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0186 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 186 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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782   288. MONGATAI

Persian, and it is well-known that Mongols were often called by ethnical names, without any regard to their own tribal origin; WANG Hui-tsu (19, 5-6) has listed about ten different Nangiadai in YS alone (see also here under « Baian »). The present one would be a Naiman, whose biography is given in YS, 131, 2 a-3 a, as it is said in his biography that he followed Qubilai against the Sung, then against Ariq-bögä, also « followed Prince Ha-pi-ch'ih (Qabi6i ?) and K'o-k'o-tai (Kökotai, Köködäi) to subdue Li T'an, and always distinguished himself ». Nangiadai assisted A-shu (see « Agiul ») in the siege of Hsiang-yang, then fought again against the Sung, and later against Qaidu. He died at an advanced age after 1312. Köködäi was a younger brother of Ajul's father Uriyangqadai (see « Agiul »), and not a younger brother of Ajul himself, as is said in YS, 5, 3 b; he died in the field in 1262, soon after Li T'an's execution. As to Prince Qabi6i (?), see « Liitan sangon ». It is fairly probable that Prince Qabici (?) and Köködäi are the pseudo« Prince Pai-chu (? Bai6u) and T'ieh-ko (? Tägä) » of Ajul's biography (see « Agiul ») ; I do not believe that T'u Chi (33, 6-7; 91, 1 a) is right in correcting them to Büjäk and T'ou-lien-ko (this last one is a great-grandson of Muqali) ; but I do not see how the alterations occurred.

Moule (Mo, 234), speaking of this Nangiadai, has said he belonged to « the Christian Naiman tribe »; but although there seem to have been Christians among the Naimans, I doubt that the bulk of the tribe was Christian.

Nevertheless, the correction of « Mongatai » into « Nangatai » is not so obvious as CHARIGNON believed. According to CHARIGNON, it is said in YS, 5, 3 a, and in Li T'an's biography, Hsin Yüan shih, 222, 3 b, that Li T'an was put to death by Nangiadai. But CHARIGNON has misunderstood a very plain text. In YS, 5, 3a, and in Hsin Dian shih, 222, 3 b, just as well as in YS, 206, and T'u Chi, 66, it is said in so many words that the Mongol officer Nangiadai was put to death together with Li T'an (the « women » CHARIGNON speaks of are due to another error of his, misreading somehow * A nü jen instead of J,, an-jen). It is evident that this Nangiadai is mentioned as a Mongol officer who had taken sides with Li T'an, and can have nothing to do with the Nangiadai who distinguished himself against Li T'an and died only after 1312 (as a matter of fact, the Mongol officer put to death in 1262 is called Nangiadai in YS, 206, but only Nangia in YS, 5, and Nangia may be the correct form). As to the Naiman Nangiadai, his participation in the campaign against Li T'an rests only on his biography, but he shares such a participation with most of the military men of the time, and there is no serious reason to believe that he is the man Polo had in view when he spoke of « Mongatai ».

The best course is finally to stick to Polo's form « Mongatai », which must represent Manghutai (written Mangyutai); the name is very common; two score of different Manghutai appear in YS (cf. WANG Hui-tsul, 19, 8-10), and it is not easy to decide between some of them. YULE has thought of one who had indirectly succeeded his grandfather (not « father » as YULE says) Jädäi-noyan in command of a chiliarchy (hazâräh), and whose name YULE thought he found also in GAUBIL, Hist. de Gentchiscan, 160. But these are two different men. Jädäi-noyan was a Manghut (cf. ERDMANN, Temudschin, 220, 455; Ber, I, 190-191; III, 134-135), while GAUBIL's Manghutai was a Tatar, as GAUBIL says correctly; there is so far no certain mention of Jädäi-noyan's grandson in Chinese history.

The most likely Manghutai to have been heard of by Polo is the one of Tatar descent named