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0226 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 226 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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822   325. SACIOU

the Great Khan Tämür and died on his way back in India (see « Cagan »). YULE supposed that Polo had confused Ruknu-'d-Din Maseüd and Fabru-'d-Din Ahmad to form his « Ruknu-'d-Din Ahmad». This has been accepted by PENZER (Pe, 175, 176), and has caused hesitation in SINCLAIR, 160. I am not altogether convinced that the chronology of TEIXEIRA'S Chronicle is always to be trusted, but, in the present case, its text provides what I believe, with MARSDEN, to be the obvious solution. Polo has confused the two kindred forms Ahmad and Mahmûd, but his Ruknu-'d-Din Ahmad can be no other than the Ruknu-'d-Din Mahmûd of the Chronicle (for a similar confusion, cf. Hethum who gives to the ilkhan Ahmad the name of « Mahomet Can »; see « Acmat2 »). It might be suggested that the chronology of the said chronicle is inaccurate, and that Ruknu-'d-Din Mahmûd was still on the throne in 1293. But no such change is required, since there is no reason to date Polo's notice on Hormuz from 1293. On the contrary, the statement in the Chronicle, according to which Ruknu-'d-Din Mahmûd died in 1277/1278, provides a powerful argument for placing Polo's notice at the time of the outward journey, i. e. in 1273.


sacchion LT   sacion F, FA(?), FB, L   sanzechiam VL

sachiom VA   saciou (?) FA   sazizion VB

sachion LTm, P, TAI; R   sagiom TA3   suçio V

This reading, instead of the « Sacion » of F, is supported by Z's « Suçio »; on this rare rendering of Ochou with Ociou instead of Ogiu, see « Campçio ». «Saciou » is of course 7J ''J j Sha-chou, better known to-day under its older name of Tun-huang. The name of Sha-chou goes back to the second quarter of the 4th cent. (it does not first appear in A. D. 622, as CORDIER says in Y, I, 206, relying on Br, II, 18). Situated at the western limit of Kan-su province, this oasis is the first to be reached by travellers coming by the road south of the Lop-nor, as the Polos did.

The name of Sha-chou must have been known to Mussulman geographers in late T'ang times; it has passed from them into the IIudüd al-`2-1-lam of 982-983 and into Gardizi (11th cent.), where it is spelt Y.l Sala (= Sacu) and Yl Sa)u (= SaCu). According to Gardizi, Sala is the first important stage after Qomul (see « Camul ») on the way from Cinànckät (= Qoco; see « Carachoço ») to Humdân (= Hsi-an-fu; see « Quengianfu »), which is perfectly true. The Iludûd al-`4lam says that the inhabitants of Sala and of Haiti (probably Kua-chou in Kan-su) are Manichaeans, and there were really Uighur Manichaeans in Kan-su in late T'ang times (cf. Mi, 85, 229, 233). MINOR-SKY also gives Sha-chou as the probable original of l Sânjû on Kàsyari's map of 1076 (Mi, 230), and HERRMANN (Imago Mvndi, 1935, 21-28) has taken the same view. I have already said in TP, 1936, 363, that, in my opinion, Kâ"syari's San)u is not Sha-chou, but ,ß ~'JJ.J Shan-chou on the river of Hsi-ning, an important place for foreign intercourse in late T'ang times; it would take too long to give here the reasons for such an identification (see also « Silingiu »).

Sha-chou is also named in Tibetan and « Saka » (= Khotanese) documents of the 9th-10th cents.; the name is spelt Sa.-Zu in Tibetan, Sacu in Khotanese (cf. JRAS, 1927, 808; 1931, 303).