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0161 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 161 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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264. JAVA THE LESS   757

For a Mussulman use of « Java » as a designation of a place on the continent, cf., in the Fludûd al-' "Pam of 981-983 (6 b), a-.;. :l..-- Jabah-i-bugk, « Java the dry », which BARTHOLD (Introd., 23) renders by « Continental Java ».

On Java in mediaeval cartography, and the frequent confusion there between Java and Sumatra, cf. HALLBERG, 274-280. The name of «Major Java », which occurs on several maps, appears only in VB Mss. of Polo; but it was easily derived from Polo's respective dimensions of the islands, and his « Java la menor » easily suggested a « Major Java »; moreover, the Genoese Map and Fra Mauro, who give the two names, are both, although to a different degree, dependent on Conti.


çaua minor, parua çaua Z

giaua menor VLr

giaua minore R

iana VB

iana menor, iauiaua V

iaua la menor F

iaua mener VL

iaua minor Lr

iauua la meneur FA ioua TA3

jamanaym, javamayn, meyn G

jana, lina menor VA jaua L

jaua la menor Ft

jaua minor L, LT, P

java la minore TA'

java- jonc la mazor VB

mendre (meneur, petite) isle

de jaua FB

picciola iaua TA', TA3

Java the Less (« Java la menor ») is Polo's designation of Sumatra. The use of Jawah as a designation of Sumatra occurs among Arabic geographers (cf., for instance, Fe, 402), and Zâbaj < *Javaga seems to have referred to the south-eastern part of the great island. There was no general name for the whole island. Even Polo's description applies only to the north-western half, and he does not suspect that his « Malaiur » is also in Sumatra. In 1365, the Javanese poem Niagarakrétagiama, for want of a general name, uses Tanah ri Malayu, « Land of Malayu », as a designation of all Sumatra (Fe, 652). Later writers, like BARBOSA and LINSCHOTEN, for whom the name of Sumatra already existed as we use it now, apply the name of « Java the Less » to Sumbawa (cf. DAMES, Barbosa, II, 194-195). In Malaca, l'Inde méridionale et le Cathay, pp. xi-xii, Léon JANSSEN is satisfied that GODINHO DE EREDIA, in 1613, uses « Java Menor » as a designation of the newly discovered Australia; but JANSSEN attributes to YULE opinions on Great Java and Java the Less which are exactly the opposite of those held by that scholar. For the rest, a mere perusal of ff. 50 b-51 a and 57 a of the Portuguese text of GODINHO, quoting whole passages of Polo, clearly shows that Polo is GODINHO's only source for « Java the Less ». But, owing to the altered bearings when Polo's digressions were made to appear as parts of a continuous itinerary, it is true that GODINHO and his contemporaries, while knowing Sumatra, looked for « Java the Less » to the south-east of our Java, and duplicated there, in forms more or less corrupt, the names of the very