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3  1735  060  728  809 

ST-'T-  1^  J» 



IN    Tllli 





Concerning  the  Kingdoms  and  Marvels 
of  the  East. 


By    colonel   HENRY    YULE,    C.B. 


IN   TWO  VOLUMES.— Vol.  I. 




Till-  ri^lit  oj  lyanstalioii  is  racnviJ. 


"AvSpa  jJLoi  evverre  MoOcra  TroXvrpoiTov  09  fjuaXa  ttoXKo. 


XloWoiv  S'  avOpMTTWv  thev  aarea  koI  voov   eyvw. 

Odyssey^  I. 



Che  suole  a  riguardar  giovare  altrui:' 

Dante,  Purgatory^  IV. 

London:  rurNTED  bv  William  clowes  and  sons,  duke  stkeet,  stamfokd  stkeei, 





Princess  of  Pied7noiit, 






H.   YULE. 


The  amount  of  appropriate  material,  and  of  acquaintance 
with  the  medieval  geography  of  some  parts  of  Asia,  which 
was  acquired  during  the  compilation  of  a  work  of  kindred 
character  for  the  Hakluyt  Society,*  could  hardly  fail  to 
suggest  as  a  fresh  labour  in  the  same  field  the  preparation 
of  a  new  English  edition  of  Marco  Polo.  Indeed  one 
kindly  critic  (in  the  Examiner)  laid  it  upon  the  writer  as  a 
duty  to  undertake  that  task. 

Though  at  least  one  respectable  English  edition  has 
appeared  since  Marsden'Sj-f^  the  latter  has  continued  to  be 
the  standard  edition,  and  maintains  not  only  its  reputation 
but  its  market  value.  It  is  indeed  the  work  of  a  sagacious, 
learned,  and  right-minded  man,  which  can  never  be  spoken 
of  otherwise  than  with  respect.  But  since  Marsden  pub- 
lished his  quarto  (1818)  vast  stores  of  new  knowledge  have 
become  available  in  elucidation  both  of  the  contents  of 
Marco  Polo's  book  and  of  its  literary  history.  The  works 
of  writers  such  as  Klaproth,  Abel-Remusat,  D'Avezac, 
Reinaud,  Quatremere,  Julien,  I.  J.  Schmidt,  Gilde- 
meister,  Ritter,  Hammer-Purgstall,  Erdmann,  D'Ohsson, 
Defremery,  Elliot,  Erskine,  and  many  more,  which  throw 
light  directly  or  incidentally  on  Marco  Polo,  have,  for  the 

*  Calhay  and  The  Way  Thither,  being  a  Colleetion  of  Minor  Mediez'al  Notices  of 
China.  London,  1866.  The  necessities  of  the  case  have  required  the  repetition  in 
the  present  work  of  the  substance  of  some  notes  already  printed  (but  hardly  published) 
in  the  other. 

t  Viz.  Mr.  Hugh  Murray's.  I  mean  no  disrespect  to  Mr.  T.  Wright's  edition,  but 
it  is,  and  professes  to  be,  scarcely  other  than  a  reproduction  of  Marsden's,  with  abridg- 
ment of  his  notes. 


most  part,  appeared  since  then.  Nor,  as  regards  tlie 
literary  history  of  the  book,  were  any  just  views  possible  at 
a  time  when  what  may  be  called  the  Fontal  MSS.  (in 
French)  were  unpublished  and  unexamined. 

Besides  the  works  which  have  thus  occasionally  or  inci- 
dentally thrown  light  upon  the  Traveller's  book,  various 
editions  of  the  book  itself  have  since  Marsden's  time  been 
published  in  foreign  countries,  accompanied  by  comments 
of  more  or  less  value.  All  have  contributed  something  to 
the  illustration  of  the  book  or  its  history  ;  the  last  and 
most  learned  of  the  editors,  M.  Pauthier,  has  so  contri- 
buted in  large  measure.  I  had  occasion  some  years  ago  ^ 
to  speak  freely  my  opinion  of  the  merits  and  demerits  of 
M.  Pauthier'sv  work  ;  and  to  the  latter  at  least  I  have  no 
desire  to  recur  here.  / 

Another  of  his  critics,  a  much  more  accomplished  as 
well  as  more  favourable  one,!  seems  to  intimate  the  opinion 
that  there  would  scarcely  be  room  in  future  for  new  com- 
mentaries. Something  of  the  kind  was  said  of  Marsden's 
at  the  time  of  its  publication.  I  imagine,  however,  that 
whilst  our  libraries  endure  the  Iliad  will  continue  to  find 
new  translators,  and  Marco  Polo — though  one  hopes  not 
so  plentifully — new  editors. 

The  justification  of  the  book's  existence  must  however 
be  looked  for,  and  it  is  hoped  may  be  found,  in  the  book 
itself,  and  not  in  the  Preface.  The  work  claims  to  be 
judged  as  a  whole,  but  it  may  be  allowable,  in  these  days  of 
scanty  leisure,  to  indicate  below  a  few  instances  of  what  is 
believed  to  be  new  matter  in  an  edition  of  Marco  Polo ;  by 
which  however  it  is  by  no  means  intended  that  all  such 
matter  is  claimed  by  the  editor  as  his  own.|' 

*  In  the  Quarterly  Review  for  July,  1868.  f  M.  Nicolas  Khanikoff. 

\  In  the  Preliminary  Notices  will  be  found  new  matter  on  the  Personal  and  Family 
History  of  the  Traveller,   illustrated  by  documents  ;  and  a   more  elaborate  attempt 


From  the  commencement  of  the  work  it  was  fek  that 
the  task  was  one  which  no  man,  though  he  were  far  better 
equipped  and  much  more  conveniently  situated  than  the  pre- 
sent writer,  could  satisfactorily  accomplish  from  his  own  re- 
sources, and  help  was  sought  on  special  points  wherever  it 
seemed  likely  to  be  found.  In  scarcely  any  quarter  was 
the  application  made  in  vain.  Some  who  have  aided  most 
materially  are  indeed  very  old  and  valued  friends  ;  but  to 
many  others  who  have  done  the  same  the  applicant  was 
unknown ;  and  some  of  these  again,  with  whom  the  editor 
began  correspondence  on  this  subject  as  a  stranger,  he  is 
happy  to  think  that  he  may  now  call  friends. 

To  none  am  I  more  indebted  than  to  the  Cavaliere 
GuGLiELMo  Berchet,  of  Venice,  for  his  ample,  accurate, 
and  generous  assistance  in  furnishing  me  with  Venetian 
documents,  and  in  many  other  ways.     Especial  thanks  are 

than  I  have  seen  elsewhere  to  classify  and  account  for  the  different  texts  of  the  work, 
and  to  trace  their  mutual  relation. 

As  regards  geographical  elucidations,  I  may  point  to  the  explanation  of  the  name 
Ghcluchelan  (I.  p.  55),  to  the  discussion  of  the  route  from  Kerman  to  Hormuz,  and 
the  identification  of  the  sites  of  Old  Hormuz,  of  Cobinan  and  Dogana,  the  establishment 
of  the  position  and  continued  existence  of  Kes/itn,  the  note  on  Pehi  and  CJiarchan,  on 
Gog  and  Magog,  on  the  geography  of  the  route  from  Siiidafu  to  Carajan,  on  A7iin 
and  Colomafi,  on  Rlutafili,  Cail,  and  Ely. 

As  regards  historical  illustrations,  I  would  cite  the  notes  regarding  the  Queens 
Bolgana  and  Cocachhi,  on  the  Karaunahs,  &c.,  on  the  title  of  King  of  Bengal 
applied  to  the  K.  of  Burma,  and  those  bearing  upon  the  Malay  and  Abyssinian 

In  the  interpretation  of  outlandish  phrases,  I  may  refer  to  the  notes  on  Oitdanique, 
Noito,  Barguerlac,  Argon,  Sensin,  Kes/iicati,  Toscaol,  Bulaj-guchi,  Gaf-paul,8ic. 

Among  miscellaneous  elucidations,  to  the  disquisition  on  the  Arbre  Sol  or  Sec 
in  vol.  i.,  and  to  that  on  Medieval  Military  Engines  in  vol.  ii. 

In  a  variety  of  cases  it  has  been  necessary  to  refer  to  Eastern  languages  for  pertinent 
elucidations  or  etymologies.  The  editor  would  however  be  sorry  to  fall  under  the  ban 
of  the  medieval  adage  : — 

"  l'i>-  gui docet  quod  71011  safiit 
Dejinitur  Besita  1 "' 

and  may  as  well  reprint  here  what  was  written  in  the  Preface  to  Cathay : — 

"  I  am  painfully  sensible  that  in  regard  to  many  subjects  dealt  with  in  the  follow- 
ing pages,  nothing  can  make  up  for  the  want  of  genuine  Oriental  learning.  A  fair 
familiarity  with  Hindustani  for  many  years,  and  some  reminiscences  of  elementary 
Persian,  have  been  useful  in  their  degree  ;  but  it  is  probable  that  they  may  sometimes 
also  have  led  me  astray,  as  such  slender  lights  are  apt  to  do." 


also  due  to  Dr.  William  Lockhart,  who  has  supplied 
the  materials  for  some  of  the  most  valuable  illustrations ; 
to  Lieutenant  Francis  Garnier,  of  the  French  Navy,  the 
gallant  and  accomphshed  leader  (after  the  death  of  Captain 
Doudart  de  la  Gree)  of  the  memorable  expedition  up  the 
Mekong  to  Yunnan ;  to  the  Rev.  Dr.  Caldwell,  of 
the  S.  P.  G.  Mission  in  Tinnevelly,  for  copious  and  valu- 
able notes  on  Southern  India ;  to  my  friends  Col.  Robert 
Maclagan,  R.E.,  Sir  Arthur  Phayre,  and  Col.  Henry 
Man,  for  very  valuable  notes  and  other  aid ;  to  Professor 
A.  Schiefner,  of  St.  Petersburg,  for  his  courteous  com- 
munication of  very  interesting  illustrations  not  otherwise 
accessible  ;  to  Major-General  Alexander  Cunningham,  of 
my  own  corps,  for  several  valuable  letters ;  to  my  friends 
Dr.  Thomas  Oldham,  Director  of  the  Geological  Survey 
of  India,  Mr.  Daniel  Hanbury,  F.R.S.,  Mr.  Edward 
Ihomas,  Mr.  James  Fergusson,  F.R.S.,  Sir  Bartle 
Frere,  and  Dr.  Hugh  Cleghorn,  for  constant  interest  in 
the  work  and  readiness  to  assist  its  progress ;  to  Mr.  A. 
Wylie,  the  learned  Agent  of  the  B.  and  F.  Bible  Society 
at  Shanghai,  for  valuable  help ;  to  the  Hon.  G.  P.  Marsh, 
U.  S.  Minister  at  the  Court  of  Italy,  for  untiring  kindness 
in  the  communication  of  his  ample  stores  of  knowledge, 
and  of  books.  I  have  also  to  express  my  obligations  to 
Dr.  NicoLo  Barozzi,  Director  of  the  City  Museum  at 
Venice,  and  to  Professor  A.  S.  Minotto,  of  the  same  city ; 
to  Professor  Arminius  Vambery,  the  eminent  traveller ; 
to  Professor  Fluckiger,  of  Bern ;  to  the  Rev.  H.  A. 
Jaeschke,  of  the  Moravian  Mission  in  British  Tibet ; 
to  Colonel  Lewis  Pelly,  British  Resident  in  the  Persian 
Gulf;  to  Pandit  Manphul,  C.  S.  I.  (for  a  most  interesting 
communication  on  Badakhshan) ;  to  my  brother  officer, 
Major  T.  G.  Montgomerie,  R.E.,  of  the  Indian  Tri- 
gonometrical  Survey ;    to  Commendatore  Negri,   the   in- 


defatigable  President  of  the  Italian  Geographical  Society  ;  to 
Dr.  ZoTENBERG,  of  the  Great  Paris  Library,  and  to  M.  Ch. 
Maunoir,  Secretary-General  of  the  Societe  de  Geographic  ; 
to  Professor  Henry  Giglioli,  at  Florence ;  lo  my  old 
friend  Major-General  Albert  Fytche,  Chief  Commissioner 
of  British  Burma ;  to  Dr.  Rost  and  Dr.  Forbes-Watson, 
of  the  India  Office  Library  and  Museum;  to  Mr.  R.  H. 
Major,  and  Mr.  R.  K.  Douglas,  of  the  British  Museum; 
to  Mr.  N.  B.  Dennys,  of  Hongkong;  and  to  Mr.  C. 
Gardner,  of  the  Consular  Establishment  in  China.  There 
are  not  a  few  others  to  whom  my  thanks  are  equally  due ; 
but  it  is  feared  that  the  number  of  names  already  mentioned 
may  seem  ridiculous,  compared  with  the  result,  to  those 
who  do  not  appreciate  from  how  many  quarters  the  facts 
needful  for  a  work  which  in  its  course  intersects  so  many 
fields  required  to  be  collected,  one  by  one.  I  must  not 
however  omit  acknowledgments  to  the  present  Earl  of 
Derby  for  his  courteous  permission,  when  at  the  head  of 
the  Foreign  Office,  to  inspect  Mr.  Abbott's  valuable  un- 
published Report  upon  some  of  the  Interior  Provinces  of 
Persia ;  and  to  Mr.  T.  T.  Cooper,  one  of  the  most 
adventurous  travellers  of  modern  times,  for  leave  to  quote 
some  passages  from  his  unpublished  diary. 

Pat,ermo,  December  ■^\,  1870. 



Dedication v 

Preface        vii 

Explanatory  List  of  Illustrations       xiii 



I.  Obscurities    in  the  History  of  his   Life   and    Book. 

Ramusio's  Statements        xxxiii 

§  I.  Obscurities,  &c.  2.  Ramusio  his  earliest  Biographer;  his  Account 
of  Polo.  3.  He  vindicates  Polo's  Geography.  4.  Compares  him 
with  Columbus.  5.  Recounts  a  Tradition  of  the  Traveller's 
Return  to  Venice.  6.  Recounts  Marco's  Capture  by  the 
Genoese.  7.  His  statements  about  Marco's  liberation  and 
marriage.  8.  His  account  of  the  Family  Polo  and  its  ter- 

II.  Sketch  of  the  State  of  the  East  at  the  Time  of  the 

Journeys  of  the  Polo  Family   xi 

§  9.  State  of  the  Levant.  10.  The  various  Mongol  Sovereignties  in 
Asia  and  Eastern  Europe,  ii.  China.  12.  India  and  Indo- 

III.  The  Polo  Family.     Personal  History  of  the  Travel- 
lers TILL  their  final   RETURN   FROM   THE   EaST       ..         xliv 

§  13.  Alleged  origin  of  the  Polos.  14.  Claims  to  Nobility.  15.  The 
Elder  Marco  Polo.  16.  Nicolo  and  Maffeo  Polo  commence 
their  Travels.  17.  Their  Intercourse  with  Kublai  Kaan.  18. 
Their  return  home,  and  Marco's  appearance  on  the  scene.  19. 
Second  Journey  of  the  Polo  Brothers,  accompanied  by  Marco. 

20.  Marco's  Employment  by  Kublai  Kaan  ;  and  his  Journeys. 

21.  Circumstances  of  the  departure  of  the  Polos  from  the  Kaan's 
Court.  22.  They  pass  by  Persia  to  Venice.  Their  relations 



IV.  Digression    concerning    the    Mansion    of    the    Polo 

Family  at  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo     Iv 

§  23.  Probable  period  of  their  establishment  at  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo. 
24.  Relics  of  the  Casa  Polo  in  the  Corte  Sabbionera.  2/\.a. 
Recent  corroboration  as  to  traditional  site  of  the  Casa  Polo. 

V.  Digression  concerning  the  War-Galleys  of  the  Medi- 
terranean States  in  the  Middle  Ages Ix 

§  25.  Arrangement  of  the  Rowers  in  Medieval  Galleys  ;  a  separate  Oar 
to  every  Man.  26.  Change  of  System  in  i6th  Century.  27. 
Some  details  of  13th-century  Galleys.  28.  Fighting  Arrange- 
ments. 29.  Crew  of  a  Galley  and  Staff  of  a  Fleet.  30.  Music 
and  miscellaneous  particulars. 

VI.  The  Jealousies  and  Naval  Wars  of  Venice  and 
Genoa.  Lamba  Doria's  Expedition  to  the 
Adriatic  ;  Battle  of  Curzola  ;  and  Imprisonment 
OF  Marco  Polo  dy  the  Genoese Ixx 

§  31.  Growing  Jealousies  and  Outbreaks  between  the  Republics.  32. 
Battle  in  Bay  of  Ayas  in  1294.  33.  Lamba  Doria's  Expedition 
to  the  Adriatic.  34.  The  Fleets  come  in  sight  of  each  other 
at  Curzola.  35.  The  Venetians  defeated,  and  Marco  Polo  a 
Prisoner.  36.  Marco  Polo  in  Prison  dictates  his  Book  to 
Rusticiano  of  Pisa.  Release  of  Venetian  Prisoners.  37. 
Grounds  on  which  the  story  of  Marco  Polo's  capture  at  Curzola 

VII.  Rusticiano  or  Rustichello  of  Pisa,  Marco  Polo's 
Fellow-Prisoner  at  Genoa,  the  Scribe  who  wrote 
DOWN  his  Travels       Ixxxiii 

§  38.  Rusticiano,  perhaps  a  Prisoner  from  Meloria.  39.  A  Person 
known  from  other  Sources.  40.  Character  of  his  Romance 
Compilations.  41.  Identity  of  the  Romance  Compiler  with 
Polo's  Fellow  -  prisoner.  42.  Further  particulars  regarding 

VIII.  Notices    of    Marco    Polo's    History   after   the  Ter- 
mination OF  his  Imprisonment  at  Genoa    '    ..      ..      xcii 

§  43.  Death  of  Marco's  Father  before  1300.  Will  of  his  Brother  Maffeo. 
44.  Documentary  Notices  of  Polo  at  this  time.  The  Sobriquet 
of  ]\IiIione.  45.  Polo's  relations  with  Thibault  de  Cepoy.  46. 
His  Marriage,  and  his  Daughters.  Marco  as  a  Merchant.  47. 
His  Last  Will ;  and  Death.  48.  Place  of  Sepulture.  Professed 
Portraits  of  Polo.     49.  Further  History  of  the  Polo  Family. 

IX.  Marco  Polo's  Book  ;  and   the  Language   in  which  it 

was  first  written      cvi 

§  50.  General  Statement  of  what  the  Book  contains.  51.  Language  of 
the  original  Work.  52.  Old  French  Text  of  the  Societe  de 
Geographic.  53.  Conclusive  proof  that  the  Old  French  Text  is 
the  source  of  all  the  others.  54.  Greatly  diffused  employment 
I  >f  French  in  that  age. 



X.  Various  Types  of  Text  of  Marco  Polo's  Book    ..      ..       cxv 

§  55.  Four  Principal  Types  of  Text.  First,  that  of  the  Geographic  or 
Oldest  French.  56.  Second,  the  Remodelled  French  Text  ; 
followed  by  Pauthier.  57.  The  Bern  MS.  and  two  others  form 
a  sub-class  of  this  Type.  58.  Third,  Friar  Pipino's  Latin.  59. 
The  Latin  of  Grynaeus,  a  Translation  at  Fifth  hand.  60.  Fourth, 
Ramusio's  Italian.  61.  Injudicious  Tamperings  in  Ramusio. 
62.  Genuine  Statements  peculiar  to  Ramusio.  63.  Hypothesis 
of  the  Sources  of  the  Ramusian  Version.  64.  Summary  in 
regard  to  Text  of  Polo.     65.  Notice  of  a  Curious  Irish  Version. 

XL  Some    Estimate  of  the  Character  of   Polo   and   his 

Book c.\xix 

§  66.  Grounds  of  Polo's  Pre-eminence  among  Medieval  Travellers.  67. 
His  true  claims  to  glory.  68.  Elis  personal  attributes  seen  but 
dimly.  69.  Absence  of  scientific  notions.  70.  Map  constructed 
on  Polo's  data.  71.  Singular  omissions  of  Polo  in  regard  to 
China ;  historical  inaccuracies.  72.  Was  Polo's  Book  materi- 
ally affected  by  the  Scribe  Rusticiano  ?  73.  Marco's  reading 
embraced  the  Alexandrian  Romances.  Examples.  74.  In- 
justice long  done  to  Polo.     Singular  Modern  Example. 

XIL  Contemporary  Recognition  of  Polo  and  his  Book    ..        cxl 

§  75.  How  far  was  there  diffusion  of  his  Book  in  his  own  day  ?  76. 
Contemporary  References  to  Polo.  T.  de  Cepoy ;  Pipino  ; 
Jacopo  d'Acqui  ;  Giov.  Villani.  77.  Pietro  d'Abano  ;  Jean  le 
Long  of  Vpres.  78.  Curious  borrowings  from  Polo  in  the 
Romance  of  Bauduin  de  Sebourg. 

XIII.  Nature  of  Polo's  Influence  on  Geographical  Know- 

ledge          cli 

§  79.  Tardy  operation,  and  causes  thereof.  80.  General  characteristics 
of  Medieval  Cosmography.  81.  Roger  Bacon  as  a  Geographer. 
82.  Marino  Sanuto  the  Elder.  83.  The  Catalan  Map  of  1375, 
the  most  complete  medieval  embodiment  of  Polo's  Geography. 
84.  Era  Mauro's  Map.  Confusions  in  Cartography  of  the  i6th 
Century  from  the  endeavour  to  combine  new  and  old  informa- 
tion. 85.  Gradual  disappearance  of  Polo's  nomenclature. 
86.  Alleged  introduction  of  Block-printed  Books  into  Europe 
by  Marco  Polo.  87.  Frequent  opportunities  for  such  introduc- 
tion in  the  Age  following  Polo's. 

XIV.  Explanations  regarding  the  Basis  adopted  for  the 

present  Translation clix 

§  88.  Texts  followed  by  Marsden  and  by  Pauthier.  89.  Eclectic 
Formation  of  the  English  Text  of  this  Translation.  90.  Mode 
of  rendering  Proper  Names. 





Preliminary  Address  of  Rusticiano  of  Pisa      ..      ..         i 


I. — ^How  THE  Two  Brothers  Polo  set  forth  from  Con- 
stantinople TO  TRAVERSE  THE  WORLD        2 

Notes.  —  i.   Chronology.    2.  '■'■  The  Great  Sea^    The  Port  of  Soldaia. 

II.— How  THE  Two  Brothers  went  on  beyond  Soldaia  ..        4 
Notes. — i.  Site  and  Ruins  of  Sar at.     2.  City  of  Bolghar.     3.  Alau 
Lord  of  the  Levant  (i.e.,  Hulaku).     4.    Ucaca  on  the  Wolga. 
5.  River  Tiger  i. 

III.— How  THE  Two  Brothers,  after  crossing  a  Desert, 
CAME  to  the  City  of  Bocara,  and  fell  in  with 
certain  Envoys  there 9 

Notes. — i.  "Bocara   a   City   of  Persia"      2.   The    Great  Kaaii's 


IV. —  How  THE  Two  Brothers  took  the  Envoys'  counsel, 

AND  went  to  the  COURT  OF  THE  GREAT  KaAN   ..    II 

V. —  How  THE  Two  Brothers  arrived  at  the  Court  of 

THE  Great  Kaan        11 

VI. —  How  THE  Great  Kaan  asked  all  about  the  manners 
of  the  Christians,  and  particularly  about  the 
Pope  of  Rome      11 

Note. — Apostoille. 

VII. —  How  THE  Great   Kaan   sent  the  Two  Brothers  as 

his  Envoys  to  the  Pope        12 

Notes.— I.   77^1?  Great  Kaaiis  Letter.     2.   The  Seven  Arts.     3.  Re- 
ligious Indifference  of  the  Alongol  Princes. 

VIII. —  How  THE  Great  Kaan  gave  them  a  Tablet  of  Gold, 

bearing   his   orders    in   THEIR   BEHALF  ••     .  ••        ..  14 

Notes.— I.   The  Tablet.     2.   The  Port  of  Ay  as. 

IX. —  How  THE  Two  Brothers  came  to  the  City  of  Acre  ; 

AND  THENCE  TO  Venice      i6 

Notes. — l.  Names  of  the  deceased  Pope  and  of  the  Legate.     2.  Negro- 
font.     3.  Mark's  age. 

X. —  How  THE  Two  Brothers  again  departed  from 
Venice,  on  their  Way  back  to  the  Great  Kaan, 
and  took  with  them  Mark,  the  Son  of  Messer 
Nicolas i8 

Note. — Oil  from  the  Holy  Sepulchre. 

CONTENTS  OF  VOL.  I.  xvii 

Chap.  Page 

XI.  — How   THE  Two   Brothers  set  out  from  Acre,  and 

Mark  along  with  them ig 

Note.- — Pope  Gregory  X.  and  his  Election. 

XII.— How    THE    Two    Brothers    presented    themselves 

before  the  new  Pope      21 

Notes. — i.  William  of  Tripoli.  2.  Poiuers  conceded  to  Missionary 
Friars.  3.  Bundtckdar  and  his  Invasion  of  Armettia. 
4.    The  Templars  in  Cilician  Armenia. 

XIII. —  How  Messer  Nicolas  and  Messer  Maffeo  Polo, 
accompanied  by  Mark,  travelled  to  the  Court 
OF  the  Great  Kaan 24 

Note.— 77/<'  City  of  Kemenfn,  Summer  Residetice  of  Kublai. 

XIV. —  How  Messer  Nicolo  and  Messer  Maffeo  Polo  and 
Marco  presented  themselves  before  the  Great 
Kaan        25 

Notes. — l.  Verbal.     2.    "  Vast  re  Homme." 

XV. —  How  THE  Lord  sent  Mark  on  an  Embassy  of  his         27 

Notes. —  i.  The  four  Characters  learned  by  Marco,  what  ?  2.  Na- 
ture of  his  employment. 

XVI. —  How  Mark  returned  from  the  Mission  whereon 

HE   had   been   sent        29 

XVII.— How  Messer  Nicolo,  Messer  Maffeo,  and  Messer 
Marco,  asked  Leave  of  the  Great  Kaan  to  go 
THEIR  Way     30 

Notes. — I.  Risks  to  Foreigners  on  a  change  of  Sovereign.  2.  The 
Lady  Bolgana.     3.  Passage  from  Ramusio. 

XVIII.— How  THE  Two  Brothers  and  Messer  Marco  took 
Leave  OF  the  Great  Kaan,  and  returned  to  their 
own  Country       32 

Notes. — i.  Mongol  Royal  Messengers.      2.  Mongol  communication 

with   the  King  of  England.      3.  Medieval  Ships  of  China. 

4.  Passage  from  China  to  Su7natra.     5.  Mortality  among  the 

■  party.     6.    The  Lady  Cocachin  in  Persian  History.     7.  Death 

of  the  Kaan.     8.    The  Princess  of  Manzi. 


Account  of  Regions  Visited  or  heard  of  on  the  Journey  from  the 
Lesser  Armenia  to  the  Court  of  the  Great  Kaan  at  Chandti. 

I. —  Here  the    Book    begins;    and   first   it  speaks  of 

the  Lesser  Hermenia      41 

Notes. — l.  Little  Armenia.     2.  y^/6'rt'////^^^Chasteaux.    3.  Sickliness 
of  Cilician  Coast.     4.    The  phrase '^  hz.  ierre." 

VOL.   I.  b 

xviu  CONTENTS  OF  VOL.  I. 

Chap.  Page 

II. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Turcomania     43 

Notes. — l.  Brutality  of  the  people.  2.  Application  of  name  Tnxco- 

III. —  Description  of  the  Greater  Hermenia 45 

Notes. — i.  Erzingan.  Buckrams,  what  were  they  ?  2.  Erzrum. 
3.  Baiburt.     4.  Ararat,     5.   Oil  ivells  of  Baku. 

IV. —  Of  Georgiania  and  the  Kings  thereof 49 

Notes. — l.   Georgian  Kings.    2.   The  Georgians.  3.    The  Iron  Gates 

and   Wall  of  Alexatider.     4.  Box  forests.  5-   Goshawks.     6. 

Fish  Miracle.     7.  Sea  of  Ghel  or  Ghelan.  8.  N'ames  of  the 
Caspian,  atid  Navigation  thereon. 

V. —  Of  the  Kingdom  of  Mausul 57 

Notes. — l.  Atabeks  of  Mosul.     2.  Nestorian  and  facobite  Christians. 

3.  Mosolins.     4.    The  Kurds.     5-  Mush  and  Mardi?t. 

VI. —  Of  the  Great  City  of  Baudas,  and  how  it  was  taken      60 

Notes. — i.  Baudas,  or  Baghdad.      2.  Island  of  Kish.      3.  Basra. 

4.  Baldachins    and   other    silk   textures;    Animal  patterns. 

5.  Chronology.      6.    The    Death    of   the    Khalif    Mostdsim. 

VII. —  How  THE  Calif  of  Baudas  took  counsel  to  slay  all 

the  Christians  in  his  Land 65 

Notes. — i.   Chronology.     2.   "  id'.f  Regisles  ^/ j<?j  Casses." 

VIII. —  How  THE  Christians  were  in  Great  Dismay  because 

of  what  the  Calif  had  said        66 

Note. —  The  word  "  cralantur." 

IX. —  How  THE  One-eyed  Cobler  was  desired  to  pray  for 

the  Christians 67 

X. —  How  the  Prayer  of  the  One-eyed   Cobler    caused 

the  Mountain  to  move 68 

Note. —  The  Mountain  Miracle. 

XI. —  Of  the  Noble  City  of  Tauris 70 

Notes. — l.  Tabriz.  2.  Cremesor.  3.  Traffic  at  Tabriz.  4.  The 
Torizi.     5.   Character  of  City  and  People. 

XII. —  Of  the  Monastery  of  Saint  on  the  Borders 

of  Tauris       72 

Note. —  The  Monastery  of  Barsau?na. 

XIII. —  Of  the  Great  Country  of  Persia  ;  with  some  account 

of  the  Three  Kings 73 

Notes. — i.  Kala'a  Atishparastdn.     2.    The  Three  Kings. 

XIV. —  How    the    Three    Kings    returned    to    their    own 

Country 75 

Notes. — I.  The  three  mystic  Gifts.  2.  The  Worshipped  Fire.  3. 
Sdvah  and  Avah.  The  Legend  in  Mas'udi.  Embellishments 
of  the  Story  of  the  Magi. 

CONTENTS  OF  VOL.  I.  xix 

Chap.  Page 

XV.— Of    the    Eight    Kingdoms    of     Persia,    and    how 

THEY    ARE   NAMED  7^ 

Notes. — l.  The  Eight  Kingdoms.  2.  Export  of  Horses,  and 
Prices.     3.  Persian  brigands.     4.  Persian  ivine. 

XVI.— Concerning  the  Great  City  of  Yasdi        84 

Notes.— I.    Yczd.     2.    Yezd  to  Kertnan.      The  Woods  spoken  of . 

XVII. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Kerman         86 

Notes. —  i.  City  and  Province  of  Kerman.  2.  Turquoises.  3.  On- 
danique  or  Indian  Steel.  4.  Manufactures  of  Kerman. 
5.  Falcons. 

XVIII. —  Of    the    City    of    Camadi    and    its    Ruins  ;    also 

touching  the  Carauna  Robbers        91 

Notes. — l.  Products  of  the  warmer  plains.  2.  Humped  oxen  and 
fat-tailed  sheep.  3.  Scarani.  4.  The  Karaunahs  and  Nigu- 
darian  Bands.     5.   Canosalmi. 

XIX.— Of  the  Descent  to  the  City  of  Hormos loi 

Notes. — i.  Site  of  Old  Hormuz  and  Geography  of  the  Route  from 
Kerman  to  Hormuz.  2.  Dates  and  Fish  Diet.  3.  Stitched 
Vessels.  "One  rudder,"  tohy  noticed  as  peculiar.  4.  Great 
heat  at  Hormuz.  5.  The  Simiim.  6.  History  of  Hormuz, 
and  Polo's  Ruomedan  Acomat.  7.  Second  Route  between 
Hormuz  and  Kerman. 

XX.~Of  the  Wearisome    and   Desert    Road    that    has 

NOW   TO    BE   travelled         11$ 

Notes. — l.  Desert  of  Liit.     Subterraneous  Canals. 

XXI.— Concerning  the  City  of   Cobinan  and  the  things 

that  are  made  there      117 

Notes. —  i.  Koh-Bandn.     2.  Production  of  Tutia. 

XXII.— Of   a   certain   Desert   that  continues   for  eight 

days'  Journey      119 

Notes.— I.  Deserts  of  A'horasan .     2.   7"/^^  Arbre  Sol  ^;- Arbre  Sec. 

XXIII.— Concerning  the  Old  Man  of  the  Mountain..      ..     132 

Notes. — i.  The  Assassins,  Hashishin,  or  Muldhidah.  2.  Apparoit 
alhision  in  Boccaccio  to  this  story. 

XXIV. —  How  THE  Old  Man  used  to  train  his  Assassins  ..     134 

Notes. — i.  The  story  'widely  spread.  Notable  murders  by  the 
Sectaries.     2.    Their  different  branches. 

XXV. —  How  the  Old  Man  came  by  his  End 138 

Note. — History  of  the  Destruction  of  the  Sect  by  Hulaku.  Castles  of 
Alamut  and  Girdkuh. 

XXVI.— Concerning  the  City  of  Sapurgan      140 

Note. — Shibrgdn,  and  the  route  followed.     Dried  Melons. 

b    2 


Chap.  Page 

XXVIL— Of  the  City  of  Balc       142 

Notes. —  i.  Balkh.  2.  CotDttry  meaut  by  V)o^zxi2L.  3.  Lions  in  the 
Oxiis  Valley. 

XXVIIL— Of  Taican,  and  the  Mountains  of  Salt.    Also  of 

THE  Province  of  Casem       i44 

Notes. —  i.  Talikan.  2.  Mines  of  Rock-salt.  3.  Ethnological 
characteristics.  4.  Kishm.  5-  Porcupines.  6.  Old  Capital 
of  Badakhshan.     7.  New  Capital. 

XXIX.- -Of  the  Province  of  Badashan 149 

Notes. —  l.  Dialects  of  Badakhshan.  Alexandrian  lineage  of  the 
Princes.  2.  Badakhshan  and  the  Balas  Rtiby.  3.  Azure 
Mines.  4.  Naked  barley.  5.  Wild  sheep.  6.  Scenery  of 
Badakhshan.  7.  Repeated  devastation  of  the  Country  from 
War.     8.  Amplitude  of femini7ie  garments. 

XXX.— Of  the  Province  of  Pashai 155 

Note. — On  the  cotmtry  intended  by  this  name. 

XXXI.— Of  the  Province  of  Keshimur 157 

Notes. — i.  Kashmir  language.  2.  Kashmir  Conjicrors.  3.  Im- 
portance of  Kashmir  in  History  of  Buddhism.  4.  Character 
of  the  People.  5.  Vicissitudes  of  Buddhism  in  Kashmir.  6. 
Buddhist  practice  as  to  slaughter  of  animals.      7.    Coral. 

XXXII. —  Of  the  Great  River  of  Badashan  ;  and  Plain  of 

Pamier         162 

Notes, — i.  The  Upper  Oxus  and  Wakhan.  The  title  Nono.  2. 
The  Plateau  of  Pamer.  The  Great  Wild  Sheep.  Fire  at 
great  altitudes.     3.  Bolor. 

XXXIII. —  Of  the  Kingdom  of  Cascar 169 

Note.  — Kashga  r. 

XXXIV.—  Of  the  Great  City  of  Samarcan      170 

Notes. ^ — l.  Christians  in  Samarkand.  2.  Chagatai^s  relation  to 
Kublai  mis-stated.     3.    The  Miracle  of  the  Stone. 

XXXV.— Of  the  Province  of  Yarcan        173 

Note. —  Yarkand.      Goitre  prevalent  there. 

XXXVI. —  Of  a  Province  called  Cotan      173 

Notes. —  i.    ^'^  Adoration  of  Mahommet."     2.  Khotan. 

XXXVII. —  Of  the  Province  of  Pein      175 

Notes. — i.  Position  of  Pein.  2.  The  \\x  or  'Jade.  3.  Temporary 

XXXVIII.— Of  the  Province  of  Charchan 178 

Note. — Position  of  Charchan  and  Lop. 

XXXIX. —  Of  the  City  of  Lop,  and  the  Great  Desert      ..      iSo 

Notes. — l.  Geographical  discrepancy.  2.  Superstitions  as  to  Deserts; 
their  'wide  diffusion.  The  Sound  of  Drums  in  certain  satidy 

CONTENTS  OF  VOL.  I.  xxi 

Chap.  Page 

XL. —  Concerning  the  Great  Province  of  Tangut  ..  184 
Notes.  —  i.  Tangut.  2.  Buddhism  encountered  here.  3.  Kalmak 
superstition,  the  "Heaven's  Ram."  4.  Chinese  customs  de- 
scribed here.  5.  Mongol  disposal  of  the  Dead.  6.  Super- 
stitious practice  of  p/voiding  to  carry  out  the  dead  by  the  house- 
door  ;  its  wide  diffusioti. 

XLL— Of  the  Province  of  Camul 189 

Notes.— I.  Kamul.  2.  Character  of  the  people.  3.  Shameless 
custom.     4.  Parallel. 

XLIL— Of  the  Province  of  Chingintalas 191 

Notes. — l .  The  Country  intended.  2.  Asbestos  Mountain.  3.  The 
four  Elements.  4.  and  ^.  The  Story  of  the  Salamander. 
Asbestos  fabrics. 

XLIIL— Of  the  Province  of  Sukchur      195 

Notes. — i.  Explanatory.  1.  The  City  of  Stihchau.  3.  Rhubarb 
country.     4.   Poisonous  Pasture. 

XLIV. —  Of  the  City  of  Campichu      197 

Notes.— I.  The  City  of  Kanchau.  2.  Recumbent Buddh as.  \  Bud- 
dhist Days  of  Special  Worship.  4.  Matrimonial  customs. 
5 .   Textual. 

XLV. —  Of  the  City  of  Etzina 202 

Notes.— I.  Position  of  Yetsina.  2.  Textual.  3.  The  Wild  Ass  of 

XLVL — Of  the  City  of  Caracoron 203 

Notes. —  i.  Karakorutn.     2.    Chorcha.     3.  Prester  John. 

XLVIL—  Of  Chinghis,  and  how  he  became  the  First  Kaan 

OF  THE  Tartars       209 

Notes. — i.  Chronology.  2.  Relations  betiaeen  Chinghiz  and  Aung 
Khan,  the  Prester  John  of  Polo. 

XLVIIL — How  Chinghis   mustered   his    People   to   march 

against  Prester  John 211 

XLIX. —  How  Prester  John  marched  to  meet  Chinghis..     212 

Notes. — i.   Plain  of  Tenduc.    2.  Divitiation  by  T%vigs  and  Arrows. 

L. —  The  Battle  between  Chinghis  Kaan  and  Prester 

John.    Death  of  Chinghis        215 

Note. — Real  circumstances  and  date  of  the  Death  of  Chinghiz. 

LL — Of  those  who  did  Reign  after  Chinghis  Kaan, 

and  of  the  Customs  of  the  Tartars 216 

Notes. — i.  Origin  of  the  Cambuscan  of  Chaucer.  2.  Historical 
errors.  3.  The  Place  of  Sepulture  of  Chinghiz.  4.  Bar- 
barous Funeral  Superstition. 

LI L— Concerning  the  Customs  of  the  Tartars    ..      ..     219 
Notes. —  i.  Tartar  Huts.    2.    Tartar  Waggons.    3.   Pharcwh^s  Rat. 
4.    Chastity    of   the     JVomen.       5.  Polygamy   and  Marriage 

xxii  CONTENTS  OF  VOL.  I. 

Chap.  P^'^'' 

LI  1 1.— Concerning  the  Gou  of  the  Tartars 224 

Notes. — i.   The  old  Tartar  idols.     2.  Kianiz. 

LI  v.— Concerning  the  Tartar  Customs  of  War        ..      ..     228 

Notes. —  i.  Tartar  Arms.  2.  The  Decimal  Division  of  their  Troops. 
3.  Textual.  4.  Blood-drinking.  5.  Kurut,  or  Tartar  Curd. 
6.  The  Mongol  military  rapidity  and  terrorism.  7.  Corrup- 
tion of  their  Nomade  simplicity. 

LV. —  Concerning  the  Administration  of  Justice  among 

the  Tartars 234 

Notes. — i.  The  Cudgel.  2.  Punishment  of  Theft.  3.  Marriage 
of  the  Dead.     4.    Textual. 

LVL— Sundry  Particulars   of  the  Plain   beyond  Cara- 

CORON       236 

Notes. —  i.  Textual.  2.  Bargu,  the  Mecrit,  the  Reindeer,  and  Chase 
of  Waterfowl.  3.  The  bird  Barguerlac,  the  Syrrhaptes.  4. 

LVII. —  Of   the    Kingdom   of    Erguiul,   and    Province    of 

SiNju        241 

Notes. — l.  Er guild.  2.  Siningfu.  3.  The  Yak.  4.  The  Alusk 
Deer.     5.    The  Reeves's  Pheasant. 

LVIII. —  Of  the  Kingdom  of  Egrigaia 247 

Notes. — l.  Egrigaia.  2.  Calachan.  3.  White  Camels,  and  Camlets  ; 

LIX. —  Concerning    the    Province    of    Tenduc,    and   the 

Descendants  of  Prester  John  249 

Notes. — l.  The  name  and  place  Tenduc.  King  George.  2.  Standing 
Marriage  Compact.  The  title  Gurgaii.  3.  Azure.  4.  The 
/«v;w  Argon  ««^  Guasmul.  77?^  Dungens.  5.  The  Rampart 
of  Gog  and  Magog.     6.    Tartary  cloths.     7.  Siwanhivafu. 

LX. —  Concerning  the  Kaan's  Palace  of  Chagannor      ..     260 

Notes. — i.  7%^  iwr^f  Sesnes.  2.  Chagan-nor.  3.  The fve  species 
of  Crane  described  by  Polo.     4.   The  zvord  Cator. 

LXI. —  Of   the   City  of  Chandu,  and  the   Kaan's   Palace 

THERE  263 

Notes. — i.  Chandu,  properly  Shangtu.  2.  The  Bamboo  Palace. 
Uses  of  the  Bamboo.  3.  Kublai's  Annual  Migration  to 
Shangtu.  4.  The  White  Horses.  The  Oirad  Tribe.  5.  The 
A/are's  Milk  Festival.  6.  Weather  Conjuring.  7.  Ascription 
of  Cannibalism  to  Tibetans,  &^c.  8.  The  term  Bacsi.  9. 
Magical  Feats  ascribed  to  the  Lamas.  10.  Vast  extent  of  Lama 
Convents.  11.  Married  Lamas.  12.  Patarins.  13.  The 
Ascetics  called  Sensin. 



PART    I. 

Chap.  Pack 

I. —  Of  Cublay  Kaan,  the  Great  Kaan  now  reigning,  and 

OF  HIS  Great  Puissance 295 

Note. — Eulogies  of  Kublai. 

II. —  Concerning  the  Revolt  of  Nayan,  who  was   Uncle 

TO  THE  Great  Kaan  Cublay 296 

Notes — i.  Chronology.  2.  Kublai^s  Age.  3.  His  Wars.  4.  N'ayan, 
and  his  true  relationship  to  Kublai. 

III.— How  THE  Great  Kaan  marched  against  Nayan..      ..     298 

Note. — Addition  from  Ramiisio. 

IV.— Of  the  Battle  that  the  Great  Kaan  fought  with 

Nayan      3°° 

Notes. —  i.  The  word  V>x&X.t%(i}sxQ.  2.  Explanatoiy.  3.  TheNakkara. 
4.  Parallel  Passages.     5.    Verbal.     6.    The  Story  of  Nayan. 

v.—  How   the  Great   Kaan  caused   Nayan  to  be  put  to 

Death      306 

Notes. — l.  The  Shedding  of  Royal  Blood  avoided.  2.  Chorcha, 
Kaoli,  Barskul,  Sikintinju.     3.  yrd)s  in  China. 

VI.—  How   the    Great   Kaan  went    back   to   the   City  of 

Cambaluc       309 

Note. — Passage  from  Pamusio  respecting  the  Kaan''s  views  of  Re- 
ligion.    Reinarks. 

VII.— How    the    Kaan     rewarded     the     Valour    of     his 

Captains 312 

Notes. — l.  Parallel  from  Sanang  Setzen.  2.  The  Golden  Honorary 
Tablets  or  Paizah  of  the  Mongols.  3.  Umbrellas.  4.  The 
Gerfalcon  Tablets. 

VIII. —  Concerning  the  Person  of  the  Great  Kaan      ..  318 

Notes. —  i.  Colour  of  his  Eyes.  His  Wives.  3.  The  Kungurat 
Tribe.     Competitive  Examination  in  Beauty. 

IX. —  Concerning  the  Great  Kaan's  Sons   321 

Notes. — i.  KublaVs  intended  Heir.     2.  His  other  Sons. 

X. —  Concerning  the  Palace  of  the  Great  Kaan      ..      ..     324 

Notes. — I.    The  word 'Yz.xc2^'s,z\.     2.  Arsenals  of  the  Palace.     3.    The 

Gates.     4.    Various  Readijtgs.     5.    Wide  diffusion  of  the  kind 

of  Palace  here  described.     6.  Parallel  description.     7.  Modern 

account  of  the  Lake,    &'c.     8.   "  Roze  de  ra9ur."     9.    The 

Green  Mount.      10.    Textual. 


Chap.  Page 

XI. —  Concerning  the  City  of  Cambaluc       331 

Notes. — i.  Chronology,  ^c.  of  Peking.  2.  The  City  Wall.  3. 
Changes  in  the  extent  of  the  City.  4.  Its  ground  plan.  5. 
Alarm  Toxoers.  6.  Uneasiness  of  the  Mongol  rulers  respecting 
the  Chinese. 

XII. —  How  THE  Great  Kaan  maintains  a  Guard  of 
Twelve    Thousand     Horse,    which    are    called 

Keshican        336 

Note. — The  term  Quescican. 

XIII.— The   Fashion  of  the  Great   Kaan's  Table  at  his 

High  Feasts 338 

Notes. — i.  Order  of  the  Tables.  2.  The  ivord  Vernique.  3.  The 
Buffet  of  Liquors.  4.  The  sttperstition  of  the  Threshold.  5. 
Chinese  Etiquettes.     6.  Jugglers  at  the  Banquet. 

XIV. —  Concerning  the  Great  Feast  held  by  the  Grand 

Kaan  every  year  on  his  Birthday 343 

Notes. — l.  The  Chinese  Year.  2.  ^^  Beaten  Gold.''''  3.  Texttial. 
Festal  changes  of  costume. 

XV.—  Of  the    Great  Festival  which   the    Kaan    holds 

ON  New  Year's  Day 346 

Notes. — l.  The  White  Month.  2.  Mystic  value  of  the  number  9. 
3.  Elephants  at  Peking.     4.  Adoration  of  Tablets.     Ko7v-tozv. 

XVI.— Concerning  the  Twelve  Thousand  Barons  who 
receive  Robes  of  Cloth  of  Gold  from  the 
Emperor    on    the    Great     Festivals,    thirteen 

changes  a-piece 349 

Notes. — i.  Textual.  2.  The  words  Gamut  and  Boigal.  3.  Tame 

XVII. —  How   the    Great    Kaan    enjoineth    his   People  to 


Note. — Parallel  Passage. 

XVIII. —  Of   the    Lions    and    Leopards    and    Wolves    that 

THE  Kaan  keeps  for  the  Chase 353 

Notes. — i.  The  Cheeta  or  Hunting  Leopard.  2.  Lynxes.  3.  The 
Tiger,  termed  Lion  by  Polo.     4.    The  Barktit  Eagle. 

XIX.— Concerning  the  Two  Brothers  who  have  charge 

OF  THE  Kaan's  Hounds 356 

Note, —  The  Masters  of  the  Hounds,  and  their  title. 

XX. —  How   THE    Emperor    goes    on    a   Hunting    Expedi- 

-  Notes. — i.  Direction  of  the  Tour.  2.  Hawking  Establishments.  3. 
The  word  Toskaul.  4.  The  zvord  Bularguchi.  5.  Kublai's 
Litter.  6.  Kachar  Modun.  7.  The  Kaan's  Great  Tents.  8. 
The  Sable  and  Ermine.     9.  Petis  dc  la  Croix. 



Chap.  P'^''^ 

XXL— How  THE  Great  Kaan,  on  returning  from  his 
HuNTTNG  Expedition,  holds  a  Great  Court  and 
Entertainment       3^5 

Note.  —  77^/j-  chapter  peculiar  to  the  2itd  Type  of  3ISS. 

XXI L— Concerning    the    City    of    Cambaluc,    and    its 

great  Traffic  and  Population       3^7 

Notes. — i.  Suburbs  of  Peking.     2.   The  word  Fondaco. 

XXI I L— [Concerning  the  Oppressions  of  Achmath  the 
Bailo,  and  the  Plot  that  was  formed  against 
him]       370 

Notes. — l.  Chapter  peculiar  to  Hamusio.  2.  A'ublai's  Administra- 
tion. The  Rise  of  Ahmad.  3.  The  tertn  BsWo.  4.  The  Con- 
spiracy against  Ahmad  as  related  by  Gaubil  from  the  Chinese. 
5.  Marco' s  presence  and  upright  conduct  commemorated  in  the 
Chinese  Annals.      The  Kaan's  prejudice  against  Mahomedans. 

XXIV.—  How  THE  Great  Kaan  causeth  the  Bark  of  Trees, 

MADE    INTO    something    LIKE    PAPER,   TO    PASS    FOR 

Money  over  all  his  Country 37^ 

Note. — Chinese  Paper  Currency. 

XXV.—  Concerning   the    Twelve   Barons    who   are   set 

OVER   ALL   THE   AFFAIRS   OF   THE    GREAT    KaAN  ..       385 

Note.—  The  Ministers  of  the  Mongol  Dynasty.      The  term  Sing. 

XXVL— How  THE   Kaan's  Posts   and   Runners   are  sped 

through  many  Lands  and  Provinces 388 

Notes.  —  i.  Textiuil.  2.  The  word  M zm.  3.  Go^'ernment  Hostebies. 
4.  Digression  from  Ramusio.  5.  Posts  Extraordinary.  6. 
Discipline  of  the  Posts.     7.  Antiquity  of  Posts  in  China,  &=c. 

XXVII.— How  THE  Emperor  bestows  help  on  his  People, 

WHEN     they     are     AFFLICTED      WITH     DEARTH     OR 

Murrain      393 

Note. — Kublai's  remissions,  and  justice. 

XXVIII.— How  THE  Great  Kaan  causes  Trees  to  be  planted 

BY  the  Highways       394 

XXIX.— Concerning  the  Rice-V^ine  drunk  by  the  People 

OF  Cathay 394 

Note. — Rice  loine. 

XXX.—  Concerning  the  Black  Stones  that  are  dug  in 

Cathay,  and  are  burnt  for  Fuel 395 

Note. — Consumption  of  Coal  in  China. 

XXXL— How  THE  Great  Kaan  causes  Stores  of  Corn  to 

BE    made,   to     help     HIS     PEOPLE   WITHAL    IN    TIME 

OF  Dearth 39^ 

Note.— 7'/?c'  Chinese  Public  Granaries. 


Chap.  Page 

XXXII. —  Of  the  Charity  of  the  Emperor  to  the  Poor  ..     397 

Note. — Buddhist  influence,  and  Chinese  charities. 

XXXIII. —  [Concerning    the   Astrologers   in    the   City    of 

Cambaluc] 399 

Notes, — l.  The  word  Tacuin.  The  Chinese  Almanacs.  2.  The 
Chinese  and  Mongol  Cycle. 

XXXIV.— [Concerning  the  Religion  of  the  Cathayans; 
their  views  as  to  the  Soul  ;  and  their 
Customs]     404 

Notes. — i.  Textual.  2.  £>o.  3.  Exceptions  to  the  general  charge 
of  Irreligion  brought  against  the  Chinese.  4.  Politeness.  5- 
Filial  Piety. 



To  face  Title .  .  .  Doorway  of  the  House  of  Marco  Polo  in  the  Corte  Sab- 
bionera  at  Venice  (see  p.  Ivii).  Woodcut  from  a  drawing  by 
Signer  L.  Rosso,  Venice. 

,,      pa^^e  c.  Reduced  Facsimile  of  the  Will  of  Marco  Polo,  preserved  in 

St.  Mark's  Library.  On  half  the  scale  of  the  original.  Photo- 
lithography, from  a  negative  taken  under  the  superintendence 
of  Cavaliere  G.  Berchet. 

,,  ,,  cviii.  Facsimile  of  Handwriting  from  the  Ckusca  Italian  MS.  of 
Polo's  Book,  and  of  the  indorsement  upon  it.  Lithograph 
from  a  tracing  by  the  Editor. 

,,  ,,  cxxxiv.  Probable  view  of  Marco  Polo's  own  Geography  :  a  Map 
of  the  World,  formed  as  far  as  possible  from  tlie  Traveller's 
own  data.     Drawn  by  the  Editor. 

,,         ,,  I.  Marco  Polo's  Itineraries,  No.  I.     Western  Asia. 

jMap  illustrating  the  geographical  position  of  the  City  of  Sarai. 

,,         ,,  6.  s  Plan  of  part  of  the  remains  of  the  same  city.     Reduced  from  a 

I      Russian  plan  published  by  M.  Grigorieff. 

,,        ,,  28.  Reduced  Facsimile  of  part  of  the  Buddhist  Inscription  of 

the  Mongol  Era,  on  the  Archway  at  Keu-yung-kwan  in  the 
Pass  of  Nankau,  north-west  of  Peking,  showing  four  of  the 
characters  in  use  under  the  Mongol  Dynasty.  Photolithograph 
from  original  impressions  taken  by,  and  in  the  possession 
of,  Mr.  A.  Wylie.  See  an  Article  by  Mr.  Wylie  in  the 
y.  A\  A.  S.for  1870,  /.  14. 

iPlan  of  Ayas,  the  Laias  of  Polo.     From  an  Admiralty  Chart. 
Plan  of  position  of  Dilawar,  the  supposed  site  of  the  Dilavar 
of  Polo.    Ext.  from  a  Survey  by  Lt.-Col.  D.  G.  Robinson,  R.E. 

,,  ,,  108.  Marco  Polo's   Itineraries,    No.   II.      Routes   between    Kerman 

and  HoRMUZ. 

,,         ,,         168.  Do.  do.  No.  III.      Regions   on    and   near   the 

Upper  Oxus. 

,,  ,,  316.  '^  Table  d^ Or  de  Cotnmandetnent  ;^^  the  Paiza  of  the  Mongols, 
from  a  specimen  found  in  Siberia.  Reduced  to  one-half  the  scale 
of  the  original,  from  an  engraving  in  a  Paper  by  I.  J.  Schmidt. 
in  the  Bulletin  de  la  Classe  historico-philologique  de  I'Acad. 
imp.  des  Sciences,  St.-Petersbourg,  tom.  iv.  No.  9. 

,,         ,,         332    Plan  of  Peking  as  it  is,  and  as  it  was  about  a.d.  1290. 

,,  ,,  378.  Bank-note  of  the  Ming  Dynasty,  on  one-half  the  scale  of  the 
original.  Reduced  from  a  genuine  note  in  the  possession  of 
W.  Lockhart,  Esq.,  F.R.G.S.  N.B. —  The  facsimile  is  as  exact 
as  could  be  effected,  with  these  exceptions  :  ( I )  that  the  colour  of 
the  original  is  considerably  darker ;  (2)  that  the  vertnilion  seal- 
impressions,  of  zohich  only  the  slightest  traces  remained,  have 
been  restored  from  other  sources. 

„  ,,  384.  Facsimile  of  a  Modern  Peking  Bank-xoiI';  ;  from  a  specimen 
in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Lockliart. 

,,        las/ /'tige      .  Marco  Polo's  Itineraries,  No.  I\'.     Easiern   Asia. 



Introductory  Notices. 

Page  xl.  Arms  of  the  Polo  family,  according  to  Marco  Barbaro. 

xlviii.  The  Piazzetta  at  Venice  in  the  14th  century.  From  the  Frontispiece 
Miniature  of  the  MS.  of  Marco  Polo  in  the  Bodleian.  (Borrowed 
from  the  National  Miscellany,  published*by  J.  H.  Parker,  Oxford, 
for  1853-55,   and  see  S/re'efs  Brick  and  Marble,   &c.,   1855,  p.  150- 


,,  Ivi.  Three  extracts  from  maps  of  Venice,  showing  the  site  of  the  Ca'  Polo 

at  three  different  periods,  (i)  From  the  great  woodcut  Map  or  View 
of  Venice,  dated  1500,  and  commonly  called  Albert  Diirer's.  (2) 
From  a  Plan  by  Cav.  Lodovico  Ughi,  1729.  (3)  From  the  Modern 
Official  Plan  of  the  City. 

,,  Ixii.   Extract   from  a  fresco  by  Spinello  Aretini,  in  the  Municipal  Palace  at 

Siena,  representing  a  galley-fight  between  the  Venetians  and  the  fleet 
of  the  Emperor  Frederick  Barbarossa,  and  illustrating  the  arrange- 
ments of  medieval  galleys.  Drawn  from  a  very  dim  and  imperfect 
photograph,  after  personal  inspection  of  the  original. 

,,  Ixiv.  Diagram  of  arrangement  of  oars  in  galleys. 

,,  Ixvi.  Extract  from  a  picture  by  Domenico  Tintoretto  in  the  Ducal  Palace  at 

Venice,  representing  the  same  galley-fight.  After  an  engraving  in 
the  T/ieatrum  Venctuni. 

,,      Ixxvii.   Marco  Polo's  Galley  going  into  action  at  Curzola.     Drawn  by  Signor  Q. 
Cenni,  15  Via  S.  Antonio,  Milan,  from  a  design  by  the  Editor. 

,,     Ixxviii.  Map  to  illustrate  the  sea-fight  at  Curzola,  where  Marco  Polo  was  taken 

,,      Ixxxv.  Seal  of  the  Pisan  Prisoners  in  Genoa,  after  the  battle  of  Meloria  (1284). 
From  Manni,  Osservazioni  Storiche  sopra  Sigilli  Antichi,  torn.  xii. 

,,  cii.  The  Convent    and  Church    of  S.   Lorenzo,    the  burial-place  of  Marco 

Polo,  as  it  existed  in  the  15th  century.  From  the  Map  of  1 500 
(see  above). 

,,  ciii.  Figure  of  Marco  Polo,  from  the  first  printed  edition  of  his  Book,  pub- 

lished in  German  at  Nuremberg,  1477.  Traced  from  a  copy  in  the 
Berlin  Library. 

,,        cxliii.  Tailed   Star   near   the    Antarctic,    as    Marco    Polo    drew   it    for  Pielro 
d'  Abano.     From  the  Conciliator  of  Pietro  d'  Abano. 


Page        3.  Remains  of  the  castle  of  Soldaia  or  Sudak.      After  Dubois  de  Montpereux, 

Voyage  autour  dn  Caucase,  Atlas,  3d  s.  PI.  64. 
,,  7.   Ruins  of  Bolghar.     After  Demidoff,   Voyage  dans  la  Russie  meridionale, 

PL  75- 
,,         14.  The  Great  Kaan  delivering  a  golden  tablet  to  the  two  elder  Polos.     From 

a  miniature  in  the  Livre  des  Merveilles  du  Monde  (Fr.   2810)   in   the 

Library  at  Paris,  fol.  3  verso. 
,,         16.    Castle  of  Ayas.     Aiiex  Langlois,   Voyage  en  Cilicie. 
„         17.   Plan  of  Acre  as  it  was  when  lost  (a.d.  1291).     Reduced  and  translated 

from  the  contemporary  plan  in  the  Secreta  Fidelium  Criicis  of  Marino 

Sanuto  the  Elder,  engraved  in  Bongars,  Gesta  Dei  per  Francos,  vol.  ii. 


Page      20.   Portrait  of  Pope  Gregory  X.     After  J.  fi.  de  Caiiah'riis  Poutifictim  Ro- 
manorum  Effigies,  &c.     Romse,  1580. 
,,        37.  Ancient   Chinese  war-vessel.      From    the  Chinese  Encyclopaedia  called 
San-  Thsai-  Thoii-Hoei. 

Book  First. 

Page      42.  Coin  of  King  Hethum  I.  and  Queen  Isabel  of  Little  Armenia.     From  an 

original  in  the  British  Museum. 
48.   Castle  of  Baiburt.     After  Tex/'er,  VAnneiiie,  PI.  3. 
53.  View  of  Derbend.     After  a  cut  from  a  drawing   by  M.   Moynet  in   the 

Tour  (ill  Monde,  vol.  I. 
58.  Coin  of  Badruddin  Lolo  of  Mosul  (A.H.  620).     After  ATa^sdeii's  Niimis- 

mata  Orietitalia,  No.  164. 
71.  Ghazan  Khan's  Mosque  at  Tabriz.     Borrowed  from  Pergusso/i's  //is/fory 

of  Arch  it  edit  re. 
90.  Kashmir  scarf  with    animals,   &c.     After   photograph   from  the  scarf  in 

the  India  Museum. 
1 1 1.   Illustrations  of  the  use  of  the  double  rudder  in  the  Middle  Ages.    6  figures, 

viz.,   Nos.   I  and  2,   from  Pertz,  Scriptores,  tom.  xviii.  after  a  Genoese 

Chronicle ;  No.  3,  Sketch  from  fresco  of  Spinello  Aretini  at  Siena ;  No.  4, 

Seal  of  Port  of  Winchilsea,  from  Siissex  Archaological  Collections,  vol.  i. 

1848;  No.  5,  Sculpture  on  Leaning  Tower  at  Pisa,  after  Jal,  Archeologie 

Navale;  No.  6,  from   the  Monument  of  Peter   Martyr,  the  persecutor 

of  the  Lombard  Patarini,  in  the  church  of  St.  Eustorgius  at  Milan, 

after  Le  Tombe  ed  i  Monnmenti  Illustri  cf  Italia,  Mil.  1822-23. 
127.  The  Arbre  Sec,  and  Arbres  du  Soldi  et  dc  la  Lttne.     From  a  miniature  in 

the  Prose  Romance  of  Alexander,  in  the  B.  Museum  MS.  called  the 

Shrewsbury  Book  (Reg.  xv.  e.  6). 
131.  The  Chinar  or  Oriental  Plane,  viz.,  that  called  the  Tree  of  Godfrey  of 

Boulogne    at    Buyukdere,    near    Constantinople.       Borrowed    from    Le 

J\Jo7tde  Vegetal  of  Figuier. 
158.  Ancient  Buddhist  Temple  at  Pandrethan  in  Kashmir.     Borrowed  from 

Fergussoii's  History  of  Architecture. 
167.   Horns  of  the  Ovis  Poli,  or  Great  Sheep  of  Pamer.     Drawn  by  the  Editor 

from  the  specimen  belonging  to  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society. 
200.  Great  Lama  Monastery,  viz.,  that  at  Jehol.     After  Staunton  s  N^arrative 

of  Lord  Macartnefs  Embassy. 
203.  The  Kyang,  or  Wild  Ass  of  Mongolia.      After  a  plate  by  Wolf  in  the 

fournal  of  the  Royal  Zoological  Society. 
223.  Medieval  Tartar  Huts  and  Waggons.     Drawn  by  Sig.  Quinto  Cenni,   on 

a  design  compiled   by  the  Editor  from  the  descriptions  of  medieval  and 

modern  travellers. 
226.  Tartar    idols    and  Kumiz    churn.       Drawn  by   the    Editor    after  data  in 

Pallas  and  Zaleski. 
240.  The  Syrrhaptes  Pallasii ;  Barghcrlac  of  Marco  Polo.     From  a  plate  by 

Wolf  in  the  Ibis  for  April,  i860. 
246.   Reeves"s  Pheasant.     After  an   engraving  in    IVood's  Illustrated  Natural 

258.  The  Rampart  of  Gog  and  Magog.     From  a  photograph   of  the   Great 

Wall  of  China.     Borrowed  from  Dr.  Renttie's  Peking  and  the  Pekingese. 
270.  A  Pavilion  at  Yuen  Min  Yuen,  to  illustrate  the  probable  style  of  Kublai 

Kaan's    Summer  Palace.      Borrowed   from  ATichie's  Siberian   Chrrland 



Page    281.  Chinese  Conjuring  Extraordinary.    Extracted  from  an  engraving  in  ^(Ai'dirr/ 
Aleltofis  Zeld&aame  Reizcii,  &c.     Amsterdam,  1702. 
284.  A  Monastery  of  Lamas.     Borrowed  from  the  Totir  du  Monde. 
291.  A  Tibetan  Bacsi.     Sketched  from  the  life  by  the  Editor. 

303.  Nakkaras.  From  a  Chinese  original  in  the  Lois  des  Enipereii7-s  Maiidchous 
{Thai- T/isiiig-Hoei- Tien- Thou),  in  the  Paris  Library. 

304.  Nakkaras.  After  one  of  the  illustrations  to  Blochmann's  edition  of  the 

314.   Seljukian  coin,  with  the  Lion  and  the  Sun  (A.H.  640).     After  Marsdeti^s 

Nwnismata  Orientalia,  No.  98. 
319.  Portrait  of  the  Great  Kaan  Kublai.     From  a  Chinese  engraving  in  the 

Encyclopaedia  called  San-Thsai-Thoti-Hoei  ;  in  the  Paris  Library. 

329.  The  Winter  Palace  at  Peking.  Borrowed  from  FergnssorH s  History  of 

330.  Distant  view  of  the  "Green  Mount."    Borrowed  from  the  Tour  du  Monde. 
335.  South  gate  of  the  "Imperial  City"  at  Peking.     From  an  original  sketch 

belonging  to  W.  Lockhart,  Esq. 

355.  The  Barkut  Eagle.     After  Atkinso7fs  Oriental  and  Western  Siberia. 

364.  The  tents  of  the  Emperor  Kienlung.  From  a  drawing  in  the  Stannton 
Collection  in  the  British  Museum. 

369.  Plain  of  Cambaluc ;  the  City  in  the  distance ;  from  the  hills  on  the  north- 
west.    From  a  photograph.     Borrowed  from  Dr.  Renniis  Peking. 

402.  Court  of  the  Observatory  at  Peking,  with  ancient  instruments  of  the 
Mongol  era.     Borrowed  from  the  Tour  du  Monde. 

409.  Marble  Archway  at  Keu-yung-kwan  in  the  Nankau  Pass.  Prom  a  photo- 
graph lent  by  W.  Lockhart,  Esq. 






I.  Obscurities  in  the  History  of  his  Life  and  Book. 
Ramusio's  Statements. 

I,  With  all  the  intrinsic  interest  of  Marco  Polo's  Book,  it 
may  perhaps  be  doubted  if  it  would  have  continued  to  exer- 
cise such  -fascination  on  many  minds  through  succes-  Obscurides 

r  1  f  rr         1  •  °^  Polo's 

sive  generations  were  it  not  for  the  difficult  questions  Book,  and 


which   it  suggests.      It  is  a  great  book  of  puzzles,  History, 
whilst  our  confidence  in  the  man's  veracity  is  such  that  we 
feel  certain  every  puzzle  has  a  solution. 

And  such  difficulties  have  not  attached  merely  to  the 
identification  of  places,  the  interpretation  of  outlandish  terms, 
or  the  illustration  of  obscure  customs  ;  for  strange  entangle- 
ments have  perplexed  also  the  chief  circumstances  of  the 
Traveller's  life  and  authorship.  The  time  of  the  dictation  of 
his  Book  and  of  the  execution  of  his  Last  Will  have  been 
almost  the  only  undisputed  epochs  in  his  biography.  The 
year  of  his  birth  has  been  contested,  and  the  date  of  his  death 
has  not  been  recorded  ;  the  critical  occasion  of  his  capture  by 
the  Genoese,  to  which  we  seem  to  owe  the  happy  fact  that  he 
did  not  go  down  mute  to  the  tomb  of  his  fathers,  has  been 
made  the  subject  of  chronological  difficulties  ;  there  are  in  the 
various  texts  of  his  story  variations  hard  to  account  for ;  the 
very  tongue  in  which  it  was  written  down  has  furnished  a 
question,  solved  only  in  our  own  age,  and  in  a  most  un- 
expected manner. 

2.  The  first  person  who  attempted  to  gather  and  string 
the  facts  of  Marco  Polo's  personal  history  was  his  Ramusio, 

.  .         his  earliest 

countryman,  the   celebrated  John    Baptist  Kamusio.  biographer. 

.  His  account 

His  essay  abounds  in  what  we  now  know  to  be  errors  ofPoio. 
of  detail,  but,  prepared  as  it  was  when  traditions  of  the  Tra- 
^  OL.   1.  c 


veller  were  still  rife  in  Venice,  a  g-enuine  thread  runs  through 
it  which  could  never  have  been  spun  in  later  days,  and  its 
presentation  seems  to  me  an  essential  element  in  any  full 
discourse  upon  the  subject. 

Ramusio's  preface  to  the  Book  of  Marco  Polo,  which  opens 
the  second  volume  of  his  famous  Collection  of  Voyages  and 
Travels,  and  is  addressed  to  his  learned  friend  Jerome  Fra- 
castoro,  after  referring  to  some  of  the  most  noted  geographers 
of  antiquity,  proceeds  :* — 

"  Of  all  that  I  have  named,  Ptolemy,  as  the  latest,  possessed  the  greatest 
extent  of  knowledge.  Thus,  towards  the  North,  his  knowledge  carries 
him  beyond  the  Caspian,  and  he  is  aware  of  its  being  shut  in  all  round 
like  a  lake, — a  fact  which  was  unknown  in  the  days  -of  Strabo  and  Pliny, 
though  the  Romans  were  already  lords  of  the  world.  But  though  his  know- 
ledge extends  so  far,  a  tract  of  1 5  degrees  beyond  that  sea  he  can  describe 
only  as  Terra  Incognita  ;  and  towards  the  South  he  is  fain  to  apply  the 
same  character  to  all  beyond  the  Equinoxial.  In  these  unknown  regions, 
as  regards  the  South,  the  first  to  make  discoveries  have  been  the  Portu- 
guese captains  of  our  own  age  ;  but  as  regards  the  North  and  North- 
East  the  discoverer  was  the  Magnifico  Messer  Marco  Polo,  an  honoured 
nobleman  of  Venice,  nearly  300  years  since,  as  may  be  read  more  fully  in 
his  own  Book.  And  in  truth  it  makes  one  marvel  to  consider  the  immense 
extent  of  the  journeys  made,  first  by  the  Father  and  Uncle  of  the  said 
Messer  Marco,  when  they  proceeded  continually  towards  the  East-North- 
East,  all  the  way  to  the  Court  of  the  Great  Can  and  the  Emperor  of  the 
Tartars  ;  and  afterwards  again  by  the  three  of  them  when,  on  their  return 
homeward,  they  traversed  the  Eastern  and  Indian  Seas.  Nor  is  that  all, 
for  one  marvels  also  how  the  aforesaid  gentleman  was  able  to  give  such 
an  orderly  description  of  all  that  he  had  seen  ;  seeing  that  such  an  accom- 
plishment was  possessed  by  very  few  in  his  day,  and  he  had  had  a  large 
part  of  his  nurture  among  those  uncultivated  Tartars,  without  any  regular 
training  in  the  art  of  composition.  His  Book  indeed,  owing  to  the  endless 
errors  and  inaccuracies  that  had  crept  into  it,  had  come  for  many  years 
to  be  regarded  as  fabulous  ;  and  the  opinion  prevailed  that  the  names  of 
cities  and  provinces  contained  therein  were  all  fictitious  and  imaginary^ 
without  any  ground  in  fact,  or  were  (I  might  rather  say)  mere  dreams. 
"  3.   Howbeit,  during  the  last  hundred  years,  persons  acc[uainted  with 

Persia  have  begun  to  recognize  the  existence  of  Cathay.  The 
vindicates  voyages  of  the  Portuguese  also  towards  the  North-East,  beyond 
Polos  Geo-     4-|^(j  Golden  Chersonese,  have  brought  to  knowledge  many  cities 

and  provinces  of  India,  and  many  islands  likewise,  with  those 
very  names  which  our  Author  applies  to  them  ;  and  again,  on  reaching 
the  Land  of  China,  they  have  ascertained  from  the  people  of  that  region 
(as  we  are  told  by  Sign.  John  De  Barros,  a  Portuguese  gentleman,  in  his 

*  The  Preface  is  dated  Venice,   7th  July,  1553.     Fracastorius  died  in  the  same 
year,  and  Ramusio  erected  a  statue  of  him  at  Padua.     Ramusio  himself  died  in . 

July,  1557. 


Geography)  that  Canton,  one  of  the  chief  cities  of  that  kingdom,  is  in  3of°  of 
latitude,  with  the  coast  running  N.E.  and  S.W.  ;  that  after  a  distance  of  275 
leagues  the  said  coast  turns  towards  the  N.W.  ;  and  that  there  are  three 
provinces  along  the  sea-board,  Mangi,  Zanton,  and  Ouinzai,  the  last  of 
which  is  the  principal  city  and  the  King's  Residence,  standing  in  46°  of 
latitude.  And  proceeding  yet  further  the  coast  attains  to  50°.*  Seeing 
then  how  many  particulars  are  in  our  day  becoming  known  of  that  part 
of  the  world  concerning  which  Messer  Marco  has  written,  I  have  deemed 
it  reasonable  to  publish  his  book,  with  the  aid  of  several  copies  written 
(as  I  judge)  more  than  200  years  ago,  in  a  perfectly  accurate  form,  and 
one  vastly  more  faithful  than  that  in  which  it  has  been  heretofore  read. 
And  thus  the  world  shall  not  lose  the  fruit  that  may  be  gathered  from  so 
much  diligence  and  industry  expended  upon  so  honourable  a  branch  of 

4.  Ramusio,  then,  after  a  brief  apologetic  parallel  of  the 
marvels  related  by  Polo  with  those  related  by  the  Ancients 
and  by  the  modern  discoverers  in  the  West,  such  as  Columbus 
and  Cortes,  proceeds  : — 

"  And  often  in  my  own  mind,  comparing  the  land  explorations  of  these 
our  Venetian  gentlemen  with  the  sea  explorations  of  the  aforesaid  Signer 
Don  Christopher,  I  have  asked  myself  which  of  the  two  were 
really  the  more  marvellous.     And  if  patriotic  prejudice  delude  cotnpares 
me  not,  methinks  good  reason  might  be  adduced  for  settinsf  ?°'°  V^^ 

1,1-  ,1  ^         ■  ,  ,  ,  Columbus. 

the  land  journey  above  the  sea  voyage.  Consider  only  what  a 
height  of  courage  was  needed  to  undertake  and  carry  through  so 
difficult  an  enterprise,  over  a  route  of  such  desperate  length  and  hard- 
ship, whereon  it  was  sometimes  necessary  to  carry  food  for  the  supply  of 
man  and  beast,  not  for  days  only  but  for  months  together.  Columbus,  on 
the  other  hand,  going  by  sea,  readily  carried  with  him  all  necessary  pro- 
vision, and  after  a  voyage  of  some  30  or  40  days  was  conveyed  by  the 
wind  whither  he  desired  to  go.  The  Venetians  again  took  a  whole  year's 
time  to  pass  all  those  great  deserts  and  mighty  rivers.  Indeed  that  the 
difficulty  of  travelling  to  Cathay  was  so  much  greater  than  that  of  reach- 
ing the  New  World,  and  the  route  so  much  longer  and  more  perilous,  may 
be  gathered  from  the  fact  that,  since  those  gentlemen  twice  made  this 
journey,  no  one  from  Europe  has  dared  to  repeat  it,t  whereas  in  the  very 
year  following  the  discovery  of  the  Western  Indies  many  ships  imme- 
diately retraced  the  voyage  thither,  and  up  to  the  present  day  continue  to 
do  so,  habitually  and  in  countless  numbers.  Indeed  those  regions  are 
now  so  well  known,  and  so  thronged  by  comnierce,  that  the  traffic  between 
Italy,  Spain,  and  England  is  not  greater." 

5.  Ramusio  goes  on  to  explain  the  light  regarding  the  first 
part  or  prologue  of  Marco  Polo's  book  that   he  had  derived 

*  The  Geography  of  De  Barros,  from  which  this  is  quoted,  has  never  been 
printed.     The  passage  does  not  seem  to  occur  in  the  Decades, 
t   A  grievous  error  of  Ramusio's. 

f    2 


from  a  recent  piece  of  luck  which  had  made  him  partially 
Recounts  a  acquainted  with  the  geography  of  Abulfeda,  and 
the  travel-      to    make  a    running   commentary  on  the  whole   of 

ler's  return 

to  Venice.  the  preliminary  narrative  until  the  final  return  of 
the  travellers  to  Venice  : — 

"  And  when  they  got  thither  the  same  fate  befel  them  as  befel  Ulysses, 
who,  when  he  returned,  after  his  twenty  years  wanderings,  to  his  native 
Ithaca,  was  recognized  by  nobody.  Thus  also  those  three  gentlemen 
who  had  been  so  many  years  absent  from  their  native  city  were  recog- 
nized by  none  of  their  kinsfolk,  who  were  under  the  firm  belief  that  they 
had  all  been  dead  for  many  a  year  past,  as  indeed  had  been  reported. 
Through  the  long  duration  and  the  hardships  of  their  journeys,  and 
through  the  many  worries  and  anxieties  that  they  had  undergone,  they 
were  quite  changed  in  aspect,  and  had  got  a  certain  indescribable  smack 
of  the  Tartar  both  in  air  and  accent,  having  indeed  all  but  forgotten  their 
Venetian  tongue.  Their  clothes  too  were  coarse  and  shabby,  and  of  a 
Tartar  cut.  They  proceeded  on  their  arrival  to  their  house  in  this  city  in 
the  confine  of  St.  John  Chrysostom,  where  you  may  see  it  to  this  day. 
The  house,  which  was  in  those  days  a  very  lofty  and  handsome  palazzo, 
is  now  known  by  the  name  of  the  Corte  del  Millioni  for  a  reason  that  I 
will  tell  you  presently.  Going  thither  they  found  it  occupied  by  some  of 
their  relatives,  and  they  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  making  the  latter 
understand  who  they  should  be.  For  these  good  people,  seeing  them  to 
be  in  countenance  so  unlike  what  they  used  to  be,  and  in  dress  so  shabby, 
flatly  refused  to  believe  that  they  were  those  very  gentlemen  of  the  Ca' 
Polo  whom  they  had  been  looking  upon  for  ever  so  many  years  as  among 
the  dead.  So  these  three  gentlemen, — this  is  a  story  I  have  often  heard 
when  I  was  a  youngster  from  the  illustrious  Messer  Gasparo  Malpiero, 
a  gentleman  of  very  great  age,  and  a  Senator  of  eminent  virtue  and 
integrity,  whose  house  was  on  the  Canal  of  Santa  Marina,  exactly  at  the 
corner  over  the  mouth  of  the  Rio  di  S.  Giovanni  Chrisostomo,  and  just 
midway  among  the  buildings  of  the  aforesaid  Corte  del  Millioni,  and  he 
said  he  had  heard  the  story  from  his  own  father  and  grandfather,  and 
from  other  old  men  among  the  neighbours, — the  three  gentlemen,  I  say, 
devised  a  scheme  by  which  they  should  at  once  bring  about  their  recog- 
nition by  their  relatives,  and  secure  the  honourable  notice  of  the  whole 
city  ;  and  this  was  it  : — 

"  They  invited  a  number  of  their  kindred  to  an  entertainment,  which 
they  took  care  to  have  prepared  with  great  state  and  splendour  in  that 
house  of  theirs  ;  and  when  the  hour  arrived  for  sitting  down  to  table  they 
came  forth  of  their  chamber  all  three  clothed  in  crimson  satin,  fashioned 
in  long  robes  reaching  to  the  ground,  such  as  people  in  those  days  wore 
within  doors.  And  when  water  for  the  hands  had  been  served,  and  the 
guests  were  set,  they  took  off  those  robes  and  put  on  others  of  crimson 
damask,  whilst  the  first  suits  were  by  their  orders  cut  up  and  divided 
among  the  servants.  Then  after  partaking  of  some  of  the  dishes  they 
went  out  again  and  came  back  in  robes  of  crimson  velvet,  and  when  they 
had  again  taken  their  seats,  the  second  suits  were  divided  as  before. 
When  dinner  was  over  they  did  the  like  with  the  robes  of  velvet,  after 


they  head  put  on  dresses  of  the  ordinary  fashion  worn  by  the  rest  of  the 
company.  These  proceedings  caused  much  wonder  and  amazement 
among  the  guests.  But  when  the  cloth  had  been  drawn,  and  all  the 
servants  had  been  ordered  to  retire  from  the  dining-hall,  Messer  Marco, 
as  the  youngest  of  the  three,  rose  from  table,  and,  going  into  another 
chamber,  brought  forth  the  three  shabby  dresses  of  coarse  stuff  which 
they  had  worn  when  they  first  arrived.  Straightway  they  took  sharp 
knives  and  began  to  rip  up  some  of  the  seams  and  welts,  and  to  take  out 
of  them  jewels  of  the  greatest  value  in  vast  quantities,  such  as  rubies, 
sapphires,  carbuncles,  diamonds  and  emeralds,  which  had  all  been 
stitched  up  in  those  dresses  in  so  artful  a  fashion  that  nobody  could  have 
suspected  the  fact.  For  when  they  took  leave  of  the  Great  Can  they  had 
changed  all  the  wealth  that  he  had  bestowed  upon  them  into  this  mass 
of  rubies,  emeralds,  and  other  jewels,  being  well  aware  of  the  impossi- 
bility of  carrying  with  them  so  great  an  amount  in  gold  over  a  journey  of 
such  extreme  length  and  difficulty.  Now  this  exhibition  of  such  a  huge 
treasure  of  jewels  and  precious  stones,  all  tumbled  out  upon  the  table, 
threw  the  guests  into  fresh  amazement,  insomuch  that  they  seemed 
quite  bewildered  and  dumbfounded.  And  now  they  recognized  that  in 
spite  of  all  former  doubts  these  were  in  truth  those  honoured  and  worthy 
gentlemen  of  the  Ca'  Polo  that  they  claimed  to  be  ;  and  so  all  paid  them 
the  greatest  honour  and  reverence.  And  when  the  story  got  wind  in 
Venice,  straightway  the  whole  city,  gentle  and  simple,  flocked  to  the  house 
to  embrace  them,  and  to  make  much  of  them,  with  every  conceivable 
demonstration  of  affection  and  respect.  On  Messer  Maffio,  who  was  the 
eldest,  they  conferred  the  honours  of  an  office  that  was  of  great  dignity 
in  those  days  ;  whilst  the  young  men  came  daily  to  visit  and  converse 
with  the  ever  polite  and  gracious  Messer  Marco,  and  to  ask  him  cfuestions 
about  Cathay  and  the  Great  Can,  all  which  he  answered  with  such  kindly 
courtesy  that  every  man  felt  himself  in  a  nianner  in  his  debt.  And  as 
it  happened  that  in  the  story,  which  he  was  constantly  called  on  to  repeat, 
of  the  magnificence  of  the  Great  Can,  he  would  speak  of  his  revenues 
as  amounting  to  ten  or  fifteen  millions  of  gold  ;  and  in  like  manner, 
when  recounting  other  instances  of  great  wealth  in  those  parts,  would 
always  make  use  of  the  term  millions,  so  they  gave  him  the  nickname  of 
Messer  Marco  Million:  :  a  thing  which  I  have  noted  also  in  the 
Public  Books  of  this  Republic  where  mention  is  made  of  him.*  The 
Court  of  his  House,  too,  at  S.  Giovanni  Chrisostomo,  has  always  from 
that  time  been  popularly  known  as  the  Court  of  the  Millioni. 

6.  "  Not  many  months  after  the  arrival  of  the  travellers  at  Venice,  news 
came  that  Lampa  Doria,  Captain  of  the  Genoese  Fleet,  had  advanced 
with  70  galleys  to  the  Island  of  Curzola,  upon  which  orders 
were  issued  by  the  Prince  of  the  Most  Illustrious  Signory  for  Marco's'cap- 
the  arming  of  90  galleys  with  all  the  expedition  possible,  and  '""^^  by  the 
Messer  Marco  Polo  for  his  valour  was  put  in  charge  of  one  of 
these.     So  he  with  the  others,  under  the  command  of  the  Most  Illustrious 
Messer  Andrea  Dandolo,  Procurator  of  St.  Mark's,  as  Captain  General, 

*  This  curious  statement  is  confirmed  by  a  passage  in  the  Records  of  the  Great 
Council,  which,  on  a  late  visit  to  Venice,  I  was  enabled  to  extract,  through  an 
obliging  communication  from  Professor  Minotto.     See  below,  p.  xcv. 


a  very  brave  and  worthy  gentleman,  set  out  in  search  of  the  Genoese 
Fleet.  They  fought  on  the  September  feast  of  Our  Lady,  and,  as  is  the 
common  hazard  of  war,  our  fleet  was  beaten,  and  Polo  was  made  prisoner. 
For,  having  pressed  on  in  the  vanguard  of  the  attack,  and  fighting  with  high 
and  worthy  courage  in  defence  of  his  country  and  his  kindred,  he  did  not 
receive  due  support,  and  being  wounded,  he  was  taken,  along  with  Dandolo, 
and  immediately  put  in  irons  and  sent  to  Genoa. 

"  When  his  rare  qualities  and  marvellous  travels  became  known  there, 
the  whole  city  gathered  to  see  him  and  to  speak  with  him,  and  he  was  no 
longer  entreated  as  a  prisoner  but  as  a  dear  friend  and  honoured  gentle- 
man. '^Indeed  they  showed  him  such  honour  and  affection  that  at  all 
hours  of  the  day  he  was  visited  by  the  noblest  gentlemen  of  the  city,  and 
was  continually  receiving  presents  of  every  useful  kind.  Messer  Marco 
finding  himself  in  this  position,  and  witnessing  the  general  eagerness  to 
hear  all  about  Cathay  and  the  Great  Can,  which  indeed  compelled  him 
daily  to  repeat  his  story  till  he  was  weary,  was  advised  to  put  the  matter 
in  writing.  So  having  found  means  to  get  a  letter  written  to  his  father 
here  at  Venice,  in  which  he  desired  the  latter  to  send  the  notes  and 
memoranda  which  he  had  brought  home  with  him,  after  the  receipt  of 
these,  and  assisted  by  a  Genoese  gentleman,  who  was  a  great  friend  of  his, 
and  who  took  great  delight  in  learning  about  the  various  regions  of  the 
world,  and  used  on  that  account  to  spend  many  hours  daily  in  the  prison 
with  him,  he  wrote  this  present  book  (to  please  him)  in  the  Latin  tongue. 

"  To  this  day  the  Genoese  for  the  most  part  write  what  they  have  to 
write  in  that  language,  for  there  is  no  possibility  of  expressing  their 
natural  dialect  with  the  pen.*  Thus  then  it  came  to  pass  that  the  Book 
was  put  forth  at  first  by  Messer  Marco  in  Latin  ;  but  as  many  copies  were 
taken,  and  as  it  was  rendered  into  our  vulgar  tongue,  all  Italy  became 
filled  with  it,  so  much  was  this  story  desired  and  run  after. 

7.  "  The  captivity  of  Messer  Marco  greatly  disturbed  the  minds  of 
Messer  Maffio  and  his  father  Messer  Nicolo.  They  had  decided,  whilst 
Ramusio's  Still  on  their  travels,  that  Marco  should  marry  as  soon  as  they 
Marco's  should  get  to  Venice  ;  but  now  they  found  themselves  in  this 
an"mar"  unlucky  pass,  with  so  much  wealth  and  nobody  to  inherit  it. 
riage.  Fearing  that   Marco's  imprisonment  might  endure  for  many 

years,  or,  worse  still,  that  he  might  not  live  to  quit  it  (for  many  assured 
them  that  numbers  of  Venetian  prisoners  had  been  kept  in  Genoa  a  score 
of  years  before  obtaining  liberty)  ;  seeing  too  no  prospect  of  being  able 
to  ransom  him, — a  thing  v.-hich  they  had  attempted  often  and  by  various 
channels, — they  took  counsel  together,  and  came  to  the  conclusion  that 
Messer  Nicolo,  who,  old  as  he  was,  was  still  hale  and  vigorous,  should 
take  to  himself  a  new  wife.  This  he  did  ;  and  at  the  end  of  four  years  he 
found  himself  the  father  of  three  sons,  Stefano,  Maffio,  and  Giovanni. 
Not  many  years  after,  Messer  Marco  aforesaid,  through  the  great  favour 
that  he  had  acquired  in  the  eyes  of  the  first  gentlemen  of  Genoa,  and 
indeed  of  the  whole  city,  was  discharged  from  prison  and  set  free.  Re- 
turning home  he  found  that  his  father  had  in  the  meantime  had  those 

*  This   rather  preposterous  skit  at    the   Genoese    dialect    naturally  excites    a 
remonstrance  from  the  Abate  Spotorno  (Sloria  Lclteraria  ddla  Ligiiria,  II.  217). 


three  other  sons.  Instead  of  taking  this  amiss,  wise  and  discreet  man 
that  he  was,  he  agreed  also  to  take  a  wife  of  his  own.  He  did  so  accord- 
ingly, but  he  never  had  any  son,  only  two  girls,  one  called  Moreta  and 
the  other  Fantina. 

"  When  at  a  later  date  his  father  died,  like  a  good  and  dutiful  son  he 
caused  to  be  erected  for  him  a  tomb  of  very  honourable  kind  for  those 
days,  being  a  great  sarcophagus  cut  from  the  solid  stone,  which  to  this 
day  may  be  seen  under  the  portico  before  the  church  of  St.  Lorenzo  in 
this  city,  on  the  right  hand  as  you  enter,  with  an  inscription  denoting  it  to 
be  the  tomb  of  Messer  Nicolo  Polo  of  the  contrada  of  S.  Gio.  Chrisostomo. 
The  arms  of  his  family  consist  of  a  Bend  with  three  birds  on  it,  and  the 
colours,  according  to  certain  books  of  old  histories  in  which  you  see  all 
the  coats  of  the  gentlemen  of  this  city  emblazoned,  are  the  field  azure, 
the  bend  argent,  and  the  three  birds  sable.  These  last  are  birds  of  that 
kind  vulgarly  termed  Pole,  or,  as  the  Latins  call  them,  Gracculi* 

8.  "  As  regards  the  after  duration  of  this  noble  and  worthy  family,  I 
find  that  Messer  Andrea  Polo  of  San  Felice  had  three  sons,  the  first  of 
whom  was  Messer  Marco,  the  second  Maffio,  the  third  Nicolo. 
The  two  last  were  those  who  went  to  Constantinople  first,  and  Ra'"iusio's 

'■  '  account  of 

afterwards  to  Cathay,  as  has  been  seen.     Messer  Marco  the  the  Family 
elder  being  dead,  the  wife  of  Messer  Nicolo  who  had  been  left  rerlninaUo'n 
at  home  with  child,  gave  birth  to  a  son,  to  whom  she  gave  the 
name  of  Marco  in  memory  of  the  deceased,  and  this  is  the  Author  of  our 
Book.     Of  the  brothers  who  were  born  from  his  father's  second  marriage, 
viz.,  Stephen,  John,  and  Matthew,   I  do  not  find   that  any  of  them  had 
children  except  Matthew.     He  had  five  sons  and  one  daughter  called 
Maria  ;  and  she,  after  the  death  of  her  brothers  without  offspring,  in- 
herited in  1417  all  the  property  of  her  father  and  her  brothers.     She  was 
honourably  married  to  Messer  Azzo  Trevisano  of  the  parish  of  Santo 
Stazio  in  this  city,  and  from  her  sprung  the  fortunate  and  honoured  stock 
of  the  Illustrious  Messer  DoMENico  Trevisano,  Procurator  of  St.  Mark's, 
and  valorous  Captain  General  of  the  Sea  Forces  of  the  Republic,  whose 
virtue  and  singular  good  qualities  are  represented  with  augmentation  in 

*  Jackda-ios  I  believe,  in  spite  of  some  doubt  frcm  the  imbecility  of  ordinary 
dictionaries  in  such  matters. 

They  are  under  this  name  made  the  object  of  a  similitude  by  Dante  (surely  a 
most  unhappy  one)  in  reference  to  the  resplendent  spirits  flitting  on  the  celestial 
stairs  in  the  sphere  of  Saturn  : — 

"  E  come  per  lo  natural  costume 

Le  Pole  insieme,  al  cominciar  del  giorno. 
Si  muovono  a  scaldar  le  fredde  piume  ; 
Poi  altre  vaniio  via  senza  ritorno, 
Altre  rivolgon  se,  onde  son  mosse, 
Ed  altre  roteando  fan  soggiorno." — Parad.  XXI.  34. 

There  is  some  difference  among  authorities  as  to  the  details  of  the  Polo  blazon. 
According  to  a  MS.  concerning  the  genealogies  of  Venetian  families  written  by 
Marco  Barbaro  in  1566,  and  of  which  there  is  a  copy  in  the  Museo  Civico,  the 
field  is  gitlcs,  the  bend  or.  And  this  I  have  followed  in  the  cut.  But  a  note 
by  S.  Stefani  of  Venice,  with  which  I  have  been  favoured  since  the  cut  was  made, 
informs  me  that  a  fine  fifteenth  century  MS.  in  his  possession  gives  the  field  as 
argent,  with  no  bend,  and  the  three  birds  j^/'/t- with  beaks  ^'vc/t'j-,  disposed  thus  %*. 


the  person  of  the  Most  Illustrious  Prince  Ser  Marc'  Antonio  Trevi- 
SANO,  his  son.* 

"  Such  has  been  the  history  of  this  noble  family  of  the  Ca'  Polo,  which 
lasted  as  we  see  till  the  year  of  our  Redemption  1417,  in  which  year  died 
childless  Marco  Polo,  the  last  of  the  five  sons  of  Maffeo,  and  so  it  came 
to  an  end.     Such  be  the  chances  and  changes  of  human  affairs  !  " 

Arms  of  the  Ca'  Polo. 

II.  Sketch  of  the  State  of  the  East  at  the  time  of  the 
Journeys  of  the  Polo  Family. 

9.  The  story  of  the  travels  of  the  Polo  family  opens  in 

Christendom  had  recovered  from  the  alarm  into  which  it 
had  been  thrown  some  18  years  before  when  the  Tartar  cata- 
stateofthe  ^lysm  had  threatened  to  engulph  it.  The  Tartars 
Levant.  thcmsclvcs  wcrc  already  becoming  an  object  of  curi- 
osity rather  than  of  fear,  and  soon  became  an  object  of 
hope,  as  a  possible  help  against  the  old  Mahomedan  foe. 
The  frail  Latin  throne  in  Constantinople  was  still  standing, 
but  tottering  to  its  fall.  The  successors  of  the  Crusaders 
still  held  the  Coast  of  Syria  from  Antioch  to  Jaffa,  though 
a  deadlier  brood  of  enemies  than  they  had  yet  encountered 
was  now  coming  to  maturity  in  the  Dynasty  of  the  Mame- 
lukes. The  jealousies  of  the  commercial  republics  of  Italy 
were  daily  waxing  greater.  The  position  of  Genoese  trade 
on  the  coasts  of  the  Aegean  was  greatly  depressed,  by  the 
predominance  which  Venice  had  acquired  there  by  her  part 
in  the  expulsion  of  the  Greek  Emperors,  and  which  won  for 

*  Marco  Antonio  Trevisano  was  elected  Doge,  4th  June,  1553,  but  died  on 
the  31st  of  May  following.  We  do  not  here  notice  Ramusio's  numerous  eiTors, 
which  will  be  corrected  in  the  sequel. 


the  Doge  the  proud  title  of  Lord  of  Three-Eighths  of  the 
Empire  of  Romania.  But  Genoa  was  biding  her  time  for  an 
early  revenge,  and  year  by  year  her  naval  strength  and  skill 
were  increasing.  Both  these  republics  held  possessions  and 
establishments  in  the  ports  of  Syria,  which  were  often  the 
scene  of  sanguinary  conflicts  between  their  citizens.  Alex- 
andria was  still  largely  frequented  in  the  intervals  of  war  as 
the  great  emporium  of  Indian  wares,  but  the  facilities  afforded 
by  the  Mongol  conquerors  who  now  held  the  whole  tract  from 
the  Persian  Gulf  to  the  shores  of  the  Caspian  and  of  the 
Black  Sea,  or  nearly  so,  were  beginning  to  give  a  great 
advantage  to  the  caravan  routes  which  debouched  at  the  ports 
of  Cilician  Armenia  in  the  Mediterranean  and  at  Trebizond 
on  the  Euxine.  Tana  (or  Azov)  had  not  as  yet  become  the 
outlet  of  a  similar  traffic ;  the  Venetians  had  apparently  fre- 
quented to  some  extent  the  coast  of  the  Crimea  for  local 
trade,  but  their  rivals  appear  to  have  been  in  great  measure 
excluded  from  this  commerce,  and  the  Genoese  establishments 
which  so  long  flourished  on  that  coast  are  first  heard  of  some 
years  after  a  Greek  dynasty  was  again  in  possession  of  Con- 

lo.  In  Asia  and  Eastern  Europe  scarcely  a  dog  might 
bark  without  Mongol  leave,  from  the  borders  of  Poland  and 
the  coast  of   Cilicia  to   the  Amur  and  the  Yellow  ™ 

1  he  various 

Sea.      The  vast  empire  which    Chinghiz    had    con-  Mongol 

quered  still  owned  a  nominally  supreme  head  in  the  ties  in  Asia 

ties in  Asis 
and  Eastern 

Great  Kaan,  but  practically  it  was  splitting  up  into  ^"■•"p^- 
several  great  monarchies  under  the  descendants  of  the  four 
sons  of  Chinghiz,  Juji,  Chagatai,  Okkodai,  and  Tuli  ;  and 
wars  on  a  vast  scale  were  already  brewing  between  them. 
Hulaku,  third  son  of  Tuli,  and  brother  of  two  Great  Kaans, 
Mangu  and  Kublai,  had  become  practically  independent  as 
ruler  of  Persia,  Babylonia,  Mesopotamia  and  Armenia,  though 
he  and  his  sons,  and  his  sons'  sons,  continued  to  stamp  the 
name  of  the  Great  Kaan  upon  their  coins,  and  to  use  the 
Chinese  seals  of  state  which  he  bestowed  upon  them. 

Barka,  son  of  Juji,  the  first  ruling  prince  of  the  House  of 
Chinghiz  to  turn  Mahomedan,  reigned  on  the  steppes  of  the 
Wolga,  where  a  standing  camp,  which  eventually  became  a 

See  Heyd,  Le  Colonic  Commerciali  degli  Italiani,  &c.,  passim. 


great  city  under  the  name  of  Sarai,  had  been  estabHshed  by 
his  brother  and  predecessor  Batu. 

The  House  of  Chagatai  had  settled  upon  the  pastures  of 
the  IH  and  the  valley  of  the  Jaxartes,  and  ruled  the  wealthy 
cities  of  Sogdiana. 

Kaidu,  the  grandson  of  Okkodai  who  had  been  the 
successor  of  Chinghiz  in  the  Kaanship,  refused  to  acknowledge 
the  transfer  of  the  supreme  authority  to  the  House  of  Tuli, 
and  was  through  the  long  life  of  Kublai  a  thorn  in  his  side, 
perpetually  keeping  his  north-western  frontier  in  alarm.  His 
immediate  authority  was  exercised  over  some  part  of  what  we 
should  now  call  Eastern  Turkestan  and  Southern  Central 
Siberia ;  whilst  his  hordes  of  horsemen,  force  of  character,  and 
close  neighbourhood  brought  the  Kaans  of  Chagatai  under 
his  influence,  and  they  generally  acted  in  concert  with  him. 

The  chief  throne  of  the  Mongol  Empire  had  just  been 
ascended  by  Kublai,  the  most  able  of  its  occupants  after  the 
Founder.  Before  the  death  of  his  brother  and  predecessor 
Mangu,  who  died  in  1259  before  an  obscure  fortress  of  Western 
China,  it  had  been  intended  to  remove  the  seat  of  government 
from  Kara  Korum  on  the  northern  verge  of  the  Mongolian 
Desert  to  the  more  populous  regions  that  had  been  conquered 
in  the  further  East,  and  this  step,  which  in  the  end  converted 
the  Mongol  Kaan  into  a  Chinese  Emperor,  was  carried  out 
by  Kublai. 

II.  For  about  three  centuries  the  Northern  provinces  of 
China  had  been  detached  from  native  rule,  and  subject  to 
foreign  dynasties  ;  first  to  the  KJiitan,  a  people  sup- 
posed to  have  been  akin  to  the  Tunguses,  whose  rule 
subsisted  for  200  years,  and  originated  the  name  of  Khitai, 
Khata,  or  Cathay,  by  which  for  nearly  looo  years  China  has 
been  known  to  the  nations  of  Inner  Asia,  and  to  those  whose 
acquaintance  with  it  was  got  by  that  channel.  The  Khitan, 
whose  dynasty  is  known  in  Chinese  history  as  the  Liao  or 
"Iron,"  had  been  displaced  in  1123  by  the  Churches  or 
Nyuche,  another  race  of  Eastern  Tartary,  of  the  same  blood 
as  the  modern  Manchus,  whose  Emperors  in  their  brief  period 
of  prosperity  were  known  by  the.  Chinese  name  of  Tai-A7;/, 
by  the  Mongol  name  of  the  Altun  Kaans,  both  signifying 
"  Golden."  Already  in  the  life-time  of  Chinghiz  himself  the 
northern  Provinces  of  China  Proper,  including  their  capital, 


known  as  Chung-tu  or  Yen-King,  now  Peking,  had  been 
wrenched  from  them,  and  the  conquest  of  the  dynasty  was 
completed  by  Chinghiz's  successor  Okkodai  in  1234. 

Southern  China  still  remained  in  the  hands  of  the  native 
dynasty  of  the  Sung,  who  had  their  capital  at  the  great  city 
now  well  known  as  Hangchau-fu.  Their  dominion  was  still 
substantially  untouched,  but  its  subjugation  was  a  task  to 
which  Kublai  before  many  years  turned  his  attention,  and 
which  became  the  most  prominent  event  of  his  reign. 

12.   In  India  the  most  powerful  sovereign  was  the  Sultan 
of  Delhi,  Nassir-uddin  Mahmud  of  the  Turki  house   of  Alt- 
mish ;  but,  though  both  Sind  and  Bengal  acknow- 
ledged his   supremacy,  no  part  of  Peninsular  India  and 
had  yet  been  invaded,  and  throughout  the  long  period 
of  our  Traveller's  residence  in  the  East  the  Kings   of  Delhi 
had  their  hands  too  full,  owing  to  the  incursions  of  the  Mon- 
gols across  the  Indus,  to  venture  on  extensive  campaigning 
in  the  south.     Hence  the  Dravidian   Kingdoms  of  Southern 
India  were   as  yet   untouched   by  foreign  conquest,   and  the 
accumulated    gold    of  ages    lay    in    their   temples    and   trea- 
suries, an  easy  prey  for  the  coming  invader. 

In  the  Indo-Chinese  Peninsula  and  the  Eastern  Islands  a 
variety  of  kingdoms  and  dynasties  were  expanding  and  con- 
tracting, of  which  we  have  at  best  but  dim  and  shifting 
glimpses.  That  they  were  advanced  in  wealth  and  art,  far 
beyond  what  the  present  state  of  those  regions  would  suggest, 
is  attested  by  vast  and  magnificent  remains  of  Architecture, 
nearly  all  dating,  so  far  as  dates  can  be  ascertained,  from 
the  1 2th  to  the  14th  centuries,  (that  epoch  during  which  an 
architectural  afflatus  seems  to  have  descended  on  the  human 
race),  and  which  are  found  at  intervals  over  both  the  Indo- 
Chinese  continent  and  the  Islands,  as  at  Pagan  in  Burma,  at 
Yuthia  in  Siam,  at  Ongkor  in  Kamboja,  at  Borobodor  and 
Brambanan  in  Java.  All  these  remains  are  deeply  marked  by 
Hindu  influence,  and,  at  the  same  time,  by  strong  peculiarities, 
both  generic  and  individual. 


III.  The  Polo  Family.    Personal  History  of  the  Travellers 

DOWN   to   their   final   RETURN   FROM    THE    EAST, 

13.  In  days  when  History  and  Genealogy  were  allowed  to 

draw  largely  on  the  imagination  for  the  origines  of  states  and 

families,  it  was  set  down  by  one  Venetian  Antiquary 

Alleged  .  _    -._ .  ^  _ 

origin  of       that    among   the  companions    of  Kmg  Venetus,  or 

the  Polos.  r    ^    •  A  r    rr^  1  1  ,       , 

of  rnnce  Antenor  of  Troy,  when  they  settled  on 
the  northern  shores  of  the  Adriatic,  there  was  one  Lucius 
POLUS,  who  became  the  progenitor  of  our  Traveller's  Family  ;* 
whilst  another  deduces  it  from  Paolo  the  first  Doge,|  (Paulus 
Lucas  Anafestus  of  Heraclea,  A.D.  696). 

More  trustworthy  traditions,  recorded  among  the  Family 
Histories  of  Venice,  but  still  no  more  it  is  believed  than 
traditions,  represent  the  Family  of  Polo  as  having  come  from 
Sebenico  in  Dalmatia,  in  the  1 1  th  century.  %  Before  the 
middle  of  the  following  century  they  had  taken  seats  in  the 
Great  Council  of  the  Republic ;  for  the  name  of  Pietro  Polo 
is  said  to  be  subscribed  to  an  act  of  the  time  of  the  Doge 
Domenico  Michiele  in  1122,  and  that  of  Domenico  Polo  to  an 
acquittance  granted  by  the  Doge  Domenico  Morosini  and  his 
Council  in  1153.  § 

The  ascertained  genealogy  of  the  Traveller,  however,  begins 
only  with  his  grandfather,  who  lived  in  the  early  part  of  the 
13th  century. 

Two  branches  of  the  Polo  Family  were  then  recognized, 
distinguished  by  the  confini  or  Parishes  in  which  they  lived,  as 

*  Ziirla,  I.  42,  quoting  a  MS.  entitled  Petrus  Ciera  S.  R.  E.  Card,  de  Origine 
Vencttvian  et  de  Civitate  Venetianun.  Cicogna  says  he  could  not  find  this  MS.  as 
it  had  been  carried  to  England  ;  and  then  breaks  into  a  diatribe  against  foreigners 
who  purchase  and  carry  away  such  treasures,  "not  to  make  a  serious  study  of 
them,  but  for  mere  vainglory  ...  .  or  in  order  to  write  books  contradicting  the 
very  MSB.  that  they  have  bought,  and  with  that  dishonesty  and  untruth  which 
are  so  notorious  ! "  (IV.  227). 

t  Cafupidoglio  Vaieto  of  Capellari  (MS.  in  St.  Mark's  Lib.)  quoting  "the 
Venetian  Annals  of  Giulio  Faroldi." 

X  The  Genealogies  of  Marco  Barbaro  specify  1033  as  the  year  of  the  migration  to 
Venice  ;  on  what  authority  does  not  appear  (MS.  copy  in  Miiseo  Civico  at  Venice). 

§  Capellari  u.  s.  and  Barbaro.  In  the  same  century  we  find  (1125,  1195)  indi- 
cations of  Polos  at  Torcello,  and  of  others  (1160)  at  Equileo,  and  (11 79,  1206) 
Lido  Maggiore  ;  in  11 54  a  Marco  Polo  of  Rialto.  Contemporary  with  these  is  a 
family  of  Polos  (1139,  1183,  1193,  1201)  at  Chioggia  {Documents  and  Lists  oj 
Documents  from  various  Archives  at  Venice). 


Polo  of  S,  Geremia,  and  Polo  of  S.  Felice.  Andrea  Polo  of 
S.  Felice  was  the  father  of  three  sons,  Marco,  Nicolo,  and 
Maffeo.     And  Nicolo  was  the  Father  of  our  Marco. 

14.  Till  quite  recently  it  had  never  been  precisely  ascer- 
tained whether  the  immediate  family  of  our  Traveller  be- 
longed to  the  Nobles  of  Venice  properly  so  called, 

who  had  seats  in  the  Great  Council  and  were  en-  be^s™ied 
rolled  in  the  Libro  d'Oro.  Ramusio  indeed  styles 
our  Marco  Mobile  and  Magnifico,  and  Rusticiano  the  actual 
scribe  of  the  Traveller's  recollections  calls  him  "safes  et  7toble 
citaiens  de  Venece,"  but  Ramusio's  accuracy  and  Rustician's 
precision  were  scarcely  to  be  depended  on.  Very  recently, 
however,  since  the  subject  has  been  discussed  with  accomplished 
students  of  the  Venice  Archives,  proofs  have  been  found 
establishing  Marco's  personal  claim  to  nobility,  inasmuch  as 
both  in  judicial  decisions  and  in  official  resolutions  of  the  Great 
Council,  he  is  designated  Nobilis  Vir ,  a  formula  which  would 
never  have  been  used  in  such  documents  {I  am  assured)  had 
he  not  been  technically  noble.* 

15.  Of  the  three  sons  of  Andrea  Polo  of  S.  Felice,  Marco 
seems  to  have  been   the   eldest,   and    Maffeo  the  youngest.! 
They  were  all    engaged    in    commerce,    and    appa- 
rently in  a  partnership,  which  to  some  extent  held  Marco  the 
good  even   when  the  two  younger  had  been  many 

years  absent  in  the  Far  East.J  Marco  seems  to  have  been 
established  for  a  time  at  Constantinople,  §  and  also  to  have 
had  a  house  (no  doubt  of  business)  at  Soldaia,  in  the  Crimea, 
where  his  son   and  daughter,   Nicolo  and  Maroca  by  name, 

*  See  Appendix  C,  Nos.  4,  5,  and  10.  It  was  supposed  that  an  autograph  of 
Marco  as  member  of  the  Great  Council  had  been  discovered,  but  this  proves  to 
be  a  mistake,  as  vv^ill  be  explained  further  on.  In  those  days  the  demarcation 
between  Patrician  and  non- Patrician  at  Venice,  where  all  classes  shared  in 
commerce,  all  were  (generally  speaking)  of  one  race,  and  where  there  were 
neither  castles,  domains,  nor  trains  of  horsemen,  formed  no  wide  gulf.  Still 
it  is  interesting  to  establish  the  verity  of  the  old  tradition  of  Marco's  technical 

t  Marco's  seniority  rests  only  on  the  assertion  of  Ramusio,  who  also  calls  Maffeo 
older  than  Nicolo.  But  in  Marco  the  Elder's  will  these  two  are  always  (3  times) 
specified  as  ^^  Nicolmcs  et  Alathens." 

X  This  seems  implied  in  the  Elder  Marco's  Will  (1280)  :  "  Item  de  bonis  qiui:  vie 
habere  contiiigunt  de  fraterna  Compagnia  a  suprascriptis  Nicolao  et  Matheo  Paulo," 

§  In  his  Will  he  terms  himself  "  Ego  Marcus  Paulo  quondam  de  Constan- 


were  living  in  1280.  This  year  is  the  date  of  the  Elder 
Marco's  Will,  executed  at  Venice,  and  when  he  was  "  weighed 
down  by  bodily  ailment."  Whether  he  survived  for  any 
length  of  time  we  do  not  know. 

16.  Nicolo  Polo,  the  second  of  the  Brothers,  had  two  legi- 
timate sons,  Marco  the  Author  of  our  Book,  born  in  1254,* 
-..   ,      ,     and  Maffeo,  of  whose  place  in  the  family  we  shall 

JVicolo  and  '  ■■■  •' 

Maffeo  coni-  j^^vc  a  fcw  words  to  Say  presently.     The  story  opens 

mence  their  J     r  J  j        c 

travels.  ^g  y^Q.  \y^v&  Said,  in  1260,  when  we  find  the  two 
brothers,  Nicolo,  and  Maffeo  the  Elder,  at  Constantinople. 
How  long  they  had  been  absent  from  Venice  we  are  not  dis- 
tinctly told.  Nicolo  had  left  his  wife  there  behind  him  ; 
Maffeo  apparently  was  a  bachelor.  In  the  year  named  they 
started  on  a  trading  venture  to  the  Crimea,  whence  a  succes- 
sion of  openings  and  chances,  recounted  in  the  Introductory 
chapters  of  Marco's  work,  carried  them  far  north  along  the 
Wolga,  and  thence  first  to  Bokhara  and  then  to  the  Court  of 
the  Great  Kaan  Kublai  in  the  far  East,  on  or  within  the 
borders  of  Cathay.  That  a  great  and  civilized  country  so 
called  existed  in  the  extremity  of  Asia  had  already  been 
reported  in  Europe  by  the  Friars  Piano  Carpini  (1246)  and 
William  Rubruquis  (1253),  who  had  not  indeed  reached  its 
frontiers,  but  had  met  with  its  people  at  the  Court  of  the 
Great  Kaan  in  Mongolia  ;  whilst  the  latter  of  the  two  had 
been  shrewd  enough  to  see  that  they  were  identical  with  the 
Seres  of  classic  fame. 

17.  Kublai  had  never  before  fallen  in  with  European 
gentlemen.  He  was  delighted  with  these  Venetians,  listened 
Their  inter-  ^^^^^  stroug  iutcrcst  to  all  that  they  had  to  tell  him 
Kublai'''"'  of  the  Latin  World,  and  determined  to  send  them 
^^^"-  back  as  his  ambassadors  to  the  Pope,  accompanied 
by  an  ofificer  of  his  own  court.  His  letters  to  the  Pope,  as  the 
Polos  represent  them,  were  mainly  to  desire  the  despatch  of  a 
large  body  of  educated  missionaries  to  convert  his  people  to 
Christianity.  It  is  not  likely  that  religious  motives  influenced 
Kublai  in  this,  but  he  probably  desired  religious  aid  in 
softening  and  civilizing  his  rude  kinsmen  of  the  Steppes,  and 
judged,  from  what  he  saw  in  the  Venetians  and  heard  from 

*  There  is  no  real  ground  for  doubt  as  to  this.     All  the  extant  MSS.  agree  in 
making  Marco  fifteen  years  old  when  his  father  returned  to  Venice  in  1269. 


them,  that  Europe  could  afford  such  aid  of  a  higher  quality 
than  the  degenerate  Oriental  Christians  with  whom  he  was 
familiar,  or  the  Tibetan  Lamas  on  whom  his  patronage  even- 
tually devolved  when  Rome  so  deplorably  failed  to  meet  his 

1 8.  The  Brothers  arrived  at  Acre  in  April,*  1269,  and 
found  that  no  Pope  existed,  for  Clement  IV.  was  dead  the 
year  before,  and  no  new  election  had  taken  place. 
So  they  went  home  to  Venice  to  see  how  things  home/a^nd"^ 
stood  there  after  their  absence  of  so  many  years,  pearance^'on 
The  wife  of  Nicolas  was  no  longer  among  the  living, 
but  he  found  his  son  Marco  a  fine  lad  of  fifteen. 

The  best  and  most  authentic  MSS.  tell  us  no  more  than 
this.  But  one  class  of  copies,  consisting  of  the  Latin  version 
made  by  our  Traveller's  contemporary,  Francesco  Pipino,  and 
of  the  numerous  editions  based  indirectly  upon  it,  represents 
that  Nicolas  had  left  Venice  when  Marco  was  as  yet  unborn, 
and  consequently  had  never  seen  him  till  this  return  from  the 
East  in  I26g.'\ 

We  have  mentioned  that  Nicolo  Polo  had  another  legiti- 
mate son,  by  name  Maffeo,  and  him  we  infer  to  have  been 
younger  than  Marco,  because  he  is  named  last  {Marcus  et 
Matkcus)  in  the  Testament  of  their  uncle  Marco  the  Elder. 
We  do  not  know  if  they  were  by  the  same  mother.  They 
could  not  have  been  so  if  we  are  right  in  supposing  Maffeo 
to    have  been    the    younger,    and    if  Pipino's    version    of  the 

*  Baldello  and  Lazari  say  that  the  Bern  MS.  specifies  30th  April  ;  but  this  is 
a  mistake. 

t  Pipino's  version  runs:  "  Invenit  Nicolaus  Paulus  uxorem  suani  defunctam, 
quae  in  recessu  ejus  praegnans  fuerat.  Invenitque  filium,  Marcum  nomine,  qui 
jam  annos  xv.  habebat  aetatis,  qui  post  decessum  ipsius  de  Venetiis  natus  fuerat 
de  uxore  praefata."  To  this  Ramusio  adds  the  further  particular  that  the  mother 
died  in  giving  birth  to  Mark. 

