo-Christians while staying for a short time at Fu-chou on their way to

  • Çaiton » with the Mongol princess « Cocacin ». In such a case, the question may be raised, how could they know of what befell the messengers at the Court ? We may suppose that they had heard of the result while waiting for their boats at « Çaiton ». But this is by no means certain, and it may just be that Marco's uncle accompanied him once to the south before the three left the Court for their homeward journey.


caindu F, Pr, VL; R candu VL

cayndu P, VL

chaindu TA3

gaddyte, gagadi, gagdy G gaindir, gheindu F

gaindu F, Fr, FA, FB, L

gandi VA; G

gandim VA

gandu Ft

gauidun V

gayndu LT

geindu L

ghaindu TA1

ghindu Z

gingut, gondi (?) VB

It cannot be doubted that this is the kt   Chien-ch'ang Valley of the so-called Independent

Lolo, inside the bend of the Yang-tzû, now forming part of Ssû-ch'uan, but which, in the Mongol period, was part of Yün-nan (cf. YS, 61, 7-8; LAUFER, Notes on Turquois, 26-27 [Hui-ch'uan is in