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0223 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 223 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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in Arabic writing (cf. Mi, 209). The confusion was the easier as the Phison itself, one of the four rivers of Paradise, was believed to have an extraordinary course across almost the whole of Asia and, according to Marignolli for instance, to flow through China, India and the countries north of the Caucasus (HALLBERG, 405-407).

The name « Quian » used by Polo was known to Mussulman geographers at least three and perhaps four centuries before the date of our traveller, and it has been preserved in two later compilations, the Iludûd al-(ii-lam of 982-983, and Gardizi of the 11th cent. The true form » Qiyan or Qian appears only in Gardizi's text, but the ,:,LA `Inan of the unique Ms. of the Iludad al-`Alam is certainly a misreading for Jl yiyan (or perhaps » Qiyan), as has been shown by MINORSKY (Mi, 70, 206, 229-231). Unfortunately, these second-hand compilations are so full of misreadings and of contradictions that most identifications must remain extremely doubtful. Among the eastern rivers, the Iludûd al-`Àlam mentions the ijumdan river, the r,..f Kisau river which,

after it enters the boundaries of Buyaûr, is called `Inân (read yiyàn), and the river   Wajàh;

these three rivers empty themselves into the Eastern Ocean. Ijumdan is well known as the ancient name of Hsi-an-fu among Westerners (see « Quengianfu », and cf. Mi, 229). Naturally enough, MINORSKY says that the river of Ijumdan must be the Huang-ho, and that the yiyàn must be the Yang-tzû. In the name « Kisau » given to the upper course of the yiyân, MINORSKY proposes to

see a corrupt reading of ..:1 K.nsw, which he thinks would represent   Chin-sha (Kin-ga)
of Chin-sha-chiang, the ordinary Chinese name of the Upper Yang-tzû (see « Brius »). But this is

hardly possible. Down to the 15th cent.,   chin was pronounced kim, and we ought to have
*K.mSa, not *K.nsw. « Kisau » remains unexplained.

The case of the other names is also more intricate than appears at first sight. The Ilud lid al-`fllam and Gardizi have drawn from more than one source, and although most of these sources are lost, the texts have partly survived in quotations. For instance, such a late author as Dimasgi (c. 1325), writing at a time when the name of Ijumdan had sunk into oblivion, has two paragraphs on the two rivers of Llumdan, the greater and the smaller; one of the two must be the Huang-ho, but the other may be the Yang-tzû (cf. Fe, 367-368; see also Ibn Said in Fe, 332-333; Abû-'l-Fida, in REINAUD, Géographie, II, II, 123). A similar confusion has perhaps taken place in the case of the Qiyan. Gardizi gives an itinerary from Cinan6kät (= Qoco, see « Carachoço ») to iIumdàn, which is certainly Hsi-an-fu. This itinerary, clearly corrupt in some of its indications, has been studied by MINORSKY (Mi, 229-232), who divides it into two parts, one leading to the Yang-tzû, the other to IIumdân. I incline to take another view, and, provisionally, I would suggest the following solution : Gardizi divides the itinerary into two sections : (1) From Cinânckät to B.y-sûrà (spelt « Buysûr » and « B.ysûz » in the Iludûd al-`A.lam), where a river is crossed in a boat; (2) From B.y-6ûr3 to Uumdan. In the first section, the first place named is Qomûl (see «Camul »), then Sa-6û (see « Saciou »), then Sang-lab (?), then S.h-6û (Sulk-cû; see « Succiu »), then Uam-cû (see « Campçio »), then K.ja, then the crossing of the river Qiyan. For the second part, Gardizi is content with saying that it takes one month to go from B.y-sûrâ to Uumdân by a road provided with fortified stations and postal stages. It is well known that the crossing of the Huang-ho took place at Lan-chou, and I think that the Huang-ho may be the river which is crossed in a boat at B.y-5Ûr3. In such a case, B.y-sûrâ would be a name of Lan-chou, and K.Jà would be Liang-chou (see « Ergiuul »). But we