The  interpolation  is  older  even  than  Pipino's  vei'sion,  for  we  find  in  the  rude 
Latin  published  by  the  Societe  de  Geograj^hie  "  quam  cum  Venetiis  primo  recessit 
praegnantem  dimiserat."  But  the  statement  is  certainly  an  interpolaiion,  for  it 
does  not  exist  in  any  of  the  older  texts  ;  nor  have  we  any  good  reason  for  believing 
that  it  was  an  authorized  interpolation.  I  suspect  it  to  have  been  introduced  to 
harmonize  with  an  erroneous  date  for  the  commencement  of  the  travels  of  the  two 

Lazari  prints:  "  Messer  Nicolo  trovo  die  la  sua  donna  era  morta,  e  n'era 
rimasto  un  fanciullo  di  dodici  anni  per  nome  Marco,  die  il  fadie  non  avea  vediiio 
mai,  perche  non  era  ancor  naio  qiiando  egli partiT  These  words  have  no  equivalent 
in  the  French  Texts,  but  are  taken  from  one  of  the  Italian  MSS.  in  the  Magliabec- 
chian  Library,  and  are  I  suspect  also  interpolated.  The  dodici  is  pure  error  ;  (see 
p.  18,  infra). 



history  be  genuine.  If  however  we  reject  the  latter,  as  I 
incline  to  do,  no  ground  remains  for  supposing  that  Nicolo 
went  to  the  East  much  before  we  find  him  there,  viz.,  in  1 260, 
and  Maffeo  may  have  been  born  of  the  same  mother  during  the 

The  Piazzetta  at  Venice  ;  from  the  Bodleian  MS.  of  Polo. 

interval  between  1254  and  1260.  If  on  the  other  hand  Pipino's 
version  be  held  to,  we  must  suppose  that  Maffeo  (who  i.s 
named  by  his  uncle  in  1280,  during  his  father's  second  absence 
in  the  East)  was  born  of  a  marriage  contracted  during  Nicolo's 


residence  at  home  after  his  first  journey,  a  residence  which 
lasted  from  1269  to  1271.* 

19.  The  Papal  interregnum  was  the  longest  known,  at 
least  since  the  dark  ages.  Those  two  years  passed,  and  yet 
the  Cardinals  at  Viterbo  had   come    to    no    agree-  c      a 

o  second 

ment.  The  brothers  were  unwilling  to  let  the  Great  /he"poio°^ 
Kaan  think  them  faithless,  and  perhaps  they  han-  accompanied 
kered  after  the  virgin  field  of  speculation  that  they  ^y  Marco. 
had  discovered  ;  so  they  started  again  for  the  East,  taking 
young  Mark  with  them.  At  Acre  they  took  counsel  with  an 
eminent  churchman,  Tedaldo  (or  Tebaldo)  ViSCONTi  Arch- 
deacon of  Liege,  whom  the  Book  represents  to  have  been 
Legate  in  Syria,  and  who  in  any  case  was  a  personage  of 
much  gravity  and  influence.  From  him  they  got  letters  to 
authenticate  the  causes  of  the  miscarriage  of  their  mission, 
and  started  for  the  further  East.  But  they  were  still  at  the 
port  of  Ayas  on  the  Gulf  of  Scanderoon,  which  was  then 
becoming  one  of  the  chief  points  of  arrival  and  departure  for 
the  inland  trade  of  Asia,  when  they  were  overtaken  by  the 
news  that  a  Pope  w^as  at  last  elected,  and  that  the  choice  had 
fallen  upon  their  friend  Archdeacon  Tedaldo.  They  imme- 
diately returned  to  Acre,  and  at  last  were  able  to  execute  the 
Kaan's  commission,  and  to  obtain  a  reply.  But  instead  of  the 
hundred  able  teachers  of  science  and  religion  whom  Kublai 
is  said  to  have  asked  for,  the  new  Pope,  Gregory  X.,  could 
supply  but  two  Dominicans  ;  and  these  lost  heart  and  drew 
back  when  they  had  barely  taken  the  first  step  of  the  journey. 

*  The  last  view  is  in  substance,  I  find,  suggested  by  Cicogna  (ii.  389). 

The  matter  is  of  some  interest,  because  in  the  Will  of  the  younger  Maffeo, 
which  is  extant,  he  makes  a  bequest  to  his  uncle  {Avimciibis)  Jordan  Trevisan. 
This  seems  an  indication  that  his  mother's  name  may  have  been  Trevisan.  The 
same  Maffeo  had  a  daughter  Fiordelisa.  And  Marco  the  Elder,  in  his  Will  (1280), 
appoints  as  his  executors,  during  the  absence  of  his  brothers,  the  same  Jordan 
Trevisan  and  his  own  sister-in-law  Fiordelisa  ( ' '  Jordanum  Trevisanum  de  confinio 
S.  Antonini  et  Flordelisam  cognatam  meam."  Hence  I  conjecture  that  this  cognata 
Fiordelisa  (Trevisan  ?)  was  the  wife  of  the  absent  Nicolo,  and  the  mother  of 
Maffeo.  In  that  case  of  course  Maffeo  and  Marco  were  the  sons  of  different 
mothers.  With  reference  to  the  above  suggestion  of  Nicolo's  second  marriage  in 
1269  there  is  a  curious  variation  in  a  fragmentary  Venetian  Polo  in  the  Barberini 
Library  at  Rome.  It  runs,  in  the  passage  corresponding  to  the  latter  part  of 
chapter  ix.  of  Prologue  :  "  i  qual  do  fratelli  steteno  do  anni  in  Veniezia  aspettando 
la  ellelion  de  nuovo  Papa,  nel  qual  tempo  Mess.  Nicolo  si  iolse  moier  et  si  lo  lasb 
graveda."  I  believe,  however,  that  it  is  only  a  careless  misrendering  of  Pipino's 
statement  about  Marco's  liirth. 

VOL.  I.  d 


Judging  from  certain  indications  we  conceive  it  probable 
that  the  three  Venetians,  whose  second  start  from  Acre  took 
place  about  November  1271,  proceeded  by  Ayas  and  Sivas, 
and  then  by  Mardin,  Mosul,  and  Baghdad,  to  Hormuz  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Persian  Gulf,  with  the  view  of  going  on  by  sea, 
but  that  some  obstacle  arose  which  compelled  them  to 
abandon  this  project  and  turn  north  again  from  Hormuz. 
They  then  traversed  successively  Kerman  and  Khorasan,  Balkh 
and  Badakhshan,  whence  they  ascended  the  upper  Oxus  to 
the  Plateau  of  Pamer,  a  route  not  known  to  have  been  since 
followed  by  any  European  traveller  except  Benedict  Goes,  till 
the  spirited  expedition  of  Captain  John  Wood  of  the  Indian 
Navy  in  1838.*  Crossing  the  Pamer  steppe  the  travellers 
descended  upon  Kashgar,  whence  they  proceeded  by  Yarkand 
and  Khotan,  and  the  vicinity  of  Lake  Lob,  and  eventually 
across  the  Great  Gobi  Desert  to  Tangut,  the  name  then 
applied  by  Mongols  and  Persians  to  territory  at  the  extreme 
North-west  of  China,  both  within  and  without  the  Wall. 
Skirting  the  northern  frontier  of  China  they  at  last  reached 
the  presence  of  the  Kaan,  who  was  at  his  usual  summer 
retreat  at  Kaipingfu,  near  the  base  of  the  Khingan  Mountains, 
and  about  50  miles  north  of  the  Great  Wall.  If  there  be  no 
mistake  in  the  time  (three  years  and  a  half)  ascribed  to  this 
journey  in  all  the  existing  texts,  the  travellers  did  not  reach 
the  Court  till  about  May  of  I275.t 

20.   Kublai  received  the  Venetians  with  great  cordiality, 

and  took  kindly  to  young  Mark,  who  must  have  been  by  this 

time  one-and-twenty.     The  Joenne  BacJidcTy  as   the 

Marco's  1 1      i   ■  i     i   • 

employment   story  calls  limi,  applied   hmiself  to  the  acquisition  of 

by  Kublai  -^  '      rr  ^ 

Kaan :  and    tlic   lauguagcs   and   wdttcn   characters  in    chief  use 

his  journeys.  ^3^3 

among  the  multifarious  nationalities  included  in  the 
Kaan's  Court  and  administration  ;  and  Kublai  after  a  time, 
seeing  his  discretion  and  ability,  began  to  employ  him  in 
the  public  service.  M.  Pauthier  has  found  a  record  in  the 
Chinese  Annals  of  the  Mongol  Dynasty,  which  states  that  in 
the  year  1277,  a  certain  POLO  was  nominated  a  second-class 

*  It  is  stated  by  Neumann  that  Captain  Wood  once  intended  to  have  devoted 
a  special  work  to  the  ehicidation  of  Marco's  chapters  on  the  Oxus  Provinces,  and 
it  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  this  intention  has  never  been  fulfilled. 

t  Or,  perhaps  half  a  year  earlier,  if  we  suppose  the  three  years  and  a  half  to 
count  from  Venice  rather  than  Acre. 


commissioner  or  agent  attached  to  the  Privy  Council,  a 
passage  which  we  are  happy  to  beheve  to  refer  to  our  young 

His  first  mission  apparently  was  that  which  carried  him 
through  the  provinces  of  Shansi,  Shensi,  and  Ssechuen,  and  the 
wild  country  on  the  East  of  Tibet,  to  the  remote  province  of 
Yunnan,  called  by  the  Mongols  Karajang,  and  which  had 
been  partially  conquered  by  an  army  under  Kublai  himself  in 
1253,  before  his  accession  to  the  throne.t  Mark,  during  his 
stay  at  court,  had  observed  the  Kaan's  delight  in  hearing  of 
strange  countries,  their  marvels,  manners,  and  oddities,  and 
had  heard  his  Majesty's  frank  expressions  of  disgust  at  the 
stupidity  of  his  commissioners  when  they  could  speak  of 
nothing  but  the  official  business  on  which  they  had  been  sent. 
Profiting  by  these  observations,  he  took  care  to  store  his 
memory  or  his  note  books  with  all  curious  facts  that  were 
likely  to  interest  Kublai,  and  related  them  with  vivacity  on 
his  return  to  Court.  This  first  journey,  which  led  him  through 
a  region  which  is  still  very  nearly  a  terra  incognita,  and  in 
which  there  existed  and  still  exists,  among  the  deep  valleys 
of  the  Great  Rivers  flowing  down  from  Eastern  Tibet,  and  in 
the  rugged  mountain  ranges  bordering  Yunnan  and  Kweichau, 
a  vast  Ethnological  Garden,  as  it  were,  of  tribes  of  various 
race  and  in  every  stage  of  uncivilization,  afforded  him  an 
acquaintance  with  many  strange  products  and  eccentric  traits 
of  manners,  wherewith  to  delight  the  Emperor. 

Mark  rose  rapidly  in  favour,  and  was  often  employed  again 
on  distant  missions,  as  well  as  in  domestic  administration,  but 
we  gather  few  details  as  to  his  employments.  At  one  time 
we  know  that  he  held  for  three  years  the  government  of  the 
great  city  of  Yangchau,  though  we  need  not  try  to  magnify  this 

*  Fautliur,  p.  ix,  and  p.  361. 

t  That  this  was  Marco's  first  mission  is  positively  stated  in  the  Ramusian 
edition  ;  and  though  tliis  may  be  only  an  editor's  gloss  it  seems  well-founded. 
The  French  texts  say  only  that  the  Great  Kaan,  "  Tenvoia  en  un  message  en  unc 
terre  on  bien  avoit  vj.  mois  de  chemin."  The  traveller's  actual  Itinerary  affords  to 
Vochan  (Yurigchang),  on  the  frontier  of  Burma,  147  days'  journey,  which  with 
halts  might  well  be  reckoned  six  months  in  round  estimate.  And  we  are  enabled 
by  various  circumstances  to  fix  the  date  of  the  Yunnan  journey  between  1277  and 
1280.  The  former  limit  is  determined  by  Polo's  account  of  the  battle  with  the  Bur- 
mese, near  Vochan,  which  took  place  according  to  the  Chinese  Annals  in  1277. 
The  latter  is  fixed  by  his  mention  of  Kublai's  son,  Mangalai,  as  governing  at  Ken- 
janfu  (Singan-fu),  a  prince  who  died  in  1280.     (Sec  vol.  ii.  p.  17,  also  pp.  48,  49). 

d    2 


office,  as  some  commentators  have  done,  into  the  viceroyalty  of 
one  of  the  great  provinces  of  the  Empire ;  on  another  occasion 
we  find  him  with  his  uncle  Maffeo,  passing  a  year  at  Kanchau 
in  Tangut  ;  again,  it  would  appear,  visiting  Kara  Korum,  the 
old  capital  of  the  Kaans  in  Mongolia  ;  on  another  occasion 
in  Champa  or  Southern  Cochin  China ;  and  again,  or  perhaps 
as  a  part  of  the  last  expedition,  on  a  mission  to  the  Indian 
Seas,  when  he  appears  to  have  visited  several  of  the  southern 
states  of  India.  We  are  not  informed  whether  his  father  and 
uncle  shared  in  such  employments  * ;  and  the  story  of  their 
services  rendered  to  the  Kaan  in  promoting  the  capture  of  the 
city  of  Siangyang,  by  the  construction  of  powerful  engines  of 
attack,  is  too  much  perplexed  by  difficulties  of  chronology  to 
be  cited  with  confidence.  Anyhow  they  were  gathering  wealth, 
and  after  years  of  exile  they  began  to  dread  what  might 
follow  old  Kublai's  death,  and  longed  to  carry  their  gear  and 
their  own  grey  heads  safe  home  to  the  Lagoons.  The  aged 
Emperor  growled  refusal  to  all  their  hints,  and  but  for  a 
happy  chance  we  should  have  lost  our  medieval  Herodotus. 

21.  Arghun  Kaan  of  Persia,  Kublai's  great-nephew,  had 
in  1286  lost  his  favourite  wife  the  Khatun  Bulughan  ;  and, 
circum-  mourning  her  sorely,  took  steps  to  fulfil  her  dying 
the"Dep°r-  injuuctiou  that  her  place  should  be  filled  only  by  a 
PoTo°from  lady  of  her  own  kin,  the  Mongol  Tribe  of  Bayaut. 
Court.  Ambassadors  were  despatched  to  the  Court  of  Kaan- 

baligh  to  seek  such  a  bride.  The  message  was  courteously 
received,  and  the  choice  fell  on  the  Lady  Kukachin,  a  maiden 
of  17,  "  moult  hele  dame  et  avenanty  The  overland  road  from 
Peking  to  Tabriz  was  not  only  of  portentous  length  for  such  a 
tender  charge,  but  was  imperilled  by  war,  so  the  envoys 
desired  to  return  by  sea.  Tartars  in  general  were  strangers 
to  all  navigation  ;  and  the  envoys,  much  taken  with  the  Vene- 
tians, and  eager  to  profit  by  their  experience,  especially  as 
Marco  had  just  then  returned  from  his  Indian  mission,  begged 
the  Kaan  as  a  favour  to  send  the  three  Firinghis  in  their 
company.  He  consented  with  reluctance,  but,  having  done  so, 
fitted  the  party  out  nobly  for  the  voyage,  charging  the  Polos 

*  Excepting  in  the  doubtful  case  of  Kanchau,  where  one  reading  says  that  the 
three  Polos  were  there  on  business  of  their  own  not  necessary  to  mention,  and 
another,  that  only  Maffeo  and  Marco  were  there  "  t*«  legation.'''' 


with  friendly  messages  for  the  potentates  of  Europe,  including 
the  King  of  England.  They  appear  to  have  sailed  from  the 
port  of  Zayton  (as  the  Westerns  called  Thsiuanchau  or  Chin- 
chau  in  Fokien)  in  the  beginning  of  1292.  It  was  an  ill-starred 
voyage,  and  involved  long  detentions  on  the  coast  of  Sumatra, 
and  in  the  South  of  India,  to  which,  however,  we  are  indebted 
for  some  of  the  best  chapters  in  the  book  ;  and  two  years  or 
upwards  passed  before  they  arrived  at  their  destination  in 
Persia.*  The  three  hardy  Venetians  survived  all  perils,  and 
so  did  the  lady,  who  had  come  to  look  on  them  with  filial 
regard  ;  but  two  of  the  three  envoys,  and  a  vast  proportion  of 
the  suite,  had  perished  by  the  way.  Arghun  Kaan  too  had 
been  dead  even  before  they  quitted  China  f  ;  his  brother 
Kaikhatu  reigned  in  his  stead  ;  and  his  son  Ghazan  succeeded 
to  the  lady's  hand.  We  are  told  by  one  who  knew  both  the 
princes  well  that  Arghun  was  one  of  the  handsomest  men 
of  his  time,  whilst  Ghazan  was,  among  all  his  host,  one  of 
the  most  insignificant  in  appearance.  But  in  other  respects  the 
lady's  change  was  for  the  better.  Ghazan  had  some  of  the 
highest  qualities  of  a  soldier,  a  legislator  and  a  king,  adorned 
by  many  and  varied  accomplishments  ;  though  his  reign  was 
too  short  for  the  full  development  of  his  fame. 

22.  The    princess,   whose    enjoyment    of  her  royalty   was 
brief,  wept  as  she  took  leave  of  the  kindly  and   noble  Vene- 

*  Persian  histoiy  seems  to  fix  the  arrival  of  the  Lady  Kukachin  in  the  North  of 
Persia  to  the  winter  of  1293-4.  The  voyage  to  Sumatra  occupied  three  months 
(vol.  i.  p.  33)  ;  they  were  five  months  detained  there  (ii.  235)  ;  and  the  remainder 
of  the  voyage  extended  to  eighteen  more  (i.  33), — twenty-six  months  in  all. 

The  data  are  too  slight  for  unexceptionable  precision,  but  the  following  adjust- 
ment will  fairly  meet  the  facts.  Say  that  they  sailed  from  F'okien  in  January 
1292.  In  April  they  would  be  in  Sumatra,  and  find  the  S.W.  Monsoon  too  near 
to  admit  of  their  crossing  the  Bay  of  Bengal.  They  remain  in  port  till  September 
(five  months),  and  then  proceed,  touching  (perhaps)  at  Ceylon,  at  Kayal,  and  at 
several  ports  of  Western  India.  In  one  of  these,  e.g.  Kayal  or  Tana,  they  pass 
the  S.W.  Monsoon  of  1293,  and  then  proceed  to  the  Gulf.  They  reach  Hormuz 
in  the  M'inter,  and  the  camp  of  the  Persian  Prince  Ghazan,  the  son  of  Arghun, 
in  March,  twenty-six  months  from  their  departure. 

I  have  been  unable  to  trace  Hammer's  authority  (not  Wassaf  I  find),  which 
perhaps  gives  the  precise  date  of  the  Lady's  arrival  in  Persia  (see  infra,  p.  36). 
From  his  narrative,  however  [Gesch.  der  Ilchaite,  ii.  20),  March  1294  is  perhaps 
too  late  a  date.  But  the  five  month's  stoppage  in  Sumatra  vnist  have  been  in  the 
S.W.  Monsoon  ;  and  if  the  arrival  in  Persia  is  put  earlier,  Polo's  numbers  can 
scarcely  be  held  to.  Or,  the  eighteen  months  mentioned  at  vol.  i.  p.  t,-^,  must 
include  the  five  months'  stoppage.  We  may  then  suppose  that  they  reached  Hor- 
muz about  November,  1293,  and  Ghazan's  camp  a  month  or  two  later. 

t  Died  1 2th  March,  1291. 


tians.     They  went  on  to  Tabriz,  and  after  a  long  halt  there 
They  pass      proceedcd  homewards,  reaching  Venice,  according  to 
Jvenfce.      all  the  tcxts,  some  time  in  1295.* 
tionrther^e".  Wc  havc  related  Ramusio's  interesting  tradition, 

like  a  bit  out  of  the  Arabian  Nights,  of  the  reception  that  the 
Travellers  met  with  from  their  relations,  and  of  the  means 
that  they  took  to  establish  their  position  with  those  relations, 
and  with  Venetian  society,  t  Of  the  relations,  Marco  the 
Elder  had  probably  been  long  dead  | ;  Maffeo  the  brother  of 

*  All  dates  are  found  so  corrupt  that  even  in  this  one  I  do  not  feel  absolute 
confidence.  Marco  in  dictating  the  book  is  aware  that  Ghazan  had  attained  the 
throne  of  Persia  (see  vol.  i.  p.  34,  and  ii.  pp.  32  and  408),  an  event  which  did  not 
occur  till  October,  1295.  The  date  assigned  to  it,  however,  by  Marco  (ii.  408)  is 
1294,  or  the  year  before  that  assigned  to  the  return  home. 

The  travellers  may  have  stopped  some  time  at  Constantinople  on  their  way,  or 
even  may  have  visited  the  northern  shores  of  the  Black  Sea ;  otherwise,  indeed, 
how  did  Marco  acquire  his  knowledge  of  that  Sea  (ii.  418)  and  of  events  in  Kipchak 
(ii.  421,  seqq)  ?  If  1296  was  the  date  of  return,  moreover,  the  six-and-twenty  years 
assic^ned  in  the  preamble  as  the  period  of  Marco's  absence  (p.  2)  would  be  nearer 
accuracy.     For  he  left  Venice  in  the  spring  or  summer  of  1 271. 

f  Marco  Barbaro,  in  his  account  of  the  Polo  family,  tells  what  seems  to  be  the 
same  tradition  in  a  different  and  more  mythical  version  : — 

"  From  ear  to  ear  the  story  has  past  till  it  reached  mine,  that  when  the  three 
Kinsmen  arrived  at  their  home  they  were  dressed  in  the  most  shabby  and  sordid 
manner,  insomuch  that  the  wife  of  one  of  them  gave  away  to  a  beggar  that  came  to 
the  door  one  of  those  garments  of  his,  all  torn,  patched,  and  dirty  as  it  was.  The  next 
day  he  asked  his  wife  for  that  mantle  of  his,  in  order  to  put  away  the  jewels  that 
were  sewn  up  in  it  ;  but  she  told  him  she  had  given  it  away  to  a  poor  man,  whom 
she  did  not  know.  Now,  the  stratagem  he  employed  to  recover  it  was  this.  He 
went  to  the  Bridge  of  Rialto,  and  stood  there  turning  a  wheel,  to  no  apparent  pur- 
pose, but  as  if  he  were  a  madman,  and  to  all  those  who  crowded  round  to  see  what 
prank  was  this,  and  asked  him  why  he  did  it,  he  answered  :  '  He'll  come  if  God 
pleases.'  So  after  two  or  three  days  he  recognized  his  old  coat  on  the  back  of  one 
of  those  who  came  to  stare  at  his  mad  proceeding,  and  got  it  back  again.  Then, 
indeed,  he  was  judged  to  be  quite  the  reverse  of  a  madman  !  And  from  those 
jewels  he  built  in  the  contrada  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo,  a  very  fine  palace  for 
those  days  ;  and  the  family  got  among  the  vulgar  the  name  of  the  CaJ  Million, 
because  the  report  was  that  they  had  jewels  to  the  value  of  a  million  of  ducats  ; 
and  the  palace  has  kept  that  name  to  the  present  day — viz.,  1566."  {Genealogies, 
MS.  copy  in  Miiseo  Civico ;  quoted  also  by  Baldello  Boni,   Vita,  p.  xxxi). 

X  The  "Will  of  the  Elder  Marco,  to  which  we  have  several  times  referred,  is 
dated  at  Rialto  5th  August,  1280. 

The  testator  describes  himself  as  formerly  of  Constantinople,  but  now  dwelling 
in  the  confine  of  S.  Severe. 

His  brothers  Nicolo  and  Maffeo,  if  at  Venice,  are  to  be  his  sole  trustees  and 
executors,  but  in  case  of  their  continued  absence  he  nominates  Jordaiio  Treznsano, 
and  his  sister-in-law  Fiordelisa  of  the  confine  of  S.  Severo. 

The  proper  tithe  to  be  paid.  All  his  clothes  and  furniture  to  be  sold,  and  from 
the  proceeds  his  funeral  to  be  defrayed,  and  the  balance  to  purchase  masses  for  his 
soul  at  the  discretion  of  his  trustees. 

Particulars  of  money  due  to  him  from  his  jjartnership  with  Donato  Grasso,  now 


our  Marco  was  alive,  and  we  hear  also  of  a  cousin  {coiisan- 
giiineiis)  Felice  Polo,  and  his  wife  Fiordelisa,  without  being 
able  to  fix  their  precise  position  in  the  family.  We  know  also 
that  Nicolo,  who  died  before  the  end  of  the  century,  left 
behind  him  two  illegitimate  sons,  Stefano  and  Zannino.  It  is 
not  unlikely  that  these  were  born  from  some  connexion  en- 
tered into  during  the  long  residence  of  the  Polos  in  Cathay, 
though  naturally  their  presence  in  the  travelling  company  is 
not  commemorated  in  Marco's  Prologue.* 


AT  Venice. 

23.  We  have  seen  that  Ramusio  places  the  scene  of  the 
story  recently  alluded  to  at  the  mansion  in  the  parish  of 
S.    Giovanni    Grisostomo,    the    court    of   which   was  „ 


known  in  his  time  as  the  Corte  del  Millione  ;  and  in-  period  of 

'  their  e.>ta- 

deed  he  speaks  of  the  Travellers  as  at  once  on  their  ^''^hmentat 
arrival  resorting  to  that  mansion  as  their  family  resi-  Grisostomo. 
dence.     Ramusio's  details  have  so  often  proved  erroneous  that 
I  should  not  be  surprised  if  this  also  should  be  a  mistake. 

of  Justinople  (Capo  d'Istria),  1200  lire  \n  all,  (Fifty-two  lire  due  by  said  partner- 
ship to  Angelo  di  Tumba  of  S.  Severe). 

The  above  money  bequeathed  to  his  son  Nicolo,  living  at  Soldachia,  or  failing 
him,  to  his  beloved  brothers  Nicolo  and  Maffco.  Failing;  them,  to  the  sons  of  his 
said  brothers  {sic)  Marco  and  Alaffeo.  Failing  them,  to  be  spent  for  the  good  of 
his  soul  at  the  discretion  of  his  trustees. 

To  his  son  Nicolo  he  bequeaths  a  silver-wrought  girdle  of  vermilion  silk,  two 
silver  spoons,  a  silver  cup  without  handle,  his  desk,  two  pair  of  sheets,  a  velvet 
quilt,  a  counterpane,  a  feather-bed — all  on  the  same  conditions  as  above,  and  to 
remain  with  the  trustees  till  his  son  returns  to  Venice. 

Meanwhile  the  trustees  are  to  invest  the  money  at  his  son's  risk  and  benefit,  but 
only  here  in  Venice  (investiant  sen  investire  faciant). 

From  the  proceeds  to  come  in  from  his  partnership  with  his  brothers  Nicolo 
and  Maffeo,  he  bequeaths  200  lire  to  his  daughter  Maroca. 

From  same  source  100  lire  to  his  natural  son  Antony. 

Has  in  his  desk  {capsella)  two  hyperperae  (Byzantine  gold  coins),  and  three 
golden  florins,  which  he  bequeaths  to  the  sister-in-law  Fiordelisa. 

Gives  freedom  to  all  his  slaves  and  handmaidens. 

Leaves  his  house  in  Soldachia  to  the  Minor  Friars  of  that  place,  reserving  life- 
occupancy  to  his  son  Nicolo  and  daughter  Maroca. 

The  rest  of  his  goods  to  his  son  Nicolo. 

*  The  terms  in  which  the  younger  Maffeo  mentions  these  half-brothers  in  his 
Will  (1300)  seem  to  indicate  that  they  were  still  young. 



The  site  of  the 

Fig.  A. 
From  the  Dilrer  Map. 

A.D.   1500. 


At  least  we  find  (so  far  as  I  can  learn)  no  previous  intimation 
that  the  family  were  connected  with  that  locality.  The  grand- 
father Andrea  is  styled  of  San  Felice.  The  will  of  Mafifeo 
Polo  the  younger,  made  in  1300,  which  we  shall  give  hereafter 
in  abstract,  appears  to  be  the  first  document  that  connects  the 
family  with  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo.  It  indeed  styles  the 
testator's  father  "  the  late  Nicolo  Paulo  of  the  confine  of 
St.  John  Chrysostom,"  but  that  only  shows  what  is  not  dis- 
puted, that  the  Travellers  after  their  return  from  the  East 
settled  in  this  locality.  And  the  same  will  appears  to  indicate 
a  surviving  connexion  with  S.  Felice,  for  the  priests  and  clerks 
who  draw  it  up  and  witness  it  are  all  of  the  church  of  S.  Felice, 
and  it  is  to  the  parson  of  S.  Felice  and  his  successor  that  Maffeo 
bequeaths  an  annuity  to  procure  their  prayers  for  the  souls  of 
his  father,  his  mother,  and  himself,  though  after  the  successor 
the  annuity  is  to  pass  on  the  same  condition  to  the  senior 
priest  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo.  Marco  Polo  the  Elder  is 
in  his  will  described  as  of  ^S".  Scvero,  as  is  also  his  sister-in- 
law  Fiordelisa,  and  the  document  contains  no  reference  to 
S.  Giovanni.  On  the  whole  therefore  it  seems  probable  that 
the  Palazzo  in  the  latter  parish  was  purchased  by  the  Tra- 
vellers after  their  return  from  the  East.* 

24.  The  Court  which  was  known  in  the  i6th  century  as  the 
Corte  del  Millione  has  been  generally  understood  to  be  that 
now  known  as  the  Corte  Sabbionera,  and  here  is  still 
pointed  out  a  relic  of  Marco  Polo's  mansion.  ^^''"°(*"= 

M.  Pauthier's  edition  is  embellished  with  a  Pfood  'i'tS""'' 

o  .babbionera. 

engraving  which  purports  to  represent  the  House 
of  Marco  Polo.  But  he  has  been  misled.  His  engraving  in 
fact  exhibits,  at  least  as  the  prominent  feature,  an  embellished 
representation  of  a  small  house  which  exists  on  the  west  side 
of  the  Sabbionera,  and  which  had  at  one  time  perhaps  that 
pointed   style    of  architecture    which   his   engraving   shows, 

*  Marco  Barbaro's  story  related  at  p.  liv  speaks  of  the  Ca'  Million  as  hitilt  by 
the  travellers. 

From  a  list  of  parchments  existing  in  the  archives  of  the  Casa  di  Ricai<ero,  or 
Great  Poor  House,  at  Venice,  Signor  Berchet  obtained  the  following  indication  : — 

^''  No.  94.  Marco  Galletti  invests  Marco  Polo  S.  ^Nicolo  zoith  the  ownership  of 
his  possessions  (beni)  in  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo;  \o  September,  13 19;  drawn  up 
by  the  Notary  Nicolo,  priest  of  S.  Caiiciano''' 

This  document  would  perhaps  have  thrown  light  on  the  matter,  but  unfor- 
tunately recent  search  by  several  jiarlies  has  failed  to  trace  it. 


though  its  present  decoration  is  paltry  and  unreal.  But  it  is 
on  the  north  side  of  the  Court,  and  on  the  foundations  now 
occupied  by  the  Malibran  Theatre,  that  Venetian  tradition,  and 
the  investigations  of  Venetian  antiquaries  concur  in  indicating 
the  site  of  the  Casa  Polo.  At  the  end  of  the  i6th  century 
a  great  fire  destroyed  the  Palazzo,*  and  under  the  description 
of  "  an  old  mansion  ruined  from  the  foundation "  it  passed 
into  the  hands  of  one  Stefano  Vecchia,  who  sold  it  in  1678 
to  Giovanni  Carlo  Grimani.  He  built  on  the  site  of  the 
ruins  a  theatre  which  was  in  its  day  one  of  the  largest  in 
Italy,  and  was  called  the  Theatre  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo ; 
afterwards  the  Tcatro  Emeronitio.  When  modernized  in  our 
own  day  the  proprietors  gave  it  the  name  of  Malibran,  in 
honour  of  that  famous  singer,  and  this  it  still  bears.f 

There  is  still  to  be  seen  on  the  north  side  of  the  Court  an 
arched  doorway  in  Italo-Byzantine  style,  richly  sculptured 
with  scrolls,  disks,  and  symbolical  animals,  and  on  the  wall 
above  the  doorway  is  a  cross  similarly  ornamented.^  The 
style  and  the  decorations  are  those  which  were  usual  in 
Venice  in  the  13th  century.  The  arch  opens  into  a  passage 
from  which  a  similar  doorway  at  the  other  end,  also  retain- 
ing some  ^scantier  relics  of  decoration,  leads  to  the  entrance 
of  the  Malibran  Theatre.  Over  the  archway  in  the  Corte 
Sabbionera  the  building  rises  into  a  kind  of  tower.  This,  as 
well  as  the  sculptured  arches  and  cross,  Signor  Casoni,  who 
gave  a  good  deal  of  consideration  to  the  subject,  believed  to 
be  a  relic  of  the  old  Polo  House.  But  the  tower  (which 
Pauthier's  view  does  show)  is  now  entirely  modernized.  § 

Other  remains  of  Byzantine  sculpture,  which  are  probably 
fragments  of  the  decoration  of  the  same  mansion,  are  found 
imbedded    in  the   walls   of  neighbouring  houses.  ||     It  is    im- 

*  "  Sua  casa  che  era  posta  nel  confin  di  S.  Giovanni  Clirisostomo,  cJie  kor 

fa  r  anno  s'abbrugib  totabnente,  con  gran  danno  di  molti."  {Doglioni,  Hist.  Vendiana, 
Ven.  1598,  p.  161-2.) 

\  See  a  paper  by  G.  C.  (the  Engineer  Giovanni  Casoni)  in  Teatro  Emeronitio, 
Almanacco  pej- r An)io  1835. 

X  Tliis  Cross  is  engraved  by  Mr.  Ruskin  in  vol.  ii.  of  the  Stones  of  Venice ;  see 
p.  139,  and  PI.  xi.  Fig.  4. 

§  Casoni's  only  doubt  was  whether  the  Corte  del  Alillione  was  what  is  now  the 
Sabbionera,  or  the  interior  area  of  the  theatre.     The  latter  seems  most  probable. 

Our  Frontispiece  to  this  volume  shows  the  archway  in  the  Corte  Sabbionera, 
and  also  the  decorations  of  the  soffit. 

II  See  Ruskin,  iii.  320. 


possible  to  determine  anything  further  as  to  the  form  or 
extent  of  the  house  of  the  time  of  the  Polos,  but  some  slight 
idea  of  its  appearance  about  the  year  1500  may  be  seen  in 
the  extract  (fig.  A)  which  we  give  from  the  famous  map  of 
Venice  attributed  erroneously  to  Albert  Diirer.  The  state  of 
the  buildings  in  the  last  century  is  shown  in  (fig.  B)  an  extract 
from  the  fine  Hap  of  Ughi ;  and  their  present  condition  in 
one  (fig.  c)  reduced  from  the  Modern  Official  Map  of  the 

In  the  year  1827  the  Abate  Zenier  caused  a  Tablet  to  be 
put  up  between  the  Corte  Sabbionera  and  the  Theatre,  with 
this  inscription  : — 




24  a.  I  believe  that  of  late  years  some  doubts  have  been 
thrown  on  the  tradition  of  the  site  indicated  as  that  of  the 
Casa  Polo,  though  I  am  not  aware  of  the  grounds  of  Recent  cor- 
such  doubts.  But  a  document  recently  discovered  as^'to'^the  tVa- 
at  Venice  by  Signor  Barozzi,  one  of  a  series  relating  oahTcasa 
to  the  testamentary  estate  of  Marco  Polo,  goes  far  ^"''^' 
to  confirm  the  tradition.  This  is  the  copy  of  a  technical 
definition  of  two  pieces  of  house  property  adjoining  the  pro- 
perty of  Marco  Polo  and  his  brother  Stephen,  which  were  sold 
to  Marco  Polo  by  his  wife  Donata*  in  June  1321.  Though  the 
definition  is  not  decisive,  from  the  rarity  of  topographical  re- 
ferences and  absence  of  points  of  the  compass,  the  description 
of  Donata's  tenements  as  standing  on  the  Rio  (presumably 
that  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo)  on  one  side,  opening  by 
certain  porticoes  and  stairs  on  the  other  to  the  Court  and 
common  alley  leading  to  the  Church  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo, 
and  abutting  in  two  places  on  the  Ca'  Polo  the  property  of 
her  husband  and  Stefano,  will  apply  perfectly  to  a  building 
occupying  the  western  portion  of  the  area  on  which  now  stands 
the  Theatre,  and  perhaps  forming  the  western  side  of  a  Court 
of  which  Casa  Polo  formed  the  other  three  sides. f 

*  Sig.  Barozzi  writes:  "Among  us,  contracts  between  husband  and  wife  are 
and  were  very  common,  and  recognized  by  law.  The  wife  sells  to  the  husband 
property  not  included  in  dowry,  or  that  she  may  have  inherited,  just  as  any  third 
person  might." 

t  See  an  abstract  of  the  document  in  Appendix  C,  No.  lo. 


We  know  nothing  more  of  Polo  till  we  find  him  appearing 
a  year  or  two  later  in  rapid  succession  as  the  Captain  of  a 
Venetian  Galley,  as  a  prisoner  of  war,  and  as  an  author. 

V.  Digression  concerning  the  War-Galleys  of  the  Medi- 
terranean States  in  the  Middle  Ages. 

25.  And  before  entering  on  this  new  phase  of  the  Traveller's 

biography  it  may  not  be  without  interest  that  we  say  some- 

thinsr  res-arding-  the  equipment  of  those  galleys  which 

Arrange-  fc>S3  fc>  iJ- 

mentofthe     ^j-g    gQ   prominent    in    the    medieval    history    of  the 

Rowers  in  ••■ 

Medieval       Mediterranean.* 

Galleys  ;  a 

separate  oar  Eschcwing  that  "  Scrbonian  Bog,  where   armies 

to  every  <=>  "=" 

"'^"-  whole  have  sunk  "  of  Books  and  Commentators,  the 

theory  of  the  classification  of  the  Biremes  and  Triremes  of  the 
Ancients,  we  can  at  least  assert  on  secure  grounds  that  in 
medieval  armament,  up  to  the  middle  of  the  i6th  century  or 
thereabouts,  the  characteristic  distinction  of  galleys  of  different 
calibres,  so  far  as  such  differences  existed,  was  based  on  the 
number  of  rowers  that  sat  on  one  bench  pulling  each  his  separate 
oar,  bnt  throngh  one  portella  or  rozvlock-port.\  And  to  the 
classes  of  galleys  so  distinguished  the  Italians,  of  the  later 
Middle  Age  at  least,  did  certainly  apply,  rightly  or  wrongly, 
the  classical  terms  of  Birenie,  Trireme,  and  Quinqnereme,  in 
the  sense  of  galleys  having  two  men  and  two  oars  to  a  bench, 
three  men  and  three  oars  to  a  bench,  and  five  men  and  five 
oars  to  a  bench.  % 

That  this  was  the  medieval  arrangement  is  very  certain 
from  the  details  afforded  by  Marino  Sanuto  the  Elder,  con- 
firmed by  later  writers  and  by  works  of  art.  Previous  to 
1290,  Sanuto  tells  us,  almost  all  the  galleys  that  went  to  the 

*  I  regret  not  to  have  had  access  to  Jal's  learned  memoirs  {Archcologie  Navale, 
Paris,  1839),  whilst  writing  this  section.  Since  doing  so  I  have  just  been  able  to 
look  hastily  throngh  his  Essay  on  the  diiUcult  subject  of  the  oar  ari-angements,  and 
I  see  that  he  does  not  admit  so  great  a  number  of  oars  as  I  have  deduced  from  the 
statements  of  Sanuto  and  others. 

t  It  seems  the  more  desirable  to  elucidate  this,  because  writers  on  medieval 
subjects  so  accomplished  as  Buchon  and  Capmany  have  (it  would  seem)  entirely 
misconceived  the  matter,  assuming  that  all  the  men  on  one  bench  pulled  at  one  oar. 

%  See  Corondli,  Atlante  Vencio,  I.  139,  140.  Marino  Sanuto  the  Elder,  though 
not  using  the  term  trireme,  says  it  was  well  understood  from  ancient  authors  that 
the  Romans  employed  their  rowers  Ihrcc  lo  a  bcitcli  (ji.  59). 


Levant  had  but  two  oars  and  men  to  a  bench  ;  but  as  it  had 
been  found  that  three  oars  and  men  to  a  bench  could  be  em- 
ployed with  great  advantage,  after  that  date  nearly  all  galleys 
adopted  this  arrangement,  which  was  called  ai  Terzaruoli* 

Moreover  experiments  made  by  the  Venetians  in  1316  had 
shown  that  four  rowers  to  a  bench  could  be  employed  still 
more  advantageously.  And  where  the  galleys  could  be  used 
on  inland  waters,  and  could  be  made  more  bulky,  Sanuto  would 
even  recommend  five  to  a  bench,  or  have  gangs  of  rowers  on 
two  decks  with  either  three  or  four  men  to  the  bench  on  each 

26.  This  system  of  grouping  the  oars,  and  putting  only 
one  man  to  an  oar,  continued  down  to  the  i6th  century, 
during   the  first    half  of  which    came    in    the    more  ,,,         , 

<>  Change  of 

modern  system  of  using  great  oars,  equally  spaced,  fif^ 'fgiy" 
and  requiring  from  four  to  seven  men  each  to  ply  century, 
them,  in  the  manner  which  endured  till  late  in  the  last  cen- 
tury, when  galleys  became  altogether  obsolete.  Captain 
Pantero  Pantera,  the  author  of  a  work  on  Naval  Tactics 
{1616),  says  he  had  heard,  from  veterans  who  had  commanded 
galleys  equipped  in  the  antiquated  fashion,  that  three  men  to 
a  bench,  with  separate  oars,  answered  better  than  three  men 
to  one  great  oar,  but  four  men  to  one  great  oar  (he  says)  were 
certainly  more  efficient  than  four  men  with  separate  oars. 
The  new-fashioned  great  oars,  he  tells  us,  were  styled  Rend 
di  Scaloccio,  the  old  grouped  oars  Rcjiii  a  Zcnzile, — terms  the 
etymology  of  which  I  cannot  explain.f 

It  may  be  doubted  whether  the  four-banked  and  five- 
banked  galleys,  of  which  Marino  Sanuto  speaks,  really  then 
came  into  practical  use..  A  great  five-banked  galley  on  this 
system,  built  in  1529  in  the  Venice  Arsenal  by  Vettor  Fausto, 
was  the  subject  of  so  much  talk  and  excitement,  that  it  must 

*  '''■Ad  terzarolos^''  {Sccreta  Fiddiitm  Crncis,  p.  57).  The  Catalan  Worthy, 
Ramon  de  Muntaner,  indeed  constantly  denounces  the  practice  of  manning  all  the 
galleys  with  terzaruoli,  or  tcrsols,  as  his  term  is.  But  his  i-eason  is  that  these 
tliirdsmen  were  taken  from  the  oar  when  crossbowmen  were  wanted,  to  act  in  that 
capacity,  and  as  such  they  were  good  for  nothing  ;  the  crossbowmen,  he  insists, 
should  be  men  specially  enlisted  for  that  service  and  kept  to  that.  He  would  have 
some  10  or  20  per  cent,  only  of  the  fleet  built  very  light  and  manned  in  threes. 
He  does  not  seem  to  have  contemplated  oars  three-banked,  and  crossbowmen 
besides,  as  Sanuto  does  (see  below  ;  and  Muntaner,  pp.  288,  323,  525,  &c.) 

t  L Armata  Navale,  Roma,  16 16,  pp.  1 50-151. 



,  i  jriUiiiMJl^iililiM^^i^ 


evidently  have  been  something  quite  new  and  unheard  of.* 
So  late  as  1 567  indeed  the  King  of  Spain  built  at  Barcelona 
a  galley  of  thirty-six  benches  to  the  side,  and  seven  men  to 
the  bench,  with  a  separate  oar  to  each  in  the  old  fashion.  But 
it  proved  a  failure,  f 

Down  to  the  introduction  of  the  great  oars  the  usual 
system  appears  to  have  been  three  oars  to  a  bench  for  the 
larger  galleys,  and  two  oars  for  lighter  ones.  The  fiiste  or 
lighter  galleys  of  the  Venetians  even  to  about  the  middle  of 
the  1 6th  century  had  their  oars  in  pairs  from  the  stem  to  the 
mast,  and  single  oars  only  from  the  mast  forward.  % 

27.  Returning  then  to  the  three-banked  and  two-banked 
galleys  of  the  latter  part  of  the  13th  centur}',  the  number  of 
benches  on  each  side  seems  to  have  run  from  twenty-  gome  details 
five  to  twenty-eight,  at  least  as  I  interpret  Sanuto's  cLI'uo-^'^ 
calculations.  The  lOO-oared  vessels  often  mentioned  '^^"^>'^- 
{e.g.  by  Miuitaner,  p.  419)  were  probably  two-banked  vessels 
with  twenty-five  benches  to  a  side. 

The  galleys  were  verj-  narrow,  only  15^  feet  in  beam.§ 
But  to  give  room  for  the  play  of  the  oars  and  the  passage  of 
the  fighting-men,  &c.,  this  vridth  was  largely  augmented  by 
an  opera-viorta,  or  outrigger  deck,  projecting  much  beyond  the 
ship's  sides  and  supported  by  timber  brackets.  |1  I  do  not  find 
it  stated  how  great  this  projection  in  the  medieval  galleys, 
but  in  those  of  the  1 7th  century  it  was  o?i  each  side  as  much 
as  f  ths  of  the  true  beam.  And  if  it  was  as  great  in  the  1 3th 
century  galleys  the  total  width  between  the  false  gunnels 
would  be  about  22^  feet. 

In  the  centre  line  of  the  deck  ran,  the  whole  length  of 
the  vessel,  a  raised  gangway  called  the  corsia,  for  passage 
clear  of  the  oars. 

*  See  a  work  to  which  I  am  indebted  for  a  good  deal  of  light  and  information, 
the  Engineer  Giovanni  Casoni's  Essay  ' '  Dei  Navigli  Poliremi  usati  nella  Marina 
dagli  Antichi  Vemziani,"  in  ^'  Eserci/azioni  diW  Atetieo  Veneto,  vol.  ii.  p.  338. 
This  great  Qiiinqiiereme,  as  it  was  styled,  is  stated  to  have  been  struck  by  a  fire- 
arrow  and  blown  up,  in  January  1 5  70. 

t  Patitera,  p.  22. 

\  Lazarus  Bayfius  de  Re  Navali  Vefertim,  in  Gronoz-ii  Thcsaitrits,  Yen.  1737, 
voL  xi.  p.   581.      This  writer  also  speaks  of  the  Quinquereme  mentioned  above 

(P-  577)- 

§  Marino  Samito,  p.  65. 

II  See  the  woodcuts  opposite,  and  at  p.  Ixvi ;  also  Pantera,  p.  46  (who  is  here, 
however,  speaking  of  the  great-oared  galleys),  and  Coronclli,  i.  140. 






The  benches  were  arranged  as  in  this  diagram.  The  part 
of  the  bench  next  the  gunnel  was  at  right  angles  to  it,  but 
the  other  two-thirds  of  the  bench  were 
thrown  forward  obliquely,  a,  b,  c,  in- 
dicate the  position  of  the  three  rowers. 
The  shortest  oar  a  was  called  Tcr- 
licchio,  the  middle  one  b  Pasticcio,  the 
long  oar  c  Piamero* 

I  do  not  find  any  information  as  to 
how  the  oars  worked  on  the  gunnels. 
The  Siena  fresco  (see  p.  Ixii)  appears  to 
show  them  attached  by  loops  and  pins, 
which  is  the  usual  practice  in  boats 
of  the  Mediterranean  now.  In  the  cut 
from  Tintoretto  (p.  Ixvi)  the  groups 
of  oars  protrude  through  regular  ports  in  the  bulwarks,  but 
this  probably  represents  the  use  of  a  later  day.  In  any  case 
the  oars  of  each  bench  must  have  worked  in  very  close  prox- 
imity. Sanuto  states  the  length  of  the  galleys  of  his  time 
(1300- 1 320)  as  117  feet.  This  was  doubtless  length  oi  keel, 
for  that  is  specified  ("  da  riioda  a  ruoda")  in  other  Venetian 
measurements,  but  the  whole  oar  space  could  scarcely  have 
been  so  much,  and  with  twenty-eight  benches  to  a  side  there 
could  not  have  been  more  than  4  feet  gunnel-space  to  each 
bench.  But  as  one  of  the  objects  of  the  grouping  of  the  oars 
was  to  allow  room  between  the  benches  for  the  action  of  cross- 
bowmen,  &c.,  it  is  plain  that  the  rowlock  space  for  the  three 
oars  must  have  been  very  much  compressed.! 

*  Casoni,  p.  324.  He  obtains  these  particulars  from  a  manuscript  worl<  of  the 
16th  century  by  Cristoforo  Canale. 

t  Signer  Casoni  (p.  324)  expresses  his  belief  that  no  galley  of  the  14th  century 
had  more  than  100  oars.  I  hesitate  to  differ  from  him,  and  still  more  as  I  find 
M.  Jal  takes  a  like  view.  I  will  state  the  grounds  on  which  I  had  come  to  a 
different  conclusion,  (i)  Marino  Sanute  assigns  180  rowers  for  a  galley  equipped 
ai  Terzaruoli  (p.  75).  This  seemed  to  imply  something  near  180  oars,  for  I  do  not 
find  any  allusion  to  reliefs  being  provided.  In  the  French  galleys  of  last  centuiy 
there  were  no  reliefs  except  in  this  way,  that  in  long  runs  without  urgency  only  half 
the  oars  were  pulled  (see  JSIem.  d^itn  Protestant  coiidamne  aiix  Galeres,  &c.,  Reim- 
primes,  Paris,  1865,  p.  447).  If  four  men  to  a  bench  were  to  be  employed,  then 
Sanuto  seems  to  calculate  for  his  smaller  galleys  220  men  actually  rowing  (see 
pp.  75-78).  This  seems  to  assume  55  benches,  i.  e.,  28  on  one  side  and  27  on  the 
other,  which  with  3-banked  oars  would  give  165  rowers.  (2)  Cassoni  himself 
refers  to  Pietro  Martire  d'Anghieria's  account  of  a  Great  Galley  of  Venice  in  which 
he  was  sent  ambassador  to  Egypt  from  the  Spanish  Court  in  1503.     The  crew 


The  rowers  were  divided  into  three  classes,  with  graduated 
pay.  The  highest  class,  who  pulled  the  poop  or  stroke  oars, 
were  called  Portolati ;  those  at  the  bow,  called  Prodieri, 
formed  the  second  class.* 

Some  elucidation  of  the  arrangements  that  we  have  tried 
to  describe  will  be  found  in  our  cuts.  That  at  p.  Ixii  is  from 
a  drawing,  by  the  aid  of  a  very  imperfect  photograph,  of  part 
of  one  of  the  frescoes  of  Spinello  Aretini  in  the  Municipal 
Palace  at  Siena,  representing  the  victory  of  the  Venetians  over 
the  Emperor  Frederic  Barbarossa's  fleet,  commanded  by  his 
son  Otho,  in  1176  ;  but  no  doubt  the  galleys,  &c.,  are  of  the 
artist's  own  age,  the  middle  of  the  14th  century,  f  In  this  we 
see  plainly  the  projecting  opera-viorta,  and  the  rowers  sitting 
two  to  a  bench,  each  with  his  oar,  for  these  are  two-banked. 
We  can  also  discern  the  Latin  rudder  on  the  quarter  (see  this 
volume,  p.  1 1 1).  In  a  picture  in  the  Uffizj,  at  Florence,  of  about 
the  same  date,  by  Pietro  Laurato  (it  is  in  the  corridor  near  the 
entrance),  may  be  seen  a  small  figure  of  a  galley  with  the  oars 
also  very  distinctly  coupled.  %  Casoni  has  engraved,  after 
Cristoforo  Canale,  a  pictorial  plan   of  a  Venetian  trireme  of 

amounted  to  200,  of  whom  1 50  were  for  working  the  sails  and  oars,  that  being  the 
number  of  oars  in  each  galley,  one  man  to  each  oar  and  three  to  each  bench. 
Casoni  assumes  that  this  vessel  must  have  been  much  larger  than  the  galleys  of  the 
14th  century  ;  but,  however  that  may  have  been,  Sanuto  to  his  galley  assigns  the 
larger  crew  of  250,  of  whom  almost  exactly  the  same  proportion  (iSo)  were  rowers. 
And  in  the  galeazza  described  by  Pietro  Martire  the  oars  were  used  only  as  an  occa- 
sional auxiliaiy  (see.\\\i  Legationis  Babyionicae  Libri  Tres,  appended  to  his  3  Decads 
concerning  the  New  World;  Basil.  1533,  f.  77  rer.).  (3)  The  galleys  of  the  last 
centuiy,  with  their  great  oars  50  feet  long  pulled  by  6  or  7  men  each,  had  25 
benches  to  the  side,  and  only  4'  6"  (French)  gunnel-space  to  each  oar  (see  Mem. 
dhin  Protest,  p.  434).  I  imagine  that  a  smaller  space  would  suffice  for  the  3  light 
oars  of  the  medieval  system,  so  that  this  need  scarcely  be  a  difficulty  in  the  face  of 
the  preceding  evidence.  Note  also  the  th7-ee  hundred  roivers  in  Joinville's  descrip- 
tion quoted  at  p.  Ixix. 

*  Maritio  Sanuto,  p.  78.  These  titles  occur  also  in  the  Docuinetiti  d'Amore  of 
Fr.  Barberino  referred  to  at  p.  1 10  of  this  volume  : — 

"  Convienti  qui  manieri 

Portolatti  e prodieri 
E  presti  galeotti 
Aver,  e  forti  e  dotti." 

(Quoted  in  the  Vocab.  Hal.  Universale. ) 

t  Spinello's  works,  according  to  Vasari,  extended  from  1334  till  late  in  the 
century.  A  religious  picture  of  his  at  Siena  is  assigned  to  1385,  so  the  frescoes 
may  probably  be  of  about  the  same  period. 

+  This  is  engraved  in  Jal's  Archeologie  Navale,  i.  330;  as  are  some  other 
medieval  illustrations  of  the  same  circumstances. 

VOL.  I.  e 



the  1 6th  century,  which  shows  the  arrangement  of  the  oars  in 
triplets  very  plainly. 

The  following  cut  has  been  sketched  from  an  engraving  of  a 
picture  by  Domenico  Tintoretto  in  the  Doge's  palace,  repre- 
senting,! believe,  the  same  action  as  Spinello's  fresco,  but  with 
the  costume  and  construction  of  a  later  date.  It  shows  how- 
ever, very  plainly,  the  projecting  opera-morta,  and  the  arrange- 
ment of  the  oars  in  fours,  issuing  through  row-ports  in  high 

Part  of  a  Sea  Fight,  after  Dom.  Tintoretto. 

28.  Midships  in  the  medieval  galley  a  castle  was  erected, 
of  the  width  of  the  ship,  and  some  20  feet  in  length  ;  its  plat- 
form being  elevated  sufficiently  to  allow  of  free  pas- 
ar?ange-        sagc  undcr   it  and  over  the  benches.     At  the  bow 


was  the  battery,  consisting  of  mangonels  (see  vol.  ii. 
pp.  121,  seqq}j  and  great  cross-bows  with  winding  gear,*  whilst 

*  To  these  Casoni  adds  Sifoni  for  discharging  Greek  fire  ;  but  this  he  seems  to 
take  from  the  Greek  treatise  of  the  Emperor  Leo.  Though  I  have  introduced  it 
in  the  cut  at  p.  Ixxvii,  I  doubt  if  there  is  evidence  of  its  use  by  the  Italians  in  the 
thirteenth  century.    Joinville  describes  it  like  something  strange  and  new. 

Great  beams,  hung  like  battering  rams,  are  mentioned  by  Sanuto,  as  well  as 
iron  crow's-feet  with  fire  attached,  to  shoot  among  the  rigging,  and  jars  of  quick- 
lime and  soft  soap  to  fling  in  the  eyes  of  the  enemy.  The  lime  is  said  to  have 
been  used  by  Doria  against  the  Venetians  at  Curzola  (infra,  p.  Ixxvi),  and  seems 
to  have  been  a  usual  provision.  Francesco  Barberini  specifies  among  the  stores 
for  his  galley: — "  Calcina,  con  lancioni,  Pece,  pietre,  e  ronconi  "  (p.  259).  And 
Christine  de  Pisan,  in  her  Faiz  da  Sage  Roy  Charles  (V.  of  France)  explains  also 


there  were  shot  ports*  for  smaller  cross-bows  along  the 
gunnels  in  the  intervals  between  the  benches.  Some  of  the 
larger  galleys  had  openings  to  admit  horses  at  the  stern, 
which  were  closed  and  caulked  for  the  voyage,  being  under 
water  when  the  vessel  was  at  sea.  f 

It  seems  to  have  been  a  very  usual  piece  of  tactics,  in 
attacking  as  well  as  in  awaiting  attack,  to  connect  a  large 
number  of  galleys  by  hawsers,  and  sometimes  also  to  link  the 
oars  together,  so  as  to  render  it  difficult  for  the  enemy  to 
break  the  line  or  run  aboard.  We  find  this  practised  by  the 
Genoese  on  the  defensive  at  the  battle  of  Ayas  {infra,  p.  Ixxi), 
and  it  is  constantly  resorted  to  by  the  Catalans  in  the  battles 
described  by  Ramon  de  Muntaner.J 

Sanuto  says  the  toil  of  rowing  in  the  galleys  was  excessive, 
almost  unendurable.  Yet  it  seems  to  have  been  performed  by 
freely-enlisted  men,  and  therefore  it  was  probably  less  severe 
than  that  of  the  great-oared  galleys  of  more  recent  times, 
which  it  was  found  impracticable  to  work  by  free  enlistment, 
or  otherwise  than  by  slaves  under  the  most  cruel  driving.  §  I 
am  not  well  enough  read  to  say  that  war-galleys  were  never 
rowed  by  slaves  in  the  Middle  Ages,  but  the  only  doubtful 
allusion  to  such  a  class  that  I  have  met  with  is  in  one  passage 
of  Muntaner,  where  he  says,  describing  the  Neapolitan  and 
Catalan  fleets  drawing  together  for  action,  that  the  gangs 
of  the  galleys  had  to  toil  like  "formats"  (p.  313).  Indeed,  as 
regards  Venice  at  least,  convict  rowers  are  stated  to  have  been 
first  introduced  in  1 549,  previous  to  which  the  gangs  were  of 
galeotti  assoldati.  || 

29.  We  have  already  mentioned  that  Sanuto  requires  for 
his  three-banked  galley  a  ship's  company  of  250  men.  Ga'iie°l^d 
They  are  distributed  as  follows  : —  fif.*^"*^^ 

the  use  of  the  soap  :  ' '  Item,  on  doit  avoir  pkisieurs  vaisseaulx  legiers  a  rompre 
comme  poz  plains  de  chaiilx  ou  poudre,  et  gecter  dedens  ;  et  par  ce  seront  comme 
avuglez  au  Ijrisier  des  poz.  Hem,  on  doit  avoir  autres  poz  de  mol  savo?i  et  "-ecter 
es  nefs  des  adversaires,  et  quant  les  vaisseaulx  brisent,  le  savon  est  glissant  si  ne 
se  peuent  en  piez  sous  tenir,  et  chieent  en  I'eaue  "  (pt.  ii.  ch.  38). 

*  Balistariee,  whence  no  doubt  our  Balustrade.    Wedgwood's  etymoloo-y  is  far- 

t  Sanuto,  p.  53  ;  Joiiiville,  p.  40  ;  Muntaner,  316,  403. 

I  See  pp.  270,  288,  324,  and  especially  346. 

§  See  the  Protestant,  cited  above,  pp.  441,  et  seqq. 

II  Venezia  e  le  sue  Lagune,  ii.  52. 

e  1 



Com/fo  or  Master i 

Quartermasters 8 

Carpenters 2 

Caulkers         2 

In  charge  of  stores  and  arms 4 

Orderlies        2 

Cook       I 

Arblasteers 50 

Rowers 180 


This  does  not  include  the  Sopracomito,  or  Gentleman-Com- 
mander, who  was  expected  to  be  valens  Jiomo  et  probns,  a 
soldier  and  a  gentleman,  fit  to  be  consulted  on  occasion  by  the 
captain-general.  In  the  Venetian  fleet  he  was  generally  a 
noble,  t 

The  aggregate  pay  of  such  a  crew,  not  including  the  sopra- 
comito, amounted  monthly  to  60  lire  de  grossi,  or  600  florins, 
equivalent  to  280/.  at  modern  gold  value  ;  and  the  cost  for  a 
year  to  nearly  3160/.,  exclusive  of  the  victualling  of  the  vessel 
and  the  pay  of  the  gentleman-commander.  The  build  or 
purchase  of  a  galley  complete  is  estimated  by  the  same  author 
at  15,000  florins,  or  7012/. 

We  see  that  war  cost  a  good  deal  in  money  even  then. 

Besides  the  ship's  own  complement  Sanuto  gives  an  estimate 
for  the  general  staff  of  a  fleet  of  60  galleys.  This  consists  of 
a  captain-general,  tv/o  (vice)  admirals,  and  the  following : — 

6  Probi  homines,  or  gentlemen  of 
character,  forming  a  council  to  the 
Captain-General ; 

4  Commissaries  of  Stores  ; 

2  Commissaries  over  the  Arms  ; 

3  Physicians  ; 
3  Surgeons ; 

5  Master  Engineers  and  Carpenters  ; 

IS  Master  Smiths  ; 
12  Master  Fletchers  ; 
5  Cuirass  men  and  Helmet-makers  ; 
15  Oar-makers  and  Shaft-makers  ; 
10  Stone-cutters  for  stone  shot  ; 
10  Master  Arblast-makers ; 
20  Musicians  ; 
20  Orderlies,  &c. 

30.  The  musicians  formed  an  important  part  of  the  equip- 
ment.   Sanuto  says  that  in  going  into  action  every  vessel  should 
make  the  greatest  possible  display  of  colours  ;  gon- 

Music ;  and  i  i   i     n 

other  par-      falous  and  broad  banners  should  float  from  stem  to 


stern,  and  gay  pennons  all  along  the  bulwarks  ;  whilst 
it  was  impossible  to  have  too  much  of  noisy  music,  of  pipes. 

*  Mar.  Sanuto,  p.  75. 

t  Ibid.  p.  30. 


trumpets,  kettle-drums,  and  what  not,  to  put  heart  into   the 
crew  and  strike  fear  into  the  enemy:* 

So  Joinville,  in  a  glorious  passage,  describes  the  galley  of 
his  kinsman,  the  Count  of  Jaffa,  at  the  landing  of  St.  Lewis  in 
Egypt  :— 

"  That  galley  made  the  most  gallant  figure  of  them  all,  for  it  was 
painted  all  over,  above  water  and  below,  with  scutcheons  of  the  count's 
arms,  the  field  of  which  was  or  with  a  cross  patce  gules.\  He  had  a  good 
300  rowers  in  his  galley,  and  every  man  of  them  had  a  target  blazoned 
with  his  arms  in  beaten  gold.  And,  as  they  came  on,  the  galley  looked  to 
be  some  flying  creature,  with  such  spirit  did  the  rowers  spin  it  along  ; — 
or  rather,  with  the  rustle  of  its  flags,  and  the  roar  of  its  nacaires  and 
drums  and  Saracen  horns,  you  might  have  taken  it  for  a  rushing  bolt  of 
heaven."  J 

The  galleys,  which  were  very  low  in  the  water,§  could  not 
keep  the  sea  in  rough  weather,  and  in  winter  they  never 
willingly  kept  the  sea  at  night,  however  fair  the  weather  might 
be.  Yet  Sanuto  mentions  that  he  had  been  with  armed  sral- 
leys  to  Sluys  in  Flanders. 

I  will  mention  two  more  particulars  before  concluding  this 
digression.  When  captured  galleys  were  towed  into  port  it 
was  stern  foremost,  and  with  their  colours  dragging  on  the 
surface  of  the  sea.  ||  And  the  custom  of  saluting  at  sunset 
(probably  by  music)  was  in  vogue  on  board  the  galleys  of  the 
13th  century.^ 

We  shall  now  sketch  the  circumstances  that  led  to  the 
appearance  of  our  Traveller  in  the  command  of  a  war-galley. 

*  The  Catalan  Admiral  Roger  de  Loria,  advancing  at  daybreak  to  attack  the 
Provencal  Fleet  of  Charles  of  Naples  (1283)  in  the  harbour  of  Malta,  "did  a 
thing  v/hich  should  be  reckoned  to  him  rather  as  an  act  of  madness,"  says 
Muntaner,  "than  of  reason.  He  said,  'God  forbid  that  I  should  attack  them,  all 
asleep  as  they  are  !  Let  the  trumpets  and  nacaires  sound  to  awaken  them,  and 
I  will  tarry  till  they  be  ready  for  action.  No  man  shall  have  it  to  say,  if  I  beat 
them,  that  it  was  by  catching  them  asleep.'  "     (Miiiif.  p.  287.) 

t  A  cross  patee,  is  one  with  the  extremities  broadened  out  mio  feci  as  it  were. 

X  Page  50. 

§  The  galley  at  p.  Ixxvii  is  somewhat  too  high  ;  and  I  believe  it  should  have 
had  no  shrouds. 

II  See  Muntaner,  passim,  e.g.  271,  286,  315,  349. 

IT  Ibid.  346. 


VI.  The  Jealousies  and  Naval  Wars  of  Venice  and  Genoa, 
Lamba  Doria's  Expedition  to  the  Adriatic  ;  Battle  of 
CuRzoLA  ;  and  Imprisonment  of  Marco  Polo  by  the 

31.  Jealousies,  too  characteristic  of  the  Italian  commu- 
nities, were,  in  the  case  of  the  three  great  trading  republics 
GrowiiK'  ^^  Venice,  Genoa,  and  Pisa,  aggravated  by  com- 
jeaiousies       mcrcial    rivalries,   whilst,   between  the   two   first  of 

and  out-  '  ' 

breaks  be-      thosc   statcs,   and    also   between   the   two  last,   the 

tween  the  '  ' 

Republics,  bitterness  of  such  feelings  had  been  augmenting 
during  the  whole  course  of  the  13th  century.* 

The  brilliant  part  played  by  Venice  in  the  conquest  of 
Constantinople  (1204),  and  the  preponderance  she  thus  ac- 
quired on  the  Greek  shores,  stimulated  her  arrogance  and 
the  resentment  of  her  rivals.  The  three  states  no  longer  stood 
on  a  level  as  bidders  for  the  shifting  favour  of  the  Emperor  of 
the  East.  By  treaty,  not  only  was  Venice  established  as  the 
most  important  ally  of  the  empire  and  as  mistress  of  a  large 
fraction  of  its  territory,  but  all  members  of  nations  at  war 
with  her  were  prohibited  from  entering  its  limits.  Though  the 
Genoese  colonies  continued  to  exist,  they  stood  at  a  great 
disadvantage,  where  their  rivals  were  so  predominant  and 
enjoyed  exemption  from  duties,  to  which  the  Genoese  re- 
mained subject.  Hence  jealousies  and  resentments  reached 
a  climax  in  the  Levantine  settlements,  and  this  colonial 
exacerbation  re-acted  on  the  mother  States. 

A  dispute  which  broke  out  at  Acre  in  1255  came  to  a  head 
in  a  war  which  lasted  for  years,  and  was  felt  all  over  Syria. 
It  began  in  a  quarrel  about  a  very  old  church  called  St. 
Sabba's,  which  stood  on  the  common  boundary  of  the  Venetian 
and  Genoese  estates  in  Acre,!  and  this  flame  was  blown  by 
other  unlucky  occurrences.    Acre  suffered  grievously,  |    Venice 

*  In  this  part  of  these  notices  I  am  repeatedly  indebted  to  Heyd ;  see  supra, 
p.  xh. 

t  On  or  close  to  the  Hill  called  Moirjoie ;  see  the  plan  from  Marino  Sanuto  at 
p.  17. 

J  ' '  Throughout  that  year  there  were  not  less  than  40  machines  all  at  work 
upon  the  city  of  Acre,  battering  its  houses  and  its  towers,  and  smashing  and 
overthrowing  everything  within  their  I'ange.  There  were  at  least  ten  of  those 
engines  that  shot  stones  so  big  and  heavy  that  they  weighed  a  good  1500  lbs.  by 


at  this  time  generally  kept  the  upper  hand,  beating  Genoa  by 
land  and  sea,  and  driving  her  from  Acre  altogether.  Two 
ancient  pillars  from  St.  Sabba's  were  sent  in  triumph  to  Venice, 
and  with  their  strange  devices  still  stand  at  the  door  of 
St.  Mark's  towards  the  Ducal  Palace.* 

But  no  number  of  defeats  could  extinguish  the  spirit  of 
Genoa,  and  the  tables  were  turned  when  in  her  wrath  she 
allied  herself  with  Michael  Palaeologus  to  upset  the  feeble  and 
tottering  Latin  Dynasty,  and  with  it  the  preponderance  of 
Venice  on  the  Bosphorus.  The  new  emperor  handed  over  to 
his  allies  the  castle  of  their  foes,  which  they  tore  down  with 
jubilations,  and  now  it  was  their  turn  to  send  its  stones  as 
trophies  to  Genoa.  Mutual  hate  waxed  fiercer  than  ever ;  no 
merchant  fleet  of  either  state  could  go  to  sea  without  convoy, 
and  wherever  their  ships  met  they  fought,  t  It  was  something 
like  the  state  of  things  between  Spain  and  England  in  the 
days  of  Drake. 

The  energy  and  capacity  of  the  Genoese  seemed  to  rise  with 
their  success,  and  both  in  seamanship  and  in  splendour  they 
began  almost  to  surpass  their  old  rivals.  The  fall  of  Acre 
(1291),  and  the  total  expulsion  of  the  Franks  from  Syria,  in 
great  measure  barred  the  southern  routes  of  Indian  trade, 
whilst  the  predominance  of  Genoa  in  the  Euxine  more  or  less 
obstructed  the  free  access  of  her  rival  to  the  northern  routes 
by  Trebizond  and  Tana. 

32.  Truces  were  made  and  renewed,  but  the  old  fire  still 
smouldered.     In  the  spring  of  1294  it  broke  into  flame,  in 
consequence  of  the  seizure  in  the  Grecian  seas  of 
three  Genoese  vessels   by   a  Venetian   fleet.      This  I'ayofAyas 

in  1294. 

led  to  an  action  with  a  Genoese  convoy  which  sought 
redress.     The  fight  took  place  off  Ayas  in  the  Gulf  of  Scan- 
deroon,J  and  though  the  Genoese  were  inferior  in  strength  by 
one-third  they  gained  a  signal  victory,  capturing  all  but  three 

the  weight  of  Champagne  ;  insomuch  that  nearly  all  the  towers  and  forts  of  Acre 
were  destroyed,  and  only  the  religious  houses  were  left.  And  there  were  slain  in 
this  same  war  good  20,000  men  on  the  two  sides,  but  chiefly  of  Genoese  and 
Spaniards."     {Lettre  de  Jean  Pierre  Sarrasin,  in  Michers  Joinville,  p.  308.) 

*  The  origin  of  these  columns  is  however  somewhat  uncertain. 

t  In  1262,  when  a  Venetian  squadron  was  taken  by  the  Greek  fleet  in  alliance 
with  the  Genoese,  the  whole  of  the  sui-vivors  of  the  captive  crews  were  blinded  by 
order  of  Palaeologus  {Roman,  ii.  272). 

X  See  pp.  15,  41,  and  Plan  of  Ayas. 


of  the  Venetian  galleys,  with  rich  cargoes,  including  that  of 
Marco  Basilio  (or  Basegio),  the  commodore. 

This  victory  over  their  haughty  foe  was  in  its  completeness 
evidently  a  surprise  to  the  Genoese,  as  well  as  a  source  of 
immense  exultation,  which  is  vigorously  expressed  in  a  ballad 
of  the  day,  written  in  a  stirring  salt-water  rhythm.  *  It  re- 
presents the  Venetians,  as  they  enter  the  bay,  in  arrogant 
mirth  reviling  the  Genoese  with  very  unsavoury  epithets  as 
having  deserted  their  ships  to  sculk  on  shore.  They  are 
described  as  saying  : — 

"  '  Off  they've  slunk  !  and  left  us  nothing  ; 
We  shall  get  nor  prize  nor  praise  ; 
Nothing  save  those  crazy  timbers 
Only  fit  to  make  a  blaze.'  " 

So  they  advance  carelessly  — 

"  On  they  come  !     But  lo  their  blunder  ! 
When  our  lads  start  up  anon, 
Breaking  out  like  unchained  lions, 
With  a  roar,  '  Fall  on  !  Fall  on  ! '"  f 

After  relating  the   battle   and   the   thoroughness   of  the 

victory,  ending  in  the  conflagration  of  five  and  twenty  captured 

galleys,  the  poet  concludes  by  an  admonition  to  the  enemy  to 

moderate   his   pride   and  curb  his  arrogant  tongue,  harping 

on  the  obnoxious  epithet  porci  leproxi,  which  seems  to  have 

galled  the  Genoese.     He  concludes  : — 

"  Nor  can  I  at  all  remember 

Ever  to  have  heard  the  story 
Of  a  fight  wherein  the  Victors 

Reaped  so  rich  a  meed  of  glory  ! "  % 

See  Archivio  Storko  Ilaliaiio,  Appendice,  torn.  iv. 

Niente  ne  resta  a  premier 

Se  no  U  corpi  de  li  legni : 
Preixi  soin  seitza  difcndcr  ; 

De  bruxar  som  tute  de^ni  1 

Como  lifom  aproxivtai 
Qneli  si  levan  lantor 

Co7iio  lean  descaenai 

Tuti  criando  "  Alor  !  Alor  ! ' 

This  Alorl  Alor!  ("Up,  Boys,  and  at  'em"),  or  something  similar,  appears  to 
have  been  the  usual  war-cry  of  both  parties.  In  a  galley  fight  at  Tyre  in  1258,  ac- 
cording to  a  Latin  narrative,  the  Genoese  shout  "Ad  anna,  ad  arma!  ad  ipsos,  ad 
ipsos !"  The  cry  of  the  Venetians  before  engaging  the  Greeks  is  represented  by 
Martino  da  Canale,  in  his  old  French,  as  '^  or  h  yaits!  or  d-  yaiis  !"  that  of  the 
Genoese  on  another  occasion  as  Aiir!  Aiir!  and  this  last  is  the  shout  of  the  Catalans 
also  in  Ramon  de  Muntaner.  {Archiv.  Stor.  Ital.  viii.  364,  506  ;  Fertz,  Script,  xviii. 
239  ;  Muittaiier,  269,  287.) 

X  E  no  itie  posso  aret^ordar 
Dalctino  roinanzo  vertade 
Doiide  oyse  tcncha  cointar 
Alcuii  triumfo  si  aobrc  \ 


The  community  of  Genoa  decreed  that  the  victory  should 
be  commemorated  by  the  annual  presentation  of  a  golden  pall 
to  the  monastery  of  St.  German's,  the  saint  on  whose  feast 
(28th  May)  it  had  been  won.* 

The  startling  news  was  received  at  Venice  with  wrath  and 
grief,  for  the  flower  of  their  navy  had  perished,  and  all  energies 
were  bent  at  once  to  raise  an  overwhelming  force,  f  The  Pope 
(Boniface  VIII.)  interfered  as  arbiter,  calling  for  plenipo- 
tentiaries from  both  sides.  But  spirits  were  too  much  in- 
flamed, and  this  mediation  came  to  nought. 

Further  outrages  on  both  sides  occurred  in  1296.  The 
Genoese  residences  at  Pera  were  fired,  their  great  alum  works 
on  the  coast  of  Anatolia  were  devastated,  and  Caffa  was 
stormed  and  sacked  ;  whilst  on  the  other  hand  a  number  of 
the  Venetians  at  Constantinople  were  massacred  by  the 
Genoese,  and  Marco  Bembo  their  Bailo  was  flung  from  a 
house-top.  Amid  such  events  the  fire  of  enmity  between  the 
cities  waxed  hotter  and  hotter. 

33.  In  1298  the  Genoese  made  elaborate  preparations  for 
a  great  blow  at  the  enemy,  and  fitted  out  a  powerful  fleet 
which  they  placed  under  the  command  of  Lamba  LambaDo- 
DORIA,  a  younger  brother  of  Uberto  of  that  illus-  difioift?Ae 
trious   house,   under  whom  he  had  served   fourteen  -'^'^"^"c- 
years  before  in  the  great  rout  of  the  Pisans  at  Meloria. 

The  rendezvous  of  the  fleet  was  in  the  Gulf  of  Spezia,  as 
we  learn  from  the  same  pithy  Genoese  poet  who  celebrated 
Ayas.  This  time  the  Genoese  were  bent  on  bearding  St. 
Mark's  Lion  in  his  own  den ;  and  after  touching  at  Messina 
they  steered  straight  for  the  Adriatic  : — 

"  Now,  as  astern  Otranto  bears, 

Pull  with  a  will !  and,  please  the  Lord, 
Let  them  who  bragged,  with  fire  and  sword, 
To  waste  our  homesteads,  look  to  theirs  !  "  % 

*  Stella  in  Maratori,  xvii.  984.  f  Dandolo,  Ibid.  xii.  404-5. 

\  Or  entrain  con  grait  vigor. 

En  De  sjierando  aver  triumpho, 
Qiieli  zerchando  inter  lo  Gorfo 
Chi  menazerain  zercJta  lor! 

And  in  the  next  verse  note  the  pure  Scotch  use  of  the  word  bra : — 
Sic/u'  da  Otranto  sc  partim 

Qticlla  bra  coiiipagiiia. 

Per passar  in  I havonia , 
D'  Avosto  a  vintc  nove  d'l. 


On  their  entering  the  gulf  a  great  storm  dispersed  the  fleet. 
The  admiral  with  twenty  of  his  galleys  got  into  port  at 
Antivari  on  the  Albanian  coast,  and  next  day  was  rejoined  by 
fifty-eight  more,  with  which  he  scoured  the  Dalmatian  shore, 
plundering  all  Venetian  property.  Some  sixteen  of  his  gal- 
leys were  still  missing  when  he  reached  the  island  of  Curzola, 
or  Scurzola  as  the  more  popular  name  seems  to  have  been, 
the  Black  Corcyra  of  the  Ancients — the  chief  town  of  which, 
a  rich  and  flourishing  place,  the  Genoese  took  and  burned.* 
Thus  they  were  engaged  when  word  came  that  the  Venetian 
fleet  was  in  sight. 

Venice,  on  first  hearing  of  the  Genoese  armament,  sent 
Andrea  Dandolo  with  a  large  force  to  join  and  supersede 
Mafieo  Quirini,  who  was  already  cruizing  with  a  squadron  in 
the  Ionian  sea ;  and,  on  receiving  further  information  of  the 
strength  of  the  hostile  expedition,  the  Signory  hastily  equipped 
thirty-two  more  galleys  in  Chioggia  and  the  ports  of  Dal- 
matia,  and  despatched  them  to  join  Dandolo,  making  the 
whole  number  under  his  command  up  to  something  like 
ninety-five.  Recent  drafts  had  apparently  told  heavily  upon 
the  Venetian  sources  of  enlistment,  and  it  is  stated  that  many 
of  the  complements  were  made  up  of  rustics  swept  in  haste 
from  the  Euganean  hills.  To  this  the  Genoese  poet  seems  to 
allude,  alleging  that  the  Venetians,  in  spite  of  their  haughty 
language,  had  to  go  begging  for  men  and  money  up  and 
down  Lombardy.  "  Did  %ve  do  like  that  think  you  } "  he 
adds  : — 

*  "  Beat  up  for  aliens  ?     IVe  indeed  ? 

When  lacked  we  homeborn  Genoese  ? 
Search  all  the  seas,  no  salts  like  these, 
For  Courage,  Seacraft,  Wit  at  need."  f 

Of  one  of  the  Venetian   galleys,    probably  in    the    fleet 

*  The  island  of  Curzola  now  contains  about  4000  inhabitants  ;  the  town  half 
the  number.  It  was  probably  reckoned  a  dependency  of  Venice  at  this  time. 
The  King  of  Hungaiy  had  renounced  his  claims  on  the  Dalmatian  coasts  by  treaty 
in  1244  {Romanin,  ii.  235). 

No,  ma'  J)iul  ajamo  oiiii  nostrar 
Dcstri,  valenti,  e  avisti, 
Che  7naipar  de  lor  «'  o  visti 

t  Ma  se  si grati  cobno  avca 

Percfie  andava  mendigando 

Per  terra  de  Lotnbardia 
Pecciinia,  genie  a  sodi  ? 
Pone  inente  in  die  V  odi 

Se  noi  tegnamo  guesta  via  ? 

In  tuti  officj  de  mar. 


which   sailed    under   Dandolo's    immediate    command,   went 
Marco  Polo  as  Sopracomito  or  Gentleman-Commander.* 

34.  It   was  on  the   afternoon   of  Saturday  the  6th  Sep- 
tember that  the  Genoese  saw  the  Venetian  fleet  approaching, 
but,  as   sunset  was   not   far   off,  both  sides   tacitly  The  Fleets 
agreed  to  defer  the  engagement.!  ofTachothe' 

The  Genoese  would  appear  to  have  occupied  a  ^'  Curzoia. 
position  near  the  eastern  end  of  the  Island  of  Curzola,  with 
the  Peninsula  of  Sabbioncello  behind  them,  and  Meleda  on 
their  left,  whilst  the  Venetians  advanced  along  the  south  side 
of  Curzola  (see  map  on  p.  xlvi). 

According  to  Venetian  accounts  the  Genoese  were  stag- 
gered at  the  sight  of  the  Venetian  armaments,  and  sent  more 
than  once  to  seek  terms,  offering  finally  to  surrender  galleys 
and  munitions  of  war,  if  the  crews  were  allowed  to  depart. 
This  is  an  improbable  story,  and  that  of  the  Genoese  ballad 
seems  more  like  truth.  Doria,  it  says,  held  a  council  of  his 
captains  in  the  evening  at  which  they  all  voted  for  attack, 
whilst  the  Venetians,  with  that  overweening  sense  of  superiority 
which  at  this  time  is  reflected  in  their  own  annals  as  distinctly 
as  in  those  of  their  enemies,  kept  scout-vessels  out  to  watch 

*  In  July,  1294,  a  Council  of  Thirty  decreed  that  galleys  should  be  equipped  by 
the  richest  families  in  proportion  to  their  wealth.  Among  the  families  held  to 
equip  one  galley  each,  or  one  galley  among  two  or  more,  in  this  list,  is  the  Ca' 
Polo.  But  this  was  before  the  return  of  the  travellers  from  the  East,  and  just 
after  the  battle  of  Ayas  {Ronianin,  ii.  332  ;  this  author  misdates  Ayas,  however). 
When  a  levy  was  required  in  Venice  for  any  expedition  the  heads  of  each  cojitrada 
divided  the  male  inhabitants,  between  the  ages  of  twenty  and  sixty,  into  groups  of 
twelve  each,  called  diwdene.  The  dice  were  thrown  to  decide  who  should  go 
first  on  service.  He  who  went  received  five  lire  a  month  from  the  State,  and  one 
lira  from  each  of  his  colleagues  in  the  duodena.  Hence  his  pay  was  sixteen  lire  a 
month,  about  2s.  a  day,  if  these  were  lire  a  grossi,  or  \s.  ^d.  if  lire  dei  piccoli 
(see  Rotnanin,  i.  321). 

Money  on  such  occasions  was  frequently  raised  by  what  was  called  an  Estimo 
or  Facion,  which  was  a  forced  loan  levied  on  the  citizens  in  proportion  to  their 
estimated  wealth  ;  and  for  which  they  were  entitled  to  interest  from  the  State. 

f  Several  of  the  Italian  chroniclers,  as  Ferreto  of  Vicenza  and  Navagiero, 
whom  Muratori  has  followed  in  his  '  Annals,'  say  the  battle  was  fought  on  the  8th 
September,  the  so-called  Birthday  of  the  Madonna.  But  the  inscription  on  the 
Church  of  St.  Matthew  at  Genoa,  cited  further  on,  says  the  7th,  and  with  this 
agree  both  Stella  and  the  Genoese  poet.  For  the  latter,  though  not  specifying  the 
day  of  the  month,  says  it  was  on  a  Sunday  : — 

"  Lo  di  da  Domenga  era 

Passa  prima  en  I'ora  bona 
Storrnezam  fin  provo  nona 
Con  bataio  forte  e  fera." 

Now  the  7th  September  1298  fell  on  a  Sunday. 


that  the  Genoese  fleet,  which  they  looked  on  as  ah'eady  their 
own,  did  not  steal  away  in  the  darkness.  A  vain  imagination, 
says  the  poet : — 

"  Blind  error  of  vainglorious  men 

To  dream  that  we  should  seek  to  flee 
After  those  weary  leagues  of  sea 
Crossed,  but  to  hunt  them  in  their  den  !  "  * 

35.  The  battle  began  early  on  Sunday  and  lasted  till  the 

afternoon.     The  Venetians  had  the  wind  in  their  favour,  but 

the   morning  sun   in   their   eyes.      They  made  the 

The  Vene-  1  1  •   1 

tiansde-       attack,  aud   with   great   impetuosity,  capturing   ten 

feated,  and  11  i  1  .1   ,1 

Marco  Polo    Gcnocsc  gallcys ;  but   they  pressed   on  too  wildly, 

a  prisoner.  -      .,      .  ,  - 

and  some  of  their  vessels  ran  aground.  One  of 
their  galleys  too,  being  taken,  was  cleared  of  her  crew  and 
turned  against  the  Venetians.  These  incidents  caused  con- 
fusion among  the  assailants  ;  the  Genoese,  who  had  begun  to 
give  way,  took  fresh  heart,  formed  a  close  column,  and  ad- 
vanced boldly  through  the  Venetian  line,  already  in  disorder. 
The  sun  had  begun  to  decline  when  there  appeared  on  the 
Venetian  flank  the  fifteen  or  sixteen  missing  galleys  of  Doria's 
fleet,  and  fell  upon  it  with  fresh  force.  This  decided  the  action. 
The  Genoese  gained  a  complete  victory,  capturing  all  but  a 
few  of  the  Venetian  galleys,  and  including  the  flagship  with 
Dandolo.  The  Genoese  themselves  lost  heavily,  especially  in 
the  early  part  of  the  action,  and  Lamba  Doria's  eldest  son 
Octavian  is  said  to  have  fallen  on  board  his  father's  vessel.f 

Ma  li pensavain  gratide  error 
CJie  infuga  sefiissetn  tiiti  vietui 
Che  de  si  lofizi  eraiu  vegtmi 

Per  cerchali  a  casa  lor  ! 

t  "  Note  here  that  the  Genoese  generally,  commonly,  and  by  nature,  are  the 
most  covetous  of  Men,  and  the  Love  of  Gain  spurs  them  to  every  Crime.  Yet  are 
they  deemed  also  the  most  valiant  Men  in  the  World.  Such  an  one  was  Lampa,  of 
that  very  Doria  family,  a  man  of  an  high  Courage  truly.  For  when  he  was  engaged 
in  a  Sea-Fight  against  the  Venetians,  and  was  standing  on  the  Poop  of  his  Galley, 
his  Son,  fighting  valiantly  at  the  Forecastle,  was  shot  by  an  Arrow  in  the  Breast, 
and  fell  wounded  to  the  Death  ;  a  Mishap  whereat  his  Comrades  were  sorely 
shaken,  and  Fear  came  upon  the  whole  Ship's  Company.  But  Lampa,  hot  with  the 
Spirit  of  Battle,  and  more  mindful  of  his  Country's  Seiwice  and  his  own  Glory  than 
of  his  Son,  ran  forward  to  the  spot,  loftily  rebuked  the  agitated  Crowd,  and  ordered 
his  Son's  Body  to  be  cast  into  the  Deep,  telling  them  for  their  Comfort  that  the 
Land  could  never  liave  afforded  his  Boy  a  nobler  Tomb.  And  then,  renewing  the 
Fight  more  fiercely  than  ever,  he  achieved  the  Victory."  {Benvemito  of  Imola,  in 
Comment,  on  Dante,  in  Muratori,  Antiq.  i.  1146.) 





The  number  of  prisoners  taken  was  over  7000,  and   among 
these  was  Marco  Polo.* 

The  prisoners,  even  of  the  highest  rank,  appear  to  have 
been  chained.  Dandolo,  in  despair  at  his  defeat,  and  at  the 
prospect  of  being  carried  captive  into  Genoa,  refused  food, 
and  ended  by  dashing  his  head  against  a  bench.f  A  Genoese 
account  asserts  that  a  noble  funeral  was  given  him  after  the 
arrival  of  the  fleet  at  Genoa,  which  took  place  on  the  evening 
of  the  1 6th  October. J      It  was  received  with  great  rejoicing, 

Scene  of  the  Battle  of  Curzola. 

and  the  City  voted  the  annual  presentation  of  a  pallium  of 
gold  brocade  to  the  altar  of  the  Virgin  in  the  Church  of 
St.  Matthew,  on  every  8th  of  September,  the  Madonna's  day, 
on  the  eve  of  which  the  Battle  had  been  won.  To  the  admiral 
himself  a  Palace  was  decreed.  It  still  stands,  opposite  the 
Church  of  S.  Matthew;  though  it  has  passed  from  the  posses- 

*  The  particulars  of  the  battle  are  gathered  from  Ferrettis  Vicentimts,  in  Murat. 
ix.  985  scqq.  ;  And.  Dandulo,  in  xii.  407-8  ;  Navagic7-o,  in  xxiii.  1009-10  ;  and  the 
Genoese  Poem  as  before. 

\  Navagiero,  u.  s,  Dandulo  says,  "after  a  few  days  he  died  of  grief:" 
Ferretus,  that  he  was  killed  in  the  action  and  buried  at  Curzola. 

\  For  the  funeral,  a  MS.  of  Cibo  Recco  quoted  by  Jacopo  Doria  in  La  chicsa 
di  San  Mattco  descritta,  &c.,  Genova,  i860,  p.  26.  For  the  date  of  arrival  the 
poem  so  often  quoted  : — 

"  De  Oitover,  a  zoia,  a  seze  dl 

Lo  nostro  ostel,  con  gran  festa 
En  nostro  porto,  a  or  di  sesta 
Dumine  De  restitui." 


sion  of  the  Family.  On  the  striped  marble  facades,  both  of  the 
Church  and  of  the  Palace,  inscriptions  of  that  age,  in  excellent 
preservation,  still  commemorate  Lamba's  achievement* 

The  latter  died  at  Savona  17th  October,  1323,  a  few 
months  before  the  most  illustrious  of  his  prisoners,  and  his 
bones  were  laid  in  a  sarcophagus  which  may  still  be  seen 
forming  the  sill  of  one  of  the  windows  of  S.  Matteo  (on  the 
right  as  you  enter).  Over  this  sarcophagus  stood  the  Bust  of 
Lamba  till  1797,  when  the  mob  of  Genoa,  in  idiotic  imitation 
of  the  French  proceedings  of  that  age,  threw  it  down.  All  of 
Lamba's  six  sons  had  fought  with  him  at  Meloria.  In  1291 
one  of  them,  Tedisio,  went  forth  into  the  Atlantic  in  company 
with  Ugolino  Vivaldi  on  a  voyage  of  discovery,  and  never 
returned.  Through  Caesar,  the  youngest,  this  branch  of  the 
Family  still  survives,  bearing  the  distinctive  surname  of 

As  to  the  treatment  of  the  prisoners,  accounts  differ  ;  a 
thing  usual  in  such  cases.  The  Genoese  Poet  asserts  that  the 
hearts  of  his  countrymen  were  touched,  and  that  the  captives 
were  treated  with  compassionate  courtesy.  Navagiero  the 
Venetian,  on  the  other  hand,  declares  that  most  of  them 
died  of  hunger.:}: 

*  S.  Matteo  was  built  by  Martin  Doria  in  1125,  but  pulled  down  and  rebuilt 
by  the  family  in  a  slightly  different  position  in  1278.  On  this  occasion  is  recorded 
a  remarkable  anticipation  of  the  feats  of  American  engineering  :  ' '  As  there  was 
an  ancient  and  very  fine  picture  of  Christ  upon  the  apse  of  the  Church,  it  was 
thought  a  great  pity  that  so  fine  a  work  should  be  destroyed.  And  so  they  con- 
trived an  ingenious  method  by  which  the  apse  bodily  was  transported  witliout 
injury,  picture  and  all,  for  a  distance  of  25  ells,  and  firmly  set  upon  the  foundations 
where  it  now  exists."     (Jacopo  de  Viwagine  in  Miiratori,  vol.  ix.  36.) 

The  inscription  on  S.  Matteo  regarding  the  battle  is  as  follows  :  —  Ad  Honorem 
Dei  et  Beate  Virginis  Marie  Anno  MCCLXXXXVIII  Die  Dominica  VII Septem- 
bris  iste  Angelus  captus  fint  in  Gulfo  Venetiaritm  in  Civitate  Sciirsole  et  ibidem  fidt 
prclinm  Galearum  LXXVI  yamiensinm  cum  Galeis  LXXXXVI  Veneciarum. 
C apt e  f lien int  LXXXIIII per  Nobilem  Virnvi  Dominitm  Lambam  Aiirie  Capi- 
taneiim  et  Armiratuvi  tunc  Comunis  et  Popnli  Jani/e  cum  omnibus  existentibus  in 
eisdem,  de  qiiibus  conduxit  Janue  homines  vivos  career  at os  VII  cccc  et  Galea  s  XVIII, 
reliquas  LX  VI  fecit  cumhuri  in  dicto  Gulfo  Veneciarum.  Qui  obiit  Sagone  I. 
MCCCXXIIir     It  is  not  clear  to  what  the  Angdus  refers. 

t  Jacopo  Doria,  p.  280. 

J  Murat.  xxiii.  loio.  I  learn  from  a  Genoese  gentleman,  through  my  friend 
Prof.  Henry  Giglioli  (to  whose  kindness  I  owe  the  transcript  of  the  inscription 
just  given),  that  a  faint  tradition  exists  as  to  the  place  of  our  traveller's  imprison- 
ment. It  is  alleged  to  have  been  a  massive  building  standing  between  the  Grazie 
and  the  Mole,  and  bearing  the  name  of  the  Rlalapaga,  which  is  now  a  barrack 
for  Doganieri,  but  continued  till  comparatively  recent  times  to  be  used  as  a  civil 
prison.     "  It  is  certain,"  says  my  informant,   "  that  men  of  fame  in  arms  who  had 


36.  Howsoever  they  may  have  been  treated,  here  was 
Marco  Polo  one  of  those  many  thousand  prisoners  in  Genoa  ; 
Marco  Polo  and  here,  before  long,  he  appears  to  have  made  ac- 
dirtl'teThis  quaintance  with  a  man  of  literary  propensities, 
Rusticiano  whose  dcstiny  had  brought  him  into  the  like  plight, 
Lse'of  ^'  by  name  RUSTICIANO  or  RUSTICHELLO  of  Pisa.  It 
prisoners.  was  thls  persou  perhaps  who  persuaded  the  Tra- 
veller to  defer  no  longer  the  reduction  to  writing  of  his 
notable  experiences  ;  but  in  any  case  it  was  he  who  wrote 
down  those  experiences  at  Marco's  dictation ;  it  is  he  therefore  to 
whom  we  owe  the  preservation  of  this  record,  and  possibly  even 
that  of  the  Traveller's  very  memory.  This  makes  the  Genoese 
imprisonment  so  important  an  episode  in  Polo's  biography. 

To  Rusticiano  we  shall  presently  recur.  But  let  us  first 
bring  to  a  conclusion  what  may  be  gathered  as  to  the  dura- 
tion of  Polo's  imprisonment. 

It  does  not  appear  whether  Pope  Boniface  made  any  new 
effort  for  accommodation  between  the  Republics  ;  but  other 
Italian  princes  did  interpose,  and  Matteo  Visconti,  Captain- 
General  of  Milan,  styling  himself  Vicar-General  of  the  Holy 
Roman  Empire  in  Lombardy,  was  accepted  as  Mediator, 
along  with  the  community  of  Milan.  Ambassadors  from  both 
States  presented  themselves  at  that  city,  and  on  the  25th 
May,  1299,  they  signed  the  terms  of  a  Peace. 

These  terms  were  perfectly  honourable  to  Venice,  being 
absolutely  equal  and  reciprocal ;  from  which  one  is  apt  to 
conclude  that  the  damage  to  the  City  of  the  Sea  was  rather 
to  her  pride  than  to  her  power ;  the  success  of  Genoa,  in  fact, 
having  been  followed  up  by  no  systematic  attack  upon  Vene- 
tian commerce.*  Among  the  terms  was  the  mutual  release 
of  prisoners  on  a  day  to  be  fixed  by  Visconti  after  the  com- 

fallen  into  the  power  of  the  Genoese  ivcre  imprisoned  there,  and  among  others  is 
recorded  the  name  of  the  Corsican  Giudice  dalla  Rocca  and  Lord  of  Cinarca,  who 
died  there  in  1312  ;"  a  date  so  near  that  of  Marco's  imprisonment  as  to  give  some 
interest  to  the  hypothesis,  slender  as  are  its  grounds.  Another  Genoese,  however, 
indicates  as  the  scene  of  Marco's  captivity  certain  old  prisons  near  the  Old  Arsenal,  in 
a  site  still  known  as  the  Vico  degli  Schiavi  (Ct/csia,  Dante  in  Ligiiria,  1865,  p.  43). 
*  The  Treaty  and  some  subsidiary  documents  are  printed  in  the  Genoese  Liba- 
jiirhan,  forming  a  part  of  the  Monumcnta  Historiae  Patriae,  published  at  Turin 
(see  Lib.  Jnr.  II.  344,  scqq.).  Muratori  in  his  Annals  has  followed  John  Villani 
(bk.  viii.  ch.  27)  in  representing  the  terms  as  highly  unfavourable  to  Venice.  But 
for  this  there  is  no  foundation  in  the  documents.  And  the  terms  ai^e  stated  with 
substantial  accuracy  in  Navagiero  (Murat.  Script,  xxiii.  loii). 


pletion  of  all  formalities.  This  day  is  not  recorded,  but  as  the 
Treaty  was  ratified  by  the  Doge  of  Venice  on  the  ist  July, 
and  the  latest  extant  document  connected  with  the  formalities 
appears  to  be  dated  i8th  July,  we  may  believe  that  before  the 
end  of  August  Marco  Polo  was  restored  to  the  family  mansion 
in  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo. 

37.   Something  further  requires  to  be  said  before  quitting 
this  event  in  our  Traveller's  life.     For  we  confess  that  a  criti- 
cal reader  may  have  some  justification  in  asking  what  Grounds  on 
evidence   there  is  that    Marco  Polo   ever  fought  at  Ttory  of  ^ 

C,  ,  .,.,_,  Marco  Polo's 

urzola,  and  ever  was  carried  a  prisoner  to  Genoa  capture  at 

from  that  unfortunate  action  ?  re'ts.  "" 

A  learned  Frenchman,  whom  we  shall  have  to  quote  freely 
in  the  immediately  ensuing  pages,  does  not  venture  to  be 
more  precise  in  reference  to  the  meeting  of  Polo  and  Rusti- 
ciano  than  to  say  of  the  latter:  "In  1298,  being  in  durance 
in  the  Prison  of  Genoa,  he  there  became  acquainted  with 
Marco  Polo,  whom  the  Genoese  had  deprived  of  his  liberty 
front  motives  equally  ?inknozi>n."* 

To  those  who  have  no  relish  for  biographies  that  round  the 
meagre  skeleton  of  authentic  facts  with  a  plump  padding  of 
what  might  have  been,  this  sentence  of  M.  Paulin- Paris  is  quite 
refreshing  in  its  stern  limitation  to  positive  knowledge.  And 
certainly  no  contemporary  authority  has  yet  been  found  for 
the  capture  of  our  Traveller  at  Curzola.  Still  I  think  that  the 
fact  is  beyond  reasonable  doubt. 

Ramusio's  biographical  notices  certainly  contain  many 
errors  of  detail  ;  and  some,  such  as  the  many  years'  interval 
which  he  sets  between  the  Battle  of  Curzola  and  Marco's 
return,  are  errors  which  a  very  little  trouble  would  have 
enabled  him  to  eschew.  But  still  it  does  seem  reasonable  to 
believe  that  the  main  fact  of  Marco's  command  of  a  galley 
at  Curzola,  and  capture  there,  was  derived  from  a  genuine 
tradition,  if  not  from  documents. 

Let  us  then  turn  to  the  words  which  close  Rusticiano's 
preamble  {see  post,  p.  2)  : — "  Lequel  (Messire  Marc)  puis  demo- 
rant  en  le  charthre  de  Jene  fist  retraire  toutes  cestes  chouses  a 
Messire   Rustacians   de  Pise  que  en  celle    meissme  charthre 

*  J\u/!i//-J\iris,  Les  Mannsirils  Francois  dc  la  Bibliothhjue  dii  A'oi,  ii.  355. 
VOL.  L  / 


estoit,  au  tens  qu'il  avoit  1298  anz  que  Jezu  eut  vesqui."  These 
words  are  at  least  thoroughly  consistent  with  Marco's  capture 
at  Curzola,  as  regards  both  the  position  in  which  they  present 
him,  and  the  year  in  which  he  is  thus  presented. 

There  is  however  another  piece  of  evidence,  though  it  is 
curiously  indirect. 

The  Dominican  Friar  Jacopo  of  Acqui  was  a  contem- 
porary of  Polo's,  and  was  the  author  of  a  somewhat  obscure 
Chronicle  called  Imago  Miindi*  Now  this  Chronicle  does 
contain  mention  of  Marco's  capture  in  action  by  the  Genoese, 
but  attributes  it  to  a  different  action  from  Curzola,  and  one 
fought  at  a  time  when  Polo  could  not  have  been  present.  The 
passage  runs  as  follows  in  a  manuscript  of  the  Ambrosian 
Library,  according  to  an  extract  given  by  Baldello  Boni  : — 

"  In  the  year  of  Christ  MCCLXXXXVI,  in  the  time  of  Pope  Boniface 
VI.,  of  whom  we  have  spoken  above,  a  battle  was  fought  in  Arminia,  at  the 
place  called  Layaz,  between  xv.  galleys  of  Genoese  merchants  and  xxv.  of 
Venetian  merchants  ;  and  after  a  great  fight  the  galleys  of  the  Venetians 
were  beaten,  and  (the  crews)  all  slain  or  taken  ;  and  among  them  was 
taken  Messer  Marco  the  Venetian,  who  was  in  company  with  those 
merchants,  and  who  was  called  Milono,  which  is  as  much  as  to  say  '  a 
thousand  thousand  pounds,'  for  so  goes  the  phrase  in  Venice.  So  this 
Messer  Marco  Milono  the  Venetian,  with  the  other  Venetian  prisoners,  is 
carried  off  to  the  prison  of  Genoa,  and  there  kept  for  a  long  time.  This 
Messer  Marco  was  a  long  time  with  his  father  and  uncle  in  Tartary,  and 
he  there  saw  many  things,  and  made  much  wealth,  and  also  learned  many 
things,  for  he  was  a  man  of  ability.  And  so,  being  in  prison  at  Genoa,  he 
made  a  Book  concerning  the  great  wonders  of  the  World,  z.  e.,  concerning 
such  of  them  as  he  had  seen.  And  what  he  told  in  the  Book  was  not  as 
much  as  he  had  really  seen,  because  of  the  tongues  of  detractors,  who, 
being  ready  to  impose  their  own  lies  on  others,  are  over  hasty  to  set  down 
as  lies  what  they  in  their  perversity  disbelieve,  or  do  not  understand. 
And  because  there  are  many  great  and  strange  things  in  that  Book,  which 
are  reckoned  past  all  credence,  he  was  asked  by  his  friends  on  his  death- 
bed to  correct  the  Book  by  removing  everything  that  went  beyond  the 
facts.  To  which  his  reply  was  that  he  had  not  told  one-half  of  what  he 
had  really  seen  ! "  f 

*  Though  there  is  no  precise  information  as  to  the  birth  or  death  of  this  writer, 
who  belonged  to  a  noble  family  of  Lombardy,  the  BelHngeri,  he  can  be  traced  with 
tolerable  certainty  as  in  life  in  1289,  1320,  and  1334  (see  the  Introduction  to  his 
Chronicle  in  the  'Ywx'm.  Momimenta,  Scriptores  III.). 

t  There  is  another  MS.  of  the  Imago  Mundi  at  Turin,  which  has  been  printed 
in  the  Mo7ntmenta.  The  passage  about  Polo  in  that  copy  differs  widely  in  wording, 
is  much  shorter,  and  contains  no  date.  But  it  relates  his  capture  as  having  taken 
place  at  La  Glaza,  which  I  think  there  can  be  no  doubt  is  also  intended  for  Ayas 
(sometimes  called  Giazza),  a  place  which  in  fact  is  called  Glaza  in  three  of  the  MSS. 
of  which  various  readings  are  given  in  the  edition  of  the  Societe  de  Geographic 
(P-  535)- 


This  statement  regarding  the  capture  of  Marco  at  the 
Battle  of  Ayas  is  one  which  cannot  be  true,  for  we  know  that 
he  did  not  reach  Venice  till  1295,  travelling  from  Persia  by 
way  of  Trebizond  and  the  Bosphorus,  whilst  the  Battle  of 
Ayas,  of  which  we  have  purposely  given  some  detail,  was 
fought  in  May,  1294.  The  date  MCCLXXXXVI  assigned  to 
it  in  the  preceding  extract  has  given  rise  to  some  unprofitable 
discussion.  Could  that  date  be  accepted,  no  doubt  it  would 
enable  us  also  to  accept  this,  the  sole  statement  from  the 
Traveller's  own  age  of  the  circumstances  which  brought  him 
into  a  Genoese  prison  ;  it  would  enable  us  to  place  that  im- 
prisonment within  a  few  months  of  his  return  from  the  East, 
and  to  extend  its  duration  to  three  years,  points  which  would 
thus  accord  better  with  the  general  tenor  of  Ramusio's  tradi- 
tion than  the  capture  at  Curzola.  But  the  matter  is  not  open 
to  such  a  solution.  The  date  of  the  Battle  of  Ayas  is  not 
more  doubtful  than  that  of  the  Battle  of  the  Nile.  It  is 
clearly  stated  by  several  independent  chroniclers,  and  is  care- 
fully established  in  the  Ballad  that  we  have  quoted  above. 
We  shall  see  repeatedly  in  the  course  of  this  Book  how  uncer- 
tain are  the  transcriptions  of  dates  in  Roman  numerals,  and  in 
the  present  case  the  LXXXXVI  is  as  certainly  a  mistake  for 
LXXXXIV,  as  is  Boniface  VI.  in  the  same  quotation  a  mistake 
for  Boniface  VIII. 

But  though  we  cannot  accept  the  statement  that  Polo  was 
taken  prisoner  at  Ayas,  in  the  spring  of  1294,  we  may  accept 
the  passage  as  evidence  from  a  contemporary  source  that  he 
was  taken  prisoner  in  some  sea-figJit  zvith  the  Genoese,  and  thus 
admit  it  in  corroboration  of  the  Ramusian  Tradition  of  his 
capture  in  a  sea-fight  at  Curzola  in  1298,  which  is  perfectly 
consistent  with   all  other  facts  in  our  possession. 


Prisoner  at  Genoa,  the  Scribe  who  wrote  down  the 

38.  We  have  now  to  say  something  of  that  Rusticiano  to 
whom  all  who  value  Polo's  book  are  so  much  indebted. 

The  relations  between  Genoa  and  Pisa  had  long  ^^'^hap'Tr' 
been  so  hostile  that  it  was  only  too  natural  in   1298  ^J'Xh'^'"'" 


to  find  a  Pisan  in  the  gaol  of  Genoa.  An  unhappy  multitude 
of  such  prisoners  had  been  carried  thither  fourteen  years 
before,  and  the  survivors  still  lingered  there  in  vastly  dwindled 
numbers.  In  the  summer  of  1284  was  fought  the  battle  from 
which  Pisa  had  to  date  the  commencement  of  her  long  decay. 
In  July  of  that  year  the  Pisans,  at  a  time  when  the  Genoese 
had  no  fleet  in  their  own  immediate  waters,  had  advanced  to 
the  very  port  of  Genoa  and  shot  their  defiance  into  the  proud 
city  in  the  form  of  silver-headed  arrows,  and  stones  belted 
with  scarlet.*  They  had  to  pay  dearly  for  this  insult.  The 
Genoese,  recalling  their  cruizers,  speedily  mustered  a  fleet  of 
eighty-eight  galleys,  which  were  placed  under  the  command 
of  another  of  that  illustrious  House  of  Doria,  the  Scipios  of 
Genoa,  as  they  have  been  called,  Uberto,  the  elder  brother  of 
Lamba.  Lamba  himself  with  his  six  sons,  and  another 
brother,  was  in  the  fleet,  whilst  the  whole  number  of  Dorias 
who  fought  in  the  ensuing  action  amounted  to  250,  most  of 
them  on  board  one  great  galley  bearing  the  name  of  the 
family  patron  St.  Matthew.f 

The  Pisans,  more  than  one-fourth  inferior  in  strength,  came 
out  boldly,  and  the  battle  was  fought  off  the  Porto  Pisano,  in 
fact  close  in  front  of  Leghorn,  where  a  lighthouse  on  a  re- 
markable arched  basement  still  marks  the  islet  of  Meloria, 
whence  the  battle  got  its  name.  The  day  was  the  6th  of 
August,  the  feast  of  St.  Sixtus,  a  day  memorable  in  the  Pisan 
Fasti  for  several  great  victories.  But  on  this  occasion  the 
defeat  of  Pisa  was  overwhelming.  Forty  of  their  galleys  were 
taken  or  sunk,  and  upwards  of  9000  prisoners  carried  to 
Genoa.  In  fact  so  vast  a  sweep  was  made  of  the  flower  of 
Pisan  manhood,  that  it  was  a  common  saying  then  :  "  Che 
viiol  veder  Pisa,  vada  a  Genova ! "  Many  noble  ladies  of 
Pisa  went  in  large  companies  on  foot  to  Genoa  to  seek  their 

*  B.  Marangone,  Croniche  della  C.  di  Pisa,  in  Heriim  Ital.  Script,  of  Tartiiii, 
Florence,  1748,  i.  563  ;  Dal  Borgo,  Dissert,  sopra  V Istoria  Pisana,  ii.  287. 

t  The  list  of  the  whole  number  is  preserved  in  the  Doria  archives,  and  has  been 
published  by  Sign.  Jacopo  Doria.  Many  of  the  baptismal  names  are  curious,  and 
show  how  far  sponsors  wandered  from  the  Church  Calendar.  Assan,  Aiton,  Tnrco, 
Soldan  seem  to  come  of  the  constant  interest  in  the  East.  Alaone,  a  name  which 
remained  in  the  family  for  several  generations,  I  had  thought  certainly  borrowed 
from  the  fierce  conqueror  of  the  Khalif  {infra,  p.  60).  But  as  one  Alaone,  present 
at  this  battle,  had  a  son  also  there,  he  must  surely  have  been  christened  before  the 
fame  of  Hulaku  could  have  reached  Genoa  (see  La  cliiesa  di  S.  Matteo,  pp.  250,  seqq.). 



husbands  or  kinsmen  :  "  And  when  they  made  enquiry  of  the 
Keepers  of  the  Prisons  the  reply  would  be,  '  Yesterday  there 
died  thirty  of  them,  to-day  there  have  died  forty  ;  all  of  whom 
we  have  cast  into  the  sea  ;  and  so  it  is  daily.'  "  * 

A  body  of  prisoners  so  numerous  and  important  natu- 
rally exerted  themselves  in  the  cause  of  peace,  and  through 
their  efforts,  after  many  months  of  negotiation,  a  formal  peace 
was  signed  (15th  April,  1288). 
But  through  the  influence,  as 
was  alleged,  of  Count  Ugo- 
lino  (Dante's)  who  was  then 
in  power  at  Pisa,  the  peace 
became  abortive  ;  war  almost 
immediately  recommenced, 
and  the  prisoners  had  no  re- 
lease.! And,  when  the  6000 
or  7000  Venetians  were 
thrown  into  the  prisons  of 
Genoa  in  October  1298,  they 
would  find  there  the  scanty 
surviving     remnant     of    the 

Pisan  Prisoners  of  Meloria,  and  would  gather  from  them 
dismal  forebodings  of  the  fate  before  them. 

It  is  a  fair  conjecture  that  to  that  remnant  Rusticiano  of 
Pisa  may  have  belonged. 

We  have  seen  Ramusio's  representation  of  the  kindness 
shown  to  Marco  during  his  imprisonment  by  a  certain  Genoese 
gentleman,  who  also  assisted  him  to  reduce  his  travels  to 
writing.  We  may  be  certain  that  this  Genoese  gentleman  is 
only  a  distorted  image  of  Rusticiano,  the  Pisan  prisoner  in  the 
gaol  of  Genoa,  whose  name  and  part  in  the  history  of  his  hero's 
book  Ramusio  so  strangely  ignores.     Yet  patriotic  Genoese 

Seal  of  the  Pisan  Prisoners. 

*  Memorial.  Potestat.  Regicns.  in  Min-atori,  viii.  1 162. 

f  Sqq  Frag/n.  Hist.  Pisan.  in  Miiratori,  xxiv.  651,  seqq. ;  and  Caffaro,  id.  vi. 
588,  594-5.  Tiie  cut  in  the  text  represents  a  striking  memorial  of  those  Pisan 
Prisoners  which  perhaps  still  survives,  but  which  at  any  rate  existed  last  century  in 
a  collection  at  Lucca.  It  is  the  seal  of  the  Prisoners  as  a  body  corporate  :  SiGiLLUM 
Universitatis  Carceratorum  Pisanorum  Janue  detentorum,  and  was 
doubtless  used  in  their  negotiations  for  peace  with  the  Genoese  Commissioners. 
It  represents  two  of  the  prisoners  imploring  the  Madonna,  Patron  of  the  Duomo 
at  Pisa.  It  is  from  Manni,  Osserv.  Star,  sopra  Sigilli  Antichi,  &c.,  Firenze,  1739, 
torn.  xii.     The  seal  is  also  engraved  in  Dal  Borgo,  op.  cit.  ii.  316. 


writers  in  our  own  times  have  striven  to  determine  the 
identity  of  this  their  imaginary  countryman  !  * 

39.  Who,  then,  was  Rusticiano,  or,  as  the  name  actually 
is  read  in  the  oldest  type  of  MS.,  "Messire  Rustacians  de 

•   ■  Pic(=>  ?" 

Rusticiano,       -l-  l-^c  . 

kifown  from  Our  knowlcdgc  of  him  is  but  scanty.     Still  some- 

sources,  thing  is  known  of  him  besides  the  few  words  con- 
cluding his  preamble  to  our  Traveller's  Book,  which  you  may 
read  at  p.  1-2  of  this  volume. 

In  Sir  Walter  Scott's  "  Essay  on  Romance,"  when  he  speaks 
of  the  new  mould  in  which  the  subjects  of  the  old  metrical 
stories  were  cast  by  the  school  of  prose  romancers  which  arose 
in  the  1 3th  century,  we  find  the  following  words  : — 

"  Whatever  fragments  or  shadows  of  true  history  may  yet  remain 
hidden  under  the  mass  of  accumulated  fable  which  had  been  heaped  upon 
them  during  successive  ages,  must  undoubtedly  be  sought  in  the  metrical 

romances But  those  prose  authors  who  wrote  under  the  imaginary 

names  of  RUSTICIEN  DE  PiSE,  Robert  de  Borron,  and  the  hke,  usually 
seized  upon  the  subject  of  some  old  minstrel  ;  and  recomposing  the  whole 
narrative  after  their  own  fashion,  with  additional  character  and  adventure, 
totally  obliterated  in  that  operation  any  shades  which  remained  of  the 
original  and  probably  authentic  tradition,"  &r.t 

Evidently,  therefore,  Sir  Walter  regarded  Rustician  of 
Pisa  as  a  person  belonging  to  the  same  ghostly  company  as 
his  own  Cleishbothams  and  Dryasdusts.  But  in  this  we  see 
that  he  was  wrong. 

In  the  great  Paris  Library  and  elsewhere  there  are  manu- 
script volumes  containing  the  stories  of  the  Round  Table 
abridged  and  somewhat  clumsily  combined  from  the  various 
Prose  Romances  of  that  cycle,  such  as  Sir  Tristan,  Lancelot, 
Palamedes,  Giron  le  Courtois,  &c.,  which  had  been  composed, 
it  would  seem,  by  various  Anglo-French  gentlemen  at  the 
court  of  Henry  III.,  styled  Gasses  le  Blunt,  Luces  de  Gast, 
Robert  de  Borron,  and  Helye  de  Borron.  And  these  abridg- 
ments  or   recasts   are  professedly   the  work   of  Le  Maistre 

*  The  Abate  Spotorno  in  his  Storia  Letteraria  delta  Liguria,  II.  219,  fixes  on  a 
Genoese  philosopher  called  Andalo  del  Negro,  mentioned  by  Boccaccio. 

t  I  quote  from  Galignani's  ed.  of  Prose  Works,  v.  712.  This  has  "  Rusticien  de 
Puise."  In  this  view  of  the  fictitious  character  of  the  names  of  Rusticien  and  the 
rest,  Sir  Walter  seems  to  have  been  following  Ritson,  as  1  gather  from  a  quotation 
in  Dunlop's  H.  of  Fiction  {Liebrectifs  German  version,  p.  63). 


Rusticien  de  Pise.  Several  of  them  were  printed  at  Paris  in 
the  end  of  the  15th  and  beginning  of  the  i6th  centuries  as  the 
works  of  Rusticien  de  Pise  ;  and  as  the  preambles  and  the 
like,  especially  as  they  are  exhibited  in  those  printed  editions, 
appear  to  be  due  sometimes  to  the  original  composers  (as 
Robert  and  Helye  de  Borron)  and  sometimes  to  Rusticien  de 
Pise  the  recaster,  there  would  seem  to  have  been  a  good  deal 
of  confusion  made  in  regard  to  their  respective  personalities. 

From  a  preamble  to  one  of  those  compilations  which 
undoubtedly  belongs  to  Rustician,  and  which  we  shall  quote 
at  length  by  and  bye,  we  learn  that  Master  Rustician  "  trans- 
lated "  (or  perhaps  transferred  f)  his  compilation  from  a  book 
belonging  to  King  Edward  of  England,  at  the  time  when  that 
prince  went  beyond  seas  to  recover  the  Holy  Sepulchre.  Now 
Prince  Edward  started  for  the  Holy  Land  in  1270,  spent  the 
winter  of  that  year  in  Sicily,  and  arrived  in  Palestine  in  May 
1 27 1.  He  quitted  it  again  in  August  1272,  and  passed  again 
by  Sicily,  where  in  January  1273  he  heard  of  his  father's  death 
and  his  own  consequent  accession.  M.  Paulin-Paris  supposes 
that  Rustician  was  attached  to  the  Sicilian  Court  of  Charles 
of  Anjou,  and  that  Edward  "may  have  deposited  with  that 
king  the  Romances  of  the  Round  Table,  of  which  all  the  world 
was  talking,  but  the  manuscripts  of  which  were  still  very  rare, 
especially  those  of  the  work  of  Helye  de  Borron  *  .  .  .  . 
whether  by  order,  or  only  with  permission,  of  the  King  of 
Sicily,  our  Rustician  made  haste  to  read,  abridge,  and  re-ar- 
range the  whole,  and  when  Edward  returned  to  Sicily  he 
recovered  possession  of  the  book  from  which  the  indefatigable 
Pisan  had  extracted  the  contents." 

