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0254 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 254 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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850   358. TENDUC

wrongly alleged to say that T'ien-tê is on the Selenga!), BENEDETTO (B', 448) still abstains from any etymology.

The only weak point in KLAPROTH'S explanation is that chün is no part of Tenduc. T'ien-tê, in T'ang times, was pronounced *T`ien-tak, which sounded very much like « Tenduc » to foreign ears. This form was retained in Central Asiatic speech, even after the final -k had been dropped in modern Chinese pronunciation, just as this -k has been retained down to the present day in foreign forms of Su-chou (in Kan-su; see « Succiu »). The name of T'ien-tê-chün was still used officially under the Chin, and even, according to PALLADIUS, down to Qubilai's time, in 1267 ( Y, I, 287; PALLADIUS does not mention his source, which is not the pên-chi, nor YS, 58). Although I have not come across the use of the name in Chinese in any work of the Mongol period, its survival in foreign speech is very natural. As I said in 1914 (TP, 1914, 631), Ragidu-'d-Din's Ja:f « Kändük » in his notice of the Öngüt (Ber, I, 115) is most probably a scribe's error for J'. « Tändük ».

Without any doubt, the province of « Tenduc » is the region at the north-eastern corner of the great bend of the Yellow River then occupied by the Nestorian Öngüt (see « Ung » and « Giorge »). As to the city of « Tenduc », one may think of Sui-yüan (formerly Kuei-hua-ch'êng, Mong. Kökö-

hoto, « Blue Town »), but the probabilities are in favour of   ►j Tung-shêng of the Yüan, to-day
Tolto, on the eastern bank of the Yellow River (cf. TP, 1914, 632, 634; Mo, 134).

From Ning-hsia to « Tenduc », the maps in YULE and in PENZER make Polo follow the northern bank of the river. This could only be true if he had travelled by water; and, as a matter of fact, « water post-stations » (shui-yi) had been established between Chung-hsing (= Ning-hsia) and Tung-shêng in 1267 ( YS, 6, 5 a). But the journey was slow. A land postal road, going direct from Ning-hsia to Tung-shêng via Yü-lin had long been in existence and the ancient names of the postal stations are shown on a map the original of which goes back to Khitan times. It seems to me most probable that the three Polos, who were then expected by Qubilai, crossed the great bend overland.

Polo's confusion between Ong-khan (see « Uncan »), the Christian sovereign of the Kerait, and the Christian Öngüt princes of « Tenduc » has made him place in the plain of « Tenduc » the battle between Chinghiz-khan and « Prester John »; but the battle was really fought north of the Gobi, far from « Tenduc ».

Godinho de EREDIA, writing in 1613, says that the Christians of Tenduc keep and venerate one of Saint Thomas's slippers (« ...Christandade de S. Thome, de que se acharâo reliquias como

hum caiçado ou sappatos do ditto apostollo, que os naturaes tem em muyta veneraçâo »; cf. L. JANSSEN,

Malaca, l'Inde méridionale et le Cathay, Brussels, 1882, 4to, text, p. 65; transi., p. 75). This is of course a curious distortion of facts. The name of « Tenduc » is taken from Polo, whom Godinho

often quotes. On the other hand, the early missionaries have mistaken Ta-mo, abbreviated form

of Po-t'i-to-mo, Bodhidharma, for a transcription of the name of S. Thomas, and the legend of Bodhidharma's slipper is very popular in China. But Godinho, born at Malacca of a Portuguese father and the daughter of a king of Macassar, never went to China, and I cannot trace at present

any source prior to 1613 where the confusion between Ta-mo and S. Thomas occurs. Godinho knew of the travels of Bento de Goes (pp. 76, 79), prior to the publication of Ricci's Commentaries in 1615; but in none of the letters published in 1609-1611 (nor moreover in the Commentaries)