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0206 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 206 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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802   313. PENTAN


pancaym, pancayn, pentaym G

pantayn FB, FBt

pantein FAt

pencha V

penta TA3, V

pentai VB

pentaim, pentam VA pentain F, Fr, t, L pentam, petain, petam TAI pentan VB, Z; R

pentay, pentayn, pontauich LT pentera, pepetan VL

pentham P penthera VLr petan TAIT pitam, sitam TA3 plantayn FBr pontain FA

BENEDETTO and Ricci-Ross adopt « Pentan »; YULE had chosen « Pentam », given by a number of Mss., and indirectly by « Pentain » and « Pontain », where -in is clearly misread by copyists for -m. To the various readings, add « Penta » on the Catalan Map and « Pentan » in Fra Mauro (HALLBERG, 413). The other name « Pepentan » in Fra Mauro (HALLBERG, 401) is not an invention of his; it occurs in VL as « Pepetan », in S as « Pepethan » (cf. also FRAMPTON'S version, cf. Pe, 103). I prefer « Pentan » on account of the practically certain identification with the island of Bintan,

the name of which FERRAND always writes « Bintari » (= Bintang ), but which is   Bintan in
a Malay chronicle of c. 1470 (Fe, 667), and also in Polo's elder contemporary Ibn Said (Fe, 343, 344). Ibn Sa'id's notions are rather hazy, and one must not forget that mediaeval Arabs and Chinese took Sumatra to extend from west to east in a straight line instead of from north-west to southeast; but Ibn Said notes that, at Bintan, « the sea is not deep », which is in agreement with Polo's data. Polo's ship must have sailed north of Bintan, through the Straits of Singapore (that is south of the Island of Singapore), and then towards the north-western coast of Sumatra. This is the course usually steered by ships in the Middle Ages; and it is so marked on the Chinese map of c. 1400 (cf. also W. D. BARNES, in JStrBrRAS, No. 60 [1911]). The route seems to have been abandoned later on, to be followed again in the beginning of the 17th cent., under the name of « Governor's Straits» (cf. Hobson-Jobson2, 390-391); but I doubt whether this last name originated only in 1615 and because of a Spanish governor, as YULE supposes, since the name of « Governor's Island » in Governor's

Straits seems to be identical with that of t   Kuan-hsü, « Mandarin's Island », which occurs
already on the Chinese map of c. 1400. GERINI'S argument (JRAS, 1905, 508-509, repeated in his Researches on Ptolemy's Geography, 533, 536, 821), which strongly impressed CORDIER (Y, III, 105-106; YI, u, 156-157), has no value. It may be worth while to repeat that CORDIER'S « Old Strait » is Selat Tebrau, between Johore and the Island of Singapore, whereas in 1613, for Godinho de EREDIA, the « Old Strait » was precisely what we now call the Straits of Singapore (cf. JA, 1918, II, 98-99). Moreover, the Chinese name of the Straits of Singapore, Lung-ya-mên, « Dragon's teeth Door », is older than it is said to be in HR, 64, or in TP, 1915, 129, and seems to have designated then not only the Straits but the region of Singapore. In 1320, envoys were sent to Champa, Cambodia and Lung-ya-mên to get tame elephants (YS, 27, 5 a), and envoys from the barbarians (man)