But  this  I  believe  is,  in  so  far  as  it  passes  the  facts  stated 
in  Rustician's  own  preamble,  pure  hypothesis,  for  nothing  is 
cited  that  connects  Rustician  with  the  King  of  Sicily.  And 
if  there  be  not  some  such  confusion  of  personality  as  we  have 
alluded  to  in  another  of  the  preambles,  which  is  quoted  by 
Dunlop  as  an  utterance  of  Rustician's,  that  personage  would 
seem  to  claim  to  have  been  a  comrade  in  arms  of  the  two  de 
Borrons.  We  might,  therefore,  conjecture  that  Rustician  him- 
self had  accompanied  Prince  Edward  to  Syria,  f 

*   Giron  Ic  Coiirtois,  and  the  conclusion  of  Tristan. 

t  The  passage  runs  thus  as  quoted  (from  the  preamble  of  the  Meliadiis- 
suspect  in  one  of  the  old  printed  editions)  : — 


40.  Rustician's  literarywork  appears  from  the  extracts  and 

remarks  of  M.  PauHn-Paris  to  be  that  of  an  industrious  simple 

,  man,  without    method    or    much    iuds^ment.      "  The 

Character  01  '  ^         o 

Rustician's     haste  with  which   he  worked  is  too  perceptible  ;  the 

Komance  ^  ■■■  ' 

compilations,  advcutures  are  told  without  connexion  ;  you  find 
long  stories  of  Tristan  followed  by  adventures  of  his  father 
Meliadus."  For  the  latter  derangement  of  historical  sequence 
we  find  a  quaint  and  ingenuous  apology  offered  in  Rustician's 
epilogue  to  Giron  le  Courtois  : — 

"  Cy  fine  le  Maistre  Rusticien  de  Pise  son  conte  en  louant  et  regraciant 
le  Pere  le  Filz  et  le  Saint  Esperit,  et  ung  mesme  Dieu,  Filz  de  la  Benoite 
Vierge  Marie,  de  ce  qu'il  m'a  don^  grace,  sens,  force,  et  menioire,  temps 
et  lieu,  de  me  mener  k  fin  de  si  haulte  et  si  noble  mati^re  come  ceste-cy 
dont  j'ay  traicte  les  faiz  et  les  proesses  recitez  et  recordez  a  mon  livre. 
Et  se  aucun  me  demandeoit  pourquoy  j'ay  parld  de  Tristran  avant  que 
de  son  pere  le  Roy  Meliadus,  le  respons  que  ma  matiere  n'estoist  pas 
congneue.  Car  je  ne  puis  pas  scavoir  tout,  ne  mettre  toutes  mes  paroles 
par  ordre.     Et  ainsi  fine  mon  conte.     Amen."  * 

In  a  passage  of  these  compilations  the  Emperor  Char- 
lemagne is  asked  whether  in  his  judgment  King  Meliadus  or 
his  son  Tristan  were  the  better  man  }  The  Emperor's  answer 
is  :  "I  should  say  that  the  King  Meliadus  was  the  better  man, 
and  I  will  tell  you  why  I  say  so.  As  far  as  I  can  see,  every- 
thing that  Tristan  did  was  done  for  Love,  and  his  great  feats 
would  never  have  been  done  but  under  the  constraint  of  Love 
which  was  his  spur  and  goad.  Now  that  never  can  be  said  of 
King  Meliadus  !  For  what  deeds  he  did,  he  did  them  not  by 
dint  of  Love,  but  by  dint  of  his  strong  right  arm.     Purely  out 

' '  Aussi  Luces  de  Jau  (Gast  ?)  translata  en  langue  Franjoise  una  partie  de 
I'Hystoire  de  Monseigneur  Tristan,  et  moins  assez  qu'il  ne  deust.  Moult  commenfa 
bien  son  livre  et  si  ny  mist  tout  les  faicts  de  Tristan,  ains  la  greigneur  partie. 
Apres  s'en  entremist  Messire  Gasse  le  Blond,  qui  estoit  parent  au  Roy  Henry,  et 
divisa  I'Hystoire  de  Lancelot  du  Lac,  et  d'autre  chose  ne  park  il  mye  grandement 
en  son  livre.  Messire  Robert  de  Borron  s'en  entremist  et  Helye  de  Borron,  par 
la  priere  du  dit  Robert  de  Borron,  ci  poiirce  que  compaignons  feusmes  d'armes 
longiiement,  je  commencay  mon  livre,"  &c.  {Liebrechfs  Diinlop,  p.  80.)  If  this 
passage  be  authentic  it  would  set  beyond  doubt  the  age  of  the  de  Borrons  and  the 
other  writers  of  Anglo-French  Round  Table  Romances,  who  are  placed  by  the 
Hist.  Litth-aire  de  la  France,  and  apparently  by  Fr.  Michel,  under  Henry  II.  I 
have  no  means  of  pursuing  the  matter,  and  have  preferred  to  follow  M.  Paulin- 
Paris,  who  places  them  under  Henry  HI.  I  notice  moreover  that  the  Hist.  Litt. 
(xv.  p.  498)  puts  not  only  the  de  Borrons  but  Rustician  himself  under  Henry  II.  ; 
and,  as  the  last  view  is  certainly  an  error,  the  first  is  probably  so  too. 

*  Transc.  from  MS.  6975  (Fr.  355)  of  Paris  Library. 


of  his  own  goodness  he  did  good,  and  not  by  constraint  of 
Love."  "  It  will  be  seen,"  remarks  on  this  M.  Paulin-Paris, 
"that  we  are  here  a  long  way  removed  from  the  ordinary 
principles  of  Round-Table  Romances.  And  one  thing 
besides  will  be  manifest,  viz.,  that  Rusticien  de  Pise  was 
no  Frenchman  !  "  * 

The  same  discretion  is  shown  even  more  prominently  in 
a  passage  of  one  of  his  compilations,  which  contains  the 
romances  of  Arthur,  Gyron,  and  Meliadus  (No.  6975 — see 
last  note  but  one)  : — 

"  No  doubt,"  Rustician  says,  "  other  books  tell  the  story  of 
the  Queen  Ginevra  and  Lancelot  differently  from  this  ;  and 
there  were  certain  passages  between  them  of  which  the  Master, 
in  his  concern  for  the  honour  of  both  those  personages,  will 
say  not  a  word."  Alas,  says  the  French  Bibliographer,  that 
the  copy  of  Lancelot,  which  fell  into  the  hands  of  poor 
Francesca  of  Rimini,  was  not  one  of  those  expurgated  by 
our  worthy  friend  Rustician  !  f 

41.  A  question  may  still  occur  to  an  attentive  reader  as  to 
the  identity  of  this  Romance  compiler  Rusticien  de  Pise  with 
the   Messire  Riistacians  de  Pise,  of  a  solitary  MS.  1^^^^;^  ^f 
of  Polo's  work  (though  the  oldest  and  most  authen-  *e  Romance 

V  o  Compiler 

tic),  a  name  which  appears  in  other  copies  as  Riista  fe5fo^^°|.°? 
Pisan,    Rasta    Pysan,     Rtcstichehis    Civis    Pisauns,  ^°"^''- 
Riistico,    Restasio    da    Pisa,    Stazio    da   Pisa,    and    who    is 
stated  in  the  preamble  to  have  acted  as  the  Traveller's  scribe 
at  Genoa. 

M.  Pauthier  indeed  :j:  asserts  that  the  French  of  the  MS. 
Romances  of  Rusticien  de  Pise  is  of  the  same  barbarous 
character  as  that  of  the  early  French  MS.  of  Polo's  Book  to 
which  we  have  just  alluded,  and  which  we  shall  show  to  be 
the  nearest  presentation  of  the  work  as  originally  dictated  by 
the  Traveller.  The  language  of  the  latter  MS.  is  so  peculiar 
that  this  would  be  almost  perfect  evidence  of  the  identity  of 
the  writers,  if  it  were  really  the  fact.  A  cursory  inspection 
which  I  have  made  of  two  of  those  MSS.  in  Paris,  and  the 
extracts  which  I  have  given  and  am  about  to  give,  do  not, 
however,    by   any   means    support    M.   Pauthier's  view.     Nor 

MSS.  Francois,  iii.  60-61.  t  I^'i^i-  56-59. 

X  Introd.  pp.  Ixxxvi-vii,  note. 


would  that  view  be  consistent  with  the  judgment  of  so  com- 
petent an  authority  as  M.  PauHn-Paris,  implied  in  his  calling 
Rustician  a  nom  recomniandable  in  old  French  literature,  and 
his  speaking  of  him  as  "  versed  in  the  secrets  of  the  French 
Romance  Tongue."  *  In  fact  the  difference  of  language  in  the 
two  cases  would  really  be  a  difficulty  in  the  way  of  identifi- 
cation, if  there  were  room  for  doubt.  This,  however,  M. 
Paulin-Paris  seems  to  have  excluded  finally,  by  calling  atten- 
tion to  the  peculiar  formula  of  preamble  which  is  common  to 
the  Book  of  Marco  Polo  and  to  one  of  the  Romance  com- 
pilations of  Rusticien  de  Pise. 

The  former  will  be  found  in  English  at  pp.  i,  2,  of  our 
Translation  ;  but  we  give  a  part  of  the  original  below  f  for 
comparison  with  the  preamble  to  the  Romances  of  Meliadus, 
Tristan,  and  Lancelot,  as  taken  from  MS.  6961  (Fr.  340)  of 
the  Paris  Library  : — 

"  Seigneurs  Empereurs  et  Princes,  Dues  et  Contes  et  Barons  et 
Chevaliers  et  Vavasseurs  et  Bourgeois,  et  tons  les  preudommes  de  cestui 
monde  qui  avez  talent  de  voiis  deliter  en  rommans,  si prenez  cestui  {lit're) 
et  le  faites  lire  de  chief  en  chief,  si  orrez  toutes  les  grans  aventure  qui 
advindrent  entre  les  Chevaliers  errans  du  temps  au  Roy  Uter  Pendragon, 
jusques  a  le  temps  au  Roy  Artus  son  fils,  et  des  compaignons  de  la  Table 
Ronde.  Et  sachiez  tout  vraiment  que  cist  livres  fust  translatez  du  livre 
Monseigneur  Edouart  le  Roy  d'Engleterre  en  cellui  temps  qu'il  passa 
oultre  la  mer  au  service  nostre  Seigneur  Damedieu  pour  conquester  le 
Sant  Sepulcre,  et  Maistre  Rusticiens  de  Pise,  lequel  est  ymaginez  yci 
dessus,J  compila  ce  rommant,  car  il  en  translata  toutes  les  merveilleuses 
nouvelles  et  aventures  qu'il  trouva  en  celle  livre  et  traita  tout  certainement 
de  toutes  les  aventures  du  monde,  et  si  sachiez  qu'il  traitera  plus  de  Mon- 
seigneur Lancelot  du  Lac,  et  Mons"^  Tristan  le  fils  au  Roy  Meliadus  de 
Leonnoie  que  d'autres,  porcequ'ilz  furent  sans  faille  les  meilleurs  chevaliers 
qui  a  ce  temps  furent  en  terre  ;  et  li  Maistres  en  dira  de  ces  deux  pluseurs 
choses  et  pluseurs  nouvelles  que  Ten  treuvera  escript  en  tons  les  autres 
livres  ;  et  porce  que  le  Maistres  les  trouva  escript  au  Livre  d'Engleterre." 

"  Certainly,"  M.  Paulin-Paris  observes,  "  there  is  a  singular 
analogy  between  these   two   prefaces.     And  it  must  be  re- 

*  See  four.  As.  Ser.  II.  torn.  xii.  p.  251. 

t  "  Seignors  Enperaor  et  Rois,  Dux  et  Marquois,  Cnens,  Chevaliers  et  Borgions 
[for  Borgiois]  et  toutes  gens  qe  voles  savoir  les  diverses  jenerasions  des  homes,  et  les 
deversites  des  deverses  region  dou  monde,  si  premies  cestui  livre  £t  lefcitcs  lire  et  chi 
troveres  toutes  les  grajidismes  merveillcs,^''  &c. 

\  The  portrait  of  Rustician  here  referred  to  would  have  been  a  precious  illus- 
tration for  our  book.  But  unfortunately  it  has  not  been  transferred  to  MS.  6961, 
nor  apparently  to  any  other  noticed  by  M.  Paulin-Paris. 


marked  that  the  formula  is  not  an  ordinary  one  with  trans- 
lators, compilers,  or  authors  of  the  13th  and  14th  centuries. 
Perhaps  you  would  not  find  a  single  other  example  of  it."  * 

This  seems  to  place  beyond  question  the  identity  of  the 
Romance  compiler  of  Prince  Edward's  suite  in  1270,  and  the 
Prisoner  of  Genoa  in  1 298. 

42.  In  Dunlop's  History  of  Fiction  a  passage  is  quoted 
from  the  preamble  of  Meliadus,  as  set  forth  in  the  Paris  printed 
edition  of  1528,  which  gives  us  to  understand  that  Further par- 
Rusticien  de  Pise  had  received  as  a  reward  for  some  c'ernfng"" 
of  his  compositions  from  King  Henry  HI.  the  pro-  ^"^"'^'^"• 
digal  gift  of  two  chateaux.  I  gather,  however,  from  passages 
in  the  work  of  M.  Paulin-Paris  that  this  must  certainly  be  one 
of  those  confusions  of  persons  to  which  I  have  referred  before, 
and  that  the  recipient  of  the  chateaux  was  in  reality  Helye  de 
Borron,  the  author  of  some  of  the  originals  which  Rustician 
manipulated.!  This  supposed  incident  in  Rustician's  scanty 
history  must  therefore  be  given  up. 

We  call  this  worthy  Rustician  or  Rusticiano,  as  the  nearest 
probable  representation  in  Italian  form  of  the  Rnsticie?i  of  the 
Round-Table  MSS.  and  the  Rustacians  of  the  old  text  of  Polo. 
But  it  is  highly  probable  that  his  real  name  was  Rustichello, 
as  is  suggested  by  the  form  RiisticJielus  in  the  early  Latin 
version  published  by  the  Societc  de  GeograpJiie.  The  change 
of  one  liquid  for  another  never  goes  for  much  in  Italy,|  and 
Rustichello  might  easily  Gallicize  himself  as  Rusticien.  In  a 
very  long  list  of  Pisan  officials  during  the  Middle  Ages  I  find 
several  bearing  the  name  of  RusticJu^llo  or  Rustichelli,  but  no 
Rusticiauo  or  Rustigiano.\ 

Respecting  him  we  have  only  to  add  that  the  peace  be- 
tween Genoa  and  Venice  was  speedily  followed  by  a  treaty 
between  Genoa  and  Pisa.  On  the  31st  July,  1299,  a  truce  for 
twenty-five  years  was  signed  between  those  two  Republics. 
It  was  a  very  different  matter  from  that  between  Genoa  and 
Venice,  and  contained  much  that  was  humiliating  and  detri- 

*  J.  As.  as  above. 

t  See  Liebrechfs  Dicnlop,  p.  77  ;  and  MSS.  Francois,  &c.  II.  349,  353.  The 
alleged  gift  to  Rustician  is  also  put  forth  by  D'lsraeli  the  Elder  in  his  Amenities  of 
Literature,  1841,  I.  p.  103. 

X  j5'.  ^.  Geronimo,  Girolamo ;  and  garofalo,  garo/a no  ;  Cristoforo,  Cristovalo ; 
gonfalone,  gonfanone,  &c. 

§  See  the  List  in  Archivio  Star.  Ital.  VI.  pp.  64,  seqq. 


mental  to  Pisa.  But  it  embraced  the  release  of  prisoners  ; 
and  those  of  Meloria,  reduced  it  is  said  to  less  than  one  tithe 
of  their  original  number,  had  their  liberty  at  last.  Among  the 
prisoners  then  released  no  doubt  Rustician  was  one.  But  we 
hear  of  him  no  more. 

Vlll.  Notices  of  Marco  Polo's  History,  after  the  Termination 
OF  HIS  Imprisonment  at  Genoa. 

43.  A  very  few  disconnected  notices  are  all  that  can  be 
collected  of  matter  properly  biographical  in  relation  to  the 
Death  of       quarter  century  during  which  Marco  Polo  survived 

Marco's  ,        --.  ,-     •. 

Father  the  Gcnoesc  captivity. 

wnufw°s°'  We    have  seen    that    he    would    probably    reach 

Maffe"  Venice  in  the  course  of  August,  1 299.  Whether  he 
found  his  aged  father  alive  is  not  known  ;  but  we  know  at 
least  that  a  year  later  (31st  August,  1300)  Messer  Nicolo  was 
no  longer  in  life. 

This  we  learn  from  the  Will  of  the  younger  Maffeo,  Marco's 
brother,  which  bears  the  date  just  named,  and  of  which  we 
give  an  abstract  below.*     It  seems  to  imply  strong  regard  for 

*  I,  The  will  is  made  in  prospect  of  his  voyage  to  Crete. 

2.  He  had  drafted  his  will  with  his  own  hand,  sealed  the  draft,  and  made  it  over 
to  Pietro  Pa<^ano,  priest  of  St.  Felice  and  Notary,  to  draw  out  a  formal  testament 
in  faithful  accordance  therewith  in  case  of  the  Testator's  death ;  and  that  which 
follows  is  the  substance  of  the  said  draft  rendered  from  the  vernacular  into  Latin. 
("Ego  Matheus  Paulo  .  .  .  volens  ire  in  Cretam,  ne  repentinus  casus  hujus  vite 
fragilis  me  subreperet  intestatum,  mea  propria  manu  meum  scripsi  et  condidi  testa- 
mentum,  rogans  Petrum  Paganum  ecclesie  Scti.  Felicis  presbiterum  et  Notarium, 
Sana  mente  et  integro  consilio,  ut,  secundum  ipsius  scripturam  quam  sibi  tunc  dedi 
meo  sigillo  munitam,  meum  scriberet  testamentum,  si  me  de  hoc  seculo  contigeret 
pertransire  ;  cujus  scripture  tenor  translato  vulgari  in  latinum  per  omnia  talis  est.") 

3.  Appoints  as  Trustees  Messer  Maffeo  Polo  his  uncle,  Marco  Polo  his  brother, 
Messer  Nicolo  Secreto  (or  Sagredo)  his  father-in-law,  and  Felix  Polo  his  cousin 
( consangnineiim ) . 

4.  Leaves  20  soldi  to  each  of  the  Monasteries  from  Grado  to  Capo  d'Argine  ; 
and  150  lire  to  all  the  congregations  of  Rialto,  on  condition  that  the  priests  of 
these  maintain  an  annual  service  in  behalf  of  the  souls  of  his  father,  mother,  and 


5.  To  his  daughter  Fiordelisa  2000  lire  to  marry  her  withal.  To  be  invested  in 
safe  mortgages  in  Venice,  and  the  interest  to  go  to  her. 

Also  leaves  her  the  interest  from  1000  lire  of  his  investments  to  provide  for  her 
till  she  marries.  After  her  marriage  this  1000  //>^  and  its  interest  shall  go  to  his 
male  heir  if  he  has  one,  and  failing  that  to  his  brother  Marco. 


the  testator's  brother  Marco,  who  is  made  inheritor  of  the 
bulk  of  the  property,  failing  the  possible  birth  of  a  son.  I 
have  already  indicated  some  conjectural  deductions  from  this 
document.  I  may  add  that  the  terms  of  the  second  clause, 
as  quoted  in  the  note,  seem  to  me  to  throw  considerable  doubt 
on  the  genealogy  which  bestows  a  large  family  of  sons  upon 
this  brother  Maffeo.  If  he  lived  to  have  such  a  family  it 
seems  improbable  that  the  draught  which  he  thus  left  in  the 
hands  of  a  notary,  to  be  converted  into  a  Will  in  the  event  of 

6.  To  his  wife  Catharine  400  lire  and  all  her  clothes  as  they  stand  now.  To 
the  Lady  Maroca  100  lire. 

7.  To  his  natural  daughter  Pasqua  400  lire  to  marry  her  withal.  Or,  if  she  likes 
to  be  a  nun,  200  lire  shall  go  to  her  convent  and  the  other  200  shall  purchase 
securities  for  her  benefit.  After  her  death  these  shall  come  to  his  male  heir,  or 
failing  that  be  sold,  and  the  proceeds  distributed  for  the  good  of  the  souls  of  his 
father,  mother,  and  self. 

8.  To  his  natural  brothers  Stephen  and  Giovannino  he  leaves  500  lire.  If  one 
dies  the  whole  to  go  to  the  other.  If  both  die  before  marrying,  to  go  to  his  male 
heir ;  failing  such  to  his  brother  Marco  or  his  male  heir. 

9.  To  his  uncle  Giordano  Trevisano  200  lire.  To  Marco  Tumba  100.  To 
Fiordelisa,  wife  of  Felix  Polo,  100.  To  Maroca,  the  daughter  of  the  late  Pietro 
Trevisano,  living  at  Negropont,  1 00. 

10.  To  buy  securities  producing  an  annual  20  lire  ai  grossi  to  be  paid  yearly  to 
Pietro  Pagano,  Priest  of  S.  Felice,  who  shall  pray  for  the  souls  aforesaid  ;  on  death 
of  said  Pietro  the  income  to  go  to  Pietro's  cousin  Lionardo,  Clerk  of  St.  Felice  ; 
and  after  him  always  to  the  senior  priest  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo  with  the  same 

11.  Should  his  wife  prove  with  child  and  bear  a  son  or  sons  they  shall  have  his 
whole  property  not  disposed  of.  If  a  daughter,  she  shall  have  the  same  as 

12.  If  he  have  no  male  heir  his  Brother  Marco  shall  have  the  Testator's  share  of 
his  Father's  bequest,  and  2000  lire  besides.  Cousin  Nicolo  shall  have  500  lire,  and 
Uncle  Maffeo  500. 

13.  Should  Daughter  Fiordelisa  die  unmarried  her  2000  lire  and  interest  to  go 
to  his  male  heir,  and  failing  such  to  Brother  Marco  and  his  male  heir.  But  in  that 
case  Marco  shall  pay  500  lire  to  Cousin  Nicolo  or  his  male  heir. 

14.  Should  his  wife  bear  him  a  male  heir  or  heirs,  but  these  should  die  under 
age,  the  whole  of  his  undisposed  property  shall  go  to  Brother  Marco  or  his  male 
heir.     But  in  that  case  500  lire  shall  be  paid  to  Cousin  Nicolo. 

15.  Should  his  wife  bear  a  daughter  and  she  die  unmarried,  her  2000  lire  and 
interest  shall  go  to  Brother  Marco,  with  the  same  stipulation  in  behalf  of  Cousin 

16.  Should  the  whole  amount  of  his  property  between  cash  and  goods  not 
amount  to  10,000  lire  (though  he  believes  he  has  fully  as  much),  his  bequests  are 
to  be  ratably  diminished,  except  those  to  his  own  children  which  he  does  nf)t 
wish  diminished. 

17.  Should  any  legatee  die  before  i-eceiving  the  bequest,  its  amount  shall  fall  to 
the  Testator's  heir  male,  and  failing  such,  the  half  to  go  to  Brother  Marco  or  his 
male  heir,  and  the  other  half  to  be  distributed  for  the  good  of  the  souls  aforesaid. 

The  witnesses  are  Lionardo  priest  of  S.  Felice,  Lionardo  clerk  of  tlie  same, 
and  the  Notary  Pietro  Pagano  priest  of  the  same. 


his  death  (a  curious  example  of  the  validity  attaching  to  all 
acts  of  notaries  in  those  days),  should  never  have  been  super- 
seded, but  should  actually  have  been  so  converted  after  his 
death,  as  the  existence  of  the  parchment  seems  to  prove. 

Messer  Mafifeo,  the  uncle,  was,  we  see,  alive  at  this  time. 
We  do  not  know  the  year  of  his  death.  But  it  is  alluded  to 
by  Friar  Pipino  in  the  Preamble  to  his  Translation  of  the 
Book,  supposed  to  have  been  executed  about  131 5-1320. 

44.  In  1302  occurs  what  was  at  first  supposed  to  be  a 
glimpse  of  Marco  as  a  citizen,  slight  and  quaint  enough  ;  being 
Documen-  3.  resolutiou  ott  the  Books  of  the  Great  Council  to 
oypobar^  exempt  the  respectable  Marco  Polo  from  the  penalty 
Thesobri-  iucurrcd  by  him  on  account  of  the  omission  to  have 
Miiione  his  watcr-pipe  duly  inspected.  But  since  our  Marco's 
claims  to  the  designation  of  Nobilis  Vir  have  been  esta- 
blished, there  is  a  doubt  whether  the  providiis  vir  or  pfiid"- 
homnie  here  spoken  of  may  not  have  been  rather  his  namesake 
Marco  Polo  of  Cannareggio  or  S.  Geremia,  of  whose  existence 
we  learn  from  another  entry  of  the  same  year.*  It  is  however 
possible  that  Marco  the  Traveller  was  called  to  the  Great 
Council  after  the  date  of  the  document  in  question. 

We  have  seen  that  the  Traveller,  and  after  him  his  House 
and  his  Book,  acquired  from  his  contemporaries  the  surname, 
or  nick-name  rather,  of  //  Miiione.  Different  writers  have 
given  different  explanations  of  the  origin  of  this  name  ;  some, 
beginning  with  his  contemporary  Fra  Jacopo  d'Acqui  {supra, 
p.  Ixxxii),  ascribing  it  to  the  family's  having  brought  home  a 
fortune  of  a  million  of  lire,  in  fact  to  their  being  millionaires. 
This  is  the  explanation  followed  by  Sansovino,  Marco  Bar- 
baro,  Coronelli,  and  others.f  More  far-fetched  is  that  of 
Fontanini  who  supposes  the  name  to  have  been  given  to  the 

*  "(Resolved)  That  grace  be  granted  to  the  respectable  Marco  Paulo,  relieving 
him  of  the  penalty  he  has  incurred  for  neglecting  to  have  his  water-pipe  examined, 
seeing  that  he  was  ignorant  of  thie  order  on  that  subject."  (See  the  original  reso- 
lution in  Appe7idix  C,  No.  3.) 

The  other  reference,  to  M.  Polo  of  S.  Geremia,  runs  as  follows  :— 

"  That  grace  be  granted  to  William  the  Goldsmith  relieving  him  of  the  penalty 
which  he  is  stated  to  have  incurred  on  account  of  a  spontoon  {spontono,  a  loaded 
bludgeon)  found  upon  him  near  the  house  of  Marco  Paulo  of  Cannareggio,  where 
he  had  landed  to  drink  on  his  way  from  Mestre."     (See  Cicogna,  V.  p.  606.) 

t  Sattsovino,  Venezia,  Citta  Nobilissima  e  Singolare,  Descritta,  &c.,  Ven.  1 581, 
f.  236  V.  ;  Barba7'o,  Alberi ;  Coronelli,  Atlante  Veneto,  I.  19. 


Book  as  containing-  a  great  number  of  stories,  like  the  Cento 
Novelle  ox  the  Thousand  and  One  Nights  !  But  there  can  be 
no  doubt  that  Ramusio's  is  the  true,  as  it  is  the  natural,  expla- 
nation ;  and  that  the  name  was  bestowed  on  Marco  by  the 
young  wits  of  his  native  city,  because  of  his  frequent  use  of  a 
word  which  appears  to  have  been  then  unusual,  in  his  attempts 
to  convey  an  idea  of  the  vast  wealth  and  magnificence  of  the 
Kaan's  Treasury  and  Court.  *  Ramusio  has  told  us  {supra, 
p.  xxxvii)  that  he  had  seen  Marco  styled  by  this  sobriquet  in  the 
Books  of  the  Signory  ;  and  it  is  pleasant  to  be  able  to  confirm 
this  by  the  next  document  which  we  cite.  This  is  an  extract 
from  the  Books  of  the  Great  Council  under  loth  April,  1305, 
condoning  the  offence  of  a  certain  Bonocio  of  Mestre  in 
smuggling  wine,  for  whose  penalty  one  of  the  sureties  had 
been  the  NoBiLis  ViR  Marchus  Paulo  MiLiONLf 

It  is  alleged  that  long  after  our  Traveller's  death  there  was 
always,  in  the  Venetian  Masques,  one  individual  who  assumed 
the  character  of  Marco  Milioni,  and  told  Munchausenlike 
stories  to  divert  the  vulgar.  Such,  if  this  be  true,  was  the 
honour  of  our  prophet  amoilg  the  populace  of  his  own 
country.  \ 

45.  A  little  later  we  hear  of  Marco  once  more,  as  present- 
ing a  copy  of  his  Book  to  a  noble  Frenchman  in  the  service  of 
Charles  of  Valois. 

*  The  word  Millio  occurs  several  times  in  the  Chronicle  of  the  Doge  Andrea 
Dandolo,  who  wrote  about  1342  ;  and  Milion  occurs  at  least  once  (besides  the 
application  of  the  term  to  Polo)  in  the  Histoiy  of  Giovanni  Villani  ;  viz.  when  he 
speaks  of  the  Treasury  of  Avignon  : — "  diciotto  milioni  difioriiii  d^  oro  ec.  che  ogni 
milione  }  milk  migliaja  di  Jiorini  a?'  oro  la  valuta"  (xi.  20,  §  i  ;  Ducange,  and 
l^ocab.  Univ.  Jtal.).  But  the  definition,  thought  necessary  by  Villani,  in  itself 
points  to  the  use  of  the  word  as  rare.  Doniilion  occurs  in  the  estimated  value  of 
houses  at  Venice  in  1367,  recorded  in  the  Cronaca  Magna  in  St.  Mark's  Library 
(Romanin,  III.  385). 

t  "Also  ;  that  pardon  be  granted  to  Bonocio  of  Mestre  for  that  152  lire  in 
which  he  stood  condemned  by  the  Captains  of  the  Posts,  on  account  of  wine 
smuggled  by  him,  in  such  wise  :  to  wit,  that  he  was  to  pay  the  said  fine  in  4  years 
by  annual  instalments  of  one  fourth,  to  be  retrenched  from  the  pay  due  to  him  on 
his  journey  in  the  suite  of  our  ambassadors,  with  assurance  that  anything  then 
remaining  deficient  of  his  instalments  should  be  made  good  by  himself  or  his 
securities.  And  his  securities  are  the  Nobles  Pietro  Morosini  and  Marco  Paulo 
Milion."  Under  MilioJl  is  written  in  an  ancient  hand  ^^  mortuus."  (See  Ap- 
pendix  C,  No.  4.) 

%  Humboldt  tells  this  {Exainen,  II.  221),  alleging  Jacopo  d^Acijtii  z.?,  authority  ; 
and  Libri  (H.  des  Sciences  ATatlihnatiqiws,  11.  149),  quoting  Doglioni,  Historia 
Veneziana.  But  neither  authority  bears  out  the  citations.  The  story  seems  really 
to  come  from  Amoretti's  commentary  on  the  Voyage  die  Cap.  L.  F.  Alaldonado, 
Plaisance,  1812,  p.  67.    Amoretti  quotes  as  authority  Piguoria,  Degli  Dei  Anliclii. 


This  Prince,  brother  of  Philip  the  Fair,  in  1301  had  married 

Catharine,  daughter  and  heiress  of  Phihp  de  Courtenay,  titular 

Emoeror  of  Constantinople,  and  on  the  strength  of 

Polo  s  rela-  r  '■  <^ 

tionsvvith      ^]^jg    marriasfe  had   at  a  later  date  set  up  his  own 

Thibault  de  "  '■  ^ 

Cepoy.  claim  to  the  Empire  of  the  East.     To  this  he  was 

prompted  by  Pope  Clement  V.,  who  in  the  beginning  of  1306 
wrote  to  Venice,  stimulating  that  Government  to  take  part  in 
the  enterprise.  In  the  same  year,  Charles  and  his  wife  sent 
as  their  Envoys  to  Venice,  in  connexion  with  this  matter, 
a  noble  knight  called  Thibault  de  Cepoy,  along  with  an 
ecclesiastic  of  Chartres  called  Pierre  le  Riche,  and  these  two 
succeeded  in  executing  a  treaty  of  alliance  with  Venice,  of 
which  the  original,  dated  14th  December  1306,  exists  at  Paris. 
Thibault  de  Cepoy  eventually  went  on  to  Greece  with  a 
squadron  of  Venetian  Galleys,  but  accomplished  nothing  of 
moment,  and  returned  to  his  master  in  13 10.* 

During  the  stay  of  Thibault  at  Venice  he  seems  to  have 
made  acquaintance  with  Marco  Polo,  and  to  have  received  from 
him  a  copy  of  his  Book.  This  is  recorded  in  a  curious  note 
which  appears  on  two  existing  MSS.  of  Polo's  Book,  viz.,  that 
of  the  Paris  Library  (10,270  or  Fr.  5649),  and  that  of  Bern, 
which  is  substantially  identical  in  its  text  with  the  former,  and 
is,  as  I  believe,  a  copy  of  it.  f     The  note  runs  as  follows  : — 

"  Here  you  have  the  Book  of  which  My  Lord  Thiebault,  Knight 
and  Lord  of  Cepoy  (whom  may  God  assoil  !)  requested  a  copy  from 
Sire  Marc  Pol  Burgess  and  Resident  of  the  City  of  Venice.  And  the 
said  Sire  Marc  Pol,  being  a  very  honourable  Person,  of  high  character 
and  respect  in  many  countries,  because  of  his  desire  that  what  he  had 
witnessed  should  be  known  throughout  the  World,  and  also  for  the  honour 
and  reverence  he  bore  to  the  most  excellent  and  puissant  Prince  my  Lord 
Charles,  Son  of  the  King  of  France  and  Count  of  Valois,  gave  and 
presented  to  the  aforesaid  Lord  of  Cepoy  the  first  copy  (that  was  taken) 
of  his  said  Book  after  he  had  made  the  same.  And  very  pleasing  it  was 
to  him  that  his  Book  should  be  carried  to  the  noble  country  of  France 
and  there  made  known  by  so  worthy  a  gentleman.     And  from  that  copy 

*  Thibault,  according  to  Ducange,  was  in  1307  named  Grand  Master  of  the 
Arblasteers  of  France  ;  and  Buchon  says  his  portrait  is  at  Versailles  among  the 
Admirals  (No.  11 70).  Ramon  de  Muntaner  fell  in  with  the  Seigneur  de  Cepoy 
in  Greece,  and  speaks  of  him  as  "  but  a  Captain  of  the  Wind,  as  his  Master  was 
King  of  the  Wind"  (See  Ducange,  H.  de  V  Empire  de  Const,  sous  les  Emp.  Francois, 
Venice  ed.  1729,  pp.  109,  1 10  ;  Buchon,  Chroniques  Etrangeres,  pp.  Iv,  467-470). 

t  The  note  is  not  found  in  the  Bodleian  MS.  which  is  tlie  third  known  one  of 
this  precise  type. 


which  the  said  Messire  Thibault,  Sire  de  Cepoy  above-named,  did  carry 
into  France,  Messire  John,  who  was  his  eldest  son  and  is  the  present  Sire 
de  Cepoy,*  after  his  Father's  decease  did  have  a  copy  made,  and  that 
very  first  copy  that  was  made  of  the  Book  after  its  being  carried  into 
France  he  did  present  to  his  very  dear  and  dread  Lord  Monseigneur  de 
Valois.  Thereafter  he  gave  copies  of  it  to  such  of  his  friends  as  asked 
for  them, 

"  And  the  copy  above-mentioned  was  presented  by  the  said  Sire  Marc 
Pol  to  the  said  Lord  de  Cepoy  when  the  latter  went  to  Venice,  on  the  part 
of  Monseigneur  de  Valois  and  of  Madame  the  Empress  his  wife,  as  Vicar 
General  for  them  both  in  all  the  Territories  of  the  Empire  of  Constanti- 
nople. And  this  happened  in  the  year  of  the  Incarnation  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  one  thousand  three  hundred  and  seven,  and  in  the  month  of 

Of  the  bearings  of  this  memorandum  on  the  Hterary  his- 
tory of  Polo's  Book  we  shall  speak  in  a  following  section. 

46.  When  Marco  married  we  have  not  been  able  to  ascer- 
tain, but  it  was  no  doubt  early  in  the  14th  century,  for  in  1324 
we  find  that  he  had  two  married  daughters  besides 
one  unmarried.     His  wife's  Christian  name  was  Do-  riage"rnd 
iiata,  but  of  her  family  we  have  as  yet  found  no  tek  Marco 
assurance.     I  suspect,  however,  that  her  name  may  chant. 
have  been  Loredano  {vide  infra,  p.  cv). 

Under  131 1  we  find  a  document  which  is  of  considerable 
interest,  because  it  is  the  only  one  yet  discovered  which  exhibits 
Marco  under  the  aspect  of  a  practical  trader.  It  is  the  judg- 
ment of  the  Court  of  Requests  upon  a  suit  brought  by  the 
Noble  Marco  Polo  of  the  parish  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo 
against  one  Paulo  Girardo  of  S.  Apollinare.  It  appears  that 
Marco  had  entrusted  to  the  latter  as  a  commission  agent  for 
sale,  on  an  agreement  for  half  profits,  a  pound  and  a  half  of 
musk,  priced  at  six  lire  of grossi  {dihoxxi  22/.  los.  in  value  of  silver). 
Gerardo  had  sold  half  a  pound  at  that  rate,  and  the  remaining 
pound  which  he  brought  back  was  deficient  of  a  saggio,  or 
one-sixth  of  an  ounce,  but  he  had  accounted  for  neither  the 
sale  nor  the  deficiency.  Hence  Marco  sues  him  for  three 
lire  of  Grossi,  the  price  of  the  half-pound  sold,  and  for  twenty 
grossi  as  the  value  of  the  saggio.  And  the  Judges  cast  the 
defendant  in  the  amount  with  costs,  and  the  penalty  of  im- 

*  Messire  Jean,  the  son  of  Thibault,  is  mentioned  in  the  accounts  of  the  latter 
in  the  Chambre  des  Compies  at  Paris,  as  having  been  with  his  Father  in  Romania. 
And  in  1344  he  commanded  a  confederate  Christian  armament  sent  to  check  the 
rising  power  of  the  Turks,  and  beat  a  great  Turkish  fleet  in  the  Greek  seas  (Hcjd. 
I.  377;  Buchon,  468). 

VOL.  I.  g 


prisonment  in  the  common  gaol  of  Venice  if  the  amounts  were 
not  paid  within  a  suitable  term.* 

Again  in  May,  1323,  probably  within  a  year  of  his  death, 
Ser  Marco  appears  (perhaps  only  by  attorney),  before  the  Doge 
and  his  judicial  examiners,  to  obtain  a  decision  respecting  a 
question  touching  the  rights  to  certain  stairs  and  porticoes  in 
contact  with  his  own  house  property,  and  that  obtained  from 
his  wife,  in  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo.  To  this  allusion  has 
been  already  made  {supra,  p.  lix). 

47.  We  catch  sight  of  our  Traveller  only  once  more.  It  is 
on  the  Qth   of  January,   1324;  he  is  labouring  with 

Marco  -^ 

Polo's  Last     disease,  under  which  he  is  snikmg  day  by  day  ;  and 

Will,  and  _,  .     .        .      -P,   .  r    o 

Death.  j^g  i^as  sent  for  Giovanni  Gmstiniani,  rriest  ot  b. 
Proculo  and  Notary,  to  make  his  Last  Will  and  Testament. 
It  runs  thus  : — 

"In  the  Name  of  the  Eternal  God  Amen  ! 

"  In  the  year  from  the  Incarnation  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  1323,  on 
the  9th  day  of  the  month  of  January,  in  the  first  half  of  the  7th  Indiction,t 
at  Rialto. 

"  It  is  the  counsel  of  Divine  Inspiration  as  well  as  the  judgment  of  a 
provident  mind  that  every  man  should  take  thought  to  make  a  disposition 
of  his  property  before  death  become  imminent,  lest  in  the  end  it  should 
remain  without  any  disposition  : 

"  Wherefore  I  Marcus  Paulo  of  the  parish  of  St.  John  Chrysostom, 
finding  myself  to  grow  daily  feebler  through  bodily  ailment,  but  being  by 
the  grace  of  God  of  a  sound  mind,  and  of  senses  and  judgment  unimpaired, 
have  sent  for  JOHN  GlUSTlNlANi,  Priest  of  S.  Proculo  and  Notary,  and 
have  instructed  him  to  draw  out  in  complete  form  this  my  Testament  : 

"  Whereby  I  constitute  as  my  Trustees  Donata  my  beloved  wife,  and 
my  dear  daughters  Fantina,  Bellela,  and  Moreta,^  in  oi'der  that  after 
my  decease  they  may  execute  the  dispositions  and  bequests  which  I  am 
about  to  make  herein. 

*  The  document  is  given  in  Appendix  C,  No.  5.  It  was  found  by  Signor  Barozzi, 
the  Director  of  the  Museo  Civico,  when  he  had  most  kindly  accompanied  me  to 
aid  in  the  search  for  certain  other  documents  in  the  archives  of  the  Casa  diRkovcro, 
or  Poor  House  of  Venice.  These  archives  contain  a  great  mass  of  testamentary 
and  other  documents,  which  probably  have  come  into  that  singular  depository  in 
connexion  with  bequests  to  pubhc  charities. 

The  document  next  mentioned  was  found  in  as  strange  a  site,  viz.,  the  Casa 
degll  Esposii  or  FoundHng  Hospital,  which  possesses  similar  muniments.  This  also 
I  owe  to  Signor  Barozzi,  who  had  noted  it  some  years  before,  when  commencing 
an  arrangement  of  the  archives  of  the  Institution. 

t  The  Legal  Year  at  Venice  began  on  the  1st  of  March.  And  1324  was  7th 
of  the  Indiction.     Hence  the  date  is,  according  to  the  modern  Calendar,  1324. 

\  Mai'sden  says  of  Moretta  and  Fantina,  tlie  only  daughters  named  by  Rarausio, 
that  these  may  be   thought   rather   familiar   terms   of  endeai-ment   than  baptismal 


"  First  of  all  :  I  will  and  direct  that  the  proper  Tithe  be  paid.*  And 
over  and  above  the  said  tithe  I  direct  that  2000  lire  of  Venice  denari  be 
distributed  as  follows  :  f 

"  viz.,  20  soldi  of  Venice  grossi  to  the  Monastery  of  St.  Lawrence 
where  I  desire  to  be  buried. 

"  Also  300  lireoi  Venice  denari  to  my  sister-in-law  YSABETA  OuiRINO, 
that  she  owes  me. 

"  Also  40  soldi  to  each  of  the  Monasteries  and  Hospitals  all  the  way 
from  Grado  to  Capo  d'Argine.J 

"  Also  I  bequeath  to  the  Convent  of  SS.  Giovanni  and  Paolo,  of  the 
Order  of  Preachers,  that  which  it  owes  me,  and  also  10  lire  to  Friar 
Renier,  and  5  lire  to  Friar  Benvenuto  the  Venetian,  of  the  Order  of 
Preachers,  in  addition  to  the  amount  of  his  debt  to  me. 

"  I  also  bequeath  5  lire  to  every  Congregation  in  Rialto,  and  4  lire  to 
every  Guild  or  Fraternity  of  which  I  am  a  member.  § 

"  Also  I  bequeath  20  soldi  of  Venetian  grossi  to  the  Priest  Giovanni 
Giustiniani  the  Notary,  for  his  trouble  about  this  my  Will,  and  in  order 
that  he  may  pray  the  Lord  in  my  behalf. 

names.  This  is  a  mistake  however.  Faniina  is  from  one  of  the  parochial  saints 
of  Venice,  S.  Fantino,  and  the  male  name  was  borne  by  sundry  Venetians,  among 
others  by  a  son  of  Henry  Dandolo's.  Moreta  is  perhaps  a  variation  of  Maroca, 
which  seems  to  have  been  a  family  name  among  the  Polos.  We  find  also  the  male 
name  of  Bellela,  written  Belldlo,  Bellero,  Bclldto. 

*  The  Decinia  went  to  the  Bishop  of  Castello  (eventually  converted  into  Patriarch 
of  Venice)  to  divide  between  himself,  the  Clergy,  the  Church,  and  the  Poor.  It 
became  a  source  of  much  bad  feeling,  which  came  to  a  head  after  the  plague  of 
1348,  when  gome  families  had  to  pay  the  tenth  three  times  within  a  very  short 
space.  The  existing  bishop  agreed  to  a  composition,  but  his  successor  Paolo  Fos- 
cari  (1367)  claimed  that  on  the  death  of  eveiy  citizen  an  exact  inventory  should  be 
made,  and  a  full  tithe  levied.  The  Signory  fought  hard  with  the  Bishop,  but  he 
fled  to  the  Papal  Court  and  refused  all  concession.  After  his  death  in  1376  a 
composition  was  made  for  5500  ducats  yearly  [Rojiiaiiin,  II.  406  ;  III.  161,  165). 

t  There  is  a  difficulty  about  estimating  the  value  of  these  sums  from  the  variety 
of  Venice  pounds  or  lire.  Tlius  the  Lira  del  piccoli  was  reckoned  3  to  the  ducat 
or  zecchin,  the  Lira  ai  grossi  2  to  the  ducat,  but  the  Lira  A€\  grossi  or  Lira  cTim- 
prestidi  was  equal  to  10  ducats,  or  (allowing  for  higher  value  of  silver  then)  about 
3/.  15J.  ;  a  little  more  than  the  equivalent  of  the  then  Pound  sterling.  This  last 
money  is  specified  in  some  of  the  bequests,  as  in  the  20  soldi  (or  i  lira)  to  St.  Lorenzo, 
and  in  the  annuity  of  8  lire  to  Polo's  wife  ;  but  it  seems  doubtful  what  money  is 
meant  when  libra  only  or  libra  denarioruin  vcnetorum  is  used.  And  this  doubt  is 
not  new.  Gallicciolli  relates  that  in  1232  Giacomo  Menotto  left  to  the  church  of 
S.  Cassiano  as  an  annuity  libras  denarioriim  venetorum  qiiattwr.  Till  1427  the 
church  received  the  income  as  oUire  dei piccoli,  but  on  bringing  a  suit  on  the  subject 
it  was  adjudged  that  lire  ai  grossi  were  to  be  understood  {Ddle  Mem.  Venet.  Atit.  II. 
18).     This  story  however  cuts  both  ways,  and  does  not  decide  our  doubt. 

%  /.(?.,  the  extent  of  what  was  properly  called  the  Dogado,  all  along  the  Lagoons 
from  Grado  on  the  extreme  east  to  Capo  d'Argine  (Cavarzeie  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Adige)  on  the  extreme  west. 

§  The  word  rendered  Guilds  is  "  ScholarumP  The  crafts  at  Venice  were 
united  in  corporations  called  Fraglie  or  Scholae,  each  of  which  had  its  statutes,  its 
head  called  the  Gastald,  and  its  place  of  meeting  under  the  patronage  of  some  saint. 
These  acted  as  societies  of  mutual  aid,  gave  dowries  to  poor  girls,  caused  masses  to 
be  celebrated  for  deceased  members,  joined  in  public  religious  processions,  &c.,  nor 
could  any  craft  be  exercised  except  by  members  of  such  a  guild  [Romatiiii,  I.  390). 


"  Also  I  release '  Peter  the  Tartar,  my  servant,  from  all  bondage,  as 
completely  as  I  pray  God  to  release  mine  own  soul  from  all  sin  and  guilt. 
And  I  also  remit  him  whatever  he  may  have  gained  by  work  at  his  own 
house  ;  and  over  and  above  I  bequeath  him  loo  lire  of  Venice  de'nari.* 

"  And  the  residue  of  the  said  2000  lire,  free  of  tithe,  I  direct  to  be  dis- 
tributed for  the  good  of  my  soul,  according  to  the  discretion  of  my  trustees. 

"  Out  of  my  remaining  pi'operty  I  bequeath  to  the  aforesaid  Donata, 
my  Wife  and  Trustee,  8  lire  of  Venetian  grossi  annually  during  her  life, 
for  her  own  use,  over  and  above  her  settlement,  and  the  linen  and  all  the 
household  utensils,!  with  3  beds  garnished. 

"  And  all  my  other  property  movable  and  immovable  that  has  not 
been  disposed  of  [here  follow  some  lines  of  mere  technicality]  I  specially 
and  expressly  bequeath  to  my  aforesaid  Daughters  Fantina,  Bellela,  and 
Moreta,  freely  and  absolutely,  to  be  divided  equally  among  them.  And  I 
constitute  them  my  heirs  as  regards  all  and  sundry  my  property  movable 
and  immovable,  and  as  regards  all  rights  and  contingencies  tacit  and 
expressed,  of  whatsoever  kind  as  hereinbefore  detailed,  that  belong  to 
me  or  may  fall  to  me.  Save  and  ejjcept  that  before  division  my  said 
daughter  Moreta  shall  receive  the  sartie  as  each  of  my  other  daughters 
hath  received  for  dowry  and  outfit  [here  follow  many  lines  of  technicalities, 

"  And  if  any  one  shall  presume  to  infringe  or  violate  this  Will,  may 
he  incur  the  malediction  of  God  Almighty,  and  abide  bound  under  the 
anathema  of  the  3 1 8  Fathers  ;  and  farthermore  he  shall  forfeit  to  my 

*  It  is  not  unnatural  to  suppose,  as  M.  Pauthier  does,  that  this  Peter  the  Tartar 
was  a  faithful  servant  who  had  accompanied  Messer  Marco  from  the  East  30  years 
befoi'e  ;  but  this  is  probably  quite  a  mistake.  Slavery  and  slave-trade  were  very 
prevalent  at  Venice  in  the  Middle  Ages,  and  V.  Lazari,  a  writer  who  examined  a 
great  many  records  connected  therewith,  found  that  by  far  the  greater  number  of 
slaves  were  described  as  Tartars.  There  does  not  seem  to  be  any  clear  informa- 
tion as  to  how  they  were  imported,  but  probably  from  the  factories  on  the  Black 
Sea,  especially  Tana  after  its  establishment. 

A  tax  of  5  ducats  per  head  was  set  on  the  export  of  slaves  in  1379,  and  as  the 
revenue  so  received  under  the  Doge  Tommaso  Mocenigo  (1414-1423)  amounted 
(so  says  Lazari)  to  5o>ooo  ducats,  the  startling  conclusion  is  that  10,000  slaves 
yearly  were  exported  !  This  it  is  difficult  to  accejit.  The  slaves  were  chiefly 
employed  in  domestic  service,  and  the  records  indicate  the  women  to  have  been 
about  twice  as  numerous  as  the  men.  The  highest  price  recorded  is  87  ducats  paid 
for  a  Russian  girl  sold  in  1429.  All  the  higher  prices  are  for  young  women  ;  a 
significant  circumstance.  With  the  existence  of  this  system  we  may  safely  connect 
the  extraordinary  frequence  of  mention  of  illegimate  children  in  Venetian  wills  and 
genealogies  (see  Lazari,  Del  Traffico  dcgli  Scliiavi  in  Venezia,  &c.,  in  Miscellanea 
di  Storia  Italiana,  I.  463  scqq.).  In  1308  the  Khan  Toktai  of  Kipchak  (see  Polo, 
II.  426)  hearing  that  the  Genoese  and  other  Franks  were  in  the  habit  of  carrying 
off  Tartar  children  to  sell,  sent  a  force  against  Caffa,  which  was  occupied  without 
resistance,  the  people  taking  refuge  in  their  ships.  The  Khan  also  seized  the 
Genoese  property  in  Sai-ai  (Heyd.  II.  27). 

t  '■'■  Stracinm  et  omne  cafitd  massaricioriini  ■'''  in  Scotch  phrase  " napery  and 
plenishijigr  A  Venetian  statute  of  1242  prescribes  that  a  bequest  of  viassariticnm 
shall  be  held  to  carry  to  the  legatee  all  articles  of  common  family  use  except  those 
of  gold  and  silver  plate  or  jeweller's  work  (see  Ducange,  snl>  Toce).  Straai  is  still 
used  technically  in  Venice  for  "household  linen." 


til  \^^U  HfJl 


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■*  '^-iri'  -^^^  «^.~v-  « 

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Y^-i$;p.&  ---vi^^'ir-^itt^- 

■Z^/ten^urntT   c/' 

OrtylTui/    20'^  ^m^AjStr  ^  . 


Trustees  aforesaid  five  pounds  of  gold  ;*  and  so  let  this  my  Testament 
abide  in  force.  The  signature  of  the  above  named  Messer  Marco  Paulo 
who  gave  instructions  for  this  deed. 

"  t  I  Peter  Grifon,  Priest,  Witness. 
"  t  I  Humfrey  Barberi,  Witness. 

"  I  I  John  Giustiniani,   Priest  of  S.  Proculo,  and  Notary, 
have  completed  and  authenticated  (this  testament)."! 

We  do  not  know,  as  has  been  said,  how  long  Marco 
survived  the  making  of  this  will,  but  we  know,  from  a  scanty- 
series  of  documents  commencing  in  June  of  the  following  year 
(1325),  that  he  had  tJieii  been  some  time  dead.:}: 

48.   He  was  buried,  no   doubt,   according  to  his   declared 

*  In  the  original  aitreas  libras  quinqite.  According  to  Marino  Sanuto  the 
Younger  {Vite  dci  Dogl  in  Muratori,  xxii.  521)  this  should  be  pounds  or  lire  of 
aureole,  the  name  of  a  silver  coin  struck  by  and  named  after  the  Doge  Aiirio 
Mastropietro  (11 78-1 192)  :  "  Ancora  fu  fatta  una  Moneta  d'argento  che  si  chia- 
mava  Aureola  per  la  casata  del  Doge  ;  e  qiwlla  Aloneta  che  i  Notai  de  Veiiezia 
mettevano  di  pena  solto  i  lore  instrit7nentir  But  this  was  a  vulgar  error.  An 
example  of  the  penalty  of  5  pounds  of  gold  is  quoted  from  a  decree  of  960  ;  and 
the  penalty  is  sometimes  expressed  '''■  aiiri piirissiini  librae '^H''  A  coin  called  the 
lira  a"  oro  or  redonda  is  alleged  to  have  been  in  use  before  the  ducat  was  introduced 
(see  Gallicciolli,  II.  16).  But  another  authority  seems  to  identify  the  lira  a  oro 
with  the  lira  dei  grossi  (see  Zanetti,  Nuova  Race,  dclle  Moiiete  &'c.  d'' Italia,  1775, 
L  308). 

t  We  give  opposite  a  photo-lithographic  reduction  of  the  original  document. 
This,  and  the  other  two  Polo  Wills  already  quoted,  had  come  into  the  possession 
of  the  Noble  Filippo  Balbi,  and  were  by  him  presented  in  our  own  time  to  the 
St.  Mark's  Library.  They  are  all  on  parchment,  in  writing  of  that  age,  and  have 
been  officially  examined  and  declared  to  be  originals.  They  were  first  published 
by  Cicogna,  Iscrizioni  Veiieziaiie,  III.  489-493.  We  give  Marco's  in  the  original 
language,  line  for  line  with  the  facsimile,  in  Appendix  C,  No.  8. 

There  is  no  signature,  as  may  be  seen,  except  those  of  the  Witnesses  and  the 
Notary.  The  sole  presence  of  a  Notary  was  held  to  make  a  deed  valid,  and  from 
about  the  middle  of  the  13th  century  in  Italy  it  is  common  to  find  no  actual  sig- 
nature (even  of  witnesses)  except  that  of  the  Notary.  The  peculiar  flourish  before 
the  Notary's  name  is  what  is  called  the  Tabellionato,  a  fanciful  distinctive  monogram 
which  each  Notary  adopted.  Marco's  Will  is  unfortunately  written  in  a  very 
cramp  hand  with  many  contractions.  The  other  two  Wills  (of  Marco  the  Elder 
and  Maffeo)  are  in  beautiful  and  clear  penmanship. 

X  We  have  noticed  formerly  (p.  xiii)  the  recent  discovery  of  a  document  bearing 
what  was  supposed  to  be  the  autograph  signature  of  our  Traveller.  The  document 
in  question  is  the  Minute  of  a  Resolution  of  the  Great  Council,  attested  by  the 
signatures  of  three  members,  of  whom  the  last  is  Marcus  Paullo.  But  the  date 
alone,  nth  Maich,  1324,  is  sufficient  to  raise  the  gravest  doubts  as  to  this  signature 
being  that  of  our  Marco.  And  further  examination,  as  I  learn  from  a  friend  at 
Venice,  has  shown  that  the  same  name  occurs  in  connexion  with  analogous  entries 
on  several  subsequent  occasions  up  to  the  middle  of  the  century.  I  presume  that 
this  Marco  Polo  is  the  same  that  is  noticed  in  our  Appendix  B,  II.  as  a  voter  in 
the  elections  of  the  Doges  Marino  Faliero  and  Giovanni  Gradenigo.  I  have  not 
been  able  to  ascertain  his  relation  to  either  Ijranch  of  the  Polo  family  ;  but  I 
suspect  that  he  belonged  to  that  of  S.  Geremia,  of  which  there  7i-as  certainly  a 
Marco  about  the  middle  of  the  century. 



wish,  in  the  church  of  S.  Lorenzo  ;  and  indeed  Sansovino 
bears  testimony  to  the  fact  in  a  confused  notice  of  our 
Place  of  Traveller.*  But  there  does  not  seem  to  have  been 
Professed'  any  monument  to  Marco,  though  the  sarcophagus 
PoL!^^'  ^  °  which  had  been  erected  to  his  father  Nicolo,  by  his 
own  filial  care,  existed  till  near  the  end  of  the  i6th  century 
in  the  porch  or  corridor  leading  to  the  old  church  of  S. 
Lorenzo,    and    bore   the    inscription:    "  Sepultura    DOMINI 

S.  Lorenzo,  as  it  was  in  the  15th  century. 

NicoLAi  Paulo  de  contrata  S.  Ioannis  Grisostemi." 
The  church  was  renewed  from  its  foundations  in  1592,  and 
then,  probably,  the  sarcophagus  was  cast  aside  and  lost,  and 
with  it  all  certainty  as  to  the  position  of  the  tomb.f 

There  is  no  portrait  of  Marco  Polo  in  existence  with  any 
claim  to  authenticity.  The  quaint  figure  which  we  give  on  the 
next  page,  extracted  from  the  earliest  printed  edition  of  his 
book,  can  certainly  make  no  such  pretension.     The  oldest  one 

*  "  Under  the  angipoi-ta  (of  S.  Lorenzo)  is  buried  that  Marco  Polo  surnamed 
Milione,  who  wrote  the  Travels  in  the  New  World,  and  who  was  the  first  before 
Christopher  Columbus  to  discover  new  countries.  No  faith  was  put  in  him  because 
of  the  extravagant  things  that  he  recounted  ;  but  in  the  days  of  our  Fathers 
Columbus  augmented  belief  in  him,  by  discovering  that  part  of  the  world,  which 
eminent  men  had  heretofore  judged  to  be  uninhabited  "  (  Veiiezia  ....  Descriita, 
&c.  f.  25  v.).  Marco  Barbaro  attests  the  same  inscription  in  his  Genealogies  (copy 
in  Museo  Civico  at  Venice). 

t  CicPgna,  II.  385. 



}Qa£  i^  iizv  tH  aitteF-nOortlio  |d1o  uon  ^ 

Jujjiijjno  UWnOCl'JDtj  uwal|4rpt»  x\\]i}  M  31Q 

"  This  is  the  Noble  Knight  Marco  Pulo  of  Venice,  the  Great  Traveller,  who  describes  to  us  the 
Great  Wonders  of  the  World  that  he  himself  hath  seen,  from  the  Rising  to  the  Setting  of  the  Sun  ; 
the  like  of  which  were  never  heard  before."—/'?-^;//  t/ie  First  Frinted  Edition,  Nuremberg,  1477. 


after  this  is  probably  a  picture  in  the  collection  of  Monsignor 
Badia  at  Rome,  which  I  have  seen.  It  seems  to  be  a  work  of 
the  latter  part  of  the  i6th  century  or  thereabouts,  and  repre- 
sents a  burly,  vigorous  personage,  with  a  bushy  white  beard, 
and  a  red  mantle,  inscribed  "  Alarcvs  Polvs  Veiictvs  Totivs 
Orbis  et  Indie  Peregrator  Primus."  *  Its  history  unfortunately 
cannot  be  traced,  but  I  believe  it  came  from  a  collection  at 
Urbino.  A  marble  statue  was  erected  in  his  honour  by  a 
family  at  Venice  in  the  17th  century,  and  is  still  to  be  seen 
in  the  Palazzo  Morosini-Gattemburg  in  the  Campo  S.  Ste- 
fan© in  that  city.  The  medallion  portrait  on  the  wall  of 
the  Sala  dello  Saido  in  the  ducal  palace,  and  which  was 
ensraved   in  Bettoni's  "  Collection  of  Portraits  of  Illustrious 


Italians,"  is  a  work  of  imagination  painted  by  Francesco 
Griselini  in  1761.!  From  this,  however,  was  taken  the  medal 
by  Fabris,  which  was  struck  in  1847  in  honour  of  the  last 
meeting  of  the  Italian  Congresso  Scientifico  ;  and  from  the 
medal  again  is  copied,  I  believe,  the  elegant  woodcut  which 
adorns  the  introduction  to  M.  Pauthier's  edition,  though  with- 
out a  hint  of  its  history.  A  handsome  bust,  by  Augusto 
Gamba,  has  lately  been  placed  among  the  illustrious  Venetians 
in  the  inner  arcade  of  the  Ducal  Palace.  % 

49.  From  the   short  series  of  documents   recently  alluded 
to,  §  we  gather  all  that  we  know  of  the  remaining  history  of 
Marco  Polo's  immediate  family.     We  have   seen  in  Ym\h^x 
his  will  an  indication  that  the  two  elder  daughters,  ^^^%^J°'' 
Fantina  and  Bellela,  were  married  before  his  death,  ^^^''y- 
In  1333  we  find  the  youngest,  Moreta,  also  a  married  woman, 
and  Bellela  deceased.      In    1336  we   find  that  their  mother 
Donata  had  died  in  the  interval.    We  learn,  too,  that  Fantina's 
husband  was  Marco  Bragadino,  and  "Moreta's,  Ranuzzo 
DOLFINO.  11    The  name  of  Bellela's  husband  does  not  appear. 

*  Of  this  I  had  hoped  to  present  an  engraving,  and  had  obtained  the  owner's 
permission,  but  circumstances  have  prevented  my  taking  advantage  of  it. 

t  Lazari,  xxxi. 

\  I  have  recently  learned  that,  in  the  "  Temple  of  the  500  Gods"  at  Canton, 
there  is  a  figm-e  in  a  foreign  costume  which,  from  the  name  attached,  has  been  sup- 
posed to  represent  Marco  Polo  !  I  regret  that  there  is  not  now  time  to  ascertain 
further  particulars. 

§  These  documents  are  noted  in  Appendix  C,  Nos.  9  to  12. 

II  I  can  find  no  Ranuzzo  Dolfino  among  the  Venetian  genealogies,  but  several 
Riiiicrs.     And  I  suspect  Ranuzzo  may  be  a  form  of  the  latter  name. 


Fantina's  husband  is  probably  the  Marco  Bragadino,  son 
of  Pietro,  who  in  1346  is  mentioned  to  have  been  sent  as 
Provveditore-Generale  to  act  against  the  Patriarch  of  Acqui- 
leia.*  And  in  1379  we  find  Donna  Fantina  herself,  pre- 
sumably in  widowhood,  assessed  as  a  resident  of  S.  Giovanni 
Grisostomo,  on  the  Estimo  or  forced  loan  for  the  Genoese  war, 
at  1300  lire,  whilst  Pietro  Bragadino  of  the  same  parish — her 
son  as  I  imagine — is  assessed  at  1 500  lire.\ 

It  will  have  been  seen  that  there  is  nothing  in  the  amounts 
mentioned  in  Marco's  Will  to  bear  out  the  large  reports  as  to 
his  wealth,  though  at  the  same  time  there  is  no  positive  ground 
for  a  deduction  to  the  contrary.^ 

The  mention  in  these  last  documents  of  Agnes  Loredano 
as  the  sister  of  the  Lady  Donata  suggests  that  the  latter  may 
have  belonged  to  the  Loredano  family,  but  as  it  does  not 
appear  whether  Agnes  was  maid  or  wife  this  remains 
uncertain.  § 

Respecting  the  further  history  of  the  family  there  is 
nothing  certain  to  be  added  to  Ramusio's  statement  that  the 
last  male  descendant  of  the  Polos  of  S.  Giovanni  Grisostomo 
was  Marco,  who  died  Castellano  of  Verona  in  1417  (according 
to  others,  1418,  or  1425),  \  and  that  the  family  property 
then  passed  to  Maria  (or  Anna,  as  she  is  styled  in  a  MS. 
statement  furnished  to  me  from  Venice),  who  was  married  in 
1401  to  Benedetto  Cornaro,  and  again  in  1414  to  Azzo  Trevi- 
san.  Her  descendant  in  the  fourth  generation  by  the  latter 
was  Marc  Antonio  Trevisanolf  who  was  chosen  Doge  in  1553. 

*  Capellari  as  below,  under  Bragadino. 

t  Ibid,  and  Gallicciolli,  II.  146. 

X  Yet,  if  the  family  were  so  wealthy  as  tradition  represents,  it  is  strange  that 
Marco's  brother  Maffeo,  after  receiving  a  share  of  his  father's  property,  should 
have  possessed  barely  10,000  lire,  probably  equivalent  to  5000  ducats  at  most  (see 
p.  Ixi,  supra). 

§  An  Agnes  Loredano,  Abbess  of  S.  Maria  delle  Vergini,  died  in  1397 
(Cicogtta,  V.  91  and  629).    But  Donata's  sister  could  scarcely  have  lived  so  long. 

II  In  the  Miiseo  Civico  (No.  2271  of  the  Cicogna  collection)  there  is  a  com- 
mission addressed  by  the  Doge  Michiel  Steno  in  140S,  "  Nobili  Viro  RIarcho 
Faiilo,"  nominating  him  Podesta  of  Arostica  (a  Castello  of  the  Vicentino).  This 
is  probably  the  same  Marco. 

H  The  descent  runs  :  (i)  Azzo  =  Maria  Polo  ;  (2)  Febo,  Captain  at  Padua; 
(3)  Zaccaria,  Senator  ;  (4)  Domenico,  Procurator  of  St.  Marks  :  (5)  Marc'  Antonio, 
Doge  (Capellari,  Campidoglio  Vencto,  MS.  St.  Mark's  Lib.). 

Marc'  Antonio  iiolebat  dncari  and  after  election  desired  to  renounce.  His 
friends  persuaded  him  to  retain  office,  but  he  lived  scarcely  a  year  after  (Cicogna, 
IV.  566). 


The  genealogy  recorded  by  Marco  Barbaro,  as  drawn  up 
from  documents  by  Ramusio,  makes  the  Castellano  of  Verona 
a  grandson  of  our  Marco  by  a  son  Mafifeo,  whom  we  may 
safely  pronounce  not  to  have  existed,  and  makes  Maria  the 
daughter  of  Maffeo,  Marco's  brother — that  is  to  say,  makes  a 
lady  marry  in  1414  and  have  children,  whose  father  was  born 
in  1 27 1  at  the  very  latest !  The  genealogy  is  given  in  several 
other  ways,  but  as  I  have  satisfied  myself  that  they  all  (except 
perhaps  this  of  Barbaro's,  which  we  see  to  be  otherwise  erro- 
neous) confound  together  the  two  distinct  families  of  Polo  of 
S.  Geremia  and  Polo  of  S.  Giov.  Grisostomo,  I  reserve  my 
faith,  and  abstain  from  presenting  them.  I  have  met  with  no 
positive  proof  that  any  descendant  in  the  male  line  of  old 
Andrea  of  San  Felice  survived  Marco  himself;  and  from  a 
study  of  the  links  in  the  professed  genealogies  I  think  it  not 
unlikely  that  both  Marco  the  Castellano  of  Verona  and  Maria 
Trevisan  belonged  to  the  branch  of  S.  Geremia.f 

IX.  Marco  Polo's  Book;  and  the  Language  in  which  it  was 


50.  The  Book  itself  consists  essentially  of  Two  Parts. 
First,  of  a  Prologue,  as  it  is  termed,  the  only  part  which  is 
General         actual  pcrsoiial  narrative,  and  which  relates,  in  a  very 

statement  of  ,      .     .  ,  . 

what  the       interesting   but   far   too   brief  manner,  the  circum- 

Book  con-  1   1         Ti    1  17- 

tains.  stances  which  led  the  two  elder  Polos  to  the  Kaan's 

Court,  and  those  of  their  second  journey  with  Mark,  and  of 
their  return  to  Persia  through  the  Indian  Seas.  Secondly,  of  a 
long  series  of  chapters  of  very  unequal  length,  descriptive  of 
notable  sights  and  products,  of  curious  manners,  and  remark- 
able events  relating  to  the  different  nations  and  states  of  Asia, 
but,  above  all,  to  the  Emperor  Kublai,  his  court,  wars,  and 
administration.  A  series  of  chapters  near  the  close  treats  in  a 
verbose  and  monotonous  manner  of  sundry  wars  that  took 
place  between  the  various  branches  of  the  House  of  Chinghiz 
in  the  latter  half  of  the  1 3th  century.     This  last  series  is  either 

t  In  Appendix  B  will  be  found  tabulated  all  the  facts  that  seem  to  be  positively 
ascertained  as  to  the  Polo  genealogies. 


omitted  or  greatly  curtailed  in  all  the  copies  and  versions 
except  one  ;  a  circumstance  perfectly  accounted  for  by  the  ab- 
sence of  interest  as  well  as  value  in  the  bulk  of  these  chapters. 
Indeed,  desirous  though  I  have  been  to  give  the  Traveller's 
work  complete,  and  sharing  the  dislike  that  every  man  who 
itscs  books  must  bear  to  abridgments,  I  have  felt  that  it 
would  be  sheer  waste  and  dead-weight  to  print  these  chapters 
in  full. 

This  second  and  main  portion  of  the  Work  is  in  its  oldest 
forms  undivided,  the  chapters  running  on  consecutively  to 
the  end.*  In  some  very  early  Italian  or  Venetian  version, 
which  Friar  Pipino  translated  into  Latin,  it  was  divided  into 
three  Books,  and  this  convenient  division  has  generally  been 
adhered  to.  We  have  adopted  M.  Pauthier's  suggestion  in 
making  the  final  series  of  chapters,  chiefly  historical,  into  a 

51.  As  regards  the  language  in  which  Marco's  Book  was 
first  committed  to  writing,  we  have  seen  that  Ramusio  assumed, 
somewhat   arbitrarily,  that  it  was  Latin;  Marsden  Language 
supposed  it  to  have  been  the  Venetian  dialect ;  Bal-  original 
dello    Boni   first    showed,    in   his    elaborate   edition  ^°'^^' 
Florence,  1827),  by  arguments  that  have  been  illustrated  and 
corroborated  by  learned  men  since,  that  it  was  French. 

That  the  work  was  originally  written  in  some  Italian  dialect 
was  a  natural  presumption,  and  slight  contemporary  evidence 
can  be  alleged  in  its  favour ;  for  Fra  Pipino,  in  the  Latin 
version  of  the  work,  executed  whilst  Marco  still  lived,  describes 
his  task  as  a  translation  de  vulgar i.  And  in  one  MS.  copy  of 
the  same  Friar  Pipino's  Chronicle,  existing  in  the  library  at 
Modena,  he  refers  to  the  said  version  as  made  ^^  ex  vulgari 
idiomate  Lombardico."  But  though  it  may  seem  improbable 
that  at  so  early  a  date  a  Latin  version  should  have  been  made 
at  second  hand,  I  believe  this  to  have  been  the  case,  and  that 
some  internal  evidence  also  is  traceable  that  Pipino  trans- 
lated not  from  the  original  but  from  an  Italian  version  of  the 

The  oldest  MS.  (it  is  supposed)  in  any  Italian  dialect  is 
one  in  the  Magliabccchian  Library  at  Florence,  which  is  known 

*  232  chapters  in  the  oldest  French  which  we  quote  as  the  Geographic  Text  (or 
G.  T.),  200  in  Fautliier's  Text,  183  in  the  Crusca  Itahan. 


in  Italy  as  VOttima,  on  account  of  the  purity  of  its  Tuscan, 
and  as  Delia  Cmsca  from  its  being  one  of  the  authorities  cited 
by  that  body  in  their  Vocabulary.*  It  bears  on  its  face  the 
following  note  in  Italian  : — 

"  This  Book  called  the  Navigation  of  Messer  Marco  Polo,  a  noble 
Citizen  of  Venice,  was  written  in  Florence  by  Michael  Ormanni  my  great 
grandfather  by  the  Mother's  side,  who  died  in  the  Year  of  Grace  One 
Thousand  Three  Hundred  and  Nine  ;  and  my  mother  brought  it  into  our 
Family  of  Del  Riccio,  and  it  belongs  to  me  Pier  del  Riccio  and  to  my 
Brother  ;  1452." 

As  far  as  I  can  learn,  the  age  which  this  note  implies  is 
considered  to  be  supported  by  the  character  of  the  MS.  itself  t 
If  it  be  accepted,  the  latter  is  a  performance  going  back  to 
within  eleven  years  at  most  of  the  first  dictation  of  the  Travels. 
At  first  sight,  therefore,  this  would  rather  argue  that  the 
original  had  been  written  in  pure  Tuscan.  But  when  Baldello 
came  to  prepare  it  for  the  press  he  found  manifest  indications 
of  its  being  a  Translation  from  the  French.  Some  of  these  he 
has  noted  ;  others  have  followed  up  the  same  line  of  com- 
parison.    We  give  some  detailed  examples  in  a  note.J 

*  The  MS.  has  been  printed  by  Baldello  as  above,  and  again  by  Bartoli  in  1S63. 

t  This  is  somewhat  peculiar.  I  have  traced  a  few  lines  of  it,  which  with  Del 
Jliccio's  note  I  give  in  facsimile  opposite.  The  passage  of  the  MS.  represented 
is  the  following  : — 

"  Di  Baudac  come  fu  presa.  Baitdac  e  ima  graiidc  cittade  oiii  lo  Chaliffo  di 
tntti  gli  Sar acini  del  moiido  chosi  cJioine  a  Ro7na  il  Papa  di  intti  gli  Crisfiaiii.  Per 
mezzo  la  citta  passa  im  fiiune  7ttolto  grande  perloquale  si  piiote  andare  in  sino  nel 
mare  d'' India"   .    .    . 

J  The  Crusca  is  cited  from  Bartoli's  edition. 

French  idioms  are  frequent,  as  /'  noino  for  the  French  on ;  qitattro-vinti 
instead  of  ottanta  ;  &c. 

We  have  at  p.  35,  "  Qiiesfo  piano  e  molto  cavo,"  which  is  nonsense,  but  is 
explained  by  reference  to  the  French  (G.  T.)  "  Voz  di  (jnUl  est  celle  plaingne  inout 
chaue"  (c/iande). 

The  bread  in  Kerman  is  bitter,  says  the  G.  T.  '■'■  porceqiie  Peine  hi  est  amer," 
because  the  water  there  is  bitter.  The  Crusca  mistakes  the  last  word  and  renders 
(p.  40)  "  e  qiiesti  e per  lo  mare  che  vi  vicneT 

'■^  Sachies  de  voir  qe  endementier,"  know  for  a  truth  that  whilst ,  by  some 

misunderstanding  of  the  last  word  becomes  (p.  129)  ''''  Sappiate  diver  o%,2C[v7.z.xi\Q\\\\x^r 

^'  Mes  de  sel  font  il  monoie  " — "  they  make  money  of  salt,"  becomes  (p.  168) 
"  ma  fannole  da  loro,"  sel  being  taken  for  a  pronoun,  whilst  in  another  place  sel  is 
transferred  bodily  without  translation. 

"  Ckez'oils,"  "  hair"  of  the  old  French,  appears  in  the  Tuscan  (p.  20)  as  cavagli, 
"horses."  "  Z(?  Grande  Proz>ence  jeneraus,"  the  great  general  province,  appears 
(p.  68)  as  a  province  whose  proper  name  is  lenaraus.  In  descrilDing  Kublai's  ex- 
pedition against  Mien  or  Burma,  Polo  has  a  story  of  his  calling  on  the  Jugglers 
at  his  court  to  undertake  the  job,  promising  them  a  Captain  and  other  help. 











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52.  The  French  Text  that  we  have  been  quoting,  pubHshed 
by  the  Geographical  Society  of  Paris  in  1824,  affords  on  the 
other  hand  the  strongest  corresponding  proof  that  it  ^^j^  French 
is  an  original  and  not  a  Translation.     Rude  as  is  the  i|^^he/by' 
language  of  the  manuscript  (Fr.  11 16,  formerly  No.  ^'^^gIo.'^''^ 
7367,  of  Paris  Library),  it  is  in  the  correctness  of  the  ^raphie. 
proper  names,  and  the  intelligible  exhibition  of  the  itineraries, 
much  superior  to  any  form  of  the  Work  previously  published. 

The  language  is  very  peculiar.  We  are  obliged  to  call  it 
French,  "  but  it  is  not  "  Frenche  of  Paris."  "  Its  style,"  says 
M.  Paulin-Paris,  "  is  about  as  like  that  of  good  French  authors 
of  the  age,  as  in  our  day  the  natural  accent  of  a  German,  an 
Englishman,  or  an  Italian,  is  like  that  of  a  citizen  of  Paris  or 
Blois."  The  author  is  at  war  with  all  the  practices  of  French 
grammar ;  subject  and  object,  numbers,  moods,  and  tenses,  are 
in  consummate  confusion.  Even  readers  of  his  own  day  must 
at  times  have  been  fain  to  guess  his  meaning.  Italian  words 
are  constantly  introduced,  either  quite  in  the  crude  or  rudely 
Gallicized.*  And  words  also,  we  may  add,  sometimes  slip  in 
which  appear  to  be  purely  Oriental,  just  as  is  apt  to  happen 
with  Anglo-Indians  in  these  days.f     All  this  is  perfectly  con- 

"  Chievetaiit  et  aideP  This  has  fairly  puzzled  the  Tuscan  who  converts  these 
(p.  1S6)  into  two  Tartar  tribes,  "  qtiegli  t/'Aide  e  tjttegli  di  Caveita." 

So  also  we  have  liei'i-e  for  hare  transferred  without  change  ;  lait,  milk,  appear- 
ing as  laido  instead  of  latte  ;  trcs,  rendered  as  "three  ;"  hue,  "  mud,"  Italianized  as 
biwi,  "  oxen,"  and  so  forth.  Finally,  in  various  places  when  Polo  is  explaining 
oriental  terms  we  find  in  the  Tuscan  MS.  "  cioe  a  dire  in  Francesco." 

The  blunders  mentioned  are  intelligible  enough  as  in  a  version yr^JW  the  French  ; 
but  in  the  account  of  the  Indian  Pearl  fishery  we  have  a  startling  one  not  so  easy  to 
account  for.  The  French  says,  "the  divers  gather  the  sea-oysters  {hostrige  de 
Afer),  and  in  these  the  pearls  are  found."  This  appears  in  the  Tuscan  in  the  extra- 
ordinary fonn  that  the  divers  catch  those  fishes  called  Herrings  (Aringhe),  and  in 
those  Herrings  are  found  the  Pearls  ! 

*  As  examples  of  these  Italianisms  :  ' '  Et  ont  del  olio  de  la  lanpe  don  sepolchro 
de  Crist  ^' ;  "  L' Angel  ven  en  vision  pour  mesajcs  de  Den  a  iiji  Veschevo  qe  motit 
estoient  home  de  sante  vite  "  ;  "  ^  certes  il  estoit  bitn  beizongno  "  ;  "  ne  trap  caut  ne 
trap  fredo  "  ;  "  la  crense  "  (credenza)  ;  "  remort  "  for  noise  [rnmore) ;  "  inverno  "  ; 
"  jorno  "  ;  "  dementique  "  {dimenticato)  ;  "  enferme  "  for  sickly  ;  "  leign  "  (legno)  ; 
"devisee"  [doi'izia)  ;   "  ammalaide  "  (ammalato),  &c.,  &c. 

Professor  Bianconi  points  out  that  there  are  also  traces  of  Venetian  dialect,  as 
Pare  {ox  pere ;    3/ojer  for  wife  ;  Zabater,  cobbler;  cazaor,  huntsman,  &c. 

t  As  examples  of  such  Orientalisms  :  Bonus,  "  ebony,"  a.nd  eala/nanz,  "pen- 
cases,  "  seem  to  represent  the  Persian  abniis  and  kalamdan  ;  the  dead  are  mourned 
by  les  meres  et  les  Araines,"  the  Plareins ;  in  speaking  of  the  land  of  the  Ismaelites 
or  Assassins,  called  Mulhete,  i.e.,  the  Arabic  Muldhidah,  "  Heretics,"  he  explains 
this  term  as  meaning  "des  Aram"  {Haramlya,  "the  reprobates  or  malefactors"). 
Speaking  of  the  Viceroys  of  Chinese  Provinces  we  are  told  that  they  rendered  their 


sistent  with  the  supposition  that  we  have  in  this  MS.  a  copy 
at  least  of  the  original  words  as  written  down  b}^  Rusticiano  a 
Tuscan,  from  the  dictation  of  Marco  an  Orientalized  Venetian, 
in  French,  a  language  foreign  to  both. 

But  the  character  of  the  language  as  French  is  not  its  only 
peculiarity.  There  is  in  the  style,  apart  from  grammar  or 
vocabulary,  a  rude  angularity,  a  rough  dramatism  like  that  of 
oral  narrative  ;  there  is  a  want  of  proportion  in  the  style  of 
different  parts,  now  over  curt,  now  diffuse  and  wordy,  with  at 
times  even  a  hammering  reiteration ;  a  constant  recurrence  of 
pet  colloquial  phrases  (in  which,  however,  other  literary  works 
of  the  age  partake)  ;  a  frequent  change  in  the  spelling  of  the 
same  proper  names,  even  when  recurring  within  a  few  lines,  as 
if  caught  by  ear  only  ;  a  literal  following  to  and  fro  of  the 
hesitations  of  the  narrator  ;  a  more  general  use  of  the  third 
person  in  speaking  of  the  Traveller,  but  an  occasional  lapse 
into  the  first.  All  these  characteristics  are  strikingly  indicative 
of  the  unrevised  product  of  dictation,  and  many  of  them  would 
necessarily  disappear  either  in  translation  or  in  a  revised  copy. 

Of  changes  in  representing  the  same  proper  name,  take 
as  an  example  that  of  the  Kaan  of  Persia  whom  Polo  calls 
Quiacatii  (Kaikhatu),  but  also  Acatit,  Catii,  and  the  like. 

As  an  example  of  the  literal  following  of  dictation  take 
the  following  : — 

"  Let  us  leave  Rosia,  and  I  will  tell  you  about  the  Great  Sea  (the 
Euxine),  and  what  provinces  and  nations  lie  round  about  it,  all  in  detail  ; 

and  we  will  begin  with  Constantinople First,  however,  I  should  tell 

you  about  a  province,  tS:c.  .  .  .  There  is  nothing  more  worth  mentioning, 
so  I  will  speak  of  other  subjects, — but  there  is  one  thing  more  to  tell  you 

about  Rosia  that  I  had  forgotten Now  then  let  us  speak  of  the 

Great  Sea  as  I  was  about  to  do.  To  be  sure  many  merchants  and  others 
have  been  there,  but  still  there  are  many  again  who  know  nothing  about 
it,  so  it  will  be  well  to  include  it  in  our  Book.  We  will  do  so  then,  and 
let  us  begin  first  with  the  Strait  of  Constantinople. 

"  At  the  Straits  leading  into  the  Great  Sea,  on  the  West  Side,  there  is  a 

hill  called  the  Faro. But  since  beginning  on  this  matter  I  have  changed 

my  mind,  because  so  many  people  know  all  about  it,  so  we  will  not  put  it 
in  our  description  but  go  on  to  something  else."    (See  vol.  II.  pp.  418  seqq^ 

And  so  on. 

As  a  specimen  of  tautology  and  hammering  reiteration  the 

accoimts  yearly  to  the  Safators  of  the  Great  Kaan.     This  is  certainly  an  Oriental 
word,  and  probably  represents  Hisdhddr  "an  accountant." 


following  can  scarcely  be  surpassed.     The  Traveller  is  speak- 
ing of  the  CJiugJii,  i.e.,  the  Indian  Jogis  : — 

"  And  there  are  among  them  certain  devotees,  called  Cliughi ;  these 
are  longer-lived  than  the  other  people,  for  they  live  from  150  to  200  years  ; 
and  yet  they  are  so  hale  of  body  that  they  can  go  and  come  wheresoever 
they  please,  and  do  all  the  service  needed  for  their  monastery  or  their 
idols,  and  do  it  just  as  well  as  if  they  were  younger  ;  and  that  comes  of 
the  great  abstinence  that  they  practise,  in  eating  little  food  and  only  what 
is  wholesome  ;  for  they  use  to  eat  rice  and  milk  more  than  anything  else. 
And  again  I  tell  you  that  these  Chughi  who  live  such  a  long  time  as  I  have 
told  you,  do  also  eat  what  I  am  going  to  tell  you,  and  you  will  think  it  a 
great  matter.  For  I  tell  you  that  they  take  quicksilver  and  sulphur,  and 
mix  them  together,  and  make  a  drink  of  them,  and  then  they  drink  this, 
and  they  say  that  it  adds  to  their  life  ;  and  in  fact  they  do  live  much 
longer  for  it  ;  and  I  tell  you  that  they  do  this  twice  every  month.  And 
let  me  tell  you  that  these  people  use  this  drink  from  their  infancy  in  order 
to  live  longer,  and  without  fail  those  who  live  so  long  as  I  have  told  you 
use  this  drink  of  sulphur  and  quicksilver."    (See  G.  T.  p.  213.) 

Such  talk  as  this  does  not  survive  the  solvent  of  trans- 
lation ;  and  we  may  be  certain  that  we  have  here  the  nearest 
approach  to  the  Traveller's  reminiscences  as  they  were  taken 
down  from  his  lips  in  the  prison  of  Genoa. 

53.  Another  circumstance,  heretofore  I  believe  unnoticed,  is 
in  itself  enough  to  demonstrate  the  Geographic  Text  to  be  the 
source  of  all  other  versions  of  the  Work.     It  is  this.     Conclusive 

In  reviewing  the  various  classes  or  types  of  texts  Ae  oia^ 
of  Polo's  Book,  wdiich  we  shall  hereafter  attempt  to  is  the  source 

...  ,  .  -   .,      of  all  the 

discrimmate,  there  are  certain   proper  names  which  others. 
we  find  in  the  different  texts  to  take  very  different  forms, 
each  class  adhering  in  the  main  to  one  particular  form. 

Thus  the  names  of  the  Mongol  ladies  introduced  at  p.  30, 
3 1  of  this  volume,  which  are  in  proper  Oriental  form  BulugJimi 
and  KiikdcJiin,  appear  in  the  class  of  MSS.  which  Pauthier 
has  followed  as  Bolgara  and  Cogatra ;  in  the  MSS.  of  Pipino's 
version,  and  those  founded  on  it,  including  Ramusio,  the  names 
appear  in  the  correcter  forms  Bolgana  or  Balgana  and  Cogacin. 
Now  all  the  forms  Bolgana,  Balgana,  Bolgara,  and  Cogatra, 
Cocacin  appear  in  the  Geographic  Text. 

Kaikhatu  Kaan  appears  in  the  Pauthier  MSS.  as  Chiato, 
in  the  Pipinian  as  Acatit,  in  the  Ramusian  as  Chiacato.  All 
three  forms,  Chiato,  Achatu,  and  Quiacatu  are  found  in  the 
Geographic  Text. 

The  city  of  Koh-banan  appears  in  the  Pauthier  MSS.  as 


Cabanajit,  in  the  Pipinian  and  Ramusian  editions  as  Cobinam 
or  Cobinan.     Both  forms  are  found  in  the  Geographic  Text. 

The  city  of  the  Great  Kaan  (KhanbaHg)  is  called  in  the 
Pauthier  MSS.  Cambalnc,  in  the  Pipinian  and  Ramusian  less 
correctly  Cambalu.     Both  forms  appear  in  the  GeograpJiic  Text. 

The  aboriginal  People  on  the  Burmese  Frontier  who  re- 
ceived from  the  Western  ofificers  of  the  Mongols  the  Persian 
name  (translated  from  that  applied  by  the  Chinese)  of  Zar- 
daiiddn,  or  Gold-Teeth,  appear  in  the  Pauthier  MSS.  most 
accurately  as  Zardandan,  but  in  the  Pipinian  as  Ardandan 
(still  further  corrupted  in  some  copies  into  Arcladani).  Now 
both  forms  are  foimd  in  the  Geographic  Text.  Other  examples 
might  be  given,  but  these  I  think  may  suffice  to  prove  that 
this  Text  was  the  common  source  of  both  classes. 

In  considering  the  question  of  the  French  original  too  we 
must  remember  what  has  been  already  said  regarding  Rusti- 
cien  de  Pise  and  his  other  French  writings  ;  and  we  shall  find 
hereafter  an  express  testimony  borne  in  the  next  generation 
that  Marco's  Book  was  composed  in  Vtdgari  Gallico. 

54.  But,  after  all,  the  circumstantial  evidence  that  has  been 
adduced  from  the  texts  themselves  is  the  most  conclusive.  We 
Greatly  dif-    havc  thcn  evcry  reason  to  believe  both  that  the  work 

fused  em-  .  .        _^  ,  ,       ,  .      .  -r-.  1 

pioymentof   was  wHttcu  m  T  rcuch,  and  that  an  existmg  rrench 

French  in  .  .  _     .  .... 

that  age.  i  cxt  IS  a  cIosc  representation  of  it  as  originally 
committed  to  paper.  And  that  being  so  we  may  cite  some 
circumstances  to  show  that  the  use  of  French  or  quasi-French 
for  the  purpose  was  not  a  fact  of  a  very  unusual  or  surprising 
nature.  The  French  language  had  at  that  time  almost  as 
wide,  perhaps  relatively  a  wider,  diffusion  than  it  has  now. 
It  was  still  spoken  at  the  Court  of  England,  and  still  used  by 
many  English  writers,  of  whom  the  authors  or  translators  of 
the  Round  Table  romances  at  Henry  III.'s  Court  are  exam- 
ples.* At  certain  of  the  Oxford  Colleges  as  late  as  1328  it 
was  an  order  that  the  students  should  converse  colloqino  latino 

*  Luces  de  Gast,  one  of  the  first  of  these  inti-oduces  himself  thus  : — "  Je  Luces, 
Chevahers  et  Sires  du  Chastel  du  Gast,  voisins  prochains  de  Salebieres,  comme 
chevahers  ampureus  enprens  a  translater  du  Latin  en  Francois  une  partie  de  cette 
estoire  ;  non  mie  pour  ce  que  je  sache  gramnient  de  Francois,  ainz  appartient  phis 
ma  langiie  et  ma  parleure  a  la  maniere  de  I'Engleterre  que  a  celle  de  France, 
comme  eel  qui  fu  en  Engleterre  nez,  mais  tele  est  ma  volentez  et  men  proposement, 
que  je  en  langue  fran^-oise  le  translaterai  "  {Hist.  Lilt,  de  la  Ft-aiicc,  xv.  494), 


vel  salteni  gallico.  *  Late  in  the  same  century  Gower  had  not 
ceased  to  use  French,  composing  many  poems  in  it,  though 
apologizing  for  his  want  of  skill  therein  : — • 

"  Et  si  jeo  nai  de  Francois  la  faconde 

*  ¥  *  * 

Jeo  suis  Englois  ;  si  quier  par  tide  voie 
Estre  excuse."  t 

Indeed  down  to  nearly  1385  boys  in  the  English  grammar- 
schools  were  taught  to  construe  their  Latin  lessons  into 
French,  j  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  is  said  by  some  of  his  bio- 
graphers to  have  had  his  original  name  changed  to  Francesco 
because  of  his  early  mastery  of  that  language  as  a  qualifica- 
tion for  commerce.  French  had  been  the  prevalent  tongue  of 
the  Crusaders,  and  was  that  of  the  numerous  Frank  Courts 
which  they  established  in  the  East,  including  Jerusalem  and 
the  states  of  the  Syrian  coast,  Cyprus,  Constantinople  during 
the  reign  of  the  Courtenays,  and  the  principalities  of  the 
Morea.  The  Catalan  soldier  and  chronicler  Ramon  de  Mun- 
taner  tells  us  that  it  was  commonly  said  of  the  Morean 
chivalry  that  they  spoke  as  good  French  as  at  Paris.  §  Quasi- 
French  at  least  was  still  spoken  half  a  century  later  by  the 
numerous  Christians  settled  at  Aleppo,  as  John  Marignolli  tes- 
tifies ;  II  and  if  we  may  trust  Sir  John  Maundevile  the  Soldan 
of  Egypt  himself  and  four  of  his  chief  Lords  "  spak  Frensche 
righte  tvel!"^  Ghazan  Kaan,  the  accomplished  Mongol 
Sovereign  of  Persia,  to  whom  our  Traveller  conveyed  a  bride 
from  Cambaluc,  is  said  by  the  historian  Rashiduddin  to  have 
known  something  of  the  Frank  tongue,  probably  French.** 
Nay,  if  we  may  trust  the  author  of  the  Romance  of  Richard 
Coeur-de-Lion,  French  was  in  his  day  the  language  of  still 
higher  spheres  !  tt 

*  Hist.  Litt.  de  la  France,  xv.  500.  f  Ibid.  508, 

X   Tyrwhitt''s  Essay  on  Lang.,  (^c.  of  Chancer,  p.  xxii.      (Moxon's  Ed.  1852.) 
§   Chroniqnes  Etratigires,  p.  502. 

II    ^^  Loquuntur  linguam  quasi  Gallic  am,  scilicet  quasi  de  Cipro.''''     (See  Cathay, 
p.  352).  t  P.  138.  **  Hammer' s  Ilchan.  IL  148. 

tt  After  the  capture  of  Acre,  Richard  orders  60,000  Saracen  prisoners  to  be 
executed  : — 

TJieysayde:  '  Seynyors,  tuez,  tuez  ! 
'  Spares  hem  nought !  Behedith  these  ! ' 

King  Rycharde  herde  the  Aungelys  voys 
And  thankyd  God  and  the  Holy  Croys." 

—  Weber,  II.  144. 
Note  that,  from  the  rhyme,  the  Angehc  PVench  was  apparently  pronounced 
Too-eese  I   Too-eese  P^ 

VOL.  I.  h 

'  They  wer  brought  out  oft"  the  toun 
Save  twenty  he  heeld  to  raunsoun. 
They  wer  led  into  the  Place  full  evene  ; 
Ther  tJiey  herden  Aiaigeh  off  Hez'ene, 


Nor  was  Polo's  case  an  exceptional  one  even  among 
writers  on  the  East  who  were  not  Frenchmen.  Maundevile 
himself  tells  us  that  he  put  his  book  first  "  out  of  Latyn  into 
Frensche,"  and  then  out  of  French  into  English.  The  History 
of  the  East  which  the  Armenian  Prince  and  Friar  Hayton 
dictated  to  Nicolas  Faulcon  at  Poictiers  in  1307  was  taken 
down  in  French.  There  are  many  other  instances  of  the 
employment  of  French  by  foreign,  and  especially  by  Italian 
authors  of  that  age.  The  Latin  chronicle  of  the  Benedictine 
Amato  of  Monte  Cassino  was  translated  into  French  early  in 
the  1 3th  century  by  another  monk  of  the  same  abbey,  at  the 
particular  desire  of  the  Count  of  Militree  (or  Malta),  ''Pour  ce 
gtiil  set  lire  et  entendre  fransoize  et  s'en  delitte."  *  Martino  da 
Canale,  a  countryman  and  contemporary  of  Polo's,  during  the 
absence  of  the  latter  in  the  East  wrote  a  Chronicle  of  Venice 
in  the  same  language,  as  a  reason  for  which  he  alleges  its 
general  popularity.!  The  like  does  the  most  notable  example 
of  all,  Brunetto  Latini,  Dante's  master,  who  wrote  in  French 
his  encyclopaedic  and  once  highly  popular  work  Li  Tresor.% 
Other  examples  might  be  given,  but  in  fact  such  illustration  is 
superfluous  when  we  consider  that  Rusticiano  himself  was  a 
compiler  of  French  Romances. 

But  why  the  language  of  the  Book  as  we  see  it  in  the 
Geographic  Text  should  be  so  much  more  rude,  inaccurate, 
and  Italianized  than  that  of  Rusticiano's  other  writings,  is  a 
question  to  which  I  can  suggest  no  reply  quite  satisfactory  to 
myself.  Is  it  possible  that  we  have  in  it  a  literal  representa- 
tion of  Polo's  own  language  in  dictating  the  story, — a  rough 
draft  which  it  was  intended  afterwards  to  reduce  to  better 
form,  and  which  was  so  reduced  (after  a  fashion)  in  French 
copies  of  another  type,  regarding  which  we  shall  have  to 
speak    presently  }  §      And,    if  this   be  the  true   answer,   why 

*  Z'  Ystoire  de  U  Normand,  &c.,  edited  by  M.  Champollion-Figeac,  Paris  1835, 
p.  V. 

■f  ' '  Force  que  lengiie  Frencetse  cort  par  mi  le  monde,  et  est  la  phis  dehtable  a  In-e 
et  a  oir  que  mile  autre,  me  siii-je  entremis  de  translater  Vancien  estoire  des  Vetieciens 
de  Latin  en  Franceis."     (Aixhiv.  Stor.  Ital.  viii.  268). 

J  ^''Et  se  aucun  demandoit  porquoi  cist  livre  est  escriz  en  Romans,  selonc  le  Ian- 
gage  des  Francois,  piiisqiie  110s  somes  Ytaliens,je  diroie  qne  ce  est por  ij  raisons :  I'zme, 
car  nos  somes  en  France  ;  et  P autre  porce  que  la  parleure  est  plus  delitable  et  plus 
commune  a  toiites  gensP     (Li  Livres  doii  Tresor,  p.  3.) 

§  It  is,  however,  not  improbable  that  Rusticiano's  hasty  and  abbreviated 
original  Avas  extended  by  a  scribe  who  knew  next  to  nothing  of  French  ;  other- 


should  Polo  have  used  a  French  jargon  in  which  to  tell  his 
story  ?  Is  it  possible  that  his  own  mother  Venetian,  such 
as  he  had  carried  to  the  East  with  him  and  brought  back 
again,  was  so  little  intelligible  to  Rusticiano  that  French  of 
some  kind  was  the  handiest  medium  of  communication  be- 
tween the  two  ?  I  have  seen  an  Englishman  and  a  Hollander 
driven  to  converse  in  Malay ;  Chinese  Christians  of  different 
provinces  are  said  sometimes  to  take  to  English  as  the 
readiest  means  of  intercommunication  ;  and  the  same  is  said 
even  of  Irish-speaking  Irishmen  from  remote  parts  of  the  Island. 
It  is  worthy  of  remark  how  many  notable  narratives  of  the 
Middle  Ages  have  been  dictated  instead  of  being  written  by 
their  authors,  and  that  in  cases  where  it  is  impossible  to  ascribe 
this  to  ignorance  of  writing.  The  Armenian  Hayton,  though 
evidently  a  well  read  man,  probably  could  not  write  in  Roman 
characters.  But  Joinville  is  an  illustrious  example.  And  the 
narratives  of  four  of  the  most  famous  Medieval  Travellers  * 
seem  to  have  been  drawn  from  them  by  a  kind  of  pressure, 
and  committed  to  paper  by  other  hands.  I  have  elsewhere 
remarked  this  as  indicating  how  little  diffused  was  literary 
ambition  or  vanity  ;  but  it  would  perhaps  be  more  correct  to 
ascribe  it  to  that  intense  dislike  which  is  still  seen  on  the 
shores  of  the  Mediterranean  to  the  use  of  pen  and  ink.  On 
certain  of  those  shores  at  least  there  is  scarcely  any  inconve- 
nience that  the  majority  of  respectable  and  good-natured 
people  will  not  tolerate — inconvenience  to  their  neighbours  be 
it  understood — rather  than  put  pen  to  paper  for  the  purpose 
of  preventing  it. 

X.  Various  Types  of  Text  of  Marco  Polo's  Book. 

55.   In  treating  of  the   various   Texts  of  Polo's  Book  we 
must  necessarily  go  into  some  irksome  detail.  ^^^rP""- 

-'     o  cipal  lypes 

Those  Texts  that  have  come  down  to  us  may  be  fj^''^^^^ 
classified  under  Four  principal  Types.  oftheOeo- 

^  '^  ■'  '^  graphic,  or 

I.  The    First   Type   is   that  of  the    Geographic  rfe^^ch 

wise  it  is  hard  to  account  for  such  forms  as  perlinage  (pelerinage),  pesa-ies 
(espiceries),  proqjie  (see  vol.  ii.  p.  305),  oisi  (G.  T.  p.  208),  thochcre  (toucher),  &c. 
(see  Biaiiconi,  2ncl  Mem.    pp.  30-32). 

*   Polo,  Friar  Odoric,  Nicolo  Conti,  Il^n  Batuta. 

//     2 



Text  of  which  we  have  already  said  so  much.  This  is 
found  nowhere  complete  except  in  the  unique  MS.  of  the 
Paris  Library,  to  which  it  is  stated  to  have  come  from 
the  old  Library  of  the  French  Kings  at  Blois.  But  the  Ita- 
lian Crusca,  and  the  old  Latin  version  (No.  3195  of  the  Paris 
Library)  published  with  the  Geographic  Text  are  evidently 
derived  entirely  from  it,  though  both  are  considerably  abridged. 
It  is  also  demonstrable  that  neither  of  these  copies  has  been 
translated  from  the  other,  for  each  has  passages  which  the 
other  omits,  but  that  both  have  been  taken,  the  one  as  a  copy 
more  or  less  loose,  the  other  as  a  translation,  from  an  inter- 
mediate Italian  copy.*     A  special  difference  lies  in  the  fact 

*  In  the  following  citations,  the  Geographic  Text  (G.T.)  is  quoted  by  page 
from  the  printed  edition  (1824)  ;  the  Latin  published  in  the  same  volume  (G.L.) 
also  by  page  ;  the  Crusca,  as  before,  from  Bartoli's  edition  of  1863.  References 
in  parentheses  are  to  the  present  translation  : — 

A.  Passages  shcnving  the  G.L.  to  be  a  translation  from  the  Italian,  and  derived  from 
the  same  Italian  text  as  the  Crusca. 

(I).   G.T 

(2).   G.T 


(3).    G.T. 

(4).   Crusca, 

(5).  G.T 



(6).  G.T. 







198     (n.254). 


( I.    43).     II  hi  se  laborent  le  soiiran  tapis  dou  monde. 
E  quivi  si  fanno  i  sovrani  tappeti  del  mondo. 
Et  ibi  fiunt  soriani  et  tapeti  pulcriores  de  mundo. 
(,,    65).     Et   adonc   le   calif  mande   partuit   les   cristienz  .  .  . 
qui  en  sa  tere  estoient. 
Ora  mandb  lo  califfo  per  tutti  gli  Cristiani  ch^erano 

di  la. 
Or  misit  califfus  pro  Cristianis  q2ii  erant  nltra  fiiivium 
(the  last  words  being  clearly  a  misunderstanding 
of  the  Italian  di  la. 
Ont  sosimain  (sesamum)  de  coi  il  font  le  olio. 
Hanno  sosimani  onde  fanno  1'  olio. 
Habent  tmpes  maniis  (taking  sosimani  for  sozze  mani 
"dirty  hands  "  !) 
52     ( I.  150).     Cacciare  et  nccellare  v'  e  lo  migliore  del  mondo. 
332  .  .  Et  est  ibi  optimum  caciare  et  uccellare. 

124     (II.  22).     Adonc  treuve  .  .  .  .  un  Provence  qe  est  encore  de  le 

confin  dou  Mangi. 
162-3       •  •  L'  uomo  truova  una  Provincia  ch^  e  chiamata  ancora 

delle  confine  di  Mangi. 
396  . .  Invenit  unam  Provinciam  quae  vacatur  Anchota  de 

confinibus  Mangi. 
146     ( ,,    82).     Les  dames  portent  as  jambes  et  es  braces  braciaus 

d'or  et  d'argent  de  grandisme  vaillance. 
189  . .  Le  donne  portano  alle  braccia  e  alle  gambe  bracciali 

d^oro  e  d'ariento  di  gran  valuta. 
411  ..  ^ommx  eoYMm  porta nt  ad  bracia  et  ad  gambas  brazalia 

de  aura  et  de  argento  magni  valoris. 


that  the  Latin  version  is  divided  into  three  Books,  whilst  the 
Crusca  has  no  such  division.  I  shall  show  in  a  tabular  form 
the  filiation  of  the  texts  which  these  facts  seem  to  demon- 
strate (see  Appendix  G). 

There  are  other  Italian  MSS.  of  this  type,  some  of  which 
show  signs  of  having  been  derived  independently  from  the 
French  ;*  but  I  have  not  been  able  to  examine  any  of  them  with 
the  care  needful  to  make  specific  deductions  regarding  them. 

56.   II.  The  next  Type  is   that    of  the  French  MSS.  on 
which  M.  Pauthier's  Text  is  based,  and  for  which  he  claims 
the  highest  authority,  as  having  had  the  mature  re-  second; 
vision  and  sanction  of  the  Traveller.     There  are,  as  coddled 
far  as  I  know,  five  MSS.  which  may  be  classed  to-  Tex"^^!- 
gether   under   this   type,  three    in   the    Great  Paris  PaTtWen 
Library,  one  at  Bern,  and  one  in  the  Bodleian. 

The  high  claims  made  by  Pauthier  on  behalf  of  this  class 
of  MSS.  (on  the  first  three  of  which  his  Text  is  formed)  rest 
mainly  upon  the  kind  of  certificate  which  two  of  them  bear 
regarding  the  presentation  of  a  copy  by  Marco  Polo  to  Thi- 
bault  de  Cepoy,  which  we  have  already  quoted  {supra,  p.  xcvi). 
This  certificate  is  held  by  Pauthier  to  imply  that  the  original 
of  the  copies  which  bear  it,  and   of  those  having  a  general 

B.  Passages  shozuing  additionally  the  errors,  or  other  peculiarities  of  a  translation 
froi7i  a  French  original,  common  to  the  Italian  and  the  Latin. 
(7).    G.T.         32     (  I.    91).     Est  celle  plaingne  mout  chaue  (chaude). 
Questo  piano  e  molto  cavo. 
Ista  planities  est  multum  cava. 
(8).   G.T.         32     (,,104).     Avent  porceque  I'eiue  hi  est  rtv/d-r. 
E  questo  e  per  lo  mare  che  vi  viene. 
Istud  est  propter  mare  quod  est  ibi. 
(9).   G.T.         18     (,,    49).     Un  roi  qi  est  apeles  par  tout  tens  Davit  Melic  qi  veut 
a  dire  enfransois  Davit  Roi. 
Uno  re  il  quale  si  chiama  sempre  David  Melic,  cio  e 

a  dire  in  francesco  David  Re. 
Rex  qui  semper  vocatur  David  Mellic  quod  sonat  in 
gallico  David  Rex. 

These  passages,  and  many  more  that  might  be  quoted,  seem  to  me  to  demon- 
strate (i)  that  the  Latin  and  the  Crusca  have  had  a  common  original,  and  (2)  that 
this  original  was  an  Italian  version  from  the  French. 

*  Thus  the  Pucci  MS.  at  Florence,  in  the  passage  i-egarding  the  Golden  King 
(vol.  ii.  p.  8)  which  begins  in  G.  T.  ''''  Leqtiel  fist  fairc  jadis  un  rois  qe  fn  appeles 
Roi  d^Or,  renders  "Zc  quale  fa  fare  Jaddis  n7io  ir,"  a  mistake  which  is  not  in  the 
Crusca  nor  in  the  Latin,  and  seems  to  imply  derivation  from  the  French  directly, 
or  by  some  other  channel  (Baldcllo-Boni). 




















correspondence  with  them,  had  the  special  seal  of  Marco's 
revision  and  approval.  To  some  considerable  extent  their 
character  is  corroborative  of  such  a  claim,  but  they  are  far 
from  having  the  perfection  which  Pauthier  attributes  to  them, 
and  which  leads  him  into  many  paradoxes. 

It  is  not  possible  to  interpret  rigidly  the  bearing  of  this  so- 
called  certificate,  as  if  no  copies  had  previously  been  taken  of 
any  form  of  the  Book  ;  nor  can  we  allow  it  to  impugn  the 
authenticity  of  the  Geographic  Text,  which  demonstratively 
represents  an  older  original,  and  has  been  (as  we  have  seen) 
the  parent  of  all  other  versions,  including  some  very  old  ones, 
Italian  and  Latin,  which  certainly  owe  nothing  to  this  revision. 

The  first  idea  apparently  entertained  by  M.  D'Avezac  and 
M.  Paulin-Paris  was  that  the  Geographic  Text  was  itself  \he 
copy  given  to  the  Sieur  de  Cepoy,  and  that  the  differences 
in  the  copies  of  the  class  which  we  describe  as  Type  II. 
merely  resulted  from  the  modifications  which  would  naturally 
arise  in  the  process  of  transcription  into  purer  French.  But 
closer  examination  showed  the  differences  to  be  too  great  and 
too  marked  to  admit  of  this  explanation.  These  differences 
consist  not  only  in  the  conversion  of  the  rude,  obscure,  and 
half  Italian  language  of  the  original  into  good  French  of  the 
period.  There  is  also  very  considerable  curtailment,  generally 
of  tautology,  but  also  extending  often  to  circumstances  of 
substantial  interest ;  whilst  we  observe  the  omission  of  a  few 
notably  erroneous  statements  or  expressions  ;  and  a  few  in- 
sertions of  small  importance.  None  of  the  MSS.  of  this  class 
contain  more  than  a  few  of  the  historical  chapters  which  we 
have  formed  into  Book  IV. 

The  only  addition  of  any  magnitude  is  that  chapter  which 
in  our  Translation  forms  chapter  xxi.  of  Book  II.  It  will  be 
seen  that  it  contains  no  new  facts,  but  is  only  a  tedious  recapi- 
tulation of  circumstances  already  stated,  though  scattered  over 
several  chapters.  There  are  a  few  minor  additions.  I  have 
not  thought  it  worth  while  to  collect  them  systematically 
here,  but  two  or  three  examples  are  given  in  a  note.* 

*  In  the  Prologue  (vol.  i.  p.  32)  this  class  of  MSS.  alone  names  the  King  of 

In  the  account  of  the  Battle  with  Nayan  (i.  p.  301)  this  class  alone  speaks  of 
the  two-stringed  instruments  which  the  Tartars  played  whilst  awaiting  the  signal 
for  bailie.     But  the  circumstance  appears  elsewhere  in  the  G.  T.  (p.  250).  In 


There  are  also  one  or  two  corrections  of  erroneous  state- 
ments in  the  G.  T.  which  seem  not  to  be  accidental  and  to 
indicate  some  attempt  at  revision.  Thus  a  notable  error  in 
the  account  of  Aden,  which  seems  to  conceive  of  the  Red  Sea 
as  a  river,  disappears  in  Pauthier's  MSS.  A  and  B.*  And  we 
find  in  these  MSS.  one  or  two  interesting  names  preserved 
which  are  not  found  in  the  older  Text.f 

But  on  the  other  hand  this  class  of  MSS.  contains  many- 
erroneous  readings  of  names,  either  adopting  the  worse  of  two 
forms  occurring  in  the  G.  T.  or  originating  blunders  of  its 

M.  Pauthier  lays  great  stress  on  the  character  of  these 
MSS.  as  the  sole  authentic  form  of  the  work,  from  their  claim 
to  have  been  specially  revised  by  Marco  Polo.  It  is  evident, 
however,  from  what  has  been  said,  that  this  revision  can  have 
been  only  a  very  careless  and  superficial  one,  and  must  have 
been  done  in  great  measure  by  deputy,  being  almost  entirely 
confined  to  curtailment  and  to  the  improvement  of  the  ex- 
pression, and  that  it  is  by  no  means  such  as  to  allow  an  editor 
to  dispense  with  a  careful  study  of  the  Older  Text. 

57.  There  is  another  curious  circumstance  about  the  MSS. 
of  this  type,  viz.,  that  they  clearly  divide  into  two  distinct  re- 
censions, of  which  both  have  so  many  peculiarities  xheBem 
and  errors   in   common  that   they    must    necessarily  Jto'others 
have  been  both  derived  from  one  modification  of  the  da^o/this 
original  text,  whilst  at  the  same  time  there  are  such  ^^^^' 

In  the  chapter  on  Malabar  (vol.  ii.  p.  325),  it  is  said  that  the  ships  which  go 
with  cargoes  towards  Alexandria  are  not  one-tenth  of  those  that  go  to  the  further 
East.     This  is  not  in  the  older  French. 

In  the  chapter  on  Coiinn  (II.  p.  312),  we  have  a  notice  of  the  Columbine  ginger 
so  celebrated  in  the  middle  ages,  which  is  also  absent  from  the  older  text. 

*  See  vol.  ii.  p.  374.  It  is  however  remarkable  that  a  like  mistake  is  made 
about  the  Persian  Gulf  (see  I.  60,  61).  Perhaps  Polo  thought  in  Persian,  in  which 
the  word  darya  means  either  sea  or  a  large  river.  The  same  habit  and  the  ambi- 
guity of  the  Persian  sher  led  him  probably  to  his  confusion  of  lions  and  tigers 
(see  I.  354). 

t  Such  are  Pasciai-Z>/r  and  Ariora  Kesciemur  (I.  p.  93). 

J  Thus  the  MSS.  of  this  type  have  elected  the  erroneous  readings  Bolgara, 
Cogatra,  Chiato,  Cabanant,  &c.,  instead  of  the  correcter  Bolgaiia,  Coeaciii, 
Quiacatii,  Cobinan,  where  the  G.T.  presents  both  {supra,  p.  Ixxviii).  They  read 
Esanar  for  the  correct  Etzina ;  Chascun  for  Casvin ;  A  chalet  for  Acbalec ; 
Sardansti  for  Sindafii ;  Kayte2C,  Kayton,  Sarcon  for  Zaiton  or  Caiton  ;  Soucat  for 
Locac ;  Falec  (or  Fer lee,  and  so  on,  the  worse  instead  of  the  better.  They  make 
the  J\fer  Occeane  into  Mer  Occident ;  the  wild  asses  {asiics)  of  the  Kerman  Desert 
into  wild  geese  [pes -^  the  escoillez  of  Bengal  (II.  p.  79)  into  cseolicrs ;  xkie.  giraffes 
of  Africa  into  girojles^  or  cloves,  «S:c.  &c. 


dififerences  between  the  two  as  cannot  be  set  down  to  the  acci- 
dents of  transcription.  Pauthier's  MSS.  A  and  B  (Nos.  i6  and 
15  of  the  List  in  Appendix  F)  form  one  of  these  subdivisions  : 
his  C  (No.  17  of  the  same  list),  Bern  (No.  56),  and  Oxford 
(No.  6),  the  other.  Between  A  and  B  the  differences  are  only- 
such  as  seem  constantly  to  have  arisen  from  the  whims  of 
transcribers  or  their  dialectic  peculiarities.  But  between  A 
and  B  on  the  one  side,  and  C  on  the  other  the  dififerences  are 
much  greater.  The  readings  of  proper  names  in  C  are  often 
superior,  sometimes  worse ;  but  in  the  latter  half  of  the  work 
especially  it  contains  a  number  of  substantial  passages  *  which 
are  to  be  found  in  the  G.  T.,  but  are  altogether  absent  from 
the  MSS.  A  and  B  ;  whilst  in  one  case  at  least  (the  history  of 
the  Siege  of  Saianfu,  vol.  ii.  p.  121)  it  diverges  considerably 
from  the  G.  T.  as  well  as  from  A  and  B.  f 

I  gather  from  the  facts  that  the  MS.  C  represents  an  older 
form  of  the  work  than  A  and  B.  I  should  judge  that  the 
latter  had  been  derived  from  that  older  form  but  intentionally 
modified  from  it.  And  as  it  is  the  MS.  C,  with  its  copy  at 
Bern,  that  alone  presents  the  certificate  of  derivation  from  the 
Book  given  to  the  Sieur  de  Cepoy,  there  can  be  no  doubt 
that  it  is  the  true  representative  of  that  recension. 

58.  The  next  Type  of  Text  is  that  found  in  Friar  Pipino's 

Latin  version.     It  is  the  type  of  which  MSS.  are  by  far  the 

most  numerous.     In  it  condensation  and  curtailment 

Friar  Pi-       are  carried  a  good  deal  further  than  in  Type  II.     The 

pino's  Latin. 

work  is  also  divided  into  three  Books.  But  this  divi- 
sion does  not  seem  to  have  originated  with  Pipino,  as  we  find 
it  in  the  ruder  and  perhaps  older  Latin  version  of  which  we 
have  already  spoken  under  Type  I,  And  we  have  demon- 
strated that  this  ruder  Latin  is  a  translation  from  an  Italian 
copy.  It  is  probable  therefore  that  an  Italian  version  simi- 
larly divided  was  the  common  source  of  what  we  call  the 
Geographic  Latin  and  of  Pipino's  more  condensed  version.  J 

*  There  are  about  five  and  thirty  such  passages  altogether. 

t  The  Bern  MS.  I  have  satisfied  myself  is  an  actual  copy  of  the  Paris  MS.  C. 

The  Oxford  MS.  closely  resembles  both,  but  I  have  not  made  the  comparison 
minutely  enough  to  say  if  it  is  an  exact  copy  of  either. 

\  The  following  comparison  will  also  show  that  these  two  Latin  versions  have 
probably  had  a  common  source,  such  as  is  here  suggested. 

At  the  end  of  the  Prologue  the  Cicographic  Text  reads  simply  -.■ —  "  Or 


Pipino's  version  appears  to  have  been  executed  in  the  later 
years  of  Polo's  life.*  But  I  can  see  no  ground  for  the  idea 
entertained  by  Baldello-Boni  and  Professor  Bianconi  that  it 
was  executed  with  Polo's  cognizance  and  retouched  by  him. 

