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0178 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 178 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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WEDDING CUSTOMS & GODS OF THE TARTARS r"MARCO POLO ashamed when I look at the unfaithfulness of the Christian women, [and call]those happy who being a hundred wives to one husband keep[their virtuelto their own most worthy praise, to the VB very great shame of all the other women in the world. The ladies are the most chaste women in the

V VB world and are good and very loyal to their lords, nor would a woman be found false to VA V V her husband, • and they are very hard-working women and take great pains to do the necessary duties of the household very well. The marriages are done in this way. For each

  •  can take according to their custom as many wives' as he likes, up to a hundred if he has

vs the power to be able to maintain them; and the men give the dowries to the wives

VB and to the mother of their wife to obtain them, nor does the wife give anything to VA L the man for dowry when she is married. But you may know too that they always hold TA R the first of their wives for more genuine and for better than the others, • and likewise the

L L v children who are born of her. •And they have more sons than all the other people in the VB world have because they have so many wives2 as I have told you, & it is a marvel how many children one man has, I mean those who have the power to keep many wives. They take VA L their cousins for wife and, what is more, íf the father dies his eldest son takes to wife R the wife of his father, if she is not his mother, and all the women who are left by the father except his mother and sisters. He takes also the wife of his own brother if he

V FB FB dies . And when they take a wife they make very great weddings and great gathering of people.


FB R   you may know that their religion is thus as I shall tell you. • They say that
there is the high, sublime, and heavenly God of whom every day with censer and VB incense they ask nothing else but good understanding and health. For they worship idols, & they have one of their gods whom they call Natigai, and they say that that is a LT VB FB terrestrial god or god of the land who [2,8d] protects & cares for •their wives and their

v sons and their cattle and their corn. And they do him great reverence and great

  •  honour, for each keeps him in an honourable place in his house. For they make this P LT god of felt and of other cloth and they keep him in their houses; and they believe that LT VB this god of theirs has a wife and sons, and so they also make of cloth • another feminine image VB & say that it is the wife of this god and they make other little images & say they are his

V L R sons. And the wife of this god they put on the left side and the sons in front, who VB seem to be doing him reverence, • and keep all honourably covered, and give them honour

  •  enough . And when they come to eat breakfast or supper, first they take some of the

V fat flesh and anoint the mouth of that god and also of his wife and of his sons; and

  • 7o•

1 tantes foies B.'s conjecture of tantes ferres is supported by TA,LT,P,VA,VB,V,R.

2 toutes fences FB: tant de fames & so V.