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0136 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 136 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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732   236. GAUENISPOLA

gasbar, perhaps « treasurer », which is also an Elamite place-name, but prefers to think of the Semitic 'Paßaâx-%, 'Pa4âx14 of the Bible, believed to be a proper name by the Septuagint although it is the name of a charge, and spelt here backwards, « by a witticism well known in the East ».


gauenispola F, FA, FB guanauis pola FAt necuram LT

necuueran Z

nenispola TA'

nespola TA3 nocueran R

YULE (Y, II, 300) has adopted « Gauenispola »; it is « Ganenispola » in BI, 443, but is accidentally omitted in RR, 288. There is something wrong with the text here and, as YULE says, corrections by copyists have made it worse; but it is certain that the name, as YULE has observed (Y, II, 307; cf. also III, 145), is the « Gomispola » of other travellers, the « Pulo Gommes » of the Neptune Oriental. It is a small island off Achin Head, in the direction of the Nicobar Islands. The Turkish Muhi4, using Arabic sources of c. 1500, mentions several times 41; mil} Jamis-fulah = Gâmispula cf. Fe, 704). Accordingly, I have little hesitation in restoring Polo's form to « *Gaumispola ». Cf. also FERRAND, in JA, 1922, 94-95.

  1.  GAVI

gaui F, FB, L, VB, Z; R   Boni VA   gouy FA, FB

ghavi TAI   goru P   goym G

giaui TA3   goui F, L, VB   giaui V

gioni LT

All the good Mss. give « Gavi », not « Govi » as in YULE; RR and BI read « Gavi ». The « Gavi », according to Polo, were low-caste Hindoos, who ate beef. Although the commentators say nothing about it, the word would seem to go back to Skr. gavya, derived from go, « cow n, but the term as the name of a caste is apparently not met with in the texts, nor is it in modern usage. Gavya means « devoted to the cow ».

Even by reading « Govi », there is no satisfactory equivalence. The lowest class on the Coromandel coast was that of the Paraiyans (> Pariahs) ; on the Malabar coast, they were the Mukkuvan (cf. DAMES, Barbosa, II, 64; YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, s. v. « Mucoa, Mukuva »), who were known also on the eastern coast as far north as Madras and are mentioned by Ma Huan in 1416 as Mukua (*Mugwa; cf. TP, 1915, 450); but one does not see how the first syllable could have been dropped by Polo.