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0183 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 183 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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287. MOGEDAXO   779

Ming-an whose biography is in YS, 135, 5 a-6 a; I have come across another mention of him, under 1291, in T'ung-chih t'iao-ko, 28, 11 b. He was a Qangli. Placed at the head of the kuei-ch'ih (see « Cuiucci ») when they were created in 1276, he led them during the campaign to the north in 1284. In 1288 (not « 1286 » as in YS), he fought against Qaidu in the region of Beg-baliq, to which he led a second expedition in 1292. He marched again against Qaidu in 1298, and died in the field in 1303. One of his sons, his younger brother, and one of his grandsons succeeded him in turn at the head of the kuei-ch'ih troops (kuei-ch'ih-chün). Further details and somes notes are given by T'u Chi, 102, 16 b-17 b.


madaigascar V (cor.) madaschor V

madegastar TAir

madeghaschar, mandegaschar TA'

madeigascar F, Fr, FAt, FB, L, P rnadeigoschar VA madeisgascar FA magastar VB; R maideigascar VLr

maideigaschar VL mandeghaschar TA3 mandeschar TA3r mogclasio Ft mogdaxo Z

All the old editors have adopted « Madagascar »; Ricci-Ross, while writing « Mogdasio », have given « Madagascar » as the modern equivalent in their vocabulary (RR, 341, 427). BENEDETTO, to whom RR owe their «Mogdasio », has the following note : «The French text which has preserved the form « Mogdasio » gives also, as an equivalent name, the form « Madeigascar ». We have no data to decide whether Polo himself had used the two forms indifferently. There is no doubt that he meant the island of Madagascar : this is proved by the distance he gives from Socotra. But it is probable — as the characteristic information he gives seems to indicate — that he made a confusion and considered as one and the same country Madagascar and Magadoxo (our Mogadiscio) » (BI, 445).

In 1892, Alfred GRANDIDIER, the explorer of Madagascar, expressed the view that Polo had never meant to speak of Madagascar, and that « Madeigascar », for which there was also in the main manuscript a reading « Mogelasio », was simply a corruption of « Magadicho ou Mogdicho » (Hist. de la géogr. de Madagascar2, 1892, 26; and again in t. i-ii of Coll. des ouvr. anciens concernant Madagascar, 1903 and 1904).

GRANDIDIER was not an Arabic scholar, and there were some weak points in his argument; he was not followed. YULE had already admitted that most of Polo's description could only apply to Mogadiso, but thought that it was through some confusion, and that nevertheless Polo was the first writer of any country to speak « unambiguously » of Madagascar ( Y, II, 413-414). In 1918, Longworth DAMES (Duarte Barbosa, I, 24) said : « The modern name of Madagascar seems to have been derived from Makdashau or Magadoxo, whence it was probably first colonised by Arabs. The name in the form Madeigascar is first found in Marco Polo ». This comes, in fact, from Sir R. BURTON through YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 535. In 1925, LA RONCIÉRE replies to GRANDIDIER'S opinion by the single word « No » (La découverte de l'Afrique, II, 88).