59.  The  absence  of  effective  publication  in  the  Middle  Ages 
led  to  a  curious  complication  of  translation  and  retranslation. 
Thus  the  Latin  version  published  by  Grynaeus  in  the  „^  ^    • 

■■■  ■'  -'  Ihe  Latin 

Novus  Orbis\  is  different  from  Pipino's,  and  yet  is  of  Grynaeus 

'  ^  '  -'  a  translation 

clearly  traceable  to  it  as  a  foundation.  In  fact  it  is  a  ^^  fifth  hand. 
retranslation  into  Latin  from  some  version  (Marsden  thinks 
the  printed  Portuguese  one)  of  Pipino.  It  introduces  many 
minor  modifications,  omitting  specific  statements  of  numbers 
and  values,  generalizing  the  names  and  descriptions  of  specific 
animals,  exhibiting  frequent  sciolism  and  self-sufificiency  in 
modifying  statements  which  the  Editor  supposed  to  be  fic- 
tions. X  It  is  therefore  utterly  worthless  as  a  Text,  and  it  is 
curious  that  Andreas  Miiller,  who  in  the  17th  century  devoted 
himself  to  the  careful  editing  of  Polo,  should  have  made  so  un- 
fortunate a  choice  as  to  reproduce  this  fifth-hand  Translation. 
I  may  add  that  the  French  editions  published  in  the  middle  of 
the  1 6th  century  are  translations  from  Grynaeus.  Hence  they 
complete  this  curious  circle  of  translation  :  French — Italian — 
Pipino's  Latin — Portuguese  .'' — Grynaeus's  Latin— French  ! 

60.  IV.  We  now  come  to  a  Type  of  Text  which  deviates 

"  Or  puis  que  je  voz  ai  contez  tot  le  fat  dou  prolegue  ensi  con  voz  aves  oi 
adonc  (comenceiai)  le  Livre." 

Whilst  the  Geographic  Latin  has  : — 

' '  Post  qiiam  recitaviiniis  et  diximus  facta  et  conditiojies  nostroniin  itiiienini, 
et  ea  quae  nobis  contigerunt  per  vias,  incipiemus  dkerc  ca  quae  vidimus.  Et  prima 
dc  Minor i  Har menial'' 

And  Pipino  : — 

^^  Narratione  facta  nostri  itineris,  nunc  ad  ea  narranda  quae  vidimus  acceda- 
mus.     Primo  autem  Armeniam  Minorem  describemus  breznter." 

*  Friar  Francesco  Pipino  of  Bologna,  a  Dominican,  is  known  also  as  the 
author  of  a  lengthy  chronicle  from  the  time  of  the  Frank  Kings  down  to  13:4  ;  of 
a  Latin  Translation  of  the  French  History  of  the  Conquest  of  the  Holy  Land,  by 
Bernard  the  Treasurer ;  and  of  a  short  Itinerary  of  a  Pilgrimage  to  Palestine  in 
1320.  Extracts  from  the  Chronicle,  and  the  version  of  Bernard,  are  printed  in 
Muratori's  Collection.  As  Pipino  states  himself  to  have  executed  the  translation 
of  Polo  by  order  of  his  Superiors,  it  is  probable  that  the  task  was  set  him  at  a 
general  chapter  of  the  order  which  was  held  at  Bologna  in  13 15  [s&e.  Aduratori,  IX. 
583  ;  and  QuetiJ]  Script.  Ord.  Praed.  I.  539).  We  do  not  know  what  ground 
Ramusio  had  for  assigning  the  translation  specifically  to  1320,  but  he  may  have 
had  autliority. 

t  Basle,  1532.  X  See  Bianconi,  1st  Mem.  29  s:qq. 


largely  from  any  of  those  hitherto  spoken  of,  and  the  history 
and  true  character  of  which  are  involved  in  a  cloud 

Rainusio's         of  difficulty. 

We  mean  that  Italian  version  prepared  for  the 
press  by  G.  B.  Ramusio,  with  most  interesting,  though,  as  we 
have  seen,  not  always  accurate  preliminary  dissertations,  and 
published  at  Venice  two  years  after  his  death,  in  the  second 
volume  of  the  Navigationi  e  Viaggi* 

The  peculiarities  of  this  version  are  very  remarkable. 
Ramusio  seems  to  imply  that  he  used  as  one  basis  at  least  the 
Latin  of  Pipino  ;  and  many  circumstances,  such  as  the  division 
into  Books,  the  absence  of  the  terminal  historical  chapters  and 
of  those  about  the  Magi,  and  the  form  of  many  proper  names, 
confirm  this.  But  also  many  additional  circumstances  and 
anecdotes  are  introduced,  many  of  the  names  assume  a  new 
form,  and  the  whole  style  is  more  copious  and  literary  in 
character  than  in  any  other  form  of  the  work. 

Whilst  some  of  the  changes  or  interpolations  seem  to  carry 
us  further  from  the  truth,  others  contain  facts  of  Asiatic 
nature  or  history,  as  well  as  of  Polo's  own  experiences,  Avhich 
it  is  extremely  difficult  to  ascribe  to  any  hand  but  the  Tra- 
veller's own.  This  was  the  view  taken  by  Baldello,  Klaproth, 
and  Neumann  ;t  but  Hugh  Murray,  Lazari,  and  Bartoli  regard 
the  changes  as  interpolations  by  another  hand  ;  and  Lazari 
is  rash  enough  to  ascribe  the  whole  to  a  rifacimento  of  Ramu- 
sio's  own  age,  asserting  it  to  contain  interpolations  not  merely 
from  Polo's  own  contemporary  Hayton,  but  also  from  tra- 
vellers of  later  centuries,  such  as  Conti,  Barbosa,  and  Pigafetta. 

*  The  Ramusios  were  a  family  of  note  in  literature  for  several  generations. 
Paulo,  the  father  of  Gian  Battista,  came  originally  from  Rimini  to  Venice  in  1458, 
and  had  a  great  repute  as  a  jurist,  besides  being  a  lilterateur  of  some  eminence,  as 
was  also  his  younger  brother  Girolamo.  G.  B.  Ramusio  was  born  at  Treviso  in  1485, 
and  early  entered  the  public  service.  In  1533  he  became  one  of  the  Secretaries  of 
the  Council  of  X.  He  was  especially  devoted  to  geographical  studies,  and  had 
a  school  for  such  studies  in  his  house.  He  retired  eventually  from  public  duties, 
and  lived  at  his  Villa  Ramusia,  near  Padua.  He  died  in  the  latter  city,  10th  July, 
J 557)  but  was  buried  at  Venice  in  the  Church  of  S.  Maria  dell'  Orto.  There  was 
a  portrait  of  him  by  Paul  Veronese  in  the  Hall  of  the  Great  Council,  but  it 
perished  in  the  fire  of  1577  ;  and  that  which  is  now  seen  in  the  Sala  dello  Scudo 
is,  like  the  companion  portrait  of  Marco  Polo,  imaginary.  Paulo  Ramusio,  his 
son,  was  the  author  of  the  well-known  History  of  the  Capture  of  Constantinople 
(Cicog)ia,  II.  2,^0  seqq.). 

t  The  old  French  texts  were  unknown  in  Marsden's  time.  Hence  this  question 
did  not  present  itself  to  him. 


The  grounds  for  these  last  assertions  have  not  been  cited,  nor 
can  I  trace  them.  But  I  admit  to  a  certain  extent  indications 
of  modern  tampering  with  the  text,  especially  in  cases  where 
proper  names  seem  to  have  been  identified  and  more  modern 
forms  substituted.  In  days,  however,  where  an  Editor's 
duties  were  ill  understood  this  was  natural. 

6i.  Thus  we  find  substituted  for  the  Bastra  (or  Bascrd)  of 
the  older  texts  the  more  modern  and  incorrect  Balsora,  dear 
to  memories  of  the  Arabian  Nights  ;  among  the  pro- 
vinces of  Persia  we  have  Spaan  (Ispahan)  where  older  tamperings 
texts  read  Istanit ;  for  Cormos  we  have  Ormus ;  for 
Herminia  2Si6.  Laias,  Armenia  and  Giasza  ;  Contain  for  the 
older  Coilnni ;  Socotera  for  Scotra.  With  these  changes  may 
be  classed  the  chapter-headings,  which  are  undisguisedly 
modern,  and  probably  Ramusio's  own.  In  some  other  cases 
this  editorial  spirit  has  been  over  meddlesome  and  has  gone 
astray.  Thus  Malabar  is  substituted  wrongly  for  Maabar  in 
one  place,  and  by  a  still  grosser  error  for  Dalivar  in  another. 
The  age  of  young  Marco,  at  the  time  of  his  father's  first  return 
to  Venice,  has  been  arbitrarily  altered  from  15  to  19,  in  order 
to  correspond  with  a  date  which  is  itself  erroneous.  Thus 
also  Polo  is  made  to  describe  Ormus  as  on  an  island,  con- 
trary to  the  old  texts  and  to  the  fact  ;  for  the  city  of  Hormuz 
was  not  transferred  to  the  island,  afterwards  so  famous,  for 
some  years  after  Polo's  return  from  the  East.  It  is  probably 
also  the  editor  who  in  the  notice  of  the  oil-springs  of  Caucasus 
(I.  p.  46)  has  substituted  camel-loads  ior  ship- loads,  in  ignorance 
that  the  site  of  those  alluded  to  was  probably  Baku  on  the 

Other  erroneous  statements,  such  as  the  introduction  of 
window  glass  as  one  of  the  embellishments  of  the  palace 
at  Cambaluc,  are  probably  due  only  to  accidental  misunder- 

62.  Of  circumstances  certainly  genuine,  which  are  peculiar 
to  this  edition  of  Polo's  work,  and  which  it  is  difficult  to  assign 
to  any  one  but  himself,  we  may  note  the  specification  q^^^^^^^ 
of  the  woods  east  of  Yezd  as  composed  of  date-trees  pe^cuufAo 
(vol.  i.  pp.  84,  85)  ;  the  unmistakable  allusion  to  the  i^^"^"^*"^- 
subterranean  irrigation  channels  of  Persia  (p.  115);  the  accurate 
explanation  of  the  term  Mulehet  applied  to  the  sect  of  Assassins 
(P-  133) ;  the  mention  of  the  Lake  (Sirikul)  on  the  plateau  of 


Pamer,  of  the  wolves  that  prey  on  the  wild  sheep,  and  of  the 
piles  of  wild  ram's  horns  used  as  landmarks  in  the  snow  (pp. 
163-167).  To  the  description  of  the  Tibetan  Yak,  which  is  in 
all  the  texts,  Ramusio's  version  alone  adds  a  fact  probably  not 
recorded  again  till  the  present  century,  viz.,  that  it  is  the  prac- 
tice to  cross  the  Yak  with  the  common  cow  (p.  241).  Ramusio 
alone  notices  the  prevalence  of  goitre  at  Yarkand,  confirmed 
by  recent  travellers  (I.  p.  173)  ;  the  vermilion  seal  of  the 
Great  Kaan  imprinted  on  the  paper  currency,  which  may  be 
seen  in  our  plates  of  Chinese  notes  (p.  379)  ;  the  variation  in 
Chinese  dialects  (II.  p.  186)  ;  the  division  of  the  hulls  of  junks 
into  water-tight  compartments  (IL  p.  19S)  ;  the  introduction 
into  China  from  Egypt  of  the  art  of  refining  sugar  (II.  p.  180). 
Ramusio's  account  of  the  position  of  the  city  of  Sindafu 
(Chingtufu)  encompassed  and  intersected  by  many  branches  of 
a  great  river  (II.  p.  15),  is  much  more  just  than  that  in  the  old 
texts  which  speaks  of  but  one  river  through  the  middle  of  the 
city.  The  intelligent  notices  of  the  Kaan's  charities  as 
originated  by  his  adoption  of  "  idolatry  "  or  Buddhism  ;  of  the 
astrological  superstitions  of  the  Chinese,  and  of  the  manners 
and  character  of  the  latter  nation,  are  found  in  Ramusio  alone. 
To  whom  but  Marco  himself,  or  one  of  his  party,  can  we  refer 
the  brief  but  vivid  picture  of  the  delicious  atmosphere  and 
scenery  of  the  Badakhshan  plateaux  (I.  pp.  150,  151),  and  of 
the  benefit  that  Messer  Marco's  health  derived  from  a  visit  to 
them  .-•  In  this  version  alone  again  we  have  an  account  of  the 
oppressions  exercised  by  Kublai's  Mahomedan  Minister 
Ahmad,  telling  how  the  Cathayans  rose  against  him  and 
murdered  him,  with  the  addition  that  Messer  Marco  was  on 
the  spot  when  all  this  happened.  Now  not  only  is  the  whole 
story  in  substantial  accordance  with  the  Chinese  Annals,  even 
to  the  name  of  the   chief  conspirator,*  but  those  annals  also 

*  Wattgchcii  in  the  Chinese  Annals  ;  Vanclm  in  Ramusio.  I  assume  that 
Polo's  Vanchu  was  pronounced  as  in  English  ;  for  in  Venetian  the  ch  very  often 
has  that  sound.  But  I  confess  tliat  I  can  adduce  no  other  instance  in  Ramusio 
where  I  suppose  it  to  have  this  sound,  except  the  doubtful  ones  Chinchiiitalas  and 
Choiach  (see  II.  300). 

Professor  Bianconi  who  has  treated  the  questions  connected  with  the  Texts  of 
Polo  with  honest  enthusiasm  and  laborious  detail,  will  admit  nothing  genuine  in 
the  Ramusian  interpolations  beyond  the  preservation  of  some  oral  /raditioiis  of 
Polo's  supplementary  recollections.  But  such  a  theory  is  out  of  the  question  in 
face  of  a  chapter  like  that  on  Ahmad. 


tell  of  the  courageous  frankness  of  "  Polo,  assessor  of  the  Privy 
Council,"  in  opening  the  Kaan's  eyes  to  the  truth. 

Many  more  such  examples  might  be  adduced,  but  these 
will  suffice.  It  is  true  that  many  of  the  passages  peculiar  to 
the  Ramusian  version,  and  indeed  the  whole  version,  show  a 
freer  utterance  and  more  of  a  literary  faculty  than  we  should 
attribute  to  Polo,  judging  from  the  earlier  texts.  It  is  possible, 
however,  that  this  may  be  almost,  if  not  entirely,  due  to  the 
fact  that  the  version  is  the  result  of  a  double  translation,  and 
probably  of  an  editorial  fusion  of  several  documents  ;  processes 
in  which  angularities  of  expression  would  be  dissolved.* 

6^.  Though  difficulties  will    certainly  remain,  f   the  most 

*  Old  Puixlias  appears  to  have  greatly  relished  Ramusio's  comparative 
lucidity:  "  I  found  (says  he)  this  Booke  translated  by  Master  Hakluyt  out  of  the 
Latine  {t.t\  among  Hakluyt's  MS.  collections).  But  where  the  blind  leade  the  blind 
both  fall  :  as  here  corrupt  Lati)ie  could  not  but  yeeld  a  corruption  of  truth  in 
English.  Ramusio,  Secretarie  to  the  Decemviri  in  Venice,  found  a  better  copie 
and  published  the  same,  vv^hence  you  have  the  worke  in  manner  new  :  so  renewed 
that  I  have  found  the  Proverbe  true,  that  it  is  better  to  pull  downe  an  old  house 
and  to  build  it  anew,  than  to  repaire  it ;  as  I  also  should  have  done,  had  I  knowne 
that  which  in  the  event  I  found.  The  Latine  is  Latten,  compared  to  Ramusio's 
Gold.  And  hee  which  hath  the  Latine  hath  but  Marco  Polo's  carkasse  or  not  so 
much,  but  a  few  bones,  yea  sometimes  stones  rather  than  bones  :  things  divers, 
averse,  adverse,  perverted  in  matter,  disjoynted  in  manner,  beyond  beliefe.  I  have 
scene  some  authors  maymed,  but  never  any  so  mangled  and  so  mingled,  so  present 
and  so  absent,  as  the  vulgar  Latine  of  Marco  Polo  ;  not  so  like  himselfe  as  the 

Three  Polo's  were  at   their  returne  to  Ve?iice  where   none  knew  them 

Much  are  wee  beholden  to  Ramtisio  for  restoring  this  Pole  and  Load-starre  of  Asia 
out  of  the  mirie  poole  or  puddle  in  which  he  lay  drouned."     (III.  p.  65.) 

t  Of  these  difficulties  the  following  are  some  of  the  more  prominent  : — 

1.  The  mention  of  the  death  of  Kublai  (see  note  7,  p.  36  of  this  volume^  whilst 
throughout  the  book  Polo  speaks  of  Kublai  as  if  still  reigning. 

2.  Mr.  Hugh  Murray  objects  that  whilst  in  the  old  texts  Polo  appears  to  look 
on  Kublai  with  reverence  as  a  faultless  Prince,  in  the  Ramusian  we  find  passages 
of  an  opposite  tendency,  as  in  the  chapter  about  Ahmad. 

3.  The  same  editor  points  to  the  manner  in  which  one  of  the  Ramusian 
additions  represents  the  traveller  to  have  visited  the  Palace  of  the  Chinese  Kings 
at  Kinsay,  which  he  conceives  to  be  inconsistent  with  Marco's  position  as  an 
official  of  the  Mongol  Government  (see  vol.  ii.  p.  165). 

If  we  could  conceive  the  Ramusian  additions  to  have  been  originally  notes 
written  by  old  Maffeo  Polo  on  his  nephew's  book,  this  hypothesis  would  remove 
almost  all  difficulty. 

One  passage  in  Ramusio  seems  to  bear  a  reference  to  the  date  at  which  these 
interpolated  notes  were  amalgamated  with  the  original.  In  the  chapter  on  Sa- 
markand (I.  p.  1 70)  the  conversion  of  the  Prince  Chagatai  is  said  in  the  old  texts 
to  have  occurred  "  not  a  great  while  ago  "  (//  ne  a  encore  grament  de  tens).  But  in 
Ramusio  the  supposed  event  is  fixed  at  "  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  years  since." 
This  number  could  not  have  been  uttered  with  reference  to  1298,  the  year  of  the 
dictation  at  Genoa,  nor  to  any  year  of  Polo's  own  life.  Hence  it  is  probable  that 
the  original  note  contained  a  date  or  definite  term  which  was  altered  by  the 
compiler  to  suit  the  date  of  his  own  compilation,  some  time  in  the  14th  century. 


probable  explanation  of  the  origin  of  this  text  seems  to  me  to 

be  some  such  hypothesis  as  the  following  : — I  suppose 

of  the      ""    that  Polo  in  his  latter  years  added  with  his  own  hand 

sources  of  ,  .     .  •        1 1 

theRamu-     Supplementary  notes  and   remmiscences,   margmally 

sian  Version.  .  /-    i   •      i  i  i  i 

or  otherwise,  to  a  copy  of  his  book  ;  that  these,  per- 
haps in  his  lifetime,  more  probably  after  his  death,  were 
digested  and  translated  into  Latin  ;*  and  that  Ramusio,  or 
some  friend  of  his,  in  retranslating  and  fusing  them  with  Pipino's 
version  for  the  Navigationi,  made  those  minor  modifications 
in  names  and  other  matters  which  we  have  already  noticed. 
The  mere  facts  of  digestion  from  memoranda  and  double 
translation  would  account  for  a  good  deal  of  unintentional 

That  more  than  one  version  was  employed  in  the  com- 
position of  Ramusio's  edition  we  have  curious  proof  in  at  least 
one  passage  of  the  latter.  We  have  pointed  out  at  p.  364  of 
this  volume  a  curious  example  of  misunderstanding  of  the  old 
French  Text,  a  passage  in  which  the  term  Roi  des  Pelames,  or 
"  King  of  Furs,"  is  applied  to  the  Sable,  and  which  in  the 
Crusca  has  been  converted  into  an  imaginary  Tartar  phrase 
Leroide  pelaine,  or  as  Pipino  makes  it  Rondes  (another  indica- 
tion that  Pipino's  Version  and  the  Crusca  passed  through  a 
common  medium).  But  Ramusio  exhibits  botJi  the  true  reading 
and  the  perversion  :  "  E  li  Tartari  la  cJiiaviano  Regina  delle 
pelli "  (there  is  the  true  reading)  "  E  gli  animali  si  chiamano 
Rondes"  (and  there  the  perverted  one). 

We  may  further  remark  that  Ramusio's  version  betrays 
indications  that  one  of  its  bases  either  was  in  the  Venetian 
dialect,  or  had  passed  through  that  dialect ;  for  a  good  many 
of  the  names  appear  in  Venetian  forms,  e.g.,  substituting  the  z 
for  the  sound  of  cJi,  J,  or  soft  g,  as  in  Goza,  Zorzania,  Zagatay, 
Gonza  (for  Giogiu),  Quenza7ifi{,  Coiganzu,  Tapinzii,  Zipmtgn, 
Z  iamb  a. 

64.  To  sum  up.     It  is,  I  think,  beyond  reasonable  dispute 

*  In  the  first  edition  of  Ramusio  the  preface  contained  the  following  passage, 
which  is  omitted  from  the  succeeding  editions  ;  but  as  even  the  first  edition  was 
issued  after  Ramusio's  own  death,  I  do  not  see  that  any  stress  can  be  laid  on  this  : 
"  A  copy  of  the  Book  of  Marco  Polo,  as  it  was  originally  written  in  Latin,  mar- 
vellously old,  and  perhaps  directly  copied  from  the  original  as  it  came  from 
M.  Marco's  own  hand,  has  been  often  consulted  by  me  and  compared  with  that 
which  we  now  publish,  having  been  lent  me  by  a  nobleman  of  this  city,  belonging 
to  the  Ca'  Cihisi." 


that  we  have,  in  what  we  call  the  Geographic  Text,  as  nearly 
as   may  be   an  exact   transcript  of  the  Traveller's  ^ 

J  J^  summary 

words  as  originally  taken  down  in  the  prison  of  Joxfxt^of 
Genoa.  We  have  again  in  the  MSS.  of  the  second  ^°'°- 
type  an  edition  pruned  and  refined,  probably  under  instructions 
from  Marco  Polo,  but  not  with  any  critical  exactness.  And 
lastly,  I  believe,  that  we  have,  imbedded  in  the  Ramusian 
edition,  the  supplementary  recollections  of  the  Traveller,  noted 
down  at  a  later  period  of  his  life,  but  perplexed  by  repeated 
translation,  compilation,  and  editorial  mishandling. 

And  the  most  important  remaining  problem  in  regard  to 
the  text  of  Polo's  work  is  the  discovery  of  the  supplemental 
manuscript  from  which  Ramusio  derived  those  passages  which 
are  found  only  in  his  edition.  It  is  possible  that  it  may  still 
exist,  but  no  trace  of  it  in  any  thing  like  completeness  has  yet 
been  found  ;  though  when  my  task  was  all  but  done  I  dis- 
covered a  small  part  of  the  Ramusian  peculiarities  in  a  MS. 
at  Venice.* 

*  For  a  moment  I  thought  I  had  been  lucky  enough  to  light  on  a  part  of  the 
missing  original  of  Ramusio  in  the  Barberini  Library  at  Rome.  A  fragment  of  a 
Venetian  version  in  that  library  (No.  49  in  our  list  of  MSS.)  bore  on  the  fly  leaf 
the  title  ^'Alaaii  J>rimi  capi  del  Libra  di  S.  3Tarco  Polo,  copiate  da  IP  esemplare  ma  110- 
scritto  di  PAOLO  RANNUSIOy  But  it  proved  to  be  of  no  importance.  One 
brief  passage  of  those  which  have  been  thought  peculiar  to  Ramusio  ;  viz.,  the 
reference  to  the  Martyrdom  of  St.  Blaize  at  Sebaste  (see  p.  44  of  this  volume),  is 
found  also  in  the  Geographic  Latin. 

And  I  have  pointed  out  at  p.  59j  after  Lazari,  that  another  passage,  of  those 
otherwise  peculiar  to  Ramusio,  is  found  in  a  somewhat  abridged  Latin  version  in  a 
MS.  which  belonged  to  the  late  eminent  antiquary  Emanuel  Cicogna  (see  List  in 
Appendix  F,  No.  29).  This  fact  induced  me  when  recently  at  Venice  to  examine 
the  MS.  throughout,  and,  though  I  could  give  little  time  to  it,  the  result  was  very 

I  find  that  this  MS.  contains,  not  one  only,  but  at  least  seven  of  the  passages 
otherwise  peculiar  to  Ramusio,  and  must  have  been  one  of  the  elements  that  went 
to  the  formation  of  his  text.  Yet  of  his  more  important  interpolations,  such  as  the 
chapter  on  Ahmad's  oppressions  and  the  additional  matter  on  the  City  of  Kinsay, 
there  is  no  indication.  The  seven  passages  alluded  to  are  as  follows  ;  the  words 
corresponding  to  Ramusian  peculiarities  are  in  italics,  the  references  are  to  my 
own  volumes. 

1.  In  the  chapter  on  Georgia  : 

"Mare  quod  dicitur  Gheluchelan  7r/. 4.5^(7 6^"  .  .   . 

"  Est  ejus  stricta  via  et  dubia.  Ab  una  parte  est  mare  quod dixi  de  ABACI! 
et  ab  alia  nemora  invia,"  &c.     (See  i.  50,  51,  and  note  8  at  p.  56). 

2.  "  Et  ibi  optimi  austures  died  A  VIGI"  (i.  50). 

3.  After  the  chapter  on  Mosul  is  another  short  chapter,  already  alluded  to  : 

"  Pi-ope  hanc  civitatem  {est)  alia  proviitcia  dicta  MUS  e  MEREDLEN  in  qud 
nascitur  magna  quantitas  bombacis,  et  hie  jiunt  bocharini  et  alia  multa,  et  sunt  mer- 
catores  homines  et  artiste''''  (see  i.  p.  59). 

4.  In  the  chapter  on  Tarcan  (for  Carcan,  /.  <•.,  Yarkand)  :  ^^  Et 


65.  Whilst  upon  this  subject  of  manuscripts  of  our  Author, 
I  will  give  some  particulars  regarding  a  very  curious  one,  con- 
taining a  version  in  the  Irish  language. 
„  .      ,  This  remarkable  document  is  found  in  the  Book 

Notice  of  a 

curious  Irish   ^^  Lisiiiore,  belonging  to   the  Duke  of  Devonshire. 

Version  01  -'  '  &      & 

Polo.  That  magnificent  book,  finely  written  on  vellum  of 

the  largest  size,  was  discovered  in  1814,  enclosed  in  a  wooden 
box,  along  with  a  superb  crozier,  on  opening  a  closed  doorway 
in  the  castle  of  Lismore.  It  contained  Lives  of  the  Saints, 
the  (Romance)  History  of  Charlemagne,  the  History  of  the 
Lombards,  histories  and  tales  of  Irish  wars,  &c.,  &c.,  and 
among  the  other  matter  this  version  of  Marco  Polo.  A  full 
account  of  the  Book  and  its  mutilations  will  be  found  in 
O'Curry's  Lectures  on  the  MS.  Materials  of  Irish  History, 
pp.  196  seqq.  The  Book  of  Lismore  was  written  about  1460 
for  Finghin  MacCarthy  and  his  wife  Catharine  Fitzgerald, 
daughter  of  Gerald,  Eighth  Earl  of  Desmond. 

The  date  of  the  Translation  of  Polo  is  not  known,  but  it 
may  be  supposed  to  have  been  executed  about  the  above  date, 
probably  in  the  Monastery  of  Lismore  (county  Waterford). 

From  the  extracts  that  have  been  translated  for  me,  it  is 
obvious  that  the  version  was  made,  with  an  astounding 
freedom  certainly,  from  Friar  Francesco  Pipino's  Latin. 

Both  beginning  and  end  are  missing.  But  what  remains 
opens  thus  ;  compare  it  with  Friar  Pipino's  real  prologue  as 
we  give  it  in  the  Appendix  !  * 

"  it]5U)B  1  -cAjrfcl)  1)4  CA'cljn  %  b4i  b*t;4  jijjiu  ADAibit;  r^t)  twer  ?T) 
CA-cl)]!  TtiTJAi)!^ .  b4  eoluc  -DA  if  T)4l))lbeTiUib  -^^Axs\r^c)  44in) .  b'liti  Mn 
TDU   4n)b4S  T}4  njAi-ne  iicii-c   ncvinisit;   ):4   TT)le4bo2   tocIcc   ^cuU 

OtCtJS^lt)   t)4'C4'G4)TirT)   05   Wclv,-^   Ul-CAll-DA."   &C. 

"  Et  maior  pa7-s  horwn  habent  iinuni  ex  pedibiis  grossum  et  habcnt  gosum  in 
guld  ;  et  est  hie  fertilis  contracta  "  (see  I.  p.  173). 

5.  In  the  Desert  of  Lop  : 

'■^Homines  trasseuntes  appendwit  hestiis  siiis  capanaUas  \i.  c.  campanellas]  ut 
ipsas  seiiciant ei  lie  deviare possint"  (I.  p.  l8o). 

6.  "  Ciagannor,  quod  sonat  in  Latino  STAGNUM  ALBUM"  (I.  p.  260). 

7.  "  Et  in  medio  hujus  viridarii  est  palacium  sive  logia,  tota  super  colnmpnas. 
Et  in  siimniitate  cujuslibct  columnce  est  draco  niagnns  circundans  toiam  coliimpnam , 
et  hie  substviet  eornm  cohoperturam  ctim  ore  et  pedibus ;  et  est  cohopertura  tota  de 
cannis  hoc  mode,"  &c.  (see  I.  p.  264). 

*  My  valued  friend  Sir  Arthur  Phayre  made  known  to  me  the  passage  in 
O'Curry's  Lectures.  I  then  procured  the  extracts  and  further  particulars  from 
Mr.  T.  Long,  Lish  Transcriber  and  Translator  in  Dublin,  who  took  them  from  the 
Transcript  of  the  Book  of  Lismore,  in  the  possession  of  the  Royal  Irish  Academy. 


"  Kings   and  chieftains  of  that  city.     There  was  then   in   the 

city  a  princely  Friar  in  the  habit  of  St.  Francis,  named  Franciscus,  who 
was  versed  in  many  languages.  He  was  brought  to  the  place  where 
those  nobles  were,  and  they  requested  of  him  to  translate  the  book  from 
the  Tartar  (!)  into  the  Latin  language.  'It  is  an  abomination  to  me,' 
said  he,  'to  devote  my  mind  or  labour  to  works  of  Idolatry  and  Irre- 
ligion.'  They  entreated  him  again.  '  It  shall  be  done,'  said  he  ;  '  for 
though  it  be  an  irreligious  narrative  that  is  related  therein,  yet  the  things 
are  miracles  of  the  True  God  ;  and  every  one  who  hears  this  much  against 
the  Holy  Faith  shall  pray  fervently  for  their  conversion.  And  he  who 
will  not  pray  shall  waste  the  vigour  of  his  body  to  convert  them.'  1  am 
not  in  dread  of  this  Book  of  Marcus,  for  there  is  no  lie  in  it.  My  eyes 
beheld  him  bringing  the  relics  of  the  holy  Church  with  him,  and  he  left 
[his  testimony],  whilst  tasting  of  death,  that  it  was  true.  And  Marcus 
was  a  devout  man.  What  is  there  in  it,  then,  but  that  Franciscus  trans- 
lated this  Book  of  Marcus  from  the  Tartar  into  Latin  ;  and  the  years  of 
the  Lord  at  that  time  were  fifteen  years,  two  score,  two  hundred,  and  one 
thousand"  (1255). 

It  then  describes  Armein  Bee  (Little  Armenia),  Armein 
Mor  (Great  Armenia),  Miisid,  Taurisius,  Persida,  Camaiidi, 
and  so  forth.     The  last  chapter  is  that  on  A  basehia : — 

"  Abaschia  also  is  an  extensive  country,  under  the  government  of 
Seven  Kings,  four  of  whom  worship  the  true  God,  and  each  of  them 
wears  a  golden  cross  on  the  forehead  ;  and  they  are  valiant  in  battle, 
having  been  brought  up  fighting  against  the  Gentiles  of  the  other  three 
kings,  who  are  Unbelievers  and  Idolaters.  And  the  kingdom  of  Aden  ; 
a  Soudan  rules  over  them. 

"  The  king  of  Abaschia  once  took  a  notion  to  make  a  pilgrimage  to 
the  Sepulchre  of  Jesus.  '  Not  at  all,'  said  his  nobles  and  warriors  to  him, 
'for  we  should  be  afraid  lest  the  infidels  through  whose  territories  you 
would  have  to  pass,  should  kill  you.  There  is  a  Holy  Bishop  with  you,' 
said  they  ;  '  send  him  to  the  Sepulchre  of  Jesus,  and  much  gold  with 
him  '  " . 

The  rest  is  wanting-. 

XL  Some  Estimate  of  the  Character  of  Polo  and  his  Book. 

66.  That  Marco  Polo  has  been  so  universally  recognized 
as  the  King  of  Medieval  Travellers  is  due  rather  to  the  width 
of  his  experience,  the  vast  compass  of  his  journeys,  grounds  of 
and  the  romantic  nature  of  his  personal  history,  than  ^^°^^^J^' 
to  transcendent  superiority  of  character  or  capacity.     ^™d"e^ai 
The  generation  immediately  preceding  his  own  '••^^'^''^-'s- 
has  bequeathed  to   us,    in   the   Report   of  the   French  Friar 
VOL.  I.  2 


William  de  Rubruquis  *  on  the  Mission  with  which  St.  Lewis 
charged  him  to  the  Tartar  Courts,  the  narrative  of  one  great 
journey,  which,  in  its  rich  detail,  its  vivid  pictures,  its  acuteness 
of  observation  and  strong  good  sense,  seems  to  me  to  form  a 
Book  of  Travels  of  much  higher  claims  than  any  one  series  of 
Polo's  chapters  ;  a  book,  indeed,  which  has  never  had  justice 
done  to  it,  for  it  has  few  superiors  in  the  whole  Library  of 

Enthusiastic  Biographers,  beginning  with  Ramusio,  have 
placed  Polo  on  the  same  platform  with  Columbus.  But  where 
has  our  Venetian  Traveller  left  behind  him  any  trace  of  the 
genius  and  lofty  enthusiasm,  the  ardent  and  justified  pre- 
visions which  mark  the  great  Admiral  as  one  of  the  lights  of 
the  human  race  .-'  f  It  is  a  juster  praise  that  the  spur  which 
his  Book  eventually  gave  to  geographical  studies,  and  the 
beacons  which  it  hung  out  at  the  Eastern  extremities  of  the 
Earth  helped  to  guide  the  aims,  though  scarcely  to  kindle  the 
fire,  of  the  greater  son  of  the  rival  Republic.  His  work  was 
at  least  a  link  in  the  Providential  chain  which  at  last  dragged 
the  New  World  to  light.t 

*  M.  D'Avezac  has  convincingly  refuted  the  common  supposition  that  this 
Friar  was  a  Fleming  rather  than  a  Frenchman.     But  I  cannot  give  the  reference. 

t  High  as  Marco's  name  deserves  to  be  set,  his  place  is  not  beside  the  writer 
of  such  burning  words  as  these  addressed  to  Ferdinand  and  Isabella  ;  "  From  the 
most  tender  age  I  went  to  sea,  and  to  this  day  I  have  continued  to  do  so.  Who- 
soever devotes  himself  to  this  craft  must  desire  to  know  the  secrets  of  Nature  here 
below.  For  40  years  now  have  I  thus  been  engaged,  and  wherever  man  has  sailed 
hitherto  on  the  face  of  the  sea,  thither  have  I  sailed  also.  1  have  been  in  constant 
relation  with  men  of  learning,  whether  ecclesiastic  or  secular,  Latins  and  Greeks, 
Jews  and  Moors,  and  men  of  many  a  sect  besides.  To  accomplish  this  my  longing 
(to  know  the  Secrets  of  the  World)  I  found  the  Lord  favourable  to  my  purposes  ; 
it  is  He  who  hath  given  me  the  needful  disposition  and  understanding.  He 
bestowed  upon  me  abundantly  the  knowledge  of  seamanship  ;  and  of  Astronomy 

he  gave  me  enough  to  work  withal,  and  so  with  Geometry  and  Arithmetic 

In  the  days  of  my  youth  I  studied  works  of  all  kinds,  history,  chronicles,  philo- 
sophy, and  other  arts,  and  to  apprehend  these  the  Lord  opened  my  understanding. 
Under  His  manifest  guidance  I  navigated  hence  to  the  Indies  ;  for  it  was  the  Lord 
who  gave  me  the  will  to  accomplish  that  task,  and  it  was  in  the  ardour  of  that  will 
that  I  came  before  your  Highnesses.  All  those  who  heard  of  my  project  scouted 
and  derided  it  ;  all  the  acquirements  I  have  mentioned  stood  me  in  no  stead  ;  and 
if  in  your  Highnesses,  and  in  you  alone,  Faith  and  Constancy  endured,  to  Whom 
are  due  the  Lights  that  have  enlightened  you  as  well  as  me,  but  to  the  Holy 
Spirit?"     (Quoted  in  Hiuiiboldfs  Exatnen  Critique,  I.  17,  18.) 

X  M.  Libri  however  speaks  too  strongly  when  he  says  :  ''The  finest  of  all  the 
results  due  to  the  influence  of  Marco  Polo  is  that  of  having  stirred  Columbus  to 
the  discovery  of  the  New  World.  Columbus,  jealous  of  Polo's  laurels,  spent  his 
life  in  preparing  means  to  get  to  that  Zipangu  of  which  the  Venetian  traveller  had 


Gy.  Surely  Marco's  real,  indisputable,  and,  in  their  kind, 
unique  claims  to  glory  may  suffice !  He  zvas  the  first  Tra- 
veller to  trace  a  route  across  the  luliolc  longitude 
of  Asia,  naming  and  describing  kingdom  after  king-  ciaLs"to 
dom  which  he  had  seen  zvith  his  oivn  eyes  ;  the  Deserts  ^  °'^^' 
<?/"  Persia,  the floivering plateaux  and  ivild  gorges  ^Badakh- 
SHAN,  tJie  jade-bearing  rivers  of  Khotan,  the  MONGOLIAN 
Steppes,  cradle  of  the  pozver  that  had  so  lately  threatened  to 
szvalloiv  np  CJiristcndoni,  the  neiv  and  brilliant  Court  that  had 
been  established  at  CajMBALUC  :  The  first  Traveller  to  reveal 
China  in  all  its  zvcaltJi  and  vastncss,  its  niigJity  rivers,  its  huge 
cities,  its  rich  maniefactures,  its  siv arming  population,  the  incon- 
ceivably vast  fleets  that  quickened  its  seas  and  its  inland  waters  ; 
to  tell  us  of  the  nations  on  its  borders  zvith  all  their  eccentricities 
of  manners  and  worship,  of  TiBET  zvitJi  its  sordid  devotees,  of 
Burma  zvith  its  golden  pagodas  and  their  tinkling  crowns, 
of  Laos,  of  Siam,  of  Cochin  China,  of  Japan,  the  Eastern 
TJiule,  zvith  its  rosy  pearls  and  golden-roofed  palaces  ;  the  first 
to  speak  of  that  Museum  of  Beauty  and  Wonder,  still  so  imper- 
fectly ransacked,  the  INDIAN  ARCHIPELAGO,  source  of  those 
aromatics  then  so  highly  prised  and  zvhose  origin  was  so  dark  ; 
of  Java  the  Pearl  of  Islands ;  of  SUMATRA  zvith  its  many 
kings,  its  strange  costly  products,  and  its  cannibal  races  ;  of  the 
naked  savages  of  NiCOBAR  and  ANDAMAN  /  of  Ceylon 
tJie  Isle  of  Gems  with  its  Sacred  Mojcntain  and  its  Tomb  of 
Adam;  ^  INDIA  THE  Qt^Y^KT ,  not  as  a  dream-land  of  Alex- 
andrian fables  but  as  a  country  seen  and  partially  explored,  with 
its  virtuous  Brahmans,  its  obscene  ascetics,  its  diamonds  and  the 

told  such  great  things  ;  his  desire  was  to  reach  China  by  sailing  westward,  and  in 
his  way  he  fell  in  with  America"  [H.  des  Sciences  Mai/iem.  &c.  II.  150). 

The  fact  seems  to  be  that  Columbus  knew  of  Polo's  revelations  only  at  second 
hand,  from  the  letters  of  the  Florentine  Toscanelli  and  the  like  ;  and  I  cannot  find 
that  he  ever  refers  to  Polo  by  name.  Though  to  the  day  of  his  death  he  was  full  of 
imaginations  about  Zipangu  and  the  land  of  the  Great  Kaan  as  being  in  immediate 
proximity  to  his  discoveries,  these  were  but  accidents  of  his  great  theory.  It  was 
the  intense  conviction  he  had  acquired  of  the  absolute  smallness  of  the  Earth,  of 
the  vast  extension  of  Asia  eastward,  and  of  the  consequent  narrowness  of  the 
Western  Ocean  on  which  his  life's  project  was  based.  This  conviction  he  seems 
to  have  derived  chiefly  from  the  works  of  the  Cardinal  Pierre  d'Ailly.  But  the 
latter  borrowed  his  collected  arguments  from  Roger  Bacon,  who  has  stated  them, 
erroneous  as  they  are,  very  forcibly  in  his  Opus  Alajits  (p.  137),  as  Humboldt  has 
noticed  in  his  Examen  (vol.  i.  p.  64).  The  Spanish  historian  Mariana  makes  a 
strange  jumble  of  the  alleged  guides  of  Columbus,  saying  that  some  ascribed  his 
convictions  to  "the  information  given  by  oiie  Marco  Polo,  a  Florentine  physician  .'" 
(Quoted  in  Markliani's  Card  lasso  de  la  J'eji^a,  p.  26.) 

i    2 


strange  tales  of  their  acquisition,  its  sea-beds  of  pearl,  and  its 
pozverfnl  sun  ;  the  first  in  medieval  times  to  give  any  distinct 
account  of  the  secluded  Christian  Empire  of  ABYSSINIA,  and 
the  semi-Christian  Island  of  SOCOTRA  ;  to  speak,  though  indeed 
dimly,  of  Zangibar  witJi  its  negroes  and  its  ivory,  and  of  the 
vast  and  distant  MADAGASCAR,  bordering  on  the  Dark  Ocean  of 
the  South,  with  its  Rue  and  other  monstrosities ;  and,  in  a 
remotely  opposite  region,  of  S.IBERIA  and  the  ARCTIC  Ocean, 
of  dog-sledges,  white  bears,  and  reindeer-riding  Tunguses. 

That  all  this  rich  catalogue  of  discoveries  should  belong  to 
the  revelations  of  one  Man  and  one  Book  is  surely  ample 
enough  to  account  for  and  to  justify  the  Author's  high  place 
in  the  roll  of  Fame,  and  there  can  be  no  need  to  exaggerate 
his  greatness,  or  to  invest  him  with  imaginary  attributes.* 

68.  What  manner  of  man  was  Ser  Marco  ?     It  is  a  question 

hard  to  answer.     Some  critics  cry  out  against  personal  detail 

,  in  books  of  Travel ;  but  as  regards  him  who  would 

His  personal  " 

attributes       ^q^  wclcome  a  little  more   egotism !     In  his    Book 

seen  but  '-' 

dimly.  impersonality  is  carried  to  excess  ;   and  we  are  often 

driven  to  discern  by  indirect  and  doubtful  indications  alone, 
whether  he  is  speaking  of  a  place  from  personal  knowledge  or 
only  from  hearsay.  In  truth,  though  there  are  delightful 
exceptions,  and  nearly  every  part  of  the  book  suggests  inter- 
esting questions,  a  desperate  meagreness  and  baldness  does 
extend  over  considerable  tracts  of  the  story.  In  fact  his  book 
reminds  us  sometimes  of  his  own  description  of  Khorasan  : — 
"  On  chevaucJie par  beaus  plains  et  belles  costieres,  la  ou  il  a  moult 

beans  herbages  et  bonne  pasture  et  fruis  assez et  aucune 

fois  y  treuve  ten  un  desert  de  soixante  milles  ou,  de  mains,  esquel 
desers  ne  treuve  V en  point  d'eaue:  mais  la  eonvieiit porter  o  lui  !" 
Still,  some  shadowy  image  of  the  man  may  be  seen  in  the 
Book  ;  a  practical  man,  brave,  shrewd,  prudent,  keen  in  affairs, 
and  never  losing  his  interest  in  mercantile  details,  very  fond  of 
the  chase,  sparing  of  speech  ;  with  a  deep  wondering  respect  for 
Saints,  even  though  they  be  Pagan  Saints,  and  their  asceticism, 
but  a  contempt  for  Patarins  and  such  like,  whose  consciences 
would  not  run  in  customary  grooves,  and  on  his  own  part  a  keen 
appreciation  of  the  World's  pomps  and  vanities.     See,  on  the 

*  "  C'est  diminuer  I'expression   d'lm  eloge  que  de  I'exaggerer "    {Humboldt, 
Examcn,  III.  13). 


one  hand,  his  undisguised  admiration  of  the  hard  life  and  long 
fastings  of  Sakya  Muni ;  and  on  the  other  how  enthusiastic  he 
gets  in  speaking  of  the  great  Kaan's  command  of  the  good 
things  of  the  world,  but  above  all  of  his  matchless  oppor- 
tunities of  sport !  * 

Of  humour  there  are  hardly  any  signs  in  his  Book.  His 
almost  solitary  joke  (I  know  but  one  more,  and  it  pertains  to  the 
ovK  av)]KovTa)  occurs  in  speaking  of  the  Kaan's  paper-money, 
when  he  observes  that  Kublai  might  be  said  to  have  the  true 
Philosopher's  Stone,  for  he  made  his  money  at  pleasure  out  of 
the  bark  of  Trees.f  Even  the  oddest  eccentricities  of  out- 
landish tribes  scarcely  seem  to  disturb  his  gravity  ;  as  when 
he  relates  in  his  brief  way  of  the  people  called  Gold-Teeth  on 
the  frontier  of  Burma,  that  ludicrous  custom  which  Mr.  Tylor 
has  so  well  illustrated  under  the  name  of  the  Coiivade.  There 
is  more  savour  of  laughter  in  the  few  lines  of  a  Greek  Epic, 
which  relate  precisely  the  same  custom  of  a  people  on  the 
Euxine : — 

"In  the  Tibarenian  Land 

When  some  good  woman  bears  her  lord  a  babe, 
Tis  he  is  swathed  and  groaning  put  to  bed  ; 
Whilst  she,  arising,  tends  his  baths,  and  serves 
Nice  possets  for  her  husband  in  the  straw."  J 

69.  Of  scientific  notions,  such  as   we  find  in  the  unvera- 
cious  Maundevile,  we  have  no  trace  in  truthful  Marco.     The 
former,  "lying  with  a  circumstance,"  tell  us  boldly 
that  he  was  in  33'^  of  South  Latitude  ;  the  latter  is  scientific 
full    of  wonder    that    some    of    the    Indian    Islands 
where  he  had  been  lay  so  far  to  the  south  that  you  lost  sight 
of  the  Pole  Star.     When  it  rises  again  on  his  horizon  he  esti- 
mates the  Latitude  by  the  Pole-star's   being  so  many  cubits 
high.    So  the  gallant  Baber  speaks  of  the  sun  having  mounted 
spear-high  when  the  onset  of  battle  began  at  Paniput.      Such 
expressions  convey  no  notion  at  all  to  such  as  have  had  their 
ideas  sophisticated    by   angular   perceptions    of  altitude,   but 
similar  expressions  are  common  among  Orientals,  and  indeed 
I  have  heard  them  from  educated   Englishmen.     In  another 
place  Marco  states  regarding  certain  islands  in  the  Northern 

*  See  vol.  ii.  p.  258,  and  vol.  i.  p.  359.  t  Vol.  i.  p.  378. 

X  Vol.  ii.  p.  52,  and  Apolloiiius  K/iodiiis,  Argonant.  II.  1012. 


Ocean  that  they  lie  so  very  far  to  the  north  that  in  going 
thither  one  actually  leaves  the  Pole-star  a  trifle  behind  towards 
the  south  ;  a  statement  to  which  we  know  only  one  parallel, 
to  wit  in  the  voyage  of  that  adventurous  Dutch  skipper  who 
told  Master  Moxon,  King  Charles  II. 's  Hydrographer,  that  he 
had  sailed  two  degrees  beyond  the  Pole  ! 

70.  The  Book,  however,  is  full  of  bearings  and  distances, 

and  I  have  thought  it  worth  while  to  construct  a  map  from  its 

indications,  in  order  to  get  some  approximation  to 

structedon     Polo's  own  idea  of  the  face  of  that  world  which  he 

Polo's  data.  . 

had  traversed  so  extensively.     There  are  three  allu- 
sions to  maps  in  the  course  of  his  work.* 

In  his  own  bearings,  at  least  on  land  journeys,  he  usually 
carries  us  along  a  great  general  traverse  line,  without  much 
caring  about  small  changes  of  direction.  Thus  on  the  great 
outward  journey  from  the  frontier  of  Persia  to  that  of  China, 
the  line  runs  almost  continuously  "  entre  Levant  et  Grec"  or 
E.N.E.  In  his  journey  from  Cambaluc  or  Peking  to  Mien  or 
Burma,  it  is  always  Ponent  or  W. ;  and  in  that  from  Peking  to 
Zayton  in  Fokien,  the  port  of  embarkation  for  India,  it  is 
Sccloc  or  S.E.  The  line  of  bearings  in  which  he  deviates  most 
widely  from  truth  is  that  of  the  cities  on  the  Arabian  Coast 
from  Aden  to  Hormuz,  which  he  makes  to  run  steadily  vers 
Maistre  or  N.W.,  a  conception  which  it  has  not  been  very  easy 
to  realize  on  the  map.  t 

*  See  vol.  ii.  pp.  192,  253,  and  356. 

t  The  map,  perhaps,  gives  too  favourable  an  idea  of  Marco's  geographical 
conceptions.  For  in  such  a  construction  much  has  to  be  supplied  for  which  there 
are  no  data,  and  that  is  apt  to  take  mould  from  modern  knowledge.  Just  as  in 
the  book-illustrations  of  sixty  years  ago  we  find  that  Princesses  of  Abyssinia, 
damsels  of  Otaheite,  and  Beauties  of  Mary  Stuart's  Court  have  all  somehow  a 
savour  of  the  high  waists,  low  foreheads,  and  tight  garments  of  1810. 

We  are  told  that  Prince  Pedro  of  Portugal  in  1426  received  from  the  Signory 
of  Venice  a  map  which  was  supposed  to  be  either  an  original  or  a  copy  of  one  by 
Marco  Polo's  own  hand  {Major'' s  P.  He/uy,  p.  62).  There  is  no  evidence  to  justify 
any  absolute  expression  of  disbelief ;  and  if  any  map-maker  with  the  spirit  of  the 
author  of  the  Ca^-ta  Catalana  then  dwelt  in  Venice,  Polo  certainly  could  not  Jiave 
gone  to  his  grave  uncatechized.  But  I  should  suspect  the  map  to  have  been  a  copy 
of  the  old  one  that  existed  in  the  Sala  dello  Scudo  of  the  Ducal  Palace. 

The  maps  now  to  be  seen  painted  on  the  walls  of  that  Hall,  and  on  which 
Polo's  route  is  marked,  are  not  of  any  great  interest.  But  in  the  middle  of  the 
fifteenth  century  there  was  an  old  Desciiptio  Orbis  sive  MappaniiiJidiis  in  the  Hall, 
and  when  the  apartment  was  renewed  in  1459  a  decree  of  the  Senate  ordered  that 
such  a  map  should  be  repainted  on  the  new  walls.  This  also  perished  by  a  fire  in 
1483.  On  the  motion  of  Ramusio,  in  the  next  century,  four  new  maps  were 
painted.     These  had  l)ccomc  dingy  and  ragged,  wlicn,  in  1762,  the  Doge  Marco 

Approxin\ate    Scales. 

1  TA  u  1  A  N    Miles. 

5oo         looo 




Prob-xble  View 

Marco  Polos  Own Geography 


Approxiinale    Scale 


71.   In  the  early  part  of  the  Book  we  are  told  that  Marco 
acquired    several    of   the    languages    current    in    the    Mongol 
Empire,   and  no  less    than    four   written   characters,  singular 
We  have  discussed  what    these   are  likely    to  have  oPpoio'in 
been  (I.  p.    27),  and  have  given  a    decided  opinion  china;  His- 
that  Chinese  was  not  one  of  them.     Besides  intrinsic 


improbability,  and  positive  indications  of  Marco's  ignorance 
of  Chinese,  in  no  respect  is  his  book  so  defective  as  in  regard 
to  Chinese  manners  and  peculiarities.  The  use  of  Tea,  though 
he  travelled  through  the  Tea  districts  of  Fokien,  is  never 
mentioned ;  the  compressed  feet  of  the  women  and  the 
employment  of  the  fishing  cormorant,  both  mentioned  by  Friar 
Odoric,  the  contemporary  of  his  later  years,  artificial  egg- 
hatching,  printing  of  books  (though  the  notice  of  this  art  seems 
positively  challenged  in  his  account  of  paper-money),  besides  a 
score  of  remarkable  arts  and  customs  which  one  would  have 
expected  to  recur  to  his  memory,  are  never  alluded  to. 
Neither  does  he  speak  of  the  great  characteristic  of  the 
Chinese  writing.  It  is  difficult  to  account  for  these  omissions, 
especially  considering  the  comparative  fullness  with  which  he 
treats  the  manners  of  the  Tartars  and  of  the  Southern  Hin- 
doos ;  but  the  impression  remains  that  his  associations  in  China 
were  chiefly  with  foreigners.  Wherever  the  place  he  speaks 
of  had  a  Tartar  or  Persian  name  he  uses  that  rather  than  the 
Chinese  one.  Thus  Cathay,  Caiubalnc,  Pulisajighin,  Taiigut, 
Chagannur,  Saiaufu,  Kenjaiifii,  T endue,  A  ebalee,  Carajaji,  Zar- 
dandan,  Zayton,  Kenienfii,  Brins,  Carainoran,  Choreha,  Jujii, 
are  all  Mongol,  Turki,  or  Persian  forms,  though  all  have 
Chinese  equivalents.* 

In  reference  to  the  then  recent  history  of  Asia,  Marco  is 

Foscarini  caused  them  lo  be  renewed  by  the  painter  Francesco  Griselhni.  He 
professed  to  have  adhered  closely  to  the  old  maps,  but  he  certainly  did  not,  as 
Morelli  testifies.  Eastern  Asia  looks  as  if  based  on  a  work  of  Ramusio's  age, 
but  Western  Asia  *is  of  undoubtedly  modern  character  (see  Operdti  di  lacopo 
Morelli,  Ven.  1820,  I.  299). 

*  It  is  probable  that  Persian,  which  had  long  been  the  language  of  Turanian 
courts,  was  also  the  common  tongue  of  foreigners  at  that  of  the  Mongols.  Puli- 
sanghin  and  Zardanddn,  in  the  preceding  list,  are  pure  Persian.  So  are  several  of 
the  Oriental  phrases  noted  at  p.  cix.  See  also  notes  on  Ondaniqice  and  Verniqite 
at  pp.  87  and  340  of  this  volume,  on  Taatin  at  p.  400,  and  a  note  at  p.  cxix, 
supra.  The  narratives  of  Odoric,  and  others  of  the  early  travellers  to  Cathay, 
afford  corroborative  examples.  Lord  Stanley  of  Aiderley,  in  one  of  his  contribu- 
tions to  the  Hakluyt  Series,  has  given  evidence  from  experience  tliat  Chinese 
Mahomedans  still  preserve  the  knowledge  of  numerous  Persian  words. 


often  inaccurate,  e.g.,  in  his  account  of  the  death  of  Chinghiz, 
in  the  list  of  his  successors,  and  in  his  statement  of  the  relation- 
ship between  notable  members  of  that  House.  But  the  most 
perplexing  knot  in  the  whole  book  lies  in  the  interesting 
account  which  be  gives  of  the  Siege  of  Sayanfu  or  Siangyang, 
during  the  subjugation  of  Southern  China  by  Kublai.  I  have 
entered  on  this  matter  in  the  notes  (vol.  ii.  p.  129),  and  will 
only  say  here  that  M.  Pauthier's  solution  of  the  difficulty  is  no 
solution,  being  absolutely  inconsistent  with  the  story  as  told 
by  Marco  himself,  and  that  I  see  none  ;  though  I  have  so 
much  faith  in  Marco's  veracity  that  I  am  loath  to  believe  that 
the  facts  admit  of  no  reconciliation. 

Our  faint  attempt  to  appreciate  some  of  Marco's  qualities, 
as  gathered  from  his  work,  will  seem  far  below  the  very  high 
estimates  that  have  been  pronounced,  not  only  by  some  who 
have  delighted  rather  to  enlarge  upon  his  fame  than  to  make 
themselves  acquainted  with  his  work,*  but  also  by  persons 
whose  studies  and  opinions  have  been  worthy  of  all  respect. 
Our  estimate,  however,  does  not  abate  a  jot  of  our  intense 
interest  in  his  Book  and  affection  for  his  memory.  And  we 
have  a  strong  feeling  that,  owing  partly  to  his  reticence,  and 
partly  to  the  great  disadvantages  under  which  the  Book  was 
committed  to  writing,  we  have  in  it  a  singularly  imperfect 
image  of  the  Man. 

72.  A  question   naturally  suggests  itself,   how  far  Polo's 

narrative,  at  least  in  its  expression,  was  modified  by  passing 

under  the  pen  of  a  professed  litterateur  of  somewhat 

Book  mate-    humblc  claims,  such  as  Rusticiano  was.     The  case 

riaily  af-  .  .  i  i  -n 

fectedby       IS  uot  a  suigular  one,  and  m  our  own  day  the  ill- 

the  Scribe  ...  .         , 

Rusticiano?  judged  usc  of  sucli  assistance  has  been  fatal  to  the 
reputation  of  an  adventurous  Traveller. 

We  have,  however,  already  expressed  our  own  view  that  in 
the  Geographic  Text  we  have  the  nearest  possible  approach 

*  An  exaiTiple  is  seen  in  the  voluminous  Afmali  Alusidmani  of  G.  B.  Rampoldi^ 
Milan,  1825.  This  writer  speaks  of  the  Travels  of  Marco  Polo  with  his  bi-othcr  and 
uncle  ;  declares  that  he  visited  Tipaiigo  [sic],  Java,  Ceylon,  and  the  Maldives,  col- 
lected all  the  geographical  notions  of  his  age,  traversed  the  two  peninsulas  of  the 
Indies,  examined  the  islands  of  Socotra,  Madagascar,  Sofala,  and  traversed  with 
philosophic  eye  the  regions  of  Zanguebar,  Abyssinia,  Nubia,  and  Egypt  !  and  so 
forth  (ix.  174).  And  whilst  Malte-Brun  bestows  on  Marco  the  sounding  and 
ridiculous  title  of  '■'■the  Humboldt  of  the  13//^  century,''  he  shows  no  real  acquaint- 
ance with  his  Book  (see  his  Precis,  ed.  of  1836,  I.  551  seijq.). 


to  a  photographic  impression  of  Marco's  oral  narrative.  If 
there  be  an  exception  to  this  we  should  seek  it  in  the  descrip- 
tions of  battles,  in  which  we  find  the  narrator  to  fall  constantly 
into  a  certain  vein  of  bombastic  commonplaces,  which  look 
like  the  stock  phrases  of  a  professed  romancer,  and  which 
indeed  have  a  strong  resemblance  to  the  actual  phraseology 
of  certain  metrical  romances.*  Whether  this  feature  be  due 
to  Rusticiano  I  cannot  say,  but  I  have  not  been  able  to  trace 
anything  of  the  same  character  in  a  cursory  inspection  of 
some  of  his  romance-compilations.  Still  one  finds  it  im- 
possible to  conceive  of  our  sober  and  reticent  Messer  Marco 
pacing  the  floor  of  his  Genoese  dungeon,  and  seven  times  over 
rolling  out  this  magniloquent  bombast,  with  sufficient  delibera- 
tion to  be  overtaken  by  the  pen  of  the  faithful  amanuensis  ! 

73.  On  the  other  hand,  though  Marco,  who  had  left  home 
at  fifteen  years  of  age,  naturally  shows  very  few  signs  of  read- 
ing, there  are  indications  that  he  had  read  romances,  ,, 

°  '    Marcos 

especially   those  dealing   with  the   fabulous  adven-  tracld^hr' 

tureS  of   Alexander.  Alexandrian 


To  these  he  refers  explicitly  or  tacitly  in  his  Examples. 
notices  of  the  Irongate  and  of  Gog  and  Magog,  in  his  allu- 
sions to  the  marriage  of  Alexander  with  Darius's  daughter, 
and  to  the  battle  between  those  two  heroes,  and  in  his  repeated 
mention  of  the  Arbre  Sol  or  Arbre  Sec  on  the  Khorasan 

The  key  to  these  allusions  is  to  be  found  in  that  Legen- 
dary History  of  Alexander,  entirely  distinct  from  the  true 
history  of  the  Macedonian  Conqueror,  which  in  great  measure 
took  the  place  of  the  latter  in  the  imagination  of  East  and 
West  for  a  thousand  years.  This  fabulous  history  is  believed 
to  be  of  Graeco-Egyptian  origin,  and  in  its  earliest  extant 
compiled  form,  in  the  Greek  of  the  Pseudo-Callisthenes,  can 
be  traced  back  to  at  least  about  A.D.  200.  From  the  Greek 
its  marvels  spread  eastward  at  an  early  date  ;  some  part  at 
least  of  their  matter  was  known  to  Moses  of  Chorene,  in  the 
5th  century  ;  they  were  translated  into  Armenian,  Arabic, 
Hebrew,  and  Syriac ;  and  were  reproduced  in  the  verses  of 

*  See  for  example  vol.  i.  pp.  301,  302,  and  note  4  at  p.  305  ;  also  vol.  ii. 
p.  67.  The  descriptions  in  the  style  referred  to  recur  in  all  seven  times;  but  most 
of  them  (which  are  in  Book  IV.)  have  been  omitted  in  this  edition. 


Firdusi  and  various  other  Persian  Poets  ;  spreading  eventually 
even  to  the  Indian  Archipelago,  and  finding  utterance  in 
Malay  and  Siamese.  At  an  early  date  they  had  been  ren- 
dered into  Latin  by  Julius  Valerius  ;  but  this  work  had  pro- 
bably been  lost  sight  of,  and  it  was  in  the  tenth  century  that 
they  were  re-imported  from  Byzantium  to  Italy  by  the  Arch- 
priest  Leo,  who  had  gone  as  Envoy  to  the  Eastern  Capital 
from  John  Duke  of  Campania.*  Romantic  histories  on  this 
foundation,  in  verse  and  -  prose,  became  diffused  in  all  the 
languages  of  Western  Europe,  from  Spain  to  Scandinavia, 
rivalling  in  popularity  the  romantic  cycles  of  the  Round  Table 
or  of  Charlemagne.  Nor  did  this  popularity  cease  till  the 
1 6th  century  was  well  advanced. 

The  heads  of  most  of  the  Medieval  Travellers  were 
crammed  with  these  fables  as  genuine  history,  j  And  by  the 
help  of  that  community  of  legend  on  this  subject  which  they 
found  wherever  Mahomedan  literature  had  spread,  Alexander 
Magnus  Avas  to  be  traced  everywhere  in  Asia.  Friar  Odoric 
found  Tana,  near  Bombay,  to  be  the  veritable  City  of  King 
Porus  ;  John  Marignolli's  vain  glory  led  him  to  imitate  King 
Alexander  in  setting  up  a  marble  column  "  in  the  corner  of 
the  world  over  against  Paradise,"  i.  c,  somewhere  on  the  coast 
of  Travancore  ;  whilst  Sir  John  Maundevile,  with  a  cheaper 
ambition,  borrowed  wonders  from  the  Travels  of  Alexander 
to  adorn  his  own. 

Prominent  in  all  these  stories  is  the  tale  of  Alexander's 
shutting  up  a  score  of  impure  nations,  at  the  head  of  which 
were  Gog  and  Magog,  within  a  barrier  of  impassable  moun- 
tains, there  to  await  the  latter  days,  a  legend  with  which  the 
disturbed  mind  of  Europe  not  unnaturally  connected  that 
cataclysm  of  unheard-of  Pagans  that  seemed  about  to  deluge 
Christendom  in  the  first  half  of  the  thirteenth  century.  In 
these  stories  also  the  beautiful  Roxana,  who  becomes  the 
bride  of  Alexander,  is  Dariitss  daughter,  bequeathed  to  his 
arms  by  the  dying  monarch.  Conspicuous  among  them  again 
is  the  Legend  of  the  Oracular  Trees  of  the  Sun  and  Moon, 

*  Zacher,  Foyschungoi  zi/r  Critik,  ^-c,  dcr  Alcxandcrsage,  Halle,  1867, 
p.  108. 

t  Even  so  sagacious  a  man  as  Roger  Bacon  (|uotes  Ihe  fiibulous  letter  of 
Alexander  to  Aristotle  as  authentic  [Opus  Majiis,  p.  137). 


which  with  audible  voice  foretel  the  place  and  manner  of 
Alexander's  death.  With  this  Alexandrian  legend  some  of 
the  later  forms  of  the  story  had  mixed  up  one  of  Christian 
origin  about  the  Dry  Tree,  L'Arbre  Sec.  And  they  had  also 
adopted  the  Oriental  story  of  the  Land  of  Darkness  and  the 
mode  of  escape  from  it,  which  Polo  relates  at  p.  416  of  vol.  ii. 
74.  We  have  seen  in  the  most  probable  interpretation  of 
the  nickname  Milioni  that  Polo's  popular  reputation  in  his 
lifetime  was  of  a  questionable  kind  ;  and  a  contem-  injustice 

long  done  to 

porary  chronicler,  already  quoted,  has  told  us  how  on  PoIo.   Sin- 
gular modem 
his  death-bed  the  Traveller  was  begged  by  anxious  instance. 

friends  to  retract  his  extraordinary  stories.*    A  little  later  one 

who  copied  the  Book  ''per  passare  tempo  e  malinconia  "  says 

frankly  that  he  puts  no  faith  in  it.f     Sir  Thomas  Brown  is 

content  "  to  carry  a  wary  eye  "  in  reading  "  Paulus  Venetus  ; " 

but  others    of  our  countrymen    in    the  last    century    express 

strong  doubts  whether  he  ever  was    in   Tartary   or    China.  \ 

Marsden's    edition    might    well    have    extinguished    the    last 

sparks  of  scepticism.     Hammer   meant  praise  in  calling  Polo 

"  der  Vater  oricntaliscJier  Hodogetik,''  in  spite  of  the  uncouth- 

ness  of  the  eulogy.     But  another  grave  German  writer,    ten 

years  after  Marsden's  publication,  put  forth  in  a  serious  book 

that  the  whole  story  was  a  clumsy  imposture  !  § 

*  See  passage  from  Jacopo  d'Acqui,  supra,  p.  Ixxxii. 

t  It  is  the  transcriber  of  one  of  the  Florence  MSB.  who  appends  this  terminal 
note  : — "Here  ends  the  Book  of  Messer  M.  P.  of  Venice,  written  with  mine  own 
hand  by  me  Amalio  Bonaguisi  when  Podesta  of  Cierreto  Guidi,  to  get  rid  of  time 
and  enmii.  The  contents  seem  to  me  incredible  things,  not  lies  so  much  as 
miracles  ;  and  it  may  be  all  very  true  what  he  says,  but  I  don't  believe  it  ;  though 
to  be  sure  throughout  the  world  very  different  things  are  found  in  different  coun- 
tries. But  these  things,  it  has  seemed  to  me  in  copying,  are  entertaining  enough, 
but  not  things  to  believe  or  put  any  faith  in  ;  that  at  least  is  my  opinion.  And 
I  finished  copying  this  at  Cierreto  aforesaid,  I2th  November,  A.D.  1392." 

:|;    Vulgar  Errors,  Bk.  I.  ch.  viii.  ;  Astley's  Voyages,  IV.  583. 

§  See  Stadlaoesen  des  Mittelalters,  by  K.  D.  Hiillmann,  Bonn,   1829,  vol.  iv. 

After  speaking  of  the  Missions  of  Pope  Innocent  IV.  and  St.  Lewis,  this  author 
sketches  the  Travels  of  the  Polos,  and  then  proceeds  : — "  Such  are  the  clumsily 
compiled  contents  of  this  ecclesiastical  fiction  disguised  as  a  Book  of  Travels,  a 
thing  devised  generally  in  the  spirit  of  the  age,  but  specially  in  the  interests  of  the 

Clergy  and  of  Trade This  compiler's  aim  was  analogous  to  that  of  the 

inventor  of  the  Song  of  Roland,  to  kindle  enthusiasm  for  the  conversion  of 
the  Mongols,  and  so  to  facilitate  commerce  through  their  dominions As- 
suredly the  Poll  never  got  further  than  Great  Bucharia,  which  was  then  reached 
l)y  many  Italian  Travellers.  What  they  have  related  of  the  regions  of  the  Mongol 
Empire  lying  further  east  consists  merely  of  recollections  of  the  bazaar  and  travel- 
talk  of  traders  from  those  countries  :  whilst  the  notices  of  India,  Persia,  Arabia, 


,  XII.  Contemporary  Recognition  of  Polo  and  his  Book. 

75.  But  we  must  return  for  a  little  to  Polo's  own  times. 

Ramusio  states,  as  we  have  seen,  that  immediately  after  the 

first    commission   of  Polo's  narrative  to  writing,  (in 

How  far 

was  there       Latin  as  he  imacrined),  many  copies  of  it  were  made, 

diffusion  of  o  / '  J  i. 

his  Book  in    [^  ^as  translated  into  the    vulvar  tongue,  and  in  a 

his  own  day  ?  o  o        ' 

few  months  all  Italy  was  full  of  it. 
The  few  facts  that  we  can  collect  seem  scarcely  to  justify 
this  view  of  the  rapid  and  diffused  renown  of  the  Traveller 
and  his  Book.  The  number  of  MSS.  of  the  latter  dating 
from  the  14th  century  is  no  doubt  considerable,  but  a  large 
proportion  of  these  are  of  Pipino's  condensed  Latin  Transla- 
tion, which  was  not  put  forth,  if  we  can  trust  Ramusio,  till 
1320,  and  certainly  not  much  earlier.  The  whole  number  of 
MSS.  in  various  languages  that  we  have  been  able  to  register, 
amounts  to  about  seventy-five.  I  find  it  difficult  to  obtain 
statistical  data  as  to  the  comparative  number  of  copies  of  dif- 
ferent works  existing  in  manuscript.  With  Dante's  great  Poem, 
of  which  there  are  reckoned  close  upon  500  MSS.,*  comparison 
would  be  inappropriate.  But  of  the  Travels  of  Friar  Odoric, 
a  poor  work  indeed  beside  Marco  Polo's,  I  reckoned  thirty- 
nine  MSS.,  and  could  now  add  at  least  three  more  to  the  list. 
Also  I  find  that  of  the  nearly  contemporary  work  of  Brunetto 
Latini,  the  Tresor,  a  sort  of  condensed  Encyclopaedia  of  know- 
ledge, but  a  work  which  one  would  scarcely  have  expected  to 
approach  the  popularity  of  Polo's  Book,  the  Editor  enumerates 
some  fifty  MSS.  And  from  the  great  frequency  with  which 
one  encounters  in  Catalogues  both  MSS.  and  early  printed  edi- 
tions of  Sir  John  Maundevile,  I  should  suppose  that  the  lying 
wonders  of  our  English  Knight  had  a  far  greater  popularity 
and  more  extensive  diffusion  than  the  veracious  and  more 
sober  marvels  of  Polo.t     To  Southern  Italy  Polo's  popularity 

and  Ethiopia,  are  borrowed  from  Arabic  Works.  The  compiler  no  doubt  carries 
his  audacity  in  fiction  a  long  way,  when  he  makes  his  hero  Marcus  assert  that  he 
had  been  seventeen  years  in  Kublai's  service,"  &c.,  &c.  (pp.  360-362). 

*  See  J^errazzi,  Maiiude  Datitesca,  Bassano,  1865,  p.  729. 

t  In  Quaritch's  last  catalogue  (Nov.  1870)  there  is  only  one  old  edition  of 
Polo  ;  there  are  jiine  of  Maundevile.  In  1839  there  were  nineteen  MSS.  of  the 
latter  author  catalogued  in  the  British  Museum  Library.  There  are  no^M  only  five 
of  Marco  Polo.  At  least  twenty-five  editions  of  Maundevile  and  only  five  of  Polo 
were  printed  in  the  15th  century. 


certainly  does  not  seem  at  any  time  to  have  extended.  I  can- 
not learn  that  any  MS.  of  his  Book  exists  in  any  Library  of 
Naples  or  Sicily.* 

Dante,  who  lived  for  twenty-three  years  after  Marco's 
work  was  written,  and  who  touches  so  many  things  in  the 
seen  and  unseen  Worlds,  never  alludes  to  Polo,  nor  I  think 
to  anything  that  can  be  connected  with  his  Book.  I  believe 
that  no  mention  of  Cathay  occurs  in  the  Divina  Commedia. 
That  distant  region  is  indeed  mentioned  more  than  once  in 
the  poems  of  a  humbler  contemporary,  Francesco  da  Bar- 
berino,  but  there  is  nothing  in  his  allusions  besides  this  name 
to  suggest  any  knowledge  of  Polo's  work.f 

Neither  can  I  discover  any  trace  of  Polo  or  his  work  in 
that  of  his  contemporary  and  countryman,  Marino  Sanuto  the 
Elder,  though  this  worthy  is  well  acquainted  with  the  some- 
what later  work  of  Hayton,  and  many  of  the  subjects  which 

*  I  have  made  personal  inquiry  at  the  National  Libraries  of  Naples  and  Palermo, 
at  the  Communal  Library  in  the  latter  city,  and  at  the  Benedictine  Libraries  of  Monte 
Cassino,  Monreale,  S.  Martino,  and  Catania. 

In  the  fifteenth  century,  when  Polo's  Book  had  become  more  generally  diffused, 
we  find  three  copies  of  it  in  the  Catalogue  of  the  Library  of  Charles  VL  of  France, 
made  at  the  Louvre  in  1423,  by  order  of  the  Duke  of  Bedford. 

The  estimates  of  value  are  curious.  They  are  in  sols  parisis,  of  which  ten,  or 
half  a  livre,  may  be  reckoned  equal  to  gj.  2d. : — 

"No.  295.  Item  Marcus  Paulus  ;  en  ting  cahier  escript  de  lettre  fornik  en 
francois  a  deux  eoidombes.  Comvit.  an  ii.  fo.  '  deux  freres  prescheurs,'  et  ou 
derrenier  '  que  sa  arrieres.'     Xj.  /. 

*  *  * 

"  No.  334.  Item  Marcus  Paulus.  Convert  de  drap  d'or,  bien  escript  et  enhi- 
mine  de  lettre  de  forme  francois,  a  deiix  conlombes.     Cof/imt.  ou  ii.  fol.  '  il  fut 

KoySf^'t  ou  derrenier  '  propremen.'  A  deux fermouers  de  laton.     X.Ys.p. 

*  *  * 

' '  No.  336.  Item  Marcus  Paulus,  non  enlumine  escript  en  francois  de  lettre  de 
forme.  Commt.  ou  '  vocata  moult  grant'  et  ou  deri-ejiier  '  ilec  dist  il.' 
Convert  de  cuir  blanc.     A  deiix  fermouers  de  latott.     XIL. /.         ." 

[Inventaire  de  la  Bibl.,  &c.,  Paris,  1867.) 

t  ?)te  Del  Regiifiento  e  de'  Costumi  dclle  Donne,  di  Messer  Francesco  da  Barberino, 
Roma,  1815,  pp.  166  and  271. 

This  author  was  born  the  year  before  Dante  (1264),  and  though  he  lived  to 
1348  it  is  probable  that  the  poems  in  question  were  written  in  his  earlier  years. 
Cathay  was  no  doubt  known  by  dim  repute  long  before  the  final  return  of  the  Polos, 
both  through  the  original  journey  of  Nicolo  and  Mafifeo,  and  by  information 
gathered  by  the  Missionary  Friars.  Indeed,  in  1278  Pope  Nicolas  III.,  in  con- 
sequence of  information  said  to  have  come  from  Abaka  Khan  of  Persia,  that 
Kublai  was  a  baptized  Christian,  sent  a  party  of  Franciscans  with  a  long  letter  to 
the  Kaan  Quoblcy,  as  he  is  termed.  They  never  seem  to  have  reached  their 
destination.  And  in  1289  Nicolas  IV.  intrusted  a  similar  mission  to  Friar  John  of 
Monte  Corvino,  which  eventually  led  to  very  tangible  results.  Neither  of  the 
Papal  letters,  however,  mention  Cathay  (see  Moshcim,  App.  pp.  7^  ^"d  94)- 


he  touches  in  his  own  book  would  seem  to  challenge  a  refer- 
ence to  Marco's  labours. 

76.  Of  contemporary  or  nearly  contemporary  references  to 
Contempo-     o^r  Traveller  by  name,  the  following  are  all  that   I 
ences  to"'      cau  producc,  and  none  of  them  are  new. 
^°'°-  First  there  is  the  notice  regarding  his  presenta- 

tion of  his  book  to  Thibault  de  Cepoy,  of  which  we  need  say 
no  more  {siipra,  p.  xcvi). 

Next  there  is  the  Preface  to  Friar  Pipino's  Translation, 
which  we  give  at  length  in  the  Appendix  (E)  to  these 
notices.  The  phraseology  of  this  appears  to  imply  that 
Marco  was  still  alive,  and  this  agrees  with  the  date  as- 
signed to  the  work  by  Ramusio,  Pipino  w^as  also  the  author 
of  a  Chronicle,  of  which  a  part  was  printed  by  Muratori, 
and  this  contains  chapters  on  the  Tartar  wars,  the  destruc- 
tion of  the  Old  Man  of  the  Mountain,  &c.,  derived  from 
Polo.  A  passage  not  printed  by  Muratori  has  been  extracted 
by  Prof  Bianconi  from  a  MS.  of  this  Chronicle  in  the  Modena 
Library,  and  runs  as  follows  : — 

"  The  matters  which  follow,  concerning  the  magnificence  of  the  Tartar 
Emperors,  whom  in  their  language  they  call  Cham  as  we  have  said,  are 
related  by  Marcus  Paulus  the  Venetian  in  a  certain  Book  of  his  which 
has  been  translated  by  me  into  Latin  out  of  the  Lombardic  Vernacular. 
Having  gained  the  notice  of  the  Emperor  himself  and  become  attached 
to  his  service,  he  passed  nearly  27  years  in  the  Tartar  countries."  * 

Again  we  have  that  mention  of  Marco  by  Friar  Jacopo 
d'Acqui,  which  we  have  quoted  in  connection  with  his  capture 
by  the  Genoese,  at  p.  Ixxxii.  And  the  Florentine  historian 
Giovanni  Villani,!  when  alluding  to  the  Tartars,  says  : — 

"  Let  him  who  would  make  full  acquaintance  with  their  history  exa- 
mine the  book  of  Friar  Hay  ton,  Lord  of  Colcos  in  Armenia,  which  he 
made  at  the  instance  of  Pope  Clement  V.,  and  also  the  Book  called 
Miliotie  which  was  made  by  Messer  Marco  Polo  of  Venice,  who  tells 
much  about  their  power  and  dominion,  having  spent  a  long  time  among 
them.  And  so  let  us  quit  the  Tartars  and  return  to  our  subject,  the 
History  of  Florence."  % 

*  See  Aliiratori,  IX.  583,  seqq. ;  Bianconi,  Mem.  I.  p.  37. 

t  G.  Villani  died  in  the  great  plague  of  1348.  But  his  book  was  begun  soon 
after  Marco's  was  written,  for  he  states  that  it  was  the  sight  of  the  memorials  of 
greatness  which  he  witnessed  at  Rome,  during  the  Jubilee  of  1300,  that  put  it  into 
his  head  to  write  the  history  of  the  rising  glories  of  Florence,  and  that  he  began 
the  work  after  his  return  home  (Bk.  VIII.  ch.  36).  %  Book  V.  cli.  29. 


'j'j.   Lastly,  we  learn  from  a   curious  passage  in  a  medical 
work  by  PiETRO  OF  Abano,  a  celebrated  physician  and  philo- 
sopher, and  a  man  of  Polo's  own  generation,  that  he 
was  personally  acquainted  with  the  Traveller.     In  a  temporary"" 
discussion  on  the  old  notion  of  the  non-habitability  of  ^^  ^"^^""^^ 
the  Equatorial  regions,  which  Pietro  controverts,  he  says  :* 

"  In  the  country  of  the  ZiNGi  there  is  seen  a  star  as  big  as  a  sack.  I 
know  a  man  who  has  seen  it,  and  he  told  me  it  had  a  faint  light  like 
a  piece  of  a  cloud,  and  is  always  in  the  south.f  I  have  been  told  of  this 
and  other  matters  by  Marco  the  Venetian,  the  most  extensive  traveller 
and  the  most  diligent  inquirer  whom 
I  have  ever  known.  He  saw  this  same 
star  under  the  Antarctic  ;  he  described 
it  as  having  a  great  tail,  and  drew  a 
figure  of  it  thus.  He  also  told  me 
that  he  saw  the  Antarctic  Pole  at  an 
altitude  above  the  earth  apparently 
equal  to  the  length  of  a  soldier's  lance, 
whilst  the  Arctic  Pole  was  as  much 
below  the  horizon.  'Tis  from  that  place, 
he  says,  that  they  export  to  us  camphor, 

lign-aloes,     and    brazil.       He    says    the      ^3     Star  at  the  Antarctic  as  sketched 
o  '  -'  ^^^  by  Marco  Polo. 

heat  there  is  intense,  and  the  habita- 
tions few.     And  these  things  he  witnessed  in  a  certain  Island  at  which 
he  arrived  by  Sea.     He  fells  me  also  that  there  are  (wild?)  men  there, 
and  also  certain  very  great  rams  that  have  very  coarse  and  stiff  wool  just 
like  the  bristles  of  our  pigs."  % 

*  Petn  Aponensis  Medici  ac  Philosophi  Celeberriini,  Concilialor,  Venice,  152 1, 
fol.  97.  Peter  was  born  in  1250  at  Abano,  near  Padua,  and  was  Professor  of 
Medicine  at  the  University  in  the  latter  city.  He  twice  fell  into  the  claws  of  the 
Unholy  Office,  and  only  escaped  them  by  death  in  1316. 

t  The  great  Magellanic  cloud  ?  In  the  account  of  Vincent  Yanez  Pinzon's 
Voyage  to  the  S.W.  in  1499  as  given  in  Ramusio  (III.  15)  after  Pietro  Martire 
d'Anghieria,  it  is  said  : — "  Taking  the  astrolabe  in  hand,  and  ascertaining  the 
Antarctic  Pole,  they  did  not  see  any  star  like  our  Pole  Star  ;  but  they  related  that 
they  saw  another  manner  of  stars  very  different  from  ours,  and  which  they  could 
not  clearly  discern  because  of  a  certain  dimness  which  diffused  itself  about  those 
stars,  and  obstructed  the  view  of  them." 

The  great  Magellan  cloud  is  mentioned  by  an  old  Arab  writer  as  a  white  blotch 
at  the  foot  of  Canopus,  visible  in  the  Tehama  along  the  Red  Sea,  but  not  in  Nejd 
or  'Irak.  Humboldt,  in  quoting  this,  calculates  that  in  A.D.  1000  the  Great 
Magellan  would  have  been  visible  at  Aden  some  degrees  above  the  horizon 
{Examen,  V.  235). 

X  This  passage  contains  points  that  are  omitted  in  Polo's  book,  besides  the 
drawing  implied  to  be  from  Marco's  own  hand  !  The  Island  is  of  course  Sumatra. 
The  animal  is  perliaps  the  peculiar  Sumatran  wild-goat,  figured  by  Marsden,  tlie 
hair  of  which  on  the  back  is  "coarse  and  strong,  almost  like  bristles"  {Sumatra, 
p.  115). 


In  addition  to  these  five  I  know  no  other  contemporary- 
references  to  Polo,  nor  indeed  any  other  within  the  14th 
century,  though  such  there  must  surely  be,  excepting  in  a 
Chronicle  written  after  the  middle  of  that  century  by  JOHN  of 
Ypres,  Abbot  of  St.  Bertin,  otherwise  known  as  Friar  John 
the  Long,  and  himself  a  person  of  very  high  merit  in  the 
history  of  Travel,  as  a  precursor  of  the  Ramusios  Hakluyts 
and  Purchases,  for  he  collected  together  and  translated  (when 
needful)  into  French  all  of  the  most  valuable  works  of 
Eastern  Travel  and  Geography  produced  in  the  age  imme- 
diately preceding  his  own.*  In  his  Chronicle  the  Abbot 
speaks  at  some  length  of  the  adventures  of  the  Polo  Family, 
concluding  with  a  passage  to  which  we  have  already  had  occa- 
sion to  refer: 

"  And  so  Messers  Nicolaus  and  Maffeus,  with  certain  Tartars  were 
sent  a  second  time  to  these  parts  ;  but  Marcus  Pauli  was  retained  by 
the  Emperor  and  employed  in  his  mihtary  service,  abiding  with  him  for  a 
space  of  27  years.  And  the  Cham,  on  account  of  his  ability  despatched 
him  upon  affairs  of  his  to  various  parts  of  Tartary  and  India  and  the 
Islands,  on  which  journeys  he  beheld  many  of  the  marvels  of  those 
regions.  And  concerning  these  he  afterwards  composed  a  book  in  the 
French  vernacular,  which  said  Book  of  Marvels,  with  others  of  the  same 
kind,  we  do  possess."    {Thesaur.  Nov.  Anecdot.  III.  747.) 

'j'^.  There  is,  however,  a  notable  work  which  is  ascribed  to 
a  rather  early  date  in  the  14th  century,  and  which,  though  it 
contains  no    reference  to   Polo   by  name,    shows  a  thorough 

*  A  splendid  example  of  Abbot  John's  Collection  is  the  Livre  des  Merveilles 
of  the  Great  French  Library  (No.  15  in  our  Appendix  F).  This  contains  Polo, 
Odoric,  William  of  Boldensel,  the  Book  of  the  Estate  of  the  Great  Kaan  by 
the  Archbishop  of  Soltania,  Maundevile,  Hayton,  and  Ricold  of  Montecroce, 
of  which  all  but  Polo  and  Maundevile  are  French  versions  by  this  excellent 
Long  John. 

It  is  a  question  for  which  there  is  sufficient  ground,  whether  the  Persian 
Historians  Rashiduddin  and  Wassaf,  one  or  other  or  both,  did  not  derive  certain 
information  that  appears  in  their  histories,  from  Marco  Polo  personally,  he  having 
spent  many  monllis  in  Persia,  and  at  the  Court  of  Tabriz,  when  either  or  both 
may  have  been  there.  Such  passages  as  that  about  the  Cotton-trees  of  Guzerat 
(vol.  ii.  p.  328,  and  note),  those  about  the  horse-trade  with  Maabar  (ib.  p.  276, 
and  note),  about  the  brother-kings  of  that  country  (ib.  p.  267),  about  the  naked 
savages  of  Necuveram  (ib.  pp.  248,  250),  about  the  wild  people  of  Sumatra  calling 
themselves  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan  (ib.  pp.  227,  235,  236,  241,  242),  have  so 
strong  a  resemblance  to  parallel  passages  in  one  or  both  of  the  above  historians, 
as  given  in  the  first  and  third  volumes  of  Elliot,  that  the  probability,  at  least, 
of  the  Persian  writers  having  derived  their  information  from  Polo,  might  be  fairly 


acquaintance  with  his  book,  and  borrows  themes  largely  from 
it.  This  is  the  poetical  Romance  of  Bauduin  de  Curious 
Sebourg,  an  exceedingly  clever  and  vivacious  pro-  fr'^°Poif 
duction,  partaking  largely  of  that  bantering,  half-  Romance  of 
mocking  spirit  which  is,  I  believe,  characteristic  of  de'"sebo"urg. 
many  of  the  later  medieval  French  Romances.*  Bauduin  is 
a  knight  who,  after  a  very  wild  and  loose  youth,  goes  through 
an  extraordinary  series  of  adventures,  displaying  great  faith 
and  courage,  and  eventually  becomes  King  of  Jerusalem.  I 
will  cite  some  of  the  traits  evidently  derived  from  our  Traveller, 
which  I  have  met  with  in  a  short  examination  of  this  curious 

Bauduin,  embarked  on  a  dromond  in  the  Indian  Sea,  is 
wrecked  in  the  territory  of  Baudas,  and  near  a  city  called 
Falise,  which  stands  on  the  River  of  Baudas.  The  people  of 
this  city  were  an  unbelieving  race . 

"  II  ne  creoient  Dieu,  ne  Mahon,  ne  Tervogant, 
Ydole,  cruchefis,  diable,  ne  tirant." 

Their  only  belief  was  this,  that  when  a  man  died  a  great  fire 
should  be  made  beside  his  tomb,  in  which  should  be  burned 
all  his  clothes,  arms,  and  necessary  furniture,  whilst  his  horse 
and  servant  should  be  put  to  death,  and  then  the  dead  man 
would  have  the  benefit  of  all  these  useful  properties  in  the 
other  world.!     Moreover,  if  it  was  the  king  that  died — 

"  Se  li  Rois  de  la  terre  i  aloit  trespassant 

Si  fasoit  on  tuer  viii.  jour  en  un  tenant, 
Tout  chiaus  c'on  encontroit  par  la  chitd  passant 
Pour  tenir  compaignie  leur  Signer  soffisant  ; 
Telle  estoit  le  creanche  au  pais  dont  je  cant ! "  f 

Bauduin  arrives  when  the  king  has  been  dead  three  days,  and 
through  dread  of  this  custom  all  the  people  of  the  city  are 

*  Li  Romans  de  Bauduin  de  Sebourg,  III.  Roy  de  Jheritsalan  ;  Poeme  du 
XIV*  Siecle  ;  Valenciennes,  1841.  2  vols.  I  was  indebted  to  two  references  of 
M.  Pauthier's  for  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  this  work.  He  cites  the  legends 
of  the  Mountain,  and  of  the  Stone  of  the  Saracens  from  an  abstract,  but  does  not 
seem  to  have  consulted  the  work  itself,  nor  to  have  been  aware  of  the  extent  of  its 
borrowings  from  Maixo  Polo.  M.  Genin,  from  whose  account  Pauthier  quotes, 
ascribes  the  poem  to  an  early  date  after  the  death  of  Philip  the  Fair  (1314).  See 
Pauthier,  pp.  57,  58,  and  140. 

t  See  Polo.  vol.  i.  p.  185,  and  vol.  ii.  p.  151.  X  See  Polo,  vol.  i.  p.  217. 

VOL.  I.  k 


shut  up  in  their  houses.  He  enters  an  inn,  and  helps  himself 
to  a  vast  repast,  having  been  fasting  for  three  days.  He  is 
then  seized  and  carried  before  the  king,  Polibans  by  name. 
We  might  have  quoted  this  prince  at  p.  ciii,  as  an  instance  of 
the  diffusion  of  the  French  tongue  : 

"  Polibans  sot  Fransois,  car  on  le  doctrina  ; 
j.  renoies  de  Franche  vij.  ans  i  demora 
Qui  li  aprist  Fransois,  si  que  bel  en  parla." 

Bauduin  exclaims  against  their  barbarous  belief,  and  declares 
the  Christian  doctrine  to  the  king,  who  acknowledges  good 
points  in  it,  but  concludes  : 

"  Vassaus,  dist  Polibans,  k  la  chi^re  hardie, 
Jk  ne  crerrai  vou  Dieux,  k  nul  jour  de  ma  vie, 
Ne  vostre  Loy  ne  vaut  une  pomme  pourie  ! " 

Bauduin  proposes  to  prove  his  Faith  by  fighting  the  prince, 
himself  unarmed,  the  latter  with  all  his  arms.  The  prince 
agrees,  but  is  rather  dismayed  at  Bauduin's  confidence,  and 
desires  his  followers,  in  case  of  his  own  death,  to  burn  with 
him  horses,  armour,  &c.,  asking  at  the  same  time  which  of 
them  would  consent  to  burn  along  with  him,  in  order  to  be  his 
companions  in  the  other  world  : 

"  La  en  ot  ii-c.  dont  chascuns  s'ecria  : 
Nous  morons  volentiers,  quant  vo  corps  mort  sara  ! "  * 

Bauduin's  prayer  for  help  is  miraculously  granted  ;  Polibans 
is  beaten,  and  converted  by  a  vision.  He  tells  Bauduin  that 
in  his  neighbourhood,  beyond  Baudas — 

"  ou  V.  liewes  ou  vi. 
Che  un  felles  prinches,  orgoeilleus  et  despis, 
De  la  Rouge  Montaingne  est  Prinches  et  Marchis. 
Or  vous  dirai  comment  il  a  ses  gens  nouris. 
Je  vous  dis  que  chius  Roys  a  fait  un  Paradis 

Tant  noble  et  gratieus,  et  plains  de  tels  delis 


Car  en  che  Paradis  est  un  riex  establis 

Qui  se  partist  en  trois,  en  che  noble  pourpris  ; 

En  I'un  coert  li  clar^s,  d'espises  bien  garnis  ; 

Et  en  I'autre  li  mies,  qui  les  a  ressouffis  ; 

Et  li  vins  di  pieument  i  queant  par  droit  avis — 

See  Polo,  vol.  ii.  p.  276. 


II  n'  i  vente  ne  g61e.     Che  lids  est  de  samis 

De  riches  dras  de  soie,  bien  ouvrds  a  devis. 

Et  aveukes  tout  che  que  je  chi  vous  devis, 

I  a  ij-c.  puchelles  qui  moult  ont  cler  le  vis 

Carolans  et  tresquans,  nienans  gales  et  ris  ; 

Et  si  est  li  Dieuesse,  dame  et  suppellatis, 

Qui  doctrine  les  autres  et  en  fais  et  en  dis  ; 

Celle  est  la  fiUe  au  Roy  c'  on  dist  des  Hans  AssisP  * 

This  Lady  Ivorine,  the  Old  Man's  daughter,  is  described 
among  other  points  as  having — 

"  Les  iex  vairs  com  faucons,  nobles  et  agentis."  t 

The  King  of  the  Mountain  collects  all  the  young  male 
children  of  the  country,  and  has  them  brought  up  for  nine  or 
ten  years  : 

"  Dedens  un  lieu  oscur  :  Ik  les  met-on  toudis 
Aveukes  males  bestes,  kiens  et  cas  et  soris 
Culoferes  et  lisaerdes,  escorpions  petis. 
La  endroit  ne  peut  nuls  avoir  joie  ne  ris." 

And  after  this  dreary  life  they  are  shown  the  Paradise,  and 
told  that  such  shall  be  their  portion  if  they  do  their  Lord's 
behests  : 

"  S'il  disoit  k  son  homme  :  '  Va  ten  droit  k  Paris  ! 
Si  me  fier  d'un  coutel  le  Roy  de  Saint  Denis  ! ' 
Jamais  n'aresteroit,  ne  par  nuit  nd  par  dis, 
S'aroit  tud  le  Roy,  voiant  tous  ches  marchis, 
Et  deuist  estre  a  fources  trainds  et  mal  mis." 

Bauduin  determines  to  see  this  Paradise  and  the  lovely 
Ivorine.     The  road  led  by  Baudas  : 

"  Or  avoit  a  che  tamps  se  I'histoire  ne  ment 
En  le  chit  de  Baudas  Kristiens,  jusqu'k  cent, 
Qui  manoient  illoec  par  treu  d'argent 
Que  cascuns  cristiens  au  Roy-Calife  rent. 
Li  pferes  du  Calife,  qui  regna  longement, 

Ama  les  Crestiens,  et  Dieu  premierement  : 


Et  lor  fist  establir  j.  monstier  noble  et  gent, 
Ou  Crestien  faisoient  faire  lor  sacrement. 
Une  mout  noble  pierre  lor  donna  proprement 
Ou  on  avoit  posd  Mahon  moult  longement. J 

*   See  Polo,  vol.  i.  p.  132.     Hashishi  has  got  altered  into  I/aiis  Assis. 
t  See  vol.  i.  p.  319,  note.  J  See  vol.  i.  p.  174,  note  i. 

/•    2 


The  story  is,  in  fact,  that  which  Marco  relates  of  Samar- 
kand* The  Cahph  dies.  His  son  hates  the  Christians.  His 
people  complain  of  the  toleration  of  the  Christians  and  their 
minister ;  but  he  says  his  father  had  pledged  him  not  to 
interfere,  and  he  dared  not  forswear  himself  If,  without 
doing  so,  he  could  do  them  an  ill  turn,  he  would  gladly.  The 
people  then  suggest  their  claim  to  the  stone  : 

"  Or  leur  donna  vos  pferes,  dont  che  fu  mesprisons. 
Ceste  piferre,  biaus  Sire,  Crestiens  demandons  : 
II  ne  porront  rendre,  pour  vrai  le  vous  disons, 
Si  le  monstiers  n'est  mis  et  par  pitches  et  par  mons  ; 
Et  s'il  estoit  desfais,  jamais  ne  le  larons 
Refaire  chi  endroit.     Ensement  averons 
Faites  et  acomplies  nostres  ententions." 

The  Caliph  accordingly  sends  for  Maistre  Thumas,  the  Priest 
of  the  Christians,  and  tells  him  the  stone  must  be  given  up  : 

"  II  a  c.  ans  et  plus  c'on  i  mist  h.  solas 
Mahon  le  nostre  Dieu  :  dont  che  n'est  mie  estas 
Que  li  vous  monstiers  soit  fais  de  nostre  harnas  ! " 

Master  Thomas,  in  great  trouble,  collects  his  flock,  mounts  the 
pulpit,  and  announces  the  calamity.  Bauduin  and  his  convert 
Polibans  then  arrive.  Bauduin  recommends  confession,  fast- 
ing, and  prayer.  They  follow  his  advice,  and  on  the  third  day 
the  miracle  occurs  : 

"  L'escripture  le  dist,  qui  nous  a  chertifie 
Que  le  pierre  Mahon,  qui  ou  mur  fut  fiquie, 
Salit  hors  du  piler,  coi  que  nul  vous  en  die, 
Droit  en  mis  le  moustier,  c'onques  ne  fut  brisie, 
Et  demoura  li  traus,  dont  le  piere  ert  widie, 
Sans  pierre  est  sans  quailliel,  a  cascune  partie 
Chou  deseure  soustient  par  divine  maistrie 
Tout  en  air  proprement,  n'el  tends  a  failie. 

Encore  le  voit-on  en  ichelle  partie 
Qui  croire  ne  m'en  voelt,  si  voist  :  car  je  I'en  prie  !  " 

The  Caliph  comes  to  see,  and  declares  it  to  be  the  Devil's 
doing.  Seeing  Polibans,  who  is  his  cousin,  he  hails  him,  but 
Polibans  draws  back,  avowing  his  Christian  faith.  The  Caliph 
in  a  rage  has  him  off  to  prison.  Bauduin  becomes  very  ill, 
and  has  to  sell  his  horse  and  arms.  His  disease  is  so  offensive 
that  he  is  thrust  out  of  his  hostel,  and  in  his  wretchedness 

Vol.  i.  pp.  170,  171. 


sitting  on  a  stone  he  still  avows  his  faith,  and  confesses  that 
even  then  he  has  not  received  his  deserts.  He  goes  to  beg  in 
the  Christian  quarter,  and  no  one  gives  to  him  ;  but  still  his 
faith  and  love  to  God  hold  out : 

"  Ensement  Bauduins  chelle  rue  cherqua 
Tant  qu'k  un  chavetier  Bauduins  s'arresta 
Qui  chavates  cousoit ;  son  pain  en  garigna. 
Jones  fu  et  plaisans,  apertement  ouvra. 
Bauduin  le  regarde,  c'onques  mot  ne  parla." 

The  cobler  is  charitable,  gives  him  bread,  shoes,  and  a  grey- 
coat that  was  a  foot  too  short.  He  then  asks  Bauduin  if  he 
will  not  learn  his  trade  ;  but  that  is  too  much  for  the  knightly- 
stomach  : 

"  Et  Bauduin  respont,  li  preus  et  li  membrus, 
J'ameroie  trop  miex  que  je  fusse  pendus  ! " 

The  Caliph  now  in  his  Council  expresses  his  vexation  about 
the  miracle,  and  says  he  does  not  know  how  to  disprove  the 
faith  of  the  Christians.  A  very  sage  old  Saracen  who  knew 
Hebrew,  and  Latin,  and  some  thirty  languages,  makes  a  sug- 
gestion, which  is,  in  fact  that  about  the  moving  of  the  Moun- 
tain, as  related  by  Marco  Polo.*  Master  Thomas  is  sent  for 
again,  and  told  that  they  must  transport  the  high  mountain  of 
TJiir  to  the  valley  of  Joaquin,  which  lies  to  the  westward. 
He  goes  away  in  new  despair  and  causes  his  clerk  to  sonnet'  le 
clocke  for  his  people.  Whilst  they  are  weeping  and  wailing  in 
the  church,  a  voice  is  heard  desiring  them  to  seek  a  certain 
Holy  man  who  is  at  the  good  cobler's,  and  to  do  him  honour. 
God  at  his  prayer  will  do  a  miracle.  They  go  in  procession 
to  Bauduin,  who  thinks  they  are  mocking  him.  They  treat 
him  as  a  saint,  and  strive  to  touch  his  old  coat.  At  last  he 
consents  to  pray  along  with  the  whole  congregation. 

The  Caliph  is  in  his  palace  with  his  princes,  taking  his  ease 
at  a  window.     Suddenly  he  starts  up  exclaiming  : 

"  '  Seignour  !  Par  Mahoumet  que  j'aoure  ef  tieng  cher, 
Le  Mont  de  Thir  enportent  le  deable  d'enfer  ! ' 
Li  Calife  s'ecrie  :  '  Seignour,  franc  palasin, 
Voids  le  Mont  de  Thir  qui  ch'est  mis  au  chemin  ! 
Vds-le-la  tout  en  air,  par  mon  Dieu  Apolin  ! 
Ja  bientot  le  verrons  ens  ou  val  Joaquin  ! '" 

*  Vol.  i.  pp.  65,  seqq.     The  virtuous  cobler  is  not  left  out,  but  is  made  to  play 
second  fiddle  to  the  hero  Bauduin. 


The  Caliph  is  converted,  releases  Polibans,  and  is  baptized, 
taking  the  name  of  Bauduin,  to  whom  he  expresses  his  fear  of 
the  Viex  de  la  Montagne  with  his  Hants- Assis,  telling  anew 
the  story  of  the  Assassin's  Paradise,  and  so  enlarges  on  the 
beauty  of  Ivorine  that  Bauduin  is  smitten,  and  his  love  heals 
his  malady.     Toleration  is  not  learned  however : 

"  Bauduin,  li  Califes,  fist  baptiser  sa  gent 
Et  qui  ne  voilt  Dieu  croire  li  teste  on  li  pourfent ! " 

The  Caliph  gives  up  his  kingdom  to  Bauduin,  proposing  to 
follow  him  to  the  Wars  of  Syria.  And  Bauduin  presents  the 
Kingdom  to  the  Cobler. 

Bauduin,  the  Caliph,  and  Prince  Polibans  then  proceed  to 
visit  the  Mountain  of  the  Old  Man.  The  Caliph  professes  to 
him  that  they  want  help  against  Godfrey  of  Bouillon.  The 
Viex  says  he  does  not  give  a  bouton  for  Godfrey ;  he  will  send 
one  of  his  Hauts-Assis  straight  to  his  tent,  and  give  him  a 
great  knife  of  steel  between  _/?^  et  ponnion  ! 

After  dinner  they  go  out  and  witness  the  feat  of  devotion 
which  we  have  quoted  elsewhere.*  They  then  see  the  Paradise 
and  the  lovely  Ivorine,  with  whose  beauty  Bauduin  is  struck 
dumb.  The  lady  had  never  smiled  before  ;  now  she  declares 
that  he  for  whom  she  had  long  waited  was  come.  Bauduin 
exclaims  : 

"  '  Madame,  fu-jou  chou  qui  sui  le  vous  subgis?' 
Ouant  la  puchelle  I'ot,  lors  si  geta  j.  ris, 
Et  li  dist  :  '  Bauduins,  vous  estes  mes  amis  ! ' " 

The  Old  One  is  vexed,  but  speaks  pleasantly  to  his  daughter, 
who  replies  with  frightfully  bad  language,  and  declares  herself 
to  be  a  Christian.  The  father  calls  out  to  the  Caliph  to  kill 
her.  The  Caliph  pulls  out  a  big  knife  and  gives  him  a  blow 
that  nearly  cuts  him  in  two.  The  amiable  Ivorine  says  she 
will  go  with  Bauduin  : 

"  '  Se  mes  peres  est  mors,  n'en  donne  un  paresis  ! '" 

We  need  not  follow  the  story  further,  as  I  did  not  trace 
beyond  this  point  any  distinct  derivation  from  our  Traveller, 
with  the  exception  of  that  allusion  to  the  incombustible  covering 


*  Vol.  i.  p.  137. 


of  the  napkin  of  St.  Veronica,  which  I  have  quoted  at  pp.  194, 
195  of  this  volume.  But  including  this,  here  are  at  least 
seven  different  themes  borrowed  from  Marco  Polo's  book,  on 
which  to  be  sure  his  poetical  contemporary  plays  the  most 
extraordinary  variations. 

XIIL  Nature  of  Polo's  Influence  on  Geographical 

79.  Marco  Polo  contributed  such  a  vast  amount  of  new 
facts  to  the  knowledge  of  the  Earth's  surface,  that  one  might 
have  expected  his  book  to  have  had  a  sudden  effect  „   , 

■■■  lardy  ope- 

upon  the  Science  of  Geog-raphy :  but  no  such  result  ''''''°"'  ^"'^ 

^  &       r     ^  causes 

occurred  speedily,  nor  was  its  beneficial  effect  of  any  "^^'■<=°f- 
long  duration. 

No  doubt  several  causes  contributed  to  the  slowness  of  its 
action  upon  the  notions  of  Cosmographers,  of  which  the  unreal 
character  attributed  to  the  Book,  as  a  collection  of  romantic 
marvels  rather  than  of  geographical  and  historical  facts,  may 
have  been  one,  as  Santarem  urges.  But  the  essential  causes 
were  no  doubt  the  imperfect  nature  of  publication  before  the 
invention  of  the  press  ;  the  traditional  character  which  clogged 
geography  as  well  as  all  other  branches  of  knowledge  in  the 
Middle  Ages  ;  and  the  entire  absence  of  scientific  principle  in 
what  passed  for  geography,  so  that  there  was  no  organ  equal 
to  the  assimilation  of  a  large  mass  of  new  knowledge. 

Of  the  action  of  the  first  cause  no  examples  can  be  more 
striking  than  we  find  in  the  false  conception  of  the  Caspian  as 
a  gulf  of  the  Ocean,  entertained  by  Strabo,  and  the  opposite 
error  in  regard  to  the  Indian  Sea  held  by  Ptolemy,  who  regards 
it  as  an  enclosed  basin,  when  we  contrast  these  with  the  cor- 
rect ideas  on  both  subjects  possessed  by  Herodotus. 

80.  As  regards  the  second  cause  alleged,  we  may  say  that 
down  nearly  to  the  middle  of  the  15  th  century  cosmographers, 
as  a  rule,  made  scarcely  any  attempt  to  reform  their  Gener.1i  cha- 


maps  by  any  elaborate  search  for  new  matter,  or  by  of  Medieval 


lights  that  might  be  collected  from  recent  travellers,  pi'v- 
Their  world  was  in  its  outline  that  handed  down  by  the  tradi- 
tions of  their  craft,  and  sanctioned  by  some  Father  of  the  church. 


such  as  Orosius  or  Isidore,  and  sprinkled  with  a  combination  of 
classical  and  medieval  legend.  Almost  universally  the  earth's 
surface  is  represented  as  filling  the  greater  part  of  a  circular 
disk,  rounded  by  the  ocean.  Jerusalem  occupies  the  central 
point,  because  it  was  found  written  in  the  Prophet  Ezekiel  : 
"  Haec  dicit  Domimts  Dens:  Ista  est  Jerusalem,  hi  medio  gentium 
posiii  earn,  et  in  circuitn  ejus  terras^  The  Terrestrial  Paradise 
was  represented  as  occupying  the  extreme  East,  because  it  was 
found  in  Genesis  that  the  Lord  planted  a  garden  eastward  in 
Eden.*  Gog  and  Magog  were  set  in  the  far  north  or  north- 
east, because  it  was  said  again  in  Ezekiel :  "  Ecce  Ego  super  te 
Gog  Principem  capitis  MosocJi  et  Thubal  .  .  .  et  ascendere  te 
faciam  de  lateribus  Aquilonis,"  whilst  probably  the  topography 
of  those  mysterious  nationalities  was  completed  by  a  girdle  of 
mountains  out  of  the  Alexandrian  Fables.  The  loose  and 
scanty  nomenclature  was  mainly  borrowed  from  Pliny  or 
Mela  through  such  Fathers  as  we  have  named  ;  whilst  vacant 
spaces  were  occupied  by  Amazons,  Arimaspians,  and  the  realm 
of  Prester  John.    A  favourite  representation  of  the  inhabited 

earth  was  this  \-r) ;  a  great  O  enclosing  a  T.  which  thus 
divides  the  circle  in  three  parts  ;  the  greater  or  half-circle 
being  Asia,  the  two  quarter  circles  Europe  and  Africa.t 

8 1.  Even  Ptolemy  seems  to  have  been  almost  unknown  ; 
and  indeed  had  his  Geography  been  studied  it  might  have 
tended  to  some  greater  endeavours  after  accuracy. 
Bacon  as  a  Aud  Rogcr  Bacon,  whilst  lamenting  the  exceeding 
deficiency  of  geographical  knowledge  in  the  Latin 
world,  and  purposing  to  essay  an  exacter  distribution  of 
countries,  says  he  will  not  attempt  to  do  so  by  latitude  and 
longitude,  for  that  is  a  system  of  which  the  Latins  have  learned 
nothing.  He  himself,  whilst  still  somewhat  burdened  by  the 
authoritative  dicta  of  "  saints  and  sages  "  of  past  times,  ven- 
tures at  least  to  criticize  some  of  the  latter,  such  as  Pliny  and 
Ptolemy,  and  declares  his  intention   to  have  recourse  to  the 

*  This  circumstance  does  not  however  show  in  the  Vulgate. 

f  "  Veggiaino  in  prima  in  general  la  terra 
Come  resiede,  e  come  il  mar  la  serra. 
Un  T  dentro  ad  un  O  raostra  il  disegno 
Come  in  tre  parti  fu  diviso  il  Mondo, 
E  la  superiore  e  il  maggior  regno 

Asia  chiamata  :  il  gambo  ritto  e  segno 
Che  parte  il  terzo  nome  dal  secondo  : 
Affrica,  dice,  da  Europa  :   il  mare 
Mediterran  tra  esse  in  mezzo  appare. 

— La  Sfera,  del  Dati,  Lib.  iii.  st.  ii. 


information  of  those  who  have  travelled  most  extensively  over 
the  Earth's  surface.  And  judging  from  the  good  use  he  makes, 
in  his  description  of  the  northern  parts  of  the  world,  of  the 
Travels  of  Rubruquis,  whom  he  had  known  and  questioned, 
besides  diligently  studying  his  narrative,  we  might  have 
expected  much  in  Geography  from  this  great  man,  had  similar 
materials  been  available  to  him  for  other  parts  of  the  earth. 
I  do  not  gather,  however,  that  he  actually  constructed  any 

82.  The  Map  of  Marino  Sanuto  the  Elder,  constructed 
between  1300  and  1320,  may  be  regarded  as  an  exceptionally 
favourable  specimen  of  the  cosmography  in  vogue, 

for  the  author  was  a  diligent  investigator  and  com-  Sanuto  the 

'^  '°  Elder. 

piler,  and  evidently  took  a  considerable  interest  in 
Geography.  Nor  is  the  map  without  some  result  of  these  cha- 
racteristics. His  representation  of  Europe,  Northern  Africa, 
Syria,  Asia  Minor,  Arabia  and  its  two  gulfs,  is  a  fair  approxi- 
mation to  general  facts  ;  his  collected  knowledge  has  enabled 
him  to  locate,  with  more  or  less  of  general  truth,  Georgia,  the 
Iron  Gates,  Cathay,  the  Plain  of  Moghan,  Euphrates  and 
Tigris,  Persia,  Bagdad,  Kais,  Aden  (though  on  the  wrong  side 
of  the  Red  Sea),  Abyssinia  {HabesJi),  Zangibar  {Zinz),  Jidda, 
{Zede),  &c.  But  after  all  the  traditional  forms  are  too  strong 
for  him.  Jerusalem  is  still  the  centre  of  the  disk  of  the  habit- 
able earth,  so  that  the  distance  is  as  great  from  Syria  to  Gades 
in  the  extreme  West,  as  from  Syria  to  the  India  Interior  of 
Prester  John  which  terminates  the  extreme  East.  And  Africa 
beyond  the  Arabian  Gulf  is  carried,  according  to  the  Arabian 
modification  of  Ptolemy's  misconception,  far  to  the  Eastward 
until  it  almost  meets  the  prominent  shores  of  India. 

83.  The  first  genuine  medieval  attempt  at  a  geographical 
construction  that  I  know  of,  free  from  the  traditional  idola,  is  the 
Map  of  the  known  World  from  the  Portulano  Mediceo  ^,[^^  Catalan 
(in  the  Laurentian  Library),  of  which  an  extract  is  en-  ^e^°/3t^^^' 
graved  in  the  atlas  of  Baldello-Boni's  Polo.  I  need  not  me'dfivL! em- 
describe  it,  however,  because  I  cannot  satisfy  myself  p°'io's^"'°^ 
that  it  makes  much  use  of  Polo's  contributions,  and  "^^°sraphy. 
its  facts  have  been  embodied  in  a  more  ambitious  work  of  the 
next  generation,  the  celebrated  Catalan  Map  of  1375  in  the 

See  Opus  Majus,  Venice  ed.  pp.  142,  seqq. 


great  Library  of  Paris.  This  also,  but  on  a  larger  scale  and 
in  a  more  comprehensive  manner,  is  an  honest  endeavour  to 
represent  the  known  world  on  the  basis  of  collected  facts, 
casting  aside  all  theories  pseudo-scientific  or  pseudo-theolo- 
gical ;  and  a  very  remarkable  work  it  is.  In  this  map  it  seems 
to  me  Marco  Polo's  influence,  I  will  not  say  on  geography,  but 
on  map-making,  is  seen  to  the  greatest  advantage.  His  Book 
is  the  basis  of  the  Map  as  regards  Central  and  Further  Asia, 
and  partially  as  regards  India.  His  names  are  often  sadly  per- 
verted, and  it  is  not  always  easy  to  understand  the  view  that 
the  compiler  took  of  his  itineraries.  Still  we  have  Cathay 
admirably  placed  in  the  true  position  of  China,  as  a  great 
Empire  filling  the  south  east  of  Asia.  The  Eastern  Peninsula 
of  India  is  indeed  absent  altogether,  but  the  Peninsula  of 
Hither  India  is  for  the  first  time  in  the  History  of  Geography 
represented  with  a  fair  approximation  to  its  correct  form  and 
position,  and  Sumatra  also  {Jana)  is  not  badly  placed.  Cara- 
jan,  Vocian,  Mien,  and  Bangala,  are  located  with  a  just  con- 
ception of  their  relation  to  Cathay  and  to  India.  Many  details 
in  India  foreign  to  Polo's  book,  and  some  in  Cathay  (as  well 
as  in  Turkestan  and  Siberia,  which  have  been  entirely  derived 
from  other  sources)  have  been  embodied  in  the  Map.  But  the 
study  of  his  Book  has,  I  conceive,  been  essentially  the  basis  of 
those  great  portions  which  I  have  specified,  and  the  additional 
matter  has  not  been  in  mass  sufficient  to  perplex  the  compiler. 
Hence  we  really  see  in  this  Map  something  like  the  idea  of 
Asia  that  the  Traveller  himself  would  have  presented  had  he 
bequeathed  a  Map  to  us. 

84.  In  the  following  age  we  find  more  frequent  indications 
that  Polo's  book  was  diffused  and  read."  And  now  that  the 
c  nfusions  spirit  of  dlscovcry  began  to  stir,  it  was  apparently 
inCarto-       regarded  in  a  iuster  light  as  a  Book  of  Facts,  and  not 

graphy  01  o  J  o  ' 

the  i6th        j^g  ^  mere  Rominan  du  Grant  Kaan*     But  in  fact 


e^Savour  ^^''^s  agc  produccd  new  supplies  of  crude  information 
n°ew°^d'"oM  ^"^  greater  abundance  than  the  knowledge  of  geogra- 
information.  p]-jgj-g  ^.^g  prepared  to  digest  or  co-ordinate,  and  the 
consequence  is  that  the  magnificent  Work  of  Fra  Mauro  (1459), 

*  In  or  about  1426,  Prince  Pedro  of  Portugal,  the  elder  brother  of  the  illus- 
trious Prince  Henry,  being  on  a  visit  to  Venice  was  presented  by  the  Signory  with 
a  copy  of  Marco  Polo's  book,  together  with  a  map  already  alluded  to  {^Major's 
P.  Henry,  pp.  6i,  62). 


though  the  result  of  immense  labour  in  the  collection  of  facts 
and  the  endeavour  to  combine  them,  really  gives  a  consider- 
ably less  accurate  idea  of  Asia  than  that  which  the  Catalan 
Map  had  afforded.* 

And  when  at  a  still  later  date  the  great  burst  of  discovery 
eastward  and  westward  took  effect,  the  results  of  all  attempts 
to  combine  the  new  knowledge  with  the  old  was  most  un- 
happy. The  first  and  crudest  forms  of  such  combinations 
attempted  to  realize  the  ideas  of  Columbus  regarding  the 
identity  of  his  discoveries  with  the  regions  of  the  Great  Kaan's 
dominion  ;t  but  even  after  America  had  vindicated  its  inde- 
pendent position  on  the  surface  of  the  globe,  and  the  new 
knowledge  of  the  Portuguese  had  introduced  China  where 
the  Catalan  map  of  the  14th  century  had  presented  Cathay, 
the  latter  country,  with  the  whole  of  Polo's  nomenclature,  was 
shoved  away  to  the  north,  forming  a  separate  system.  Hence- 
forward the  influence  of  Polo's  work  on  maps  was  simply 
injurious  ;  and  when  to  his  nomenclature  was  added  a 
sprinkling  of  Ptolemy's,  as  was  usual  throughout  the  i6th 
century,  the  result  was  a  most  extraordinary  hotch-potch, 
conveying  no  approximation  to  any  consistent  representation 
of  facts. 

