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0141 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 141 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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243. GIORGE   737

II, 232, 348), and Marignolli's « Gyon », simply reproduce the traditional rr1c:)v of the Septuagint. Although the Jihûn, the Fri6iv of the Septuagint, one of the four rivers which issued from Paradise, has been given in the Middle Ages the most fantastic courses, it is certain that Polo uses the name, in the Mussulman fashion, as the designation of the Oxus, or Amù-daryâ (cf. for instance the course of the Jihûn in Ya'qùt, trad. BARBIER DE MEYNARD, Dict. Géogr., 183-184). Hethum gives the Oxus the name of another of the four rivers of Paradise, « Phison ». On the various conceptions of the Gion and the Phison, see « Quian » and cf. HALLBERG, 222, 387, 405; Y1, III, 222. Polo says that the Gion, i. e. the Oxus, falls into the Caspian Sea, and there he is in agreement with most of the mediaeval maps. I shall not enter here into the examination of the changes in the course of the Oxus either towards the Aral Sea or towards the Caspian. The last monograph on the subject

is dlle to BARTHOLD.


georgi, jorgius Z georgio R

georgius L, P; G gieorgin, giergin V

giorge, giorgie, ior F giorgio TA1, TA3 gorge, jorgan FB gorgion LT

jeorge, jorge FA jeorgius L jorzo VA zorzi VB, VL

It is now a well established fact that Polo's « Giorge » is Prince George of the Ongüt, a Nestorian tribe then mainly settled outside the north-eastern corner of the great bend of the Yellow River, and that he was later on converted to Roman Catholicism by Giovanni da Montecorvino. His Chinese name, K'o-li-chi-ssû, represents Syr. Giwargis, « George », transcribed j6i Görgüz in Persian sources (Bl, II, 593, 605, 606, 610; not to be explained here by « blind », as is usually done). On Prince George, see principally, Y, I, 287-289; TP, 1914, 631-634; and Mo, 234-240. HOWORTH (I, 556) is absolutely wrong about the identity of Prince George. Useful material is collected in T'u Chi, 36, 3-4, and 74, 12 b-13 a. Cf. also Monumenta Serica, III, 232-256.

Prince George was killed in 1298 (cf. Oh, II, 513) while fighting against Qaidu and Dua, but that was long after Polo had left China. No text connects him with Nomoyan (see « Nomogan »), although he may have been in those parts while still very young. But the memorial devoted to him and his family by Yen Fu, preserved in Yüan wen lei, ch. 23, suggests another solution. Prince George's father, Al-buqa, really took part in Bayan's campaign after Nomoyan had been captured in 1277; he fought against Sa-li-man (Sarban), one of Nomoyan's captors; we also know that he died in the field. It is very natural for Polo, so interested in the lineage of Prester John, to have given more importance than Chinese historians to the participation of Ai-buqa in the Northern wars. And in his memory, Prince George, the Conga prince who lived while he was himself in China, has taken the place of his father.