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0137 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 137 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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238. GEL or CHELAN   733

238. GEL or CHELAN

( < *GIEL or GHELAN)

cechichelam LT cheluchelam P5, VA chieui e gielau V geluchalat R


chella P gelles VL, S gelle F, L

ghele TAI, TA3

geluchelan FB, Z, VL, S gheluchelam P gheluchelan L gieluchelan TA1, TM

ghella VA ghelle LI, LT ghellie R

gleluchelan FA gleuechelan F Jerusalem VB

gielie V grelle FA quelle FB

All Mss. treat both names as one, and although YULE ( Y, 1, 52) has translated « Sea of Ghel or Ghelan », and supposed ( Y, 1, 58) that Polo had said that the sea was called « La Mer de Ghel ou (de) Ghelan », the rest of his commentary, in a contradictory way, suggests that the double name is simply taken over by the traveller from the Persian. « Abulfeda », adds YULE, « uses exactly Polo's phrase, saying that the districts in question are properly called Kil-o-Kilfin, but by the Arabs Jil-o-Ju an. » Hence, for instance, « Ghelukelan = Gil-u-Giiàn » in RR, 422, and « Gheluchelan » in B', 443.

It is true that there existed a certain number of double names such as JüJ-u-MaJüJ, « Gog and Magog » (q. v.), Gin-u-Maèin, « North China and South China » (see « Cin »), and for instance Steph. Orbelian uses in Armenian the ready-made « Gin-u-Macin » in its Persian form (cf. BROSSET, Hist. de la Siounie, 229). But in such double terms, names are coupled which, although cognate, are not identical in meaning. The case of Gil and Giiàn is quite different, inasmuch as both forms are strictly synonymous; one is the real name, the other a form derived from an old oblique plural. YULE is absolutely right in saying that they are in the same relation as Uotl and Uotlàn, Badaks and Badabgàn, etc. But these two synonymous forms have never been used as a joint expression. YULE'S quotation from Abû-'l-Fidà is misleading. Abû-'l-Fidà, who writes in Arabic, simply

says that the country is called in Persian «   Giiàn or (5 wa) j. Gil », and that these names

become respectively   . Jilàn and   - Jil in Arabic (cf. REINAUD, Géogr. d'Aboulféda, II,
H, 172) ; this has nothing to do with a compound name united by a copula (FERRAND is also misleading when, in JA, 1925, 11, 112, he attributes to Mas`ûdi, among other names of the Caspian, that of « mer du Gil ou Giiàn »; « ou Giiàn » ought to be between brackets, as it is not in the original Arabic, which only says ,( Sea of Jil »).

I have no doubt that Polo spoke as Abû-'i-Fidà, that is to say that he quoted the two alterna-