Thus,  in  a  map  of  1522,  |  running  the  eye  along  the  north 
of  Europe  and  Asia,  from  West  to  East,  we  find  the  following 
succession  of  names  :  Groenlandia,  or  Greenland,  as  a  great 
peninsula  overlapping  that  of  Norvegia  and  Suecia  ;  Livonia, 
Plescovia  and  Moscovia,  Tartaria  bounded  on  the  South  by 

*  This  is  partly  due  also  to  Fra  Mauro's  reversion  to  the  fancy  of  the  circular 
disc  limiting  the  inhabited  portion  of  the  earth. 

t  An  early  graphic  instance  of  this  is  Ruysch's  famous  map  (1508).  The 
following  extract  of  a  work  printed  as  late  as  1533  is  an  example  of  the  like  con- 
fusion in  verbal  description  :  "  The  Territories  which  are  beyond  the  limits  of 
Ptolemy's  Tables  have  not  yet  been  described  on  certain  authority.  Behind  the 
Sinae  and  the  Seres,  and  beyond  180'-'  of  East  Longitude,  many  countries  were  dis- 
covered by  one  Marco  Polo  a  Venetian  and  others,  and  the  sea  coasts  of  those 
countries  have  now  recently  again  been  explored  by  Columbus  the  Genoese  and 
Amerigo  Vespucci  in  navigating  the  Western  Ocean  ....  To  this  part  (of  Asia) 
belong  the  territory  called  that  of  the  Bachalaos  [or  Codfish,  Newfoundland], 
Florida,  the  Desert  of  Lop,  Tcxngnt,  Cathay,  the  realm  of  Mexico  (wherein  is  the 
vast  city  of  Temistitan,  built  in  the  middle  of  a  great  lake,  but  which  the  older 
travellers  styled  Quinsay),  besides  Paria,  Uraba,  and  the  countries  of  the  Canibals.^'' 
(jfoaniiis  Schoneri  Carolostadtii  Opus  Geogr.  quoted  by  Humboldt,  Exanieu,  V. 
171,  172). 

X  Totitis  Europae  el  Asiac  Tabula  Geographica,  Auclorc  Thoi/ia  D.  Aucupario. 
Edita  Argcnlorati,  Muxxri."     Copied  in  Witsen. 


Scithia  extra  Imaiini,  and  on  the  East,  by  the  Rivers  Ocliardes 
and  Bautisis  (out  of  Ptolemy),  which  are  made  to  flow  into 
the  Arctic  Sea.  South  of  these  are  Aureacithis  and  Asmirea 
(Ptolemy's  Auxacitis  and  AsmircEo),  and  Serica  Regio.  Then 
following  the  northern  coast  Balo7'  Regio  (?),  Jiidei  Clausi  (the 
Shut-up  Nations)  who  impinge  upon  the  River  Polisacus,  flow- 
ing into  the  Northern  Ocean  in  Lat.  75°  but  which  is  in  fact 
no  other  than  Polo's  PiilisangJiin  !*  Immediately  south  of 
this  is  TJiolomon  Provincia  (Polo's  again),  and  on  the  coast 
Tangiit,  Cathaya,  the  Rivers  Caramoran  and  Ovian  (a  misread- 
ing of  Polo's  Qrdaii),  Qiiinsay  and  Mangi. 

85.  The  Maps  of  Mercator  (1587)  and  Magini  (1597)  are 
similar  in  character,  but  more  elaborate,  introducing  China  as 

a  separate  system.     Such  indeed  also  is  Blaeu's  Map 

Gradual  /^^-x  •  i  -ni  i  m- 

disappear-      (ID63)    cxceptmg   that    Ptolcmy  s    contributions    are 

ance  of 

Polo's  no-      reduced  to  one  or  two. 

In  Sanson's  Map  (1659)  the  data  of  Polo  and  the 
medieval  Travellers  are  more  cautiously  handled,  but  a  new 
element  of  confusion  is  introduced  in  the  form  of  numerous 
features  derived  from  Edrisi. 

It  is  scarcely  worth  while  to  follow  the  matter  further. 
With  the  increase  of  knowledge  of  Northern  Asia  from  the 
Russian  side,  and  that  of  China  from  the  Maps  of  Martini, 
followed  by  the  surveys  of  the  Jesuits,  and  with  the  real 
science  brought  to  bear  on  Asiatic  Geography  by  such  men 
as  De  I'lsle  and  D'Anville,  mere  traditional  nomenclature  gra- 
dually disappeared.  And  the  task  which  the  study  of  Polo 
has  provided  for  the  geographers  of  later  days  has  been  chiefly 
that  of  determining  the  true  localities  that  his  book  describes 
under  obsolete  or  corrupted  names. 

86.  Before  concluding  it  may  be  desirable  to  say  a  few 
words  on  the  subject  of  important  knowledge  other  than 
Aiie  ed  in-  geographical,  which  various  persons  have  supposed 
of°Biock-"  '^'^^  Marco  Polo  must  have  introduced  from  Eastern 
^^'^^^f         Asia  to  Europe. 

b"y°]sfarco^^  Rcspcctiug  the  mariner's  compass  and  gunpowder 

^°'°'  I  shall  say  nothing,  as  no  one  now,  I  believe,  imagines 

Marco  to  have  had  anything  to  do  with  their  introduction. 
But  from  a  highly  respectable  source  in  recent  years  we  have 

*  Vol.  ii.  p.  I. 


seen  the  introduction  of  Block-printing  into  Europe  connected 
with  the  name  of  our  Traveller.  The  circumstances  are  stated 
as  follows  :* 

"  In  the  beginning  of  the  15th  century  a  man  named  Panfilo  Castaldi, 
of  Feltre  ....  was  employed  by  the  Government  of  the  Repubhc  to 
engross  deeds  and  public  edicts  of  various  kinds  ....  the  initial  letters 
at  the  commencement  of  the  writing  being  usually  ornamented  with  red 
ink,  or  illuminated  in  gold  and  colours. 

"  According  to  Sansovino,  certain  stamps  or  types  had  been  invented 
some  time  previously  by  Pietro  di  Natale,  Bishop  of  Aquileia.f  These 
were  made  of  Murano  glass,  and  were  used  to  stamp  or  print  the  outline 
of  the  large  initial  letters  of  public  documents,  which  were  afterwards 
filled  up  by  hand  ....  Panfilo  Castaldi  improved  on  these  glass  types 
by  having  others  made  of  wood  or  metal  ;  and  having  seen  several  Chinese 
Books,  which  the  famous  traveller  Marco  Polo  had  brought  from  China, 
and  of  which  the  entire  text  was  printed  with  wooden  blocks,  he  caused 
moveable  wooden  types  to  be  made,  each  type  containing  a  single  letter, 
and  with  these  he  printed  several  broadsides  and  single  leaves  at  Venice, 
in  the  year  1426.  Some  of  these  single  sheets  are  said  to  be  preserved 
among  the  archives  at  Feltre  .... 

"  The  tradition  continues  that  John  Faust  of  Mayence  ....  became 
acquainted  with  Castaldi,  and  passed  some  time  with  him  in  his  Scrip- 
torium at  Feltre  ;" 

and  in  short  developed  from  the  knowledge  so  acquired  the 
great  invention  of  printing.  Mr.  Curzon  goes  on  to  say  that 
Panfilo  Castaldi  was  born  in  1398,  and  died  in  1490,  and 
that  he  gives  the  story  as  he  found  it  in  an  article  written 
by  Dr.  Jacopo  Facen,  of  Feltre,  in  a  (Venetian  })  newspaper 
called  //  Gondolier c.  No.  103,  of  December  27th,  1843. 

In  a  later  paper  Mr.  Curzon  thus  recurs  to  the  subject :% 

"  Though  none  of  the  early  block-books  have  dates  aflfiixed  to  them, 
many  of  them  are  with  reason  supposed  to  be  more  ancient  than  any 
books  printed  with  moveable  types.  Their  resemblance  to  Chinese  block- 
books  is  so  exact  that  they  would  almost  seem  to  be  copied  from  the 
books  commonly  used  in  China.  T/ie  impressions  are  taken  off  on  one 
side  of  the  paper  only,  and  in  binding  both  the  Chinese  and  ancient  Ger7nan 
or  Dutch  block-books,  the  blaiik  sides  of  the  pages  are  placed  opposite  each 
other,  and  sometimes  pasted  together  ....  The  impressions  are  not 
taken  off  with  printer's  ink,  but  with  a  brown  paint  or  colour,  of  a  much 
thinner  description,  more  in  the  nature  of  Indian  ink,  as  we  call  it,  which 

*  A  Short  Account  of  Libraries  in  Italy,  by  the  Hon.  R.  Curzon  ;  in  Bihliog. 
and  Hist.  Miscellanies  ;  P/iilobiblon  Society,  vol.  i. 

t  P.  dei  Natali  was  Bishop  of  Equilio,  a  city  of  the  Venetian  Lagoons,  in  the 
latter  quarter  of  the  I4tli  century  (see  Ughelli,  Italia  Sacra,  X.  87).  There  is  no 
ground  for  connecting  him  with  these  inventions  (see  App.  L). 

X  Early  History  of  Printing,  in  Philobiblon,  vol.  vi.  p.  23. 


is  used  in  printing  Chinese  books.  Altogether  the  German  and  Oriental 
block-books  are  so  precisely  alike,  in  almost  every  respect,  that  we  must 
suppose  that  the  process  of  printing  them  must  have  been  copied  from 
ancient  Chinese  specimens,  brought  from  that  country  by  some  early 
travellers,  whose  names  have  not  been  handed  down  to  our  times." 

The  writer  then  refers  to  the  tradition  about  Giittemberg  (so  it 
is  stated  on  this  occasion,  not  Faust)  having  learned  Castaldi's 
art,  &c.,  mentioning  a  circumstance  which  he  supposes  to 
indicate  that  Guttemberg  had  relations  with  Venice ;  and 
appears  to  assent  to  the  probability  of  the  story  of  the  art 
having  been  founded  on  specimens  brought  home  by  Marco 

As  regards  the  alleged  invention  of  Panfilo  Castaldi,  the 
story  as  related  in  the  first  of  the  preceding  extracts  is  scarcely 
other  than  a  flight  of  patriotic  fancy  ;  and  I  shall  show  in  a 
separate  notice*  from  how  slender  a  nucleus  of  record  it  has 
been  spun. 

87.   But   Mr.   Curzon's   own   observations,   which    I    have 

italicized,  about  the  resemblance  of  the  two  systems  are  very 

strikin"-,  and  seem  clearly  to  indicate  the  derivation 

r  requent  ^  •' 

opportu-        Qf  |-]^g  j^j-j-  from  China.      I  should  suppose,  however, 

nities  lor  ^  '■ 

suchintro-  ^-j^^^  jj^  |-]^g  tradition,  if  there  be  any  genuine  tra- 
duction in  '  J     Q 

the  age         dition   of  the    kind   at   Feltre,   the   name  of  Marco 

lotlowing  ' 

Polo's.  Polo  was  introduced  merely  because  it  was  so  pro- 

minent a  name  in  Eastern  Travel.  The  fact  has  been  gene- 
rally overlooked  and  forgotten  that,  for  many  years  in  the 
course  of  the  14th  century,  not  only  were  missionaries  of 
the  Roman  Church  and  Houses  of  the  Franciscan  Order 
established  in  the  chief  cities  of  China,  but  a  regular  trade 
was  carried  on  overland  between  Italy  and  China,  by  way  of 
Tana  {or  Azov),  Astracan,  Otrar  and  Kamul,  insomuch  that 
instructions  for  the  Italian  merchant  following  that  route  form 
the  tw^o  first  chapters  in  the  Mercantile  Handbook  of  Balducci 
Pegolotti  (circa  1 340).t  Many  a  traveller  besides  Marco  Polo 
might  therefore  have  brought  home  the  block-books.  And 
this  is  the  less  to  be  ascribed  to  him  because  he  so  curiously 
omits  to  speak  of  the  art  of  printing,  when  his  subject  seems 
absolutely  to  challenge  its  description. 

*  See  Appendix  L. 

t  This  subject  has  been  fully  treated  in  CaiJiay  and  the  Way  Thither. 


XIV.  Explanations  regarding  the  Basis  adopted  for  the 
PRESENT  Translation. 

88.  It  remains  to  say  a  few  words  regarding  the  basis 
adopted  for  our  English  version  of  the  Traveller's  record. 

Ramusio's  I'ecension  was  that  which  Marsden  selected  for 
translation.  But  at  the  date  of  his  most  meritorious  publica- 
tion nothing  was  known  of  the  real  literary  history  of 

*=  ,.  Texts  fol- 

Polo's  Book,  and  no  one  was  aware  of  the  peculiar  lowed  by 


value  and  originality  of  the  French  manuscript  texts,  and  by 

o  J  r  '     Pauthier. 

nor  had  Marsden  seen  any  of  them.  A  translation 
from  one  of  those  texts  is  a  translation  at  first  hand  ;  a  trans- 
lation from  Ramusio's  Italian  is,  as  far  as  I  can  judge,  the 
translation  of  a  translated  compilation  from  two  or  more 
translations,  and  therefore,  whatever  be  the  merits  of  its 
matter,  inevitably  carries  us  far  away  from  the  spirit  and 
style  of  the  original  narrator.  M.  Pauthier,  I  think,  did  well 
in  adopting  for  the  text  of  his  edition  the  MSS.  which  I  have 
classed  as  of  the  second  Type,  the  more  as  there  had  hitherto 
been  no  publication  from  those  texts.  But  editing  a  text  in 
the  original  language,  and  translating,  are  tasks  different  in 
their  demands. 

89.  It  will  be  clear  from  what  has  been  said  in  the  pre- 
ceding pages  that  I  should  not  regard  as  a  fair  or  full  repre- 
sentation of  Polo's  Work,    a    version  on  which    the 
Geographic  Text  did  not  exercise  a  material  influ-  formation  of 

T-i  11  <-r<  •    f         1 1    •  1  1       '1^^  English 

ence.     But  to  adopt  that  lext,  witn  all  its  awkward-  Text  of  this 

1         .  111  1   •  /-   Translation. 

nesses  and  tautologies,  as  the  absolute  subject  of 
translation,  would  have  been  a  mistake.  What  I  have  done 
has  been,  in  the  first  instance,  to  translate  from  Pauthier's 
Text.  The  process  of  abridgment  in  this  text,  however  it 
came  about,  has  been  on  the  whole  judiciously  executed,  get- 
ting rid  of  the  intolerable  prolixities  of  manner  which  belong 
to  many  parts  of  the  Original  Dictation,  but  as  a  general  rule 
preserving  the  matter.  Having  translated  this, — not  always 
from  the  Text  adopted  by  Pauthier  himself,  but  with  the 
exercise  of  my  own  judgment  on  the  various  readings  which 
that  Editor  lays  before  us, — I  then  compared  the  translation 
with  the  Geographic  Text,  and  transferred  from  the  latter  not 
only  all  items  of  real  substance  that  had  been  omitted,  but 


also  all  expressions  of  special  interest  and  character,  and  occa- 
sionally a  greater  fullness  of  phraseology  where  condensation 
in  Pauthier's  text  seemed  to  have  been  carried  too  far.  And 
finally  I  have  introduced  between  brackets  everything  pecu- 
liar to  Ramusio's  version  that  seemed  to  me  to  have  a  just 
claim  to  be  reckoned  authentic,  and  that  could  be  so  intro- 
duced without  harshness  or  mutilation.  Many  passages  from 
the  same  source  which  were  of  interest  in  themselves,  but 
failed  to  meet  one  or  other  of  these  conditions,  have  been 
given  in  the  notes. 

90.  As  regards  the  reading  of  proper  names  and  foreign 
words,  in  which  there  is  so  much  variation  in  the  different 
MSS.  and  editions,  I  have  done  my  best  to  select 
rendedng  what  sccmcd  to  be  the  true  reading  from  the  G.  T. 
names.  and  Pauthicr's  three  MSS.,  only  in  some  rare  in- 
stances transgressing  this  limit. 

Where  the  MSS.  in  the  repetition  of  a  name  afforded  a 
choice  of  forms,  I  have  selected  that  which  came  nearest  the 
real  name  when  known.  Thus  the  G.  T.  affords  Baldasciain, 
Badascian,  Badasciani,  Badausiam,  Balasian.  I  adopt  Badas- 
CIAN,  or  in  English  spelling  Badashan,  because  it  is  closest 
to  the  real  name  BadakhsJimi.  Another  place  appears  as  COBI- 
NAN,  Cabanat,  Cobian.  I  adopt  the  first  because  it  is  the 
truest  expression  of  the  real  name  Koh-bendn.  In  chapters 
23,  24  of  Book  I.,  we  have  in  the  G.  T.  Asisim,  Asciscin, 
Asescm,.  and  in  Pauthier's  MSS.  Hasisins,  Harsisius,  &c.  I 
adopt  Asciscin,  or  in  English  spelling  ASHISHIN,  for  the 
same  reason  as  before.  So  with  Creman,  Crennan,  Crer- 
maijt,  QUERMAN,  Anglice  Kerman  ;  Cormos,  HoRMOS,  and 
many  more.* 

In  two  or  three  cases  I  have  adopted  a  reading  which  I 
cannot  show  literatim  in  any  authority,  but  because  such  a 
form  appears  to  be  the  just  resultant  from  the  variety  of 
readings  which  are  presented,  as  one  takes  the  mean  of  a 
number  of  observations  in  surveying  when  no  one  can  claim 
an  absolute  preference. 

*  In  Polo's  diction  C  not  unfrequently  represents  H,  e.  g.,  Cormos  =  Hormuz  ; 
Camadi  probably  =  Hamadi ;  Caagm  probably  =  Hochau  ;  Cacianju  =  Hochangfu, 
and  so  on.  This  is  perhaps  attributable  to  Rusticiano's  Tuscan  ear.  A  true  Pisan 
will  absolutely  contort  his  features  in  the  intensity  of  his  efforts  to  aspirate  suffi- 
ciently the  letter  C. 


Polo's  proper  names,  even  in  the  French  Texts,  are  in  the 
main  formed  on  an  Italian  fashion  of  spelling.*  I  see  no 
object  in  preserving  such  spelling  in  an  English  book,  so  after 
selecting  the  best  reading  of  the  name  I  express  it  in  English 
spelling,  printing  Badashan,  PasJiai,  Kenjanfii,  instead  of 
Badascian,  Pasciai,  Qiiengianfn,  and  so  on. 

And  when  a  little  trouble  has  been  taken  to  ascertain  the 
true  form  and  force  of  Polo's  spelling  of  Oriental  names  and 
technical  expressions,  it  will  be  found  that  they  are  in  the 
main  as  accurate  as  Italian  lips  and  orthography  will  admit, 
and  not  justly  liable  to  those  exegetical  distortions  which 
have  been  too  often  applied  to  them.  Thus,  for  example, 
Cocacin,  Ghel  or  Ghelan,  Tonocain,  Cobinan,  Ondaniqiie,  Bar- 
guerlac,  Argon,  Sensin,  Quescican,  Toscaol,  Bularguci,  Zardan- 
dan,  Anin,  Caiigign,  Coloman,  Gaiienispola,  Mntfili,  Avarian, 
Choiach,  are  not,  it  will  be  seen,  the  ignorant  blunderings 
which  the  interpretations  affixed  by  some  commentators  would 
imply  them  to  be,  but  are  on  the  contrary  all  but  perfectly 
accurate  utterances  of  the  names  and  words  intended. 

The  chapter-headings  I  have  generally  taken  from  Pau- 
thier's  Text,  but  they  are  no  essential  part  of  the  original 
work,  and  they  have  been  slightly  modified  or  enlarged  where 
it  seemed  desirable.t 

*  In  the  Venetian  dialect  ch,  7,  and  c  are  often  sounded  as  in  English,  not  as  in 
Italian.  Some  traces  of  such  pronunciation  I  think  there  are,  as  in  Coja,  Carajan, 
Cerazi,  and  in  the  Chinese  name  Vanchn.  {supra,  p.  cxxiv).  But  the  scribe  of  the 
original  work  being  a  Tuscan,  the  spelling  is  in  the  main  Tuscan.  The  sound  of 
the  Qu  is  however  French,  as  in  Quescican,  Qiiinsai. 

t  1  should  have  pointed  out  at  pp.  xxxvi,  xxxvii,  the  verisimilitude  of  the 
tradition  there  related  by  Ramusio,  when  regarded  by  the  light  of  genuine  Mongol 
practice,  such  as  is  quoted  in  the  last  paragraph  of  p.  345  of  this  volume. 

NoTA  15ENE. — The  Appendices  frequently  referred  to  in  the  course  of 
these  Introductory  Notices  will  be  found  at  the  end  of  Vol.  II. 

VOL.   I. 

Marco  Polos  Itineraries. 

(  Pi-olognn  ;   Bookl.Chapta-s  1:56  ;  mil  BookW 

uml  In  PoU.  are  bra  em  Iw^lu, 

L  States     '  "^ri^BiA*" 




Great  Princes,  Emperors,  and  Kings,  Dukes  and  Mar- 
quises, Counts,  Knights  and  Burgesses !  and  People  of  all 
degrees  who  desire  to  get  knowledge  of  the  various  races  of 
mankind  and  of  the  diversities  of  the  sundry  regions  of  the 
World,  take  this  Book  and  cause  it  to  be  read  to  you.  For 
ye  shall  find  therein  all  kinds  of  wonderful  things,  and  the 
divers  histories  of  the  Great  Hermenia,  and  of  Persia,  and 
of  the  Land  of  the  Tartars,  and  of  India,  and  of  many 
another  country  of  which  our  Book  doth  speak,  particularly 
and  in  regular  succession,  according  to  the  description  of 
Messer  Marco  Polo,  a  wise  and  noble  citizen  of  Venice,  as 
he  saw  them  with  his  own  eyes.  Some  things  indeed  there 
be  therein  which  he  beheld  not ;  but  these  he  heard  from 
men  of  credit  and  veracity.  And  we  shall  set  down  things 
seen  as  seen,  and  things  heard  as  heard  only,  so  that  no  jot 
of  falsehood  may  mar  the  truth  of  our  Book,  and  that  all 
who  shall  read  it  or  hear  it  read  may  put  full  faith  in  the 
truth  of  all  its  contents. 

For  let  me  tell  you  that  since  our  Lord  God  did  mould 
with  his  hands  our  first.  Father  Adam,  even  until  this 
day,  never  hath  there  been  Christian,  or  Pagan,  or  Tartar, 
or  Indian,  or  any  man  of  any  nation,  who  in  his  own  per- 
son hath  had  so  much  knowledge  and  experience  of  the 
divers  parts  of  the  World  and  its  Wonders  as  hath  had  this 
Messer  Marco !     And  for  that  reason  he  bethouQ;lit  himself 

VOL.    I.  R 


that  it  would  be  a  very  great  pity  did  he  not  cause  to  be 
put  in  writing  all  the  great  marvels  that  he  had  seen,  or 
on  sure  information  heard  of,  so  that  other  people  who 
had  not  these  advantages  might,  by  his  Book,  get  such 
knowledge.  And  I  may  tell  you  that  in  acquiring  this 
knowledge  he  spent  in  those  various  parts  of  the  World 
good  six-and-twenty  years.  Now,  being  thereafter  an 
inmate  of  the  Prison  at  Genoa,  he  caused  Messer  Rusti- 
ciano  of  Pisa,  who  was  in  the  said  Prison  Hkewise,  to 
reduce  the  whole  to  writing;  and  this  befel  in  the  year 
1298  from  the  birth  of  Jesus. 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  Polo  set  forth  from  Constantinople 


It  came  to  pass  in  the  year  of  Christ  1260,  when  Baldwin 
was  reigning  at  Constantinople,'  that  Messer  Nicolas  Polo, 
the  father  of  my  lord  Mark,  and  Messer  MafFeo  Polo,  the 
brother  of  Messer  Nicolas,  were  at  the  said  city  of  Con- 
stantinople, whither  they  had  gone  from  Venice  with 
their  merchant's  wares.  Now  these  two  Brethren,  men 
singularly  noble,  wise,  and  provident,  took  counsel  together 
to  cross  the  Greater  Sea  on  a  venture  of  trade ;  so  they 
laid  in  a  store  of  jewels  and  set  forth  from  Constantinople, 
crossing  the  Sea  to  Soldaia.* 

Note  1. — Baldwin  II.  (de  Courtenay),  the  last  Latin  Emperor  of 
Constantinople,  reigned  from  1237  to  1261,  when  he  was  expelled  by 
Michael  Palaeologus. 

The  date  in  the  text  is,  as  we  see,  that  of  the  Brothers'  voyage  across 
the  Black  Sea.  It  stands  1250  in  all  the  chief  texts.  But  the  figure  is 
certainly  wrong.  We  shall  see  that,  when  the  Brothers  return  to  Venice 
in  1269,  they  find  Mark,  who,  according  to  Ramusio's  version,  was  bom 
after  their  departure^  a  lad  of  fifteen.  Hence,  if  we  rely  on  Ramusio, 
they  must   have   left  Venice   about   1253-54.     And  we  shall    see   also 

Chap.  1.       VENTURE  OF  THE  TWO  BROTHERS  POLO.  3 

that  they  reached  the  Wolga  in  1261.  Hence  then-  start  from  Con- 
stantmople  may  well  have  occurred  in  1260,  and  this  I  have  adopted  as 
the  most  probable  correction.  Where  they  spent  the  interval  between 
1254  (if  they  really  left  Venice  so  early)  and  1260,  nowhere  appears. 
But  as  their  brother,  Mark  the  Elder,  in  his  Will  styles  himself  "  whilom 
of  Constantinople^'  their  head-quarters  were  probably  there. 

Castle  of  Soldaia  or  Sudak. 

Note  2. — In  the  Middle  Ages  the  Black  Sea,  though  that  name  {Mare 
Maurutn  v.  Nigrum)  was  by  no  means  unknown,  was  generally  called 
Mare  Magnum  or  Majns.     Thus  Chaucer  : — 

"  In  the  Grete  See, 
At  many  a  noble  Armee  hadde  he  be." 

Soldaia  or  Soldac/iia,  called  by  Orientals  Siiddk,  stands  on  the  S.E. 
coast  of  the  Crimea,  west  of  Kaffa.  It  had  belonged  to  the  Greek 
Empire,  and  had  a  considerable  Greek  population.  After  the  events 
of  1204,  it  apparently  fell  to  Trebizond.  It  was  taken  by  the  Mongols 
in  1222,  and  during  that  century  was  the  great  port  of  intercourse  with 
what  is  now  Russia.  At  an  uncertain  date,  Ijut  about  the  middle  of  the 
century,  the  Venetians  established  a  foctory  there,  which  in  1287  became 
the  seat  of  a  consul.     In  1323  we  find  Pope  John  XXII.  complaining  to 

R    2 


Uzbek  Khan  of  Sarai  that  the  Christians  had  been  ejected  from  Soldaia 
and  their  churches  turned  into  mosques.  Ibn  Batuta,  who  alkides  to 
this  strife,  counts  Sudak  as  one  of  the  four  great  ports  of  the  World, 
The  Genoese  got  Soldaia  in  1365  and  built  strong  defences,  still  to  be 
seen.  Some  of  the  Arab  Geographers  call  the  Sea  of  Azov  the  Sea  of 

The  Elder  Marco  Polo  in  his  Will  (1280)  bequeaths  to  the  Francis- 
can Friars  of  the  place  a  house  of  his  in  Soldachia,  reserving  life  occu- 
pation to  his  own  son  and  daughter  then  residing  in  it.  Probably  this 
establishment  already  existed  when  the  two  Brothers  went  thither. 
{EUe  de  Laprimaudaie,  passim  ;  Gold.  Horde,  87  ;  Mos/icwi,  App.  148  ; 
Ibn  Bat.  I.  28,  II.  414;  Cathay,  231-33;  Heyd,  II.  passim.) 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  went  on  rsEvoND  Soldaia, 

Having  stayed  a  while  at  Soldaia,  they  considered  the 
matter,  and  thought  it  well  to  extend  their  journey  further. 
So  they  set  forth  from  Soldaia  and  travelled  till  they  came  to 
the  court  of  a  certain  Tartar  Prince,  Barca  Kaan  by  name, 
whose  residences  were  at  Sara'  and  at  Bolgara,  [and  who 
was  esteemed  one  of  the  most  liberal  and  courteous  Princes 
that  ever  was  among  the  Tartars],^  This  Barca  was 
delighted  at  the  arrival  of  the  Two  Brothers,  and  treated 
them  with  great  honour  ;  so  they  presented  to  him  the 
whole  of  the  jewels  that  they  had  brought  with  them.  The 
Prince  was  highly  pleased  with  these,  and  accepted  the 
offering  most  graciously,  causing  the  Brothers  to  receive  at 
least  twice  its  value. 

After  they  had  spent  a  twelvemonth  at  the  court  of  this 
Prince  there  broke  out  a  great  war  between  Barca  and 
Alau,  the  Lord  of  the  Tartars  of  the  Levant,  and  great 
hosts  were  mustered  on  either  side.^ 

But  in  the  end  Barca,  the  Lord  of  the  Tartars  of  the 
Ponent,  was  defeated,  though  on  both  sides  there  was  great 
slaughter.     And  by  reason  of  this  war  no  one  could  travel 


without  peril  of  being  taken ;  thus  it  was  at  least  on  the 
road  by  which  the  Brothers  had  come,  though  there  was  no 
obstacle  to  their  travelling  forward.  So  the  Brothers,  finding 
they  could  not  retrace  their  steps,  determined  to  go  for- 
ward. Quitting  Bolgara,  therefore,  they  proceeded  to  a  city 
called  UcACA,  which  was  at  the  extremity  of  the  kingdom 
of  the  Lord  of  the  Ponent  ;'*  and  thence  departing  again, 
and  passing  the  great  River  Tigris,  they  travelled  across  a 
Desert  which  extended  for  seventeen  days'  journey,  and 
wherein  they  found  neither  town  nor  village,  falling  in  only 
with  the  tents  of  Tartars  occupied  with  their  cattle  at 

Note  1. — Barka  Khan,  third  son  of  Jiiji  the  first-born  of  Chinghiz, 
ruled  the  Uli'is  of  Juji  and  Empire  of  Kipchak  (Southern  Russia)  from 
1257  to  1265.  He  was  the  first  Musuhiian  sovereign  of  his  race.  His 
chief  residence  was  at  Sarai  (Sara  of  the  text)  a  city  founded  by  his 
brother  and  predecessor  Batu,  on  the  banks  of  the  Akhtuba  branch  of 
the  Wolga.  In  the  next  century  Ibn  Batuta  describes  Sarai  as  a  very 
handsome  and  populous  city,  so  large  that  it  made  half  a  day's  journey 
to  ride  through  it.  The  inhabitants  were  Mongols,  Aas  (or  Alans), 
Kipchaks,  Circassians,  Russians,  and  Greeks,  besides  the  foreign  Moslem 
merchants  who  had  a  walled  quarter.  Another  Mahomedan  traveller  of 
the  same  century  says  the  city  itself  was  not  walled,  but,  "  The  Khan's 
Palace  was  a  great  edifice  surmounted  by  a  golden  crescent  weighing  two 
kantars  of  Egypt,  and  encompassed  by  a  wall  flanked  with  towers,"  &c. 

Sarai  became  the  seat  of  both  a  Latin  and  a  Russian  metropolitan, 
and  of  more  than  one  Franciscan  convent.  It  was  destroyed  by  Timur 
on  his  second  invasion  of  Kipchak  (1395-6),  and  extinguished  by  the 
Russians  a  century  later.  It  is  the  scene  of  Chaucer's  half-told  tale  of 
Cambuscan  : — • 

*'  At  Sarra,  in  the  Londe  of  Tartaric, 
There  dwelt  a  King  that  werried  Russie." 

Several  sites  exhibiting  extensive  ruins  near  the  banks  of  the  Akhtuba 
have  been  identified  with  Sarai ;  two  in  particular.  One  of  these  is  not 
far  from  the  great  elbow  of  the  Wolga  at  Tzaritzyn  :  the  other  much 
lower  down,  at  Selitrennoi  Gorodok  or  "  Saltpetre'-Town,"  not  far  above 

The  upper  site  exhibits  by  far  the  most  extensive  traces  of  former 
population,  and  is  declared  unhesitatingly  to  be  the  sole  site  of  Sarai  by 
M.  Gregorieff,  who  carried  on  excavations  among  the  remains  for  four 
years,  though  with  what  precise  results  I  have  not  been  able  to  learn. 

6  MARCO  POLO.  Prol. 

The  most  dense  part  of  the  remains,  consisting  of  mounds  and  eartli- 
works,  traces  of  walls,  buildings,  cisterns,  dams,  and  innumerable  canals, 
extends  for  about  7^  miles  in  the  vicinity  of  the  town  of  Tzarev,  but  a 
tract  of  66  miles  in  length  and  300  miles  in  circuit,  commencing  from 
near  the  head  of  the  Akhtuba,  presents  remains  of  like  character,  though 
of  less  density,  marking  the  ground  occupied  by  the  villages  which  en- 
circled the  capital.  About  2^  miles  to  the  N.W.  of  Tzarev  a  vast  mass 
of  such  remains,  surrounded  by  the  traces  of  a  brick  rampart,  points  out 
the  presumable  position  of  the  Imperial  Palace. 

M.  Gregorieff  appears  to  admit  no  alternative.  Yet  it  seems  certain 
that  the  indications  of  Abulfeda,  Pegolotti,  and  others,  with  regard  to  the 
position  of  the  capital  in  the  early  part  of  the  14th  century,  are  not  con- 
sistent with  a  site  so  far  from  the  Caspian.  Moreover,  F.  H.  Miiller 
states  that  the  site  near  Tsarev  is  known  to  the  Tartars  as  the  "  Sarai 
of  Janibek  Khan."  Now  it  is  worthy  of  note  that  in  the  coinage  of 
Janibek  we  repeatedly  find  as  the  place  of  mintage,  New  Sarai.  Is  it 
not  possible,  therefore,  that  both  the  sites  which  we  have  mentioned 
were  successively  occupied  by  the  Mongol  capital ;  that  the  original 
Sarai  of  Batu  was  at  Selitrennoi  Gorodok,  and  that  the  Nc7a  Sarai  of 
Janibek  was  established  by  him  or  one  of  his  immediate  predecessors 
on  the  upper  Akhtuba  ? 

{Four  Years  of  ArchcBological  Researches  among  the  Rui7is  of  Sarai 
[in  Russian],  by  M.  Gregorieff  [who  appears  to  have  also  published  a 
pamphlet  specially  on  the  site,  but  this  has  not  been  available]  ;  Historisch- 
geographische  Darstelliing  des  Strojnsystejns  der  JVo/ga,  von  Ferd.  Heinr. 
Miiller,  Berlin,  1839,  568-77  ;  Ibn  Bat.  II.  447  ;  Not.  et  Extraits,  XIII. 
i.  286;  Pallas,  Voyages;  Cathay,  231,  &c. ;  Erdmann,  Nimii  Asiatici, 
pp.  362  seqq) 

Note  2. — Bolghar,  our  author's  Bolgara,  was  the  capital  of  the 
region  sometimes  called  Great  Bulgaria,  by  Abulfeda  Inner  Bulgaria, 
and  stood  a  few  miles  from  the  left  bank  of  the  Wolga,  in  latitude  about 
54°  54',  and  90  miles  below  Kazan.  The  old  Arab  writers  regarded  it  as 
nearly  the  limit  of  the  habitable  world,  and  told  wonders  of  the  cold, 
the  brief  summer  nights,  and  the  fossil  ivory  that  was  found  in  its  vicinity. 
This  was  exported,  and  with  peltry,  wax,  honey,  hazel-nuts,  and  Russia 
leather,  formed  the  staple  articles  of  trade.  The  last  item  derived  from 
Bolghar  the  name  which  it  still  bears  all  over  Asia.  Bolghar  seems  to 
have  been  the  northern  limit  of  Arab  travel,  and  was  visited  by  the 
curious  (by  Ibn  Batuta  among  others)  in  order  to  witness  the  phenomena 
of  the  short  summer  night,  as  travellers  now  visit  Hammerfest  to  witness 
its  entire  absence. 

Russian  chroniclers  speak  of  an  earlier  capital  of  the  Bulgarian 
kingdom,  Brakhimov  near  the  mouth  of  the  Kama,  destroyed  by  Andrew, 
Grand  Duke  of  Rostov  and  Susdal,  about  1 160  ;  and  this  may  have  been 
the  city  referred  to  in  the  earlier  Arabic  accounts.  The  fullest  of  these 
is  by  Ibn  Fozlan,  who  accompanied  an  embassy  from  the  Court  of 


To  face  Frologiie.Chap.'i 

\,\l  T  vmewlsAfet  Y^V.-rwvc 

Chap.  II.  BOLGHAR.  7 

Baghdad  to  Bolghar,  in  a.d.  921.  The  King  and  people  had  about 
this  time  been  converted  to  Islam,  having  previously,  as  it  would  seem, 
professed  Christianity.  Nevertheless  a  Mahomedan  writer  of  the  14th 
century  says  the  people  had  then  long  renounced  Islam  for  the  worship 
of  the  Cross.     {Not.  et  Extr.  XIII.  i.  270.) 

Bolghar  was  first  captured  by  the  Mongols  in  1225.  It  seems  to  have 
perished  early  in  the  15  th  century,  after  which  Kazan  practically  took 
its  place.  Its  position  is  still  marked  by  a  village  called  Bolgari,  where 
ruins  of  Mahomedan  character  remain,  and  where  coins  and  inscriptions 
have  been  found.  Coins  of  the  Kings  of  Bolghar,  struck  in  the  loth 
century,  have  been  described  by  Fraehn,  as  well  as  coins  of  the  Mongol 
period  struck  at  Bolghar.  Its  latest  known  coin  is  of  a.h.  818 
(a.d.  1 41 5- 1 6).  A  history  of  Bolghar  was  written  in  the  first  half  of  the 
1 2th  century  by  Yakub  Ibn  Noman,  Kadhi  of  the  city,  but  this  is  not 
known  to  be  extant. 

-  ~S^Jm^!&k. 

Ruins  of  Bolghar. 

Fraehn  shows  ground  for  believing  the  people  to  have  been  a  mixture 
of  Fins,  Slavs,  and  Turks.  Nicephorus  Gregoras  supposes  that  they 
took  their  name  from  the  great  river  on  which  they  dwelt  (BovAya). 

The  severe  and  lasting  winter  is  spoken  of  by  Ibn  Fozlan  and  other 
old  writers  in  terms  that  seem  to  point  to  a  modern  mitigation  of  climate. 
It  is  remarkable,  too,  that  Ibn  Fozlan  speaks  of  the  aurora  as  of  very 
frequent  occurrence,  which  is  not  now  the  case  in  that  latitude.  We 
may  suspect  this  frequency  to  have  been  connected  with  the  greater  cold 
indicated,  and  perhaps  with  a  different  position  of  the  magnetic  pole. 
Ibn  Fozlan's  account  of  the  aurora  is  very  striking: — "Shortly  before 
sunset  the  horizon  became  all  very  ruddy,  and  at  the  same  time  I  heard 
sounds  in  the  upper  air,  with  a  dull  rustling.  I  looked  up  and  beheld 
sweeping  over  me  a  fire-red  cloud,  from  which  these  sounds  issued,  and 
in  it  movements  as  it  were  of  men  and  horses ;  the  men  grasping  bows, 
lances,  and  swords.  This  I  saw,  or  thought  I  saw.  Then  there 
appeared  a  white  cloud  of  like  aspect;  in  it  also  I  beheld  armed  horse- 
men, and   these  rushed   against   the  former  as   one  squadron  of  horse 


charges  another.  We  were  so  terrified  at  this  that  we  turned  with 
humble  prayer  to  the  Ahiiighty,  whereupon  the  natives  about  us  won- 
dered and  broke  into  loud  laughter.  We,  however,  continued  to  gaze, 
seeing  how  one  cloud  charged  the  other,  remained  confiased  with  it  a 
while,  and  then  sundered  again.  These  movements  lasted  deep  into  the 
night,  and  then  all  vanished." 

{Fraehn,  Ueber  die  Wolga-Bulgaren,  Petersb.  1832  ;  Gold.  Horde,  8, 
9,  423-4  ;  Not.  et  Extr.  II.  541  ;  Ibn  Bat.  II.  398;  Bilschings  Mag.  V. 
492;  Erdmann,  Nmni  Asiat.  I.  315-318,  333-4,  520-535;  Niceph. 
Gregoras,  II.  2,  2.) 

Note  3. — Alau  is  Polo's  representation  of  the  name  of  HuUkii, 
brother  of  the  Great  Kaans  Mangu  and  Kublai,  and  founder  of  the 
Mongol  dynasty  in  Persia.  In  the  Mongol  pronunciation,  guttural  and 
palatal  consonants  are  apt  to  be  elided,  hence  this  spelling.  The  same 
na^ne  is  written  by  Pope  Alexander  IV.,  in  addressing  the  Khan,  Olao, 
by  Pachymeres  and  Gregoras  XaAav  and  XaA-aoC,  by  Hayton  Haolon, 
by  Ibn  Batuta  Huldun,  as  well  as  in  a  letter  of  Hulaku's  own,  as  given 
by  Makrizi. 

The  war  in  question  is  related  in  Rashiduddin's  history,  and  by 
Polo  himself  towards  the  end  of  the  work.  It  began  in  the  summer  of 
1262,  and  ended  about  eight  months  later.  Hence  the  Polos  must 
have  reached  Barka's  Court  in  1261. 

Marco  always  applies  to  the  Mongol  Khans  of  Persia  the  title  of 
"Lords  of  the  East"  {Levant),  and  to  the  Khans  of  Kipchak  that  of 
"  Lords  of  the  West "  {Ponent).  We  use  tlie  term  Levant  still  with  a 
similar  specific  application,  and  in  another  form  Anatolia.  I  think  it 
best  to  preserve  the  terms  Levant  and  Ponent  when  used  in  this  way. 

Note  4. — Ukaka  or  Ukek  was  a  town  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Wolga,  nearly  equidistant  between  Sarai  and  Bolghar,  and  about  six 
miles  south  of  the  modern  Saratov,  where  a  village  called  Uwek  still 
exists,  Ukek  is  not  mentioned  before  the  Mongol  domination,  and  is 
supposed  to  have  been  of  Mongol  foundation,  as  the  name  Ukek  is  said 
in  Mongol  to  signify  a  dam  of  hurdles.  The  city  is  mentioned  by  Abul- 
feda  as  marking  the  extremity  of  "  the  empire  of  the  Barka  Tartars," 
and  Ibn  Batuta  speaks  of  it  as  "  one  day  distant  from  the  hills  of  the 
Russians."  Polo  therefore  means  that  it  was  the  frontier  of  the  Ponent 
towards  Russia.  Ukek  was  the  site  of  a  Franciscan  convent  in  the 
14th  century;  it  is  mentioned  several  times  in  the  campaigns  of  Timur, 
and  was  destroyed  by  his  army.  It  is  not  mentioned  under  the  form 
Ukek  after  this,  but  appears  as  Uwek  and  Uzuesh  in  Russian  documents 
of  the  1 6th  century.  Perhaps  this  was  always  the  Slavonic  form,  for  it 
already  is  written  Ugueeh  (  =  Uwek)  in  Wadding's  14th  century  catalogue 
of  convents.  Anthony  Jenkinson,  in  Hakluyt,  gives  an  observation  of 
its  latitude,  as  Otueke  (51°  40'),  and  Christopher  Burrough,  in  the  same 
collection,  gives  a  description  of  it  as  Oiieak,  and  the  latitude  as  51°  30'. 

Chap.  HI.  THE  CITY  OF  BOCARA.  9 

In  his  time  (1579)  there  were  the  remains  of  a  "very  faire  stone  castle  " 
and  city,  with  old  tombs  exhibiting  sculptures  and  inscriptions.  All 
these  have  long  vanished.  Burrough  was  told  by  the  Russians  that  the 
town  "was  swallowed  into  the  earth  by  the  justice  of  God,  for  the  wicked- 
nesse  of  the  people  that  inhabited  the  same."  Lepechin  in  1769  found 
nothing  remaining  but  part  of  an  earthen  rampart  and  some  under- 
ground vaults  of  large  bricks,  which  the  people  dug  out  for  use.  He 
speaks  of  coins  and  other  relics  as  frequently  found,  and  the  like  have 
been  found  more  recently.  Coins  with  Mongol- Arab  inscriptions, 
struck  at  Ukek  by  Tuktugai  Khan  in  1306,  have  been  described  by 
Fraehn  and  Erdmann. 

{Frae/in,  Ucber  die  ehemalige  Mong.  Stadt  Ukek,  6^^.,  Petersb.  1835  ; 
Gold.  Horde ;  Ibn.  Bat.  II.  414;  Abi/lfeda,  in  Biisc/iiiig,  V.  365  ;  A7ifi. 
Mifiorum,  sub  anno,  1400;  Petis  de  la  Croix,  II.  355,  383,  388;  Jlak- 
liiyt,  ed.  1809,  I.  375  and  472;  Lepechin,  Tagebuch  der  Reise,  <5>r., 
I.  235-7.) 

Note  5. — The  great  River  Tigeri  or  Tigris  is  the  Wolga,  as  Pauthier 
rightly  shows.  It  receives  the  same  name  from  the  Monk  Pascal  of 
Vittoria  in  1338  {^Cathay,  p.  234).  Perhaps  this  rose  out  of  some 
legend  that  the  Tigris  was  a  reappearance  of  the  same  river.  The 
ecclesiastical  historian,  Nicephorus  Callistus,  appears  to  imply  that  the 
Tigris  coming  from  Paradise  flows  under  the  Caspian  to  emerge  in 
Kurdistan  (see  IX.  19). 

The  "17  days  "  applies  to  one  stretch  of  desert.  The  whole  journey 
from  Ukek  to  Bokhara  would  take  some  60  days  at  least.  Ibn  Batuta 
is  58  days  from  Sarai  to  Bokhara,  and  of  the  last  section  he  says  "we 
entered  the  Desert  which  extends  between  Khwarizm  and  Bokhara,  and 
loJiich  has  an  extent  of  i2>  days'  journey  (III.  19). 


How  THE  Two  Brothers,  after  crossing  a  Desert,  came  to  the 
City  of  Bocara,  and  fell  in  with  certain  Envoys  there. 

After  they  had  passed  the  desert,  they  arrived  at  a  very 
great  and  noble  city  called  Bocara,  the  territory  of  which 
belonged  to  a  king  whose  name  was  Barac,  and  is  also 
called  Bocara.  The  city  is  the  best  in  all  Persia.'  And 
when  they  had  got  thither,  they  found  they  could  neither 
proceed  further  forward,  nor  yet  turn  back  again  ;  wherefore 

lO  MARCO  POLO.  •     PROL. 

they  abode  in  that  city  of  Bocara  for  three  years.  And 
whilst  they  were  sojourning  in  that  city,  there  came  h'om 
Alau,  Lord  of  the  Levant,  Envoys  on  their  way  to  the 
Court  of  the  Great  Kaan,  the  Lord  of  all  the  Tartars  in 
the  world.  And  when  the  Envoys  beheld  the  Two  Brothers 
they  were  amazed,  for  they  had  never  before  seen  Latins  in 
that  part  of  the  world.  And  they  said  to  the  Brothers  : 
"  Gentlemen,  if  ye  will  take  our  counsel,  ye  will  find  great 
honour  and  profit  shall  come  thereof."  So  they  replied, 
that  they  would  be  right  glad  to  learn  how.  "  In  truth," 
said  the  Envoys,  "  the  Great  Kaan  hath  never  seen  any 
Latins,  and  he  hath  a  great  desire  so  to  do.  Wherefore, 
if  ye  will  keep  us  company  to  his  Court,  ye  may  depend 
upon  it  that  he  will  be  right  glad  to  see  you,  and  will 
treat  you  with  great  honour  and  liberality  ;  whilst  in  our 
company  ye  shall  travel  with  perfect  security,  and  need 
fear  to  be  molested  by  nobody."  ^ 

Note  1. — Hayton  also  calls  Bokhara  a  city  of  Persia,  and  I  see 
Vambery  says  that,  up  till  the  conquest  by  Chinghiz,  Bokhara,  Samar- 
kand, Balkh,  &c.,  were  considered  to  belong  to  Persia.     {Travels,  p.  377.) 

King  Barac  is  Borrak  Khan,  great  grandson  of  Chagatai,  and  sove- 
reign of  the  Ukis  of  Chagatai,  from  1264  to  1270.  The  Polos,  no 
doubt,  reached  Bokhara  before  1264,  but  Borrak  must  have  been  sove- 
reign some  time  before  they  left  it. 

Note  2. — The  language  of  the  envoys  seems  rather  to  imply  that 
they  were  the  Great  Kaan's  own  people  returning  from  the  Court  of 
Hulaku.  And  Rashid  mentions  that  Sartak,  the  Kaan's  ambassador  to 
Hulaku,  returned  from  Persia  in  the  year  that  the  latter  prince  died.  It 
may  have  been  his  party  that  the  Venetians  joined,  for  the  year  almost 
certainly  was  the  same,  viz.  1265.  If  so,  another  of  the  party  was 
Bayan,  afterwards  the  greatest  of  Kublai's  captains,  and  much  celebrated 
in  the  sequel  of  this  book  (see  Erdmantis  Icmudschin,  p.  214). 

Marsden  justly  notes  that  Marco  habitually  speaks  of  Latins,  never 
of  Franks.     Yet  I  suspect  his  own  mental  expression  was  Farangi. 

Chaps.  IV.— VI.      THE  COURT  OF  THE  GREAT  KAAN.  II 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  took  the  Envoys'  counsel,  and  went 
TO  the  Court  of  the  Great  Kaan. 

So  when  the  Two  Brothers  had  made  their  arrangements, 
they  set  out  on  their  travels,  in  company  with  the  Envoys, 
and  journeyed  for  a  whole  year,  going  northward  and 
north-eastward,  before  they  reached  the  Court  of  that 
Prince.  And  on  their  journey  they  saw  many  marvels  of 
divers  and  sundry  kinds,  but  of  these  we  shall  say  nothing 
at  present,  because  Messer  Mark,  who  has  likewise  seen 
them  all,  will  give  you  a  full  account  of  them  in  the  Book 
which  follows. 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  arrived  at  the  Court  of  the 
Great  Kaan. 

When  the  Two  Brothers  got  to  the  Great  Kaan,  he  re- 
ceived them  with  great  honour  and  hospitality,  and  showed 
much  pleasure  at  their  visit,  asking  them  a  great  number  of 
questions.  First  he  asked  about  the  emperors,  how  they 
maintained  their  dignity,  and  administered  justice  in  their 
dominions ;  and  how  they  went  forth  to  battle,  and  so 
forth.  And  then  he  asked  the  like  questions  about  the 
kings  and  princes  and  other  potentates. 


How  the  Great  Kaan  asked  all  about  the  manners  of  the 
Christians,  and  particularly  about  the  Pope  of  Rome. 

And  then  he  inquired  about  the  Pope  and  the  Church, 
and  about  all  that  is  done  at  Rome,  and  all  the  customs  of 

12  MARCO  POLO.  Prol. 

the  Latins.  And  the  Two  Brothers  told  him  the  truth  in 
all  its  particulars,  with  order  and  good  sense,  like  sensible 
men  as  they  were  ;  and  this  they  were  able  to  do  as  they 
knew  the  Tartar  language  well.' 

Note  1. — The  word  generally  used  for  Pope  in  the  original  is 
ApostoiUe  {Apostolicies),  the  usual  French  expression  of  that  age. 

It  is  remarkable  that  for  the  most  part  the  text  edited  by  Pauthier 
has  the  correcter  Oriental  form  Tatar,  instead  of  the  usual  Tartar. 


How  THE  Great  Kaan  sent  the  Two  Brothers  as  his  Envoys  to 

THE  Pope. 

When  that  Prince,  whose  name  was  Cublay  Kaan,  Lord 
of  the  Tartars  all  over  the  earth,  and  of  all  the  kingdoms 
and  provinces  and  territories  of  that  vast  quarter  of  the 
world,  had  heard  all  that  the  Brothers  had  to  tell  him  about 
the  ways  of  the  Latins,  he  was  greatly  pleased,  and  he  took 
it  into  his  head  that  he  would  send  them  on  an  Embassy  to 
the  Pope.  So  he  urgently  desired  them  to  undertake  this 
mission  along  with  one  of  his  Barons  ;  and  they  replied  that 
they  would  gladly  execute  all  his  commands  as  those  of 
their  Sovereign  Lord.  Then  the  Prince  sent  to  summon 
to  his  presence  one  of  his  Barons  whose  name  was  Cogatal, 
and  desired  him  to  get  ready,  for  it  was  proposed  to  send 
him  to  the  Pope  along  with  the  Two  Brothers.  The  Baron 
replied  that  he  would  execute  the  Lord's  commands  to  the 
best  of  his  ability. 

After  this  the  Prince  caused  letters  from  himself  to  the 
Pope  to  be  indited  in  the  Tartar  tongue,'  and  committed 
them  to  the  Two  Brothers  and  to  that  Baron  of  his  own, 
and  charged  them  with  what  he  wished  them  to  say  to  the 
Pope.     Now  the  contents  of  the  letter  were  to  this  pur- 

Chap.  VII.  EMBASSY  TO  THE  POPE.  "  13 

port :  He  begged  that  the  Pope  would  send  as  many  as  an 
hundred  persons  of  our  Christian  faith;  intelUgent  men, 
acquainted  with  the  Seven  Arts,^  well  qualified  to  enter 
into  controversy,  and  able  clearly  to  prove  by  force  of 
argument  to  idolaters  and  other  kinds  of  folk,  that  the  Law 
of  Christ  was  best,  and  that  all  other  religions  were  false 
and  naught ;  and  that  if  they  would  prove  this,  he  and 
all  under  him  would  become  Christians  and  the  Church's 
liegemen.  P'inally  he  charged  his  Envoys  to  bring  back  to 
him  some  Oil  of  the  Lamp  which  burns  on  the  Sepulchre 
of  our  Lord  at  Jerusalem.' 

Note  1. — The  appearance  of  the  Great  Kaan's  letter  may  be  illus- 
trated by  two  letters  preserved  in  the  French  archives ;  one  from  Arghun 
Khan  of  Persia  (1289),  and  the  other  from  his  son  Oljaitu  (1305),  to 
Philip  the  Fair.  These  are  both  in  the  Mongol  language,  and,  according 
to  Abel  Re'musat,  in  the  Uigur  character,  the  parent  of  the  present- 
Mongol  writing.  Facsimiles  of  the  letters  are  given  in  Remusat's  paper 
on  intercourse  with  Mongol  Princes,  in  Man.  de  VAcad.  dcs  Inscript. 
vols.  vii.  and  viii. 

Note  2. — The  "  Seven  Arts,"  from  a  date  reaching  nearly  back  to 
classical  times,  and  down  through  the  Middle  Ages,  expressed  the  whole 
circle  of  a  liberal  education,  and  it  is  to  these  Seven  Arts  that  the 
degrees  in  arts  were  understood  to  apply.  They  were  divided  into  the 
Trivium  of  Rhetoric,  Logic,  and  Grammar,  and  the  Quadrivhim  of 
Arithmetic,  Astronomy,  Music,  and  Geometry.  The  3Sth  epistle  of 
Seneca  was  in  many  MSS.  (according  to  Lipsius)  entitled  "  L.  Annaci 
Senecae  Liber  de  Septcm  Artibus  iibcralibiis."  I  do  not  find,  however, 
that  Seneca  there  mentions  categorically  more  than  five,  viz.,  Grammar, 
Geometry,  Music,  Astronomy,  and  Arithmetic.  In  the  5  th  century  we 
find  the  Seven  Arts  to  form  the  successive  subjects  of  the  last  seven 
books  of  the  work  of  Martianus  Capella,  much  used  in  the  schools 
during  the  early  Middle  Ages.  The  Seven  Arts  will  be  found  enume- 
rated in  the  verses  of  Tzetzes  {Chil.  XL  525),  and  allusions  to  them  in 
the  medieval  romances  are  endless.  Thus,  in  one  of  the  "  Gestes 
d' Alexandre,"  a  chapter  is  headed  "  Comment  Aristotle  aprcnt  a  Alix- 
andre  les  Sept  Arts."  In  the  tale  of  the  Seven  Wise  Masters,  Diocletian 
selects  that  number  of  tutors  for  his  son,  each  to  instruct  him  in  one  of 
the  Seven  Arts.  In  the  romance  of  Erec  and  Eneide  we  have  a  dress 
on  which  the  fairies  had  pourtrayed  the  Seven  Arts  {Franc- Michel., 
Recherches,  (S^c.  II.  82)  ;  in  the  Roman  de  Mahommet  \\\q  young  impostor 
is  master  of  all  the  seven.     See  also  Dante,  Convito,  Trat.  II.  c.  14. 




Note  3. — The  Chinghizide  Princes  were  eminently  liberal — or  indif- 
ferent— in  religion,  and  even  after  they  became  Mahomedan,  which, 
however,  the  Eastern  Branch  never  did,  they  were  rarely  and  only  by 
brief  fits  persecutors.  Hence  there  was  scarcely  one  of  the  non- 
Mahomedan  Khans  of  whose  conversion  to  Christianity  there  were  not 
stories  spread.  The  first  rumours  of  Chinghiz  in  the  West  were  as  of  a 
Christian  conqueror;  tales  may  be  found  of  the  Christianity  of  Chagatai, 
Hulaku,  Abaka,  Arghun,  Baidu,  Ghazan,  Sartak,  Kuyuk,  Mangu,  Kublai, 
and  one  or  two  of  the  latter's  successors  in  China,  all  probably  false, 
with  one  or  two  doubtful  exceptions. 

The  Great  Kaan  delivering  a  Golden  Tablet  to  the  Brothers.     From  a  miniature  of  the  14th  century. 


How  THE  Great  Kaan  gave  them  a  Tablet  of  Gold,  bearing  his 

ORDERS    IN   their   BEHALF. 

When  the  Prince  had  charged  them  with  all  his  commis- 
sion, he  caused  to  be  given  them  a  Tablet  of  Gold,  on 
which  was  inscribed  that  the  three  Ambassadors  should  be 
supplied  with  everything  needful  in  all  the  countries 
through  which  they  should  pass — with  horses,  with  escorts, 
and,  in  short,  with  whatever  they  should  require.  And 
when  they  had  made  all  needful  preparations,  the  three 
Ambassadors  took  their  leave  of  the  Emperor  and  set  out. 


When  they  had  travelled  I  know  not  how  many  days, 
the  Tartar  Baron  fell  sick,  so  that  he  could  not  ride,  and 
being  very  ill,  and  unable  to  proceed  further,  he  halted  at 
a  certain  city.  So  the  Two  Brothers  judged  it  best  that 
they  should  leave  him  behind  and  proceed  to  carry  out 
their  commission  ;  and,  as  he  was  well  content  that  they 
should  do  so,  they  continued  their  journey.  And  I  can 
assure  you,  that  whithersoever  they  went  they  were  honour- 
ably provided  with  whatever  they  stood  in  need  of,  or 
chose  to  command.  And  this  was  owing  to  that  Tablet  of 
Authority  from  the  Lord  which  they  carried  with  them,' 

So  they  travelled  on  and  on  until  they  arrived  at  Layas 
in  Hermenia,  a  journey  which  occupied  them,  I  assure  you, 
for  three  years.*  It  took  them  so  long  because  they  could 
not  always  advance,  being  stopped  sometimes  by  snow, 
or  by  heavy  rains  falling,  or  by  great  torrents  which  they 
found  in  an  impassable  state. 

Note  1.— On  these  Tablets,  see  a  note  under  Book  IL  chap.  vii. 

Note  , — Ayas,  called  also  Ayacio,  Aiazzo,  Giazza,  Glaza,  La  Jazza, 
and  Layas,  occupied  the  site  of  ancient  Aegae,  and  was  the  chief  port 
of  Cilician  Armenia,  on  the  Gulf  of  Scanderoon.  It  became  in  the  latter 
part  of  the  13th  century  one  of  the  chief  places  for  the  shipment  of 
Asiatic  wares  arriving  through  Tabriz,  and  was  much  frequented  by  the 
vessels  of  the  Italian  Republics.  It  was  the  seat  of  a  bishop,  and  the 
Venetians  had  a  Bailo  resident  there. 

Ayas  is  the  Lcyes  of  Chaucer's  Knight : — 

("  At  Leyes  was  he  and  at  Satalie") 

and  the  Layas  of  Froissart  (Bk.  III.  ch.  xxii.).  The  Gulf  of  Layas  is 
described  in  the  xixth  Canto  of  Ariosto,  where  Marfisa  and  Astolfo  find 
on  its  shores  a  country  of  barbarous  Amazons  : — 

"  Fatto  e  '1  porto  a  sembranza  d'  una  luna,"  &c, 

Marino  Sanuto  says  of  it :  "  Laiacio  has  a  haven,  and  a  shoal  in  front 
of  it  that  we  might  rather  call  a  reef,  and  to  this  shoal  the  hawsers  of 
vessels  are  moored  whilst  the  anchors  are  laid  out  towards  the  land" 
(IL  IV.  ch.  xxvi.). 

The  present  Ayas  is  a  wretched  village  of  some  1 5  huts,  occupied 
by  poor  Turkmans,  and  standing  inside  the  ruined  walls  of  the  castle. 
The  latter  was  built  by  the  Armenian  kings  from  the  remains  of  the 




ancient  city,  and  fragments  of  old  columns  are  embedded  in  its  walls  of 
cut  stone.  The  castle  formerly  communicated  by  a  causeway  with  an 
advanced  work  on  an  island  before  the  harbour.  The  ruins  of  the  city 
occupy  a  large  space.  {Latiglois,  V.  en  Cilicie,  p.  429-31  ;  see  also 
Bcauforfs  Karatnania,  near  the  end.) 

Castle  of  Ayas. 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  came  to  the  city  of  Acre. 

They  departed  from  Layas  and  came  to  Acre,  arriving 
there  in  the  month  of  April,  in  the  year  of  Christ  1269, 
and  then  they  learned  that  the  Pope  was  dead.  And  when 
they  found  that  the  Pope  was  dead  (his  name  was  Pope 
*  *  ),'  they  went  to  a  certain  wise  churchman  who  was 
Legate  for  the  whole  kingdom  of  Egypt,  and  a  man  of 
great  authority,  by  name  Theobald  of  Piacenza,  and 
told  him  of  the  mission  on  which  they  were  come.  When 
the  Legate  heard  their  story,  he  was  greatly  surprised,  and 
deemed   the  thing  to   be  of  great   honour  and   advantage 

Chap.  IX. 



for  the  whole  of  Christendom.  So  his  answer  to  the  two 
Ambassador  Brothers  was  this :  "  Gentlemen,  ye  see  that 
the  Pope  is  dead  ;  wherefore  ye  must  needs  have  patience 
until  a  new  Pope  be  made,  and  then  shall  ye  be  able  to 
execute  your  charge."  Seeing  well  enough  that  what  the 
Legate  said  was  just,  they  observed  :  "  But  while  the  Pope 
is  a-making,  we  may  as  well  go  to  Venice  and  visit  our 
households."     So  they  departed   from   Acre   and  went   to 



ACRE /IS /T- iy>!s  WHEM  LOST  (A. Q.\29\). 

FROM     THE    PLAN      OIVEN    BY 


Negropont,  and  from  Negropont  they  continued  their 
voyage  to  Venice.*  On  their  arrival  there,  Messer  Nicolas 
found  that  his  wife  was  dead,  and  that  she  had  left  behind 
her  a  son  of  fifteen  years  of  age,  whose  name  was  Marco  ; 
and  'tis  of  him  that  this  Boole  tells.'  The  Two  Brothers 
abode  at  Venice  a  couple  of  years,  tarrying  until  a  Pope 
should  be  made. 

Note  1, — The  deceased  Pope's  name  is  omitted  both  in  the  Geog. 
Text  and  in  Pauthier's,  clearly  because  neither  Rusticiano  nor  Polo 
remembered  it.  It  is  supplied  correctly  in  the  Crusca  Italian  as  Clement^ 
and  in  Ramusio  as  Clement  IV. 

VOL.   I.  C 


It  is  not  clear  that  Theobald,  though  generally  adopted,  is  the 
ecclesiastic's  proper  name.  It  appears  in  different  MSS.  as  Teald 
(G.  T.),  Ceabo  for  Teabo  (Pauthier),  Odoaldo  (Crusca),  and  in  the 
Riccardian  as  Thebaldiis  de  Vice-comitibus  de  Placentia,  which  corre- 
sponds to  Ramusio's  version.  Most  of  the  ecclesiastical  chroniclers  call 
him  Tedaldus,  some  Thealdus.  Tedaldo  is  a  real  name,  occurring  in 
Boccaccio  (3d  Day,  Novel  7). 

Note  2. — After  the  expulsion  of  the  Venetians  from  Constantinople, 
Negropont  was  the  centre  of  their  influence  in  Romania.  On  the  final 
return  of  the  travellers  they  again  take  Negropont  on  their  way. 

Note  3. — The  edition  of  the  Soc.  de  Geographie  makes  Mark's  age 
twelve,  but  I  have  verified  from  inspection  the  fact  noticed  by  Pauthier 
that  the  manuscript  has  distinctly  xv.  like  all  the  other  old  texts.  In 
Ramusio  it  is  7iineteen,  but  this  is  doubtless  an  arbitrary  correction  to 
suit  the  mistaken  date  (1250)  assigned  for  the  departure  of  the  father 
from  Constantinople. 

There  is  nothing  in  the  old  French  texts  to  justify  the  usual  state- 
ment that  Marco  was  born  after  the  departure  of  his  father  from 
Venice.  All  that  the  G.  T.  says  is  :  "  Meser  Nicolau  treuve  que  sa 
fame  estoit  morte,  et  les  remes  un  filz  de  xv.  anz  que  avoit  a  nom 
Marc,"  and  Pauthier's  text  is  to  the  same  effect.  Ramusio,  indeed,  has  : 
"  M.  Niccolo  trovo  che  sua  moglie  era  morta,  la  quale  nella  sua  partita 
aveva  partorito  un  figlio,"  and  the  other  versions  that  are  based  on 
Pepino's  seem  all  to  have  like  statements. 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  again  departed  from  Venice,  on  their 
WAY  back  to  the   Great   Kaan,   and  took   with   them   Mark, 


When  the  Two  Brothers  had  tarried  as  long  as  I  have  told 
you,  and  saw  that  never  a  Pope  was  made,  they  said  that 
their  return  to  the  Great  Kaan  must  be  put  oiF  no  longer. 
So  they  set  out  from  Venice,  taking  Mark  along  with 
them,  and  went  straight  back  to  Acre,  where  they  found 
the  Legate  of  whom  we  have  spoken.  They  had  a  good 
deal  of  discourse  with  him  concerning  the  matter,  and  asked 
his  permission  to  go  to  Jerusalem  to  get  some  Oil  from 


the  Lamp  on  the  Sepulchre,  to  carry  with  them  to  the 
Great  Kaan,  as  he  had  enjoined.'  The  Legate  giving  them 
leave,  they  went  from  Acre  to  Jerusalem  and  got  some  of  the 
Oil,  and  then  returned  to  Acre,  and  went  to  the  Legate  and 
said  to  him :  "  As  we  see  no  sign  of  a  Pope's  being  made, 
we  desire  to  return  to  the  Great  Kaan ;  for  we  have  already 
tarried  long,  and  there  has  been  more  than  enough  delay." 
To  which  the  Legate  replied :  "  Since  'tis  your  wish  to  go 
back,  I  am  well  content."  Wherefore  he  caused  letters  to 
be  written  for  delivery  to  the  Great  Kaan,  bearing  testi- 
mony that  the  Two  Brothers  had  come  in  all  good  faith  to 
accomplish  his  charge,  but  that  as  there  was  no  Pope  they 
had  been  unable  to  do  so. 

Note  1. — In  a  Pilgrimage  of  date  apparently  earlier  than  this,  the 
Pilgrim  says  of  the  Sepulchre  :  "  The  Lamp  which  had  been  placed  by 
His  head  (when  He  lay  there)  still  burns  on  the  same  spot  day  and 
night.  We  took  a  blessing  from  it  {i.e.  apparently  took  some  of  the  oil 
as  a  beneficent  memorial),  and  replaced  it"  {Itlnerarlum  Antonini  Pla- 
cetitifii  in  Bollandists,  May,  vol.  ii.  p.  xx). 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  set  out  from  Acre,  and  Mark  along 

WITH  them. 

When  the  Two  Brothers  had  received  the  Legate's  letters, 
they  set  forth  from  Acre  to  return  to  the  Grand  Kaan,  and 
got  as  far  as  Layas.  But  shortly  after  their  arrival  there 
they  had  news  that  the  Legate  aforesaid  was  chosen  Pope, 
taking  the  name  of  Pope  Gregory  of  Piacenza  ;  news  which 
the  Two  Brothers  were  very  glad  indeed  to  hear.  And 
presently  there  reached  them  at  Layas  a  message  from 
the  Legate,  now  the  Pope,  desiring  them,  on  the  part 
of  the  Apostolic  See,  not  to  proceed  further  on  their 
journey,  but   to  return  to  him  incontinently.     And  what 

c   2 




shall  I  tell  you  ?  The  King  of  Hermenia  caused  a  galley 
to  be  got  ready  for  the  Two  Ambassador  Brothers,  and 
despatched  them  to  the  Pope  at  Acre/ 

Note  1. — The  death  of  Pope  Clement  IV.  occurred  on  St.  Andrew's 
day  (29th  Nov.),  1268  ;  the  election  of  Tedaldo  or  Tebaldo  of  Piacenza, 
a  member  of  the  Visconti  family,  and  Archdeacon  of  Libge,  did  not 
take  place  till  ist  September,   1271,  owing  to  the  factions  among  the 

cardinals.  And  it  is  said  that 
some  of  them,  anxious  only  to 
get  away,  voted  for  Theobald 
in  full  belief  that  he  was  dead. 
The  conclave,  in  its  inability 
to  agree,  had  named  a  com- 
mittee of  six  with  full  powers, 
which  the  same  day  elected 
Theobald,  on  the  recommend- 
ation of  the  Cardinal  Bishop 
of  Tortus  (John  de  Toleto, 
said,  in  spite  of  his  name,  to 
have  been  an  Englishman). 
This  facetious  dignitary  had 
suggested  that  the  roof  should 
be  taken  off  the  Palace  at 
Viterbo  where  they  sat,  to 
allow  the  divine  influences  to 
descend  more  freely  on  their 
counsels  {quia  neqiieunt  ad  nos 
per  tot  tecta  ingi'edi).  Accord- 
ing to  some,  these  doggrel 
verses,  current  on  the  occasion,  were  extemporized  by  Cardinal  John 
in  the  pious  exuberance  of  his  glee : 

"  Papatiis  munus  tulit  Archidiaconus  unus 

Quern  Patrem  Patrum  fecit  discordia  Fratrum." 

The  Archdeacon,  a  man  of  great  weight  and  gravity  of  character, 
had  gone  to  the  Holy  Land  in  consequence  of  differences  with  his 
Bishop  (of  Liege),  who  was  a  disorderly  hver,  and  during  his  stay  there 
he  contracted  great  intimacy  with  Prince  Edward  of  England  (Edward 
I.).  Some  authors,  e.g.  John  Villani  (VIIL  39),  say  that  he  was  Legate 
in  Syria ;  others,  as  Rainaldus,  deny  this  ;  but  Polo's  statement,  and  the 
authority  which  the  Archdeacon  took  on  himself  in  writing  to  the  Kaan, 
seem  to  show  that  he  had  some  such  position. 

He  took  the  name  of  Gregory  X.,  and  before  his  departure  from 

Portrait  of  Pope  Gregory  X. 

Chap.  XII.  RETURN  TO  THE  POPE  21 

Acre,  preached  a  moving  sermon  on  the  text,  "  If  I  forget  thee,  O  Jeru- 
salem" &c.     Prince  Edward  fitted  him  out  for  his  voyage. 

Gregory  reigned  barely  four  years,  dying  at  Arezzo  loth  January, 
1276.  His  character  stood  high  to  the  last,  and  some  of  the  Northern 
Martyrologies  enrolled  him  among  the  saints,  but  there  has  never  been 
canonization  by  Rome.  The  people  of  Arezzo  used  to  celebrate  his 
anniversary  with  torch-light  gatherings  at  his  tomb,  and  plenty  of 
miracles  were  alleged  to  have  occurred  there.  The  tomb  still  stands  in 
the  Duomo  at  Arezzo,  a  handsome  work  by  Margaritone,  an  artist  in 
all  branches,  who  was  the  Pope's  contemporary.  There  is  an  engraving 
of  it  in  Gonnelli,  Mon.  Sepolc.  di  Toscana. 

{Fra  Pipi7io  m.  Muratori  IX.  700;  Rainaldi  Annal.  III.  252  seqq. ; 
Wadding,  sub.  an.  1271  ;  Bollandists,  loth  January;  Palatii,  Gesta 
Pontif  Roi?ian.  vol.  iii.,  and  Fasti  Cardinalium,  I.  463,  &c.) 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  presented  themselves  before  the 

NEW  Pope. 

And  when  they  had  been  thus  honourably  conckicted  to 
Acre  they  proceeded  to  the  presence  of  the  Pope,  and  paid 
their  respects  to  him  with  humble  reverence.  He  received 
them  with  great  honour  and  satisfaction,  and  gave  them 
his  blessing.  He  then  appointed  two  Friars  of  the  Order 
of  Preachers  to  accompany  them  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and 
to  do  whatever  might  be  required  of  them.  These  were 
unquestionably  as  learned  Churchmen  as  were  to  be  found 
in  the  Province  at  that  day — one  being  called  Friar  Nicolas 
of  Vicenza,  and  the  other  Friar  William  of  Tripoli.^  He 
delivered  to  them  also  proper  credentials,  and  letters  in  reply 
to  the  Great  Kaan's  messages  [and  gave  them  authority 
to  ordain  priests  and  bishops,  and  to  give  every  kind  of 
absolution,  as  if  given  by  himself  in  proper  person  ;  sending 
by  them  also  many  fine  vessels  of  crystal  as  presents  to  the 
Great  Kaan].^  So  when  they  had  got  all  that  was  needful, 
they   took  leave  of  the   Pope,   receiving   his  benediction ; 

22  MARCO  POLO.  Prol. 

and  the  four  set  out  together  from  Acre,  and  went  to  Layas, 
accompanied  always  by  Messer  Nicolas's  son  Marco. 

Now,  about  the  time  that  they  reached  Layas,  Ben- 
docquedar,  the  Soldan  of  Babylon,  invaded  Hermenia  with 
a  great  host  of  Saracens,  and  ravaged  the  country,  so  that 
our  Envoys  ran  a  great  peril  of  being  taken  or  slain.^  And 
when  the  Preaching  Friars  saw  this  they  were  greatly 
frightened,  and  said  that  go  they  never  would.  So  they 
made  over  to  Messer  Nicolas  and  Messer  Maffeo  all  their 
credentials  and  documents,  and  took  their  leave,  departing 
in  company  with  the  Master  of  the  Temple."* 

Note  1. — Friar  William,  of  Tripoli,  of  the  Dominican  convent  at 
Acre,  appears  to  have  served  there  as  early  as  1250.  He  is  known  as  the 
author  of  a  book,  De  Statu  Saracenorum  post  Ludovici  Regis  de  Syria 
reditum,  dedicated  to  Theoldus,  Archdeacon  of  Liege  {i.e.  Pope  Gregory). 
Of  this  some  extracts  are  printed  in  Duchesne's  Hist.  Franconmi 
Scriptores.  There  are  two  MSS.  of  it  with  different  titles,  in  the  Paris 
Library,  and  a  French  version  in  that  of  Berne.  A  MS.  in  Cambridge 
Univ.  library,  which  contains  among  other  things  a  copy  of  Pepino's 
Polo,  has  also  the  work  of  Friar  William  : — "  Willelmus  Tripolitamis 
Aconensis  Conventtis,  de  Egressu  Machometi  et  Saracenorum,  atque  pro- 
gressu  eorumdam,  de  Statu  Saracenorum"  &c.  It  is  imperfect ;  it  is 
addressed  Theobaldo  Ecclesiarcho  digno  Sancte  Terre  Peregrino  Sancto. 
And  from  a  cursory  inspection  I  imagine  that  the  Tract  appended  to  one 
of  the  Polo  MSS.  in  the  British  Museum  (Addl.  MSS.,  No.  19,952)  is 
the  same  work  or  part  of  it.  To  the  same  author  is  ascribed  a  tract 
called  Clades  Damiatae.  {Duchesne,  V.  432  ;  UAvezac  in  Rec.  de 
Voyages,  IV.  406  ;  Quetif,  Script.  Ord.  Praed.  I.  264-5  ;  Catal.  of  MSS. 
in  Catnb.  Univ.  Library,  I.  22.) 

Note  2. — I  presume  that  the  powers  stated  in  this  passage  from 
Ramusio  to  have  been  conferred  on  the  Friars  are  exaggerated.  In 
letters  of  authority  granted  in  like  cases  by  Pope  Gregor)^s  successors, 
Nicolas  III.  (in  1278)  and  Boniface  VIII.  (in  1299)  the  missionary  friars 
to  remote  regions  are  empowered  to  absolve  from  excommunication  and 
release  from  vows,  to  settle  matrimonial  questions,  to  found  churches 
and  appoint  idoneos  rectores,  to  authorize  Oriental  clergy  who  should 
publicly  submit  to  the  Apostolic  See  to  enjoy  the  privilegium  clericale, 
whilst  in  the  absence  of  bishops  those  among  the  missionaries  who  were 
priests  might  consecrate  cemeteries,  altars,  palls,  &c.,  admit  to  the  Order 
of  Acolytes,  but  nothing  beyond  (see  Mosheim,  Hist  Tartar.  Eccks. 
App.  Nos.  23  and  42). 


Note  3. — The  statement  here  about  Bundukddr's  invasion  of  CiUcian 
Armenia  is  a  difficulty.  He  had  invaded  it  in  1266,  and  his  second 
devastating  invasion,  during  which  he  burnt  both  Layas  and  Sis,  the 
king's  residence,  took  place  in  1275,  a  point  on  which  Marino  Sanuto  is 
at  one  with  the  Oriental  Historians.  Now  we  know  from  Rainaldus  that 
Pope  Gregory  left  Acre  in  November  or  December,  127 1,  and  the  text 
appears  to  imply  that  our  travellers  left  Acre  before  him.  The  utmost 
corroboration  that  I  can  find  lies  in  the  following  facts  stated  by  Makrizi. 

On  the  13th  Safar  a.h.  670  (20th  September,  127 1),  Bundiikdar 
arrived  unexpectedly  at  Damascus,  and  after  a  brief  raid  against  the 
Ismaelians  he  returned  to  that  city.  In  the  middle  of  Rabi  I.  (about 
20-25  October)  the  Tartars  made  an  incursion  in  northern  Syria,  and 
the  troops  of  Aleppo  retired  towards  Hamah.  There  was  great  alarm  at 
Damascus ;  the  Sultan  sent  orders  to  Cairo  for  reinforcements,  and  these 
arrived  at  Damascus  on  the  9th  November.  The  Sultan  then  advanced 
on  Aleppo,  sending  corps  hkewise  towards  Marash  (which  was  within 
the  Armenian  frontier)  and  Harran.  At  the  latter  place  the  Tartars 
were  attacked  and  those  in  the  town  slaughtered  ;  the  rest  retreated. 
The  Sultan  was  back  at  Damascus,  and  off  on  a  different  expedition  by 
7th  December.  Hence,  if  the  travellers  arrived  at  Ayas  towards  the 
latter  part  of  November  they  would  probably  find  alarm  existing  at  the 
advance  of  Bundukdar,  though  matters  did  not  turn  out  so  serious  as 
they  imply. 

"  Babylon,"  of  which  Bunddkdar  is  here  styled  Sultan,  means  Cairo, 
commonly  so  styled  {BavibcUonia  d^Egitto)  in  that  age.  Babylon 
of  Egypt  is  mentioned  by  Diodorus  quoting  Ctesias,  by  Strabo,  and 
by  Ptolemy ;  it  was  the  station  of  a  Roman  Legion  in  the  days  of 
Augustus,  and  still  survives  in  the  name  of  Babul,  close  to  Old  Cairo. 

Malik  Dahir  Ruknuddi'n  Bibars  Bundiikdari,  a  native  of  Kipchak, 
was  originally  sold  at  Damascus  for  800  dirhems  (about  18/.),  and 
returned  by  his  purchaser  because  of  a  blemish.  He  was  then  bought 
by  the  Amir  Alauddin  Aidekin  Bundukdar  ("  The  Arblasteer  ")  whose 
surname  he  afterwards  adopted.  He  became  the  fourth  of  the  Mame- 
luke Sultans,  and  reigned  from  1259  to  1276.  The  two  great  objects  of 
his  life  were  the  repression  of  the  Tartars  and  the  expulsion  of  the 
Christians  from  Syria,  so  that  his  reign  was  one  of  constant  war  and 
enormous  activity.  William  of  Tripoli,  in  the  work  above  mentioned, 
says  :  "  Bondogar,  as  a  soldier,  was  not  inferior  to  Julius  Caesar,  nor  in 
malignity  to  Nero."  He  admits, however,  that  the  Sultan  was  sober,  chaste, 
just  to  his  own  people,  and  even  kind  to  his  Christian  subjects ;  whilst 
Makrizi  calls  him  one  of  the  best  princes  that  ever  reigned  over  Musul- 
mans.  Yet  if  we  take  Bibars  as  painted  by  this  admiring  historian  and 
by  other  Arabic  documents,  the  second  of  Friar  William's  comparisons  is 
justified,  for  he  seems  almost  a  Devil  in  malignity  as  well  as  in  activity. 
More  than  once  he  played  tennis  at  Damascus  and  Cairo  within  the 
same  week.     A  strange  sample  of  the  man  is  the  letter  which  he  wrote 

24  MARCO  POLO.  Prol. 

to  Boemond,  Prince  of  Antioch  and  Tripoli,  to  announce  to  him  the 
capture  of  the  former  city.  After  an  ironically  polite  address  to  Boemond 
as  having  by  the  loss  of  his  great  city  had  his  title  changed  from  Prince- 
ship  [Al-Brensiyah)  to  Countship  (Al-KomasiyaJi),  and  describing  his  own 
devastations  round  Tripoli,  he  comes  to  the  attack  of  Antioch  :  "  We 
carried  the  place,  sword  in  hand,  at  the  4th  hour  of  Saturday,  the  4th 

day  of  Ramadhan Hadst  thou  but  seen  thy  Knights  trodden 

under  the  hoofs  of  the  horses  !  thy  palaces  invaded  by  plunderers  and 
ransacked  for  booty  !  thy  treasures  weighed  out  by  the  hundredweight  ! 
thy  ladies  {Ddmdtaka,  '  tes  Dames  ')  bought  and  sold  with  thine  own 
gear,  at  four  for  a  dinar  !  hadst  thou  but  seen  thy  churches  demolished, 
thy  crosses  sawn  in  sunder,  thy  garbled  Gospels  hawked  about  before 
the  sun,  the  tombs  of  thy  nobles  cast  to  the  ground ;  thy  foe  the 
Moslem  treading  thy  Holy  of  Holies ;  the  monk,  the  priest,  the  deacon 
slaughtered  on  the  Altar  ;  the  rich  given  up  to  misery.;  princes  of  royal 
blood  reduced  to  slavery  !  Couldst  thou  but  have  seen  the  flames 
devouring  thy  halls  ;  thy  dead  cast  into  the  fires  temporal  with  the  fires 
eternal  hard  at  hand ;  the  churches  of  Paul  and  of  Cosmas  rocking  and 

going  down ,  then  wouldst   thou   have  said,   'Would  God  that  I 

were  dust !'....     As  not  a  man  hath  escaped  to  tell  thee  the  tale, 

I  TELL   IT  THEE  !  " 

{Quatremcre' s  Makrizi,  II.  92-101,  and  190  seqq.  ;  D' Ohsson,  III. 
459-474  ;  Marino  Saniito  in  Bongars,  224-226,  &c.,  &c.) 

Note  4. — The  ruling  Master  of  the  Temple  was  Thomas  Berard,  but 
there  is  little  detail  about  the  Order  in  the  East  at  this  time.  They  had 
however  considerable  possessions  and  great  influence  in  Cilician  Armenia, 
and  how  much  they  were  mixed  up  in  its  affairs  is  shown  by  a  circum- 
stance related  by  Makrizi.  In  1285,  when  Sultan  Mansur,  the  successor 
of  Bundukdar,  was  besieging  the  Castle  of  Markab,  there  arrived  in 
Camp  the  Commander  of  the  Temple  {Kamandiir-td  Dewet)  of  the 
Country  of  Armenia,  charged  to  negotiate  on  the  part  of  the  king  of  Sis 
(i.e.  of  Lesser  Armenia),  and  bringing  presents  from  him  and  from  the 
Master  of  the  Temple,  Berard's  successor  William  de  Beaujeu.  (III. 


How  Messer  Nicolas  and  Messer  Maffeo  Polo,  accompanied  by 
Mark,  travelled  to  the  Court  of  the  Great  Kaan. 

So  the  Two  Brothers,  and  Mark  along  with  them,  proceeded 
on  their  way,  and  journeying  on,  summer  and  winter,  came 
at  length  to  the  Great  Kaan,  who  was  then  at  a  certain  rich 


and  great  city,  called  Kemenfu.*  As  to  what  they  met 
with  on  the  road,  whether  in  going  or  coming,  we  shall 
give  no  particulars  at  present,  because  we  are  going  to  tell 
you  all  those  details  in  regular  order  in  the  after  part  of 
this  Book.  Their  journey  back  to  the  Kaan  occupied 
a  good  three  years  and  a  half,  owing  to  the  bad  weather 
and  severe  cold  that  they  encountered.  And  let  me  tell 
you  in  good  sooth  that  when  the  Great  Kaan  heard  that 
Messers  Nicolas  and  MafFeo  Polo  were  on  their  way  back, 
he  sent  people  a  journey  of  full  40  days  to  meet  them ;  and 
on  this  journey,  as  on  their  former  one,  they  were  honourably 
entertained  upon  the  road,  and  supplied  with  all  that  they 

Note  1. — The  French  texts  read  Clemeinfu,  Ramusio  Clemenfii.  The 
Pucci  MS.  guides  us  to  the  correct  reading,  having  Chemensii  {Kemensu) 
for  Chemeiific.  Kaipingfu,  meaning  something  hke  "  City  of  Peace," 
and  called  by  Rashiduddin  Kaimhifii  (whereby  we  see  that  Polo  as 
usual  adopted  the  Persian  form  of  the  name)  was  a  city  founded  in  1256, 
four  years  before  Kublai's  accession,  some  distance  to  the  north  of  the 
Chinese  wall.  It  became  Kublai's  favourite  summer  residence,  and 
was  styled  from  1264  Shangtu  or  "Upper  Court"  (see  infra,  Book  I. 
chap.  Ixi.).  It  was  known  to  the  Mongols,  apparently  by  a  combination 
of  the  two  names,  as  Shangdu  Keibiing.  It  appears  in  the  maps,  since 
D'Anville's,  under  the  modern  name  of  Djao-Naiman  S7ime,  the  Tolon- 
nvir  of  Pere  Hue,  and  according  to  Kiepert's  Asia  is  about  1 80  miles  in 
a  direct  line  north  of  Peking. 

(See  Klaproth  m./.  As.  XI.  365  ;  Gaubil,  p.  115  ;   Cathay,  p.  260.) 


How  Messer  Nicolo  and  Messer  Maffeo  Polo  and  Marco 


And  what  shall  I  tell  you  ?  when  the  Two  Brothers  and 
Mark  had  arrived  at  that  great  city,  they  went  to  the  Imperial 
Palace,  and  there  they  found  the  Sovereign  attended  by 
a  great  company  of  Barons.     So  they  bent  the  knee  before 

26  MARCO  POLO.  Prol, 

him,  and  paid  their  respects  to  him  with  all  possible  rever- 
ence [prostrating  themselves  on  the  ground].  Then  the 
Lord  bade  them  stand  up,  and  treated  them  with  great 
honour,  showing  great  pleasure  at  their  coming,  and  asked 
many  questions  as  to  their  welfare,  and  how  they  had  sped. 
They  replied  that  they  had  in  verity  sped  well,  seeing  that 
they  found  the  Kaan  well  and  safe.  Then  they  presented 
the  credentials  and  letters  which  they  had  received  from  the 
Pope,  which  pleased  him  right  well ;  and  after  that  they 
he  produced  the  Oil  from  the  Sepulchre,  and  at  that  also 
was  very  glad,  for  he  set  great  store  thereby.  And  next, 
spying  Mark,  who  was  then  a  young  gallant,*  he  asked  who 
was  that  in  their  company  ?  "  Sire,"  said  his  father,  Messer 
Nicolo,  "  'tis  my  son  and  your  liegeman."  ^  "  Welcome  is 
he  too,"  quoth  the  Emperor.  And  why  should  I  make  a 
long  story  ?  There  was  great  rejoicing  at  the  Court  because 
of  their  arrival ;  and  they  met  with  attention  and  honour 
from  everybody.  So  there  they  abode  at  the  Court  with 
the  other  Barons. 

Note  1. — '■'■  Joenne  Bac/ieler" 

Note  2. — "  Si)-e,  il  est  inon  filz  et  vostre  homme."  The  last  word  in 
the  sense  which  gives  us  the  word  homage.  Thus  in  the  miraclep  lay  of 
Theophilus  (13th  century),  the  Devil  says  to  Theophilus  : — 

"  Or  joing 
Tes  mains  et  si  devien  mcs  horn. 
Thcoph.  Vez-ci  que  je  vous  faz  hommagcr 

So  infra  (Book  I.  ch.  xlvii.)  Ung  Khan  is  made  to  say  of  Chinghiz  : 
"  //  est  mon  homes  et  mon  serf."  (See  also  Bk.  IL  ch.  iv.  note).  St. 
Lewis  said  of  the  peace  he  had  made  with  Henry  III :  "  II  m'est  mout 
grant  honneur  en  la  paix  que  je  foiz  au  Roy  d'Angleterre  pour  ce  qu'il 
est  tnon  ho?ne,  ce  que  n'estoit  pas  devant."  And  Joinville  says  with 
regard  to  the  king,  "  Je  ne  voz  faire  point  de  serement,  car  je  n'estoie 
pas  S071  home  "  (being  a  vassal  of  Champagne).  {Theatre  Frafi^ais  au 
Moyen  Age,  p.  145  ;  Joinville,  p.  21,  37.) 

Chap.  XV.  MARK  SENT  ON  AN  EMBASSY.  27 


How  THE  Lord  sent  Mark  on  an  Embassy  of  his. 

Now  it  came  to  pass  that  Marco,  the  son  of  Messer  Nicolo, 
sped  wondrously  in  learning  the  customs  of  the  Tartars,  as 
well  as  their  language,  their  manner  of  writing,  and  their 
practice  of  war ;  in  fact  he  came  in  brief  space  to  know 
several  languages,  and  four  sundry  written  characters.  And 
he  was  discreet  and  prudent  in  every  way,  insomuch  that 
the  Emperor  held  him  in  great  esteem.^  And  so  when  he 
discerned  Mark  to  have  so  much  sense,  and  to  conduct  him- 
self so  well  and  beseemingly,  he  sent  him  on  an  ambassage 
of  his,  to  a  country  which  was  a  good  six  months'  journey 
distant.  The  young  gallant  executed  his  commission  well 
and  with  discretion.  Now  he  had  taken  note  on  several 
occasions  that  when  the  Prince's  ambassadors  returned  from 
different  parts  of  the  world,  they  were  able  to  tell  him  about 
nothing  except  the  business  on  which  they  had  gone,  and 
that  the  Prince  in  consequence  held  them  for  no  better  than 
fools  and  dolts,  and  would  say  :  "  I  had  far  liever  hearken 
about  the  strange  things,  and  the  manners  of  the  different 
countries  you  have  seen,  than  merely  be  told  of  the  business 
you  went  upon  ; " — for  he  took  great  delight  in  hearing  of 
the  affairs  of  strange  countries.  Mark  therefore,  as  he 
went  and  returned,  took  great  pains  to  learn  about  all  kinds 
of  different  matters  in  the  countries  which  he  visited,  in 
order  to  be  able  to  tell  about  them  to  the  Great  Kaan.^ 

Note  1. — The  word  Seigneur  is  often  rendered  "  Emperor,"  as  Lord 
is  equivocal. 

What  the  four  characters  acquired  by  Marco  were  is  open  to  indefinite 

The  Chronicle  of  the  Mongol  Emperors  rendered  by  Gaubil  mentions 
as  characters  used  in  their  Empire,  the  Uighur,  the  Persian  and  Arabic, 
that  of  the  Eamas  (Tibetan),  that  of  the  Nyuche,  introduced  by  the  Kin 
Dynasty  (of  which  some  account  by  Mr.  Wylie  will  be  found  in  the 

28  MARCO  POLO.  Prol. 

Jour.  R.  As.  Soc.  XVII.  p.  331),  the  Khitan,  and  the  Passepa  or  Baspa 
character,  a  syllabic  character  arranged  on  the  basis  of  the  Tibetan  and 
Sanskrit  letters  chiefly,  by  a  learned  chief  Lama  so-called,  under  the 
orders  of  Kublai,  and  established  by  edict  in  1269,  as  the  official 
character.  The  Nyuche  and  Khitan  were  apparently  imitations  of  Chinese 

Chinghiz  and  his  first  successors  used  the  Uighur,  and  sometimes 
the  Chinese  character. 

On  a  remarkable  Buddhist  monument  of  the  age  of  the  Mongol  rule 
in  China,  at  the  pass  of  Nankau,  40  miles  from  Peking,  there  is  a  long 
invocation  inscribed  in  the  Chinese,  Nyuche,  Sanskrit,  Uighur,  Tibetan, 
and  Baspa  Mongol  characters.     I  hope  to  present  a  specimen  of  this. 

The  orders  of  the  Great  Kaan  are  stated  to  have  been  published 
habitually  in  six  languages,  viz.,  Mongol,  Uighur  (a  branch  of  Oriental 
Turkish),  Arabic,  Persian,  Tangutan  (probably  Tibetan  or  a  dialect 
thereof)  and  Chinese. 

Ghazan  Khan  of  Persia  is  said  to  have  understood  Mongol,  Arabic, 
Persian,  something  of  Kashmiri,  of  Tibetan,  of  Chinese,  and  a  little  of 
the  Frank  tongue  (probably  French). 

The  annals  of  the  Ming  Dynasty,  which  succeeded  the  Mongols 
in  China,  mention  the  establishment  in  1407  of  a  linguistic  office  for 
diplomatic  purposes.  The  languages  to  be  studied  were  Nyuche',  Mongol, 
Tibetan,  Sanskrit,  Bokharan  (Persian  ?),  Uighur,  Burmese,  and  Siamese. 
To  these  were  added  by  the  Manchu  dynasty  two  languages  called  Papeh 
and  Fc/iyi/i,  both  Shan  dialects  of  the  S.W.  frontier — see  infra,  Bk.  II. 
ch.  Ivi.-lvii.,  and  notes.  {Gaubil,Y>.  148;  Gold.  Horde,  184  ;  Ilchan.  II. 
147;  Lockhart  m /.  F.  G.  S.,  XXXVI.  152;  Koeppen,  Buddhaisimis, 
11.  99.) 

Marsden  supposes  Mark's  four  acquisitions  to  have  been  Mongol, 
Uighur,  Manchu,  and  Chinese;  'Bsddello,  Afongo/,  Arabic,  Turkish,  and 
Chinese;  Pauthier,  Baspa  Afongol,  Arabic,  Uighur,  and  Chinese.  I  en- 
tirely reject  the  Chinese.  We  shall  see  no  reason  to  believe  that  he 
knew  either  language  or  character.  Pauthier's  other  three  seem  highly 
probable.  The  fourth  may  have  been  Tangutan  or  Tibetan.  But  it  is 
likely  enough  that  he  counted  separately  two  varieties  of  the  same 
character  (e.g.  of  the  Arabic  and  Persian)  as  two  "  lettres  de  leur 

Note  2. — From  the  context  no  doubt  Marco's  employments  were 
honourable  and  confidential ;  but  Commissioner  would  perhaps  better 
express  them  than  Ambassador  in  the  modern  sense.  The  word  Ilchi, 
which  was  probably  in  his  mind,  was  applied  to  a  large  variety  of  classes 
employed  on  the  Commissions  of  Government,  as  we  may  see  from 
a  passage  of  Rashiduddin  in  D'Ohsson,  which  says  that  "  there  were 
always  to  be  found  in  every  city  from  one  to  two  hundred  Ilchis,  who 
forced  the  citizens  to  furnish  them  with  free  quarters,"  &c.  (III.  404,  see 
also  485). 






S    ^    fci 


^  i 





How  Mark  returned  from  the  Mission  whereon  he  had  been  sent. 

When  Mark  returned  from  his  Embassage  he  presented 
himself  before  the  Emperor,  and  after  making  his  report 
of  the  business  with  which  he  was  charged,  and  its  suc- 
cessful accomplishment,  he  went  on  to  give  an  account  in 
a  pleasant  and  intelligent  manner  of  all  the  novelties  and 
strange  things  that  he  had  seen  and  heard ;  insomuch  that 
the  Emperor  and  all  such  as  heard  his  story  were  surprised, 
and  said :  "  If  this  young  man  live,  he  will  assuredly  come 
to  be  a  person  of  great  worth  and  ability."  And  so  from 
that  time  forward  he  was  always  entitled  Messer  Marco 
Polo,  and  thus  we  shall  style  him  henceforth  in  this  Book 
of  ours,  as  is  but  right. 

Thereafter  Messer  Marco  abode  in  the  Kaan's  employ- 
ment some  17  years,  continually  going  and  coming,  hither 
and  thither,  on  the  missions  that  were  entrusted  to  him 
by  the  Lord  [and  sometimes,  with  the  permission  and 
authority  of  the  Great  Kaan,  on  his  own  private  affairs]. 
And,  as  he  knew  all  the  Sovereign's  ways,  like  a  sensible 
man  he  always  took  much  pains  to  gather  knowledge  of 
anything  that  would  be  likely  to  interest  him,  and  then  on 
his  return  to  Court  he  would  relate  everything  in  regular 
order,  and  thus  the  Emperor  came  to  hold  him  in  great 
love  and  favour.  And  for  this  reason  also  he  would  employ 
him  the  oftener  on  the  most  weighty  and  most  distant  of 
his  missions.  These  Messer  Marco  ever  carried  out  with 
discretion  and  success,  God  be  thanked.  So  the  Emperor 
became  ever  more  partial  to  him,  and  treated  him  with 
the  greater  distinction,  and  kept  him  so  close  to  his  person 
that  some  of  the  Barons  waxed  very  envious  thereat.  And 
thus  it  came  about  that  Messer  Marco  Polo  had  know- 
ledge of,  or  had  actually  visited,  a  greater  number  of  the 
different   countries   of  the   World  than    any   other   man ; 


the  more  that  he  was  always  giving  his  mind  to  get  know- 
ledge, and  to  spy  out  and  enquire  into  everything,  in  order 
to  have  matter  to  relate  to  the  Lord. 


How  Messer  Nicolo,  Messer  Maffeo,  and  Messer  Marco,  asked 


When  the  Two  Brothers  and  Mark  had  abode  with  the 
Lord  all  that  time  that  you  have  been  told  [having  mean- 
while acquired  great  wealth  in  jewels  and  gold],  they  began 
among  themselves  to  have  thoughts  about  returning  to 
their  own  country ;  and  indeed  it  was  time.  [For,  to  say 
nothing  of  the  length  and  infinite  perils  of  the  way,  when 
they  considered  the  Kaan's  great  age,  they  doubted  whether, 
in  the  event  of  his  death  before  their  departure,  they  would 
ever  be  able  to  get  home.']  They  applied  to  him  several 
times  for  leave  to  go,  presenting  their  request  with  great 
respect,  but  he  had  such  a  partiality  for  them,  and  liked  so 
much  to  have  them  about  him,  that  nothing  on  earth 
would  persuade  him  to  let  them  go. 

Now  it  came  to  pass  in  those  days,  that  the  Queen  Bol- 
GANA,  wife  of  Argon  Lord  of  the  Levant,  departed  this 
life.  And  in  her  Will  she  had  desired  that  no  Lady  should 
take  her  place,  or  succeed  her  as  Argon's  wife,  except  one 
of  her  own  family  [which  existed  in  Cathay].  Argon 
therefore  despatched  three  of  his  Barons,  by  name  respect- 
ively OuLATAY,  Apusca,  and  Coja,  as  ambassadors  to  the 
Great  Kaan,  attended  by  a  very  gallant  company,  in  order 
to  bring  back  as  his  bride  a  lady  of  the  family  of  Q-ueen 
Bolgana  his  late  wife.* 

When  these  three  Barons  had  reached  the  Court  of  the 
Great  Kaan,  they  delivered  their  message  explaining  where- 
fore they  were  come.     The  Kaan   received  them  with  all 


honour  and  hospitality,  and  then  sent  for  a  lady  whose 
name  was  Cocachin,  who  was  of  the  family  of  the  deceased 
Queen  Bolgana.  She  was  a  maiden  of  17,  a  very  beautiful 
and  charming  person,  and  on  her  arrival  at  Court  she  was 
presented  to  the  three  Barons  as  the  Lady  chosen  in  com- 
pliance with  their  demand.  They  declared  that  the  Lady 
pleased  them  well/ 

Meanwhile,  Messer  Marco  chanced  to  return  from 
India,  whither  he  had  gone  as  the  Lord's  ambassador,  and 
made  his  report  of  all  the  different  things  that  he  had  seen 
in  his  travels,  and  of  the  sundry  seas  over  which  he  had 
voyaged.  And  the  three  Barons,  having  seen  that  Messer 
Nicolo,  Messer  MafFeo,  and  Messer  Marco  were  not  only 
Latins,  but  men  of  marvellous  good  sense  withal,  took 
thought  among  themselves  to  get  the  three  to  travel  with 
them,  their  intention  being  to  return  to  their  country  by 
sea,  on  account  of  the  great  fatigue  of  that  long  land 
journey  for  a  lady.  And  the  ambassadors  were  the  more 
desirous  to  have  their  company,  as  being  aware  that  those 
three  had  great  knowledge  and  experience  of  the  Indian 
Sea  and  the  countries  by  which  they  would  have  to  pass, 
and  especially  Messer  Marco.  So  they  went  to  the  Great 
Kaan,  and  begged  as  a  favour  that  he  would  send  the  three 
Latins  with  them,  as  it  was  their  desire  to  return  home 
by  sea. 

The  Lord,  having  that  great  regard  that  I  have  men- 
tioned for  those  three  Latins,  was  very  loath  to  do  so  [and 
his  countenance  showed  great  dissatisfaction].  But  at  last 
he  did  give  them  permission  to  depart,  enjoining  them  to 
accompany  the  three  Barons  and  the  Lady. 

Note  1. — Pegolotti,  in  his  chapters  on  mercantile  ventures  to  Cathay, 
reters  to  the  dangers  to  which  foreigners  were  always  liable  on  the  death 
of  the  reigning  sovereign.  (See  Cathay,  p.  292.) 

Note  2. — Several  ladies  of  the  name  of  Bulughan  ("  Zibellina")  have 
a  place  in  Mongol-Persian  history.     The  one  here  indicated,  a  Lady  of 

32  MARCO   POLO.  PrOL. 

great  beauty  and  ability,  was  known  as  the  Great  Khdtiin  (or  Lady) 
Bulughan,  and  was  (according  to  strange  Mongol  custom)  successively 
the  wife  of  Abaka  and  of  his  son  Arghun,  the  Argon  of  the  text,  Mongol 
sovereign  of  Persia,  She  died  on  the  banks  of  the  Kur  in  Georgia, 
7th  April,  1286.  She  belonged  to  the  Mongol  tribe  of  Bayaut,  and  was 
the  daughter  of  Hulakii's  Chief  Secretary  Gugah.  {Ilchan.  I.  374  et 
passim;  Erdmann's  Temudsc/iin,  p,  216.) 

The  names  of  the  Envoys,  Uladai,  Apushka,  and  Koja,  are  all 
names  met  with  in  Mongol  history.  And  Rashiduddin  speaks  of  an 
Apushka  of  the  Mongol  Tribe  of  Urnaut,  who  on  some  occasion  was 
sent  as  Envoy  to  the  Great  Kaan  from  Persia, — possibly  the  very  person 
(see  Erdmatin,  205). 

Of  the  Lady  Cocachin  we  shall  speak  below. 

Note  3. — Ramusio  here  has  the  following  passage,  genuine  no  doubt: 
"  So  everything  being  ready,  with  a  great  escort  to  do  honour  to  the  bride 
of  King  Argon,  the  Ambassadors  took  leave  and  set  forth.  But  after 
travelling  eight  months  by  the  same  way  that  they  had  come,  they  found 
the  roads  closed,  in  consequence  of  wars  lately  broken  out  among  certain 
Tartar  Princes ;  so  being  unable  to  proceed,  they  were  compelled  to 
return  to  the  Court  of  the  Great  Kaan." 


How  THE  Two  Brothers  and  Messer  Marco  took  leave  of  the 
Great  Kaan,  and  returned  to  their  own  Country. 

And  when  the  Prince  saw  that  the  Two  Brothers  and  Messer 
Marco  were  ready  to  set  forth,  he  called  them  all  three  to 
his  presence,  and  gave  them  two  golden  Tablets  of  Au- 
thority, which  should  secure  them  liberty  of  passage  through 
all  his  dominions,  and  by  means  of  which,  whithersoever 
they  should  go,  all  necessaries  would  be  provided  for  them, 
and  for  all  their  company,  and  whatever  they  might  choose 
to  order/  He  charged  them  also  with  messages  to  the 
King  of  France,  the  King  of  England,^  the  King  of  Spain, 
and  the  other  kings  of  Christendom.  He  then  caused 
thirteen  ships  to  be  equipt,  each  of  which  had  four  masts, 
and  often  spread  twelve  sails,^  And  I  could  easily  give  you 
all  particulars  about  these,  but  as  it  would  be  so  long  an 


affair  I  will  not  enter  upon  this  now,  but  hereafter, 
when  time  and  place  are  suitable.  [Among  the  said 
ships  were  at  least  four  or  five  that  carried  crews  of  250 
or  260  men.] 

And  when  the  ships  had  been  equipt,  the  Three 
Barons  and  the  Lady,  and  the  Two  Brothers  and 
Messer  Marco,  took  leave  of  the  Grand  Kaan,  and  went 
on  board  their  ships  with  a  great  company  of  people, 
and  with  all  necessaries  provided  for  two  years  by  the 
Emperor.  They  put  forth  to  sea,  and  after  sailing  for 
some  three  months  they  arrived  at  a  certain  Island 
towards  the  South,  which  is  called  Java,"*  and  in  which 
there  are  many  wonderful  things  which  we  shall  tell  you 
all  about  by  and  bye.  Quitting  this  Island  they  con- 
tinued to  navigate  the  Sea  of  India  for  18  months 
more  before  they  arrived  whither  they  were  bound, 
meeting  on  their  way  also  with  many  marvels  of  which 
we  shall  tell  hereafter. 

And  when  they  got  thither  they  found  that  Argon  was 
dead,  so  the  Lady  was  delivered  to  Casan,  his  son. 

But  I  should  have  told  you  that  it  is  a  fact  that,  when 
they  embarked,  they  were  in  number  some  600  persons, 
without  counting  the  mariners ;  but  nearly  all  died  by  the 
way,  so  that  only  eight  survived.' 

The  sovereignty  when  they  arrived  was  held  by  Kia- 
CATU,  so  they  commended  the  Lady  to  him,  and  executed 
all  their  commission.  And  when  the  Two  Brothers  and 
Messer  Marco  had  executed  their  charge  in  full,  and  done 
all  that  the  Great  Kaan  had  enjoined  on  them  in  regard  to 
the  Lady,  they  took  their  leave  and  set  out  upon  their 
journey.^  And  before  their  departure,  Kiacatu  gave  them 
four  golden  tablets  of  authority,  two  of  which  bore  ger- 
falcons, one  bore  lions,  whilst  the  fourth  was  plain,  and 
having  on  them  inscriptions  which  directed  that  the 
three  Ambassadors  should   receive  honour   and  service  all 

VOL.  I.  D 

34  MARCO  POLO.  Prol. 

through  the  land  as  if  rendered  to  the  Prince  in  person, 
and  that  horses  and  all  provisions,  and  everything  neces- 
sary, should  be  supplied  to  them.  And  so  they  found 
in  fact ;  for  throughout  the  country  they  received  ample 
and  excellent  supplies  of  everything  needful ;  and  many 
a  time,  indeed,  as  I  may  tell  you,  they  were  furnished 
with  200  horsemen,  more  or  less,  to  escort  them  on  their 
way  in  safety.  And  this  was  all  the  more  needful  because 
Kiacatu  was  not  the  legitimate  Lord,  and  therefore  the 
people  had  less  scruple  to  do  mischief  than  if  they  had 
had  a  lawful  prince.'' 

Another  thing  too  must  be  mentioned,  which  does 
credit  to  those  three  Ambassadors,  and  shows  for  what 
great  personages  they  were  held.  The  Great  Kaan  re- 
garded them  with  such  trust  and  affection,  that  he  had 
confided  to  their  charge  the  Queen  Cocachin,  as  well  as 
the  daughter  of  the  King  of  Manzi,^  to  conduct  to  Argon 
the  Lord  of  all  the  Levant.  And  those  two  great  ladies 
who  were  thus  entrusted  to  them  they  watched  over  and 
guarded  as  if  they  had  been  daughters  of  their  own,  until 
they  had  transferred  them  to  the  hands  of  their  Lord ; 
-vhilst  the  ladies,  young  and  fair  as  they  were,  looked  on 
each  of  those  three  as  a  father,  and  obeyed  them  accord- 
ingly. Indeed,  both  Casan,  who  is  now  the  reigning  prince, 
and  the  Queen  Cocachin  his  wife,  have  such  a  regard  for 
the  Envoys  that  there  is  nothing  they  would  not  do  for 
them.  And  when  the  three  Ambassadors  took  leave  of  that 
Lady  to  return  to  their  own  country,  she  wept  for  sorrow 
at  the  parting. 

What  more  shall  I  say?  Having  left  Kiacatu  they 
travelled  day  by  day  till  they  came  to  Trebizond,  and 
thence  to  Constantinople,  from  Constantinople  to  Negro- 
pont,  and  from  Negropont  to  Venice.  And  this  was  in  the 
year  12.95  of  Christ's  Incarnation. 

And  now  that  I  have  rehearsed  all  the  Prologue  as 
you  have  heard,  we  shall  begin  the  Book  of  the  Description 


of  the  Divers  Things  that  Messer  Marco  met  with  in  his 

Note  1. — On  these  plates  or  tablets,  which  have  already  been  spoken 
of,  a  note  Avill  be  found  further  on  (Book  II.  chap.  vii.).  Piano  Carpini 
says  of  the  Mongol  practice  in  reference  to  royal  messengers :  "  Nun- 
cios, quoscunque  et  quotcunque,  et  ubicunque  transmittit,  oportet  quod 
dent  eis  sine  mora  equos  subductitios  et  expensas  "  (669). 

Note  2. — The  mention  of  the  King  of  England  appears  for  the  first 
time  in  Pauthier's  Text.  Probably  we  shall  never  know  if  the  commu- 
nication reached  him.  But  we  have  the  record  of  several  embassies  in 
preceding  and  subsequent  years  from  the  Mongol  Khans  of  Persia  to 
the  Kings  of  England  ;  all  with  the  view  of  obtaining  co-operation  in 
attack  on  the  Egyptian  Sultan.  Such  messages  came  from  Abaka  in 
1277;  from  Arghun  in  1289  and  1291  ;  from  Ghazan  in  1302;  from 
Oljaitu  in  1307  (see  Rhmisat  in  Mem.  de  HAcad.  VII.;. 

Note  3. — Ramusio  has  "  nine  sails."  Marsden  thinks  even  this 
lower  number  an  error  of  Ramusio's,  as  "it  is  well  known  that  Chinese 
vessels  do  not  carry  any  kind  of  topsail."  This  is,  however,  a  mistake, 
for  they  do  sometimes  carry  a  small  topsail  of  cotton  cloth  (and  formerly, 
it  would  seem  from  Lecomte,  even  a  topgallant  sail  at  times),  though 
only  in  quiet  weather.  And  the  evidence  as  to  the  number  of  sails 
carried  by  the  great  Chinese  junks  of  the  Middle  Ages,  which  evidently 
made  a  great  impression  on  Western  foreigners,  is  irresistible.  Friar 
Jordanus,  who  saw  them  in  Malabar,  says,  "  With  a  fair  wind  they  carry 
ten  sails  ; "  Ibn  Batuta,  "  One  of  these  great  junks  carries  from  three 
sails  to  twelve;"  Joseph,  the  Indian,  speaking  of  those  that  traded  to 
India  in  the  15th  century,  "They  were  very  great,  and  had  sometimes 
twelve  sails  with  innumerable  rowers"  {Lecomte.,  I.  389;  Fr.  Jordanus, 
Hak.  Soc.  p.  55  J  Ibn  Batuta,  IV.  91  ;  Novus  Orbis,  p.  148).  A  fuller 
account  of  these  vessels  is  given  at  the  beginning  of  Book  III. 

Note  4. — i.e.  in  this  case  Sumatra,  as  will  appear  hereafter.  "  It  is 
quite  possible  for  a  fleet  of  fourteen  junks  which  required  to  keep 
together  to  take  three  months  at  the  present  time  to  accomplish  a 
similar  voyage.  A  Chinese  trader,  who  has  come  annually  to  Singapore 
in  junks  for  many  years,  tells  us  that  he  has  had  as  long  a  passage  as 
sixty  days,  although  the  average  is  eighteen  or  twenty  days  "  {Logan  in 
J.  If  id.  Archip.  II.  609). 

Note  5. — Ramusio's  version  here  varies  widely,  and  looks  more 
probable :  "  From  the  day  that  they  embarked  until  their  arrival  there 
died  of  mariners  and  others  on  board  600  persons  ;  and  of  the  three 
ambassadors  only  one  survived,  whose  name  was  Goza  {Coja) ;  but  of 
the  ladies  and  damsels  died  but  one." 

D     2 

36  MARCO  POLO.  Prol 

It  is  worth  noting  that  in  the  case  of  an  embassy  sent  to  Cathay  a 
few  years  later  by  Ghazan  Khan,  on  the  return  by  this  same  route  to 
Persia,  the  chief  of  the  two  Persian  ambassadors,  and  the  Great  Kaan's 
envoy,  who  was  in  company,  both  died  by  the  way  (see  Wassdf  in 
ElHof,  III.  47). 

Note  6. — Ramusio's  version  states  that  on  learning  Arghun's  death 
(which  they  probably  did  on  landing  at  Hormuz),  they  sent  word  of 
their  arrival  to  Kiacatu,  who  directed  them  to  conduct  the  lady  to 
Casan,  who  was  then  in  the  region  of  the  Arbre  Sec  (the  Province  of 
Khorasan)  guarding  the  frontier  passes  with  6o,ooo  men,  and  that  they 
did  so,  and  then  turned  back  to  Kiacatu  (probably  at  Tabriz)  and 
stayed  at  his  Court  nine  months.  Even  the  Geog.  Text  seems  to  imply 
that  they  had  become  personally  known  to  Casan,  and  I  have  no  doubt 
that  Ramusio's  statement  is  an  authentic  expansion  of  the  original  nar- 
rative by  Marco  himself,  or  on  his  authority. 

Arghun  Khan  died  loth  March,  1291.  He  was  succeeded  (23rd 
July)  by  his  brother  Kaikhatu  {Quiacatu  of  Polo),  who  was  put  to  death 
24th  March,  1295. 

We  learn  from  Hammer's  History  of  the  Ilkhans  that  when  Ghazan, 
the  son  of  Arghun  {Casan  of  Polo),  who  had  the  government  of  the 
Khorasan  frontier,  was  on  his  return  to  his  post  from  Tabriz,  where  his 
uncle  Kaikhatu  had  refused  to  see  him,  "  he  met  at  Abher  the  ambas- 
sador whom  he  had  sent  to  the  Great  Kaan  to  obtain  in  marriage  a 
relative  of  the  Great  Lady  Bulghan.  This  envoy  brought  with  him  the 
Lady  Kukajin  (our  author's  Cocac/ii/i),  with  presents  from  the  Emperor, 
and  the  marriage  was  celebrated  with  due  festivity."  Abher  lies  a  little 
west  of  Kazwin. 

Hammer  seems  to  be  here  copying  from  Wassaf,  but  I  have  not  been 
able  to  procure  a  reference  to  that  author.  As  well  as  the  date  can  be 
made  out  from  the  History  of  the  Ilkhans,  Ghazan  must  have  met  his 
bride  towards  the  end  of  1293,  or  quite  the  beginning  of  1294.  Rashid- 
uddin  also  mentions  the  fair  lady  from  Cathay  :  "  The  ordu  (or  esta- 
blishment) of  Tukiti  Khatun  was  given  to  Kukaji  Khatun,  who  had 
been  brought  from  the  Kaan's  Court,  and  who  was  a  kinswoman  of 
the  late  chief  Queen  Bulghan.  Kukaji,  the  wife  of  the  Padshah  of 
Islam,  Ghazan  Khan,  died  in  the  month  of  Shaban,  695,"  i.e.  in  June 
1296,  so  that  the  poor  girl  did  not  long  survive  her  promotion  (see 
Hammer's  Ilkh.  II.  20,  and  8,  and  I.  273  ;  and  Quatremere's  Rashiduddin, 
p.  97). 

Note  7. — Here  Ramusio's  text  says  :  "  During  this  journey  Messers 
Nicolo,  Maffeo,  and  Marco  heard  the  news  that  the  Great  Khan  had 
departed  this  life ;  and  this  caused  them  to  give  up  all  hope  of  returning 
to  those  parts." 

