National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project
Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books

> > > >
Color New!IIIF Color HighRes Gray HighRes PDF   Japanese English
0178 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 178 (Color Image)

New!Citation Information

doi: 10.20676/00000246
Citation Format: Chicago | APA | Harvard | IEEE

OCR Text


774   279. MARSARCHIS


marchachi V   marsarchin TA3   marsarcho VL

marchis VB   marsaquis FB   masarchim TAl

marisarchis LT   marsarchis F, P, P5   morsachis G

marsachis VA, Z; R

We ought probably to read « Marsarghis », Syriac Mar-Sargis, « Holy Sergius », which in

Mongolian has given Mar-Särgis and Mar-Sirgis, in Chinese transcriptions , j   â   Ma   6
Hsieh-li-chi-ssti, or Ma Hsieh-êrh[ QJ-chi-ssü, or Ma Hsi[ â ]-êrh-chi-ssû. The name is very common among the Nestorians; in the list of seventy odd names of priests engraved on the Nestorian

stele of A. D. 781, there are four different Mar-Sargis, if not five.   si

It is PALLADIUS who discovered the principal Chinese texts relating to Mar-Sargis's tenure of

office at Chên-chiang (see « Cinghianfu ») and to the churches he built : six churches in Chên-chiang   E,

or the immediate neighbourhood of Chên-chiang, and one in Hang-chou (see « Quinsai »). These texts have been translated by MOULE and L. GILES in TP, 1915, 627-686, and again in Mo, 145-160; cf. also T'u Chi, 117, 3 a-b. Mar-Sargis's family came from Samarkand. His grandfather and his father had served as Court physicians. He himself was called to the Court by Qubilai in 1268 to make a presentation of sherbet; later on, in 1273, he accompanied Sayyid Alai' to Yün-nan; in 1275, he served in Chê-chiang and Fu-chien; in 1277, or early in 1278, he was first appointed governor (daruyaci), and a little later reappointed but only vice-governor (vice-daruyaci) of Chênchiang (Mong. daruyaci, from daru-, « to press », just as its Turkish synonym basqaq is from bas-, « to press »; the two verbs mean also « to impress », « to print »). Mar-Sargis remained in office at Chên-chiang three years according to Polo, five years according to the inscription due to Liang Hsiang. From Polo's mention of « three years » for Mar-Sargis at Chên-chiang as well as in his own case at Yang-chou (see « Yangiu ») — the case of « Çulficar » at the asbestos mines of « Ghinghin Talas » might be added — YULE ( Y, II, 178) deduced that the normal term of office in Qubilai's time must have been of three years. As a matter of fact, such a rule, which was moreover in agreement with Chinese custom before and after the Mongol period, was expressly laid down in 1291, but not strictly enforced (cf. TP, 1915, 638). For Mar-Sargis, « three years » appears to be too short, as Mar-Sargis arrived at Chên-chiang in February 18, 1278, at the latest, and is said to have been

still in office when he founded a monastery there in 1281; but there are some difficulties, linked   1q

perhaps with Mar-Sargis's transfer from the position of a daruyaci to the lower one of a vice-daruyaci

(cf. TP, 1915, 638, 644-645, 648; Mo, 145, 156).

Whatever the case may be, Mar-Sargis seems to have remained the rest of his life in the region

of Chên-chiang, and to have exerted some influence there. He was still alive in 1295, as appears

from a new document which CH'EN Yüan discovered in the j $1 tt   T'ung-chih t'iao-ko
section of the A t Ai iJ Ta-Yüan t'ung-chih of 1323, and to which MOULE (Mo, 233) merely