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0195 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 195 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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295. NATIGAI   791

(Y3, II, 204; Wy, 467-468); « Chilenfo » is probably   FA jrf Chin-ling-fu, a name of Nanking

which was only officially in use some time in the 10th cent., but which may have continued to be in popular use. Nanking is perhaps also the « Nemnai» (read « Namtai» ?) of the Vie de Tamerlan translated by PETis DE LA CROIX from Sarafu-'d-Din, and the « Nemptai » of Nicole. Conti. These forms seem to render. Nan-t'ai (still pronounced *Nam-t'ai in the 15th cent.), but we have until now no indication that Nanking was then popularly known under such a name (cf. TP, 1931, 91-92).


atagai, natagai VB fattighai TA1 fattighu, natighai TA3 giangin, nagani V naagai, naagay LT nachigai VL

nacigai F, VA

nacigay FA, L, P, VL, Z

nacygai F

nacygay P

naçagay Z

natigai TA1, VB

natigay R natygay FB


(suo muier sono chiamata ditorniedi V)

I have adopted this form of VB, because it is the one which comes nearest to what I believe to be the true form of the word. According to Polo, this is the Earth-god among the Mongols. I do not doubt that « Natigai » is the same as Plan Carpine's « Ytoga » ( Wy, 41; var. « Itoga », « Vtoga »; read *Utoga ?), and that both are simply transcriptions of the name which we know in Turkish from the T'ang period under the name Ötükän or Ütükän (the sacred mountain where the Earth-god or rather Earth-goddess of the Turks resided). In Mongolian, that Earth-goddess appears in the forms Ötögän, Ötägän, Ätügän, Ötögin. This explanation was suggested long ago by Dorji BANZAROV, Cernaya véra, 16-18. I have devoted a special note to the word in TP, 1929, 212-219; cf. also VLADIMIRCOV in Doklady Ak. nauk, 1929, 133-136; DE GROOT, Die Hunnen, i, 181, is entirely mistaken in thinking that Yü-tu-chin of the Chinese texts is the Orkhon river. To my note of 1929, I should like to add : (1) the note of Tzû-chip t'ung-chien, s. a. 646, 198, 5 b, on Yü-to-chün; (2) the mention of Ötükän (Ütükän ?) in Kàgyari as a place in Mongolia (BROCKELMANN, 246) ; (3) an edict of the 14th cent. reproduced in Hua-i i-yü, II, 1 a, which begins with the mention of the numerous living creatures which are covered by Heaven (Tängri) and supported by Earth (Ötögän) ; the Mongolian words for « earth », in the material sense, are different (.iroi, etc.) ; (4) BLOCHET's explanation of Rubrouck's (read « Plan Carpine's ») «Ytoga » through an imaginary « il-ogha(n) », « great god » (Moufazzal, 533), is absurd.

If we accept that « Natigai » is Ötögän, Ätügän, we may wonder that Polo, so accurate in his Oriental names, should not have rendered this one more exactly. It may be that he said «*Atigai », but the word comes in different parts of his work, and begins always with n-. We might suppose that it was once misread with an n belonging to the preceding word (the opposite of what occurred with « Oroech » _ « Noroech »), and that the wrong form was already substituted everywhere in