Note  8. — This  Princess  of  Manzi,  or  Southern  China,  is  mentioned 
only  in  the  Geog.  Text  and  in  the  Crusca  which  is  based  thereon.  I  find 
no  notice  of  her  among  the  wives  of  Ghazan  or  otherwise. 

Chap.  XVI II. 



On  the  fall  of  the  capital  of  the  Sung  Dynasty — the  Kinsay  of  Polo 
— in  1276,  the  Princesses  of  that  Imperial  family  were  sent  to  Peking, 
and  were  graciously  treated  by  Kublai's  favourite  Queen,  the  Lady 
Jamui.  This  young  lady  was,  no  doubt,  one  of  those  captive  princesses 
who  had  been  brought  up  at  the  Court  of  .Khanbalig  (see  Demailla,  IX. 
376,  and  infra  Book  II.  ch.  Ixv.,  note). 

Ancient  Chinese  War  Vessel. 




To  face  Chapter  1  of  Book  I. 

Aias,lKeLAIAS  of  Poi.0.froixvau  Admiralty  Charf 

Ojii Eiiiiltsh  Afile  ■ 


Boole  l.rh  18. 

PositioiiofDWaNVaY.lhe  supposed  Site  of  Polo  8  DiL  AVAR. 

.V,7//r  qfA}A\Wi^loOtn  hull 

,\V  Tiauewl^i  A-PTt"?  a\eTTCi.O 

BOOK    I 


Here  the  Book  begins  ;  and  first  it  speaks  of  the  Lesser 

There  are  two  Hermenias,  the  Greater  and  the  Less.  The 
Lesser  Hermenia  is  governed  by  a  certain  King,  who  main- 
tains a  just  rule  in  his  dominions,  but  is  himself  subject  to 
the  Tartar,'  The  country  contains  numerous  towns  and 
villages,^  and  has  everything  in  plenty ;  moreover,  it  is 
a  great  country  for  sport  in  the  chase  of  all  manner  of 
beasts  and  birds.  It  is,  however,  by  no  means  a  healthy 
region,  but  grievously  the  reverse.^  In  days  of  old  the 
nobles  there  were  valiant  men,  and  did  doughty  deeds  of 
arms  ;  but  now-a-days  they  are  poor  creatures,  and  good 
at  nought,  unless  it  be  at  boozing  ;  they  are  great  at  that. 
Howbeit,  they  have  a  city  upon  the  sea,  which  is  called 
Layas,  at  which  there  is  a  great  trade.  For  you  must  know 
that  all  the  spicery,  and  the  cloths  of  silk  and  gold,  and 
the  other  valuable  wares  that  come  from  the  interior,  are 
brought  to  that  city.  And  the  merchants  of  Venice  and 
Genoa,  and  other  countries,  come  thither  to  sell  their  goods, 
and  to  buy  what  they  lack.  And  whatsoever  persons  would 
travel  to  the  interior  (of  the  East),  merchants  or  others, 
they  take  their  way  by  this  city  of  Layas.'* 

Having  now  told  you  about  the  Lesser  Hermenia,  we 
shall  next  tell  you  about  Turcomania. 

Note  1. — The  Petite  Hermenie  of  the  Middle  Ages  was  quite  distinct 
rom   the   Armenia  Minor   of  the   ancient  geographers,    which  name 

42  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

the  latter   applied   to  the   western    portion    of  Armenia,  west  of  the 
Euphrates,  and  immediately  north  of  Cappadocia. 

But  when  the  old  Armenian  monarchy  was  broken  up  (1079-80), 
Rupen,  a  kinsman  of  the  Bagratid  Kings,  with  many  of  his  countrymen, 
took  refuge  in  the  Taurus.  His  first  descendants  ruled  as  barons^  a 
title  adopted  apparently  from  the  Crusaders,  but  still  preserved  in 
Armenia.  Leon,  the  great-great-grandson  of  Rupen,  was  consecrated 
King  under  the  supremacy  of  the  Pope  and  the  Western  Empire  in  1 198. 

The  kingdom  was  at  its  zenith 
under  Hetum  or  Hayton  I.,  hus- 
band of  Leon's  daughter  Isabel 
(i 224-1 269)  ;  he  was,  however, 
prudent  enough  to  make  an  early 
submission  to  the  Mongols,  and 
remained   ever  staunch   to   them, 

...     r,r.     TT  ,        J 1,  •  o       T   ui        wliich   brought   his    territory  con- 
cern of  King  Hetum  and  his  Queen  Isabel.  C)  J 

stantly  under  the  flail  of  Egypt. 
It  included  at  one  time  all  Cilicia,  with  many  cities  of  Syria  and  the 
ancient  Armenia  Minor,  of  Isauria  and  Cappadocia.  The  male  line 
of  Rupen  becoming  extinct  in  1342,  the  kingdom  passed  to  John  de 
Lusignan,  of  the  royal  house  of  Cyprus,  and  in  1375  it  was  put  an 
end  to  by  the  Sultan  of  Egypt.  Leon  VI.,  the  ex-king,  into  whose 
mouth  Froissart  puts  some  extraordinary  geography,  had  a  pension  of 
1000/.  a  year  granted  him  by  Richard  II.,  and  died  at  Paris  in  1398, 

The  chief  remaining  vestige  of  this  little  monarchy  is  the  continued 
existence  of  a  Catholicos  of  part  of  the  Armenian  Church  at  Sis,  which 
was  the  royal  residence.  Some  Armenian  communities  still  remain 
both  in  hills  and  plains ;  and  the  former,  the  more  independent  and 
industrious,  still  speak  a  corrupt  Armenian. 

Polo's  contemporary,  Marino  Sanuto,  compares  the  kingdom  of  the 
Pope's  faithful  Armenians  to  one  between  the  teeth  of  four  fierce 
beasts,  the  Lion  Tartar,  the  Panther  Soldan,  the  Turkish  Wolf,  the 
Corsair  Serpent. 

{Dulaurier,  in  J.  As.  ser.  5,  tom.  xvii.  ;  St.  Martin,  Ann.;  Mar. 
San.  p.  32  ;  Froissart,  Book  II.  ch.  xxii.  seqq.;  Langlois,  V.  en  Cilicie, 
1 86 1,  p.  19.) 

Note  2. — "  Maintes  villes  et  maint  chasteaux."  This  is  a  constantly 
recurring  phrase,  and  I  have  generally  translated  it  as  here,  believing 
chasteaux  {castelli)  to  be  used  in  the  frequent  old  Italian  sense  of  a 
walled  village  or  small  walled  town.  Martini,  in  his  Atlas  Sinensis,  uses 
"  Urbes,  oppida,  castella,"  to  indicate  the  three  classes  of  Chinese  ad- 
ministrative cities. 

Note  3. —  "  Enferme  diire?nent.^^  So  Marino  Sanuto  objects  to  Lesser 
Armenia  as  a  place  of  debarkation  for  a  crusade,  "  quia  terra  est 
injirma."     Langlois,  speaking  of  the  Cilician  plain  :    "In  this  region 


once  so  fair,  now  covered  with  swamps  and  brambles,  fever  decimates 
a  population  which  is  yearly  diminishing,  has  nothing  to  oppose  to  the 
scourge  but  incurable  apathy,  and  will  end  by  disappearing  altogether," 
&c.  ( Foyagc,  p.  65.)  Cilician  Armenia  retains  its  reputation  for  sport, 
and  is  much  frequented  by  our  naval  officers  for  that  object. 

Note  4. — The  phrase  twice  used  in  this  passage  for  the  Inta-ior  is 
Fra  terre,  an  Italianism  (Fra  terra^  or,  as  it  stands  in  the  Geog.  Latin 
'^ infra  terram  Orientis"),  which,  however,  Murray  and  Pauthier  have 
read  as  an  allusion  to  the  Euphrates,  an  error  based  apparently  on  a 
marginal  gloss  in  the  published  edition  of  the  Soc.  de  Geographie.  It 
is  true  that  the  province  of  Comagene  under  the  Greek  Empire  got  the 
name  of  Eiiphratesia,  or  in  Arabic  Furdtiyah,  but  that  was  not  in 
question  here.  The  great  trade  of  Ayas  was  with  Tabriz  via  Sivas, 
Erzingan,  and  P^rzrum,  as  we  see  in  Pegolotti.  Elsewhere,  too,  in  Polo 
we  find  the  phrase  fra  tcrre  used  where  Euphrates  could  possibly  have 
no  concern,  as  in  relation  to  India  and  Oman  (see  Book  III.  chs.  xxix. 
and  xxxviii.,  and  notes  in  each  case). 

With  regard  to  the  phrase  spicery  here  and  elsewhere,  it  should  be 
noted  that  the  Italian  spezerie  included  a  vast  deal  more  than  ginger 
and  other  "  things  hot  i'  the  mouth,"  In  one  of  Pegolotti's  lists  of 
spezerie  we  find  drugs,  dye-stufts,  metals,  wax,  cotton,  &c. 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Turcomania. 

Ix  Turcomania  there  are  three  classes  of  people.  First, 
there  are  the  Turcomans  ;  these  are  worshippers  of  Ma- 
hommet,  a  rude  people  with  an  uncouth  language  of  their 
own/  They  dwell  among  mountains  and  downs  where 
they  find  good  pasture,  for  their  occupation  is  cattle- 
keeping.  Excellent  horses,  known  as  Turqtians^  are  reared 
in  their  country,  and  also  very  valuable  mules.  The  other 
two  classes  are  the  Armenians  and  the  Greeks,  who  live 
mixt  with  the  former  in  the  towns  and  villages,  occupying 
themselves  with  trade  and  handicrafts.  They  weave  the 
finest  and  handsomest  carpets  in  the  world,  and  also  a  great 
quantity  of  fine  and  rich  silks  of  cramoisy  and  other  colours, 

44  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

and  plenty  of  other  stuffs.  Their  chief  cities  are  Conia, 
Savast  [where  the  glorious  Messer  Saint  Blaise  suffered 
martyrdom],  and  Casaria,  besides  many  other  towns  and 
bishops'  sees,  of  which  we  shall  not  speak  at  present, 
for  it  would  be  too  long  a  matter.  These  people  are 
subject  to  the  Tartar  of  the  Levant  as  their  Suzerain.^ 
We  will  now  leave  this  province,  and  speak  of  the  Greater 

Note  1. — Ricold  of  Montecroce,  a  contemporary  of  Polo,  calls  the 
Turkmans  homines  bestiales.  In  our  day  Ainsworth  notes  of  a  Turk- 
man village:  "The  dogs  Avere  very  ferocious  .  .  .  the  people  only  a 
Uttle  better"  (/  R.  G.  S.  X.  292). 

Note  2. — In  Turcomania  Marco  perhaps  embraces  a  great  part  of 
Asia  Minor,  but  he  especially  means  the  territory  of  the  decaying 
Seljukian  monarchy,  usually  then  called  by  Asiatics  Rt'ini^  as  the  Otto- 
man Empire  is  now,  and  the  capital  of  which  was  Iconium,  Kuniyah, 
the  Conia  of  the  Text,  and  Coyne  of  Joinville.  Ibn  Batuta  calls  the 
whole  country  T^xx\.'iy  {Al-Tiirkiyah)^  and  the  people  Turkman;  exactly 
likewise  does  Ricold  {Thurchia  and  Thurchimanni).  Hayton's  account 
of  the  various  classes  of  inhabitants  is  quite  the  same  in  substance  as 
Polo's.  The  migratory  and  pastoral  Turkmans  still  exist  in  this  region, 
but  the  Kurds  of  like  habits  have  taken  their  places  to  a  large  extent. 
The  fine  carpets  and  silk  fabrics  appear  to  be  no  longer  produced  here, 
any  more  than  the  excellent  horses  of  which  Polo  speaks,  which  must 
have  been  the  remains  of  the  famous  old  breed  of  Cappadocia. 

A  grant  of  privileges  to  the  Genoese  by  Leon  II.,  king  of  Lesser 
Armenia,  dated  Dec.  23,  1288,  alludes  to  the  export  of  horses  and  mules, 
&c.,  from  Ayas,  and  specifies  the  duties  upon  them.  The  horses  now 
of  repute  in  Asia  as  Turkman  come  from  the  east  of  the  Caspian. 

{Per eg.  Quat.  p.  114;  /.  B.  II.  255  seqq. ;  Hay  ton,  ch.  xiii. ; 
Liber  Jurmm  Reip.  Januensis,  II.  184.) 

Though  the  authors  quoted  above  seem  to  make  no  distinction 
between  Turks  and  Turkmans,  that  which  we  still  understand  does 
appear  to  have  been  made  in  the  12th  century:  " That  there  may  be 
some  distinction,  at  least  in  name,  between  those  who  made  themselves 
a  king,  and  thus  achieved  such  glory,  and  those  who  still  abide  in  their 
primitive  barbarism  and  adhere  to  their  old  way  of  life,  the  former  are 
now-a-days  termed  Turks,  the  latter  by  their  old  name  of  Turcomans " 
(  Williafn  of  Tyre,  i.  7). 

Casaria  is  Kaisariva,  the  ancient  Caesarea  of  Cappadocia,  close  to 


the  foot  of  the  great  Mount  Argaeus.  Savast  is  the  Armenian  form 
(Sevasd)  of  Sebaste,  the  modern  Siwas.  The  three  cities,  Iconium, 
Caesarea,  and  Sebaste,  were  metropoHtan  sees  under  the  Cathohcos  of 


Description  of  the  Greater  Hermenia. 

This  is  a  great  country.  It  begins  at  a  city  called 
Arzinga,  at  which  they  weave  the  best  buckrams  in  the 
world.  It  possesses  also  the  best  baths  from  natural 
springs  that  are  anywhere  to  be  found.'  The  people  of 
the  country  are  Armenians,  and  are  subject  to  the  Tartar. 
There  are  many  towns  and  villages  in  the  country,  but 
the  noblest  of  their  cities  is  Arzinga,  which  is  the  See  of  an 
Archbishop,  and  then  Arziron  and  Arzizi.^ 

The  country  is  indeed  a  passing  great  one,  and  in  the 
summer  it  is  frequented  by  the  whole  host  of  the  Tartars 
of  the  Levant,  because  it  then  furnishes  them  with  such 
excellent  pasture  for  their  cattle.  But  in  winter  the  cold 
is  past  all  bounds,  so  in  that  season  they  quit  this  country 
and  go  to  a  warmer  region,  where  they  find  other  good 
pastures.  [At  a  castle  called  Paipurth,  that  you  pass  in 
going  from  Trebizond  to  Tauris,  there  is  a  very  good  silver 

And  you  must  know  that  it  is  in  this  country  of  Arme- 
nia that  the  Ark  of  Noah  exists  on  the  top  of  a  certain  great 
mountain  [on  the  summit  of  which  snow  is  so  constant 
that  no  one  can  ascend  ;'*  for  the  snow  never  melts,  and  is 
constantly  added  to  by  new  falls.  Below,  however,  the 
snow  does  melt,  and  runs  down,  producing  such  rich  and 
abundant  herbage  that  in  summer  cattle  are  sent  to  pasture 
from  a  long  way  round  about,  and  it  never  fails  them. 
The  melting  snow  also  causes  a  great  amount  of  mud  on 
the  mountain]. 

46  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

The  country  is  bounded  on  the  south  by  a  kingdom 
called  Mosul,  the  people  of  which  are  Jacobite  and  Nesto- 
rian  Christians,  of  whom  I  shall  have  more  to  tell  you 
presently.  On  the  north  it  is  bounded  by  the  Land  of  the 
Georgians,  of  whom  also  I  shall  speak.  On  the  confines 
towards  Georgiania  there  is  a  fountain  from  which  oil  springs 
in  great  abundance,  insomuch  that  a  hundred  shiploads 
might  be  taken  from  it  at  one  time.  This  oil  is  not 
good  to  use  with  food,  but  'tis  good  to  burn,  and  is 
also  used  to  anoint  camels  that  have  the  mange.  People 
come  from  vast  distances  to  fetch  it,  for  in  all  the  countries 
round  about  they  have  no  other  oil.^ 

Now,  having  done  with  Great  Armenia,  we  will  tell  you 
of  Georgiania. 

Note  1. — Erzingan,  an  ancient  Armenian  city,  and  still  a  place  of 
some  prosperity  for  a  town  under  Turkish  rule.  I  do  not  find  mention 
of  its  hot  springs  by  modern  travellers,  but  Lazari  says  Armenians 
assured  him  of  their  existence.  There  are  plenty  of  others  in  Polo's 
route  through  the  country,  as  at  Ilija,  close  to  Erzrum,  and  at  Hassan 

The  Buckrams  of  Arzinga  are  mentioned  both  by  Pegolotti  (circa 
1340)  and  by  Giov.  d'Uzzano  (1442).     But  what  were  they? 

Buckram  in  the  modern  sense  is  a  coarse  open  texture  of  cotton 
or  hemp,  loaded  with  gum,  and  used  to  stiffen  certain  articles  of  dress. 
But  this  was  certainly  not  the  medieval  sense.  Nor  is  it  easy  to  bring 
the  medieval  uses  of  the  term  under  a  single  explanation.  Indeed 
Mr.  Marsh  suggests  that  probably  two  different  words  have  coalesced. 
Fr. -Michel  says  that  Bonqueran  was  at  first  applied  to  a  light  cotton 
stuff  of  the  nature  of  muslin,  and  afterwards  to  linen,  but  I  do  not 
see  that  he  makes  out  this  history  of  the  application.  Douet  d'Arcq, 
in  his  Coviptcs  de  tArgcntcrie,  &c.  explains  the  word  simply  in  the  modern 
sense,  but  there  seems  nothing  in  his  text  to  bear  this  out. 

A  quotation  in  Raynouard's  Romance  Dictionary  has  "  Vestirs  de 
polpra  e  de  bisso  que  est  bocaran,"  where  Raynouard  renders  bisso  as 
Ihi ;  a  quotation  in  Ducange  also  makes  Buckram  the  equivalent  of 
Bissus  ;  and  Michel  quotes  from  an  inventory  of  1365,  '■'■  tinavi  cjilcitram 
pinctam  (qu.  punctam  ?)  albam  factam  de  bisso  aliter  boquerant." 

Mr.  Marsh  again  produces  quotations,  in  which  the  word  is  used  as 
a  proverbial  example  of  7vhiteness,  and  inclines  to  think  that  it  was  a 
bleached  cloth  with  a  lustrous  surface. 

It  certainly  was  not  necessarily  linen.    Giovanni  Villani,  in  a  passage 

Chap.  III.  ERZINGAN  — BUCKRAM.  47 

which  is  curious  in  more  ways  than  one,  tells  how  the  citizens  of 
Florence  established  races  for  their  troops,  and,  among  other  prizes, 
was  one  which  consisted  of  a  Buchcranie  di  lambagine  (of  cotton). 
Polo,  near  the  end  of  the  Book  (Book  III.  ch.  xxxiv.),  speaking  of  Abys- 
sinia, says,  according  to  Pauthier's  text :  "  Et  si  y  fait  on  moult  beaux 
bouquerans  et  autres  draps  de  coton."  The  G.  T.  is,  indeed,  more 
ambiguous :  "  //  hi  se  font  inaint  bians  d}-as  banbacin  e  bocaran" 
(cotton  and  buckram).  When,  however,  he  uses  the  same  expression 
with  reference  to  the  delicate  stuffs  woven  on  the  coast  of  Telingana, 
there  can  be  no  doubt  that  a  cotton  texture  is  meant,  and  apparently 
a  fine  muslin  (see  Book  III.  chap,  xviii.).  Buckram  is  geriera/ly  named 
as  an  article  of  price,  chier  boiiquerant,  rice  boquerans,  &c.,  but  not 
always,  for  Polo  in  one  passage  (Book  II.  ch.  xlv.)  seems  to  speak  of  it 
as  the  clothing  of  the  poor  people  of  Eastern  Tibet. 

Piano  Carpini  says  the  tunics  of  the  Tartars  were  either  of  buckram 
(bilker anum),  oi  purpura  (a  texture,  perhaps  velvet),  or  of  baudekin,  a 
cloth  of  gold  (p.  614-15).  When  the  envoys  of  the  Old  Man  of  the 
Mountain  tried  to  bully  Saint  Lewis,  one  had  a  case  of  daggers  to  be 
offered  in  defiance,  another  a  bouqueran  for  a  winding  sheet  {Joinville, 
p.  136). 

In  accounts  of  materials  for  the  use  of  Anne  Boleyn  in  the  time  of 
her  prosperity,  bokerani  frequently  appears  for  "  lyning  and  taynting  "  (?) 
gowns,  lining  sleeves,  cloaks,  a  bed,  &c.,  but  it  can  scarcely  have  been 
for  stiffening,  as  the  colour  of  the  buckram  is  generally  specified  as  the 
same  as  that  of  the  dress. 

A  number  of  passages  seem  to  point  to  a  quilted  material.  Boccaccio 
(Day  viii.  Nov.  10)  speaks  of  a  quilt  (coltre)  of  the  whitest  buckram  of 
Cyprus,  and  Uzzano  enters  Buckram  Quilts  {coltre  di  Bucherame)  in  a 
list  of  Linaju^i,  or  linen-draperies.  Both  his  handbook  and  Pego- 
lotti's  state  repeatedly  that  buckrams  were  sold  by  the  piece  or  the 
half-score  pieces — never  by  measure.  In  one  of  Michel's  quotations 
(from  Baudouin  de  Sebourg)  we  have  : 

•'Gaufer  li  fist  premiers  armer  d'un  auqueton 
Qui  fu  de  boiighcrant  &i  plaine  de  bon  colony 

Mr.  Hewitt  would  appear  to  take  the  view  that  Buckram  meant  a 
quilted  material ;  for,  quoting  from  a  roll  of  purchases  made  for  the 
Court  of  Edward  I.,  an  entry  for  Ten  Buckrams  to  make  sleeves  of,  he 
remarks,  "  The  sleeves  appear  to  have  been  of  pourpointerie"  i.e. 
quilting  (Ancient  Armour,  I.  240). 

This  signification  would  embrace  a  large  number  of  passages  in  which 
the  term  is  used,  though  certainly  not  all.  It  would  account  for  the  mode 
of  sale  by  the  piece,  and  frequent  use  of  the  expression  a  buckram,  for 
its  habitual  application  to  coltre  or  counterpanes,  its  use  in  the  auqueton 
of  Baudouin,  and  in  the  jackets  of  Falstaff's  "  men  in  buckram,"  as  well 
as  its  employment  in  tlie  frocks  of  the  Mongols  and  Tibetans.     The 



Book  I. 

winter  chapkan,  or  long  tunic,  of  Upper  India,  a  form  of  dress  which,  I 
believe,  correctly  represents  that  of  the  Mongol  hosts,  and  is  probably 
derived  from  them,  is  almost  universally  of  quilted  cotton.  This  signifi- 
cation would  also  facilitate  the  transfer  of  meaning  to  the  substance  now 
called  buckram,  for  that  is  used  as  a  kimi  of  quilting. 

The  derivation  of  the  word  is  very  uncertain.  Reiske  says  it  is 
Arabic,  Abu-Kairdm,  "  Pannus  cum  intextis  figuris ;"  Wedgwood,  at- 
taching the  modern  meaning,  that  it  is  from  It.,  bucherare,  to  pierce  full 
of  holes,  which  might  be  if  bucherare  could  be  used  in  the  sense  of 
puntare,  or  the  French  piqiier ;  Marsh  connects  it  with  the  bucking  of 
linen;  and  D'Avezac  thinks  it  was  a  stuff  that  took  its  name  from 
Bokhara.  If  the  name  be  local,  as  so  many  names  of  stuffs  are,  the 
French  form  rather  suggests  Bulgaria. 

{DellaDecima,  III.  i8,  149,  65,  74,  212,  &c. ;  IV.  4,  5,  6,  212  ;  Reiske's 
^olQSio  Const.  Forphyrogeji.  11.;  JJAvezac,  p.  524;  Vocab.  Univ.  Ital. ; 
Fratic.-Michel,  Becherckes,  &c.  II,  2gsegg.;  Philobiblon  Soc.  Miscell.  VI. ; 
Marsh's  WedgivooiTs  Etym.  Diet,  sub  voce.) 

Note  2. — Arziron  is  Erzrum,  which,  even  in  Tournefort's  time,  the 
Franks  called  Erzeron  (III.  126).  Arzizi  is  Arjish,  on  Lake  Van,  the 
ancient  Arsissa,  which  gave  the  lake  one  of  its  names.  It  is  now  little 
more  than  a  decayed  castle,  with  a  village  inside. 

Notices  of  Kuniyah,  Kaisariya,  Siwas,  Arzan-ar-Rumi,  Arzangan, 
and  Arjish,  will  be  found  in  Polo's  contemporary  Abulfeda  (see  Biisching, 
IV.  303-311). 

Castle  of  Baiburt. 


Note  8.- — Paipurth,  or  Bail)urt,  on  the  high  road  between  Trebizond 
and  Erzrum,  was,  according  to*  Neumann,  an  Armenian  fortress  in  the 
first  century,  and,  according  to  Ritter,  the  castle  Baibcrdon  fortified 
by  Justinian.  It  stands  on  a  peninsular  hill,  encircled  by  the  windings 
of  the  R.  Charok.  The  Russians,  in  retiring  from  it  in  1829,  blew  up 
the  greater  part  of  the  defences.  The  nearest  silver  mines  of  which  we 
find  modern  notice,  are  those  of  Gimiish-Khdiiah  ("  Silverhouse")  about 
35  m.  N.W.  of  Baiburt ;  they  are  more  correctly  mines  of  lead  rich  in 
silver,  and  were  once  largely  worked.  But  the  Masdlak-al-absdr  (14th 
century),  besides  these,  speaks  of  two  others  in  the  same  province,  one 
of  which  was  near  Bajert.  This  Quatremere  reasonably  would  read 
Babertox  Baiburt.    i^Not.  et  Extraits,  XIII.  i.  337  ;  Texlef,  A?-/nc;iu\  I.  59.) 

Note  4. — Josephus  alludes  to  the  belief  that  Noah's  Ark  still  existed, 
and  that  pieces  of  the  pitch  were  used  as  amulets.     {Atit.  I,  3.  6.) 

Ararat  (16,953  ^^^^)  '^^^.s  ascended,  first  by  Prof  Parrot,  Sept.,  1829  ; 
by  Spasski  Aotonomoff,  Aug.,  1834;  by  Behrens,  1835  ;  byAbich,  1845; 
by  Seymour  in  1848;  by  Khodzko,  Khanikofif,  and  others,  for  trigono- 
metrical and  other  scientific  purposes,  in  August,  1850.  It  is  charac- 
teristic of  the  account  from  which  I  take  these  notes  {Loiigrimojf,  in 
Bull.  Soc.  Geog.  Paris.,  ser.  4.  tom.  i.  p.  54)  that  whilst  the  writer's 
countrymen,  Spasski  and  Behrens,  were  "  moved  by  a  noble  curiosity," 
the  Enghshman  is  only  admitted  to  have  "gratified  a  tourist's  whim"! 

Note  5. — Though  Mr.  Khanikofif  points  out  that  springs  of  naphtha 
are  abundant  in  the  vicinity  of  Tiflis,  the  mention  of  ship-loads  (in 
Ramusio  indeed  altered,  but  probably  by  the  Editor,  to  camel-loads).,  and 
the  vast  quantities  spoken  of,  point  to  the  naphtha-wells  of  the  Baku 
Peninsula  on  the  Caspian.  Ricold  speaks  of  their  sup^^lying  the  whole 
country  as  far  as  Baghdad,  and  Barbaro  alludes  to  the  practice  of 
anointing  camels  with  the  oil.  The  quantity  collected  from  the  springs 
about  Baku  was  in  181 9  estimated  at  241,000  poods  (nearly  4000  tons), 
the  greater  part  of  which  went  to  Persia.  {Fereg.  Qnat.  p.  122  ;  Ramusio, 
II.  109;  El.  de  Laprim.  276;    V.  du  Cha<.  Gamba,  I.  298.) 


Of  Georgiania  and  the  Kings  thereof. 

In  GeorgiAxNia  there  is  a  King  called  David  Melic,  which 
is  as  much  as  to  say  "  David  King ;"  he  is  subject  to 
the  Tartar.'  In  old  times  all  the  kings  were  born  with  the 
figure  of  an  eagle  upon  the  right  shoulder.  The  people 
are  very  handsome,  capital  archers,  and  most  valiant  soldiers. 

VOL.    I.  E 

50  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

They  are  Christians  of  the  Greek  Rite,  and  have  a  fashion 
of  wearing  their  hair  cropped,  hke  Churchmen.^ 

This  is  the  country  beyond  which  Alexander  could  not 
pass  when  he  wished  to  penetrate  to  the  region  of  the 
Ponent,  because  that  the  defile  was  so  narrow  and  perilous, 
the  sea  lying  on  the  one  hand,  and  on  the  other  lofty 
mountains  impassable  to  horsemen.  The  strait  extends 
like  this  for  four  leagues,  and  a  handful  of  people  might 
hold  it  against  all  the  world.  Alexander  caused  a  very 
strong  tower  to  be  built  there,  to  prevent  the  people  be- 
yond from  passing  to  attack  him,  and  this  got  the  name 
of  the  Iron  Gate.  This  is  the  place  that  the  Book  of 
Alexander  speaks  of,  when  it  tells  us  how  he  shut  up  the 
Tartars  between  two  mountains  ;  not  that  they  were  really 
Tartars  however,  for  there  were  no  Tartars  in  those  days, 
but  they  consisted  of  a  race  of  people  called  Comanians 
and  many  besides.^ 

[In  this  province  all  the  forests  are  of  box-wood.'*] 
There  are  numerous  towns  and  villages,  and  silk  is  pro- 
duced in  great  abundance.  They  also  weave  cloths  of 
gold,  and  all  kinds  of  very  fine  silk  stuffs.  The  country 
produces  the  best  goshawks  in  the  world,  [which  are  called 
Am^-i^.^  It  has  indeed  no  lack  of  anything,  and  the 
people  live  by  trade  and  handicrafts.  'Tis  a  very  moun- 
tainous region,  and  full  of  strong  defiles,  insomuch  that  the 
Tartars  have  never  been  able  to  subdue  it  out  and  out. 

There  is  in  this  country  a  certain  Convent  of  Nuns 
called  St.  Leonard's,  about  which  I  have  to  tell  you  a  very 
wonderful  circumstance.  Near  the  church  in  question 
there  is  a  great  lake  at  the  foot  of  a  mountain,  and  in 
this  lake  are  found  no  fish  great  or  small  throughout  the 
year  till  Lent  come.  On  the  first  day  of  Lent  they  find  in 
it  the  finest  fish  in  the  world,  and  great  store  too  thereof; 
and  these  continue  to  be  found  till  Easter  Eve.  After 
that  they  are  found  no  more  till  Lent  come  round  again ; 
and  so  'tis  every  year.     'Tis  really  a  passing  great  miracle  !  ^ 


That  sea  whereof  I  spoke  as  coming  so  near  the  moun- 
tains is  called  the  Sea  of  Ghel  or  Ghelan,  and  extends 
about  700  miles.''  It  is  twelve  days'  journey  distant  from 
any  other  sea,  and  into  it  flows  the  great  River  Euphrates 
and  many  others,  whilst  it  is  surrounded  by  mountains. 
Of  late  the  merchants  of  Genoa  have  begun  to  navigate 
this  sea,  carrying  ships  across  and  launching  them  thereon. 
It  is  from  the  country  on  this  sea  also  that  the  silk  called 
GhelU  is  brought.^  [The  said  sea  produces  quantities 
of  fish,  especially  sturgeon,  at  the  river-mouths  salmon, 
and  other  big  kinds  of  fish.] 

Note  1. — The  G.  T.  says  the  King  was  always  called  David.  The 
Georgian  Kings  of  the  family  of  Bagratidae  claimed  descent  from  King 
David  through  a  prince  Shampath,  said  to  have  been  sent  north  by 
Nebuchadnezzar ;  a  descent  which  was  usually  asserted  in  their  public 
documents.  Timur's  Institutes  mention  a  suit  of  armour  given  him 
by  the  King  of  Georgia  as  forged  by  the  hand  of  the  Psalmist  King. 
David  is  a  very  frequent  name  in  their  royal  lists.  There  were  two  of 
that  name  who  shared  Georgia  between  them  under  the  decision  of  the 
Great  Kaan  in  1246,  and  one  of  them,  who  survived  to  1269,  is  probably 
meant  here.  The  name  of  David  was  borne  by  the  last  titular  King  of 
Georgia,  who  ceded  his  rights  to  Russia  in  1801.  {Khanikoff;  Jour.  As. 
IX.  370,  XL  291,  &c.  ;  Tim.  Tnstit.  p.  143.) 

Note  2. — This  fashion  of  tonsure  is  mentioned  by  Barbaro  and 
Chardin.  The  latter  speaks  strongly  of  the  beauty  of  both  sexes,  as 
does  Delia  Valle,  and  most  modern  travellers  concur. 

Note  3. — This  refers  to  the  Pass  of  Derbend,  still  called  in  Turkish 
Demir-Kdpi  or  the  Iron  Gate,  and  to  the  ancient  Wall  that  runs  from 
the  castle  of  Derbend  along  the  ridges  of  Caucasus,  called  in  the  East 
Sadd'i-Iska/idar,  the  Rampart  of  Alexander.  Bayer  thinks  the  wall  was 
probably  built  originally  by  one  of  the  Antiochi,  and  renewed  by  the 
Sassanian  Kobad  or  his  son  Naoshirwan.  It  is  ascribed  to  the  latter 
by  Abulfeda ;  and  according  to  Klaproth's  extracts  from  the  Derbend- 
Ndjfiah,  Naoshirwan  completed  the  fortress  of  Derbend  in  a.d.  542, 
but  he  and  his  father  together  had  erected  360  towers  upon  the  Cau- 
casian Wall  which  extended  to  the  Gate  of  the  Alans  {i.e.  the  Pass  of 
Dariel).  The  Russians  must  have  gained  some  knowledge  as  to  the 
actual  existence  and  extent  of  the  remains  of  this  great  work,  but  I  have 
not  been  able  to  meet  with  any  modern  information  of  a  very  precise 
kind.     According  to  a  (|uotation   from   Jicincgg's  Kaukasus  (I.    120,   a 

E    2 

52  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

work  which  I  have  not  been  able  to  consuk)  the  remains  of  defences 
can  be  traced  for  many  miles,  and  are  in  some  places  as  much  as 
1 20  feet  high.  M.  Moynet  indeed,  in  the  Tour  du  Monde  (I.  122),  states 
that  he  traced  the  wall  to  a  distance  of  27  versts  (18  miles)  from  Derbend, 
but  unfortunately,  instead  of  describing  remains  of  such  high  interest  from 
his  own  observation,  he  cites  a  description  written  by  Alex.  Dumas, 
which  he  says  is  quite  accurate. 

There  is  another  wall  claiming  the  title  of  Sadd-i-Iskandar  at  the 
S.E.  angle  of  the  Caspian.  This  has  been  particularly  spoken  of  by 
Vambery,  who  followed  its  traces  from  S.W.  to  N.E.  for  upwards  of  40 
miles  (see  his  Travels  in  C.  Asia,  54  seqq.,  and  Julius  Braun  in  the 
Jusland,  No.  22,  of  1869). 

The  story  alluded  to  by  Polo  is  found  in  the  medieval  romances  of 
Alexander,  and  in  the  Pseudo-Callisthenes  on  which  they  are  founded. 
The  hero  chases  a  number  of  impure  cannibal  nations  within  a  mountain 
barrier,  and  prays  that  they  may  be  shut  up  therein.  The  mountains 
draw  together  within  a  few  cubits,  and  Alexander  then  builds  up  the 
gorge  and  closes  it  with  gates  of  brass  or  iron.  There  were  in  all 
22  nations  with  their  kings,  and  the  names  of  the  nations  were  Goth, 
Magoth,  Anugi,  Eges,  Exenach,  &c.  &c.  Godfrey  of  Viterbo  speaks  of 
them  in  his  rhyming  verses  : — 

"  Finibus  Indoium  species  fuit  una  virorum  ; 
Goth  erat  atque  Magoth  dictum  cognomen  eorum 

4:  ^  4:  sf:  ^  ^ 

Narrat  Esaias,  Isidorus  et  Apocalypsis, 
Tangit  et  in  titulis  Magna  Sibylla  suis. 
Patribus  ipsorum  tumulus  fuit  venter  eorun,"  &c. 

Among  the  questions  that  the  Jews  are  said  to  have  put,  in  order  to 
test  Mahommed's  prophetic  character,  was  one  series  :  "  Who  are  Gog 
and  Magog  ?  Where  do  they  dwell  ?  What  sort  of  rampart  did  Zu'l- 
karnain  build  between  them  and  men  ? "  And  in  the  Koran  we  find 
(chap,  xviii.  "  T/te  Cavern  ")  :  "  They  will  question  thee,  O  Mohammed, 
regarding  Zu'lkarnain.  Reply  :  I  will  tell  you  his  history " — and  then 
follows  the  story  of  the  erection  of  the  Rampart  of  Yajuj  and  Majuj. 
In  chapter  xxi.  again  there  is  an  allusion  to  their  expected  issue  at  the 
latter  day.  This  last  expectation  was  one  of  very  old  date.  Thus 
the  Cosmography  of  Aethicus,  a  work  believed  to  have  been  abridged  by 
St.  Jerome,  and  therefore  to  be  as  old  at  least  as  the  4th  century,  says 
that  the  Turks  of  the  race  of  Gog  and  Magog,  a  polluted  nation,  eating 
human  flesh  and  feeding  on  all  abominations,  never  washing  and  never 
using  wine,  salt,  nor  wheat,  shall  come  forth  in  the  Day  of  Antichrist  from 
where  they  lie  shut  up  behind  the  Caspian  Gates,  and  make  horrid  devas- 
tation. No  wonder  that  the  etuption  of  the  Tartars  was  connected  with 
this  prophetic  legend  !  The  Emperor  Frederic  II.,  writing  to  Henry  HI. 
of  England,  says  of  the  Tartars  :  "  'Tis  said  they  are  descended  from 
he  Ten  Tribes  who  abandoned  the  Law  of  Moses  and  worshipped  the 

Chap.  IV. 



View  of  Derbend. 

54  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Golden  Calf.  They  are  the  people  whom  Alexander  Magnus  shut  up 
in  the  Caspian  Mountains." 

According  to  some  chroniclers,  the  Emperor  Heraclius  had  already 
let  loose  the  Shut-up  Nations  to  aid  him  against  the  Persians,  but  it 
brought  him  no  good,  for  he  was  beaten  in  spite  of  their  aid,  and  died 
of  grief 

The  theory  that  the  Tartars  were  Gog  and  Magog  led  to  the  Ram- 
part of  Alexander  being  confounded  with  the  Wall  of  China  (see  mfrd, 
Book  I.  chap,  lix.),  or  being  relegated  to  the  extreme  N.E.  of  Asia,  as 
we  find  it  in  the  Carta  Catalana. 

These  legends  are  referred  to  by  Rabbi  Benjamin,  Hayton,  Rubru- 
quis,  Ricold,  Matthew  Paris,  and  many  more.  Josephus  indeed  speaks 
of  the  Pass  which  Alexander  fortified  with  gates  of  steel.  But  his  saying 
that  the  King  of  Hyrcania  was  Lord  of  this  pass  points  to  the  Hyrcanian 
Gates  of  Northern  Persia,  or  perhaps  to  the  Wall  of  Gomushtapah, 
described  by  Vambery. 

Edrisi  relates  how  the  Khalif  Wathek  sent  one  Salem  the  Dragoman 
to  explore  the  Rampart  of  Gog  and  Magog.  His  route  lay  by  Tiflis,  the 
Alan  country,  and  that  of  the  Bashkirds  to  the  far  north  or  north-east, 
and  back  by  Samarkand.     But  the  report  of  what  he  saw  is  pure  fable. 

At  Gelath  in  Imeretia  there  still  exists  one  valve  of  a  large  iron  gate, 
traditionally  said  to  be  the  relic  of  a  pair  brought  as  a  trophy  from 
Derbend  by  David  King  of  Georgia,  called  the  Restorer  (1089-1130). 
M.  Brosset  however  has  shown  it  to  be  the  gate  of  Ganja,  carried  off 
in  1 139. 

[Bayer  in  Comine?it.  Petropol.  I.  401  seqq. ;  Pseudo-Callisth.  by 
Midler,  p.  138  ;  Gott.  Viterb.  in  Pistorii  Nidaiti  Scriptt  Germ,  II.  228  ; 
Alexatidriade,  p.  310-11  ;  Zotenber^s  Tabari,  quoted  in  Athetjceum,  Jan. 
i8th,  1868;  Acad,  des  Insc.  Divers  Savans,  II.  483;  Edrisi,  II.  416- 
420,  &c.) 

Note  4. — The  box-wood  of  the  Abkhasian  forests  was  so  abundant, 
and  formed  so  important  an  article  of  Genoese  trade,  as  to  give  the 
name  of  Chao  de  Bux  (Cavo  di  Bus  si)  to  the  bay  of  Bambor,  N.W.  of 
Sukum   Kala'a,  where  the  traffic  was  carried  on  (see  Elie  de  Lapri?ti. 


Note  5. — Jerome  Cardan  notices  that  "  the  best  and  biggest  gos- 
hawks come  from  Armenia,"  a  term  often  including  Georgia  and  Cau- 
casus. The  name  of  the  bird  is  perhaps  the  same  as  'Affi,  "  Falco 
montanus"  (see  Casiri,  I.  320).  Haxthausen  in  our  own  day  speaks  of 
the  admirably-trained  hawks  of  the  Georgian  princes.  (Cardati,  de  Rer. 
Varietate,  VII.  35  ;   Transcaucasia,  25.) 

Note  6. — A  letter  of  Warren  Hastings  written  shortly  before  his 
death,  and  after  reading  Marsden's  Marco  Polo,  tells  how  a  fish-breeder 
of  Banbury  warned  him  against  putting  pike  into  his  fish-pond,  saying, 
"  If  you  should  leave  them  where  they  are  till  Shrove  Tuesday  they  will 
be  sure  to  spawn,  and  then  you  will  never  get  any  other  fish  to  breed  in 

Chap.  IV.  CONVENT  OF  ST.  LEONARD.  55 

it"  {Romance  of  Travel,  I.  255).  Edward  Webbe  in  his  Travels  (1590, 
reprinted  1868)  tells  us  that  in  the  "  Land  of  Siria  there  is  a  River 
having  great  store  of  fish  like  unto  Samon-trouts,  but  no  Jew  can  catch 
them,  though  either  Christian  and  Turk  shall  catch  them  in  abundance 
with  great  ease."  The  circumstance  of  fish  being  got  only  for  a  limited 
time  in  spring  is  noticed  with  reference  to  Lake  Van  both  by  Tavernier 
and  Mr.  Brant. 

But  the  exact  legend  here  reported  is  related  (as  M.  Pauthier  has 
already  noticed)  by  Wilibrand  of  Oldenburg  of  a  stream  under  the  castle 
of  Adamodana  belonging  to  the  Hospitallers,  near  Naversa  (the  ancient 
Anazarbus),  in  Cilicia  under  Taurus.  And  Khanikoff  was  told  the 
same  story  of  a  lake  in  the  district  of  Akhaltzike  in  Western  Georgia,  in 
regard  to  which  he  explains  the  substance  of  the  phenomenon  as  a  result . 
of  the  rise  of  the  lake's  level  by  the  melting  of  the  snows,  which  often 
coincides  with  Lent.  I  may  add  that  Moorcroft  was  told  respecting  a 
sacred  pond  near  Sir-i-Chashma,  on  the  road  from  Kabul  to  Bamian, 
that  the  fish  in  the  pond  were  not  allowed  to  be  touched,  but  that  they 
were  accustomed  to  desert  it  for  the  rivulet  that  ran  through  the  valley 
regularly  every  year  on  the  day  of  the  verjial  equinox^  and  it  was  then 
lawful  to  catch  them. 

Like  circumstances  would  produce  the  same  effect  in  a  variety  of 
lakes,  and  I  have  not  been  able  to  identify  the  convent  of  St.  Leonard's. 
Indeed  Leonard  (Sant  Lienard,  G.  T.)  seems  no  likely  name  for  an 
Armenian  saint ;  and  the  patroness  of  the  convent  (as  she  is  of  many 
others  in  that  country)  was  perhaps  Saint  Nina,  an  eminent  personage 
in  the  Armenian  Church,  whose  tomb  is  still  a  place  of  pilgrimage ;  or 
possibly  St.  Helena,  for  I  see  that  the  Russian  maps  show  a  place  called 
Elenovka  on  the  shores  of  Lake  Sevan,  N.E.  of  Erivan.  Ramusio's  text, 
moreover,  says  that  the  lake  wasy^«r  days  in  compass,  and  this  description 
will  apply,  I  believe,  to  none  but  the  lake  just  named.  This  is,  according 
to  Monteith,  47  m.  in  length  and  2 1  m.  in  breadth,  and  as  far  as  I  can 
make  out  he  travelled  round  it  in  three  very  long  marches.  Convents 
and  churches  on  its  shores  are  numerous,  and  a  very  ancient  one 
occupies  an  island  on  the  lake.  The  lake  is  noted  for  its  fish,  especially 
magnificent  trout. 

(Tavern.,  Bk.  III.  ch.  iii.  ;  J.  R.  G.  S.,  X.  897  ;  Fereg.  Qiiat.  p.  179  ; 
Khanikoff,  15  ;  Moorcroft,  II.  2)^2  ;/.  R.  G.  S.,  III.  40  seqq.) 

Note  7. — The  name  assigned  by  Marco  to  the  Caspian,  "  Mer  de 
Gheluchelan "  or  "  Ghelachelan,"  has  puzzled  commentators.  I  have 
no  doubt  that  the  interpretation  adopted  above  is  the  correct  one.  I 
suppose  that  Marco  said  that  the  sea  was  called  "  La  Mer  de  Ghel  ou 
(de)  Ghelan,"  a  name  taken  from  the  districts  of  the  ancient  Gelae  on 
its  south-western  shores,  called  indifferently  Gil  or  Gildn,  just  as  many 
other  regions  of  Asia  have  like  duplicate  titles  (singular  and  plural),  arising, 
I  suppose,  from  the  change  of  a  gentile  into  a  local  name.  Such  are 
Ldr,  Ldran,  Khutl,  Khutldn,  &c.,  a  class  to  which  Badakhshan,  Wakhan, 

56  MARCO  POLO.  ■  Book  I. 

Shaghnan,  and  others  have  formerly  belonged,  as  the  adjectives  Ba- 
dak/ishi,  &c.  show.  Abulfeda,  speaking  of  this  territory,  uses  exactly 
Polo's  phrase,  saying  that  the  districts  in  question  are  properly  called 
KU-o-Kildn,  but  by  the  Arabs  Jil-o-Jildn.  Teixeira  gives  the  Persian 
name  of  the  sea  as  Darya  Ghilani  (see  Abulf.  in  Bilsching^  v.  329). 

The  province  of  Gil  gave  name  to  the  silk  for  which  it  was  and  is 
still  famous,  mentioned  as  GJielle  (Gi/i)  at  the  end  of  this  chapter. 
This  Seta  Ghella  is  mentioned  also  by  Pegolotti  (pp.  212,  238,  301), 
and  by  Uzzano,  with  an  odd  transposition,  as  Seta  Leggi,  along  with 
Seta  Masandroni,  i.e.  from  the  adjoining  province  of  Mazanderan 
(p.  192).  May  not  the  Spanish  Gcliz  "a  silk  dealer,"  which  seems  to 
have  been  a  puzzle  to  etymologists,  be  connected  with  this  ?  (see  Dozy 
and Engelmaim,  2nd  ed.  p.  275). 

The  dimensions  assigned  to  the  Caspian  in  the  text  would  be  very 
correct  if  length  were  meant,  but  the  Geog.  Text  with  the  same  figure 
specifies  circuit  (zire).  Ramusio  again  has  "  a  circuit  of  2800  miles." 
Possibly  the  original  reading  was  2700 ;  but  this  would  be  in  excess. 

Note  8. — The  Caspian  is  termed  by  Vincent  of  Beauvais  Mare 
Seruanicum,  the  Sea  of  Shirwan,  another  of  its  numerous  Oriental  names, 
rendered  by  Marino  Sanuto  as  Mare  Salvanicum  (III.  xi.  ch.  ix.).  But 
it  was  generally  known  to  the  Franks  in  the  Middle  Ages  as  the  Sea  of 
Bacu.     Thus  Berni : — 

"  Fuor  del  deserto  la  diritta  strada 
Lungo  il  Mar  di  Bacu  miglior  pareva." 

{Orl.  Iiinam.  xvii.  60.) 

And  in  the  Sfera  of  Lionardo  Dati  (circa  1390)  : — 

"  Da  Traniontana  di  quest'  Asia  Grande 
Tartari  son  sotto  la  fredda  Zona, 
Gente  bestial  di  bestie  e  vivande, 
Fin  dove  fOiida  di  Baccii  risuona,"  &c.     (p.  10.) 

This  name  is  introduced  in  Ramusio,  but  probably  by  interpolation,  as 
well  as  the  correction  of  the  statement  regarding  Euphrates,  which  is 
perhaps  a  branch  of  the  notion  alluded  to  in  Prologue,  ch.  ii.  note  5. 
In  a  later  chapter  Marco  calls  it  the  Sea  of  Sarai,  a  title  also  given  in 
the  Carta  Catalana. 

We  have  little  information  as  to  the  Genoese  navigation  of  the 
Caspian,  but  the  great  number  of  names  exhibited  along  its  shores  in 
the  map  just  named  (1374)  shows  how  familiar  such  navigation  had 
become  by  that  date  (see  also  Cathay,  p.  50,  where  an  account  is  given 
of  a  remarkable  enterprise  by  Genoese  buccaneers  on  the  Caspian  about 
that  time.) 

Chap.  V.  THE  KINGDOM  OF  MAUSUL.  57 


Of  the  Kingdom  of  Mausul. 

Ox  the  frontier  of  Armenia  towards  the  south-east  is  the 
kingdom  of  Mausul.  It  is  a  very  great  kingdom,  and 
inhabited'  by  several  different  kinds  of  people  whom  w^e 
shall  now  describe. 

First  there  is  a  kind  of  people  called  Arabi,  and  these 
worship  Mahommet.  Then  there  is  another  description  of 
people  who  are  Nestorian  and  Jacobite  Christians.  These 
have  a  Patriarch  whom  they  call  the  Jatolic,  and  this 
Patriarch  creates  Archbishops,  and  Abbots,  and  Prelates  of 
all  other  degrees,  and  sends  them  into  every  quarter,  as  to 
India,  to  Baudas,  or  to  Cathay,  just  as  the  Pope  of  Rome 
does  in  the  Latin  countries.  For  you  must  know  that 
though  there  is  a  very  great  number  of  Christians  in  those 
countries,  they  are  all  Jacobites  and  Nestorians  ;  Christians 
indeed,  but  not  in  the  fashion  enjoined  by  the  Pope  of 
Rome,  for  they  come  short  in  several  points  of  the  Faith.* 

All  the  cloths  of  gold  and  silk  that  are  called  Mosolins 
are  made  in  this  country ;  and  those  great  Merchants  called 
Mosolins  who  carry  for  sale  such  quantities  of  spicery  and 
pearls  and  cloths  of  silk  and  gold,  are  also  from  this 

There  is  yet  another  race  of  people  who  inhabit  the 
mountains  in  that  quarter,  and  are  called  Curds.  Some 
of  them  are  Christians,  and  some  of  them  are  Saracens  ; 
but  they  are  an  evil  generation,  whose  delight  it  is  to 
plunder  merchants.'* 

[Near  this  province  is  another  called  Mus  and  Merdin, 
producing  an  immense  quantity  of  cotton,  from  which  they 
make  a  great  deal  of  buckram  and  other  cloth.  The  people 
are  craftsmen  and  traders,  and  all  are  subject  to  the  Tartar 

58  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Note  1. — Polo  could  scarcely  have  been  justified  in  calling  Mosul 
a  very  great  kingdom.     This  is  a  bad  habit  of  his,  as  we  shall  have  to 
notice  again.     Badruddin  Lulu,  the  Atabeg  of  Mosul,  had  at  the  age 
of  96  taken  sides  with  Hulaku,  and  stood  high 
in  his    favour.     His    son   Malik    Salih,  having 
revolted,  surrendered  to  the  Mongols  in  1261 
on  promise  of  life  ;  which  promise  they  kept  in 
Mongol   fashion    by   torturing   him    to    death. 
Since   then  the  kingdom  had  ceased  to   exist 
as  such.     Coins  of  Badruddin  remain  with  the 
name  and  titles  of  Mangu  Kaan  on  their  re- 
verse, and    some  of  his  and  of  other  atabegs 
Coin  of  Badruddin  of  Mausui.     exhibit  curious  imitations  of  Greek  art.     ( Quat 
Rash.  p.  389  ;  Jour.  As.  IV.  VI.  141.) 

Note  2. — The  Nestorian  Church  was  at  this  time  and  in  the  pre- 
ceding centuries  diffused  over  Asia  to  an  extent  of  which  little  con- 
ception is  generally  entertained,  having  a  chain  of  Bishops  and 
Metropolitans  from  Jerusalem  to  Peking.  The  Church  derived  its  name 
from  Nestorius,  Patriarch  of  Constantinople,  who  was  deposed  by  the 
Council  of  Ephesus  in  431.  The  chief  "point  of  the  Faith"  wherein 
they  came  short,  was  (at  least  in  its  most  tangible  form)  the  doctrine 
that  in  Our  Lord  there  were  two  Persons,  one  of  the  Divine  Word, 
the  other  of  the  Man  Jesus;  the  former  dwelling  in  the  latter  as  in  a 
Temple,  or  uniting  with  the  latter  "  as  fire  with  iron."  JVestorin,  the 
term  used  by  Polo,  is  almost  a  literal  transcript  of  the  Arab  form  Has- 
turi.  A  notice  of  the  Metropolitan  sees,  with  a  map,  will  be  found  in 
Cathay,  p.  ccxliv. 

Jdthalik,  written  in  our  text  (from  G.  T.)  Jatolic,  by  Fr.  Burchard  and 
Ricold  JaseHc,  is  the  title  of  the  Patriarch,  representing  Ka^oAiKos.  No 
doubt  it  was  originally  Gdthalik,  but  altered  in  pronunciation  by  the 
Arabs.  The  Nestorian  Patriarch  at  this  time  resided  at  Baghdad. 
{Assemani,  vol.  iii.  pt.  2  ;  Per.  Quat  91,  127.) 

The  Jacobites,  or  Jacobins  as  they  are  called  by  writers  of  that  age 
(Ar.  Yd'kubiy),  received  their  name  from  Jacob  Baradaeus,  Bishop  of 
Edessa  (so  called,  Mas'udi  says,  because  he  was  a  maker  of  Barda'at  or 
saddle-cloths),  who  gave  a  great  impulse  to  their  doctrine  in  the  6th 
century.  They  formed  a  church,  which  at  one  time  spread  over  the 
East  at  least  as  far  as  Sijistan,  where  they  had  a  see  under  the  Sassanian 
Kings.  Their  distinguishing  tenet  was  Monophysitism,  viz.,  that  Our 
Lord  had  but  one  Nature,  the  Divine.  It  was  in  fact  a  rebound  from 
Nestorian  doctrine,  but,  as  might  be  expected  in  such  a  case,  there  was 
a  vast  number  of  shades  of  opinion  among  both  bodies.  The  chief 
locality  of  the  Jacobites  was  in  the  districts  of  Mosul,  Tekrit,  and 
Jazi'rah,  and  their  Patriarch  was  at  this  time  settled  at  the  Monastery 
of  St.  Matthew,  near  Mosul,  but  afterwards,  and  to  the  present  day, 
at  or  near  Mardin.      The  Armenian,  Coptic,  Abyssinian,  and  Malabar 

Chap.  V.  THE  KINGDOM  OF  MAUSUL.  59 

Churches  all  hold   some  shade  of  the  Jacobite  doctrine,  though  they 
have,  except  the  last,  Patriarchs  apart. 

{Assemani,  vol.  ii. ;  Lc  Qniai,  II.  1596;  Aias'iidi,  II.  329-30;  Per. 
Qiiat.  124-9.) 

Note  3. — We  see  here  that  mosolin  or  muslin  had  a  very  different 
meaning  from  what  it  has  now.  A  quotation  from  Ives  by  Marsden  shows 
it  to  have  been  applied  in  the  middle  of  last  century  to  a  strong  cotton 
cloth  made  at  Mosul.  Dozy  says  the  Arabs  use  Mau^ili  in  the  sense  of 
muslin,  and  refers  to  passages  in  the  '  Arabian  Nights.'  But  do  they  in- 
dicate more  than  some  texture  ?  (p.  323).  I  have  found  no  elucidation  of 
Polo's  application  of  mosolini  to  a  class  of  merchants.  But  in  a  letter  of 
Pope  Innocent  IV.  (1244)  to  the  Dominicans  in  Palestine,  we  find  classed 
as  different  bodies  of  Oriental  Christians,  '■'■  Jacoiitae,  Nestoritae,  Georgiani, 
Graeci,  Armeni,  Maronitae,  et  Mosolini."     {Le  Quien,  III.  1342.) 

Note  4. — "  The  Curds,"  says  Ricold,  "  exceed  in  malignant  ferocity 
all  the  barbarous  nations  that  I  have  seen.  ,  .  .  They  are  called  Curti, 
not  because  they  are  curt  in  stature,  but  from  the  Persian  word  for 
Wolves.  .  .  .  They  have  three  principal  vices,  viz..  Murder,  Robbery, 
and  Treachery."  Some  say  they  have  not  mended  since,  but  his  etymo- 
logy is  doubtful.  Ktirt  is  Turkish  for  a  wolf,  not  Persian,  which  is  Gicrg; 
but  the  name  {Karduchi,  Kordiaei,  &c.)  is  older,  I  imagine,  than  the 
Turkish  language  in  that  part  of  Asia.  Quatremere  refers  it  to  the 
Persian  gurd,  "strong,  valiant,  hero."  As  regards  the  statement  that 
some  of  the  Kurds  were  Christians,  Mas'udi  states  that  the  Jacobites  and 
certain  other  Christians  in  the  territory  of  Mosul  and  Mount  Judi  were 
reckoned  among  the  Kurds.     {Piof.  et  Ext.  XIII.  i.  304.) 

Note  5.- — This  passage  is  notable  as  being  the  only  one,  so  far  as 
I  know,  of  those  peculiar  to  Ramusio  among  the  printed  texts,  which 
is  found  in  a  known  MS.  It  occurs  in  a  Latin  MS.  of  1401,  which 
belonged  to  the  late  Sign.  Cicogna  at  Venice.  The  word  rendered 
biickrams  is  there  Bocharini,  for  which  Ramusio,  as  in  all  passages 
where  other  texts  have  Bucherami  and  the  like,  puts  Boccassi?ii.  I  see 
both  Bochayrani  and  Bochasini  coupled,  in  a  Genoese  fiscal  statute  of 
1339,  quoted  by  Pardessus.      {Lois  Marititnes,  IV.  456.) 

Mush  and  Mardin  are  in  very  different  regions,  but  as  their  actual 
interval  is  only  about  120  miles,  they  may  have  been  under  one  pro- 
vincial government.  Mush  is  essentially  Armenian,  and,  though  the 
seat  of  a  Pashalik,  is  now  a  wretched  place.  Mardin,  on  the  verge  of 
the  Mesopotamian  Plain,  rises  in  terraces  on  a  lofty  hill,  and  there,  says 
Hammer,  "  Sunnis  and  Shias,  Catholic  and  Schismatic  Armenians, 
Jacobites,  Nestorians,  Chaldaeans,  Sun-,  Fire-,  Calf-,  and  Devil-worshippers 
dwell  one  over  the  head  of  the  other."     {Ilchan.  I.  191.) 

6o  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 


Of  the  great  city  of  Baudas,  and  how  it  was  taken. 

Baudas  is  a  great  city,  which  used  to  be  the  seat  of  the 
CaHf  of  all  the  Saracens  in  the  world,  just  as  Rome  is  the 
seat  of  the  Pope  of  all  the  Christians.^  A  very  great  river 
flows  through  the  city,  and  by  this  you  can  descend  to  the 
Sea  of  India.  There  is  a  great  traffic  of  merchants  with 
their  goods  this  way  ;  they  descend  some  eighteen  days  from 
Baudas,  and  then  come  to  a  certain  city  called  Kisi,  where 
they  enter  the  Sea  of  India.^  There  is  also  on  the  river,  as 
you  go  from  Baudas  to  Kisi,  a  great  city  called  Bastra, 
surrounded  by  woods,. in  which  grow  the  best  dates  in  the 

In  Baudas  they  weave  many  different  kinds  of  silk  stuffs 
and  gold  brocades,  such  as  nasich,  and  7tac,  and  cramoisy^ 
and  many  another  beautiful  tissue  richly  wrought  with 
figures  of  beasts  and  birds.  It  is  the  noblest  and  greatest 
city  in  all  those  regions.^ 

Now  it  came  to  pass  on  a  day  in  the  year  of  Christ 
1255,  that  the  Lord  of  the  Tartars  of  the  Levant,  whose 
name  was  Alali,  brother  to  the  Great  Kaan  now  reigning, 
gathered  a  mighty  host  and  came  up  against  Baudas  and 
took  it  by  storm.^  It  was  a  great  enterprise  !  for  in  Baudas 
there  were  more  than  100,000  horse,  besides  foot  soldiers. 
And  when  Alau  had  taken  the  place  he  found  therein  a 
tower  of  the  Calif's,  which  was  full  of  gold  and  silver  and 
other  treasure  ;  in  fact  the  greatest  accumulation  of  treasure 
in  one  spot  that  ever  was  known.  When  he  beheld  that 
great  heap  of  treasure  he  was  astonished,  and,  summoning 
the  Calif  to  his  presence,  he  said  to  him ;  "  Calif,  tell  me 
now  why  thou  hast  gathered  such  a  huge  treasure  ?  What 
didst  thou  mean  to  do  therewith  ?  Knewest  thou  not  that 
I  was  thine  enemy,  and  that  I  was  coming  against  thee  with 
so   great  an   host   to    cast  thee    forth    of  thine  heritage? 

Chap.  VI.  THE  GREAT  CITY  OF  BAUDAS.  6l 

Wherefore  didst  thou  not  take  of  thy  gear  and  employ  it 
in  paying  knights  and  soldiers  to  defend  thee  and  thy  city?" 

The  Cahf  wist  not  what  to  answer,  and  said  never  a 
word.  So  the  Prince  continued,  "  Now  then,  Cahf,  since  I 
see  what  a  love  thou  hast  borne  thy  treasure,  I  will  e'en 
give  it  thee  to  eat !"  So  he  shut  the  Calif  up  in  the  Trea- 
sure Tower,  and  bade  that  neither  meat  nor  drink  should 
be  given  him,  saying,  "  Now  Calif,  eat  of  thy  treasure  as 
much  as  thou  wilt,  since  thou  art  so  fond  of  it ;  for  never 
shalt  thou  have  aught  else  to  eat ! " 

So  the  Calif  lingered  in  the  tower  four  days,  and  then 
died  like  a  dog.  Truly  his  treasure  would  have  been  of 
more  service  to  him  had  he  bestowed  it  upon  men  who 
would  have  defended  his  kingdom  and  his  people,  rather 
than  let  himself  be  taken  and  deposed  and  put  to  death  as 
he  was.^  Howbeit,  since  that  time,  there  has  been  never 
another  Calif,  either  at  Baudas  or  anywhere  else.'' 

Now  I  will  tell  you  of  a  great  miracle  that  befel  at 
Baudas,  wrought  by  God  on  behalf  of  the  Christians. 

Note  1. — This  form  of  the  medieval  Frank  name  of  Baghdad, 
Baudas,  is  curiously  like  that  used  by  the  Chinese  historians,  Pacta 
{Pauthier ;  Gaubil),  and  both  are  probably  due  to  the  Mongol  habit  of 
slurring  gutturals  (see  Prologue,  ch,  ii.  note  \i). 

Note  2. — Polo  is  here  either  speaking  without  personal  knowledge, 
or  is  so  brief  as  to  convey  an  erroneous  impression  that  the  Tigris  flows. 
to  Kisi,  whereas  three-fourths  of  the  length  of  the  Persian  Ckilf  intervene 
between  the  river  mouth  and  Kisi.  The  latter  is  the  island  and  city  of 
KiSH  or  Kais,  about  200  miles  from  the  mouth  of  the  Gulf,  and  for  a 
long  time  one  of  the  chief  ports  of  trade  with  India  and  the  East.  The 
island,  the  Cataea  oi  Kxridin,  now  called  Ghes  or  Kenn,  is  singular  among 
the  islands  of  the  Gulf  as  being  wooded  and  well  supplied  with  fresh 
water.  The  ruins  of  a  city  exist  on  the  north  side.  According  to 
Wassaf,  the  island  derived  its  name  from  one  Kais,  about  the  loth 
century,  the  son  of  a  poor  widow  of  Siraf  (then  a  great  port  of  Indian 
trade  on  the  northern  shore  of  the  Gulf),  who  on  a  voyage  to  India  made 
a  fortune  precisely  as  Dick  Whittington  did.  The  proceeds  of  the  cat 
were  invested  in  an  establishment  on  this  island.  Modern  attempts  to 
rationalize  Whittington  may  surely  be  given  up  !  It  is  one  of  the  tales 
which,  like  Tell's  shot,  the  dog  Gellert,  and  many  others,  are  common  to 

62  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

many  regions.  {Hammer's  Ilch.  I.  239;  Ouseiefs  Travels,  I.  170; 
Motes  and  Queries,  2nd  s.  XI.  372.) 

Note  3. — The  name  is  Bascra  in  the  MSS.,  but  this  is  almost  cer- 
tainly the  common  error  of  c  for  /.  Basra  is  still  noted  for  its  vast  date- 
groves.  "  The  whole  country  from  the  confluence  of  the  Euphrates  and 
Tigris  to  the  sea,  a  distance  of  thirty  leagues,  is  covered  with  these 
trees."     {Tav.  Bk.  II.  ch.  iii.). 

Note  4. — From  Baudas,  or  Baldac,  i.e.  Baghdad,  certain  of  these 
rich  silk  and  gold  brocades  were  called  Baldachini,  or  in  English  Bau- 
dekins.  From  their  use  in  the  state  canopies  and  umbrellas  of  Italian 
dignitaries,  the  word  Baldacchino  has  come  to  mean  a  canopy,  even 
when  architectural.  The  stuffs  called  Nasich  and  Nac  are  again  men- 
tioned by  our  traveller  below  (ch.  lix.).  We  only  know  that  they  were 
of  silk  and  gold,  as  he  implies  here,  and  as  Ibn  Batuta  tells  us,  who 
mentions  Nakh  several  times  and  Nasij  once.  The  latter  is  also  men- 
tioned by  Rubruquis  {Nasic)  as  a  present  made  to  him  at  the  Kaan's 
court.  And  Pegolotti  speaks  of  both  nacchi  and  nacchetti  of  silk  and 
gold,  the  latter  apparently  answering  to  Nasich.  Nac,  Nacques,  Nachiz, 
Naciz,  Nasis,  appear  in  accounts  and  inventories  of  the  14th  century, 
French  and  English,  (See  Dictionnaire  des  Tisstis,  II.  199,  and  Douet 
d'Arcq,  Comptes  de  V Argenterie  des  Rois  de  France,  &c.,  p.  334.)  We 
find  no  mention  of  Nakh  or  Nasij  among  the  stuffs  detailed  in  the  Ain 
Akbari,  so  they  must  have  been  obsolete  in  the  i6th  century.  Quermesis 
or  Cramoisy  derived  its  name  from  the  Kermes  insect  (Ar.  Kirmiz) 
found  on  Quercus.  Coccifera,  now  supplanted  by  cochineal.  The  stuff  so 
called  is  believed  to  have  been  originally  a  crimson  velvet,  but  apparently 
like  the  medieval  Purpura,  if  not  identical  with  it,  it  came  to  indicate 
a  tissue  rather  than^^a  colour.  Thus  Fr.-Michel  quotes  velvet  of  vermeil 
cramoisy,  of  violet,  and  of  blue  cramoisy,  and  pourpres  of  a  variety  of 
colours,  though  he  says  he  has  never  met  -with,  pourp re  blanche.  I  may, 
however,  point  to  Piano  Carpini  (p.  755),  who  describes  the  courtiers 
at  Karakorum  as  clad  in  \Y\\\it  putp it ra. 

The  London  prices  of  Chermisi  and  Baldacchini  in  the  early  part  of 
the  15th  century  will  be  found  in  Uzzano's  work,  but  they  are  hard  to 

Babylon,  of  which  Baghdad  was  the  representative,  was  famous  for 
its  variegated  textures  in  very  early  days.  We  do  not  know  the  nature 
of  the  goodly  Babylonish  garment  which  tempted  Achan  in  Jericho,  but 
Josephus  speaks  of  the  affluence  of  rich  stuffs  carried  in  the  triumph  of 
Titus,  "gorgeous  with  life-like  designs  from  the  Babylonian  loom,"  and 
he  also  describes  the  memorable  Veil  of  the  Temple  as  a  ttcttAos 
Bay8i;Xo)i/to5  of  varied  colours  marvellously  wrought.  Pliny  says  King 
Attalus  invented  the  intertexture  of  cloth  with  gold ;  but  the  weaving  of 
damasks  of  a  variety  of  colours  was  perfected  at  Babylon,  and  thence 
they  were  called  Babylonian. 

The  brocades  wrought  with  figures  of  animals  in  gold,  of  which 

Chap.  VI.  THE  GREAT  CITY  OF  BAUDAS.  6^ 

Marco  speaks,  are  still  a  spccialite  at  Benares,  where  they  are  known  by 
the  name  of  Shikdrgdh  or  hunting-grounds,  which  is  nearly  a  translation 
of  the  name  T/iard-wa/ish,  "beast-hunts,"  by  which  they  were  known  to 
the  medieval  Saracens  (see  Q.  Makrizi,  IV.  69-70).  Plautus  speaks  of 
such  patterns  in  carpets,  the  produce  of  Alexandria — '■^Akxa?idrma 
belluata  conchyliata  tapctia."  In  the  4th  century  Asterius,  Bishop  ot 
Amasia  in  Pontus,  rebukes  the  Christians  who  indulge  in  such  attire  : 
"You  find  upon  them  lions,  panthers,  bears,  huntsmen,  woods  and 
rocks ;  whilst  the  more  devout  display  Christ  and  his  disciples,  with  the 
stories  of  his  miracles,"  &c.  And  Sidonius  alludes  to  upholstery  of  like 
character  : — 

"  Peregrina  clet  supellex 
*         *         *         * 

Ubi  torvus,  et  per  artem 

Resupina  flexus  ora 

It  equo  reditque  telo 

.Simulacra  bestiarum 

Fugiens  fugansque  Parthus."     (Epist.  ix.  13.) 

A  modern  Cashmere  example  of  such  work  is  shown  under  Ch.  xvii. 

{D'Avezac,  p.  524;  Pego/otti,  in  Cathay,  295,  306  ;  I.  £.11.  309,  388, 
422  ;  III.  81 ;  Delia  Becima,  IV.  125-6;  Fr.-Michel,  Recherches,  &c.,  II. 
10-16,  204-206;  Joseph.  Bell.  Jud.  VII.  5,  5,  and  V.  5,  4;  Pliny,  VIII. 
74  (or  48)  ;  Flautus,  Fseudolns,  I.  2  ;  Mongcz  in  Aiern.  Acad.  IV.  275-6.) 
Note  5. — Hulaku  started  from  Karakorum  on  his  expedition  against 
Persia,  in  February,  1254,  but  he  did  not  enter  Persia  till  1256,  and 
Baghdad  was  not  attacked  till  1258. 
Note  6. — - 

"  '  I  said  to  the  Kalif:  Thou  art  old; 
Thou  hast  no  need  of  so  much  gold. 
Thou  shouldst  not  have  heaped  and  hidden  it  here 
Till  the  breath  of  Battle  was  hot  and  near, 
But  have  sown  through  the  land  these  useless  hoards, 
To  spring  into  shining  blades  of  swords, 
And  keep  thine  honour  sweet  and  clear. 

Then  into  his  dungeon  I  locked  the  drone, 
And  left  him  there  to  feed  all  alone 
In  the  honey-cells  of  his  golden  hive  : 
Never  a  prayer  nor  a  cry  nor  a  groan 
Was  heard  from  those  massive  walls  of  stone, 
Nor  again  was  the  Kalif  seen  alive.' 
This  is  the  story,  strange  and  true, 
That  the  great  Captain  Alali 
Told  to  his  brother,  the  Tartar  Khan, 
When  he  rode  that  day  into  Cambalu 
By  the  road  that  leadeth  to  Ispahan."     (Longfellow.)* 

The  story  of  the  death  of  Mosta'sim  Billah,  the  last  of  the  Abbaside 
Khalifs,  is  told  in  much  the  same  way  by  Hayton,  Ricold,  Pachymeres, 
and  Joinville.     The  memory  of  the  last   glorious  old  man  must  have 

Not  that  Alaii  (/•ace  Mr.  Longfellow)  ever  did  see  Cambalu. 

64  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

failed  him,  when  he  says  the  facts  were  related  by  some  merchants  who 
came  to  King  Lewis,  when  before  Saiette  (or  Sidon),  viz.  in  1253,  for  the 
capture  of  Baghdad  occurred  five  years  later.  Mar.  Sanuto  says  melted 
gold  was  poured  down  the  Khalif's  throat — a  transfer  no  doubt  from  the 
old  story  of  Crassus  and  the  Parthians.  Contemporary  Armenian  his- 
torians assert  that  Hulaku  slew  him  with  his  own  hand. 

All  that  Rashiduddin  says  is  :  "The  evening  of  Wednesday  the  14th 
of  Safar,  656  (20th  Feb.  1258),  the  Khalifwasput  to  death  in  the  village 
of  Wakf,  with  his  eldest  son  and  five  eunuchs  who  had  never  quitted 
him."  Later  writers  say  that  he  was  wrapt  in  a  carpet  and  trodden  to 
death  by  horses. 

The  foundation  of  the  story  so  widely  received  among  the  Christians 
is  to  be  found  also  in  the  narrative  of  Nikbi  (and  Mirkhond),  which  is 
cited  by  D'Ohsson.  When  the  Khalif  surrendered,  Hulaku  put  before 
him  a  plateful  of  gold,  and  told  him  to  eat  it.  "  But  one  does  not  eat 
gold,"  said  the  prisoner.  "  Why  then,"  replied  the  Tartar,  "  did  you 
hoard  it,  instead  of  expending  it  in  keeping  up  an  army  ?  Why  did  you 
not  meet  me  at  the  Oxus?"  The  Khalif  could  only  say,  "Such  was 
God's  will  !"  "And  that  which  has  befallen  you  was  also  God's  will," 
said  Hulaku. 

Wassaf's  narrative  is  interesting : — "  Two  days  after  his  capture  the 
Khalif  was  at  his  morning  prayer,  and  began  with  the  verse  {Koran,  HL 
25)  'Say  God  is  the  Possessor  of  Dominion!  It  shall  be  given  to 
whom  He  will ;  it  shall  be  taken  from  whom  He  will :  whom  He  will 
He  raiseth  to  honour ;  whom  He  will  He  casteth  to  the  ground.'  Having 
finished  the  regular  office  he  continued  still  in  prayer  with  tears  and 
importunity.  Bystanders  reported  to  the  Ilkhan  the  deep  humiliation  of 
the  Khalif's  prayers,  and  the  text  which  seemed  to  have  so  striking  an 
application  to  those  two  princes.  Regarding  what  followed  there  are 
different  stories.  Some  say  that  the  Ilkhan  ordered  food  to  be  withheld 
from  the  Khalif,  and  that  when  he  asked  for  food  the  former  bade  a  dish 
of  gold  be  placed  before  him,  &c.  Eventually,  after  taking  counsel  with 
his  chiefs,  the  Padishah  ordered  the  execution  of  the  Khalif  It  was 
represented  that  the  blood-drinking  sword  ought  not  to  be  stained  with 
the  gore  of  Mosta'sim.  He  was  therefore  rolled  in  a  carpet,  just  as 
carpets  are  usually  rolled  up,  insomuch  that  his  limbs  were  crushed." 

The  avarice  of  the  Khalif  was  proverbial.  When  the  Mongol  army 
was  investing  Miafarakain,  the  chief,  Malik  Kamal,  told  his  people  that 
everything  he  had  should  be  at  the  service  of  those  in  need  :  "  Thank 
God  I  am  not  like  Mosta'sim,  a  worshipper  of  silver  and  gold  !" 

{Hay ton  vcvRam.  ch.  xxvi.  ;  Per.  Qiiat.  121  ;  Fachym.  Mic.  Palaeol.  II. 
24;  Joinvilk,  p.  182  ;  Sanuto,  p.  238;  /.As.  ser.  5.  tom.  xi.  490,  and  XVI. 
291  ;  D' OJisson,  III.  243  ;  Hanuners  Wassdf,  75-76  ;  Quat.  RasJiid.  305.) 

Note  7. — Nevertheless  Froissart  brings'  the  Khalif  to  life  again 
one  hundred  and  twenty  years  later,  as  "Z^  Galifre  de  Baudas"  (Bk.  III. 
ch.  xxiv.). 



How  THE  Calif  of  Baudas  took  counsel  to  slay  all  the 
Christians  in  his  Land. 

I  WILL  tell  you  then  this  great  marvel  that  occurred  be- 
tween Baudas  and  Mausul. 

It  was  in  the  year  of  Christ '  .  .  .  that  there  was  a  Calif 
at  Baudas  who  bore  a  great  hatred  to  Christians,  and  was 
taken  up  day  and  night  with  the  thought  how  he  might 
either  bring  those  that  were  in  his  kingdom  over  to  his  own 
faith,  or  might  procure  them  all  to  be  slain.  And  he  used 
daily  to  take  counsel  about  this  with  the  devotees  and 
priests  of  his  faith,^  for  they  all  bore  the  Christians  like 
malice.  And,  indeed,  it  is  a  fact,  that  the  whole  body  of 
Saracens  throughout  the  world  are  always  most  malignantly 
disposed  towards  the  whole  body  of  Christians. 

Now  it  happened  that  the  Calif,  with  those  shrewd 
priests  of  his,  got  hold  of  that  passage  in  our  Gospel  which 
says,  that  if  a  Christian  had  faith  as  a  grain  of  mustard 
seed,  and  should  bid  a  mountain  be  removed,  it  would  be 
removed.  And  such  indeed  is  the  truth.  But  when  they 
had  got  hold  of  this  text  they  were  delighted,  for  it  seemed 
to  them  the  very  thing  whereby  either  to  force  all  the 
Christians  to  change  their  faith,  or  to  bring  destruction 
upon  them  all.  The  Calif  therefore  called  together  all  the 
Christians  in  his  territories,  who  were  extremely  numerous. 
And  when  they  had  come  before  him,  he  showed  them  the 
Gospel,  and  made  them  read  the  text  which  I  have  men- 
tioned. And  when  they  had  read  it  he  asked  them  if  that 
was  the  truth  ?  The  Christians  answered  that  it  assuredly 
was  so.  "  Well,"  said  the  Calif,  "  since  you  say  that  it  is 
the  truth,  I  will  give  you  a  choice.  Among  such  a  number 
of  you  there  must  needs  surely  be  this  small  amount  of 
faith  ;  so  you  must  either  move  that  mountain  there," — 
and  he  pointed  to  a  mountain  in  the  neighbourhood — "or 

VOL   L  F 

66  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

you  shall  die  an  ill  death  ;  unless  you  choose  to  eschew 
death  by  all  becoming  Saracens  and  adopting  our  Holy 
Law.  To  this  end  I  give  you  a  respite  of  ten  days ;  if  the 
thing  be  not  done  by  that  time,  you  shall  die  or  become 
Saracens."  And  when  he  had  said  this  he  dismissed  them, 
to  consider  what  was  to  be  done  in  this  strait  wherein  they 

Note  1. — The  date  in  the  G.  Text  and  Pauthier  is  1275,  which  of 
course  cannot  have  been  intended.     Ramusio  has  1225. 

Note  2. — "  Cimi  sez  regisles  et  cum  sez  casses  "  (G.  T.).  I  suppose 
the  former  expression  to  be  a  form  of  Regules,  which  is  used  in  Polo's 
book  for  persons  of  a  rehgious  rule  or  order,  whether  Christian  or 
Pagan.  The  latter  word  {casses)  I  take  to  be  the  Arabic  Kashish,  pro- 
perly a  Christian  Presbyter,  but  frequently  applied  by  old  travellers,  and 
habitually  by  the  Portuguese  {caxiz,  caxix)  to  Mahomedan  Divines  (see 
Cathay,  p.  568). 

Pauthier's  Text  has  simply  "  k  ses  prestres  de  la  Loi." 


How  THE  Christians  were  in  great  dismay  because  of  what  the 

Calif  had  said. 

The  Christians  on  hearing  what  the  Calif  had  said,  were  in 
great  dismay,  but  they  lifted  all  their  hopes  to  God  their 
Creator,  that  he  would  help  them  in  this  their  strait.  All 
the  wisest  of  the  Christians  took  counsel  together,  and 
among  them  were  a  number  of  bishops  and  priests,  but 
they  had  no  resource  except  to  turn  to  Him  from  whom 
all  good  things  do  come,  beseeching  Him  to  protect  them 
from  the  cruel  hands  of  the  Calif. 

So  they  were  all  gathered  together  in  prayer,  both  men 
and  women,  for  eight  days  and  eight  nights.  And  whilst 
they  were  thus  engaged  in  prayer  it  was  revealed  in  a  vision 
by  a  Holy  Angel  of  Heaven  to  a  certain  Bishop  who  was  a 


very  good  Christian,  that  he  should  desire  a  certain  Chris- 
tian Cobler,^  who  had  but  one  eye,  to  pray  to  God ;  and 
that  God  in  His  goodness  would  grant  such  prayer  because 
of  the  Cobler's  holy  life. 

Now  I  must  tell  you  what  manner  of  man  this  Cobler 
was.  He  was  one  who  led  a  life  of  great  uprightness  and 
chastity,  and  who  fasted  and  kept  from  all  sin,  and  went 
daily  to  church  to  hear  Mass,  and  gave  daily  a  portion  of 
his  gains  to  God.  And  the  way  how  he  came  to  have  but 
one  eye  was  this.  It  happened  one  day  that  a  certain 
woman  came  to  him  to  have  a  pair  of  shoes  made,  and  she 
showed  him  her  foot  that  he  might  take  her  measure.  Now 
she  had  a  very  beautiful  foot  and  leg  ;  and  the  Cobler  in 
taking  her  measure  was  conscious  of  sinful  thoughts.  And 
he  had  often  heard  it  said  in  the  Holy  Evangel,  that  if  thine 
eye  offend  thee,  pluck  it  out  and  cast  it  from  thee  rather 
than  sin.  So,  as  soon  as  the  woman  had  departed,  he  took 
the  awl  that  he  used  in  stitching,  and  drove  it  into  his  eye 
and  destroyed  it.  And  this  is  the  way  he  came  to  lose  his 
eye.  So  you  can  judge  what  a  holy,  just,  and  righteous 
man  he  was. 

Note  1. — Here  the  G.  T.  uses  a  strange  word  :  "  Or  te  vais  a  tel 
cralantur."  It  does  not  occur  again,  being  replaced  by  chabitier  (save- 
tier).  It  has  an  Oriental  look,  but  I  can  make  no  satisfactory  sugges- 
tion as  to  the  word  meant.  Kalandar  is  the  term  applied  to  a  religious 
order  among  the  Mahomedans  who  profess  not  only  detachment  from 
the  world,  but  also  strict  chastity. 

The  nearest  word  meaning  shoemaker  that  I  can  suggest  is  (Pers.) 


How  THE  One-eyed  Cobler  was  desired  to  pray  for  the 

Now  when  this  vision  had  visited  the  Bishop  several  times, 
he   related   the  whole  matter   to  the   Christians,    and  they 

F     2 

68  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

agreed  with  one  consent  to  call  the  Cobler  before  them. 
And  when  he  had  come  they  told  him  it  was  their  wish  that 
he  should  pray,  and  that  God  had  promised  to  accomplish 
the  matter  by  his  means.  On  hearing  their  request  he 
made  many  excuses,  declaring  that  he  was  not  at  all  so  good 
a  man  as  they  represented.  But  they  persisted  in  their 
request  with  so  much  sweetness,  that  at  last  he  said  he 
would  not  tarry,  but  do  what  they  desired. 


How  THE  Prayer  of  the  One-eyed  Cobler  caused  the  Mountain 

TO    MOVE. 

And  when  the  appointed  day  was  come,  all  the  Christians 
got  up  early,  men  and  women,  small  and  great,  more  than 
100,000  persons,  and  went  to  church,  and  heard  the  Holy 
Mass.  And  after  Mass  had  been  sung,  they  all  went  forth 
together  in  a  great  procession  to  the  plain  in  front  of  the 
mountain,  carrying  the  precious  cross  before  them,  loudly 
singing  and  greatly  weeping  as  they  went.  And  when 
they  arrived  at  the  spot,  there  they  found  the  Calif  with 
all  his  Saracen  host  armed  to  slay  them  if  they  would  not 
change  their  faith ;  for  the  Saracens  believed  not  in  the 
least  that  God  would  grant  such  favour  to  the  Christians. 
These  latter  stood  indeed  in  great  fear  and  doubt,  but  never- 
theless they  rested  their  hope  on  their  God  Jesus  Christ. 

So  the  Cobler  received  the  Bishop's  benison,  and  then 
threw  himself  on  his  knees  before  the  Holy  Cross,  and 
stretched  out  his  hands  towards  Heaven,  and  made  this 
prayer :  "  Blessed  Lord  God  Almighty,  I  pray  thee  by 
Thy  goodness  that  Thou  wilt  grant  this  grace  unto  Thy 
people  insomuch  that  they  perish  not,  nor  Thy  faith  be 
cast  down,  nor  abused  nor  flouted.  Not  that  I  am  in  the 
least  worthy  to  prefer  such  request  unto  Thee  ;  but  for  Thy 


great  power  and  mercy  I  beseech  thee  to  hear  this  prayer 
from  me  Thy  servant  full  of  sin." 

And  when  he  had  ended  this  his  prayer  to  God  the 
Sovereign  Father  and  Giver  of  all  grace,  and  whilst  the 
Calif  and  all  the  Saracens,  and  other  people  there,  were 
looking  on,  the  mountain  rose  out  of  its  place  and  moved 
to  the  spot  which  the  Calif  had  pointed  out !  And  when 
the  Calif  and  all  his  Saracens  beheld,  they  stood  amazed  at 
the  wonderful  miracle  that  God  had  wrought  for  the 
Christians,  insomuch  that  a  great  number  of  the  Saracens 
became  Christians.  And  even  the  Calif  caused  himself  to 
be  baptised  in  the  name  of  the  Father  and  of  the  Son  and 
of  the  Holy  Ghost,  Amen,  and  became  a  Christian,  but  in 
secret.  Howbeit,  when  he  died  they  found  a  little  cross 
hung  round  his  neck ;  and  therefore  the  Saracens  would 
not  bury  him  with  the  other  Califs,  but  put  him  in  a  place 
apart.  The  Christians  exulted  greatly  at  this  most  holy 
miracle,  and  returned  to  their  homes  full  of  joy,  giving 
thanks  to  their  Creator  for  that  which  he  had  done.' 

And  now  you  have  heard  in  what  wise  took  place  this 
great  miracle.  And  marvel  not  that  the  Saracens  hate  the 
Christians  ;  for  the  accursed  law  that  Mahommet  gave  them 
commands  them  to  do  all  the  mischief  in  their  power  to  all 
other  descriptions  of  people,  and  especially  to  Christians ; 
to  strip  such  of  their  goods,  and  do  them  all  manner  of  evil, 
because  they  belong  not  to  their  law.  See  then  what  an 
evil  law,  and  what  naughty  commandments  they  have  !  But 
in  such  fashion  the  Saracens  act,  throughout  the  world. 

Now  I  have  told  you  something  of  Baudas.  I  could 
easily  indeed  have  told  you  first  of  the  affairs  and  the 
customs  of  the  people  there.  But  it  would  be  too  long  a 
business,  looking  to  the  great  and  strange  things  that  I 
have  got  to  tell  you,  as  you  will  find  detailed  in  this  book. 

So  now  I  will  tell  you  of  the  noble  city  of  Tauris. 

10  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Note  1. — We  may  remember  that  at  a  date  only  three  years  before 
Marco  related  this  story  (viz.  in  1295),  the  cottage  of  Loreto  is  asserted 
to  have  changed  its  locality  for  the  third  and  last  time  by  moving  to  the 
site  which  it  now  occupies. 

Some  of  the  old  Latin  copies  place  the  scene  at  Tauris.  And  I 
observe  that  a  missionary  of  the  i6th  century  does  the  same.  The 
mountain,  he  says,  is  between  Tauris  and  Nakhshiwan,  and  is  called 
Manhuc.     {Gravina,  Christianita  tieW  Armenia,  &c.,  Roma,  1605,  p.  91.) 

The  moving  of  a  mountain  is  one  of  the  miracles  ascribed  to  Gregory 
Thaumaturgus.  Such  stories  are  rife  among  the  Mahomedans  them- 
selves. "  I  know,"  says  Khanikoff,  "  at  least  half  a  score  of  mountains 
which  the  Musulmans  allege  to  have  come  from  the  vicinity  of  Mecca." 

Ramusio's  text  adds  here  :  '•  All  the  Nestorian  and  Jacobite  Chris- 
tians from  that  time  forward  have  maintained  a  solemn  celebration  of 
the  day  on  which  the  miracle  occurred,  keeping  a  fast  also  on  the  eve 


Of  the  Noble  City  of  Tauris. 

Tauris  is  a  great  and  noble  city,  situated  in  a  great 
province  called  Yrac,  in  which  are  many  other  towns  and 
villages.  But  as  Tauris  is  the  most  noble  I  will  tell  you 
about  it.' 

The  men  of  Tauris  get  their  living  by  trade  and  handi- 
crafts, for  they  weave  many  kinds  of  beautiful  and  valuable 
stuffs  of  silk  and  gold.  The  city  has  such  a  good  position 
that  merchandize  is  brought  thither  from  India,  Baudas, 
Cremesor,^  and  many  other  regions  ;  and  that  attracts  many 
Latin  merchants,  especially  Genoese,  to  buy  goods  and 
transact  other  business  there ;  the  more  as  it  is  also  a  great 
market  for  precious  stones.  It  is  a  city  in  fact  where  mer- 
chants make  large  profits.^ 

The  people  of  the  place  are  themselves  poor  creatures ; 
and  are  a  great  medley  of  different  classes.  There  are 
Armenians,  Nestorians,  Jacobites,  Georgians,  Persians,  and 
finally  the  natives  of  the  city  themselves,  who  are  wor- 
shippers of  Mahommet.  These  last  are  a  very  evil  genera- 
tion ;  they    are  known  as  Taurizi.'*     The  city  is  all  girt 

Chap.  XI. 



round    with  charming   gardens,    full  of  many   varieties  of 
large  and  excellent  fruits.^ 

Now  we  will  quit  Tauris,  and  speak  of  the  great  country  of 
Persia.     [From  Tauris  to  Persia  is  a  journey  of  twelve  days.] 

Note  1. — Abulfeda  notices  that  Tabriz  was  vulgarly  pronounced 
Tauriz,  and  this  appears  to  have  been  adopted  by  the  Franks.  In 
Pegolotti  the  name  is  always  Torissi. 

Tabriz  is  often  reckoned  to  belong  to  Armenia,  as  by  Hayton. 
Properly  it  is  the  chief  city  of  Adherbaijdn,  which  never  was  included 
in  'Irak.  But  it  may  be  observed  that  Ibn  Batuta  generally  calls  the 
Mongol  Ilkhan  of  Persia  Sahib  or  Malik  ul-Irdk,  and  as  Tabriz  was 
the  capital  of  that  sovereign  we  can  account  for  the  mistake,  whilst 
admitting  it  to  be  one. 

(ihazan  Khan's  Mosque  at  Tabriz. — From  Fergusson. 

Note  2. — Cremesor,  as  Baldello  points  out,  is  Garmsir,  meaning  a 
hot  region,  a  term  which  in  Persia  has  acquired  several  specific  applica- 
tions, and  especially  indicates  the  coast-country  on  the  N.E.  side  of  the 
Persian  Gulf,  including  Hormuz  and  the  ports  in  that  quarter. 

Note  3. — At  a  later  date  (1341)  the  Genoese  had  a  factory  at 
Tabriz  headed  by  a  consul  with  a  council  of  twenty-four  merchants,  and 
in  1320  there  is  evidence  of  Venetian  settlement  there.  {Elie  de  laPritn. 
161;  Hey^,  II.  82.) 

72  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Rashiduddin  says  of  Tabriz  that  there  were  gathered  there  under 
the  eyes  of  the  Padishah  of  Islam  "  philosophers,  astronomers,  scholars, 
historians,  of  all  religions,  of  all  sects  ;  people  of  Cathay,  of  Machi'n, 
of  India,  of  Kashmir,  of  Tibet,  of  the  Uighur  and  other  Turkish  nations, 
Arabs  and  Franks."  Ibn  Batuta  :  "  I  traversed  the  bazaar  of  the  jewellers, 
and  my  eyes  were  dazzled  by  the  varieties  of  precious  stones  which  I 
beheld.  Handsome  slaves,  superbly  dressed,  and  girdled  with  silk, 
offered  their  gems  for  sale  to  the  Tartar  ladies,  who  bought  great 
numbers."  Tabriz  maintained  a  large  population  and  prosperity  down 
to  the  17th  century,  as  may  be  seen  in  Chardin.  It  is  now  greatly  fallen, 
though  still  a  place  of  importance.     {Quaf.  Rash.  p.  39  ;  I.  B.  II.  130.) 

Note  4. —  In  Pauthier's  text  this  is  Toiizi,  a  mere  clerical  error  I 
doubt  not  for  Torizi,  in  accordance  with  the  G.  Text  ("  le  petiple  de  la 
cite  que  stmt  apeles  Tauriz"),  with  the  Latin,  and  with  Ramusio.  All  that 
he  means  to  say  is  that  the  people  are  called  Tabrizis.  Not  recondite 
information,  but  'tis  his  way.  Just  so  he  tells  us  in  Chap.  iii.  that  the 
people  of  Hermenia  are  called  Hermins,  and  elsewhere  that  the  people 
of  Tebet  are  called  Tebet.  So  Hayton  thinks  it  not  inappropriate  to 
say  that  the  people  of  Catay  are  called  Cataini,  that  the  people  of 
Corasmia  are  called  Corasmins,  and  that  the  people  of  the  cities  of 
Persia  are  called  Persians. 

Note  5. — Hamdalla  Mastdfi,  the  Geographer,  not  long  after  Polo's 
time,  gives  an  account  of  Tabriz,  quoted  in  Barbier  de  Meynard's  Diet, 
de  la  Perse.  This  also  notices  the  extensive  gardens  round  the  city,  the 
great  abundance  and  cheapness  of  fruits,  the  vanity,  insolence,  and 
faithlessness  of  the  Tabrizis,  &c.  (p.  132  seqq).  Our  cut  shows  a  relic 
of  the  Mongol  Dynasty  at  Tabriz. 


Of  the  Monastery  of  Saint  Barsamo  on  the  Borders  of  Tauris. 

On  the  borders  of  (the  territory  of)  Tauris  there  is  a 
monastery  called  after  Saint  Barsamo,  a  most  devout  Saint. 
There  is  an  Abbot,  with  many  Monks,  who  wear  a  habit 
like  that  of  the  Carmelites,  and  these  to  avoid  idleness  are 
continually  knitting  woollen  girdles.  These  they  place 
upon  the  altar  of  St.  Barsamo  during  the  service,  and  when 
they  go  begging  about  the  province  (like  the  Brethren  of 
the  Holy  Spirit)  they  present  them  to  their  friends  and  to 
the  gentlefolks,  for  they  are  excellent  things  to  remove 
bodily  pain ;  wherefore  every  one  is  devoutly  eager  to 
possess  them.^]  « 

Chap.  XIII.        PERSIA  AND  THE  THREE  KINGS.  73 

Note  1. — Barsauma  ("The  Son  of  Fasting")  was  a  native  of  Sa- 
mosata,  and  an  Archimandrite  of  the  Asiatic  Cliurch.  He  opposed  the 
Nestorians,  but  became  himself  still  more  obnoxious  to  the  orthodox  as 
a  spreader  of  the  Monophysite  Heresy.  He  was  condemned  by  the 
Council  of  Chalcedon  (451),  and  died  in  458.  He  is  a  Saint  of  fame 
in  the  Jacobite  and  Armenian  Churches,  and  several  monasteries  were 
dedicated  to  him  ;  but  by  far  the  most  celebrated,  and  doubtless  that 
meant  here,  was  near  Malatia.  It  must  have  been  famous  even  among 
the  Mahomedans,  for  it  has  an  article  in  Bakui's  Geog.  Dictionary  {Dir- 
Barsiuna,  see  iV[  et  Ext.  H.  515).  This  monastery  possessed  relics  of 
Barsauma  and  of  St.  Peter,  and  was  sometimes  the  residence  of  the 
Jacobite  Patriarch,  and  the  meeting-place  of  the  Synods. 

A  more  marvellous  story  than  Marco's  is  related  of  this  monastery 
by  Vincent  of  Beauvais  :  "  There  is  in  that  kingdom  (Armenia)  a  place 
called  St.  Brassamus,  at  which  there  is  a  monastery  for  300  monks. 
And  'tis  said  that  if  ever  an  enemy  attacks  it,  the  defences  of  the 
monastery  move  of  themselves,  and  shoot  back  the  shot  against  the 

{Assemani  in  vol.  ii,  passim;  Tournefort,  HI.  260;  Vin.  Bell.  Spec. 
Historiale,  Lib.  XXX.  c.  cxlii.  ;  see  also  Mar.  Sanut.  III.  xi.  c.  16.) 


Of  the  Great  Country  of  Persia  ;  with  some  account  of  the 

Three  Kings. 

Persia  is  a  great  country,  which  was  in  old  times  very 
illustrious  and  powerful ;  but  now  the  Tartars  have  wasted 
and  destroyed  it. 

In  Persia  is  the  city  of  Saba,  from  which  the  Three 
Magi  set  out  when  they  went  to  worship  Jesus  Christ ;  and 
in  this  city  they  are  buried,  in  three  very  large  and  beautiful 
monuments,  side  by  side.  And  above  them  there  is  a  square 
building,  carefully  kept.  The  bodies  are  still  entire,  with 
the  hair  and  beard  remaining.  One  of  these  was  called 
Jaspar,  the  second  Melchior,  and  the  third  Balthazar. 
Messer  Marco  Polo  asked  a  great  many  questions  of  the 
people  of  that  city  as  to  those  Three  Magi,  but  never  one 
could  he  find  that  knew  aught  of  the  matter,  except  that 
these  were  three  kings  who  were  buried  there  in  days  of  old. 

74  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

However,  at  a  place  three  days'  journey  distant  he  heard  of 
what  I  am  going  to  tell  you.  He  found  a  village  there 
which  goes  by  the  name  of  Cala  Ataperistan,'  which  is 
as  much  as  to  say,  "  The  Castle  of  the  Fire-Worshippers." 
And  the  name  is  rightly  applied,  for  the  people  there  do 
worship  fire,  and  I  will  tell  you  why. 

They  relate  that  in  old  times  three  kings  of  that  country 
went  away  to  worship  a  Prophet  that  was  born,  and  they 
carried  with  them  three  manner  of  offerings.  Gold,  and 
Frankincense,  and  Myrrh ;  in  order  to  ascertain  whether 
that  Prophet  were  God,  or  an  earthly  King,  or  a  Physician. 
For,  said  they,  if  he  take  the  Gold,  then  he  is  an  earthly 
King ;  if  he  take  the  Incense  he  is  God  ;  if  he  take  the 
Myrrh  he  is  a  Physician. 

So  it  came  to  pass  when  they  had  come  to  the  place 
where  the  child  was  born,  the  youngest  of  the  Three  Kings 
went  in  first,  and  found  the  Child  apparently  just  of  his 
own  age  ;  so  he  went  forth  again  marvelling  greatly.  The 
middle  one  entered  next,  and  like  the  first  he  found  the 
Child  seemingly  of  his  own  age ;  so  he  also  went  forth 
again  and  marvelled  greatly.  Lastly,  the  eldest  went  in, 
and  as  it  had  befallen  the  other  two,  so  it  befel  him.  And 
he  went  forth  very  pensive.  And  when  the  three  had 
rejoined  one  another,  each  told  what  he  had  seen  ;  and  then 
they  all  marvelled  the  more.  So  they  agreed  to  go  in  all 
three  together,  and  on  doing  so  they  beheld  the  Child  with 
the  appearance  of  its  actual  age,  to  wit,  some  thirteen  days.^ 
Then  they  adored,  and  presented  their  Gold  and  Incense 
and  Myrrh.  And  the  Child  took  all  the  three  offerings, 
and  then  gave  them  a  small  closed  box ;  whereupon  the 
Kings  departed  to  return  into  their  own  land. 

Note  1. — Kald!a  AtishJ>arastdn,  meaning  as  in  the  Text  {Marsden). 

Note  2. — According  to  the  Collectanea  ascribed  to  Bede,  Melchior 
was  a  hoary  old  man ;  Balthazar  in  his  prime,  with  a  beanl ;  Caspar 
young  and  beardless.      (Ijic/iofer,  Tres  Magi  Evangelici,  Romae,  1639.) 

Chap.  XIV.  THE  THREE  MAGI.  75 


How  THE  Three  Kings  returned  to  their  own  Country. 

And  when  they  had  ridden  many  days  they  said  they  would 
see  what  the  Child  had  given  them.  So  they  opened  the 
little  box,  and  inside  it  they  found  a  stone.  On  seeing  this 
they  began  to  wonder  what  this  might  be  that  the  Child 
had  given  them,  and  what  was  the  import  thereof.  Now 
the  signification  was  this :  when  they  presented  their 
offerings,  the  Child  had  accepted  all  three,  and  when  they 
saw  that  they  had  said  within  themselves  that  He  was  the 
True  God,  and  the  True  King,  and  the  True  Physician.' 
And  what  the  gift  of  the  stone  implied  was  that  this  Faith 
which  had  begun  in  them  should  abide  firm  as  a  rock.  For 
He  well  knew  what  was  in  their  thoughts.  Howbeit,  they 
had  no  understanding  at  all  of  this  signification  of  the  gift 
of  the  stone  ;  so  they  cast  it  into  a  well.  Then  straightway 
a  fire  from  Heaven  descended  into  that  well  wherein  the 
stone  had  been  cast. 

And  when  the  Three  Kings  beheld  this  marvel  they 
were  sore  amazed,  and  it  greatly  repented  them  that  they 
had  cast  away  the  stone ;  for  well  they  then  perceived  that 
it  had  a  great  and  holy  meaning.  So  they  took  of  that  fire, 
and  carried  it  into  their  own  country,  and  placed  it  in 
a  rich  and  beautiful  church.  And  there  the  people  keep  it 
continually  burning,  and  worship  it  as  a  God,  and  all  the 
sacrifices  they  offer  are  kindled  with  that  fire.  And  if  ever 
the  fire  becomes  extinct  they  go  to  other  cities  round  about 
where  the  same  faith  is  held,  and  obtain  of  that  fire  from 
them,  and  carry  it  to  the  church.  And  this  is  the  reason 
why  the  people  of  this  country  worship  fire.  They  will 
often  go  ten  days'  journey  to  get  of  that  fire.* 

Such  then  was  the  story  told  by  the  people  of  that  Castle 
to  Messer  Marco  Polo ;  they  declared  to  him  for  a  truth 
that  such  was  their  history,  and  that  one  of  the  three  kings 

^6  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

was  of  the  city  called  Saba,  and  the  second  of  Ava,  and  the 
third  of  that  very  Castle  where  they  still  worship  fire,  with 
the  people  of  all  the  country  round  about.^ 

Having  related  this  story,  I  will  now  tell  you  of  the 
different  provinces  of  Persia,  and  their  peculiarities. 

Note  1. — '■'■Mire.''  This  was  in  old  French  the  popular  word  for 
a  Leech ;  the  politer  word  was  Physicien.     {N.  et  E.  V.  505.) 

Chrysostom  says  that  the  Gold,  Myrrh,  and  Frankincense  were 
mystic  gifts  indicating  King,  Man,  God  ;  and  this  interpretation  was  the 
usual  one.     Thus  Prudentius  : — 

**  Regem,  Deumque  adnunciant 
Thesaurus  et  fragrans  odor 
Thuris  Sabaei,  at  myrrheus 
Pulvis  sepulchrum  praedocet."     {Hynimts  Epiphanius!) 

And  the  Paris  Liturgy  : — 

Offert  Aurum  Caritas, 
Et  Mynham  Austeritas, 

Et  Thus  Desiderium. 
Auro  Rex  agnoscitur, 
Homo  Myrrha,  colitur 

Thure  Dais  gentium. 

And  in  the  "Hymns,  Ancient  and  Modern"  : — 

"  Sacred  gifts  of  mystic  meaning  : 

Incense  doth  their  God  disclose, 
Gold  the  King  of  Kings  proclaim  eth, 

Myrrh  His  sepulchre  foreshows." 

Note  2. — "  Feruntque  (Magi),  si  justum  est  credi,  etiam  ignem 
coelitus  lapsum,  apud  se  sempiternis  foculis  custodiri,  cujus  portionem 
exiguam  ut  faustam  praeesse  quondam  Asiaticis  Regibus  dicunt."  {Ain- 
mian.  Mar  cell.  XXIII.  6.) 

Note  3. — Saba  or  Sava  still  exists  as  Savah  about  50  m,  S.W.  of 
Tehran.  It  is  described  by  Mr.  Consul  Abbott,  who  visited  it  in  1 849, 
as  the  most  ruinous  town  he  had  ever  seen,  and  as  containing  about 
1000  families.  The  people  retain  a  tradition,  mentioned  by  Hamdallah 
Mastiifi,  that  the  city  stood  on  the  shores  of  a  Lake  which  dried  up 
miraculously  at  the  birth  of  Mahommed.  Savah  is  said  to  have  pos- 
sessed one  of  the  greatest  Libraries  in  the  East,  until  its  destruction  by 
the  Mongols  on  their  first  invasion  of  Persia.  Both  Savah  and  Avah 
(or  Abah)  are  mentioned  by  Abulfeda  as  cities  of  Jibal.  We  are  told 
that  the  two  cities  were  always  at  loggerheads,  the  former  being  Sunni 
and  the  latter  Shiya. 

Chap.  XIV.  THE  THREE  MAGI.  7/ 

As  regards  the  position  of  Avah,  Abbott  says  that  a  village  still 
stands  upon  the  site,  about  i6  m.  S.S.E.  of  Sdvah.  He  did  not  visit  it, 
but  took  a  bearing  to  it.  He  was  told  there  was  a  mound  there  on 
which  formerly  stood  a  Gueber  Castle.  At  Savah  he  could  find  no 
trace  of  Marco  Polo's  legend.  Chardin,  in  whose  time  Savah  was  not 
quite  so  far  gone  to  decay,  heard  of  an  alleged  tomb  of  Samuel,  at  four 
leagues  from  the  city.     This  is  alluded  to  by  Hamdallah. 

Keith  Johnstone  and  Kiepert  put  Avah  some  60  m.  W.N.W,  of 
Savah,  on  the  road  between  Kazwin  and  Hamadan.  There  seems  to 
be  some  great  mistake  here. 

Friar  Odoric  puts  the  locality  of  the  Magi  at  Kashan,  though  one 
version  of  his  Itinerary,  perhaps  corrected  in  this,  puts  it  at  Saba. 

We  have  no  means  of  fixing  the  Kalda  Atishparastdn.  It  is  pro- 
bable however  that  the  story  was  picked  up  on  the  homeward  journey, 
and  as  it  seems  to  be  implied  that  this  castle  was  reached  three  days 
after  leaving  Sdvah,  I  should  look  for  it  between  Sdvah  and  Abher. 

As  regards  the  Legend  itself,  which  shows  such  a  curious  mixture 
of  Christian  and  Parsi  elements,  it  is  related  some  350  years  earlier 
by  Mas'udi :  "  In  the  Province  of  Fars  they  tell  you  of  a  Well  called 
the  Well  of  Fire,  near  which  there  was  a  temple  built.  When  the 
Messiah  was  born  the  King  Koresh  sent  three  messengers  to  him,  the 
first  of  whom  carried  a  bag  of  Incense,  the  second  a  bag  of  Myrrh,  and 
the  third  a  bag  of  Gold,  They  set  out  under  the  guidance  of  the  Star 
which  the  king  had  described  to  them,  arrived  in  Syria,  and  found  the 
Messiah  with  Mary  his  Mother.  This  story  of  the  three  messengers  is 
related  by  the  Christians  with  sundry  exaggerations ;  it  is  also  found  in 
the  Gospel.  Thus,  they  say  that  the  star  appeared  to  Koresh  at  the 
moment  of  Christ's  birth  ;  that  it  went  on  when  the  messengers  went  on, 
and  stopped  when  they  stopped.  More  ample  particulars  will  be  found 
in  our  Historical  Annals,  where  we  have  given  the  versions  of  this 
legend  as  current  among  the  Guebers  and  among  the  Christians,  It 
will  be  seen  that  Mary  gave  the  king's  messengers  a  round  loaf,  and 
this,  after  different  adventures,  they  hid  under  a  rock  in  the  province  of 
Fars.  The  loaf  disappeared  underground,  and  there  they  dug  a  well, 
on  which  they  beheld  two  columns  of  fire  to  start  up  flaming  at  the 
surface  ;  in  short,  all  the  details  of  the  legend  will  be  found  in  our 
Annals."  The  Editors  say  that  Mas'udi  had  carried  the  story  to  Fars 
by  mistaking  Shiz  in  Adherbaijan  (the  Atropatenian  Ecbatana  of 
Sir  H.  Rawlinson)  for  Shiraz.  A  rudiment  of  the  same  legend  is 
contained  in  the  Arabic  Gospel  of  the  Infancy.  This  says  that  Mary 
gave  the  Magi  one  of  the  bands  in  which  the  Child  was  swathed.  On 
their  return  they  cast  this  into  their  sacred  fire;  though  wrapt  in  the 
flame  it  remained  unhurt. 

We  may  add  that  there  was  a  Christian  tradition  that  the  Star 
descended  into  a  well  between  Jerusalem  and  Bethlehem.  Gregory  of 
Tours  also  relates  that  in  a  certain  well,  at  Bethlehem,  from  which  Mary 
had  drawn  water,  the  star  was  sometimes  seen,  by  devout  i)ilgrims  who 

78  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

looked  carefully  for  it,  to  pass  from  one  side  to  the  other.      But  only 
such  as  merited  the  boon  could  see  it. 

{^QeAbbottmJ.  JR.  G.  S.  XXV.  4-6;  A ssejnani,  2,  750;  Chardin, 
II.  407  ;  N.  et.  Ext.  II.  465  ;  Diet,  de  la  Perse,  2.  56,  298;  Cathay,  p. 
51 ;  Mas'iidi,  IV.  80  ;   Greg.  Turon.  Libri  Miraeuloriim,  Paris,  1858, 1.  8.) 

Several  of  the  fancies  that  legend  has  attached  to  the  brief  story  of 
the  Magi  in  St.  Matthew,  such  as  the  royal  dignity  of  the  persons ; 
their  location,  now  in  Arabia,  now  (as  here)  at  Saba  in  Persia,  and 
again  (as  in  Hayton  and  the  Catalan  Map)  in  Tarsia  or  Eastern 
Turkestan ;  the  notion  that  one  of  them  was  a  Negro,  and  so  on,  pro- 
bably grew  out  of  the  arbitrary  application  of  passages  in  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, such  as  :  "  Venient  legati  ex  Aegypto  :  Ktejivliofia  praevenit  manus 
ejus  Deo"  (Ps.  Ixviii.  31).  This  produced  the  Negro  who  usually  is 
painted  as  one  of  the  Three.  "  Eeges  Tharsis  etinsulae  munera  afferent: 
Reges  Arabum  et  Saba  dona  adducejif'  (Ixxii.  10),  This  made  the  Three 
into  kings,  and  fixed  them  in  Tarsia,  Arabia,  and  Sava,  "  Mundatio 
Camelorum  operiet  te,  dromedarii  Madian  et  Epha  :  omnes  de  Saba 
venient  aurnm  et  thus  defer e7ites  et  laudem  Domino  an?iuficia7ites  "  (Is.  Ix.  6), 
Here  were  Ava  and  Sava  coupled,  as  well  as  the  gold  and  frankincense. 

One  form  of  the  old  Church  Legend  was  that  the  Three  were  buried 
at  Sessania  Adrumetorutn  in  Arabia,  whence  the  Empress  Helena  had 
the  bodies  conveyed  to  Constantinople.  Thence  they  were  carried  to 
Milan,  and  from  Milan  Frederic  Barbarossa  transferred  them  to  Cologne. 

The  names  given  by  Polo,  Caspar  Melchior  and  Balthazar,  have 
been  accepted  from  an  old  date  by  the  Roman  Church ;  but  an  abundant 
variety  of  other  names  has  been  assigned  to  them.  Hyde  quotes  a 
Syriac  writer  who  calls  them  Aruphon,  Hurmon,  and  Tachshesh,  but 
says  that  some  call  them  Gudphorbus,  Artachshasht,  and  Labudo ; 
whilst  in  Persian  they  were  termed  Amad,  Zad-Amad,  Drust-Amad,  i.e. 
Venit,  Cito  Venit,  Sincerus  Venit.  Some  called  them  in  Greek,  Apellius, 
Amerus,  and  Damascus,  and  in  Hebrew,  Magaloth,  Galgalath,  and 
Saracia,  but  otherwise  Ator,  Sator  and  Petatoros !  The  Armenian 
Church  used  the  same  names  as  the  Roman,  but  in  Chaldee  they  were 
Kaghba,  Badadilma,  Badada  Kharida.  {Hyde,  Rel.  Vet.  Fers.  382-3  ; 
Inchoferwt  supra;  J.  As.  ser.  6,  IX.  160.) 


Of  the  Eight  Kingdoms  of  Persia,  and  how  they  are  named. 

Now  you  must  know  that  Persia  is  a  very  great  country, 
and  contains  eight  kingdoms.  I  will  tell  you  the  names  of 
them  all. 

Chap.  XV.         THE  EIGHT  KINGDOMS  OF  PERSIA.  79 

The  first  kingdom  is  that  at  the  beginning  of  Persia,  and 
it  is  called  Casvin  ;  the  second  is  fiirther  to  the  south,  and 
is  called  Curdistan;  the  third  is  called  Lor;  the  fourth 
[Suolstan]  ;  the  fifth  Istanit  ;  the  sixth  Serazy  ;  the 
seventh  Soncara  ;  the  eighth  Tunocain,  which  is  at  the 
further  extremity  of  Persia.  All  these  kingdoms  lie  in  a 
southerly  direction  except  one,  to  wit,  Tunocain  ;  that  lies 
towards  the  east,  and  borders  on  the  (country  of  the)  Arbre 

In  this  country  of  Persia  there  is  a  great  supply  of  fine 
horses  ;  and  people  take  them  to  India  for  sale,  for  they 
are  horses  of  great  price,  a  single  one  being  worth  as  much 
of  their  money  as  is  equal  to  200  livres  Tournois ;  some 
will  be  more,  some  less,  according  to  the  quality.^  Here 
also  are  the  finest  asses  in  the  world,  one  of  them  being 
worth  full  30  marks  of  silver,  for  they  are  very  large  and 
fast,  and  acquire  a  capital  amble.  Dealers  carry  their 
horses  to  Kisi  and  Curmosa,  two  cities  on  the  shores  of  the 
Sea  of  India,  and  there  they  meet  with  merchants  who  take 
the  horses  on  to  India  for  sale. 

In  this  country  there  are  many  cruel  and  murderous 
people,  so  that  no  day  passes  but  there  is  some  homicide 
among  them.  Were  it  not  for  the  Government,  which  is 
that  of  the  Tartars  of  the  Levant,  they  would  do  great 
mischief  to  merchants  ;  and  indeed,  maugre  the  Govern- 
ment, they  often  succeed  in  doing  such  mischief.  Unless 
merchants  be  well  armed  they  run  the  risk  of  being 
murdered,  or  at  least  robbed  of  everything ;  and  it  some- 
times happens  that  a  whole  party  perishes  in  this  way  when 
not  on  their  guard.  The  people  are  all  Saracens,  i.e. 
followers  of  the  Law  of  Mahommet.^ 

In  the  cities  there  are  traders  and  artizans  who  live  by 
their  labour  and  crafts,  weaving  cloths  of  gold,  and  silk  stuffs 
of  sundry  kinds.  They  have  plenty  of  cotton  produced  in 
the  country ;  and  abundance  of  wheat,  barley,  millet, 
panick,  and  wine,  with  fruit  of  all  kinds. 

8o  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

[Some  one  may  say,  "  But  the  Saracens  don't  drink 
wine,  which  is  prohibited  by  their  law."  The  answer  is 
that  they  gloss  their  text  in  this  way,  that  if  the  wine  be 
boiled,  so  that  a  part  is  dissipated  and  the  rest  becomes 
sweet,  they  may  drink  without  breach  of  the  command- 
ment; for  it  is  then  no  longer  called  wine,  the  name  being- 
changed  with  the  change  of  flavour."*] 

Note  1. — The  following  appear  to  be  Polo's  Eight  Kingdoms  : — 

I.  KazwIn  ;  then  a  flourishing  city,  though  I  know  not  why  he  calls 
it  a  kingdom.  Persian  'Irak,  or  the  northern  portion  thereof,  seems 
intended.  Previous  to  Hulaku's  invasion  Kazwin  seems  to  have  been 
in  the  hands  of  the  Ismaelites  or  Assassins. 

