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0224 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 224 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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are told in the Iludud al-`Alam that the river Kisau took the name of yiyan after having entered the boundaries of Buygûr, and Gardizi's text seems to me to imply that the Qiyan was crossed at B.y-gûrà. If Buygûr or B.y-gûra is Lan-chou, the yiyan of the Hudud al-`Alam and the Qiyan of Gardizi, although rendering the Chinese word chiang, « the River », do not refer to the Yang-tzû, but to the Huang-ho. I readily concede that, from the point of view of Chinese usage, such a conclusion is disconcerting, and I shall not hold it as certain so long as we cannot account for the names of K.15. and of Buygûr.

Even if, in the source common to the Hudad al-`Alam and to Gardizi, the name Qiyan was misapplied, its very existence makes it likely that it remained alive in Persian-speaking circles, from whom Polo would have heard it in China. But while accounting for Polo's « Quian », it makes his « Quiansui » the more surprising.

The transcriptions of Ch. k- of chiang (= kiang) by Ar. Pers. q- in late T'ang times (« Qiyan »), but by k- in the Mongol period (« Käng »), and of Ch. k- of fl kan (in Mongol times, still kam) by Ar. Pers. h- in T'ang times (« Ham[6û] »), but by q- in the Mongol period (see « Campçio ») are

not without parallels. A difficulty remains. According to KARLGREN's system,   chiang sounded

*king in Middle Chinese, just as   kang (Analytic Dict., p. 157), that is to say without the pala-

talization so strongly marked in the 9th or 10th cent. transcription giyän (or gian ?). But this is one of the few cases in which I think that the phonetic indications derived from the ancient Chinese dictionaries are misleading and do not represent the pronunciation from which « Mandarin » Chinese is derived. I have discussed in TP, 1930, 194-195, a similar case with g hsien, *yam according to KARLGREN, although it is used towards the end of the 5th cent. to transcribe the first syllable of yamjin, « postmaster » (see « Iamb »). Chiang (kiang) and hsien (hien < hiäm) must have been pronounced already in Middle Chinese with the palatal element which is suggested by the transcriptions and which appears for these words in modern Mandarin.


acomant, aromant VB

re amadachomach, re ruchomo dediachomach VA

re dininedano comoith, reume- clauacomar VL

re humeda iachomat TA3

reame de achomac LT

regno chiamado achomat V reumeda jachomat, ruccomot dyacamat TAl

ruchmedin achomach R

rucumodi acamat F

ruemedam ahomet, ruomedam acromac FA

ruemedan acomat F, FB ruemedan ahommet FB

This name of the king of Hormuz mentioned by Polo has been much discussed. In his text, YULE adopted (Y, i, 107) « Ruomedam Ahomet », which was the form printed by PAUTHIER (Pa, 85) without any remark, although it was not actually given by any Ms. BENEDETTO (Be2, 446) pronounced in favour of « Maimodi Acomat », which he says occurs once in F (so misread by the editor of 1824, p. 36, and YULE, in Y, i, 120), and Ricci-Ross (RR, 426) added a note suggesting an ori-