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0181 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 181 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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284. MENGIAR   777


megia TA', TM   mengiar F, L, Z

YULE ( Y, II, 491-492) has hesitated between a city of Malar of which I shall speak later, and the Hungarians or Magyars, called by the latter name by mediaeval Oriental and Far-Eastern writers.

This second equivalence is accepted doubtfully in RR, 426, and without reservation in Bl, 445.

I think it is impossible. Although Polo knew of course the European name of the Hungarians, one could be tempted to admit his abnormal use of the Oriental name as long as the name of «Lac »,

which precedes it, was supposed to be Wallachia [Walachia?]. But since we know now that « Lac » applies to the Lezghians of the Caucasus (see « Lac »), the whole list concerns Southern Russia and the Caucasus, and Hungary is excluded.

YULE'S alternative identification with the city of Majar has been accepted by BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, II, 328, with a strange slip about the Franciscan annalist Wadding being a traveller of the 14th cent.). This city was visited by Ibn Battatah; it has had two slightly different locations, Majar and New Majar; Aba-'I-Fidà speaks of it as Kummàjar (II, II, 283), probably to be understood as « War of the Kam (Kuma) ». The Russian Grand-Duke Michael, executed by order of Üzbägkhan of the Golden Horde in 1319, was buried in « Mojarï » (Br, I, 328). The ruins of Majar, near Georgievskiï, have been visited by GMELIN and KLAPROTH. KLAPROTH has said that majar, in « old Tartar », meant a stone building, and has denied any connection between the name of the city and that of the Magyars as a nation. But I find majar nowhere with the meaning given by KLAPROTH. RADLOV (IV, 2050) registers only Majar as the Turkish name of the Hungarians, and adds that majar means a « wagon » in Turkish of the Crimea; but this meaning is evolved from the name of the nation, just as qasaq, the name of a sort of wagon in the Mongolian text of the Secret History of the Mongols, must be derived from the name of the Qazaq (a name thus more ancient than is supposed generally). It is possible, although by no means certain, that the name of Malar is a survival of the old stay of the Magyars in the East before their migration. I wish only to point out that Abu-'l-Fidà writes War for the name of the Hungarians in present Hungary (II, I, 80), but Kammàjar (with short final -a-) for the city of Majar (II, I, 324). As to his Northern Majyariyah (or Majyiriyah?), it is certainly, as YULE has suspected, an erratic form of the name of the « Bashkir » (also Bacyïrd, etc.), the « Great Hungary » of mediaeval travellers.

YULE has already said, on the faith of a name « Mager » in Wadding, that Majar had been the seat of a Franciscan convent in the 14th cent. (Y, II, 491; Y', III, 84). We can now give more precision. A Franciscan list of 1320 registers two monasteries in « Cummageria » of the « custody » of Sarai; a list of 1334 places them at « Maieria »; a list of 1390 knows only one, at « Mager »; an archbishop « Maieriensis », in Tartary (a Franciscan named Joannes Speculi) is known in 1363 (GoLuBovlcH, Bibl. bio-bibi., it, 266, 559). Father GoLusovlcH (ii, 553, 558) has looked for these convents on the Taman peninsula of the sea of Azov; but YULE was once more right, and his identification is confirmed by « Cummageria », evidently the Kammàjar of Abû-'l-Fidà. It is