II.  Kurdistan.  I  do  not  understand  the  difficulties  of  Marsden, 
followed  by  Lazari  and  Pauthier,  which  lead  them  to  put  forth  that 
Curdistan  is  not  Curdistan  but  something  else.  The  boundaries  of 
Kurdistan  according  to  Hamdallah  were  Arabian  'Irak,  Khuzistan, 
Persian  'Irak,  Adherbaijan  and  Diarbekr  {Did.  de  la  P.  480).  Persian 
Kurdistan,  in  modern  as  in  medieval  times,  extends  south  beyond 
Kirmanshah  to  the  immediate  border  of  Polo's  next  kingdom,  viz.  : 

III.  LuR  or  Liiristan.  This  was  divided  into  two  principalities. 
Great  Liir  and  Little  Lur,  distinctions  still  existing.  The  former  was 
ruled  by  a  Dynasty  called  the  Fash'iyah  Atabegs,  which  endured  from 
about  1 155  to  1424.  Their  territory  lay  in  the  mountainous  district  im- 
mediately west  of  Ispahan,  and  extended  to  the  river  of  Dizful,  which 
parted  it  from  Little  Lur.  The  stronghold  of  the  Atabegs  was  the 
extraordinary  hill  fort  of  Mungasht,  and  they  had  a  residence  also 
at  Aidhej  or  Mai- Amir  in  the  mountains  south  of  Shushan,  where 
Ibn  Batuta  visited  the  reigning  Prince  in  1327.  Sir  H.  Rawhnson  has 
described  Mungasht,  and  Mr.  Layard  and  Baron  de  Bode  have  visited 
other  parts,  but  the  country  is  still  very  imperfectly  known.  Little 
Liiristan  lay  west  of  the  R.  Dizful,  extending  nearly  to  the  Plain  of 
Babylonia.  Its  Dynasty  called  Kurshid  existed  from  the  middle  of  the 
1 2th  to  the  end  of  the  i6th  century. 

The  Liirs  in  language  and  otherwise  appear  to  be  akin  to  the  Kurds. 
They  were  noted  in  the  Middle  Ages  for  their  agility  and  their  dexterity 
in  thieving.  The  tribes  of  Little  Lur  "  do  not  affect  the  slightest 
veneration  for  Mahommed  or  the  Koran ;  their  only  general  object  of 
worship  is  their  great  Saint  Baba  Buzurg,"  and  particular  disciples  regard 
with  reverence  little  short  of  adoration  holy  men  looked  on  as  living 
representatives  of  the  Divinity.  {Ilchan.  I.  70  seqq. ;  RawUnson  in 
/.  R.  G.  S.  IX;  Layard  in  Do.  XVI.  75,  94;  N.  et.  E.  XIII.  i.  330; 
/.  B.  IL  31  ;  DOhsson,  IV.  17 1-2.) 

IV.  Shulistan,  best  represented  by  Ramusio's  Suolstan,  whilst  the 

Chap.  XV.        THE    EIGHT    KINGDOMS    OF    PERSIA.  ol 

old  French  texts  have  Cielstan  {i.e.  Shelstd,n)  ;  the  name  applied  to  the 
country  of  the  S/ii/Is,  or  S/iau/s,  a  people  who  long  occupied  a  part 
of  Luristan,  but  were  expelled  by  the  Liirs  in  the  12th  century,  and 
settled  in  the  country  between  Shiraz  and  Khuzistan  (now  that  of  the 
Mamaseni,  whom  Colonel  Felly's  information  identifies  with  the  Shuls), 
their  central  points  being  Naobanjan  and  the  fortress  called  Kala'a 
Safed  or  "  White  Castle."  Ibn  Batuta,  going  from  Shiraz  to  Kazerun, 
encamped  the  first  day  in  the  country  of  the  Shiils,  "  a  Persian  desert 
tribe  which  includes  some  pious  persons."  (Q.  H.  p.  385;  N.  et  E. 
XIII.  i.  332-3  ;  Ilch.  I.  Ti;  /.  R.  G.  S.  XIII.  Map  ;  /.  B.  II.  88.) 

V.  Ispahan  ?  The  name  is  in  Ramusio  Sj>aa?i,  showing  at  least  that 
he  or  some  one  before  him  had  made  this  identification.  The  unusual 
combination  ff  in  manuscript  would  be  so  like  the  frequent  one  ft  that 
the  change  from  Isfan  to  Istan  would  be  easy.  Another  possible  ex- 
planation is  suggested  by  a  passage  in  Abulfeda,  who  says  that  one  of 
the  cities  which  composed  Isfahan  was  called  Shahristan.  As  Shahr 
by  itself  signifies  "  city,"  it  is  just  possible  that  Polo  might  take  Istan 
for  a  proper  name.      (See  Reiske,  Abulf.  III.  535.)     But  why  IstanzV? 

VI.  Shiraz,  representing  the  province  of  Fars  or  Persia  Proper,  of 
which  it  has  been  for  ages  the  chief  city.  The  last  dynasty  that  had 
reigned  in  Fars  was  that  of  the  Salghur  Atabegs,  founded  about  the 
middle  of  the  12th  century.  Under  Abubakr  (i 226-1 260)  this  kingdom 
attained  considerable  power,  embracing  Fars,  Kirman,  the  islands  of 
the  Gulf  and  its  Arabian  shores  ;  and  Shiraz  then  flourished  in  arts  and 
literature.  From  about  1262,  though  a  Salghurian  princess,  married  to 
a  son  of  Hulaku,  had  the  nominal  title  of  Atabeg,  the  province  of  Fars 
was  under  Mongol  administration.     [Ilch.  passim.) 

VII.  Shawankara  or  Shabankara.  The  G.  T.  has  Scmcara,  but 
the  Crusca  gives  the  true  reading  Soncara.  It  is  the  country  of  the 
Shawankars,  a  people  coupled  Avith  the  Shuls  and  Lurs  in  medieval 
Persian  history,  and  like  them  of  Kurd  affinities.  Their  princes,  of  a 
family  Fasluyah,  are  spoken  of  as  influential  before  the  Mahomedan 
conquest,  but  the  name  of  the  people  comes  prominently  forward  only 
during  the  Mongol  era  of  Persian  history.  Their  country  lay  to  the 
south  of  the  great  salt  lake  east  of  Shiraz,  and  included  Niriz  and 
Darabjird,  Fassa,  Forg,  and  Tarem.  Their  capital  was  I'g  or  I'j,  called 
also  Irej,  about  45  m.  north  of  Darab,  with  a  great  mountain  fortress  ; 
it  was  taken  by  Hulaku  in  1259.  The  son  of  the  prince  was  continued 
in  nominal  authority  with  Mongol  administrators.  In  consequence  of 
a  rebellion  in  13 11  the  dynasty  seems  to  have  been  extinguished.  A 
descendant  attempted  to  revive  their  authority  about  the  middle  of  the 
same  century.  The  latest  historical  mention  of  the  name  that  I  have 
found  is  in  Abdurrazzak's  History  of  Shah  Rukh,  under  the  year  H. 
807  (1404).  (See/^//r.  As.  3d  s.  vol.  ii.  355.)  But  a  note  by  Colonel 
Pelly  informs  me  that  the  name  Shabankara  is  still  applied  (i)  to  the 
district  round  the  towns  of  Runiz  and  Gauristan  near  Bandar  Abbas  ; 

VOL,  I.  G 

82  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

(2),  to  a  village  near  Maiman,  in  the  old  country  of  the  tribe ;  (3),  to  a 
tribe  and  district  of  Dashtistan,  38  farsakhs  west  of  Shiraz. 

With  reference  to  the  form  in  the  text,  Sofuara^  1  may  notice  that  in 
two  passages  of  the  Masdlak-ul-Absdr,  translated  by  Quatremere,  the 
name  occurs  as  Shankdrah.  (Q.  R.  p.  380,  440  seqq.\  N.  et  E.  XIII.  ; 
Ilc/i.  I.  71  and  passim;   OuseleVs  Travels,  II.  158  seqq.) 

VIII.  Tun-o-Kain,  the  eastern  Kuhistan  or  Hill  country  of  Persia, 
of  which  Tun  and  Kain  are  chief  cities.  The  practice  of  indicating  a 
locality  by  combining  two  names  in  this  way  is  common  in  the  East. 
Elsewhere  in  this  book  Ave  find  Ariora-Kesheiniir  and  Kes-macorati  (Kij- 
Makran).  Upper  Sind  is  often  called  in  India  by  the  Sepoys  Rori- 
Bakkar,  from  two  adjoining  places  on  the  Indus  ;  whilst  in  former  days 
Lower  Sind  was  often  called  Diul-Sind.  Karra-Mdjiikpur,  Uch-Multd?i, 
Kundiiz-Bag/ildii  are  other  examples. 

The  exact  expression  Tun-o-Kain  for  the  province  here  in  question 
is  used  by  Baber,  and  probably  also  by  some  of  Hammer's  authorities, 
judging  from  his  mode  of  expression.  {Babe?',  p.  204  ;  see  lic/i.  II.  190  ; 
I.  95,  X04,  and  Hist,  de  TOrdre  des  Assassins,  p.  245.) 

I  may  note  that  the  identification  of  Suolstan  is  due  to  Quatremere 
(see  N.  et  E.  XIII.  i.  circa  p.  332) ;  that  of  Soncara  to  Defremery  {J.  As. 
ser.  4,  tom.  xi.  p.  441) ;  and  that  of  Tunocain  to  M.  Pauthier.  It 
is  one  of  the  latter's  happiest  contributions  to  the  elucidation  of  Polo.* 
I  may  add  that  the  Litrs,  the  S/iuls,  and  the  Shabankdras  are  the  sub- 
jects of  three  successive  sections  in  the  Masdlak-al-Absdr  oi  Shahdbuddin 
Dimishki,  a  work  which  reflects  much  of  Polo's  geography  (see  N.  et 
E.  XIII.  i.  330-333)- 

Note  2. — The  horses  exported  to  India,  of  which  we  shall  hear 
more  hereafter,  were  probably  the  same  class  of  "  Gulf  Arabs  "  that  are 
now  carried  thither.  But  the  Turkman  horses  of  Persia  are  also  very 
valuable,  especially  for  endurance.  Kinneir  speaks  of  one  accomplish- 
ing 900  miles  in  II  days,  and  Ferrier  states  a  still  more  extraordinary 
feat  from  his  own  knowledge.  In  that  case  one  of  those  horses  went 
from  Tehran  to  Tabriz,  returned,  and  went  again  to  Tabriz,  within  12 
days,  including  two  days'  rest.     The  total  distance  is  about  11 00  miles. 

The  livre  tournois  at  this  period  was  equivalent  to  a  little  over  18 
francs  of  modern  French  silver.  But  in  bringing  the  value  to  our  modern 
gold  standard  we  must  add  one-third,  as  the  ratio  of  silver  to  gold 
was  then  1:12  instead  of  i  :  16.  Hence  the  equivalent  in  gold  of  the 
livre  tournois  is  very  little  less  than  i/.  sterling,  and  the  price  of  the 
horse  would  be  about  193/.  The  Encyc.  Britann. ,  ^xiiclQ  "Money," 
gives  the  livre  tournois  of  this  period  as  18-17  francs.  A  French  paper 
in  Notes  and  Queries  (4th  S.    IV.  485)  gives  it  under  St.  Lewis  and 

*  The  same  explanation  was  given  in  a  note  kindly  sent  for  my  use  from  Tabriz 
by  Cons'il-General  Abbott,  evidently  without  having  seen  M.  Pauthier's  work. 

Chap.  XV.         THE  EIGHT  KINGDOMS  OF  PERSIA.  83 

Philip  III.  as  equivalent  to  18-24  fr.,  and  under  Philip  IV.  to  17 '95. 
And  lastly,  experiment  at  the  British  Museum,  made  by  the  kind  inter- 
vention of  my  friend  Mr.  Thomas,  gave  the  weights  of  the  sols  of  St. 
Lewis  (1226-1270)  and  Philip  IV.  (1285-1314)  respectively  as  63  grains 
and  6ii  grains  of  remarkably  pure  silver.  These  trials  would  give  the 
Hvres  (20  sols)  as  equivalent  to  18-14  fr-  and  17-70  fr.  respectively. 

Mr.  Wright  quotes  an  ordinance  of  Philip  III.  of  France  (1270-1285) 
fixing  the  maximum  price  that  might  be  given  for  a  palfrey  at  60  Hvrcs 
tottrnois,  and  for  a  squire's  roncin  at  20  livres.  Joinville,  however, 
speaks  of  a  couple  of  horses  presented  to  St.  Lewis  in  1254  by  the 
Abbot  of  Cluny,  which  he  says  would  at  the  time  of  his  writing  (1309) 
have  been  worth  500  livres  (the  pair,  it  would  seem).  Hence  it  may 
be  concluded  in  a  general  way  that  the  ordinary  price  of  imported 
horses  in  India  approached  that  of  the  highest  class  of  horses  in  Europe. 
{Hist,  of  Dom.  Manners,  p.  317  ;  Joinville,  p.  205.) 

Twenty  years  ago  a  very  fair  Arab  could  be  purchased  in  Bombay 
for  60/.  or  even  less,  but  prices  are  much  higher  now. 

With  regard  to  the  donkeys,  according  to  Tavernier  the  fine  ones 
used  by  merchants  in  Persia  were  imported  from  Arabia.  The  mark 
of  silver  was  equivalent  to  about  44^-.  of  our  silver  money,  and  allowing 
as  before  for  the  lower  relative  value  of  gold,  30  marks  would  be  equiva- 
lent to  88/.  sterling. 

Kisi  or  Kish  we  have  already  heard  of.  Cnrmosa  is  Hormuz,  ol 
which  we  shall  hear  more.  With  a  Pisan,  as  Rusticiano  was,  the  sound 
of  c  is  purely  and  strongly  aspirate.  Giovanni  d'Empoli,  in  the  beginning 
of  the  1 6th  century,  another  Tuscan,  also  calls  it  Cornms  (see  Archiv. 
Star.  Ital.  Append.  IIL  81). 

Note  3. — The  character  of  the  nomade  and  semi-nomade  tribes  of 
Persia  in  those  days — Kurds,  Lurs,  Shuls,  Karaunas,  &c. — probably 
deserved  all  that  Polo  says,  and  it  is  not  changed  now.  Take  as  an 
example  Rawlinson's  account  of  the  Bakhtiyaris  of  Luristan  :  "  I  believe 
them  to  be  individually  brave,  but  of  a  cruel  and  savage  character ; 
they  pursue  their  blood  feuds  with  the  most  inveterate  and  exterminating 
spirit.  ...  It  is  proverbial  in  Persia  that  the  Bakhtiyaris  have  been 
compelled  to  forego  altogether  the  reading  of  the  Fatihah  or  prayer  for 
the  dead,  for  otherwise  they  would  have  no  other  occupation.  They 
are  also  most  dextrous  and  notorious  thieves."    (/  R.  G.  S.  IX.  105.) 

Note  4. — The  Persians  have  always  been  lax  in  regard  to  the 
abstinence  from  wine. 

In  the  preparation  of  some  of  the  sweet  wines  of  the  Levant,  such  as 
that  of  Cyprus,  the  must  is  boiled,  but  I  believe  this  is  not  the  case 
getierally  in  the  East.  Baber  notices  it  as  a  peculiarity  among  the 
Kafirs  of  the  Hindu  Kush.  Tavernier,  however,  says  that  at  Shiraz, 
besides  the  wine  for  which  that  city  was  so  celebrated,  a  good  deal  of 
boiled  wine  was  manufactured,  and  used  among  the  poor  and  by  tra- 

G     2 

84  MARCO   POLO.  Book  I. 

vellers.  No  doubt  what  is  meant  is  the  sweet  liquor  or  syrup  called 
nushdb,  which  Delia  Valle  says  is  just  the  Italian  Mostocotto,  but  better, 
clearer,  and  not  so  mawkish  (I.  689).  {Baber,  p.  145  ;  Tavcrnicr, 
Book  V.  ch.  xxi.) 


Concerning  the  Great  City  of  Yasdi. 

Yasdi  also  is  properly  in  Persia ;  it  is  a  good  and  noble 
city,  and  has  a  great  amount  of  trade.  They  weave  there 
quantities  of  a  certain  silk  tissue  known  as  Yasdi,  which 
merchants  carry  into  many  quarters  to  dispose  of.  The 
people  are  worshippers  of  Mahommet.' 

When  you  leave  this  city  to  travel  further,  you  ride  for 
seven  days  over  great  plains,  finding  cover  to  receive  you 
at  three  places  only.  There  are  many  fine  woods  [pro- 
ducing dates]  upon  the  way,  such  as  one  can  easily  ride 
through ;  and  in  them  there  is  great  sport  to  be  had  in 
hunting  and  hawking,  there  being  partridges  and  quails 
and  abundance  of  other  game,  so  that  the  merchants  who 
pass  that  way  have  plenty  of  diversion.  There  are  also 
wild  asses,  handsome  creatures.  At  the  end  of  those  seven 
marches  over  the  plain  you  come  to  a  fine  kingdom  which 
is  called  Kerman.* 

Note  1. — Yezd,  an  ancient  city,  supposed  by  D'Anville  to  be  the 
Isatichae  of  Ptolemy,  is  not  called  by  Marco  a  kingdom,  though  having 
a  better  title  to  the  distinction  than  some  which  he  classes  as  such. 
The  atabegs  of  Yezd  dated  from  the  middle  of  the  nth  century,  and 
their  dynasty  was  permitted  by  the  Mongols  to  continue  till  the  end  of 
the  13th,  when  it  was  extinguished  by  Ghazan,  and  the  administration 
made  over  to  the  Mongol  Dewan. 

Yezd,  in  pre-Mahomedan  times,  was  a  great  sanctuary  of  the  Gueber 
worship,  though  now  it  is  a  seat  of  fanatical  Mabomedanism.  It  is, 
however,  one  of  the  few  places  where  the  old  religion  lingers.  In  1859 
there  were  reckoned  850  families  of  Guebers  in  Yezd  and  fifteen  adjoin- 
ing villages,  but  they  diminish  rapidly. 

The  silk  manufactures  still  continue,  and  with  other  weaving  employ 

Chap.  XVI.  THE    GREAT    CITY    OF    YASDI.  85 

a  large  part  of  the  population.  The  Yazdi  which  Polo  mentions,  finds 
a  place  in  the  Persian  dictionaries,  and  is  spoken  of  by  D'Herbelot  as 
Kumdsh-i- Yezdi,  "  Yezd  stuff."  Yezd  is  still  a  place  of  important  trade, 
and  carries  on  a  thriving  commerce  with  India  by  Bandar  Abbasi.  A 
visitor  in  the  end  of  1865  says  :  "The  external  trade  appears  to  be 
very  considerable,  and  the  merchants  of  Yezd  are  reputed  to  be  amongst 
the  most  enterprising  and  respectable  of  their  class  in  Persia.  Some 
of  their  agents  have  lately  gone,  not  only  to  Bombay,  but  to  the  Mau- 
ritius, Java,  and  China." 

{Ilch.  I.  67-8  ;  Kkanikqf,  Mem.  p.  202  ;  Report  by  Major  R.  M. 
Smith,  R.E.) 

Yezd  was  visited  by  Friar  Odoric,  who  calls  it  the  third  best  city  of 
the  Persian  emperor. 

Note  2. — I  fancy  Delia  Valle  correctly  generalizes  when  he  says  of 
Persian  travelling  that  "  you  always  travel  in  a  plain,  but  you  always 
have  mountains  on  either  hand  "  (I.  462).  The  distance  from  Yezd  to 
Kerman  is,  according  to  Khanikoff's  survey,  314  kilometres,  or  about 
195  miles.  Ramusio  makes  the  time  eight  days,  which  is  probably  the 
better  reading,  giving  a  little  over  24  m.  a  day.  Westergaard  in  1844 
and  Khanikoff  in  1859,  took  ten  days  ;  Col.  Goldsmid  and  Major  Smith 
in  1865  twelve. 

Khanikoff  observes  on  this  passage  :  "  This  notice  of  woods  easy  to 
ride  through,  covering  the  plain  of  Yezd,  is  very  curious.  Now  you 
find  it  a  plain  of  great  extent  indeed  from  N.W.  to  S.E.,  but  narrow 
and  arid ;  indeed  I  saw  in  it  only  thirteen  inhabited  spots,  counting 
two  caravanserais.  Water  for  the  inhabitants  is  brought  from  a  great 
distance  by  subterraneous  conduits,  a  practice  which  may  have  tended 
to  desiccate  the  soil,  for  every  trace  of  wood  has  completely  dis- 

Abbott  travelled  from  Yezd  to  Kirman  in  1849,  by  a  road  through 
Bafk,  east  of  the  usual  road,  which  Khanikoff  followed,  and  parallel  to 
it ;  and  it  is  worthy  of  note  that  he  found  circumstances  more  accord- 
ant with  Marco's  description.  Before  getting  to  Bafk  he  says  of  the 
plain  that  it  "  extends  to  a  great  distance  north  and  south,  and  is  pro- 
bably twenty  miles  in  breadth;"  whilst  Bafk  "is  remarkable  for  its 
groves  of  date-trees,  in  the  midst  of  which  it  stands,  and  which  occupy  a 
considerable  space."  Further  on  he  speaks  of  "  wild  tufts  and  bushes 
growing  abundantly,"  and  then  of  "  thickets  of  the  Ghez  tree."  He 
heard  of  the  wild  asses,  but  did  not  see  any.  In  his  report  to  the 
Foreign  Office,  alluding  to  Marco  Polo's  account,  he  says  "  It  is  still 
true  that  wild  asses  and  other  game  are  found  in  \\\q.  wooded  spots  ow 
the  road."  This  is  the  Asinus  Onager,  the  Gor  Khar  of  Persia,  or 
Kulan  of  the  Tartars.  {Khan.  Mem.  p.  200  ;  Id.  stir  Marco  Polo,  p.  21  ; 
/  R.  G.  S.  XXV.  20-29  ;  ^f-  Abbott's  M.S.  Report  in  Foreign  Office.) 

86  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 


Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Kerman. 

Kerman  is  a  kingdom  which  is  also  properly  in  Persia, 
and  formerly  it  had  a  hereditary  prince.  Since  the  Tartars 
conquered  the  country  the  rule  is  no  longer  hereditary, 
but  the  Tartar  sends  to  administer  whatever  lord  he  pleases.' 
In  this  kingdom  are  produced  the  stones  called  turquoises 
in  great  abundance ;  they  are  found  in  the  mountains, 
where  they  are  extracted  from  the  rocks.^  There  are  also 
plenty  of  veins  of  steel  and  Ondanique?  The  people  are 
very  skilful  in  making  harness  of  war ;  their  saddles,  bridles, 
spurs,  swords,  bows,  quivers,  and  arms  of  every  kind,  are 
very  well  made  indeed  according  to  the  fashion  of  those 
parts.  The  ladies  of  the  country  and  their  daughters 
also  produce  exquisite  needlework  in  the  embroidery  of 
silk  stuffs  in  different  colours,  with  figures  of  beasts  and 
birds,  trees  and  flowers,  and  a  variety  of  other  patterns. 
They  work  hangings  for  the  use  of  noblemen  so  deftly  that 
they  are  marvels  to  see,  as  well  as  cushions,  pillows,  quilts, 
and  all  sorts  of  things.'^ 

In  the  mountains  of  Kerman  are  found  the  best  falcons 
in  the  world.  They  are  inferior  in  size  to  the  Peregrine, 
red  on  the  breast,  under  the  neck,  and  between  the  thighs ; 
their  flight  so  swift  that  no  bird  can  escape  them.' 

On  quitting  the  city  you  ride  on  for  seven  days,  always 
finding  towns,  villages,  and  handsome  dwelling-houses,  so 
that  it  is  very  pleasant  travelling ;  and  there  is  excellent 
sport  also  to  be  had  by  the  way  in  hunting  and  hawking. 
When  you  have  ridden  those  seven  days  over  a  plain 
country,  you  come  to  a  great  mountain ;  and  when  you 
have  got  to  the  top  of  the  pass  you  find  a  great  descent 
which  occupies  some  two  days  to  go  down.  All  along  you 
find  a  variety  and  abundance  of  fruits ;  and  in  former  days 
there  were  plenty  of  inhabited  places  on  the  road,  but  now 
there  are  none  ;  and  you  meet  with  only  a  few  people  looking 


after  their  cattle  at  pasture.  From  the  city  of  Kerman  to 
this  descent  the  cold  in  winter  is  so  great  that  you  can 
scarcely  abide  it,  even  with  a  great  quantity  of  clothing.^ 

Note  1. — Kerman  is  mentioned  by  Ptolemy,  and  also  by  Ammi- 
anus  amongst  the  cities  of  the  country  so  called  {Carviaiiia)  :  "  inter 
quas  nitet  Carmana  oinniiun  mater''''  (XXIII.  6). 

M.  Pauthier's  supposition  that  Sirjdn,  and  not  the  city  now  known 
as  Kerman,  was  then  the  capital,  is  incorrect.  (See  as  to  this,  passages 
from  Abdurazzak  in  N.  et  E.  XIV.  208,  290.)  Our  author's  Kerman 
is  the  city  still  so  called.  According  to  Khanikofif's  observations  it 
stands  at  5535  feet  above  the  sea. 

Kerman,  on  the  fall  of  the  Beni  Biiya  dynasty  in  the  middle  of  the 
nth  century,  came  into  the  hands  of  a  branch  of  the  Seljukian  Turks, 
who  retained  it  till  the  conquests  of  the  Kings  of  Khwarizm,  which 
just  preceded  the  Mongol  invasion.  In  1226  the  Amir  Borrak,  a  Kara 
Khitaian,  who  was  governor  on  behalf  of  Jalaluddin  of  Khwarizm,  be- 
came independent  under  the  title  of  Kutlugh  Sultan.  The  Mongols 
allowed  this  family  to  retain  the  immediate  authority,  and  at  the  time 
when  Polo  returned  from  China  the  representative  of  the  house  was  a 
lady  known  as  the  Padishah  Khdtiai,  the  wife  successively  of  the  Ilkhans 
Abaka  and  Kaikhatu  ;  an  ambitious,  clever,  and  masterful  woman,  who 
put  her  own  brother  Siyurgutmish  to  death  as  a  rival,  and  was  herself, 
after  the  decease  of  Kaikhatu,  put  to  death  by  her  brother's  widow  and 
daughter.  The  dynasty  continued,  nominally  at  least,  to  the  reign  of 
the  Ilkhan  Khodabanda  (1304-13),  when  it  was  extinguished. 

Kerman  was  a  Nestorian  see  under  the  Metropohtan  of  Fars.  {Ileh. 
passim.;    Weil,  III.  454;  Lequien,  II.  1256.) 

Note  2. — A  MS.  treatise  on  precious  stones  cited  by  Ouseley  men- 
tions Shebavek  in  Kerman  as  the  site  of  a  Turquoise  mine.  This  is 
Y)Xo\yx\Ay  Shahr-i-Babek,  about  100  miles  west  of  the  city  of  Kerman, 
and  not  far  from  Parez,  where  Abbott  tells  us  there  is  a  mine  of  these 
stones,  now  abandoned.  Goebel,  one  of  Khanikofif's  party,  found  a 
deposit  of  turquoises  at  Taft  near  Yezd.  {Oi/sch-v's  Travels,  1.  211  ;  J.  P. 
G.  S.  XXVI.  63-65  ;  Khan.  Mem.  203.) 

Note  3. — Iron  mines  are  not  noticed  by  modern  travellers  in  Ker- 
man. Edrisi,  however,  says  that  excellent  iron  was  produced  in  the 
"Cold  Mountains,"  N.W.  of  Jiruft,  i.e.  somewhere  south  of  the  capital  ; 
and  the  y///<f;/  Numd,  or  Great  Turkish  Geography,  says  that  the  steel 
mines  of  Niriz  on  the  borders  of  Kerman  were  famous.  These  are 
also  spoken  of  by  Teixeira.  {Edrisi,  vol.  i.  p.  430  ;  Hammer,  Mem.  siir 
la  Perse,  p.  275  ;   Teixeira,  Rclaeiones,  p.  3 78.) 

Oudauiqiie  of  the  (Jeog.  Text,  Andaiue  of  Pauthier's,  Aiidanieiim  of 

88  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

the  Latin,  is  an  expression  on  which  no  Hght  has  been  thrown  since 
Ramusio's  time.  The  latter  tells  us  that  he  had  often  asked  the  Persian 
merchants  who  visited  Venice,  and  they  all  agreed  in  stating  that  it 
was  a  sort  of  steel  of  such  surpassing  value  and  excellence,  that  in  the 
days  of  yore  a  man  who  possessed  a  mirror,  or  sword,  of  Andaiiic 
regarded  it  as  he  would  some  precious  jewel.  This  seems  to  me  excel- 
lent evidence. 

Avicenna,  in  his  5th  book  De  Anivia,  according  to  Roger  Bacon, 
distinguishes  three  very  different  species  of  iron.  ist.  Iron  which  is 
good  for  striking  or  bearing  heavy  strokes,  and  for  being  forged  by 
hammer  and  fire,  but  not  for  cutting-tools.  Of  this  hammers  and 
anvils  are  made,  and  this  is  what  we  commonly  call  Iron  simply.  2nd. 
That  which  is  purer,  has  more  heat  in  it,  and  is  better  adapted  to  take 
an  edge  and  to  form  cutting-tools,  but  is  not  so  malleable,  viz.  Steel. 
And  the  3rd  is  that  which  is  called  Andena,  This  is  less  known 
among  the  Latin  nations.  Its  special  character  is  that  like  silver  it 
is  malleable  and  ductile  under  a  very  low  degree  of  heat.  In  other 
properties  it  is  intermediate  between  iron  and  steel  {Fr.  R.  Baconis 
Opera  Inedita^  185 9)  P-  382-3).  The  same  passage,  apparently,  of 
Avicenna  is  quoted  by  Vincent  of  Beauvais,  but  with  considerable  dif- 
ferences (see  Specnlum  Natiirale,  VII.  ch.  Hi.,  Ix.,  and  Specul.  Doctriuale, 
XV.  ch.  Ixiii.). 

The  Andena  here  corresponds  precisely  to  the  Andaine  of  Pauthier's 
Text,  and  to  the  Ondaniquc  of  the  G.  T.  I  have  retained  the  latter 
form  because  it  points  most  distinctly  to  what  I  believe  to  be  the  real 
word,  viz.  Hundwdni}\  "Indian  Steel"  (see  Johnson's  Pers.  Diet,  and 
De  Sacy's  Cirstoniat/iie  Arabe,  II.  148). 

The  same  expression  found  its  way  into  Spanish  in  the  shapes  of 
Alhinde,  Alfinde,  Alinde^  first  with  the  meaning  of  steel.,  then  assuming,  it 
would  seem,  that  of  steel  mirror,  and  finally  that  of  the  metallic  foil  of  a 
glass  mirror  (see  Dozy  and  Engehnann  2d.  ed.  p.  144-145). 

The  sword-blades  of  India  had  a  great  fame  over  the  East,  and  Indian 
steel  continued  to  be  imported  into  Persia  till  days  quite  recent,  perhaps 
still  continues.  The  fame  of  Indian  steel  goes  back  to  very  old  times. 
Ctesias  mentions  two  wonderful  swords  of  such  material  that  he  got 
from  the  King  of  Persia  and  his  mother.  It  is  perhaps  the  ferrnvi  can- 
didnm  of  which  the  Malli  and  Oxydracae  sent  100  talents  weight  as  a 
present  to  Alexander.  Indian  Iron  and  Steel  (aiSrjpo?  IvSlkos  kol  o-to- 
^(D/Ao)  are  mentioned  in  the  'Periplus '  as  imports  into  the  Abyssinian 
ports.  Ferrnm  Indieiwi  appears  (at  least  according  to  one  reading) 
among  the  Oriental  species  subject  to  duty  in  the  Law  of  Marcus  Aurelius 
and  Commodus  on  that  matter.  Salmasius  notes  that  among  surviving 
Greek  chemical  treatises  there  was  one  Trepl  ^acjirjs  IvSlkov  aLSrjpov,  '  On 
the  Tempering  of  Indian  Steel.'  Edrisi  says  on  this  subject:  "The 
Hindus  excel  in  the  manufacture  of  iron,  and  in  the  preparation  of 
those  ingredients  along  with  which  it  is  fused  to  obtain  that  kind  of  mal- 

Chap.  XVII.  THE    KINGDOM    OF    KERMAN.  89 

leable  Iron  which  is  usually  styled  Indian  Steel.  They  also  have  work- 
shops wherein  are  forged  the  most  famous  sabres  in  the  world It 

is  impossible  to  find  anything  to  surpass  the  edge  that  you  get  from 
Indian  Steel." 

Klaproth  in  his  '  Asia  Polyglotta '  gives  Andun  as  the  Ossetish  and 
Andan  as  the  Wotiak,  for  Steel.  Probably  these  are  substantially  the 
same  word  with  Andaine  and  Hundwdniy,  pointing  to  India  as  the  original 
source  of  supply. 

The  popular  view  at  least,  in  the  Middle  Ages,  seems  to  have  regarded 
Steel  as  a  distinct  natural  species,  the  product  of  a  necessarily  difterent 
ore  from  iron ;  and  some  such  view  is  I  suspect  still  common  in  the 
East.  An  old  Indian  ofiicer  told  me  of  the  reply  of  a  native  friend  to 
whom  he  had  tried  to  explain  the  conversion  of  iron  into  steel — "  What? 
You  would  have  me  believe  that  if  I  put  an  ass  into  the  furnace  it  will 
come  forth  a  horse?"  And  Indian  Steel  again  seems  to  have  been 
regarded  as  a  distinct  natural  species  from  ordinary  steel.  It  is  in  fact 
made  by  a  peculiar  but  simple  process  by  which  the  iron  is  converted 
directly  into  cast-steel,  without  passing  through  any  intermediate  stage 
analogous  to  that  oi  blister-steel.  When  specimens  were  first  examined 
by  chemists  in  England,  several  of  them  concluded  that  the  steel  was 
made  direct  from  the  ore.,  and  had  never  been  in  the  state  of  wrought- 
iron.  The  Ondanique  of  Marco,  if  really  wrought  from  mines  in  Ker- 
man,  had  no  doubt  some  peculiar  resemblance  to  the  Indian  article. 
{Milller's  Ctesias,  p.  80;  Curtins,  IX.  24  ;  Miillers  Geog.  Gr.  Min.  I.  262  ; 
Digest.  Abvum,  Lugd.  155 1,  Lib.  XXXIX.  Tit.  4;  Salmas.  Ex.  Plinian. 
II.  763  ;  Edrisi,  I.  65-66  ;  J.  R.  A.  S.  V.  387  seqq) 

Note  4. — Paulus  Jovius  in  the  i6th  century  says,  I  know  not  on 
what  authority,  that  Kerman  was  then  celebrated  for  the  fine  temper  of 
its  steel  in  scymetars  and  lance-points.  These  were  eagerly  bought  at 
high  prices  by  the  Turks,  and  their  quality  was  such  that  one  blow  of  a 
Kerman  sabre  would  cleave  an  European  helmet  without  turning  the 
edge.      {Hist,  of  his  oiun  Time,  Bk.  XIV.) 

There  is,  or  was  in  Pottinger's  time,  still  a  great  manufacture  of  match- 
locks at  Kerman ;  but  rose-water,  shawls,  and  carpets  are  the  staples  of 
the  place  now.  Polo  says  nothing  that  points  to  shawl-making,  but  it 
would  seem  from  Edrisi  that  some  such  manufacture  already  existed  in 
the  adjoining  district  of  Bamm.  It  is  possible  that  the  "hangings" 
{cortines)  spoken  of  by  Polo-  may  refer  to  the  carpets,  I  have  seen  a 
genuine  Kerman  carpet  in  the  house  of  my  friend  Sir  Bartle  Frere.  It 
is  of  very  short  pile,  very  even  and  dense ;  the  design  unlike  any  other 
carpet  I  have  seen ;  a  combination  of  vases,  birds,  and  floral  tracery, 
closely  resembling  the  illuminated  frontispiece  of  some  Persian  MSS. 

The  shawls  are  inferior  to  those  of  Kashmir  in  fineness,  but  not  in 
colour.  In  1850,  their  highest  quality  did  not  exceed  30  tomans  (14/.)  in 
price.  About  2200  looms  were  employed  on  the  fabric.  A  good  deal 
of  Kerman  wool,  called  Kurk,  goes  via  Bandar  Abbas  and  Karachi  to 



Book  I. 

Texture,  with  Animals,  &c.,  from  a  Cashmere  Scarf  in  the  India  Museum. 

Chap.  XVIII.  THE  CITY  OF  CAMAUI.  91 

Amritsar,  where  it  is  mixed  with  the  genuine  Tibetan  wool  in  the  shawl 
manufacture.  The  silk  embroidery,  of  which  Marco  speaks,  is  still  per- 
formed with  great  skill  and  beauty  at  Kerman.  Our  cut  illustrates  the 
textures  figured  with  animals,  already  noticed  at  p.  63. 

The  Guebers  were  numerous  here  at  the  end  of  last  century,  but 
they  are  rapidly  disappearing  now.  The  Mussulman  of  Kerman  is, 
according  to  Khanikoff,  an  epicurean  gentleman,  and  even  in  regard  to 
wine,  which  is  strong  and  plentiful,  his  divines  are  liberal.  "  In  other 
parts  of  Persia  you  find  the  scribblings  on  the  walls  of  Serais  to  consist 
of  philosophical  axioms,  texts  from  the  Koran,  or  abuse  of  local  autho- 
rities. From  Kerman  to  Yezd  you  find  only  rhymes  in  praise  of  fair 
ladies  or  good  wine." 

{Potthigcrs  Travels;  Khaiiik.  Mem.  186  seqq.,  and  Notice,  p.  2  r  ; 
Major  SviitKs  Report;  Abbotfs  MS.  Report  in  F.  O.) 

Note  o. — Parez  is  famous  for  its  falcons  still,  and  so  are  the  districts 
of  Aktar  and  Sirjan  for  those  of  the  species  called  Tcrld/i,  esteemed  the 
finest  in  Persia,  and  which  Mr.  Abbott  identifies  with  those  described  in 
the  text.  Both  he  and  Major  Smith  were  entertained  with  hawking  by 
Persian  hosts  in  this  neighbourhood.  {/.  R.  G.  S.  XXV.  50,  63,  and 
Reports  by  Abbott  and  Smith  as  above.) 

Note  G. — We  defer  geographical  remarks  till  the  traveller  reaches 


Of  the  City  of  Camadi  and  its  Ruins  ;  also  touching  the 
Carauna  Robbers. 

After  you  have  ridden  down  hill  those  two  days,  you  find 
yourself  in  a  vast  plain,  and  at  the  beginning  thereof  there 
is  a  city  called  Camadi,  which  formerly  was  a  great  and 
noble  place,  but  now  is  of  little  consequence,  for  the  Tartars 
in  their  incursions  have  several  times  ravaged  it.  The  plain 
whereof  I  speak  is  a  very  hot  region  ;  and  the  province  that 
we  now  enter  is  called  Reobarles. 

The  fruits  of  the  country  are  dates,  pistachioes,  and 
apples  of  Paradise,  with  others  of  the  like  not  found  in  otir 
cold  climate.  [There  are  vast  numbers  of  turtle-doves, 
attracted   by    the  abundance   of  fruits,    but    the    Saracens 


never  take  them,  for  they  hold  them  in  abomination.] 
And  on  this  plain  there  is  a  kind  of  bird  called  francolin, 
but  different  from  the  francolin  of  other  countries,  for  their 
colour  is  a  mixture  of  black  and  white,  and  the  feet  and 
beak  are  vermilion  colour.' 

The  beasts  also  are  peculiar ;  and  first  I  will  tell  you  of 
their  oxen.  These  are  very  large,  and  all  over  white  as 
snow  ;  the  hair  is  very  short  and  smooth,  which  is  owing  to 
the  heat  of  the  country.  The  horns  are  short  and  thick, 
not  sharp  in  the  point ;  and  between  the  shoulders  they 
have  a  round  hump  some  two  palms  high.  There  are  no 
handsomer  creatures  in  the  world.  And  when  they  have 
to  be  loaded,  they  kneel  like  the  camel ;  once  the  load  is 
adjusted,  they  rise.  Their  load  is  a  heavy  one,  for  they  are 
very  strong  animals.  Then  there  are  sheep  here  as  big  as 
asses ;  and  their  tails  are  so  large  and  fat,  that  one  tail  shall 
weigh  some  30  lbs.  They  are  fine  fat  beasts,  and  afford 
capital  mutton.* 

In  this  plain  there  are  a  number  of  villages  and  towns 
which  have  lofty  walls  of  mud,  made  as  a  defence  agdnst 
the  banditti,^  who  are  very  numerous,  and  are  called  Ca- 
R  AON  AS.  This  name  is  given  them  because  they  are  the 
sons  of  Indian  mothers  by  Tartar  fathers.  And  you  must 
know  that  when  these  Caraonas  wish  to  make  a  plundering 
incursion,  they  have  certain  devilish  enchantments  whereby 
they  do  bring  darkness  over  the  face  of  day,  insomuch  that 
you  can  scarcely  discern  your  comrade  riding  beside  you; 
and  this  darkness  they  will  cause  to  extend  over  a  space  of 
seven  days'  journey.  They  know  the  country  thoroughly, 
and  ride  abreast,  keeping  near  one  another,  sometimes  to 
the  number  of  10,000,  at  other  times  more  or  fewer.  In 
this  way  they  extend  across  the  whole  plain  that  they  a'"e 
going  to  harry,  and  catch  every  living  thing  that  is  found 
outside  of  the  towns  and  villages ;  man,  woman,  or  beast, 
nothing  can  escape  them !  The  old  men  whom  they  take 
in  this  way  they  butcher  ;  the  young  men  and  the  women 


they  sell  for  slaves  in  other  countries ;  thus  the  whole  land 
is  ruined,  and  has  become  well  nigh  a  desert. 

The  King  of  these  scoundrels  is  called  Nogodar.  This 
Nogodar  had  gone  to  the  Court  of  Chagatai,  who  was  own 
brother  to  the  Great  Kaan,  with  some  10,000  horsemen  of 
his,  and  abode  with  him  ;  for  Chagatai  was  his  uncle.  And 
whilst  there  this  Nogodar  devised  a  most  audacious  enter- 
prise, and  I  will  tell  you  what  it  was.  He  left  his  uncle 
who  was  then  in  Greater  Armenia,  and  fled  with  a  great 
body  of  horsemen,  cruel  unscrupulous  fellows,  first  through 
Badashan,  and  then  through  another  province  called 
Pashai-Dir,  and  then  through  another  called  Ariora- 
Keshemur.  There  he  lost  a  great  number  of  his  people 
and  of  his  horses,  for  the  roads  were  very  narrow  and 
perilous.  And  when  he  had  conquered  all  those  provinces, 
he  entered  India  at  the  extremity  of  a  province  called 
Dalivar.  He  established  himself  in  that  city  and  govern- 
ment which  he  took  from  the  King  of  the  country,  Asedin 
SoLDAN  by  name,  a  man  of  great  power  and  wealth.  And 
there  abideth  Nogodar  with  his  army,  afraid  of  nobody, 
and  waging  war  with  all  the  Tartars  in  his  neighbour- 

Now  that  I  have  told  you  of  those  scoundrels  and  their 
history,  I  must  add  the  fact  that  Messer  Marco  himself 
was  all  but  caught  by  their  bands  in  such  a  darkness  as 
that  I  have  told  you  of;  but,  as  it  pleased  God,  he  got  off 
and  threw  himself  into  a  village  that  was  hard  by,  called 
CoNosALMi.  Howbeit  he  lost  his  whole  company  except 
seven  persons  who  escaped  along  with  him.  The  rest  were 
caught,  and  some  of  them  sold,  some  put  to  death.^ 

Note  1, — The  apples  of  Paradise  are  plantains.  Ramusio  has 
"  Adam's  apple."  This  was  some  kind  of  Citrus,  though  Lindley  thinks 
it  impossible  to  say  precisely  what.  According  to  Jacques  de  Vitry  it 
was  a  beautiful  fruit  of  the  Citron  kind,  in  which  the  bite  of  human 
teeth  was  plainly  discernible  (Note  to  Vulgar  Errors,  II.  211  ;  Boiigars, 
I.  1099).    Mr.  Abbott  speaks  of  this  tract  as  "  the  districts  (of  Kernian) 

94  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

lying  towards  the  South,  which  are  termed  the  Ghermseer  or  Hot  Region, 
where  the  temperature  of  winter  resembles  that  of  a  charming  spring, 
and  where  the  palm,  orange,  and  lemon-tree  flourish."  {MS.  Report;  see 
also/.  R.  G.  S.  XXV.  56). 

The  Francolin  here  spoken  of  is,  as  Major  Smith  tells  me,  the 
Darrd^  of  the  Persians,  the  Black  Partridge  of  English  sportsmen,  some- 
times called  the  Red-legged  FrancoHn.  The  Darraj  is  found  in  some 
parts  of  Egypt  where  its  peculiar  call  is  interpreted  by  the  peasantry 
into  certain  Arabic  words,  meaning  "  Sweet  are  the  corn-ears  !  Praised 
be  the  Lord  !"  In  India,  Baber  tells  us,  the  call  of  the  Black  Partridge 
was  less  piously  rendered  " Shir  ddram  s/iakrak"  "  I've  got  milk  and 
sugar !" 

{Crestomathie  Arabe,  11.  295  ;  Baber,  320.) 

Note  2. — Abbott  mentions  the  humped  (though  small)  oxen  in  this 
part  of  Persia,  and  that  in  some  of  the  neighbouring  districts  they  are 
taught  to  kneel  to  receive  the  load,  an  accomplishment  which  seems  to 
have  struck  Mas'udi  (III.  27),  who  says  he  saw  it  exhibited  by  oxen  at 
Rai  (near  modern  Tehran).  The  Ain  Akbari  also  ascribes  it  to  a  very 
fine  breed  in  Bengal.  The  whimsical  name  Zebu,  given  to  the  humped 
or  Indian  ox  in  books  of  Zoology,  was  taken  by  Bufifon  from  the 
exhibitors  of  such  a  beast  at  a  French  Fair. 

The  fat-tailed  sheep  is  well  known  in  many  parts  of  Asia,  and 
part  of  Africa.  It  is  mentioned  by  Ctesias,  and  by  ^lian,  who  says 
the  shepherds  used  to  extract  the  tallow  from  the  live  animal,  sewing 
up  the  tail  again.  Marco's  statements  as  to  size  do  not  surpass  those 
of  the  admirable  Kampfer  :  "In  size  they  so  much  surpass  the  com- 
mon sheep  that  it  is  not  unusual  to  see  them  as  tall  as  a  donkey, 
whilst  all  are  much  more  than  three  feet ;  and  as  to  the  tail  I  shall  not 
exceed  the  truth,  though  I  may  exceed  belief,  if  I  say  that  it  sometimes 
reaches  40  lbs.  in  weight."  {jEliaii,  Nat.  An.  III.  3,  IV.  32  ;  Amoen. 

Note  3. — The  word  rendered  banditti  is  in  Pauthier  Carans,  in 
G.  Text  Caraunes,  in  the  I^atin  "a  scaranis  et  malandritiis."  The  last 
is  no  doubt  correct,  standing  for  the  old  Italian  Scherani,  bandits  or 
troopers  (see  Cathay,  p.  287  note). 

Note  4. — This  is  a  knotty  subject,  and  needs  a  long  note. 

The  Karaunahs  or  Kardwinahs,  are  mentioned  often  in  the  histories 
of  the  Mongol  regime  in  Persia,  first  as  a  Mongol  tribe  forming  a 
Tuman,  i.e.  a  division  or  corps  of  10,000  in  the  Mongol  army  (and  I 
suspect  it  was  the  phrase  the  Tuman  of  the  Karaunahs  in  Marco's  mind 
that  suggested  his  repeated  use  of  the  number  10,000  in  speaking  of 
them) ;  and  afterwards  as  daring  and  savage  freebooters,  scouring  the 
Persian  provinces,  and  having  their  head-quarters  on  the  Eastern  fron- 
tiers of  Persia.  They  are  described  as  having  had  their  original  seats 
on  the  mountains  north  of  the  Chinese  wall  near  Karaiai  Jidun  or 


Khidun ;  and  their  special  accomplishment  in  war  was  the  use  of 
Naphtha  Fire.  Rashiduddin  mentions  the  Kardmit  as  a  branch  of  the 
great  Mongol  tribe  of  the  Kunkurats,  who  certainly  had  their  seat  in 
the  vicinity  named,  so  these  may  ]Jossibly  be  connected  with  the  Karau- 
nahs.  The  same  author  says  that  the  Tuman  of  the  Karaunahs  formed 
the  Inh't  ox peculiiim  of  Arghun  Khan.  Wassaf  calls  them  "a  kind  of 
goblins  rather  than  human  beings,  the  most  daring  of  all  the  Mongols," 
and  Mirkhond  speaks  in  like  terms. 

Dr.  Bird  of  Bombay,  in  discussing  some  of  the  Indo-Scythic  coins 
which  bear  the  word  Korano  attached  to  the  prince's  name,  asserts  this 
to  stand  for  the  name  of  the  Karaunah  "  who  were  a  Grosco-Indo-Scythic 
tribe  of  robbers  in  the  Punjab,  who  are  mentioned  by  Marco  Polo,"  a 
somewhat  hasty  conclusion  which  Pauthier  adopts.  There  is,  Qua- 
tremere  observes,  no  mention  of  the  Karaunahs  before  the  Mongol  inva- 
sion, and  this  he  regards  as  the  great  obstacle  to  any  supposition  of  their 
having  been  a  people  previously  settled  in  Persia.  Reiske,  with  no 
reference  to  the  present  subject,  quotes  a  passage  from  Hamza  of 
Ispahan,  a  writer  of  the  tenth  century,  in  which  mention  is  made  of 
certain  troops  called  Kardunahs.  But  it  seems  certain  that  in  this  and 
other  like  cases  the  real  reading  was  Kazdwindh,  people  of  Kazwin. 
(See  Reiskis  Constant.  Porphyrog.  Bonn,  ed.  II.  674 ;  Gottzi'aldfs  Hamza 
Ispahanensis,  p,  161  ;  and  Quatremere  m  J.  A.  ser.  5,  tom.  xv.  173.)  Ibn 
Batuta  only  once  mentions  the  name,  saying  that  Tughlak  Shah  of 
Dehli,  was  "  one  of  those  Turks  called  Karaunas  who  dwell  in  the 
mountains  between  Sind  and  Turkestan."  Hammer  has  suggested  the 
derivation  of  the  word  Carbine  from  Kardwinah,  and  a  link  in  such  an 
etymology  is  furnished  by  the  fact  that  in  the  i6th  century  the  word 
Carbine  was  used  for  some  kind  of  irregular  horseman. 

{Gold.  Horde,  214;  Ilch.  I.  17,  344,  &c. ;  Erdmann.,  168,  199,  &c.  ; 
Q.  R.  130  ;  Not.  et  Ext.  XIV.  282  ;  /  B.  III.  201  ;  Ed.  IVebbe,  his  Tra- 
vailes,  p.  17,  1590,  Reprinted  1868.) 

As  regards  the  account  given  by  Marco  of  the  origin  of  the  Caraonas, 
it  seems  almost  necessarily  a  mistaken  one.  As  Khanikofif  remarks,  he 
might  have  confounded  them  with  the  Biluchis,  whose  Turanian  aspect 
(at  least  as  regards  the  Brahuis)  shows  a  strong  infusion  of  Turki 
blood,  and  who  might  be  rudely  described  as  a  cross  between  Tartars 
and  Indians.  It  is  indeed  an  odd  fact  that  the  word  Kardni  (vulgo 
Cranny)  is  commonly  applied  in  India  at  this  day  to  the  mixed  race 
sprung  from  European  fathers  and  Native  mothers,  and  this  might  be 
cited  in  corroboration  of  Marsden's  reference  to  the  Sanskrit  Karana, 
but  I  suspect  the  coincidence  arises  in  another  way.  Karana  is,  accord- 
ing to  Wilson,  the  son  of  a  Sudra  woman  by  a  Vaisya  (or  as  Gen.  Cun- 
ningham maintains,  a  mongrel  Kshatriya).  An  occupation  of  this  class 
was  writing  and  keeping  accounts,  and  hence  the  word  came  to  mean  a 
writer  or  scribe.  In  this  sense  we  find  Kardni  applied  in  Ibn  Batuta's 
day  to  a  ship's  clerk,  and  it  is  used  in  the  same  sense  in  the  Abi  Akbari. 

g6  MARCO   POLO.  Book  I. 

Clerkship  is  also  the  predominant  occupation  of  the  East-Indians,  and 
hence  the  term  Karani  is  applied  to  them  from  their  business,  and  not 
from  their  mixed  blood.  We  shall  see  hereafter  that  there  is  a  Tartar 
term  Arghun,  applied  to  fair  children  born  of  a  Mongol  mother  and 
white  father ;  it  is  possible  that  there  may  have  been  a  correlative  word 
like  Kardun  applied  to  dark  children  born  of  Mongol  father  and  black 
mother,  and  that  this  led  Marco  to  a  false  theory. 

Let  us  turn  now  to  the  name  of  Nogodar.  Contemporaneously  with 
the  Karaunahs  we  have  frequent  mention  of  predatory  bands  known  as 
Nigiidaris,  who  seem  to  be  distinguished  from  the  Karaunahs,  but  had  a 
like  character  for  truculence.  Their  head-quarters  were  about  Sijistan, 
and  Quatremere  seems  disposed  to  look  upon  them  as  a  tribe  indigenous 
in  that  quarter.  Hammer  says  they  were  originally  the  troops  of  Prince 
Nigudar,  grandson  of  Chaghatai,  and  that  they  were  a  rabble  of  all  sorts, 
Mongols,  Turkmans,  Kurds,  Shuls,  and  what  not.  We  hear  of  their 
revolts  and  disorders  down  to  13 19,  under  which  date  Mirkhond  says 
that  there  had  been  one-and-tvventy  fights  with  them  in  four  years. 
Again  we  hear  of  them  in  1336  about  Herat,  whilst  in  Baber's  time  they 
turn  up  as  Nukdari,  fairly  established  as  tribes  in  the  mountainous  tracts 
of  Karnud  and  Ghur,  west  of  Kabul,  and  coupled  with  the  Hazaras,  who 
still  survive  both  in  name  and  character.  "Among  both,"  says  Baber, 
"there  are  some  who  speak  the  Mongol  language."  The  Hazaras  are 
eminently  Mongol  in  feature  to  this  day,  and  it  is  very  probable  that 
they  or  some  part  of  them  are  the  descendants  of  the  Karaunahs  or  the 
Nigudaris,  or  of  both,  and  that  the  origination  of  the  bands  so  called 
from  the  scum  of  the  Mongol  inundation  is  thus  in  degree  confirmed. 
It  is  worthy  of  notice  that  Abul  Fazl,  who  also  mentions  the  Nukdaris 
among  the  nomad  tribes  of  Kabul,  says  the  Hazaras  were  the  remains  of 
the  Chaghataian  army  which  Mangu  Kaan  sent  to  the  aid  of  Hulaku 
under  the  command  of  Nigudar  Oghlan.  {Not  et  Ext.  XIV.  284;  lick. 
I.  284,  309,  &c. ;  Babcr,  134,  136,  140  ;  J.  As.  ser.  4,  tom.  iv.  98  ;  Ayeen 
Akbay,  II.  192-3.) 

So  far,  excepting  as  to  the  doubtful  point  of  the  relation  between 
Karaunahs  and  Nigudaris,  and  as  to  the  origin  of  the  former,  we  have  a 
general  accordance  with  Polo's  representations.  But  it  is  not  very  easy 
to  identify  with  certainty  the  inroad  on  India  to  which  he  alludes,  or  the 
person  intended  by  Nogodar,  nephew  of  Chaghatai.  It  seems  as  if  two 
persons  of  that  name  had  each  contributed  something  to  Marco's  history. 

We  find  in  Hammer  and  D'Ohsson  that  one  of  the  causes  which 
led  to  the  war  between  Barka  Khan  and  Hulaku  in  1262  (see  above. 
Prologue^  chap,  ii.)  was  the  violent  end  that  had  befallen  three  princes  of 
the  House  of  Juji,  who  had  accompanied  Hulaku  to  Persia  in  command 
of  the  contingent  of  that  House.  When  war  actually  broke  out,  the 
contingent  made  their  escape  from  Persia.  One  party  gained  Kipchak 
by  way  of  Derbend ;  another,  in  greater  force,  led  by  Nigudar  and 
Onguja,  escaped  to  Khorasan,  pursued  by  the  troops  of  Hulaku,  and 


thence  eastward,  where  they  seized  upon  Ghazni  and  other  districts 
upon  the  borders  of  India. 

But  again  :  Nigudar  Aghul,  or  Oghlan,  son  of  (the  younger)  Juji,  son 
of  Chag/iatai,  was  the  leader  of  the  Chaghataian  contingent  in  Hulaku's 
expedition,  and  was  still  attached  to  the  Mongol-Persian  army  in  1269, 
when  Borrak  Khan,  of  the  House  of  Chaghatai,  was  meditating  war  against 
his  kinsman,  Abaka  of  Persia.  Borrak  sent  to  the  latter  an  ambassador 
who  was  the  bearer  of  a  secret  message  to  Prince  Nigudar,  begging  him 
not  to  serve  against  the  head  of  his  own  House.  Nigudar,  upon  this, 
made  a  pretext  of  retiring  to  his  own  head-quarters  in  Georgia,  hoping 
to  reach  Borrak's  camp  by  way  of  Derbend.  He  was,  however,  inter- 
cepted, and  lost  many  of  his  people.  With  1000  horse  he  took  refuge 
in  Georgia,  but  was  refused  an  asylum,  and  was  eventually  captured  by 
Abaka's  commander  on  that  frontier.  His  officers  were  executed,  his 
troops  dispersed  among  Abaka's  army,  and  his  own  life  spared  under 
surveillance.  I  find  no  more  about  him.  In  1278  Hammer  speaks  of 
him  as  dead,  and  of  the  Nigudarian  bands  as  having  been  formed  out 
of  his  troops.     But  authority  is  not  given. 

The  second  Nigudar  is  evidently  the  one  to  whom  Abu'l  Fazl 
alludes.  Khanikoff  assumes  that  the  Nigudar  who  went  off  towards 
India  about  1260  (he  puts  the  date  earlier)  was  Nigudar  the  grandson  of 
Chaghatai,  but  he  takes  no  notice  of  the  second  story  just  quoted. 

In  the  former  story  we  have  bands  under  Nigudar  going  off  by 
Ghazni,  and  conquering  country  on  the  Indian  frontier.  In  the  latter  we 
have  Nigudar,  a  descendant  of  Chaghatai,  trying  to  escape  from  his  camp 
on  the  frontier  of  Great  Armenia.  Supposing  the  Persian  historians  to 
be  correct,  it  looks  as  if  Marco  had  rolled  two  stories  into  one. 

Some  other  passages  may  be  cited  before  quitting  this  part  of  the 
subject.  A  chronicle  of  Herat,  translated  by  Barbier  de  Meynard,  says, 
under  1298:  "  The  King  Fakhruddin  (of  Herat)  had  the  imprudence 
to  authorize  the  Amir  Nigudar  to  establish  himself  in  a  quarter  of 
the  city,  with  300  adventurers  from  'Irak.  This  little  troop  made 
frequent  raids  in  Kuhistan,  Sijistan,  Farrah,  &c.,  spreading  terror. 
Khodabunda,  at  the  request  of  his  brother  Ghazan  Khan,  came  from 
Mazanderan  to  demand  the  immediate  surrender  of  these  brigands,"  &c. 
And  in  the  account  of  the  tremendous  foray  of  the  Chaghataian  Prince 
Kotlogh  Shah  on  the  east  and  south  of  Persia  in  1299,  we  find  one  of 
his  captains  called  Nigudar  Bahadur.  {Gold.  Horde,  146,  157,  164,- 
nOhsson,  IV.  378  scqq.,  433  seqq.,  513  seqq. ;  Ilch.  I.  216,  261,  284; 
II.  104  ;  J.  A.  sen  5,  torn.' xvii.  455-6,  507  ;  Khan.  Notice,  31.) 

As  regards  the  route  taken  by  Prince  Nogodar  in  his  incursion  into 
India,  we  have  no  difficulty  with  Badakhshan.  Pashai-Dir  is  a  copu- 
late name,  the  former  part,  as  we  shall  see  reason  to  believe  hereaftei", 
representing  the  country  between  the  Hindu  Kush  and  the  Kabul  River 
(see  infra,  chap,  xxx.),  the  latter  (as  Pauthier  already  has  pointed  out), 
Dm,  the  chief  town  of  Panjkora,  in  the  hill  country  north  of  Peshawar. 

VOL.    I.  H 

98  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

In  Ariora-Keshemur  the  first  portion  only  is  perplexing.  I  will  men- 
tion the  most  probable  of  the  solutions  that  have  occurred  to  me,  and 
a  second,  due  to  that  eminent  archaeologist.  Gen.  A.  Cunningham, 
(i)  Ariora  may  be  some  corrupt  or  Mongol  form  of  Aryavartta,  a 
sacred  name  applied  to  the  Holy  Lands  of  Indian  Buddhism,  of  which 
Kashmir  was  eminently  one  to  the  Northern  Buddhists.  Oro/i,  in 
Mongol,  is  a  Region  or  Realm,  and  may  have  taken  the  place  of  Vartta, 
giving  Aryoron  or  Ariora.  (2)  '■'■Ariora^'  Gen.  Cunningham  writes, 
"  I  take  to  be  the  Harhaiira  of  Sanscrit — i.e.  the  Western  Pan  jab. 
Harhaura  was  the  North-Western  Division  of  the  Nava-Khanda,  or 
Nhie  Divisions  of  Ancient  India.  It  is  mentioned  between  Sindhu- 
Saiivira  in  the  west  (i.e.  Sind),  and  Madra  in  the  north  {i.e.  the  Eastern 
Panjab,  which  is  still  called  Madar-Des).  The  name  of  Harhaura  is,  I 
think,  preserved  in  the  Haro  River.  Now,  the  Sind-Sagor  Doab  formed 
a  portion  of  the  kingdom  of  Kashmir,  and  the  joint  names,  like  those 
of  Sindhu-Sauvira,  describe  only  one  State."  The  names  of  the  nine 
divisions  in  question  are  given  by  the  celebrated  astronomer  Varaha 
Mihira,  who  lived  in  the  beginning  of  the  6th  century,  and  are  repeated 
by  Al  Biruni  (see  Reiiiaud,  Mem.  sur  ri/ide,  p.  116).  The  only  objection 
to  this  happy  solution  seems  to  lie  in  Al  Biruni's  remark,  that  the  names 
in  question  were  in  general  no  longer  used  even  in  his  time  (a.d,  1030). 
This  however  is  not  conclusive,  for  the  joint  title  may  have  remained 
attached  to  the  State  of  Kashmir  in  neighbouring  countries  long  after 
one  portion  of  it  had  ceased  in  India  itself  to  be  a  living  name.  Sodor 
and  Man  is  a  parallel  case. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  Asidiii  Soldan  is,  as  Khanikoff  has  said, 
Ghaiassuddin  Balban,  Sultan  of  Dehli  from  1266  to  1286,  and  for  years 
before  that  a  man  of  great  power  in  India,  and  especially  in  the  Panjab, 
of  which  he  had  in  the  reign  of  Ruknuddin  (1236)  held  independent 
possession.    His  name  is  sometimes  written  'Izuddin  (see  Elliot,  II.  343, 


Firishta  records  several  inroads  of  Mongols  in  the  Panjab  during  the 
reign  of  Ghaiassuddin,  in  withstanding  one  of  Avhich  that  King's  eldest 
son  was  slain,  and  there  are  constant  indications  of  their  presence  in 
Sind  till  the  end  of  the  century.  But  we  find  in  that  historian  no  hint 
of  the  chief  circumstances  of  this  part  of  the  story,  viz.,  the  conquest  of 
Kashmir  and  the  occupation  of  Dilavar,  evidently  (whatever  its  identity) 
a  place  in  the  plains  of  India.  I  do  find,  however,  in  the  history  of 
Kashmir,  as  given  by  Lassen  (III.  1138),  that,  in  the  end  of  1259, 
I^akshamana  Deva,  King  of  Kashmir,  was  killed  in  a  campaign  against 
the  Tieneshka  (Turks  or  Tartars),  and  that  their  leader,  who  is  called 
Kajjala,  got  hold  of  the  country  and  held  it  till  1287.  It  is  difficult  not 
to  connect  this  both  with  Polo's  story  and  with  the  escapade  of  Nigudar 
about  1260,  noting  also  that  this  occupation  of  Kashmir  extended 
through  the  whole  reign  of  Ghaiassuddin. 

We  still  have  to  account  for  the  occupation  and  locality  of  Dilai'ar; 


Marsden  supposed  it  to  be  Lahore;  Khanikoff  considers  it  to  be 
Dh'dwal  or  Dildwar,  in  the  modern  state  of  Bhawalpur.  Such  length- 
ened occupation  as  Marco  implies  seems,  as  regards  the  former,  never 
to  have  occurred;  as  regards  the  latter  solution,  we  have  scarcely 
data  for  making  the  same  objection.  But  another  has  been  suggested 
by  Gen.  Cunningham's  ample  stores  of  knowledge.  He  says,  in  a  note 
with  which  he  has  favoured  me  :  "  I  traced  the  coins  of  Hasan  Karluk 
and  his  son  Mahomed  (supposed  to  have  ruled  about  the  middle  of  the 
13th  century)  to  Dilawar  as  their  chief  seat.  This  Dilawar  is  on  the 
west  bank  of  the  Jelam,  close  to  D^rdpur,  which  was  visited  by  Burnes 
and  Court.  I  visited  the  place  myself  in  1834,  and  I  was  satisfied  that 
Dilawar  and  Darapur  must  have  been  the  capital  of  the  Western 
Panjab.  I  think  also  that  it  must  have  been  the  Bukephala  of  Alex- 
ander. It  is  opposite  Mung"  (which  Gen.  C.  identifies  with  Nikaia) 
"  but  a  little  higher  up  the  river."  It  is,  in  fact,  just  opposite  to  the 
battlefield  of  Chilian wdla.  The  spot  has  been  recently  visited  (Dec. 
15th,  1868)  at  my  request,  by  my  friend  Col.  R.  Maclagan,  R.E.  He 
writes  :  "  The  present  village  of  Dilawar  stands  a  little  above  the  town 
of  Darapur  (I  mean  on  higher  ground),  looking  down  on  Darapur  and 
on  the  river,  and  on  the  cultivated  and  wooded  plain  along  the  river 
bank.  The  remains  of  the  Old  Dilawar,  in  the  form  of  quantities  of 
large  bricks,  cover  the  low  round-backed  spurs  and  knolls  of  the  broken 
rocky  hills  around  the  present  village,  but  principally  on  the  land  side. 
They  cover  a  large  area  of  very  irregular  character,  and  may  clearly  be 
held  to  represent  a  very  considerable  town.  There  are  no  indications 
of  the  form  of  buildings  .  .  .  but  simply  large  quantities  of  large  bricks, 
which  for  a  long  time  have  been  carried  away  and  used  for  modern 
buildings.  .  .  .  After  rain  coins  are  found  on  the  surface.  We  got 
some  of  them  from  the  people  of  the  village,  all  small,  of  copper,  with 
old  Arabic  characters,  two  of  them  having  something  like  a  rude 
outline  of  a  horse,  but  this  is  not  quite  certain.  .  .  .  There  can  be  no 
doubt  of  a  very  large  extent  of  ground,  of  very  irregular  and  uninviting 
character,  having  been  covered  at  some  time  with  buildings.  The 
position  on  the  Jelam  would  answer  well  for  the  Dilawar  which  the 
Mongol  invaders  took  and  held.  .  .  .  The  strange  thing  is  that  the 
name  should  not  be  mentioned  (I  believe  it  is  not)  by  any  of  the 
well-known  Mohammedan  historians  of  India,  So  much  for  Dilawar. 
.  .  .  The  people  have  no  traditions.  But  there  are  the  remains ;  and 
there  is  the  name,  borne  by  the  existing  village  on  part  of  the  old  site," 
I  had  come  to  the  conclusion  that  this  was  almost  certainly  Polo's 
Dilavar,  and  had  mapped  it  as  such,  before  I  read  certain  passages  in 
the  History  of  Ziyauddin  Barni,  which  have  been  translated  by  Pro- 
fessor Dowson  for  the  third  volume  of  Elliot's  '  India.'  When  the 
comrades  of  Ghaiassuddin  Balban  urged  him  to  conquests,  the  Sultan 
pointed  to  the  constant  danger  from  the  Mongols,  saying :  "  These 
accursed  wretches  have  heard  of  the  wealth  and  condition  of  Hindustan, 

H    2 

lOO  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

and  have  set  their  hearts  upon  conquering  and  phmdering  it.  Tlicy 
have  taken  and  plundered  LaJior  within  my  territories,  and  no  year  passes 
that  they  do  not  come  here  and  plunder  the  villages.  .  .  .  They  even 
talk  about  the  conquest  and  sack  of  DehU."  And  under  a  later  date 
the  historian  says:  "The  Sultan  .  .  .  marched  to  Lahor,  and  ordered 
the  rebuilding  of  the  fort  which  the  Mughals  had  destroyed  in  the 
reigns  of  the  sons  of  Shamsuddin.  The  towns  and  villages  of  Lahor 
which  the  Mughals  had  devastated  and  laid  waste  he  repeopled." 
Considering  these  passages,  and  the  fact  that  Polo  had  no  personal 
knowledge  of  Upper  India,  I  now  think  it  possible  that  Marsden  was 
right,  and  that  Dilivar  is  really  a  misunderstanding  of  "  Citta  di  Livar" 
for  Lahdwar  or  Lahore. 

The  Magical  darkness  which  Marco  ascribes  to  the  evil  arts  of  the 
Caraunas  is  explained  by  Khanikofif  from  the  phenomenon  of  Dry  Fog 
which  he  has  often  experienced  in  Khorasan,  combined  with  the  Dust 
Storm  with  which  we  are  familiar  in  Upper  India.  In  Sind  these 
phenomena  often  produce  a  great  degree  of  darkness.  During  a  battle 
fought  between  the  armies  of  Sindh  and  Kachh  in  1762,  such  a  fog 
came  on,  obscuring  the  light  of  day  for  some  six  hours,  during  which 
the  armies  were  intermixed  with  one  another  and  fighting  desperately. 
When  the  darkness  dispersed  they  separated,  and  the  consternation  of 
both  parties  was  so  great  at  the  events  of  the  day  that  both  made 
a  precipitate  retreat.  In  1844  this  battle  was  still  spoken  of  with 
wonder.     {/.  Bomb.  Br.  B.A.S.  I.  423.) 

The  belief  that  such  opportune  phenomena  were  produced  by 
enchantment  was  a  thoroughly  Tartar  one.  D'Herbelot  relates  (art. 
Giagathai)  that  in  an  action  with  a  rebel  called  Mahomed  Tarabi,  the 
Mongols  were  encompassed  by  a  dust-storm  which  they  attributed  to 
enchantment  on  the  part  of  the  enemy,  and  it  so  discouraged  them  that 
they  took  to  flight. 

Note  5. — The  specification  that  only  se7'e7i  were  saved  from  Marco's 
company  is  peculiar  to  Pauthier's  Text,  not  appearing  in  the  G.T. 

Several  names  compounded  of  Salm  or  Salmi  occur  on  the  dry 
lands  on  the  borders  of  Kerman.  Edrisi,  however  (I.  p.  428),  names 
a  place  called  KanAt-ul-Sham  as  the  first  march  in  going  from  Jiruft 
to  Walashjird.  Walashjird  is,  I  imagine,  represented  by  Galashkird. 
Major  R.  Smith's  third  march  from  Jiruft  (see  my  map  of  routes  from 
Kerman  to  Hormuz) ;  and  as  such  an  indication  agrees  perfectly  with 
the  view  taken  below  of  Polo's  route,  I  am  strongly  disposed  to  identify 
Kanat-ul-Sham  with  his  castello  or  walled  village  of  Canosalmi. 

The  raids  of  the  Mekranis  and  Biluchis  long  preceded  those  of  the 
Caraunas,  for  they  were  notable  even  in  the  time  of  Mahmud  of 
Ghazni,  and  they  have  continued  to  our  own  day  to  be  prosecuted 
nearly  on  the  same  stage  and  in  the  same  manner.  About  1721,  4000 
horsemen  of  this  description  plundered  the  town  of  Bander  Abbasi, 
whilst  Capt.  Alex.   Hamilton  was  in  the  port;  and  Abbott,  in  1850, 

Chap.  XIX.      THE  DESCENT  TO  THE  CITY  OF  HORMOS.       lOI 

found  the  dread  of  Biluch  robbers  to  extend  almost  to  the  gates  of 
Ispahan  (see  Hamilton,  I.  109;  J.R.G.S.  XXV.  ;  K/ianikoff's  Memo  ire ; 
Macd.  Kinneir,  196). 


Of  the  Descent  to  the  City  of  Hormos. 

The  Plain  of  which  we  have  spoken  extends  in  a  southerly 
direction  for  five  days'  journey,  and  then  you  come  to 
another  descent  some  twenty  miles  in  length,  where  the 
road  is  very  bad  and  full  of  peril,  for  there  are  many 
robbers  and  bad  characters  about.  When  you  have  got 
to  the  foot  of  this  descent  you  find  another  beautiful  plain 
called  the  Plain  of  Formosa.  This  extends  for  two  days' 
journey;  and  you  find  in  it  fine  streams  of  water  with 
plenty  of  date-palms  and  other  fruit-trees.  There  are  also 
many  beautiful  birds,  francolins,  popinjays,  and  other  kinds 
such  as  we  have  none  of  in  our  country.  When  you 
have  ridden  these  two  days,  you  come  to  the  Ocean  Sea, 
and  on  the  shore  you  find  a  city  with  a  harbour  which 
is  called  Hormos.*  Merchants  come  thither  from  India, 
with  ships  loaded  with  spicery  and  precious  stones,  pearls, 
cloths  of  silk  and  gold,  elephants'  teeth,  and  many  other 
wares,  which  they  sell  to  the  merchants  of  Hormos,  and 
which  these  in  turn  carry  all  over  the  world  to  dispose  of 
again.  In  fact,  'tis  a  city  of  immense  trade.  There  afe 
plenty  of  towns  and  villages  under  it,  but  it  is  the  capital. 
The  King  is  called  Ruomedam  Ahomet.  It  is  a  very 
sickly  place,  and  the  heat  of  the  sun  is  tremendous.  If 
any  foreign  merchant  dies  there,  the  King  takes  all  his 

In  this  country  they  make  a  wine  of  dates  mixt 
with  spices,  which  is  very  good.  When  any  one  not  used 
to  it  first  drinks  this  wine,  it  causes  repeated  and  violent 

I02  MARCO  POLO.  BoOK  I. 

purging,  but  afterwards  he  is  all  the  better  for  it  and  gets 
fat  upon  it.  The  people  never  eat  meat  and  wheaten  bread 
except  when  they  are  ill,  and  if  they  take  such  food  when 
they  are  in  health  it  makes  them  ill.  Their  food  when  in 
health  consists  of  dates  and  salt-fish  (tunny,  to  wit)  and 
onions,  and  this  kind  of  diet  they  maintain  in  order  to 
preserve  their  health.^ 

Their  ships  are  wretched  affairs,  and  many  of  them  get 
lost ;  for  they  have  no  iron  fastenings,  and  are  only  stitched 
together  with  twine  made  from  the  husk  of  the  Indian  nut. 
They  beat  this  husk  until  it  becomes  like  horse-hair,  and 
from  that  they  spin  twine,  and  with  this  stitch  the  planks 
of  the  ships  together.  It  keeps  well,  and  is  not  corroded 
by  the  sea-water,  but  it  will  not  stand  well  in  a  storm. 
The  ships  are  not  pitched,  but  are  rubbed  with  fish-oil. 
They  have  one  mast,  one  sail,  and  one  rudder,  and  have  no 
deck,  but  only  a  cover  spread  over  the  cargo  when  loaded. 
This  cover  consists  of  hides,  and  on  the  top  of  these  hides 
they  put  the  horses  which  they  take  to  India  for  sale. 
They  have  no  iron  to  make  nails  of,  and  for  this  reason 
they  use  only  wooden  trenails  in  their  shipbuilding,  and 
then  stitch  the  planks  with  twine  as  I  have  told  you. 
Hence  'tis  a  perilous  business  to  go  a  voyage  in  one  of 
those  ships,  and  many  of  them  are  lost,  for  in  that  Sea 
of  India  the  storms  are  often  terrible.^ 

The  people  are  black,  and  are  worshippers  of  Mahommet. 
The  residents  avoid  living  in  the  cities,  for  the  heat  in 
summer  is  so  great  that  it  would  kill  them.  Hence  they 
go  out  (to  sleep)  at  their  gardens  in  the  country,  where 
there  are  streams  and  plenty  of  water.  For  all  that  they 
would  not  escape  but  for  one  thing  that  I  will  mention. 
The  fact  is,  you  see,  that  in  summer  a  wind  often  blows 
across  the  sands  which  encompass  the  plain,  so  intolerably 
hot  that  it  would  kill  everybody  were  it  not  that  when 
they  perceive  that  wind  coming  they  plunge  into  water 
up  to  the  neck,  and  so  abide  until  the  wind  have  ceased.'* 

Chap.  XIX.  THE  CITY  OF  HORMOS.  103 

[And  to  prove  the  great  heat  of  this  wind,  Messer  Mark 
related  a  case  that  befel  when  he  was  there.  The  Lord 
of  Hormos,  not  having  paid  his  tribute  to  the  King  of 
Kerman,  the  latter  resolved  to  claim  it  at  the  time  when 
the  people  of  Hormos  were  residing  away  from  the  city. 
So  he  caused  a  force  of  1600  horse  and  5000  foot  to 
be  got  ready,  and  sent  them  by  the  route  of  Reobarles 
to  take  the  others  by  surprise.  Now,  it  happened  one 
day  that  through  the  fault  of  their  guide  they  were  not 
able  to  reach  the  place  appointed  for  their  night's  halt, 
and  were  obliged  to  bivouac  in  a  wilderness  not  far  from 
Hormos.  In  the  morning  as  they  were  starting  on  their 
march  they  were  caught  by  that  wind,  and  every  man  of 
them  was  suffocated,  so  that  not  one  survived  to  carry  the 
tidings  to  their  Lord.  When  the  people  of  Hormos  heard 
of  this  they  went  forth  to  bury  the  bodies  lest  they  should 
breed  a  pestilence.  But  when  they  laid  hold  of  them  by 
the  arms  to  drag  them  to  the  pits,  the  bodies  proved  to 
be  so  baked^  as  it  were,  by  that  tremendous  heat,  that  the 
arms  parted  from  the  trunks,  and  in  the  end  the  people* 
had  to  dig  graves  hard  by  each  where  it  lay,  and  so  cast 
them  in,] 

The  people  sow  their  wheat  and  barley  and  other  corn 
in  the  month  of  November,  and  reap  it  in  the  month  of 
March.  The  dates  are  not  gathered  till  May,  but  other- 
wise there  is  no  grass  nor  any  other  green  thing,  for  the 
excessive  heat  dries  up  everything. 

When  any  one  dies  they  make  a  great  business  of  the 
mourning,  for  women  mourn  their  husbands  four  years. 
During  that  time  they  mourn  at  least  once  a  day,  gathering 
together  their  kinsfolk  and  friends  and  neighbours  for  the 
purpose,  and  making  a  great  weeping  and  wailing.  [And 
they  have  women  who  are  mourners  by  trade,  and  do  it  for 

Now,  we  will  quit  this  country.  I  shall  not,  however, 
now  go  on  to  tell  you  about  India;  but  when  time  and 

104  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

place  shall  suit  we  shall  come  round  from  the  north  and 
tell  you  about  it.  For  the  present,  let  us  return  by 
another  road  to  the  aforesaid  city  of  Kerman,  for  we 
cannot  get  at  those  countries  that  I  wish  to  tell  you  about 
except  through  that  city. 

I  should  tell  you  first,  however,  that  King  Ruomedam 
Ahomet  of  Hormos,  which  we  are  leaving,  is  a  liegeman  of 
the  King  of  Kerman.^ 

On  the  road  by  which  we  return  from  Hormos  to 
Kerman  you  meet  with  some  very  fine  plains,  and  you 
also  find  many  natural  hot  baths;  you  find  plenty  of 
partridges  on  the  road ;  and  there  are  towns  where  victual 
is  cheap  and  abundant,  with  quantities  of  dates  and  other 
fruits.  The  wheaten  bread,  however,  is  so  bitter,  owing 
to  the  bitterness  of  the  water,  that  no  one  can  eat  it  who 
is  not  used  to  it.  The  baths  that  I  mentioned  have  excel- 
lent virtues ;  they  cure  the  itch  and  several  other  diseases."' 

Now,  then,  I  am  going  to  tell  you  about  the  countries 
towards  the  north,  of  which  you  shall  hear  in  regular  order. 
Let  us  begin. 

Note  1. — Having  now  arrived  at  Hormuz,  it  is  time  to  see  what  can 
be  made  of  the  geography  of  the  route  from  Kerman  to  that  port. 

The  port  of  Hormuz  at  this  time  stood  upon  the  main  land.  A  few 
years  later  it  was  transferred  to  the  island  which  became  so  famous, 
under  circumstances  which  are  concisely  related  by  Abulfeda  : — "  Hormuz 
is  the  port  of  Kerman,  a  city  rich  in  palms,  and  very  hot.  One  who  has 
visited  it  in  our  day  tells  me  that  the  ancient  Hormuz  was  devastated  by 
the  incursions  of  the  Tartars,  and  that  its  people  transferred  their  abode 
to  an  island  in  the  sea  called  Zarun,  near  the  continent,  and  lying  west 
of  the  old  city.  At  Hormuz  itself  no  inhabitants  remain,  but  some  of 
the  lowest  order"  (in  Biisching,  IV.  261-2).  Friar  Odoric,  about  132 1, 
found  Hormuz  "  on  an  island  some  five  miles  distant  from  the  main." 
Ibn  Batuta,  some  eight  or  nine  years  later,  discriminates  between  Hor- 
muz or  Moghistan  on  the  mainland,  and  New  Hormuz  on  the  Island  of 
Teraun,  but  describes  only  the  latter,  already  a  great  and  rich  city. 

The  site  of  the  Island  Hormuz  has  often  been  visited  and  described ; 
but  I  could  find  no  published  trace  of  any  traveller  having  verified  the 
site  of  the  more  ancient  city.  An  application  to  Colonel  Pelly,  the  very 
able   British  Resident  at  Bushire,  brought  me  from  his  own  personal 

Chap.  XIX.     THE  DESCENT  TO  THE  CITY  OF  HORMOS.        105 

knowledge  the  information  that  I  sought,  and  the  following  particulars 
are  compiled  from  the  letters  with  which  he  has  favoured  me  : — 

"  The  ruins  of  Old  Hormuz,  well  known  as  such,  stand  several  miles 
up  a  creek,  and  in  the  centre  of  the  present  district  of  Minao.  They  are 
extensive,  though  in  large  part  obliterated  by  long  cultivation  over  the 
site,  and  the  traces  of  a  long  pier  or  Bandar  were  pointed  out  to  Colonel 
Pelly,  They  are  about  six  or  seven  miles  from  the  fort  of  Minao,  and 
the  Minao  river,  or  its  stony  bed,  winds  down  towards  them.  The 
creek  is  quite  traceable,  but  is  silted  up,  and  to  embark  goods  you  have 
to  go  a  farsakh  towards  the  sea,  where  there  is  a  custom-house  on  that 
part  of  the  creek  which  is  still  navigable.  Colonel  Pelly  collected  a  few 
bricks  from  the  ruins.  From  the  mouth  of  the  Old  Hormuz  creek  to 
the  New  Hormuz  town,  or  town  of  Turumpak  on  the  island  of  Hormuz,  is 
a  sail  of  about  three  farsakhs.  It  may  be  a  trifle  more,  but  any  native 
tells  you  at  once  that  it  is  three  farsakhs  from  Hormuz  island  to  the 
creek  where  you  land  to  go  up  to  Minao.  Honmizdia  was  the  name  of 
the  region  in  the  days  of  its  prosperity.  Some  people  say  that  Hor- 
muzdia  was  known  dis/erunia,  and  Old  Hormuz  town  ^.^Jerun'^  (In  this 
I  suspect  tradition  has  gone  astray).  "  The  town  and  fort  of  Minao  lie  to 
the  N.E.  of  the  ancient  city,  and  are  built  upon  the  lowest  spur  of  the 
Bashkurd  mountains,  commanding  a  gorge  through  which  the  Rudbar 
river  debouches  on  the  plain  of  Hormuzdia."  In  these  new  and  inter- 
esting particulars  it  is  pleasing  to  find  such  precise  corroboration  both 
of  Edrisi  and  of  Ibn  Batuta.  The  former,  writing  in  the  12th  century, 
says  that  Hormuz  stood  on  the  banks  of  a  canal  or  creek  from  the  Gulf, 
by  which  vessels  came  up  to  the  city.  The  latter  specifies  the  breadth 
of  sea  between  Old  and  New  Hormuz  as  three  farsakhs.  {Edrisi,  I.  424  ; 
/.  B.  II.  230.) 

I  now  proceed  to  recapitulate  the  main  features  of  Polo's  Itinerary 
from  Kerman  to  Hormuz.     We  have  : — • 


1.  From  Kerman  across  a  plain  to  the  top  of  a  mountain-pass,  where 
extreme  cold  ivas  experienced        7 

2.  A  descent,  occupying  2 

3.  A  great  plain,  called  Reobarles,  in  a  much  warmer  climate,  abounding 
in  francolin  partridge,  and  in  dates  and  tropical  fruit,  with  a  ruined 
city  of  former  note,  called  Camadi,  near  the  head  of  the  plain,  which 
extends  for 5 

4.  A  second  very  bad  pass,  descending  for  20  miles,  say i 

5.  A  well-watered  fruitful  plain,  which  is  crossed  to  Horimiz,  on  the 
shores  of  the  Gulf        2 

Total      17 

No  European  traveller,  so  far  as  I  know,  has  in  modern  times  fol- 
lowed the  most  direct  road  from  Kerman  to  Hormuz,  or  rather  to  its 
nearest  modern  representative  Bander  Abbasi,  I  mean  the  road  by  Baft. 
But  a  line  to  the  eastward  of  this,  and  leading  through  the  plain  of 

I06  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Jiruft,  was  followed  partially  by  Mr.  Abbott  in  1850,  and  completely  by 
Major  R.  M.  Smith,  R.E.,  in  1866.  The  details  of  this  route  correspond 
so  closely  in  essentials  with  those  given  by  our  author,  that  I  feel  little 
doubt  of  its  being  his  very  route.  In  any  case  it  amply  illustrates  the 
features  of  that  route. 

Major  Smith  (accompanied  at  first  by  Colonel  Goldsmid  who 
diverged  to  Mekran)  left  Kerman  on  the  15th  of  January,  and  reached 
Bander  Abbasi  on  the  3rd  of  February,  but,  as  three  halts  have  to  be 
deducted,  his  total  number  of  marches  was  exactly  the  same  as  Marco's, 
viz.  17.     They  divide  as  follows  : — 


1.  From  Kerman  to  the  caravanserai  of  Deh  Bakri  in  the  pass  so  called. 
' '  The  ground  as  I  ascended  became  covered  with  snow,  and  the 
weather  bitterly  cold"  {Report)  6 

2.  Two  miles  over  vay  deep  snow  brought  him  to  the  top  of  the  pass  ;  he 
then  descended  14  miles  to  his  halt.  2  miles  to  the  south  of  the  crest 
he  passed  a  2nd  caravanserai  :  "The  two  are  evidently  built  so  near 
one  another  to  afford  shelter  to  travellers  who  may  be  unable  to  cross 
the  ridge  during  heavy  snow-storms."  The  next  march  continued  the 
descent  for  14  miles,  and  then  carried  him  10  miles  along  the  banks 
of  the  Rudkhanah-i-Shor.  The  approximate  height  of  the  pass  above 
the  sea  is  estimated  at  8000  feet.  We  have  thus  for  the  descent  the 
greater  part  of      2 

3.  "  Clumps  of  date-palms  growing  near  the  village  showed  that  I  had 
now  reached  a  totally  different  climate"  {Smi/Zi^s  Report).  And  Mr. 
Abbott  says  of  the  same  region  :  "  Partly  wooded  .  .  .  and  with 
thickets  of  reeds  abounding  with  francolin  and  Jiritfti  partridge  .  .  . 
The  lands  yield  gi'ain,  millet,  pulse,  French-  and  horse-beans,  rice, 
cotton,  henna,  Palma  Christi,  and  dates,  and  in  part  are  of  great  fertility. 
.  .  .  Rainy  season  from  January  to  March,  after  which  a  luxuriant 
crop  of  grass."  Across  this  plain  (districts  of  Jiruft  and  Rudbar),  the 
height  of  which  above  the  sea  is  something  under  2000  feet  . .      .  .     6 

4.  6 J  hours,  "nearly  the  whole  way  over  a  most  difficult  mountain-pass," 
called  the  Pass  of  Nevergu I 

5.  Two  long  marches  over  a  plain,  part  of  which  is  described  as  "con- 
tinuous cultivation  for  some  16  miles,"  and  the  rest  as  a  "most  unin- 
teresting plain"      2 

Total  as  before 17 

The  only  point  of  importance  missing  in  the  abstract  of  Major 
Smith's  Itinerary  as  we  have  given  it,  is  Polo's  City  of  Catnadi.  Major 
Smith  writes  to  me,  however,  that  this  is  probably  to  be  sought  in  "  the 
ruined  city,  the  traces  of  which  I  observed  in  the  Plain  of  Jiruft  near 
Kerimabad.  The  name  of  the  city  is  now  apparently  lost."  It  is,  how- 
ever, known  to  the  natives  as  the  City  of  Dakiafms,  as  Mr.  Abbott,  who 
visited  the  site,  informs  us.  This  is  a  name  analogous  only  to  the 
Arthur's  ovens  or  Merlin's  caves  of  our  own  country,  for  all  over 
Mahomedan  Asia  there  are  old  sites  to  which  legend  attaches  the 
name  of  Dakiamis  or  the  Emperor  Decius,  the  persecuting  tyrant  of  the 
Seven  Sleepers.  "The  spot,"  says  Abbott,  "is  an  elevated  part  of  the 
plain  on  the  right  bank   of  the  Hali  Rud,  and  is  thickly  strewn  with 

Chap.  XIX.     THE  DESCENT  TO  THE  CITY  OF  HORMOS.        10/ 

kiln-baked  bricks,  and  shreds  of  pottery  and  glass After  heavy- 
rain  the  peasantry  search  amongst  the  ruins  for  ornaments  of  stone,  and 
rings  and  coins  of  gold,  silver,  and  copper.  The  popular  tradition  con- 
cerning the  city  is  that  it  was  destroyed  by  a  flood  long  before  the  birth 
of  Mahomed."  The  name  Camadi  in  Polo  probably  represents  Hainadi 
or  Ahmadi,  the  latter  a  very  common  name  in  Persia.  There  is  an 
Ahmadi  on  the  road  followed  by  Mr.  Abbott,  but  it  is  at  least  some 
forty  miles  too  far  to  the  south  for  our  data.*  The  locality  of  the 
Shahr-i-Dakianus  appears  to  me  to  agree  well  with  that  of  Edrisi's 
City  of  Jiruft,  of  which  he  speaks  as  a  populous  place  extending  over 
a  space  of  two  miles,  and  surrounded  by  irrigated  fields  and  gardens  : 
IOC  mans  of  dates  here  cost  but  two  dirhems.  The  city  was  two  long 
days'  march  from  Bamm  {Ed.  I.  421-2).  The  actual  distance  from 
Bamm  to  the  City  of  Dakianus  is  by  Abbott's  Journal  about  sixty-six  miles. 

The  name  of  Reobarles,  which  Marco  applies  to  the  plain  inter- 
mediate between  the  two  descents,  has  given  rise  to  many  conjectures. 
Marsden  pointed  to  Rtidbdr,  a  name  frequently  applied  in  Persia  to  a 
district  on  a  river,  or  intersected  by  streams — a  suggestion  all  the  hap- 
pier that  he  was  not  aware  of  the  fact  that  there  is  a  district  of  Rudbar 
exactly  in  the  required  position.  The  last  syllable  still  requires  expla- 
nation. I  venture  to  suggest  that  it  is  the  Arabic  Lass,  or  as  Marco 
would  certainly  have  written  it  Les,  a  robber.  Reobarles  will  then  be 
Rudbar-i-Lass,  "  Robber's  River  District."  The  appropriateness  of  the 
name  Marco  has  amply  illustrated ;  but  in  fact  it  appears  to  survive  in 
that  of  one  of  the  rivers  of  the  plain,  which  is  mentioned  by  both  Abbott 
and  Smith  under  the  title  of  Rudkhdnah-i-Duzdi  or  Robber's  River,  a 
name  also  applied  to  a  village  and  old  fort  on  the  banks  of  the  stream.f 

Till  the  direct  road  from  Kerman  has  been  explored,  we  must  remain 
in  doubt  whether  that  would  not  answer  Marco's  description  as  perfectly 
as  this  route  by  Jiruft  does ;  it  could  scarcely  answer  utore  perfectly. 
It  will  be  seen  that  Marco  speaks  in  strong  terms  of  the  cold  at  the  top 
of  the  first  descent.  Such  impressions  are  of  course  partly  dependent 
on  accident;  thus  Major  Smith  speaks  of  it  as  bitter  at  Deh  Bakri, 
whilst  Mr.  Abbott  at  the  same  time  of  year  found  the  climate  "com- 
paratively mild."  The  mountains  on  the  direct  route  are  certainly 
higher  and  colder,  for  it  was  the  fact  that  they  were  impassable  from  snow, 
which  obliged  Goldsmid  and  Smith  to  take  the  other  line.     We  may 

*  Mr.  Abbott,  to  whom  we  owe  so  much  valuable  illustration,  has  discussed  Marco 
Polo's  route,  and  has  himself  started  the  identity  of  Camadi  with  the  ruins  which  he 
saw,  but  only  to  reject  the  idea.  He  has  in  fact  made  a  fatal  oversight  in  his  treat- 
ment of  the  route  by  assuming  Camadi  to  be  at  the  foot  of  the  second  descent.  (See 
J.  R.  G.  S.  XXV.  p.  47  and  56.) 

t  Col.  Goldsmid,  to  whom  I  referred  this,  writes:  "I  think  it  very  probable 
indeed  ....  there  is  no  doubt  that  these  Arab-Persian  comljinations  constantly 
occur,  and  my  own  impression  is  that  I  have  often  heard,  in  my  travels,  the  word 
Vc-jf'  used  for  Jobber.'" 

I08  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

also  note  the  title  of  "the  Cold  Mountains"  apphed  by  Edrisi  to  these 
very  mountains.  And  Mr.  Abbott's  MS.  Report  mentions  in  this  direc- 
tion, Sardu,  said  to  be  a  cold  country  (as  its  name  seems  to  express), 
which  its  population  (Iliyats)  abandon  in  winter  for  the  lower  plains. 

Marco's  description  of  the  "  Plain  of  Formosa  "  does  not  apply,  now 
at  least,  to  the  whole  plain,  for  towards  Bander  Abbasi  it  is  barren.  But 
to  the  eastward,  about  Minao,  and  therefore  about  Old  Hormuz,  it  has 
not  fallen  off.  Colonel  Pelly  writes  :  "  The  district  of  Minao  is  still  for 
those  regions  singularly  fertile.  Pomegranates,  oranges,  pistachio-nuts, 
and  various  other  fruits  grow  in  profusion.  The  source  of  its  fertility 
is  of  course  the  river,  and  you  can  walk  for  miles  among  lanes  and 
cultivated  ground,  partially  sheltered  from  the  sun."  And  Lieutenant 
Kempthorne,  in  his  notes  on  that  coast,  says  of  the  same  tract :  "  It  is 
termed  by  the  natives  the  Paradise  of  Persia.  It  is  certainly  most  beau- 
tifully fertile,  and  abounds  in  orange-groves,  and  orchards  containing 
apples,  pears,  peaches,  and  apricots  ;  with  vineyards  producing  a  delicious 
grape,  from  which  was  at  one  time  made  a  wine  called  amber-rosolli " — 
qu.  ' Ambar-i-Rasul,  "the  Prophet's  Bouquet!"  a  bold  name  even  for 

When  Nearchus  beached  his  fleet  on  the  shore  of  Harmozeia  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Anamis  (the  River  of  Minao),  Arrian  tells  us  he  found  the 
country  a  kindly  one,  and  very  fruitful  in  every  way  except  that  there 
were  no  olives.  The  weary  mariners  landed  and  enjoyed  this  pleasant 
rest  from  their  toils.     {Indica,  t,t,;  /.  R.  G.  S.  V.  274.) 

The  name  Formosa  may  be  a  corruption  of  some  lost  Persian  name, 
such  as  Fardmosh  (forgetfulness),  but  it  is  more  probably  only  Rus- 
ticiano's  misunderstanding  of  Hannuza,  aided,  perhaps,  by  Polo's  picture 
of  the  beauty  of  the  plain.  We  have  the  same  change  in  the  old 
Mafomet  for  Mahomet,  and  the  converse  one  in  the  Spanish  hermosa 
for  formosa.  Teixeira's  Chronicle  says  that  the  city  of  Hormuz  was 
founded  by  Xa  Mahamed  Dramku,  i.e.  Shah  Mahomed  Dirhem-Ko,  in 
"  a  plain  of  the  same  name." 

The  statement  in  Ramusio  that  Hormuz  stood  vipon  an  island,  is,  I 
doubt  not,  an  interpolation  by  himself  or  some  earlier  transcriber. 

When  the  ships  of  Nearchus  launched  again  from  the  mouth  of 
the  Anamis,  their  first  day's  run  carried  them  past  a  certain  desert 
and  bushy  island  to  another  which  was  large  and  inhabited.  The 
desert  isle  was  called  Organa;  the  large  one  by  which  they  anchored 
Oaracta  {Indica,  37).  Neither  name  is  quite  lost:  the  latter  greater 
island  is  Kishm  or  Brakht ;  the  former  Jerihi,  probably  in  old  Persian 
Geriui  or  Gerdji,  now  again  desert  though  no  longer  bushy,  after  having 
been  for  three  centuries  the  site  of  a  city  which  became  a  poetic  type  of 
wealth  and  splendour.  An  Eastern  saying  ran,  "  Were  the  world  a  ring, 
Hormuz  would  be  the  jewel  in  it." 

Note  2. — A  spirit  is  still  distilled  from  dates  in  Persia,  Mekran, 
Sind,  and  some  places  in  the  west  of  India.     It  is  mentioned  by  Strabo 


and  Dioscorides,  according  to  Kampfer,  who  says  it  was  in  his  time 
made  under  the  name  of  a  medicinal  stomachic ;  the  rich  added  Radix 
Chinae,  ambergris,  and  aromatic  spices ;  the  poor  liquorice  and  Persian 
absinth.      {Sir  B.  Frere ;  Amocfi.  Exot.  750;  Macd.  Kinneir,  220.) 

The  date  and  dry-fish  diet  of  the  Gulf  people  is  noticed  by  most 
travellers.  Ibn  Batuta  says  the  people  of  Hormuz  had  a  saying, 
"  Khormd  wa  mdJii  lut-i-Pddshdhi"  i.  e.  "  dates  and  fish  make  an 
Emperor's  dish  !"  A  fish,  exactly  like  the  tunny  of  the  Mediterranean 
in  general  appearance  and  habits,  is  one  of  the  great  objects  of  fishery 
oflf  the  Sind  and  Mekran  coasts.  It  comes  in  pursuit  of  shoals  of 
anchovies,  very  much  like  the  Mediterranean  fish  also.  (/,  B.  II.  231 ; 
Sir  B.  Frere.) 

Note  3. — The  stitched  vessels  of  Kerman  {irXoiapia  pa-wra)  are 
noticed  in  the  '  Periplus.'  Similar  accounts  to  those  of  our  text  are  given 
of  the  ships  of  the  Gulf  and  of  Western  India  by  Jordanus  and  John  of 
Montecorvino  {Jo7-d.  p.  53  ;  Cathay,  p.  217).  "Stitched  vessels,"  Sir  B. 
Frere  writes,  *'  are  still  used.  I  have  seen  them  of  200  tons  burden ; 
but  they  are  being  driven  out  by  iron-fastened  vessels,  as  iron  gets 
cheaper,  except  where  (as  on  the  Malabar  and  Coromandel  coasts)  the 
pliancy  of  a  stitched  boat  is  useful  in  a  surf  Till  the  last  few  years, 
when  steamers  have  begun  to  take  all  the  best  horses,  the  Arab  horses 
bound  to  Bombay  almost  all  came  in  the  way  Marco  Polo  describes." 
Some  of  them  do  still,  standing  over  a  date  cargo,  and  the  result  of  this 
combination  gives  rise  to  an  extraordinary  traffic  in  the  Bombay  bazaar. 
From  what  Colonel  Pelly  tells  me,  the  stitched  build  in  the  Gulf  is  nozv 
confined  to  fishing-boats,  and  is  disused  for  sea-going  craft. 

The  fish-oil  used  to  rub  the  ships  was  whale-oil.  The  old  Arab 
voyagers  of  the  9th  century  describe  the  fishermen  of  Siraf  in  the  Gulf 
as  cutting  up  the  whale-blubber  and  drawing  the  oil  from  it,  which  was 
mixed  with  other  stuff,  and  used  to  rub  the  joints  of  ships'  planking. 
{Reinaiid,  I.  146.) 

Both  Montecorvino,  and  Polo  in  this  passage,  specify  one  rudder,  as 
if  it  was  a  peculiarity  of  these  ships  worth  noting.  The  fact  is  that,  in 
the  Mediterranean  at  least,  the  double  rudders  of  the  ancients  kept  their 
place  to  a  great  extent  through  the  Middle  Ages.  A  Marseilles  MS.  of 
the  13th  century,  quoted  in  Ducange,  says:  "A  ship  requires  three 
rudders,  two  in  place,  and  one  to  spare."  Another  :  "  Every  two-rud- 
dered bark  "shall  pay  a  groat  each  voyage  ;  every  one-ruddered  bark 
shall,"  &c.  (see  Due.  under  Timonus  and  Temd).  Numerous  proofs  of  the 
use  of  two  nidders  in  tlie  13th  century  will  be  found  in  "  Documenti 
inediti  reguardanti  le  due  Crociate  di  S.  Ludovico  IX.,  Be  di  Francia, 
&c.,  da  L.  T.  Belgra/io,  Genova,  1859."  Thus  in  a  specification  of 
ships  to  be  built  at  Genoa  for  the  king  (p.  7),  each  is  to  have  "  Tiiiwnes 
duo,  affaiticos,  grossitudinis  palmorum  viiii  et  dimidiae,  longitudinis  cubi- 
lorum  xxiiii."  Extracts  given  by  Capmany,  regarding  the  equipment  of 
galleys,  shew  the  same  thing,  for  he  is  probably  mistaken  in  saying  that 

no  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

one  of  the  dos  timones  specified  was  a  spare  one.  Joinville  (p.  205)  gives 
incidental  evidence  of  the  same  :  "  Those  Marseilles  ships  have  each 
two  rudders,  with  each  a  tiller  (1  tison)  attached  to  it  in  such  an  ingenious 
way  that  you  can  turn  the  ship  right  or  left  as  fast  as  you  would  turn  a 
horse.  So  on  the  Friday  the  king  was  sitting  upon  one  of  these  tillers, 
when  he  called  me  and  said  to  me,"  &c.*  Francesco  da  Barberino,  a  poet 
of  the  13th  century,  in  the  7th  part  of  his  Documcnti  d'Avwre  (printed 
at  Rome  in  1640),  which  instructs  the  lover  to  whose  lot  it  may  fall  to 
escort  his  lady  on  a  sea-voyage  (instructions  carried  so  far  as  to  provide 
even  for  the  case  of  her  death  at  sea  !),  alludes  more  than  once  to  these 
plural  rudders.     Thus — 

se  vedessi  avenire 

Che  vento  ti  rompesse 


In  luogo  di  timoni 

Fa  speret  e  in  aqua  poni"  (p.  272-3). 

And  again,  when  about  to  enter  a  port,  it  is  needful  to  be  on  the  alert 
and  ready  to  run  in  case  of  a  hostile  reception,  so  the  galley  should  enter 
stern  foremost — a  movement  which  he  reminds  his  lover  involves  the 
reversal  of  the  ordinary  use  of  the  two  rudders  : — 

Z'  itti  fimon  leva  suso 

V  altro  leggier  tien  giiiso  ; 
Ma  convien  levar  mano 

Non  mica  com  soleano, 
Ma  per  contraro,  e  face 

Cosi  '1  guidar  verace  (p.  275). 

A  representation  of  a  vessel  over  the  door  of  the  Leaning  Tower 
at  Pisa  shows  this  arrangement,  which  is  also  discernible  in  the 
frescoes  of  galley-fights  by  Spinello  Aretini,  in  the  municipal  palace  at 

The  midship-rudder  seems  to  have  been  the  more  usual  in  the 
western  seas,  and  the  double  quarter-rudders  in  the  Mediterranean.  The 
former  are  sometimes  styled  Navarresques  and  the  latter  Latins.  Yet 
early  seals  of  some  of  the  Cinque  Ports  show  vessels  with  the  double 
rudder ;  one  of  which  (that  of  Winchelsea)  is  given  in  the  cut. 

In  the  Mediterranean  the  latter  was  still  in  occasional  use  late  in  the 
1 6th  century.  Captain  Pantero  Pantera  in  his  book,  L'Armata  Navalc 
(Rome,  1 6 14,  p.  44)  says  that  the  Galeasses,  or  great  galleys,  had  the 
helm  alia  Navarresca,  but  also  a  great  oar  on  each  side  of  it  to  assist  in 
turning  the  ship.  And  I  observe  that  the  great  galeasses  which  precede 
the  Christian  line  of  battle  at  Lepanto,  in  one  of  the  frescoes  by  Vasari 
in  the  Royal  Hall  leading  to  the  Sistine  Chapel,  have  the  quarter-rudder 
very  distinctly. 

*  This  tison  can  be  seen  in  the  cuts  from  the  tomb  of  St.  Peter  Martyr,  and  the 
seal  of  Winchelsea.  f  Sperc,  bundles  of  spars,  &c.,  dragged  overboard. 

Chap.  XIX. 



The  Chinese  appear  occasionally  to  employ  it,  as  seems  to  be  indi- 
cated in  a  woodcut  of  a  vessel  of  war  which  I  have  traced  from  a 
Chinese  book  in  the  Imperial  Library  at  Paris  (see  above,  p.  37).     It  is 

,111111''"  I  nil,  I 

i2th  Century  Illumination.     (After  Pertz.) 

Seal  of  Winchelsea. 

12th  Century  Illumination.     (After  Pertz.) 

From  Leaning  Tower. 

After  Spinello  Aretini  at  Siena.  From  Monument  of  St.  Peter  Martyr. 

Illustrations  of  the  Double  Rudder  of  the  Middle  Ages. 

also  used  by  certain  craft  of  the  Indian  Archipelago,  as  appears  from 
Mr.  Wallace's  description  of  the  Prau  in  which  he  sailed  from  Macassar 
to  the  Aru  Islands.     And  on  the  Caspian,  it  is  stated  in  Smith's  Diet,  of 

112  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Antiquities  (art.  Gubernaculum)^  the  practice  remained  in  force  till  late 
times.  A  modern  traveller  was  nearly  wrecked  on  that  sea,  because  the 
two  rudders  were  in  the  hands  of  two  pilots  who  spoke  different  lan- 
guages, and  did  not  understand  each  other  ! 

(Besides  the  works  quoted  see  Jal,  Archeologie  Navale,  II,  437-8,  and 
Capmaiiy,  Mei/iorias,  III.  61). 

Note  4. — So  also  at  Bander  Abbas  Tavernier  says  it  was  so  un- 
healthy that  foreigners  could  not  stop  there  beyond  March ;  everybody 
left  it  in  April.  Not  a  hundredth  part  of  the  population,  says  Kampfer, 
remained  in  the  city.  Not  a  beggar  would  stop  for  any  reward  !  The 
rich  went  to  the  towns  of  the  interior  or  to  the  cool  recesses  of  the 
mountains,  the  poor  took  refuge  in  the  palm-groves  at  the  distance  of  a 
day  or  two  from  the  city.  A  place  called  'Ishin,  some  twelve  miles 
north  of  the  city,  was  a  favourite  resort  of  the  European  and  Hindu 
merchants.  Here  were  fine  gardens,  spacious  baths,  and  a  rivulet  of 
fresh  and  limpid  water. 

The  custom  of  lying  in  water  is  mentioned  also  by  Sir  John  Maun- 
devile,  and  it  was  adopted  by  the  Portuguese  when  they  occupied 
Insular  Hormuz,  as  P.  della  Valle  and  Linschoten  relate.  The  custom 
is  still  common  during  great  heats,  in  Sind  and  Mekran  (Sir  B.  F.). 

An  anonymous  ancient  geography  {Liber  Jniii oris  PhilosppJn)  speaks 
of  a  people  in  India  who  live  in  the  Terrestrial  Paradise,  and  lead  the 
life  of  the  Golden  Age,  .  .  .  The  sun  is  so  hot  that  tJicy  remain  all 
day  in  the  river  ! 

The  heat  in  the  Straits  of  Hormuz  drove  Abdurrazzak  into  an  anti- 
cipation of  a  verse  familiar  to  English  schoolboys  :  "  Even  the  bird  of 
rapid  flight  was  burnt  up  in  the  heights  of  heaven,  as  well  as  the  fish  in 
the  depths  of  the  sea  !  "  {Tavern,  Bk.  V.  ch.  xxiii. ;  Am.  Exot.  716,  762  ; 
Mailer,  Geog.  Or.  Min.  II.  514  ;  India  in  XV.  cent.  p.  49.) 

Note  5. — A  like  description  of  the  eff'ect  of  the  Simian  on  the  human 
body  is  given  by  Ibn  Batuta,  Chardin,  A.  Hamilton,  Tavernier,  Theve- 
not,  &c.,  but  I  have  met  with  no  reasonable  account  of  its  poisonous 
action.  I  will  quote  Chardin,  already  quoted  at  greater  length  by 
Marsden,  as  the  most  complete  parallel  to  the  text :  "  The  most  sur- 
prising effect  of  the  wind  is  not  the  mere  fact  of_its  causing  death,  but 
its  operation  on  the  bodies  of  those  who  are  killed  by  it.  It  seems  as  if 
they  became  decomposed  without  losing  shape,  so  that  you  would  think 
them  to  be  merely  asleep,  when  they  are  not  merely  dead,  but  in  such  a 
state  that  if  you  take  hold  of  any  part  of  the  body  it  comes  away  in 
your  hand.  And  the  finger  penetrates  such  a  body  as  if  it  were  so  much 
dust"  (III.  286), 

Burton,  on  his  journey  to  Medina,  says  :  "  The  people  assured  me 
that  this  wind  never  killed  a  man  in  their  Allah-favoured  land.  I  doubt 
the  fact.  At  Bir  Abbas  the  body  of  an  Arnaut  was  brought  in  swollen, 
and  decomposed  rapidly,   the  true  diagnosis  of  death  by  the   poison- 

chap.xix.  history  of  hormuz.  113 

wind."  Khanikoff  is  very  distinct  as  to  the  immediate  fatality  of  the 
desert  wind  at  Khabis,  near  Kerman,  but  does  not  speak  of  the  effect 
on  the  body  after  death.     (/  R.  G.  S.  XXVI.  217  ;  Khan.  Man.  210.) 

Note  6. — The  History  of  Hormuz  is  very  imperfectly  known.  What 
I  have  met  with  on  the  subject  consists  of  (i)  An  abstract  by  Teixeira 
of  a  chronicle  of  Hormuz  written  by  Thuran  Shah,  who  was  himself 
sovereign  of  Hormuz,  and  died  in  1377  ;  (2)  some  contemporary  notices 
by  Wassif,  which  are  extracted  by  Hammer  in  his  History  of  the  II- 
khans ;  (3)  some  notices  from  Persian  sources  in  the  2nd  Decade  of  De 
Barros  (ch.  ii.). 

One  of  Teixeira's  Princes  is  called  Ruknuddin  Mahnntd,  and  with 
him  Marsden  and  Pauthier  have  identified  Polo's  Ruomedam  Acomet,  or 
as  he  is  called  on  another  occasion  in  the  Geog.  Text,  Alaimodi  Acomet. 
This,  however,  is  out  of  the  question,  for  the  death  of  Ruknuddin  is 
assigned  to  a.h.  676  (a.d.  1277),  whilst  there  can,  I  think,  be  no  doubt 
that  Marco's  account  refers  to  the  period  of  his  return  from  China,  viz., 
1293  or  thereabouts. 

We  find  in  Teixeira  that  the  ruler  who  succeeded  in  1290  was  Amir 
Mnsdud,  who  obtained  the  Government  by  the  murder  of  his  brother 
Saifuddin  Nazrat.  Musa'ud  was  cruel  and  oppressive  ;  most  of  the 
influential  people  withdrew  to  Bahduddin  Ayaz,  whom  Saifuddin  had 
made  Wazir  of  Kalhat  on  the  Arabian  coast.  This  Wazir  assembled  a 
force  and  drove  out  Musa'ud  after  he  had  reigned  three  years.  He  fled 
to  Kerman  and  died  there  some  years  afterwards. 

Bahauddin,  who  had  originally  been  a  slave  of  Saifuddin  Nazrat's, 
succeeded  in  establishing  his  authority.  But  about  1300  great  bodies 
of  Turks  {i.e.  Tartars)  issuing  from  Turkestan  ravaged  many  provinces 
of  Persia,  including  Kerman  and  Hormuz.  The  people,  unable  to 
bear  the  frequency  of  such  visitations,  retired  first  to  the  island  of 
Kishm,  and  then  to  that  of  Jeriln,  on  which  last  was  built  the  city  of 
New  Hormuz,  afterwards  so  famous.  This  is  Teixeira's  account  from 
Thuran  Shah,  so  far  as  we  are  concerned  with  it.  As  regards  the  transfer 
of  the  city  it  agrees  substantially  with  Abulfeda's,  which  we  have  already 
quoted  {sKpra,  note  i). 

Hammer's  account  from  Wassaf  is  frightfully  confused,  chiefly  I 
should  suppose  from  Hammer's  own  fault ;  for  among  other  things  he 
assumes  that  Hormuz  was  always  on  an  island,  and  he  distinguishes 
between  the  Island  of  Hormuz  and  the  Island  of  Jerun  !  We  gather,  how- 
ever, that  Hormuz  before  the  Mongol  time  formed  a  government  sub- 
ordinate to  the  Salghur  Atabegs  of  Pars  (see  note  i,  chap,  xv.),  and  when 
the  power  of  that  dynasty  was  falling,  the  governor  Mahmud  Kalhati, 
established  himself  as  Prince  of  Hormuz,  and  became  the  founder  of  a 
petty  dynasty,  being  evidently  identical  with  Teixeira's  Ruknuddin 
Mahmud  above-named,  who  is  represented  as  reigning  from  1246  to 
1277.  In  Wassaf  we  find,  as  in  Teixeira,  Mahmud's  son  Masa'ud  kill- 
ing his  brother  Nazrat,  and  Bahauddin  expelling  Masa'ud.     It  is  true 

VOL.   I.  I 

114  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

that  Hammer's  incomparable  muddle  makes  Nazrat  kill  Masa'ud  ;  how- 
ever as  a  few  lines  lower  we  find  Masa'ud  alive  and  Nazrat  dead,  we 
may  safely  venture  on  this  correction.  But  we  find  also  that  Masa'ud 
appears  as  Rtiknuddin  Masa'ud,  and  that  Bahauddin  does  not  assume 
the  princely  authority  himself,  but  proclaims  that  of  Fak/iriiddifi  AJuned 
Ben  Ibrahim  At-Thaibi,  a  personage  who  does  not  appear  in  Teixeira 
at  all.  A  MS.  history,  quoted  by  Ouseley,  does  mention  Fakhruddin, 
and  ascribes  to  him  the  transfer  to  Jerun.  Wassaf  seems  to  allude  to 
Bahauddin  as  a  sort  of  Sea  Rover,  occupying  the  islands  of  Larek  and 
Jerun,  whilst  Fakhruddin  reigned  at  Hormuz.  It  is  difficult  to  under- 
stand the  relation  between  the  two. 

It  is  possible  that  Polo's  memory  made  some  confusion  between  the 
names  of  Ruknuddin  Masa'ud  and  Fakhruddin  Ahmed,  but  I  incline 
to  think  the  latter  is  his  Ruomedan  Ahmed.  For  Teixeira  tells  us  that 
Masa'ud  took  refuge  at  the  court  of  Kerman,  and  Wassaf  represents 
him  as  supported  in  his  claims  by  the  Atabeg  of  that  province,  whilst 
we  see  that  Polo  seems  to  represent  Ruomedan  Acomat  as  in  hostility 
with  that  prince.  To  add  to  the  imbroglio  I  find  in  the  3rd  vol.  of  ElHot 
(yet  unpublished)  Malik  Fakhruddin  Ahmed  at-Thaibi,  sent  by  Ghazan 
Khan  in  1297  as  ambassador  to  Khanbalig,  staying  there  some  years, 
and  dying  off"  the  coast  of  Ma'bar  on  his  return  in  1305  (see  pp.  45-47). 

Masa'ud's  seeking  help  from  Kerman  to  reinstate  him  is  not  the  first 
case  of  the  same  kind  that  occurs  in  Teixeira's  chronicle,  so  there  may 
have  been  some  kind  of  colour  for  Marco's  representation  of  the  Prince 
of  Hormuz  as  the  vassal  of  the  Atabeg  of  Kerman.  M.  Khanikoff 
indeed  denies  that  Marco's  expression  "  rhonime  de  cest  roy  de  Creman  " 
does  mean  a  vassal,  or  liegeman,  but  it  is  the  constant  meaning  of  that 
expression  in  our  author's  time  and  in  his  pages  (see  Prologue,  chap.  xiv. 
note  2).  M.  Khanikoff"  also  denies  the  possibility  of  the  existence  of 
any  royal  dynasty  at  Hormuz  at  this  period.  That  there  was  a  dynasty 
of  Maliks  of  Hormuz  however  at  this  period  we  must  be  content  to 
believe  on  the  concurring  testimony  of  Marco,  of  Wassaf,  and  of  Thuran 
Shah.  (Hammei-s  Ilc/i.  II.  50,  51;  Teixeira,  Relacion  de  los  Reyes  de 
Hormuz ;  Khati.  N'otice,  p.  34.) 

