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0227 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 227 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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borcain, borcanain, santo bra- chan, sogomor barchan, so- gomor barcon VB

borchaym, sergamon borchaym LT

sagraman barban, santo sogo- mon, sorgichon borchan V

sargamonyn borcam, sargo-

main borcam (saint) FB sergamon bortam (saint) FA sergamoni borcain, serga-

muni, sergomon saint, ser-

gomoni borcan F sergarmoni borcain L

serghamon borghami TA3 serghamon borghani TAI sogomombar can, sogomon-

barchan R

sogomoni, sogomoni burchan, sogomoni burghan Z

This form, combined from different Mss., is, in my opinion, the one which Polo must have used. The original is Sâkyamuni burqan, « Buddha Sâkyamuni ». Polo mentions this name twice, once in a speech attributed to Qubilai, the second time in his description of Adam's Peak in Ceylon. The use of the word burqan (burban), special to Turkish and Mongolian, suffices to show that Polo knew the term before he visited Ceylon on his return journey. Ross (RR, 432) explains « burkhan » as due to the Sogdians who, when translating Buddhist writings into Chinese, adopted the pronunciation then in use in Northern Chinese for 1 , Fo, « Buddha », to wit *bur (< *b`ivat), and added to it ban, « sovereign ». With unimportant differences, this is the current view, but the history of Burqan (and of the cognate bursäng, bursöng, « Buddhist monk ») is still

very obscure. Whatever the truth may be, the fact remains that burl',   burqan, appears in Uighur
at an early date (it is noted as burhan in Kâsyari; BROCKELMANN, 44), and also in Mongolian (for instance in the Secret History of 1240). As to « Sagamoni », Polo must have heard it, in combination with « burqan », from Mongolian-speaking people (such as Qubilai himself); in « written » Mongolian,

he Mongolian form is akyamuni, but popularly Sigämuni; the Kalmuks say Sagja-muni (cf. RAMSTEDT, Kalm. Wörterbuch, 344). The only near-Western writers more or less contemporary with Polo who use Sâkyamuni's name, are, as far as I remember, two Armenians. One is king Hethum I of Little Armenia, who left Mongka's Court, after a short stay, on November 1, 1254; in the account of his journey, as we have it in the chronicle written by his nephew Kirakos of Gan. ak, Hethum speaks of Buddhism and names Sakmunia (cf. BROSSET, Deux historiens arméniens, I, 180, 194; YI, I, 164). The other is Vardan, who refers to the images of Sakmonia, in a text closely connected with that of Kirakos (cf. PATKANOV, Istoriya Mongolov, I, 22; PATKANOV, Istoriya Mongolov Magakii, 99, quotes an identical text as being from Stephen Orbelian « p. 307 », but I do not find it anywhere in BROSSET's translation of Orbelian which is entitled Histoire de la Siounie, and PATKANOV has perhaps confused Orbelian with Vardan). In 1419-1421, Sàh-Rub's envoys mention an image of Sdkmuni at Turfan (QUATREMÈRE, Not. et Extr. xiv, 310, 389; YI, I, 272); they saw at Kan-chou a reclining figure (i. e. a nirvana representation) which was called 5i Sakamâni-fu (sic in the text of QUATREMÈRE, 317; not « Schakamouni-fou » as in his translation, 398, and in YI, I, 276). It is also to such figures that the name of Sakmunia refers in the Armenian