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0070 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 70 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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A COPY IS GIVEN TO CHARLES LORD OF VALOIS ,MARCO POLO very agreeable it was to him that it should be advanced and carried by so wise a man into the noble parts of France. Of the which copy that the said Master Thiebault, lord of Cepoy here above named, carried into France, Master Jehan who was his eldest son and who is lord of Cepoy after his death handed the first copy of this book which ever was made after it was carried to the kingdom of France to his most dear and most redoubtable lord, my lord of Valoiz. And afterwards he gave copies of it to his friends who have asked for them. And that copy was handed by the said Sir Marc Pol to the said lord of Cepoy when he went to Venise for my lord of Valois and for my lady the empress his wife, vicar general for them both in all the parts of the empire of Constantinoble. This was done the year of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ a thousand three hundred and seven in the month of August.

HERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT MARVELS WHICH ARE IN THE LAND OF YNDE. (Here follows the Table of Chapter Headings.) To know the pure truth &c.; as in FA.'

1 On this Preface to FB (pl. 2 6; it appears in at least three of the FB group) see B. p. lvi. It may at least be taken to show that the important FG family of manuscripts is ultimately derived from a copy given to THIEBAULT by the author himself, and, though not given till August 1307, that may indeed have been the first copy ever made; but it is impossible to think that FG, as it has come down to us, is a text which has the author's own approval and imprimatur. On p. lx B. gives a very slender indication that the FG text may have been first made in 1308; but we really do not know that the French version was made by GRIGOIRES, whoever he may have been, nor that it was made in 1308; and indeed 1308 is too early a date if we assume, as it is natural to do, that "the first copy of this book which ever was made after it was carried to the kingdom of France" was the prototype of the FG group of manuscripts. For Thiebault, Lord of Cepoy, and his son Jean left France on 9 September 1306, were in Naples in 1309, and it was only on 29 April 1310 that they "found my lord of Valois at S. Christofle in Halapte near Senlis." Thiebault died between 22 May 1311 (Arch. di Stato, Naples, Registri angioini, 197, fol. 158v0.), and 22 March 1312 (A.N., J, 165B, no 78.); and his son Jean seems to have died in or soon after the year 1332. (cf. J. PETIT "Thibaut de Chepoy" in Le Moyen Age, 1897, tome X (2 sér., tome I), pp. 224 - 239 (esp. p. 238); DUCANGE Histoire de l'Empire de Constantinople, ed. J. A. BUCHON, Paris, 1826, vol. II. pp. 102, 352-356, where he reprints the account-roll of Thiebault; J. A. BUCHON Chroniques Etrangéres, 1841, pp. 467-474 (Chronique de Ramon Muntaner); ANSELME Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, cont. by M. du FOURNY, 3rd. ed., tome VII, 1733, pp. 739, 740 (Amiraux de France).) The fact that this version in Court French and at least three other versions seem to have been made within perhaps twenty-five years of the first writing of the book shows a certain recognition of its importance, but if, as has been said above, all versions and extant copies are ultimately derived from one faulty copy, it is clear that there must have been very few, if any, correct copies of the book in its original form to be found.