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0273 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 273 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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375. UNGRAT   869

But I agree with BLOCHET (Bl, n, 378) that Yung-ch'ang is the original, from which « Wan-thang » has been derived; and the same holds good for « Wun-zen ». If in the Ming Vocabulary the name Chin-ch'ih is rendered « Wan-êhang », i. e. Yung-ch'ang, it is because, at the time of the compilation of the vocabulary, Chin-ch'ih did not any longer designate the real Chin-ch'ih tribes, but only the « Chin-ch'ih Garrison », the seat of which was at Yung-ch'ang. A Mussulman author of the middle of the 17th cent., calling himself a native of « Chin-ch'ih » (cf. BEFEO, viii, 262), merely tells us in an archaistic manner that Yung-ch'ang was his birthplace; this descendant of Sayyid Ajall, and as a consequence of the Prophet himself, had of course nothing to do with the Zar-dandàn.

The notice of the Chin-ch'ih in the Man shu, which I have translated under « Çardandan », speaks of the group of tribes to which the Chin-ch'ih belonged as living « south of the Barrier (kuan) of Yung-ch'ang ». I have not met with the name of that « barrier » or « pass » elsewhere, but it could not have been far from Yung-ch'ang itself.


migiat LT   ungeat FA   urigat V

ongaro VA   ungrac F, FB, TA3   vngrac P

origiach VL   ungrat LT, TA'   vngut R

In spite of F's « Ungrac », there can be no doubt about the name; the -t is moreover given by LT and by R's « Vngut ». But Polo's form is interesting. The name, in « classical » Mongolian, is Qonggirat (cf. SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 494); Rasidu-'d-Din gives "I)n Qonqrat

(cf. Ber, I, 146); in Cayatai, we have   Qongirat and   ;Li Qonyrat; Qonyrat has generally
been derived from Turk. qongur + at, « bay-horse ». But, in the Secret History, the form is always

Onggirat; the Chinese transcriptions in YS (rjl,    IJ Hung-chi-la,   -r_`; IJ Yung-chi-la,
Wêng-chi-la, etc.) are based sometimes on Qonggirat, sometimes on Onggirat. The question is not of a hesitation in pronunciation between a form with ancient initial h- and a simple vocalic initial, as that h- would not be noted at all in Mongolian writing, and the Turko-Persian form would be with h-, not with q-. There must really have been a double Mongolian pronunciation Qonggirat and Onggirat; Polo heard the second one. A Turkish origin of the name would explain to a certain extent that a name of foreign origin did not immediately take a fixed form in Mongolian; but then it is not without interest that one of the principal Mongol tribes, the one which, as Polo says, had a sort of privilege for providing wives for the Mongol emperors, should have, at least in its name, Turkish affinities.

For Polo is right on this point, and the choice of Qonyrat wives by the Mongol emperors, which goes back to the beginning of the dynasty with Chinghiz-khan's wife Börtä, is also noted