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0056 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 56 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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Z • ADDITIONS AND INTENTIONAL OMISSIONS MARCO POLO to the end of the book—i.e. more than two-thirds of itself—the text is in close agreement with F both in substance and arrangement except for the additional matter, to which I shall refer below, and apart from the fact that the chapters on Russia appear as the final chapter of the work.

" That these abridgements and omissions were intentional and not due to carelessness is shown in the excuse offered by the translator or writer himself, who says on p. v : & hic subsequenter tractantur multa alia que dimito causa breuitatis ut ad alia necesaria transeamus ; so that they do not in any way militate against the view that he had before him a complete text identical in order and substance with the lost original (O1). There are, for example, many instances of the word etcetera in Z corresponding to passages which are clearly defined in F (e.g. in the middle of c. 105, pp. xxv, xxvi). Professor BENEDETTO (p. clxiv) sums the matter up with the charming theory that this text is the work of a man who, having set out with the intention of condensing the original according to his own fancy, gradually became so much enamoured of Marco's book that after reaching a certain point he was no longer willing to sacrifice a single word.



` ` Z contains two hundred passages which are not to be found in F, though about three-fifths of them occur in R. There remain, therefore, upwards of eighty passages which are found only in Z. Although these passages do not occur in R, there is no reason to suppose that they were not included in the source or sources from which RAMUSIO derived the other passages which are common to R and Z. Nevertheless the section on Quinsai (pp. xliv_xlix) was clearly not copied from the source of R by a person no longer willing to sacrifice a single word, and agrees in fact with F rather than with R.1

` ` The following statistics are of interest : more than two-thirds of Z represent chapter 147 to the end, or less than half, of F. Or, to put it another way, the first 45 leaves of Z correspond to the first 6o leaves of F, while the remaining 88 leaves of Z correspond to 47 leaves of F.

` ` As for the passages occurring only in Z, they all bear unmistakeable signs of being genuine. In no case, according to Professor BENEDETTO, do we find new details which could have been invented by the fancy of a translator or copyist. The contributions which they offer to geography and history are always valuable, and many passages which in F are summary or obscure are made clear.

` ` Among the most important additions of considerable length may be men-

1 See the Additional Note on chapter 152, p.499. (A.C.M.)