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0231 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 231 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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332. SCIENG   827

(*Sak-ka-slam; cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 164) and by Al-Biruni, is Skä im > Iskâgim; I think « Scascem » would be more correct than « Scassem »; Polo never uses -ss- for -s-, and -ssmay here be corrupt for -sc-. As may be seen on the map of Y, I, 178, Ishkashm, on the left bank of the Pänj, is much to the east of Kishm. On the place, cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 165, 219; STEIN, Serindia, I, 61-62; RR, 433; LENTZ, in ZDMG, 1932, 10-12, 31. In 982-983, the Hudûd al-`Alam (25 b) reads (..:,LC i. e. Skâgim; cf. Mi, 121, 366 (where I should prefer to read Al-Birûni's form as Skâsim rather than Sikà"sim).


fieng P

scieng F, FA, L, LT, VA

sian V


scien F

scieng VA

sieng VB   singh R

sinech VL   stranis FB

stieng VB   stin V

In all cases this represents ti shêng; PAUTHIER's assertion that it is #1 hsiang is wrong, and there is no more foundation in the opinion expressed by YULE and maintained by CORDIER that both hsiang and shêng have merged into «scieng» (Y, I, 432); hsiang (siang) is rendered otherwise in Polo's « Cingsan » (q. v.) = ch'êng-hsiang, and moreover there is no reason to bring it in here.

By « Scieng », we must understand the rfz & !. Chung-shu-shêng or Grand Secretariat, and the name refers to the members of the board as well as to their place of meeting. Polo is absolutely correct on that point. Ragidu-'d-Din uses a:.,.;, s'ing in the same way, and we find J.;, ,'in (or sen ?) in the Masâlak al-Absâr (cf. Y, I, 432; YI, III, 122-123; BI, II, 478-480, 616).

It is more difficult to account for the number of the « twelve barons » of the « Scieng », who in their turn seem to have influenced the « twelve barons » of the « Thai » (q. v.). PAUTHIER, with too much confidence, has given a list of twelve members of the Chung-shu-shêng (Pa, 329-330). According to Rasid, the Diwan, or Great Council, was composed of four ch'êng-hsiang and four p'ing-chang (YI, III, 120; Bl, u, 470). As to the officials of the Chung-shu-shêng, their number was often changed in Qubilai's time, and it would be a long task to follow these changes from year to year; but there is nothing to warrant PAUTHIER's list (cf. YS, 85, 1 b-2 b). Moreover I am afraid it would be a vain task, since Polo's text, as we have it, seems to have mixed up two different notions. I am therefore obliged to enter here into some detail.

The Grand Secretariat, or Chung-shu-shêng, worked at the capital, but had provincial delegations, called «moving» ( hsing) Chung-shu-shêng, or simply hsing-shêng, and even shêng alone; the areas under the control of each hsing-shêng soon came to be themselves named shêng colloquially, and this is the origin of the modern use of shêng in the sense of «province ». In spite of minor changes, there were twelve shêng in the Mongol period, one being the metropolitan Chung-