The  ravages  of  the  Tartars  which  drove  the  people  of  Hormuz 
from  their  city  may  have  begun  with  the  incursions  of  the  Nigudaris  and 
Caraunahs,  but  they  probably  came  to  a  climax  in  the  great  raid  in 
1299  of  the  Chaghataian  Prince  Kotlogh  Shah,  son  of  Dua  Khan,  a 
part  of  whose  bands  besieged  the  city  itself,  though  they  are  said  to  have 
been  repulsed  by  Bahauddin  Ayas. 

Note  7. — The  indications  of  this  alternative  route  to  Kerman  are 
very  vague,  but  I  think  it  may  probably  be  that  through  Finn,  Tarum, 
and  the  Sirjan  district,  passing  out  of  the  plain  of  Hormuz  by  the 
eastern  flank  of  the  Ginao  mountain.  This  road  would  pass  near  the 
hot  springs  at  the  base  of  the  said  mountain,  Sarga,  Khurkhu,  and  Ginao, 
which   are  described   by   Kampfer.       Being    more   or  less   sulphureous 


they  are  likely  to  be  useful  in  skin-diseases ;  indeed,  Hamilton  speaks 
of  their  efficacy  in  these  (I.  95).  The  salt-streams  are  numerous  on 
this  line,  and  dates  are  abundant.  The  bitterness  of  the  bread  was  how- 
ever in  all  probability  due  to  another  cause,  as  Major  Smith  has  kindly 
pointed  out  to  me  :  "Throughout  the  mountains  in  the  south  of  Persia, 
which  are  generally  covered  with  dwarf  oak,  the  people  are  in  the  habit 
of  making  bread  of  the  acorns,  or  of  the  acorns  mixed  with  wheat  or 
barley.     It  is  dark  in  colour,  and  very  hard,  bitter,  and  unpalatable." 


Of  the  Wearisome  and  Desert  Road  that  has  now  to  be 

On  departing  from  the  city  of  Kerman  you  find  the  road 
for  seven  days  most  wearisome  ;  and  I  will  tell  you  how 
this  is.  The  first  three  days  you  meet  with  no  water,  or 
next  to  none.  And  what  little  you  do  meet  with  is  bitter 
green  stufi\,  so  salt  that  no  one  can  drink  it ;  and  in  fact 
if  you  drink  a  drop  of  it,  it  will  set  you  purging  ten  times 
at  least  by  the  way.  It  is  the  same  with  the  salt  which  is 
made  from  those  streams  ;  no  one  dares  to  make  use  of  it, 
because  of  the  excessive  purging  which  it  occasions.  Hence 
it  is  necessary  to  carry  water  for  the  people  to  last  these  three 
days  ;  as  for  the  cattle,  they  must  needs  drink  of  the  bad 
water  I  have  mentioned,  as  there  is  no  help  for  it,  and  their 
great  thirst  makes  them  do  so.  But  it  scours  them  to  such 
a  degree  that  sometimes  they  die  of  it.  In  all  those  three 
days  you  meet  with  no  human  habitation ;  it  is  all  desert, 
and  the  extremity  of  drought.  Even  of  wild  beasts  there 
are  none,  for  there  is  nothing  for  them  to  eat.' 

After  those  three  days  of  desert  [you  arrive  at  a  stream 
of  fresh  water  running  underground,  but  along  which  there 
are  holes  broken  in  here  and  there,  perhaps  undermined  by 
the  stream,  at  which  you  can  get  sight  of  it.  It  has  an 
abundant  su])ply,  and  travellers  worn  with  the  hardships  of 
the  desert  here  rest  and  refresh  themselves  and  their  beasts.]^ 

1   2 

Il6  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

You  then  enter  another  desert  which  extends  for  four 
days ;  it  is  very  much  Hke  the  former  except  that  you  do 
see  some  wild  asses.  And  at  the  termination  of  these  four 
days  of  desert  you  find  another  city  which  is  called  Cobinan. 

Note  1. — This  description  of  the  Desert  of  Kerman,  says  M.  Kha- 
nikoff,  "  is  very  correct.  As  the  only  place  in  the  Desert  of  Liit  where 
water  is  found  is  the  dirty,  salt,  bitter,  and  green  water  of  the  rivulet 
called  Shor-Rud  (the  Salt  River)  we  can  have  no  doubt  of  the  direction 
of  Marco  Polo's  route  from  Kerman  so  far."  Nevertheless  I  do  not 
agree  with  Khanikoff  that  the  route  lay  N.E.  in  the  direction  of  Ambar 
and  Kain,  for  a  reason  which  will  appear  under  the  next  chapter.  I 
imagine  the  route  to  have  been  nearly  due  north  from  Kerman,  in  the 
direction  of  Tabbas  or  of  Tiin.  And  even  such  a  route  would,  accord- 
ing to  Khanikoff's  own  map,  pass  the  Shor-Riid,  though  at  a  higher 

I  extract  a  few  lines  from  Khanikoff's  own  narrative  :  "In  proportion 
as  we  got  deeper  into  the  desert,  the  soil  became  more  and  more  arid  ; 
at  daybreak  I  could  still  discover  a  few  withered  plants  of  Caligoiuim 
and  Salsola,  and  not  far  from  the  same  spot  I  saw  a  lark  and  another 
bird  of  a  whitish  colour,  the  last  living  things  that  we  beheld  in  this 
dismal  solitude.  .  .  .  The  desert  had  now  completely  assumed  the 
character  of  a  land  accursed,  as  the  natives  call  it.  Not  the  smallest 
blade  of  grass,  no  indication  of  animal  life  vivified  the  prospect;  no 
sound  but  such  as  came  from  our  own  caravan  broke  the  dreary  silence 
of  the  void."     {Mem.  p.  176.) 

Note  2. — I  can  have  no  doubt  of  the  genuineness  of  this  passage 
from  Ramusio.  Indeed  some  such  passage  is  necessary  ;  otherwise  why 
distinguish  between  three  days  of  desert  and  four  days  more  of  desert  ? 
The  underground  stream  was  probably  a  subterraneous  canal  (called 
Kandt  or  Kdrez),  such  as  is  common  in  Persia  ;  often  conducted  from  a 
great  distance.  Here  it  may  have  been  a  relic  of  abandoned  cultivation. 
Khanikoff,  on  the  road  between  Kerman  and  Yezd,  not  far  west  of  that 
which  I  suppose  Marco  to  be  travelling,  says  :  "  At  the  fifteen  inhabited 
spots  marked  upon  the  map,  they  have  water  which  has  been  brought 
from  a  great  distance,  and  at  considerable  cost,  by  means  of  subterra- 
nean galleries  to  which  you  descend  by  large  and  deep  wells.  Although 
the  water  fiows  at  some  depth,  its  course  is  tracked  upon  the  surface  by 
a  line  of  more  abundant  vegetation"  (lb.  p.  200).  Elphinstone  says  he 
has  heard  of  such  subterranean  conduits  thirtv-six  miles  in  length  (I. 

Chap.  XXI.  THE  CITY  OF  COBINAN.  11/ 


Concerning  the  City  of  Cobinan  and  the  things  that  are 

MADE   there. 

Cobinan  is  a  large  town/  The  people  worship  Mahommet. 
There  is  much  Iron  and  Steel  and  Ondaniqne^  and  they 
make  steel  mirrors  of  great  size  and  beauty.  They  also 
prepare  both  TiUia  (a  thing  very  good  for  the  eyes)  and 
Spodium ;  and  I  will  tell  you  the  process. 

They  have  a  vein  of  a  certain  earth  which  has  the 
required  quality,  and  this  they  put  into  a  great  flaming- 
furnace,  whilst  over  the  furnace  there  is  an  iron  gratino-. 
The  smoke  and  moisture  expelled  from  the  earth  of  which 
I  speak,  adhere  to  the  iron  grating,  and  thus  form  Tutia^ 
whilst  the  slag  that  is  left  after  burning  is  the  Spodiiun.'' 

Note  1. — Koh-Banan  is  mentioned  by  Mokaddasi  (a.d.  985)  as  one 
of  the  cities  of  Bardesir,  the  most  northerly  of  the  five  circles  into  which 
he  divides  Kerman  (see  Sprcnger,  Post-  und  Rcise-Roiite  des  Orients,  p.  77). 
It  is  the  subject  of  an  article  in  the  Geog.  Dictionary  of  Yakut,  though 
it  has  been  there  mistranscribed  into  Kubiyd?i  and  Kukiydn  (see  Leipzig 
ed.  1869,  iv.  p.  316,  and  Barbier  de  Meynard,  Diet,  de  la  Perse,  p.  498). 
And  it  is  also  indicated  by  Mr.  Abbott  (_/  R.  G.  S.  XXV.  25)  as  the  name 
of  a  district  of  Kerman,  lying  some  distance  to  the  east  of  his  route 
when  somewhat  less  than  halfway  between  Yezd  and  Kerman.  It  would 
thus,  I  apprehend,  be  on  or  near  the  route  between  Kerman  and  Tabbas ; 
one  which  I  believe  has  been  traced  by  no  modern  traveller.  We  may 
be  certain  that  there  is  now  no  place  at  Kuh-Banan  deserving  the  title  of 
ti;ie  cite  grant,  nor  is  it  easy  to  believe  that  there  was  in  Polo's  time  ;  he 
applies  such  terms  too  profusely.  The  meaning  of  the  name  is  perhaps 
'  Hill  of  the  Terebinths,  or  Wild  Pistachioes,'  "  a  tree  which  grows  abun- 
dantly in  the  recesses  of  bleak,  stony  and  desert  mountains,  e.g.  about 
Shamakhi,  about  Shiraz,  and  in  the  deserts  of  Luristan  and  Lar." 
{Kdmpfer,  409,  413.) 

I  had  thought  my  identification  of  Cobinan  original,  but  a  communi- 
cation from  Mr.  Abbott,  and  the  opportunity  which  this  procured  me  of 
seeing  his  MS.  Report  already  referred  to,  showed  that  he  had  anti- 
cipated me  many  years  ago.  The  following  is  an  extract :  "  Districts  of 
Kerman  *  *  *  Kooh  Benan.  This  is  a  hilly  district  abounding  in 
fruits,  such  as  grapes,  peaches,  pomegranates,  sitijid  (sweet-willow),  wal-" 

ii8  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

nuts,  melons.  A  great  deal  of  madder  and  some  assafoetida  is  produced 
there.  This  is  no  doubt  the  country  alluded  to  by  Marco  Polo,  under  the 
name  of  Cobi?iam,  as  producing  iron,  brass,  and  tutty,  and  which  is  still 
said  to  produce  iron,  copper,  and  tootea."  There  appear  to  be  lead- 
mines  also  in  the  district,  as  well  as  asbestos  and  sulphur.  Mr.  Abbott 
adds  the  names  of  nine  villages,  which  he  was  not  able  to  verify  by 
comparison.  These  are  Pooz,  Terz,  Goojerd,  Aspuj,  Kooh-e-Guevre, 
Dehneh,  Boogheen,  Bassab,  Radk.  The  position  of  Kuh  Banan  is 
stated  to  lie  between  Bahabad  (a  place  also  mentioned  by  Yakut  as  pro- 
ducing Tutia^  and  Ravee,  but  this  does  not  help  us,  and  for  approximate 
position  we  can  only  fall  back  on  the  note  in  Mr.  Abbott's  field-book  as 
published  in  they.  R.  G.  S.,  viz.  that  the  District  \a.y  in  the  mountains 
E.S.E.  from  a  caravanserai  ten  miles  S.E.  of  Gudran.  To  get  the  seven 
marches  of  Polo's  itinerary  we  must  carry  the  To7C'h  of  Kuh  Banan  as 
far  north  as  this  indication  can  possibly  admit,  for  Abbott  made  only  five 
and  a  half  marches  from  the  spot  where  this  observation  was  made  to 
Kerman.  Perhaps  Polo's  route  deviated  for  the  sake  of  the  fresh  water. 
That  a  district,  such  as  Mr.  Abbott's  Report  speaks  of,  should  lie  un- 
noticed, in  a  tract  which  our  maps  represent  as  part  of  the  Great  Desert, 
shows  how  very  defective  our  geography  of  Persia  still  is. 

Note  2. — Tutty  (i.e.  Tutia)  is  in  modern  English  an  impure  oxide  of 
zinc,  collected  from  the  flues  where  brass  is  made ;  and  this  appears  to 
be  precisely  what  Polo  describes,  unless  it  be  that  in  his  account  the 
production  of  tutia  from  an  ore  of  zinc  is  represented  as  the  object  and 
not  an  accident  of  the  process.  What  he  says  reads  almost  like  a  con- 
densed translation  of  Galen's  account  of  Pompholyx  and  Spodos  :  "  Pom- 
pholyx  is  produced  in  copper-smelting  as  Cadmia  is ;  and  it  is  also 
produced  from  Cadmia  (carbonate  of  zinc)  when  put  in  the  furnace,  as 
is  done  (for  instance)  in  Cyprus.  The  master  of  the  works  there, 
having  no  copper  ready  for  smelting,  ordered  some  pompholyx  to  be 
prepared  from  cadmia  in  my  presence.  Small  pieces  of  cadmia  were 
thrown  into  the  fire  in  front  of  the  copper-blast.  The  furnace-top  was 
covered,  with  no  vent  at  the  crown,  and  intercepted  the  soot  of  the 
roasted  cadmia.  This,  when  collected,  constitutes  Pompholyx,  whilst 
that  which  falls  on  the  hearth  is  called  Spodos,  a  great  deal  of  which  is 
got  in  copper-smelting."  Pompholyx,  he  adds,  is  an  ingredient  in  salves 
for  eye-discharges  and  pustules  {Galen,  De  Simpl.  Medic,  p.  ix.  in  Latin 
ed.,  Venice,  1576).  Matthioli,  after  quoting  this,  says  that  Pompholyx 
was  commonly  known  in  the  laboratories  by  the  Arabic  name  of  Tutia. 
I  see  that  pure  oxide  of  zinc  is  stated  to  form  in  modern  practice  a 
valuable  eye-ointment.  Zinc  is  called  in  the  Ai'n  Akbari  Riih-i-Tutiya 
"  Spirit  of  Tutty." 

Teixeira  speaks  of  tutia  as  found  only  in  Kerman,  in  a  range  of 
mountains  twelve  parasangs  from  the  capital.  The  ore  got  here  was 
kneaded  with  water,  and  set  to  bake  in  crucibles  in  a  potter's  kiln. 
When  well  baked  the  crucibles  were  lifted  and  emptied,  and  the  tutia 

Chap.  XXII.  THE  ARBRE  SEC.  1 19 

carried  in  boxes  to  Hormuz  for  sale.  This  corresponds  with  a  modern 
account  in  Milburne,  which  says  that  the  tutia  imported  to  India  from 
the  Gulf  is  made  from  an  argillaceous  ore  of  zinc  which  is  moulded  into 
tubular  cakes,  and  baked  to  a  moderate  hardness.  The  accurate  Garcias 
da  Horto  is  wrong  for  once,  in  saying  that  the  tutia  of  Kerman  is  no 
mineral,  but  the  ash  of  a  certain  tree  called  Goan. 

{Matth.  on  Dioscorldt'S,YQ\\.  1565,  p.  1338-40;  Teixeira,  Relacioii  de 
Persia,  p.  121  ;  Milburne' s  Or.  Commerce,  I.  139  ;  Garcias,  f.  21  v.  ;  Eng. 
Cyc,  art.  Zinc ;  A'ln  Akbari,  Bl.  40,  41). 


Of  A  CERTAIN  Desert  that  continues  for  eight  days'  Journey. 

Whex  you  depart  from  this  City  of  Cobinan,  you  find 
yourself  again  in  a  Desert  of  surpassing  aridity  which  lasts 
for  some  eight  days ;  here  are  neither  fruits  nor  trees  to  be 
seen,  and  what  water  there  is  is  bitter  and  bad,  so  that  you 
have  to  carry  both  food  and  water.  The  cattle  must  needs 
drink  the  bad  water,  will  they  nill  they,  because  of  their 
great  thirst.  At  the  end  of  those  eight  days  you  arrive  at 
a  Province  which  is  called  Tonocain.  It  has  a  good  many 
towns  and  villages,  and  forms  the  extremity  of  Persia 
towards  the  North.'  It  also  contains  an  immense  plain  on 
which  is  found  the  Arbre  Sol,  which  we  Christians  call 
the  Arbre  Sec  ;  and  I  will  tell  you  what  it  is  like.  It  is  a 
tall  and  thick  tree,  having  the  bark  on  one  side  green  and 
the  other  white  ;  and  it  produces  a  rough  husk  like  that  of 
a  chesnut,  but  without  anything  in  it.  The  wood  is  yellow 
like  box,  and  very  strong,  and  there  are  no  other  trees  near  it 
nor  within  a  hundred  miles  of  it,  except  on  one  side  where 
you  find  trees  within  about  ten  miles'  distance.  And  there, 
the  people  of  the  country  tell  you,  was  fought  the  battle 
between  Alexander  and  King  Darius.^ 

The  towns  and  villages  have  great  abundance  of  every- 
thing good,  for  the  climate  is  extremely  temperate,  being 

I20  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

neither  very  hot  nor  very  cold.  The  natives  all  worship 
Mahommet,  and  are  a  very  fine-looking  people,  especially 
the  women,  who  are  surpassingly  beautiful. 

Note  1. — All  that  region  has  been  described  as  "  a  country  divided 
into  deserts  that  are  salt,  and  deserts  that  are  not  salt"  {Vig/ie,  I.  i6). 
Tonocain,  as  we  have  seen  (chap.  xv.  note  1),  is  the  Eastern  Kuhistan 
of  Persia,  but  extended  by  Polo,  it  would  seem,  to  include  the  whole  of 
Khorasan.  No  city  in  particular  is  indicated  as  visited  by  the  traveller, 
but  the  view  I  take  of  the  position  of  the  Arbre  Sec,  as  well  as  his  route 
through  Koh-Banan,  would  lead  me  to  suppose  that  he  reached  the  Pro- 
vince of  Tun-o-Kain  about  Tabbas. 

Note  2. — This  is  another  subject  on  which  a  long  and  somewhat 
discursive  note  is  inevitable. 

One  of  the  Bulletins  of  the  Soc.  de  Geographie  (sen  3.  torn.  iii. 
p.  187)  contains  a  perfectly  inconclusive  endeavour  by  M.  Roux  de 
Rochelle,  to  identify  the  Arbre  Sec  or  Arbre  Sol  with  a  manna-bearing 
oak  alluded  to  by  Q.  Curtius  as  growing  in  Hyrcania.  There  can  be 
no  doubt  that  the  tree  described  is,  as  Marsden  points  out,  a  Ch'indr  or 
Oriental  Plane.  Mr.  Ernst  Meyer,  in  his  learned  Geschichte  der  Botanik 
(Konigsberg,  1854-57,  IV.  123),  objects  that  Polo's  description  of  the 
wood  does  not  answer  to  that  tree.  But,  with  due  allowance,  compare 
with  his  whole  account  that  which  Olearius  gives  of  the  Chinar,  and  say 
if  the  same  tree  be  not  meant.  "  The  trees  are  as  tall  as  the  pine,  and 
have  very  large  leaves,  closely  resembling  those  of  the  vine.  The  fruit 
looks  like  a  chesnut,  but  has  no  kernel,  so  it  is  not  eatable.  The  wood 
is  of  a  very  brown  colour,  and  full  of  veins ;  the  Persians  employ  it  for 
doors  and  window-shutters,  and  when  these  are  rubbed  "with  oil  they  are 
incomparably  handsomer  than  our  walnut-wood  joinery"  (I.  526).  The 
Chinar-wood  is  used  in  Kashmir  for  gunstocks. 

The  whole  tenor  of  the  passage  seems  to  imply  that  some  eminent 
individual  Chinar  is  meant.  The  appellations  given  to  it  vary  in  the 
different  texts.  In  the  G.  Text  it  is  styled  in  this  passage  "  The  Arbre 
Seule  which  the  Christians  call  the  Arbre  Sec"  whilst  in  ch.  cci.  of  the 
same  {i?ifra  Book  IV.  chap,  v.)  it  is  called  "  L' Arbre  Sol,  which  in  the 
Book  of  Alexander  is  called  L' Arbre  Seche."  Pauthier  has  here  "  L'A)-bre 
Solque,  que  nous  appelons  L Arbre  Sec"  and  in  the  later  passage 
'■'■L Arbre  Seiil,  que  le  Livre  Alexandre  apelle  Arbre  Sec;"  whilst 
Ramusio  has  here  "  LAlbero  del  Sole  che  si  chiama  per  i  Cristiani 
L'Albor  Secco"  and  does  not  contain  the  later  passage.  So  also  I  think 
all  the  old  Latin  and  French  printed  texts,  which  are  more  or  less  based 
on  Pipino's  version,  have  "  The  Tree  of  the  Sun,  which  the  Latins  call 
the  Dry  Tree." 

Pauthier,  building  as  usual  on  the  reading  of  his  own  text  {Solque), 

Chap.  XXII.  THE  ARBRE  SEC.  121 

endeavours  to  show  that  this  odd  word  represents  T/ioiilk,  the  Arabic 
name  of  a  tree  to  which  Forskal  gave  the  title  of  Ficus  Vasta,  and  this 
Ficus  Vasta  he  will  have  to  be  the  same  as  the  Chinar.  Ficus  Vasta 
would  be  a  strange  name  surely  to  give  to  a  Plane-tree,  but  Forskal  may 
be  acquitted  of  such  an  eccentricity.  The  Tholak  (for  that  seems  to  be 
the  proper  vocalization)  is  a  tree  of  Arabia  Felix,  very  different  from 
the  Chinar,  for  it  is  the  well-known  Indian  Banyan,  or  a  closely-allied 
species,  as  may  be  seen  in  Forskal's  description.  The  latter  indeed 
says  that  the  Arab  botanists  called  it  Delb^  and  that  (or  Diilb)  is  really  a 
synonyme  for  the  Chinar.  But  De  Sacy  has  already  commented  upon 
this  supposed  application  of  the  name  Delb  to  the  Tholak  as  almost 
certainly  an  error  (see  Flora  Acgyptiaco-Arabica,  p.  cxxiv  and  179; 
Abdallatif,  ReL  de  I Egypte,  p.  80;  /  R.  G.  S.  VIII.  275;  Riller,  VI. 
662,  679). 

The  fact  is  that  the  Solque  of  Pauthier's  text  is  a  mere  copyist's  error 
in  the  reduplication  of  the  pronoun  que.  In  his  chief  MS.  which  he 
cites  as  A  (No.  10,260  of  Bibl.  Impe'riale,  now  F}-.  5631)  we  can  even 
see  how  this  might  easily  happen,  for  one  line  ends  with  Solque  and  the 
next  begins  with  que.  The  true  reading  is  I  doubt  not  that  which  this 
MS.  points  to,  and  which  the  G.  Text  gives  us  in  the  second  passage 
quoted  above,  viz.,  Arbre  Sol,  occurring  in  Ramusio  as  Albero  del  Sole. 
To  make  this  easier  of  acceptation  I  must  premise  two  remarks  :  first, 
that  ^6*/  is  "the  Sun"  in  both  Venetian  and  Provencal;  and,  secondly, 
that  in  the  French  of  that  age  the  prepositional  sign  is  not  necessary  to 
the  genitive.  Thus,  in  Pauthier's  own  text  we  find  in  one  of  the  pas- 
sages quoted  above,  '■'■  Le  Livre  Alexandre ;"  elsewhere,  '■'•  Cazan  le  fils 
Argon"  "  a  la  mere  sa  fem??ie"  "Z^  corps  Monseigneur  Saint  Thomas  si 
est  e?i  ceste  Province;"  in  Joinville,  " /<?  commande7nant  Mahommet" 
"  ceux  de  la  Haulequa  estoietit  logiez  entour  les  heberges  le  sotidanc,  et 
establiz  pour  le  cors  le  soudanc  garder ;"  in  Baudouin  de  Sebourg,  "  De 
r amour  Bauduin  esprise  et  etiflambee." 

Moreover  it  is  the  Tree  of  the  Sun  that  is  prominent  in  the 
legendary  History  of  Alexander,  a  fact  sufficient  in  itself  to  rule  the 
reading.     A  character  in  an  old  English  play  says  : — 

"  Peregrine.  Drake  was  a  didapper  to  Mandevill : 
Candish  and  Hawkins,  Frobisher,  all  our  Voyagers 
Went  short  of  Mandevil.     But  had  he  reached 
To  this  place — here — yes,  here — this  wilderness, 
And  seen  the  Trees  of  the  Sun  and  Moon,  that  speak 
And  told  King  Alexander  of  his  death  ; 
He  then 

Had  left  a  passage  ope  to  Travellers 
That  now  is  kept  and  guarded  by  Wild  Beasts." 

— Broome's  Antipodes,  in  Lambe''s  Specimens. 

The  same  trees  are  alluded  to  in  an  ancient  Low  German  Poem  in 
honour  of  St.  Anno  of  Cologne.  Speaking  of  the  Four  Beasts  of  Daniel's 
Vision  : — 

122  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

"  Daz  dritte  Dier  was  ein  Lebarte 
Vier  arin*  Vederich  her  havite  ; 
Der  beceichnote  den  Criechiskin  Alexanderin, 
Der  mit  vier  Herin  viir  aftir  Landin, 
Unz  her  die  Werilt  einde, 
Bi  guldinin  Siulin  bikante. 
In  India  her  die  Wusti  durchbrach, 
Mit  zzvein  Boumin  her  sick  da  gcsprach"  &c. 

— In  Schilteri  Thesaurus  Antiq.  Teiitofi.  torn.  i. 

These  oracular  Trees  of  the  Sun  and  Moon,  somewhere  on  the  con- 
fines of  India,  appear  in  all  the  fabulous  histories  of  Alexander  from  the 
Pseudo-Callisthenes  downwards.  Thus  Alexander  is  made  to  tell  the 
story :  "  Then  came  some  of  the  townspeople  and  said,  '  We  have  to 
show  thee  something  passing  strange,  O  King,  and  worth  thy  visiting-; 
for  we  can  show  thee  trees  that  talk  with  human  speech.'  So  they  led 
me  to  a  certain  park,  in  the  midst  of  which  were  the  Sun  and  Moon, 
and  round  about  them  a  guard  of  priests  of  the  Sun  and  Moon.  And 
there  stood  the  two  trees  of  which  they  had  spoken,  like  unto  cypress 
trees ;  and  round  about  them  were  trees  like  the  myrobolans  of  Egypt, 
and  with  similar  fruit.  And  I  addressed  the  two  trees  that  were  in  the 
midst  of  the  park,  the  one  which  was  male  in  the  Masculine  gender,  and 
the  one  that  was  female  in  the  Feminine  gender.  And  the  name  of 
the  Male  Tree  was  the  Sun,  and  of  the  Female  Tree  the  Moon,  names 
which  were  in  that  language  Mut/iu  and  Emaiisae.  And  the  stems  were 
clothed  with  the  skins  of  animals  ;  the  male  tree  with  the  skins  of  he- 
beasts,  and  the  female  tree  with  the  skins  of  she-beasts.  .  .  And  at  the 
setting  of  the  Sun,  a  voice,  speaking  in  the  Indian  tongue,  came  forth 
from  the  (Sun)  Tree  ;  and  I  ordered  the  Indians  who  were  with  me  to 
interpret  it.  But  they  were  afraid  and  would  not,"  &c.  {Psendo-Callisth. 
ed.  Miiller,  III.  17.) 

The  story  as  related  by  Firdusi  keeps  very  near  to  the  Greek  as  just 
quoted,  but  does  not  use  the  term  Tree  of  the  Sun.  The  chapter  of  the 
Shdh  Nameh  containing  it  is  entitled  Bidan  Sikandar  dirakht-i-goydrd, 
"  Alexander's  interview  with  the  Speaking  Tree."  {Livre  dcs  Rois,  V. 

In  the  Chanson  d'Alixandre  of  Lambert  le  Court  and  Alex.  Bernay, 
these  trees  are  introduced  as  follows  :-  — 

"  '  Signer,'  fait  Alixandre,  '  je  vus  voel  demander, 
Se  des  merveilles  d'Inde  me  saves  rien  center.' 
Cil  li  ont  respondu  :   '  Se  tu  vius  escouter 
Ja  te  dirons  merveilles,  s'es  poras  esprover. 
La  sus  en  ces  desers  pues  ii  Arbres  trover 
Qui  c  pies  ont  de  haut,  et  de  grossor  sunt  per. 
Li  Solaus  et  La  Lune  les  ont  fait  si  serer 
Que  sevent  tous  langages  et  entendre  et  parler.' " 

—Ed.  1861,  Dinan,  p.  357. 

*   "  Aquilinas." 

Chap.  XXII.  THE  ARBRE  SEC.  123 

Maundevile  informs  us  precisely  wliere  these  trees  are  :  "a  15 
journeys  in  lengthe,  goynge  be  the  Deserts  of  the  tother  side  of  the 
Ryvere  Beumare,"  if.  one  could  only  tell  where  that  is  !  A  medieval 
chronicler  also  tells  us  that  Ogerus  the  Dane  (temp.  Caroli  Magni)  con- 
quered all  the  parts  beyond  sea  from  Hierusalem  to  the  Trees  of  the 
Sun.  In  the  old  Italian  romance  also  of  Guerino  detto  il  Meschino,  still 
a  chap-book  in  S.  Italy,  the  Hero  (chap.  Ixiii.)  visits  the  Trees  of  the 
Sun  and  Moon.  But  this  is  mere  imitation  of  the  Alexandrian  story, 
and  has  nothing  of  interest.  {Maundevile,  p.  297-8;  Fasciculus  Tem- 
porum  in  Germ.  Script.  Pistorii  Nidani,  II.) 

It  will  be  observed  that  the  letter  ascribed  to  Alexander  describes 
the  two  oracular  trees  as  resembling  two  cypress-trees.  As  such  the 
Trees  of  the  Sun  and  Moon  are  represented  on  several  extant  ancient 
medals,  e.g.  on  two  struck  at  Perga  in  Pamphylia  in  the  time  of  Aurelian. 
And  Eastern  story  tells  us  of  two  vast  cypress-trees,  sacred  among  the 
Magians,  which  grew  in  Khorasan,  one  at  Kashmar  near  Turshiz,  and 
the  other  at  Farmad  near  Tuz,  and  which  were  said  to  have  risen  from 
shoots  that  Zoroaster  brought  from  Paradise.  The  former  of  these  was 
sacrilegiously  cut  down  by  the  order  of  the  Khalif  Motawakkil,  in  the 
9th  century.  The  trunk  was  dispatched  to  Baghdad  on  rollers  at  a  vast 
expense,  whilst  the  branches  alone  formed  a  load  for  1300  camels.  The 
night  that  the  convoy  reached  within  one  stage  of  the  palace  the  Khalif 
was  cut  in  pieces  by  his  own  guards.  This  tree  was  said  to  be  1450 
years  old,  and  to  measure  33 1  cubits  in  girth.  The  locality  of  this 
"Arbor  Sol"  we  see  was  in  Khorasan,  and  possibly  its  fame  may  have 
been  transferred  to  a  representative  of  another  species.  The  plane  as 
well  as  the  cypress  was  one  of  the  distinctive  trees  of  the  Magian 

In  the  Peutingerian  Tables  we  find  in  the  N.E.  of  Asia  the  rubric 
"  Mic  Alexander  Responsum  accepit"  which  looks  very  like  an  allusion  to 
the  tale  of  the  Oracular  Trees.  If  so  it  is  remarkable  as  a  suggestion 
of  the  antiquity  of  the  Alexandrian  Legends,  though  the  rubric  may  of 
course  be  an  interpolation.  The  Trees  of  the  Sun  and  Moon  appear  as 
located  in  India  Ultima  to  the  East  of  Persia,  in  a  map  which  is  found  in 
MSS.  (i2th  century)  of  the  Floridus  of  Lambert  us ;  and  they  are  indi- 
cated more  or  less  precisely  in  several  maps  of  the  succeeding  centuries. 
[Ouseleys  Travels,  I.  387  ;  Dabistan,  I.  307-8  ;  Santarem,  H.  de  la 
Cosmog.  II.  189,  III.  506-513,  &c.) 

Marco  has  mixt  up  this  legend  of  the  Alexandrian  Romance,  on  the 
authority,  as  we  shall  see  reason  to  believe,  of  some  of  the  recompilers 
of  that  Romance,  with  a  famous  subject  of  Christian  Legend  in  that  age, 
the  Arbre  Sec  or  Dry  Tree,  one  form  of  which  is  related  by  Maundevile 
and  by  Johan  Schiltberger.  "  A  lytille  fro  Ebron,"  says  the  former,  "  is 
the  Mount  of  Mambre,  of  the  whyche  the  Valeye  taketh  his  Name.  And 
there  is  a  Tree  of  Oke  that  the  Saracens  clepen  Dirpe,  that  is  of 
Abraham's  Tyme,  the  which   men  clepen  the    Drye    Tree  "   [Schilt- 

124  MARCO  POLO.  BOOK  I. 

berger  adds  that  the  heathen  call  it  Kiirru  Thereck,  i.e.  (Turkish)  Ki'irii 
Dirakht=  Dry  Tree].  "  And  theye  seye  that  it  hathe  ben  there  sithe 
the  beginnynge  of  the  World ;  and  was  sumtyme  grene  and  bare  Leves, 
unto  the  Tyme  that  Oure  Lord  dyede  on  the  Cros ;  and  thanne  it 
dryede ;  and  so  dyden  alle  the  Trees  that  weren  thanne  in  the  World, 
And  summe  seyn  be  hire  Prophecyes  that  a  Lord,  a  Prynce  of  the  West 
syde  of  the  World,  shalle  wynnen  the  Lond  of  Promyssioun,  i.e.  the  Holy 
Lond,  withe  Helpe  of  Cristene  Men,  and  he  schalle  do  synge  a  Masse 
under  that  Drye  Tree,  and  than  the  Tree  shall  wexen  grene  and  here 
both  Fruyt  and  Leves.  And  thorghe  that  Myracle  manye  Sarazines 
and  Jewes  schulle  ben  turned  to  Cristene  Feithe.  And,  therfore,  they 
dou  gret  Worschipe  thereto,  and  kepen  it  fulle  besyly.  And  alle  be  it 
so  that  it  be  drye,  natheless  yit  he  berethe  great  vertue,"  &c. 

The  tradition  seems  to  have  altered  with  circumstances,  for  a  traveller 
of  nearly  two  centuries  later  (Friar  Anselmo,  1509)  describes  the  oak  of 
Abraham  at  Hebron  as  a  tree  of  dense  and  verdant  foliage  :  "  The 
Saracens  make  their  devotions  at  it,  and  hold  it  in  great  veneration,  for 
it  has  remained  thus  green  from  the  days  of  Abraham  until  now ;  and 
they  tie  scraps  of  cloth  on  its  branches  inscribed  with  some  of  their 
writing,  and  believe  that  if  any  one  were  to  cut  a  piece  off  that  tree  he 
would  die  within  the  year."  Indeed  even  before  Maundevile's  time 
Friar  Burchard  (1283)  had  noticed  that  though  the  famous  old  tree 
was  dry,  another  had  sprung  from  its  roots.  And  it  still  has  a  repre- 

As  long  ago  as  the  time  of  Constantine  a  fair  was  held  under  the 
Terebinth  of  Mamre,  which  was  the  object  of  many  superstitious  rites 
and  excesses.  The  Emperor  ordered  these  to  be  put  a  stop  to,  and  a 
church  to  be  erected  at  the  spot.  In  the  time  of  Arculph  (end  of  7th 
century)  the  dry  trunk  still  existed  under  the  roof  of  this  church. 

It  is  evident  that  the  story  of  the  Dry  Tree  had  got  a  great  vogue 
in  the  13th  century.  In  they//j-  du  Felerin,  a  French  drama  of  Polo's 
age,  the  Pilgrim  says  : — 

"  J'ai  puis  en  maint  bon  lieu  et  a  maint  saint  este, 
J'ai  este  au  Sec  Arbre  et  dusqu'au  Dareste." 

And  in  another  play  of  slightly  earlier  date  {Lejus  de  St.  Nicolas),  the 
King  of  Africa,  invaded  by  the  Christians,  summons  all  his  allies  and 
feudatories,  among  whom  appear  the  Admirals  of  Coine  {Icoiiium)  and 
Orkenie  i^Hyrcania),  and  the  Amiral  d'outre  le  Sec  Arbre  (as  it  were  of 
"  the  Back  of  Beyond  ")  in  whose  country  the  only  current  coin  is  mill- 
stones !  Friar  Odoric  tells  us  that  he  heard  at  Tabriz  that  the  Arbor 
Secco  existed  in  a  mosque  of  that  city ;  and  Clavijo  relates  a  confused 
story  about  it  in  the  same  locality.  Of  the  Dilrre  Baum  at  Tauris  there 
is  also  a  somewhat  pointless  legend  in  a  Cologne  MS.  of  the  14th 
century,  professing  to  give  an  account  of  the  East.  There  are  also 
some  curious  verses  concerning  a  mystical  Dilrre  Bom  quoted  by  Fabri- 

Chap.  XXir.  THE  ARBRE  SEC.  125 

cius  from  an  old  Low  German  Poem ;  and  we  may  just  allude  to  that 
other  mystic  Arbor  Secco  of  Dante — 

"  una  pianta  dispogliata 

Di  fiori  e  d'altra  fronda  in  ciascun  ramo," 

though  the  dark  symbolism  in  the  latter  case  seems  to  have  a  different 

{Mmindevile^T^.  68;  Schiltberger,  p.  113;  Anselm.  in  Cattisii  T/ie- 
sai/rus,  IV.  781  ;  Per  eg.  Quat.  p.  81  ;  Niceph.  Callist.  VIII.  30;  Theatre 
Fran^ais  an  Moyen  Age,  p.  97,  173;  Cathay,  p.  48;  Clavijo,  p.  90; 
Orient  und  Occident,  Gottingen,  1867,  vol.  i.  \  Fabricii,  Vet.  Test.  Pseud., 
&c.,  I.  1 133;  Dante,  Purgat.  xxxii.  35.) 

But  why  does  Polo  bring  this  Arbre  Sec  into  connexion  with  the  Sun 
Tree  of  the  Alexandrian  Legend  ?  I  cannot  answer  this  to  my  own 
entire  satisfaction,  but  I  can  show  that  such  a  connexion  had  been 
imagined  in  his  time. 

M.  Paulin-Paris,  in  a  notice  of  MS.  No.  6985  {Fonds  Aficien)  of  the 
Imperial  Library,  containing  a  version  of  the  Chansons  de  Geste  d'Alix- 
andre,  based  upon  the  work  of  L.  Le  Court  and  Alex.  Bernay,  but  with 
additions  of  later  date,  notices  amongst  these  latter  the  visit  of  Alexander 
to  the  Valley  Perilous,  where  he  sees  a  variety  of  wonders,  among  others 
the  Arbre  des  Pucelles.  Another  tree  at  a  great  distance  from  the  last 
is  called  the  Arbre  Sec,  and  reveals  to  Alexander  the  secret  of  the  fate 
which  attends  him  in  Babylon  {Les  MSS.  Fran^ais  de  la  Bibl.  du  Roi, 
III.  105).*  Again  the  EngHsh  version  of  Kiijg  Alisaundre,  published 
in  Weber's  Collection,  shows  clearly  enough  that  in  its  French  original 
the  term  Arbre  Sec  was  applied  to  the  Oracular  Trees,  though  the  word 
has  been  miswritten,  and  misunderstood  by  Weber.  The  King,  as  in 
the  Greek  and  French  passages  already  quoted,  meeting  two  old  churls, 
asks  if  they  know  of  any  marvel  in  those  parts  : — 

'*  '  Ye,  par  ma  fay,'  quoth  heo, 
'  A  great  merveille  we  wol  telle  the  ; 
That  is  hennes  in  even  way 
The  mountas  of  ten  dales  journey, 

Thou  shalt  finde  trowes  f  two  :  . , 

Seyntes  and  holy  they  buth  bo  ; 
Higher  than  in  othir  countray  all. 
Arbeset  men  heom  callith.' 

'  Sire  Kyng,'  quod  on,  '  by  myn  eyghe 
Either  Trough  is  an  hundrod  feet  hygh, 

*  It  is  right  to  notice  that  there  may  be  some  error  in  the  reference  of  M.  Paulin- 
Paris  ;  at  least  I  could  not  trace  the  Arbre  Sec  in  the  MS.  which  he  cites,  nor  in  the 
celebrated  Bodleian  Alexander, which  appears  to  contain  the  same  version  of  the  story. 
•     t  Trees. 

126  MARCO  POLO.  BOOK  I. 

They  stondith  up  into  the  skye  ; 
That  on  to  the  Sonne,  sikirlye  ; 
That  othir,  we  tellith  the  nowe, 
Is  sakret  in  the  Mone  vertue.'  " 

—  Weber,  I.  277. 

Weber's  glossary  gives  "^;'i^^i"^/  =  Strawberry  Tree,  arbotis,  arbousicr, 
arbutus  f  but  that  is  nonsense. 

Further,  in  the  French  Prose  Romance  of  Alexander,  which  is  con- 
tained in  the  fine  volume  in  the  British  Museum  known  as  the  Shrews- 
bury Book  (Reg.  XV.  e.  6),  though  we  do  not  find  the  Arbre  Sec  so 
named,  we  find  it  described  and  pictorially  represented.  The  Romance 
(fol.  xiiii.  V.)  describes  Alexander  and  his  chief  companions  as  ascending 
a  certain  mountain  by  2500  steps  which  were  attached  to  a  golden  chain. 
At  the  top  they  find  the  golden  Temple  of  the  Sun  and  an  old  man 
asleep  within.     It  goes  on  : — 

"  Quant  le  viellart  les  vit  si  leur  demanda  s'ils  vouloient  veoir  les 
Arbres  sacrez  de  la  Lune  et  du  Soleil  que  nous  annuncent  les  choses 
qui  sont  a  avenir.  Quant  Alexandre  ouy  ce  si  fut  rempli  de  mult  grant 
ioye.  Si  lui  respondirent,  '  Ouye  sur,  nous  les  voulons  veoir.'  Et  cil  lui 
dist,  '  Se  tu  es  nez  de  prince  malle  et  de  femelle  il  te  convient  entrer  en 
celui  lieu.'  Et  Alexandre  lui  respondi,  '  Nous  somes  nez  de  compagne 
malle  et  de  femelle.'  Dont  se  leve  le  viellart  du  lit  ou  il  gesoit,  et  leur 
dist,  '  Hostez  vos  vestemens  et  vos  chauces.'  Et  Tholomeus  et  Anti- 
gonus  et  Perdiacas  le  suivrent.  Lors  comencerent  k  aler  parmy  la 
forest  qui  estoit  enclose  en  merveilleux  labour.  Illec  trouverent  les 
arbres  semblables  k  loriers  et  oliviers.  Et  estoient  de  cent  pies  de 
haults,  et  decouroit  d'eulz  incens  ypobaume*  k  grant  quantite.  Apres 
entrerent  plus  avant  en  la  forest,  et  trouverent  ime  arbre  durement  hault 
qui  riavoit  ne  fueille  ne  fruit.  Si  seoit  sur  cet  arbre  une  grant  oysel  qui 
avoit  en  son  chief  une  creste  qui  estoit  semblable  au  paon,  et  les  plumes 
du  col  resplendissants  come  fin  or.  Et  avoit  la  couleur  de  rose.  Dont 
lui  dist  le  viellart,  '  Cet  oysel  dont  vous  vous  merveillez  est  appeles  Fenis, 
lequel  n  a  nul  pareil  en  tout  le  monde.'  Dont  passerent  outre,  et 
allerent  aux  Arbres  du  Soleil  et  de  la  Lune.  Et  quant  ils  y  furent 
venus,  si  leur  dist  le  viellart,  '  Regardez  en  haut,  et  pensez  en  votre 
coeur  ce  que  vous  vouldrez  demander,  et  ne  le  dites  de  la  bouche. 
Alisandre  luy  demanda  en  quel  language  donnent  les  Arbres  response 
aux  gens.  Et  il  lui  respondit,  '  L'Arbre  du  Soleil  commence  a  parler 
Indien.'  Dont  baisa  Alexandre  les  arbres,  et  comenga  en  son  ceur  a 
penser  s'il  conquesteroit  tout  le  monde  et  retourneroit  en  Macedonie 
atout  son  ost.  Dont  lui  respondit  I'Arbre  du  Soleil,  '  Alexandre  tu 
seras  Roy  de  tout  le  monde,  mais  Macedonie  tu  ne  verras  jamais,' "  &c. 

The  appearance  of  the  Arbre  Sec  in  Maps  of  the  15th  century, 
such  as  those  of  Andrea  Bianco  (1436)  and  Era  Mauro  (1459),  may 


Chap.  XXII. 



be  ascribed  to  the  influence  of  Polo's  own  work ;  but  a  more  genuine 
evidence  of  the  prevalence  of  the  legend  is  found  in  the  celebrated 
Hereford  Map  constructed  in  the  13th  century  by  Richard  de  Halding- 
ham.  This,  in  the  vicinity  of  India  and  the  Terrestrial  Paradise,  exhibits 
a  Tree  with  the  rubric  '■'•  Albo)-  Balsami  est  Arbor  Sicca.'" 

The  legends  of  the  Dry  Tree  were  probably  spun  out  of  the  words 
of  the  Vulgate  in  Ezekiel  xvii.  24  :  "  Humiliavi  ligtium  sublime  et  exaltavi 
lignum  humile ;  et siccavi  lignum  viridc  et  frondescere  feci  lignum  aridum." 

Whether  the  J^iie  de  VArbre  Sec  in  Paris  derives  its  name  from  the  legend 
I  know  not. 

The  actual  tree  to  which  Polo  refers  in  the  text  was  probably  one 
of  those  so  frequent  in  Persia,  to  which  age,  position,  or  accident  has 
attached  a  character  of  sanctity,  and  which  are  styled  Dirak/it-i-Fazl^ 
Trees  of  Excellence  or  Grace,  and  often  receive  titles  appropriate  to 
Holy  Persons.  Vows  are  made  before  them,  and  pieces  torn  from  the 
clothes  of  the  votaries  are  hung  upon  the  branches  or  nailed  to  the 
trunks.  To  a  Tree  of  such  a  character,  imposing  in  decay,  Lucan 
compares  Pompey  : — 

128  MARCO  POLO.  BOOK  I. 

"  Stat  magni  nominis  umbra. 
Qualis  frugifero  quercus  sublimis  in  agro, 
Exitvias  vetcres  popiili  sacrataqite  gcstans 
Dona  ditcHin       ***** 

■'      r  Quamvis  primo  nutet  casura  sub  Euro, 

Tot  circum  silvae  firmo  se  robore  toUant, 

Sola  tamen  colitur."  — Pharsalia,  I.  135. 

The  Tree  of  Mamre  was  evidently  precisely  one  of  this  class  ;  and  those 
who  have  crossed  the  Suez  Desert  before  railway  days  will  remember 
such  a  Dirakht-i-Fazl,  an  aged  mimosa,  a  veritable  Arbre  Seid  (could 
we  accept  that  reading)  that  stood  just  halfway  across  the  Desert, 
streaming  with  the  exuviae  veteres  of  Mecca  Pilgrims.  The  majority 
of  such  holy  trees  in  Persia  appear  to  be  Plane-trees.  Admiration  for 
the  beauty  of  this  tree  seems  to  have  occasionally  risen  into  superstitious 
veneration  from  a  very  old  date.  Herodotus  tells  how  Xerxes  on  his 
march  to  Greece  decorated  a  beautiful  Chinar  with  golden  ornaments. 
Pliny  rises  to  enthusiasm  in  speaking  of  some  noble  individuals  of  the 
species  in  Lycia  and  elsewhere.  Chardin  describes  one  grand  and 
sacred  specimen,  called  King  Hosain's  Chinar,  and  said  to  be  more 
than  1000  years  old,  in  a  suburb  of  Ispahan,  and  another  hung  with 
amulets,  rags,  and  tapers  in  a  garden  at  Sliiraz.*  One  sacred  tree 
mentioned  by  the  Persian  geographer  Hamdallah  as  distinguishing  the 
grave  of  a  holy  man  at  Bostam  in  Khorasan  (the  species  is  not  named, 
at  least  by  Ouseley  from  whom  I  borrow  this)  comes  into  striking 
relation  with  the  passage  in  our  text.  The  story  went  that  it  had  been 
the  staff  of  Mahomed  ;  as  such  it  had  been  transmitted  through  many 
generations,  until  it  was  finally  deposited  in  the  grave  of  Abu  Abdallah 
Dasitani,  where  it  struck  root  and  put  forth  branches.  And  it  is  ex- 
plicitly called  Dirakht-i-Khushk,  i.e.  literally  L  ARE  RE  SEC. 

This  last  legend  belongs  to  a  large  class.  The  staff  of  Adam,  which 
was  created  in  the  twilight  of  the  approaching  Sabbath,  was  bestowed 
on  him  in  Paradise  and  handed  down  successively  to  Enoch  and  the 
line  of  Patriarchs.  After  the  death  of  Joseph  it  was  set  in  Jethro's 
garden,  and  there  grew  untouched  till  Moses  came  and  got  his  rod  from 
it.  In  another  form  of  the  legend  it  is  Seth  who  gets  a  branch  of  the 
Tree  of  Life,  and  from  this  Moses  afterwards  obtains  his  rod  of  power. 
These  Rabbinical  stories  seem  afterwards  to  have  been  developed  into 
the  Christian  legends  of  the  wood  destined  to  form  the  Cross,  such  as 
they  are  told  in  the  Golden  Legend  or  by  Godfrey  of  Viterbo,  and 
elaborated  in  Calderon's  Sibila  del  Oriente.  Indeed,  as  a  valued  friend 
who  has  consulted  the  latter  for  me  suggests,  probably  all  the  Arbre 
Sec  Legends  of  Christendom  bore  mystic  reference  to  the  Cross.     In 

*  A  recent  traveller  in  China  gives  a  perfectly  similar  description  of  sacred  trees 
in  Shansi.  Many  bore  inscriptions  in  large  letters,  "  If  you  pray,  you  will  certainly  be 
heard."— AVr'.  A.   Williamsou,  in  J.  N.  C.  Br.  of  R.  A.  S.      1866  :  p.  61. 

Chap.  XXII.  THE  ARBRE  SEC.  129 

Calderon's  play  the  Holy  Rood,  seen  in  vision,  is  described  as  a 
Tree  : — 

"  cuyas  hojas, 
Secas  inustias  y  marchitas, 
Desnudo  el  tronco  dejaban, 
Que,  entie  mil  copas  floridas 
De  los  arboles,  el  solo 
Sin  pompa  y  sin  bizaria 
Era  cadaver  del  prado." 

There  are  several  Dry  Tree  stories  among  the  wonders  of  Buddhism ; 
one  is  that  of  a  sacred  tree  visited  by  the  Chinese  pilgrims  to  India, 
which  had  grown  from  the  twig  which  Sakya  in  Hindu  fashion  had  used 
as  a  tooth-brush ;  and  I  think  there  is  a  like  story  in  our  own  country 
of  the  Glastonbury  Thorn  having  grown  from  the  staff  of  Joseph  of 

(Sa?itarem,  111.  380,  II.  348  ;  Oitseley,  I.  359  seqq.  and  391  ;  Hero- 
dotiis,  VII.  31  ;  Pliny,  XII.  5  ;  Chardin,  VII.  410,  VIII.  44  and  426  ; 
Fabrich/s,  Vet.  Test.  Psetid.  I,  80  seqq. ;  Cathay,  p.  365  ;  BeaFs  Fah- 
Hian,  72  and  78  ;  Ptlerins  Boiiddhistes,  II.  292  ;  Delia  Valle,  II.  276-7.) 

He  who  injured  the  holy  tree  of  Bostam,  we  are  told,  perished  the 
same  day ;  a  general  belief  in  regard  to  those  Trees  of  Grace  of  which 
we  have  already  seen  instances  in  regard  to  the  sacred  trees  of  Zoro- 
aster and  the  Oak  of  Hebron.  We  find  the  same  belief  in  Eastern 
Africa,  where  certain  trees,  regarded  by  the  natives  with  superstitious 
reverence,  which  they  express  by  driving  in  votive  nails  and  suspending 
rags,  are  known  to  the  European  residents  by  the  vulgar  name  of  Devil 
Trees.  Burton  relates  a  case  of  the  verification  of  the  superstition  in 
the  death  of  an  English  merchant  who  had  cut  down  such  a  tree,  and 
of  four  members  of  his  household.  It  is  the  old  story  which  Ovid  tells, 
and  the  tree  which  Erisichthon  felled  was  a  Dirakht-i-Fazl : — 

"  Vittae  mediam,  memoresque  tabellae 
Sertaque  cingebant  voti  argumenta  potentis." 

—RTefamorph.  VIII.  il. 

Though  the  coincidence  with  our  text  of  Hamdallah's  Dry  Tree  is 
very  striking,  I  am  not  prepared  to  lay  stress  on  it  as  an  argument  for 
the  geographical  determination  of  Marco's  Arbre  Sec.  His  use  of  the 
title  more  than  once  to  characterize  the  whole  frontier  of  Khorasan 
can  hardly  have  been  a  mere  whim  of  his  own  :  and  possibly  some 
explanation  of  that  circumstance  will  yet  be  elicited  from  the  Persian 
historians  or  geographers  of  the  Mongol  era. 

Meanwhile  it  is  in  the  vicinity  of  Bostam  or  Damghan  that  I  should 
incline  to  place  this  landmark.  If  no  one  very  cogent  reason  points 
to  this,  a  variety  of  minor  ones  do  so  ;  such  as  the  direction  of  the 
traveller's  journey  from  Kerman  through  Koh  Banan ;  the  apparent 
vicinity  of  a  great  Ismaelite  fortress,  as  will  be  noticed  in  the  next 

VOL.   I.  K 

I30  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

chapter ;  the  connexion  twice  indicated  (see  Prologtit\  ch.  xviii.  note  6, 
and  Book  IV.  ch.  v.)  of  the  Arbre  Sec  with  the  head-quarters  of  Ghazan 
Khan  in  watching  the  great  passes,  of  which  the  principal  ones  debouche 
at  Bostam,  at  which  place  also  buildings  erected  by  Ghazan  still  exist ; 
and  the  statement  that  the  decisive  battle  between  Alexander  and 
Darius  was  placed  there  by  local  tradition.  For  though  no  such  battle 
took  place  in  that  region,  we  know  that  Darius  was  murdered  near 
Hecatompylos.  Some  place  this  city  west  of  Bostam,  near  Damghan  ; 
others  east  of  it,  about  Jah  Jerm  ;  Ferrier  has  strongly  argued  for  the 
vicinity  of  Bostam  itself.  Firdusi  indeed  places  the  final  battle  on  the 
confines  of  Kerman,  and  the  death  of  Darius  within  that  province.  But 
this  could  not  have  been  the  tradition  Polo  met  with. 

I  may  add  that  the  temperate  climate  of  Bostam  is  noticed  in  words 
almost  identical  with  Polo's  by  both  Fraser  and  Ferrier. 

The  Chinar  abounds  in  Khorasan  (as  far  as  any  tree  can  be  said  to 
abound  in  Persia),  and  even  in  the  Oases  of  Tun-o-Kain  wherever  there 
is  water.  A  traveller  quoted  by  Ritter  notices  Chinars  of  great  size  and 
age  at  Shahriid,  near  Bostam.  Other  remarkable  specimens  are  men- 
tioned at  Meyomid,  and  at  Islehr,  west  of  Sabzawar,  which  last  are  said 
to  date  from  the  time  of  Naoshirwan  (7th  century).  There  is  a  town  to 
the  N.W.  of  Meshid  called  Chindnin,  "  The  Planes." 

The  following  note  by  De  Sacy  regarding  the  Chinar  has  already 
been  quoted  by  Marsden,  and  though  it  may  be  doubtful  whether  the 
term  Arbre  Sec  had  any  relation  to  the  idea  expressed,  it  seems  to 
me  too  interesting  to  be  omitted  :  "  Its  sterility  seems  to  have  become 
proverbial  among  certain  people  of  the  East.  For  in  a  collection  of 
sundry  moral  sentences  pertaining  to  the  Sabaeans  or  Christians  of 
St.  John  ....  we  find  the  following  :  '  The  vain-glorious  man  is  like 
a  showy  Plane  Tree,  rich  in  boughs  but  producing  nothing,  and  afford- 
ing no  fruit  to  its  owner.'  "  And  I  add  from  Khanikoff"  another  passage, 
though  put  forward  in  special  illustration  of  what  I  believe  to  be  a 
mistaken  reading  {Arbre  Senl)  :  "  Where  the  Chinar  is  of  spontaneous 
growth,  or  occupies  the  centre  of  a  vast  and  naked  plain,  this  tree  is 
even  in  our  own  day  invested  with  a  quite  exceptional  veneration,  and 
the  locality  often  comes  to  be  called  '  The  Place  of  the  Solitary  Tree.'  " 
{J.  R.  G.  S.  XXIX.  345;  Ferrier,  69-76;  Fraser,  343;  Fitter,  VIII. 
332,  XL  512  seqq.  :  De  Sacfs  Abdallatif,  p.  81;  KJwnikoff,  Not. 
p.  38.) 

Chap.  XXII. 



132  MARCO  POLO.  BOOK  I. 


Concerning  the  Old  Man  of  the  Mountain. 

MuLEHET  is  a  country  in  which  the  Old  Man  of  the 
Mountain  dwelt  in  former  days ;  and  the  name  means 
'■''Place  of  the  Aram''  I  will  tell  you  his  whole  history  as 
related  by  Messer  Marco  Polo,  who  heard  it  from  several 
natives  of  that  region.' 

The  Old  Man  was  called  in  their  language  Aloadin. 
He  had  caused  a  certain  valley  between  two  mountains  to 
be  enclosed,  and  had  turned  it  into  a  garden,  the  largest 
and  most  beautiful  that  ever  was  seen,  filled  with  every 
variety  of  fruit.  In  it  were  erected  pavilions  and  palaces 
the  most  elegant  that  can  be  imagined,  all  covered  with 
gilding  and  exquisite  painting.  And  there  were  runnels 
too,  flowing  freely  with  wine  and  milk  and  honey  and 
water  ;  and  numbers  of  ladies,  and  of  the  most  beautiful 
damsels  in  the  world,  who  could  play  on  all  manner  of 
instruments,  and  sung  most  sweetly,  and  danced  in  a 
manner  that  it  was  charming  to  behold.  For  the  Old  Man 
desired  to  make  his  people  believe  that  this  was  actually 
Paradise.  So  he  had  fashioned  it  after  the  description  that 
Mahommet  gave  of  his  Paradise,  to  wit,  that  it  should  be 
a  beautiful  garden  running  with  conduits  of  wine  and  milk 
and  honey  and  water,  and  full  of  lovely  women  for  the 
delectation  of  all  its  inmates.  And  sure  enough  the  Saracens 
of  those  parts  believed  that  it  was  Paradise  ! 

Now  no  man  was  allowed  to  enter  the  Garden  save 
those  whom  he  intended  to  be  his  Ashishin.  There  was 
a  Fortress  at  the  entrance  to  the  Garden,  strong  enough 
to  resist  all  the  world,  and  there  was  no  other  way  to  get 
in.  He  kept  at  his  Court  a  number  of  the  youths  of  the 
country,  from  1 2  to  20  years  of  age,  such  as  had  a  taste 
for  soldiering,  and  to  these  he  used  to  tell  tales  about 
Paradise,  just  as  Mahommet  had  been  wont  to  do,  and  they 

Chap.  XXIII.      THE  OLD  MAN  OF  THE  MOUNTAIN.  133 

believed  in  him  just  as  the  Saracens  beUeve  in  Mahommet. 
Then  he  would  introduce  them  into  his  garden,  some  four, 
or  six,  or  ten  at  a  time,  having  first  made  them  drink  a 
certain  potion  which  cast  them  into  a  deep  sleep,  and  then 
causing  them  to  be  lifted  and  carried  in.  So  when  they 
awoke,  they  found  themselves  in  the  Garden.^ 

Note  1.  — •  Marco  in  this  chapter  speaks  of  the  Dynasty  of  the 
Ismaehtes,  a  heretical  secession  from  Islam,  the  chiefs  of  which  were 
established  in  the  mountainous  districts  of  Northern  Persia  for  about 
170  years;  and  before  their  extinction  by  the  Mongols  had  spread  their 
dominion  over  the  Eastern  Kohistan,  at  least  as  far  as  Kain.  Their 
head-quarters  were  at  Alamiit  ("  Eagle's  Nest"),  about  32  miles  north- 
east of  Kazwin,  and  all  over  the  territory  which  they  held  they  esta- 
blished fortresses  of  great  strength.  De  Sacy  seems  to  have  proved 
that  they  were  called  Hashishiya  or  Has/iis/i'ui,  from  their  use  of  the 
preparation  of  hemp  called  Hashish ;  and  thence  through  their  system 
of  murder  and  terrorism  came  the  modern  application  of  the  word 
Assassin.  I  have  adopted  in  the  text  one  of  the  readings  of  the  G. 
Text  Asciscin,  as  expressing  the  original  word  with  the  greatest  accuracy 
that  Italian  spelling  admits.  In  another  author  we  find  it  as  Chazisii 
(see  Boliandists,  May,  vol.  ii.  p.  xi)  ;  Joinville  calls  them  Assacis ;  whilst 
Nangis  and  others  corrupt  the  name  into  Harsacidae,  and  what  not. 

The  explanation  of  the  name  Mulehet  as  it  is  in  Ramusio,  or 
Mulcete  as  it  is  in  the  G.  Text  (the  last  expressing  in  Rusticiano's  Pisan 
tongue  the  strongly  aspirated  Mu/hetc),  is  given  by  the  former :  "  This 
name  of  Mulehet  is  as  much  as  to  say  in  the  Saracen  tongue  '  The  Abode 
of  Heretics,'  "  the  fact  being  that  it  does  represent  the  Arabic  term 
Midhid,  pi.  Muidhidah,  "  Impii,  heretici,"  which  is  in  the  Persian  histories 
(as  of  Rashiduddin  and  Wassaf)  the  title  most  commonly  used  to  indi- 
cate this  community.  The  curious  reading  of  the  G.  Text  which  we 
have  preserved  "  vai/f  a  dire  Des  Aram,"  should  be  read  as  we  have 
rendered  it.  I  conceive  that  Marco  was  here  unconsciously  using  one 
Oriental  term  to  explain  another,  and  that  Aram  stands  for  Hardmi, 
pi.  Hardiniya,  "  Impii,  scelerati,"  where  Freytag  adds  the  example 
Bin-ul-Hardmiya,  "  Impionmi  religio,"  seeming  to  point  its  application 
to  heretics  and  the  like. 

In  Pauthier's  Text,  instead  oi  Desaram,  we  find  '•'■  venlt  dire  enfran- 
cois  Diex  Terrien,"  or  Terrestrial  God.  This  may  have  been  substituted 
by  a  transcriber  for  des  Aram,  because  he  naturally  could  make  nothing 
of  the  latter,  and  perhaps  because  he  found  the  Diex  Terrien  in  another 
part  of  the  book  as  descriptive  of  a  Tartar  idol  (see  ch.  liii.).  But  the 
error  is  of  very  early  date.  For  in  the  romance  of  Bauduin  de  Sebourg, 
which  I  believe  dates  early  in  the  14th  century,  the  Caliph,  on  witness- 

134  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

ing  the  extraordinary  devotion  of  the  followers  of  the  Old  Man  (see 
note  1,  ch.  xxiv.),  exclaims  : 

"  Par  Mahon 

Vous  estes  Dicx  en  terre,  autre  coze  n'i  a  !  " — I.  p.  360. 

So  also  Fr.  Jacopo  d'Aqui  in  the  Imago  Mundi,  says  of  the  Assassins  : 
"  Dicitur  iis  quod  sunt  in  Paradiso  magno  Dei  Terreni."  Expressions, 
no  doubt,  taken  in  both  cases  from  Polo's  book. 

Khanikofif,  and  before  him  J.  R.  Forster,  have  supposed  that  the 
name  Mulehet  represents  Alamiit.  But  the  resemblance  is  much  closer 
and  more  satisfactory  to  Miilhid  or  MuWddah.  Mulhet  is  precisely  the 
name  by  which  the  kingdom  of  the  Ismaelites  is  mentioned  in  Armenian 
history,  and  Mulihet  is  already  applied  in  the  same  way  by  Rabbi 
Benjamin  in  the  12th  century,  and  by  Rubruquis  in  the  13th.  The 
Chinese  narrative  of  Hulaku's  expedition  calls  it  the  kingdom  of  Midahi. 
{J.  As.  ser.  2,  tom.  xii.  285;  Be7ij.  Tudela,  p.  106;  Jinb.  p.  265; 
Remusat,  Nouv.  Melanges,  I.  176;  GauMi,  p.  128;  Faiit/iier,  pp. 
cxxxix-cxli ;  Afon.  Hist.  Pair.  ScriJ>toriP?i,  III.  1559,  Turin,  1848.) 

"  Old  Man  of  the  Mountain  "  was  the  title  applied  by  the  Crusaders 
to  the  chief  of  that  branch  of  the  sect  which  was  settled  in  the  moun- 
tains north  of  Lebanon,  being  a  translation  of  his  popular  Arabic  title 
Shaikh-ul-Jibal.  Whether  the  latter  was  really  applied  to  the  Prince  of 
Alamut,  I  have  not  ascertained ;  but  it  is  probable,  as  his  territory  was 
known  as  the  Balad-iil-Jibal.     (Abitlf.  in  Btisching,  V.  319.) 

Note  2. — Boccaccio  had  perhaps  read  Marco.  In  the  Decameron 
Day  III.  Nov.  8,  we  find  a  profligate  abbot  administering  to  an  incon- 
venient personage  "  a  powder  of  marvellous  efficacy,  which  in  the  East 
he  had  got  from  a  great  Prince,  who  declared  it  to  be  the  same  that  the 
Old  Man  of  the  Mountain  used  to  employ  when  lie  wished  to  transport 
any  one  in  sleep  into  or  out  of  his  Paradise." 


How  THE  Old  Man  used  to  train  his  Assassins. 

When  therefore  they  awoke,  and  found  themselves  in  a 
place  so  charming,  they  deemed  that  it  was  Paradise  in  very 
truth.  And  the  ladies  and  damsels  dallied  with  them  to 
their  heart's  content,  so  that  they  had  what  young  men 
would  have  ;  and  with  their  own  good  will  they  never  would 
have  quitted  the  place. 


Now  this  Prince  whom  we  call  the  Old  One  kept  his 
Court  in  grand  and  noble  style,  and  made  those  simple 
hill-folks  about  him  believe  firmly  that  he  was  a  great  Pro- 
phet. And  when  he  wanted  one  of  his  Ashishin  to  send 
on  any  mission,  he  would  cause  that  potion  whereof  I 
spoke  to  be  given  to  one  of  the  youths  in  the  garden,  and 
then  had  him  carried  into  his  Palace.  So  when  the  young 
man  awoke,  he  found  himself  in  the  Castle,  and  no  longer 
in  that  Paradise  ;  whereat  he  was  not  over  well  pleased. 
He  was  then  conducted  to  the  Old  Man's  presence,  and 
bowed  before  him  with  great  veneration  as  believing  him- 
self to  be  in  the  presence  of  a  true  Prophet.  The  Prince 
would  then  ask  whence  he  came,  and  he  would  reply  that 
he  came  from  Paradise !  and  that  it  was  exactly  such  as 
Mahommet  had  described  it  in  the  Law.  This  of  course 
gave  the  others  who  stood  by,  and  who  had  not  been  ad- 
mitted, the  greatest  desire  to  enter  therein. 

So  when  the  Old  Man  would  have  any  Prince  slain,  he 
would  say  to  such  a  youth  :  "  Go  thou  and  slay  So  and 
So  ;  and  when  thou  returnest  my  Angels  shall  bear  thee 
into  Paradise.  And  shouldst  thou  die,  natheless  even  so 
will  I  send  my  Angels  to  carry  thee  back  into  Paradise." 
So  he  caused  them  to  believe ;  and  thus  there  was  no  order 
of  his  that  they  would  not  affront  any  peril  to  execute,  for 
the  great  desire  they  had  to  get  back  into  that  Paradise  of 
his.  And  in  this  manner  the  Old  One  got  his  people  to 
murder  any  one  whom  he  desired  to  get  rid  of.  Thus,  too, 
the  great  dread  that  he  inspired  all  Princes  withal,  made 
them  become  his  tributaries  in  order  that  he  might  abide 
at  peace  and  amity  with  them.' 

I  should  also  tell  you  that  the  Old  Man  had  certain 
others  under  him,  who  copied  his  proceedings  and  acted 
exactly  in  the  same  manner.  One  of  these  was  sent  into 
the  Territory  of  Damascus,  and  the  other  into  Curdistan. 

136  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Note  1. — Romantic  as  this  story  is,  it  seems  to  be  precisely  the 
same  that  was  current  over  all  the  East.  It  is  given  by  Odoric  at 
length,  more  briefly  by  a  Chinese  author,  and  again  from  an  Arabic 
source  by  Hammer  in  the  Alines  de  V  Orient. 

The  following  is  the  Chinese  account  as  rendered  by  Remusat : 
"  The  soldiers  of  this  country  (Mulahi)  are  veritable  brigands.  When 
they  see  a  lusty  youth,  they  tempt  him  with  the  hope  of  gain,  and  bring 
him  to  such  a  point  that  he  will  be  ready  to  kill  his  father  or  his  elder 
brother  with  his  own  hand.  After  he  is  enlisted,  they  intoxicate  him, 
and  carry  him  in  that  state  into  a  secluded  retreat,  where  he  is  charmed 
with  delicious  music  and  beautiful  women.  All  his  desires  are  satisfied 
for  several  days,  and  then  (in  sleep)  he  is  transported  back  to  his 
original  position.  When  he  awakes,  they  ask  what  he  has  seen  ?  He 
is  then  informed  that  if  he  will  become  an  Assassin,  he  will  be  rewarded 
with  the  same  happiness.  And  with  the  texts  and  prayers  that  they 
teach  him  they  heat  him  to  such  a  pitch  that  whatever  commission  be 
given  him  he  will  brave  death  without  regret  in  order  to  execute  it." 

The  Arabic  narrative  is  too  long  to  extract.  It  is  from  a  kind  of 
historical  romance  called  The  Memoirs  of  Hakim,  the  date  of  which 
Hammer  unfortunately  omits  to  give.  Its  close  coincidence  in  sub- 
stance with  Polo's  story  is  quite  remarkable.  After  a  detailed  descrip- 
tion of  the  Paradise,  and  the  transfer  into  it  of  the  aspirant  vmder  the 
influence  of  bang,  on  his  awaking  and  seeing  his  chief  enter,  he  says, 
"  O  chief!  am  I  awake  or  am  I  dreaming?"  To  which  the  chief:  "  O 
such  an  One,  take  heed  that  thou  tell  not  the  dream  to  any  stranger. 
Know  that  Ali  thy  Lord  hath  vouchsafed  to  show  thee  the  place  destined 
for  thee  in  Paradise.  .  .  .  Hesitate  not  a  moment  therefore  in  the 
service  of  the  Imam  who  thus  deigns  to  intimate  his  contentment  with 
thee,"  and  so  on. 

William  de  Nangis  thus  speaks  of  the  Syrian  Shaikh  who  alone  was 
known  to  the  Crusaders,  though  one  of  their  historians  {Jacques  de 
Vitry,  in  Bongars,  I.  1062)  shows  knowledge  that  the  head-quarters  of 
the  sect  was  in  Persia  :  "  He  was  much  dreaded  far  and  near,  by  both 
Saracens  and  Christians,  because  he  so  often  caused  princes  of  both 
classes  indifferently  to  be  murdered  by  his  emissaries.  For  he  used  to 
bring  up  in  his  palace  youths  belonging  to  his  territory,  and  had  them 
taught  a  variety  of  languages,  and  above  all  things  to  fear  their  Lord 
aiid  obey  him  unto  death,  which  would  thus  become  to  them  an  entrance 
into  the  joys  of  Paradise.  And  whosoever  of  them  thus  perished  in 
carrying  out  his  Lord's  behests  was  worshipped  as  an  angel."  As  an 
instance  of  the  implicit  obedience  rendered  by  the  Fiddtui  or  devoted 
disciples  of  the  Shaikh,  Fra  Pipino  and  Marino  Sanuto  relate  that  when 
Henry  Count  of  Champagne  (titular  King  of  Jerusalem)  was  on  a  visit 
to  the  Old  Man  of  Syria,  one  day  as  they  walked  together  they  saw 
some  lads  in  white  sitting  on  the  top  of  a  high  tower.  The  Shaikh, 
turning  to  the  Count,  asked  if  he  had  any  subjects  as  obedient  as  his 


own?  and  without  giving  time  for  reply  made  a  sign  to  two  of  the 
boys,  who  immediately  leapt  from  the  tower,  and  were  killed  on  the 
spot.  The  same  story  is  told  in  the  Ce?ito  Novelle  Antiche,  as  happening 
when  the  Emperor  Frederic  was  on  a  visit  (imaginary)  to  the  Veglio. 
And  it  is  introduced  likewise  as  an  incident  ia  the  Romance  of  Bauduin 
de  Sebourg  : 

"  Voiles  veioir  merveilles?  clist  li  Rois  Seignouris" 

to  Bauduin  and  his  friends,  and  on  their  assenting  he  makes  the  signal 
to  one  of  his  men  on  the  battlements,  and  in  a  twinkling 

"  Quant  le  vinrent  en  Fair  salant  de  tel  avis, 
Et  aussi  liement,  et  aussi  esjois, 
Qu'il  deust  conquester  mil  livres  de  parisis  ! 
Ains  qu'il  venist  a  tiere  il  fut  mors  et  fenis, 
Sur  les  roches  agues  desrompis  corps  et  pis,"  &c. 

{Cathay,  153;  Remusat,  Noiiv.  Mel.  I.  178;  Mines  de  T Orient,  III, 
201  seqq.  ;  Nangis  in  Duchesne,  V.  332  ;  Pipino  in  Muratori,  IX.  705  ; 
Dcfremery  in  J.  As.  ser.  5,  torn.  v.  34  seqq. ;  Cent.  Nov.  Antiche, 
Firenze,  1572,  p.  91  ;  Baudnin  de  Seboiwg,  I.  359.) 

The  following  are  some  of  the  more  notable  murders  or  attempts  at 
murder  ascribed  to  the  Ismaelite  emissaries  either  from  Syria  or  from 
Persia  : — 

A.D.  1092.  Nizam-ul-Mulk,  formerly  the  powerful  minister  of  Malik 
Shah,  Seljukian  sovereign  of  Persia,  and  a  little  later  his  two  sons. 
1 102.  The  Prince  of  Homs,  in  the  chief  Mosque  of  that  city.  1113. 
Maudud,  Prince  of  Mosul,  in  the  chief  Mosque  of  Damascus.  About 
1 1 14.  Abul  Muzafar  'Ali,  Wazir  of  Sanjdr  Shah,  and  Chakar  Beg,  grand- 
uncle  of  the  latter.  11 16.  Ahmed  Yel,  Prince  of  Maragha,  at  Baghdad, 
in  the  presence  of  Mahomed,  Sultan  of  Persia.  11 2 1.  The  Amir  Afdhal, 
the  powerful  Wazir  of  Egypt,  at  Cairo.  1 126.  Kasim  Aksonkor,  Prince 
of  Mosul  and  Aleppo,  in  the  Great  Mosque  at  Mosul.  1127.  Moyin- 
uddin,  Wazir  of  Sanjar  Shah  of  Persia.  1129.  Amir  Billah,  Khalif  of 
Egypt.  1 131.  Taj-ul  Muliik  Buri,  Prince  of  Damascus.  1134.  Shams- 
ul-Muluk,  son  of  the  preceding.  1135-38.  The  Khahf  Mostarshid, 
the  Khalif  Rashid,  and  Daiid,  Seljukian  Prince  of  Adherbaijan.  1149. 
Raymond,  Count  of  Tripoli.  1191.  Kizil  Arzlan,  Prince  of  Adher- 
baijan.     1 192.   Conrad  of  Montferrat,  titular  King  of  Jerusalem. 

Add  in  1174  and  1176  attempts  to  murder  the  great  Saladin.  1271. 
Attempt  to  murder  Ala'uddin  Juwaini,  Governor  of  Baghdad  and  his- 
torian of  the  Mongols.  1272.  The  attempt  to  murder  Prince  Edward 
of  England  at  Acre. 

In  latter  years  the  Fidawi  or  Ismaelite  adepts  appear  to  have  let 
out  their  services  simply  as  hired  assassins.  Bibars,  in  a  letter  to  his 
court  at  Cairo,  boasts  of  using  them  when  needful.     A  Mahomedan 

138  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

author  ascribes  to    Bibars  the  instigation   of  the   attempt   on  Prince 
Edward.     {Makrizi,  II.  100;  /.  As.  XL  150.) 

Note  2. — Hammer  mentions  as  "  Grand  Priors "  under  the  Shaikh 
or  Grand  Master  at  Alamut,  the  chief  in  Syria,  one  in  the  Kuhistan  of 
E.  Persia  (Tun-o-Kain),  one  in  Kumis  (the  country  about  Damghan 
and  Bostam),  and  one  in  Irak ;  he  does  not  speak  of  any  in  Kurdistan. 
Colonel  Monteith  however  says,  though  without  stating  authority  or 
particulars,  "  There  Avere  several  divisions  of  them  (the  Assassins)  scat- 
tered throughout  Syria,  Kurdistan  (near  the  Lake  of  Wan),  and  Asia 
Minor,  but  all  acknowledging  as  Imaum  or  High  Priest  the  Chief 
residing  at  Alamut."  And  it  may  be  noted  that  Odoric  puts  the  Old 
Man  at  Millescorte,  which  looks  like  Malasgird,  north  of  Lake  Van. 
{II.  des  Assass.  p.  \oa^;  J.  R.  G.  S.  III.  16;   Cathay.,  p.  ccxliii.) 


How  THE  Old  Man  came  by  His  End. 

Now  it  came  to  pass,  in  the  year  of  Christ's  Incarnation 
1252,  that  Alaii,  Lord  of  the  Tartars  of  the  Levant,  heard 
tell  of  these  great  crimes  of  the  Old  Man,  and  resolved  to 
make  an  end  of  him.  So  he  took  and  sent  one  of  his 
Barons  with  a  great  Army  to  that  Castle,  and  they  besieged 
it  for  three  years,  but  they  could  not  take  it,  so  strong  was 
it.  And  indeed  if  they  had  had  food  within  it  never  would 
have  been  taken.  But  after  being  besieged  those  three 
years  they  ran  short  of  victual,  and  were  taken.  The  Old 
Man  was  put  to  death  with  all  his  men  [and  the  Castle 
with  its  Garden  of  Paradise  was  levelled  with  the  ground]. 
And  since  that  time  he  has  had  no  successor  ;  and  there 
was  an  end  to  all  his  villainies.' 

Now  let  us  go  back  to  our  journey. 

Note  1. — The  date  in  Pauthier  is  1242  ;  in  the  G,  T.  and  in 
Ramusio  1262.  Neither  is  right,  nor  certainly  could  Polo  have  meant 
the  former. 

When  Mangu  Kaan,  after  his  enthronement  (1251),  determined  at  a 

Chap.  XXV.  DEATH   OF  THE  OLD  MAN.  139 

great  Knrnltai  or  Diet,  on  perfecting  the  Mongol  conquests,  lie  entrusted 
his  brother  Kublai  with  the  completion  of  the  subjugation  of  China  and 
the  adjacent  countries,  whilst  his  brother  Hulaku  received  the  command 
of  the  army  destined  for  Persia  and  Syria.  The  complaints  that  came 
from  the  Mongol  officers  already  in  Persia  determined  him  to  com- 
mence with  the  reduction  of  the  Ismaelites,  and  Hulaku  set  out  from 
Karakorum  in  February  1254.  He  proceeded  with  great  deliberation, 
and  the  Oxus  was  not  crossed  till  January  1256.  But  an  army  had  been 
sent  long  in  advance  under  "  one  of  his  Barons,"  Kitubuka  Noyan,  and 
in  1253  it  was  already  actively  engaged  in  besieging  the  Ismaelite  for- 
tresses. In  1255,  during  the  progress  of  the  war,  Ala'uddin  Mahomed, 
the  reigning  Prince  of  the  Assassins  (mentioned  by  Polo  as  Alaodin), 
was  murdered  at  the  instigation  of  his  son  Ruknuddin  Khurshah,  who 
succeeded  to  the  authority.  A  year  later  (Nov.  1256)  Ruknuddin  sur- 
rendered to  Hulaku.  The  fortresses  given  up,  all  well  furnished  with 
provisions  and  artillery  engines,  were  100  in  number.  Two  of  them, 
however,  Lembeser  and  Girdkuh,  refused  to  surrender.  The  former  fell 
after  a  year;  the  latter  is  stated  to  have  held  out  for  twenty  years, 
actually,  as  it  would  seem,  about  fourteen,  or  till  December  1270.  Ruk- 
nuddin was  well  treated  by  Hulaku,  and  despatched  to  the  Court  of  the 
'Kaan,  The  accounts  of  his  death  differ,  but  that  most  commonly 
alleged,  according  to  Rashiduddin,  is  that  Mangu  Kaan  was  irritated  at 
hearing  of  his  approach,  asking  why  his  post-horses  should  be  fagged  to 
no  purpose,  and  sent  executioners  to  put  Ruknuddin  to  death  on  the 
road.  Alamut  had  been  surrendered  without  any  substantial  resistance. 
Some  survivors  of  the  sect  got  hold  of  it  again  in  1275-6,  and  held 
out  for  a  time.  The  dominion  was  extinguished  but  the  sect  remained, 
though  scattered  indeed  and  obscure.  Traces  of  them  exist  in  Persia 
still.  Early  in  this  century  at  least  their  Shaikh  resided  at  Yezd,  and 
more  recently  Abbott  mentions  the  sect  as  still  existing  in  Kerman.  The 
Bohrahs  of  Western  India  are  said  to  be  an  offshoot  of  the  Ismaelites. 

A  Chinese  account  of  the  expedition  of  Hulaku  will  be  found  in 
Remusat's  Nouveaux  Melanges  (I.),  and  in  Pauthier's  Introduction. 
{Q.  R.  1 15-219,  esp.  213;  Ilch.  vol.  I.  ;  Fraser,  2,1^-1-) 

There  is  some  account  of  the  rock  of  Alamut  and  its  exceedingly 
slender  traces  of  occupancy,  by  Col.  Monteith,  in /!  R.  G.  S.  HI.  15,  and 
again  by  Sir  Justin  Shiel  in  vol.  VIII.  p.  431.  There  does  not  seem 
to  be  any  specific  authority  for  assigning  the  Paradise  of  the  Shaikh  to 
Alamut ;  and  it  is  at  least  worthy  of  note  that  another  of  the  castles  of 
the  Mulahidah,  destroyed  by  Hulaku,  was  called  Firdiis,  i.e.  Paradise. 
In  any  case  I  see  no  reason  to  suppose  that  Polo  visited  Alamut,  which 
would  have  been  quite  out  of  the  road  that  he  is  following. 

It  is  possible  that  "  the  Castle,"  to  which  he  alludes  at  the  beginning 
of  next  chapter,  and  which  set  him  off  upon  this  digression,  was  Girdkuh. 
It  has  not,  as  far  as  I  know,  been  identified  by  modern  travellers,  but  it 
stood  within  10  or  12  miles  of  Damghan  (to  the  west  or  north-west).     It 

I40  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

is  probably  the  Tigado  of  Hayton,  of  which  he  thus  speaks  :  "  The 
Assassins  had  an  impregnable  castle  called  Tigado,  which  was  furnished 
with  all  necessaries,  and  was  so  strong  that  it  had  no  fear  of  attack  on 
any  side.  Howbeit,  Haloon  commanded  a  certain  captain  of  his  that  he 
should  take  10,000  Tartars  who  had  been  left  in  garrison  in  Persia,  and 
with  them  lay  siege  to  the  said  castle,  and  not  leave  it  till  he  had  taken 
it.  .  Wherefore  the  said  Tartars  continued  besieging  it  for  seven  whole 
years,  winter  and  summer,  without  being  able  to  take  it.  At  last  the 
Assassins  surrendered,  from  sheer  want  of  clothing,  but  not  of  victuals  or 
other  necessaries."  This  is  Ramusio's  version,  but  in  other  copies  the 
length  of  siege  is  called  27  years,  and  in  any  case  it  is  a  general  con- 
firmation of  the  fact  that  Girdkuh  was  said  to  have  held  out  for  an 
extraordinary  length  of  time.  If  Rashiduddin  is  right  in  naming  1270 
as  the  date  of  its  surrender,  it  would  be  quite  a  recent  event  when  the 
Polo  party  passed,  and  draw  special  attention  to  the  spot.  {J.  As. 
ser.  4,  tom.  xiii.  48;  Ilch.  I.  93,  104,  274;  Q.  i?.  p.  278;  Ritter, 
VIII.  336.) 


Concerning  the  City  of  Sapurgan, 

On  leaving  the  Castle,  you  ride  over  fine  plains  and 
beautiful  valleys,  and  pretty  hillsides  producing  excellent 
grass-pasture,  and  abundance  of  fruits,  and  all  other  pro- 
ducts. Armies  are  glad  to  take  up  their  quarters  here  on 
account  of  the  plenty  that  exists.  This  kind  of  country 
extends  for  six  days'  journey,  with  a  goodly  number  of 
towns  and  villages,  in  which  the  people  are  worshippers 
of  Mahommet.  Sometimes  also  you  meet  with  a  tract  of 
desert  extending  for  50  or  60  miles,  or  somewhat  less,  and 
in  these  deserts  you  find  no  water,  but  have  to  carry  it  along 
with  you.  The  beasts  do  without  drink  until  you  have 
got  across  the  desert  tract  and  come  to  watering  places. 

So  after  travelling  for  six  days  as  I  have  told  you,  you 
come  to  a  city  called  Sa.purgan.  It  has  great  plenty  of 
everything,  but  especially  of  the  very  best  melons  in  the 
world.     They   preserve  them   by  paring   them   round  and 

Chap.  XXVI.  THE  CITY  OF  SAPURGAN.  141 

round  into  strips,  and  drying  them  in  the  sun.  When 
dry  they  are  sweeter  than  honey,  and  are  carried  off  for 
sale  all  over  the  country.  There  is  also  abundance  of 
game  here,  both  of  birds  and  beasts.' 

Note  1. — Sapurgan  probably  closely  expresses  the  pronunciation 
of  the  name  of  the  city  which  the  old  Arabic  writers  call  Sabi'irkdii  and 
Shaburkdn,  now  called  Shibrgdn,  lying  some  90  miles  west  of  Balkh ; 
containing  now  some  12,000  inhabitants,  and  situated  in  a  plain  still 
richly  cultivated.  But  I  have  seen  no  satisfactory  solution  of  the  dif- 
ficulties as  to  the  time  assigned.  This  in  the  G.  T.  and  in  Ramusio  is 
clearly  six  days.  The  point  of  departure  is  indeed  uncertain,  but  even 
if  we  were  to  place  that  at  Sharakhs  on  the  extreme  verge  of  cultivated 
Khorasan,  which  would  be  quite  inconsistent  with  other  data,  it  would 
have  taken  the  travellers  something  like  double  the  time  to  reach 
Shibrgan.  Where  I  have  followed  the  G.  T.  in  its  reading  "  qtmnt  Fen  a 
chevauches  six  jornee  tel che  je  vos  ai  contes,  adimc  treuve  ten  une  cite"  &c., 
Pauthier's  text  has  "  Et  quant  Ven  a  chevauchie  les  vi  cites  si  treuve  Ven 
une  cite  qui  a  ?iom  Sapurgan"  and  to  this  that  editor  adheres.  But  I 
suspect  that  cites  is  a  mere  lapsus  for  journees,  as  in  the  reading  in  one 
of  his  three  MSS.  What  could  be  meant  by  ''les  vi  cites"?  What  kind 
of  French,  old  or  new,  is  "  chevauchier  vi  cites  "  1 

Whether  the  true  route  be,  as  I  suppose,  by  Nishapur  and  Meshid, 
or,  as  Khanikoff  supposes,  by  Herat  and  Badghis,  it  is  strange  that  no 
one  of  those  famous  cities  is  mentioned.  And  we  feel  constrained  to 
assume  that  something  has  been  misunderstood  in  the  dictation,  or  has 
dropt  out  of  it.  As  a  probable  conjecture  I  should  apply  the  six  days 
to  the  extent  of  pleasing  country  described  in  the  first  lines  of  the 
chapter,  and  identify  it  with  the  tract  between  Sabzawur  and  the  ces- 
sation of  fertile  country  beyond  Meshid.  The  distance  would  agree 
well,  and  a  comparison  with  Fraser  or  Ferrier  will  show  that  even  now 
the  description,  allowing  for  the  compression  of  an  old  recollection, 
would  be  well  founded ;  e.g.  on  the  first  march  beyond  Nishapur  :  "  Fine 
villages,  with  plentiful  gardens  full  of  trees,  that  bear  fruit  of  the  highest 
flavour,  may  be  seen  all  along  the  foot  of  the  hills,  and  in  the  little 
recesses  formed  by  the  ravines  whence  issues  the  water  that  irrigates 
them.  It  was  a  rich  and  pleasing  scene,  and  out  of  question  by  far  the 
most  populous  and  cultivated  tract  that  I  had  seen  in  Persia.  .  .  .  Next 
morning  we  quitted  Derrood  ...  by  a  very  indifferent  but  interesting 
road,  the  glen  being  finely  wooded  with  walnut,  mulberry,  poplar,  and 
willow-trees,  and  fruit-tree  gardens  rising  one  above  the  other  upon  the 
mountain-side,  watered  by  little  rills.  .  .  .  These  gardens  extended  for 
several  miles  up  the  glen ;  beyond  them  the  bank  of  the  stream  con- 
tinued to  be  fringed  with  white  sycamore,  willow,  ash,  mulberry,  poplar, 

142  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

and  woods  that  love  a  moist  situation,"  and  so  on,  describing  a  style  of 
scenery  not  common  in  Persia,  and  expressing  diffusely  (as  it  seems  to 
me)  the  same  picture  as  Polo's  two  lines.     (See  Fraser,  405,  432-3,  434, 


With  reference  to  the  dried  melons  of  Shibrgan,  Quatrem^re  cites  a 
history  of  Herat,  which  speaks  of  them  almost  in  Polo's  words.  Ibn 
Batuta  gives  a  like  account  of  the  melons  of  Khwarizm  :  "  The  sur- 
prising thing  about  these  melons  is  the  way  the  people  have  of  slicing 
them,  drying  them  in  the  sun,  and  then  packing  them  in  baskets,  just  as 
Malaga  figs  are  treated  in  our  part  of  the  world.  In  this  state  they  are 
sent  to  the  remotest  parts  of  India  and  China.  There  is  no  dried  fruit 
so  delicious,  and  all  the  while  I  lived  at  Dehli,  when  the  travelling 
dealers  came  in,  I  never  missed  sending  for  these  dried  strips  of  nielon." 
{Q.R.  169;  LB.  III.  15.) 


Of  the  City  of  Balc. 

Balc  is  a  noble  city  and  a  great,  though  it  was  much 
greater  in  former  days.  But  the  Tartars  and  other  nations 
have  greatly  ravaged  and  destroyed  it.  There  were  for- 
merly many  fine  palaces  and  buildings  of  marble,  and  the 
ruins  of  them  still  remain.  The  people  of  the  city  tell 
that  it  was  here  that  Alexander  took  to  wife  the  daughter 
of  Darius. 

Here,  you  should  be  told,  is  the  end  of  the  empire  of 
the  Tartar  Lord  of  the  Levant.  And  this  city  is  also  the 
limit  of  Persia  in  the  direction  between  east  and  north-east." 

Now,  let  us  quit  this  city,  and  I  will  tell  you  of  another 
country  called  Dogana.^ 

When  you  have  quitted  the  city  of  which  I  have  been 
speaking,  you  ride  some  12  days  between  north-east  and 
east,  without  finding  any  human  habitation,  for  the  people 
have  all  taken  refuge  in  fastnesses  among  the  mountains, 
on  account  of  the  banditti  and  armies  that  harassed  them. 
There  is  plenty  of  water  on  the  road,  and  abundance  of 
game ;  there  are  lions  too.      You  can  get  no  provisions  on 

Chap.  XXVII.  THE  CITY  OF  BALC.  143 

the  road,  and  must  carry  with  you  all  that  you  require  for 
these  12  days.' 

Note  1. — Balkh,  "the  mother  of  cities,"  suffered  mercilessly  from 
Chinghiz.  Though  the  city  had  yielded  without  resistance,  the  whole 
population  was  marched  by  companies  into  the  plain,  on  the  usual 
Mongol  pretext  of  counting  them,  and  then  brutally  massacred.  The 
city  and  its  gardens  were  fired,  and  all  buildings  capable  of  defence 
were  levelled.  The  province  long  continued  to  be  harried  by  the 
Chaghataian  inroads.  Ibn  Batuta,  sixty  years  after  Marco's  visit, 
describes  the  city  as  still  in  ruins,  and  as  uninhabited  :  "  The  remains  of 
its  mosques  and  colleges,"  he  says,  "are  still  to  be  seen,  and  the  painted 
walls  traced  with  azure."  It  is  no  doubt  the  Vaeq  ( Valg)  of  Clavijo, 
"  very  large,  and  surrovmded  by  a  broad  earthen  wall,  thirty  paces 
across,  but  breached  in  many  parts."  He  describes  a  large  portion  of 
the  area  within  as  sown  with  cotton.  The  account  of  its  modern  state 
in  Burnes  and  Ferrier  is  much  the  same  as  Ibn  Batuta's,  except  that 
there  is  now  some  population,  two  separate  towns  within  the  walls 
according  to  the  latter.  Burnes  estimates  the  circuit  of  the  ruins  at 
twenty  miles. 

{Erdmann,  404-5  ;  /  B.  III.  59  ;  Clavijo,  p.  117  ;  Burnes,  II.  204-6  ; 
Ferrie?',  206-7.) 

According  to  the  legendary  history  of  Alexander,  the  beautiful 
Roxana  was  the  daughter  of  Darius,  and  her  father  in  a  dying  inter- 
view with  Alexander  requested  the  latter  to  make  her  his  wife  : — 

"  Une  fiUe  ai  mult  bele  ;  se  prendre  le  voles, 
Vus  en  seres  de  I'mont  tout  li  mius  maries,"  &c. 

— Lambert  Le  Court,  p.  256. 

Note  2. — The  country  called  Dogana  in  the  G.  Text  is  a  puzzle. 
At  one  time  I  supposed  it  might  be  Kataghan,  the  name  sometimes 
applied  to  the  country  round  Kunduz.  But  there  seems  reason  to  believe 
this  to  be  a  modern  Uzbek  appellation. 

Wassaf  says  that  in  the  year  700  (a.d.  1300)  an  invasion  of  Chagha- 
taian Mongols  subjugated  all  Ghazni,  Sistan,  and  Balkh,  with  its 
dependencies  Shahurgan,  Jusgana,  Badakhshaii,  Kishin,  Taikan,  &c. 
This  juxtaposition  certainly  looks  very  like  our  traveller's  Sapurgan, 
Bale,  ]J)ogana,  Taiean,  Casern,  Badashan.  Jitzgdn,  Juzgana,  or  Jitz- 
jdnd,  the  Hushikien  of  the  Chinese  traveller  Hwen  Thsang,  was  a  part 
of  the  province  of  Balkh,  which  included  Andkhoi,  Shibrgan,  and  appa- 
rently the  hill-country  south  of  Balkh.  It  was  net,  therefore,  the  country 
traversed  by  the  traveller  on  leaving  Balkh  for  Badakhshan.  But  it  is 
possible  that,  having  said  "  Now  let  us  tell  of  another  country  called 
Dogana,"  he  does  no  such  thing,  but  breaks  off  and  proceeds  with  his 
journey.    Something  like  this  occurs  in  Book  III.  (ch.  ix.)  with  reference 

144  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

to  the  Island  of  Gavenispola,  and  'tis  an  easy  accident  of  dictation. 
But  it  is  a  confessed  difficulty,  and  these  are  merely  suggestions  of  a 
possible  solution. 

I  may  add  that  I  believe  Juzgana  to  be  the  Tagiguinea  of  Clavijo. 
{Spraiger,  F.  und  B.  Route,  p.  39  and  Map  ;  Anderson  m. /.  A.  S.  B. 
XXII.  161;  Ilch.  II.  93.) 

Note  3. — Though  Burnes  speaks  of  a  part  of  the  road  that  we 
suppose  necessarily  to  have  been  here  followed  from  Balkh  towards 
Taican,  as  barren  and  dreary,  he  adds  that  the  ruins  of  aqueducts  and 
houses  proved  that  the  land  had  at  one  time  been  peopled,  though  now 
destitute  of  water,  and  consequently  of  inhabitants.  The  country  would 
seem  to  have  reverted  at  the  time  of  Burnes'  journey,  from  like  causes, 
nearly  to  the  state  in  which  Marco  found  it  after  the  Mongol  devastations. 

Liojis  seem  to  mean  here  the  real  kings  of  beasts,  and  not  tigers,  as 
hereafter  in  the  book.  Tigers,  though  found  on  the  S.  and  W.  shores  of 
the  Caspian,  do  not  seem  to  exist  in  the  Oxus  valley.  On  the  other 
hand,  Rashiduddin  tells  us  that,  when  Hulaku  was  reviewing  his  army 
after  the  passage  of  the  river,  several  lions  were  started,  and  two  were 
killed.  The  lions  are  also  mentioned  by  Sidi  'Ali,  the  Turkish  Admiral, 
further  down  the  valley  towards  Hazarasp  :  "  We  were  obliged  to  fight 
with  the  lions  day  and  night,  and  no  man  dared  to  go  alone  for  water." 
And  Moorcroft  says  of  the  plain  between  Kunduz  and  the  Oxus  :  "  Deer, 
foxes,  wolves,  hogs,  and  liojis  are  numerous,  the  latter  resembling  those 
in  the  vicinity  of  Hariana"  (in  Upper  India).  Q.  Curtius  tells  how 
Alexander  killed  a  great  lion  in  the  country  north  of  the  Oxus  towards 
Samarkand.  {Burnes,  II.  200  ;  ^.  j?.  155  ;  Ilch.  I.  90;  J.  As.  IX.  217  ; 
Moore,  II.  430;   Q.  C.  VII.  2.) 


Of  Taican,  and  the  Mountains  of  Salt.     Also  of  the  Province 

OF  Casem. 

After  those  twelve  days'  journey  you  come  to  a  fortified 
place  called  Taican,  where  there  is  a  great  corn  market.' 
It  is  a  fine  place,  and  the  mountains  that  you  see  towards 
the  south  are  all  composed  of  salt.  People  from  all  the 
countries  round,  to  some  thirty  days'  journey,  come  to  fetch 
this  salt,  which  is  the  best  in  the  world,  and  is  so  hard  that 
it  can  only  be  broken  with  iron  picks.     'Tis  in  such  abun- 


dance  that  it  would  supply  the  whole  world  to  the  end  of 
time.  [Other  mountains  there  grow  almonds  and  pista- 
chioes,  which  are  exceedingly  cheap.]  ^ 

When  you  leave  this  town  and  ride  three  days  further 
between  north-east  and  east,  you  meet  with  many  fine 
tracts  full  of  vines  and  other  fruits,  and  with  a  goodly 
number  of  habitations,  and  everything  to  be  had  very 
cheap.  The  people  are  worshippers  of  Mahommet,  and 
are  an  evil  and  a  murderous  generation,  whose  great  delight 
is  in  the  wine  shop ;  for  they  have  good  wine  (albeit  it  be 
boiled),  and  are  great  topers ;  in  fact,  they  are  constantly 
getting  drunk.  They  wear  nothing  on  the  head  but  a 
cord  some  ten  palms  long  twisted  round  it.  They  are 
excellent  huntsmen,  and  take  a  great  deal  of  game ;  in  fact, 
they  wear  nothing  but  the  skins  of  the  beasts  they  have 
taken  in  the  chase,  for  they  make  of  them  both  coats  and 
shoes.  Indeed,  all  of  them  are  acquainted  with  the  art  of 
dressing  skins  for  these  purposes.^ 

When  you  have  ridden  those  three  days,  you  find  a 
town  called  Casem,'*  which  is  subject  to  a  count.  His 
other  towns  and  villages  are  on  the  hills,  but  through  this 
town  there  flows  a  river  of  some  size.  There  are  a  great 
many  porcupines  hereabouts,  and  very  large  ones  too. 
When  hunted  with  dogs,  several  of  them  will  get  together 
and  huddle  close,  shooting  their  quills  at  the  dogs,  which 
get  many  a  serious  wound  thereby.'' 

This  town  of  Casem  is  at  the  head  of  a  very  great  pro- 
vince, which  is  also  called  Casem.  The  people  have  a 
peculiar  language.  The  peasants  who  keep  cattle  abide  in 
the  mountains,  and  have  their  dwellings  in  caves,  which 
form  fine  and  spacious  houses  for  them,  and  are  made  with 
ease,  as  the  hills  are  composed  of  earth.^ 

After  leaving  the  town  of  Casem,  you  ride  for  three 
days  without  finding  a  single  habitation,  or  anything  to  eat 
or  drink,  so  that  you  have  to  carry  with  you  everything 
that  you   require.     At   the  end  of  those   three   days   you 

VOL.   I.  L 

146  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

reach   a  province   called   Badashan,  about  which   we   shall 
now  tell  you.^ 

Note  1. — The  Taican  of  Polo  is  the  still  existing  Talikan  in  the 
province  of  Kataghan  or  Kunduz,  but  it  bears  the  former  name 
{Thdikdii)  in  the  old  Arab  geographers.  Both  names  are  used  by 
Baber,  who  says  it  lay  in  the  Ulitgh  Bdg/i,  or  Great  Garden,  a  name 
perhaps  acquired  by  the  Plains  of  Talikan  in  happier  days,  but  illus- 
trating what  Polo  says  of  the  next  three  days'  march.  The  Castle  of 
Talikan,  called  Nukra  Ku/i,  or  "Silver  Hill,"  resisted  Chinghiz  for 
seven  months,  and  met  with  the  usual  fate  (122 1).  Wood  speaks  of 
Talikan  thirty  years  ago  as  a  poor  place  of  some  300  or  400  houses, 
mere  hovels.  Market  days  are  not  usual  in  Upper  India  or  Kabul,  but 
are  universal  in  Badakhshan  and  the  Oxus  provinces.  The  bazaars 
are  only  open  on  those  days,  and  the  people  from  the  surrounding 
country  then  assemble  to  exchange  goods,  generally  by  barter.  Wood 
chances  to  note  :  "  A  market  was  held  at  Talikan  .  .  .  the  thronged 
state  of  the  roads  leading  into  it  soon  apprized  us  that  the  day  was  no 
ordinary  one."  {Abiilf.  in  Biischi/ig,  V.  352  ;  Sprengcr,  p.  50 ;  P.  de  la 
Croix,  \.  63;  Baber,  38,  130;  Burnes,  IV.  8;  Wood,  241-2;  Pandit 
Maiiphurs  Report.) 

The  distance  of  Talikan  from  Balkh  is  about  170  miles,  which  gives 
very  short  marches,  if  twelve  days  be  the  correct  reading.  Ramusio  has 
two  days,  which  is  certainly  wrong.  XII,  is  easily  miswritten  for  VII., 
which  would  be  a  just  number. 

Note  2. — In  our  day,  as  I  learn  from  Pandit  Manphul,  the  mines 
of  rock  salt  are  at  Ak  Bulak,  near  the  Lataband  Pass,  and  at  Dariina.;  in 
the  Karligh,  or  Kallakh  Tract,  and  these  supply  the  whole  of  Badakh- 
shan, as  well  as  Kunduz  and  Chitral.  The  former  site  certainly  (and  I 
believe  the  latter  also)  is  due  east  of  Talikan.  But  the  name  of  a  river 
that  flows  from  the  mountains  on  the  south — Shor-Ab,  or  Salt  River — 
may  indicate  deposits  also  in  that  direction  which  may  formerly  have 
been  worked.  There  are  also  mines  of  rock  salt  in  Kulab,  north  of  the 
Oxus.     (See  Wood,  399,  and  Bur  lies,  III.  144.) 

Both  pistachioes  and  wild  almonds  are  mentioned  by  Pandit  Man- 
phul ;  and  see  Wood  (p.  383)  on  the  beauty  and  profusion  of  the  latter. 

Note  3. — Wood  thinks  that  the  Tajik  inhabitants  of  Badakhshan 
and  the  adjoining  districts  are  substantially  of  the  same  race  as  the 
Kafir  tribes  of  Hindu  Kush.  At  the  time  of  Polo's  visit  it  would  seem 
that  their  conversion  to  Islam  was  imperfect.  They  were  probably  in 
that  transition  state  which  obtains  in  our  own  day  for  some  of  the  Hill 
Mahomedans  adjoining  the  Kafirs  on  the  south  side  of  the  mountains 
the  reproachful  title  of  Nimchi  Musulmdn,  or  Half-and-halfs.  Thus 
they  would  seem  to  have  retained  sundry  Kafir  characteristics ;  among 
others,  that  love  of  wine  which  is  so  strong  among  the  Kafirs.     The 

Chap.  XXVIII.         THE  PROVINCE  OF  CASEM.  147 

boiling  of  the  wine  is  noted  by  Baber  (a  connoisseur)  as  the  custom  of 
Nijrao,  adjoining,  if  not  then  inckided  in,  Kafir-land ;  and  Elphinstone 
implies  the  continuance  of  the  custom  when  he  speaks  of  the  Kafirs  as 
having  wine  of  the  co7isistence  of  jelly,  and  very  strong.  The  cord 
twisted  round  the  head  was  probably  also  a  relic  of  Kafir  costume  : 
"  Few  of  the  Kafirs  cover  the  head,  and  when  they  do,  it  is  with  a 
narrow  band  or  fillet  of  goat's  hair  .  .  .  about  a  yard  or  a  yard  and 
a  half  in  length,  wound  round  the  head."  Something  very  similar,  i.e. 
a  scanty  turban  cloth  twisted  into  a  mere  cord,  and  wound  two  or  three 
times  round  the  head  is  often  seen  in  the  Panjab  to  this  day. 

The  Postin  or  sheepskin  coat  is  almost  universal  on  both  sides  of 
the  Hindu  Kush ;  and  Wood  notes  :  "The  shoes  in  use  resemble  half- 
boots,  made  of  goatskin,  and  mostly  of  home  manufacture."  {Baber, 
145  ;/.  A.  S.  B.  XXVIII.  348,  364;  Elphinst.  II.  384;  Wood,  274, 
333  ■,J.R.A.  S.  XIX.  2.) 

Note  4. — Maisden  was  right  in  identifying  Scassem  or  Casern  with 
the  Kechem  of  D'Anville's  Map,  but  wrong  in  confounding  the  latter 
with  the  Kishmabad  of  Elphinstone— properly,  I  believe,  Kishnabad — 
in  the  Anderab  Valley.  Kashm,  or  Keshm,  found  its  way  into  maps 
through  Petis  de  la  Croix,  from  whom  probably  D'Anville  adopted  it ; 
but  as  it  was  ignored  by  Elphinstone  (or  by  Macartney,  who  constructed 
his  map),  and  by  Burnes,  it  dropped  out  of  our  geography.  Indeed 
Wood  does  not  notice  it  except  as  giving  name  to  a  high  hill  called  the 
Hill  of  Kishm,  and  the  position  even  of  that  he  omits  to  indicate.  The 
frequent  mention  of  Kishm  in  the  histories  of  Timur  and  Humayun 
{e.g.  P.  de  la  Croix,  I.  167  ;  N.  et  E.  XIV,  223,  491 ;  Erskiiie's  Baber 
and  Humayun,  II.  330,  355,  &c.)  had  enabled  me  to  determine  its 
position  within  tolerably  narrow  limits ;  but,  desiring  to  fix  it  definitely, 
I  applied  through  Col.  Maclagan  to  Pandit  Manphul,  C.S.I.,  a  very 
intelligent  Hindu  gentleman,  who  resided  for  some  time  in  Badakhshan 
as  agent  of  the  Panjab  Government,  and  from  him  I  received  a  special 
note  and  sketch,  and  afterwards  a  MS.  copy  of  a  Report,  which  set  the 
position  of  Kishm  at  rest. 

Kishm  is  now  a  small  town  or  large  village  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
river  of  Mashhad,  a  tributary  of  the  Kokcha.  It  was  in  1866  the  seat  of  a 
district  ruler  under  the  Mir  of  Badakhshan,  who  was  styled  the  Mir  of 
Kishm,  and  corresponded  in  recent  times  to  Marco's  Quens  or  Count. 
The  modern  caravan-road  betv/een  Kunduz  and  Badakhshan  does  not 
pass  through  Kishm,  which  is  left  some  five  miles  to  the  right,  but  through 
the  town  of  Mashhad,  which  stands  on  the  banks  of  the  same  river. 
Kishm  is  the  warmest  district  of  Badakhshan.  Its  fruits  are  abundant, 
and  ripen  a  month  earlier  than  those  at  Faizabad,  the  capital  of  that 
country.  The  Mashhad  river  is  Marco's  '■'■  Flum  auques  grant.''  Wood 
(247)  calls  it  "  the  largest  stream  we  had  yet  forded  in  Badakhshan." 

M.  Pauthier's  location  of  Kishm  near  Taish  Khan  is  not  very  far 
from  the  truth,  but  the  latter  lies  in  a  different  valley. 

L    2 

148  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

It  is  very  notable  that  in  Ramusio,  in  Pipino,  and  in  one  passage  of 
the  G.  Text,  the  name  is  Avritten  Scasa/i^  which  has  led  some  to  suppose 
the  Ish-Kdshm  of  Wood  to  be  meant.  That  place  is  much  too  far  east 
— in  fact,  beyond  the  city  which  forms  the  subject  of  next  chapter. 
The  apparent  hesitation,  however,  between  the  forms  Casern  and  Scasem 
suggests  that  the  Kishm  of  our  note  may  formerly  have  been  termed 
S'kashm  or  Ish-Kashm,  a  form  frequent  in  the  Oxus  Valley,  e.^.  Is/i- 
Ki?nish,  Ish-Kdshm,  Ishtrakh,  Ishpinxi^ao.  Gen.  Cunningham  judiciously 
suggests  {Ladak,  34)  that  this  form  is  merely  a  vocal  corruption  of  the 
initial  6*  before  a  consonant,  a  combination  which  always  troubles  the 
Musulman  in  India,  and  converts  every  Mr.  Smith  or  Mr,  Sparks  into 
Ismit  or  Ispak  Sahib. 

Note  5. — The  belief  that  the  porcupine  projected  its  quills  at  its 
assailants  was  an  ancient  and  persistent  one — "  cum  intendit  cutcm 
7nissiles"  says  Pliny  (VIII.  35,  and  see  also  Aelian.  de  Nat.  An.  I.  31), 
and  is  held  by  the  Chinese  as  it  was  held  by  the  ancients,  but  is  univer- 
sally rejected  by  modern  zoologists.  The  huddling  and  coiling  appears 
to  be  a  true  characteristic,  for  the  porcuj^ine  always  tries  to  shield  its 

Note  6. — The  description  of  Kishm  as  a  "  very  great"  province  is  an 
example  of  a  bad  habit  of  Marco's,  which  recurs  in  the  next  chapter. 
What  he  says  of  the  cave-dwellings  may  be  illustrated  by  Burnes's 
account  of  the  excavations  at  Bamian,  in  a  neighbouring  district.  These 
"  still  form  the  residence  of  the  greater  part  of  the  population.  .  .  . 
The  hills  at  Bamian  are  formed  of  indurated  clay  and  pebbles,  which 
renders  this  excavation  a  matter  of  little  difficulty."  Similar  occupied 
excavations  are  noticed  by  Moorcroft  at  Heibak  and  other  places 
towards  Khulm. 

Curiously,  Pandit  Manphul  says  of  the  districts  about  the  Kokcha : 
"  Both  their  hills  and  plains  are  productive,  the  former  bei/tg  mostly 
composed  of  earthy  haznng  very  little  of  rocky  substance,''' 

Note  7. — The  capital  of  Badakhshan  is  now  Faizabad,  on  the  right 
bank  of  the  Kokcha,  founded  by  Yarbeg,  the  first  Mir  of  the  recent 
dynasty.*  When  this  family  was  displaced  by  Murad  Beg  of  Kunduz 
in  the  early  part  of  this  century,  the  place  was  abandoned  for  years, 
but  is  now  reoccupied.  The  ancient  capital  of  Badakhshan,  and  pre- 
sumably the  city  so  called  by  our  Traveller,  stood  in  the  Dasht  (or 
Plain)  of  Baharak,  one  of  the  most  extensive  pieces  of  level  in  Badakh- 
shan, in  which  the  rivers  Vardoj,  Zardeo,  and  Sarghalan  unite  with  the 
Kokcha.  As  far  as  I  can  estimate,  by  the  help  of  Wood  and  the  map 
I  have  compiled,  this  will  be  from  100  to  1 10  miles  distant. from  Talikan, 
and  will  therefore  suit  fairly  with  the  six  marches  that  Marco  lays  down. 

*  Manphul.     He  assigns  Faizabad  to  tlie  17///  century,  but  I  suspect  means  18///, 
as  iu  another  passage  he  dates  the  recent  dynasty  from  only  125  years  back. 

Chap.  XXIX.         THE  PROVINCE  OF  BADASHAN.  149 

Wood,  in  1838,  found  the  whole  country  between  Tahkan  and 
Faizabad  nearly  as  depopulated  as  Marco  found  that  between  Kishm 
and  Badakhshan.  The  modern  depopulation  was  due — in  part,  at 
least — to  the  recent  oppressions  and  razzias  of  the  Uzbegs  of  Kunduz. 
On  their  expulsion  the  native  Mirs  were  reinstated,  and  these  again 
have  very  recently  been  expelled  by  the  Afghans. 


Of  the  Province  of  Badashan. 

Bad  ASH  AN  is  a  Province  inhabited  by  people  who  worship 
Mahommet,  and  have  a  peculiar  language.  It  forms  a 
very  great  kingdom,  and  the  royalty  is  hereditary.  All 
those  of  the  royal  blood  are  descended  from  King  Alex- 
ander and  the  daughter  of  King  Darius,  who  was  Lord  of 
the  vast  Empire  of  Persia,  And  all  these  kings  call 
themselves  in  the  Saracen  tongue  Zulcarniain,  which  is 
as  much  as  to  say  Alexander ;  and  this  out  of  regard  for 
Alexander  the  Great.' 

It  is  in  this  province  that  those  fine  and  valuable  gems 
the  Balas  Rubies  are  found.  They  are  got  in  certain 
rocks  among  the  mountains,  and  in  the  search  for  them 
the  people  dig  great  caves  underground,  just  as  is  done  by 
miners  for  silver.  There  is  but  one  special  mountain  that 
produces  them,  and  it  is  called  Syghinan.  The  stones  are 
dug  on  the  king's  account,  and  no  one  else  dares  dig  in 
that  mountain  on  pain  of  forfeiture  of  life  as  well  as  goods  ; 
nor  may  any  one  carry  the  stones  out  of  the  kingdom. 
But  the  king  amasses  them  all,  and  sends  them  to  other 
kings  when  he  has  tribute  to  render,  or  when  he  desires 
to  offer  a  friendly  present ;  and  such  only  as  he  pleases 
he  causes  to  be  sold.  Thus  he  acts  in  order  to  keep 
the  Balas  at  a  high  value ;  for  if  he  were  to  allow 
everybody  to  dig,  they  would  extract  so  many  that  the 
world  would  be  glutted  with  them,  and  they  would  cease 

ISO  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

to  bear  any  value.  Hence  it  is  that  he  allows  so  few  to  be 
taken  out,  and  is  so  strict  in  the  matter.^ 

There  is  also  in  the  same  country  another  mountain,  in 
which  azure  is  found ;  'tis  the  finest  in  the  world,  and  is 
got  in  a  vein  like  silver.  There  are  also  other  mountains 
which  contain  a  great  amount  of  silver  ore,  so  that  the 
country  is  a  very  rich  one ;  but  it  is  also  (it  must  be  said) 
a  very  cold  one.^  It  produces  numbers  of  excellent  horses, 
remarkable  for  their  speed.  They  are  not  shod  at  all, 
although  constantly  used  in  mountainous  country,  and  on 
very  bad  roads.  [They  go  at  a  great  pace  even  down 
steep  descents,  where  other  horses  neither  would  nor  could 
do  the  like.  And  Messer  Marco  was  told  that  not  long 
ago  they  possessed  in  that  province  a  breed  of  horses  from 
the  strain  of  Alexander's  horse  Bucephalus,  all  of  which 
had  from  their  birth  a  particular  mark  on  the  forehead. 
This  breed  was  entirely  in  the  hands  of  an  uncle  of  the 
king's ;  and  in  consequence  of  his  refusing  to  let  the  king 
have  any  of  them,  the  latter  put  him  to  death.  The  widow 
then,  in  despite,  destroyed  the  whole  breed,  and  it  is  now 

The  mountains  of  this  country  also  supply  Saker  falcons 
of  excellent  flight,  and  plenty  of  Lanners  likewise.  Beasts 
and  birds  for  the  chase  there  are  in  great  abundance. 
Good  wheat  is  grown,  and  also  barley  without  husk.  They 
have  no  olive  oil,  but  make  oil  from  sesame,  and  also  from 
walnuts  ^ 

[In  the  mountains  there  are  vast  numbers  of  sheep — 
400,  500,  or  600  in  a  single  flock,  and  all  of  them  wild  ; 
and  though  many  of  them  are  taken,  they  never  seem  to 
get  aught  the  scarcer.' 

Those  mountains  are  so  lofty  that  'tis  a  hard  day's 
work,  from  morning  till  evening,  to  get  to  the  top  of 
them.  On  getting  up,  you  find  an  extensive  plain,  with 
great  abundance  of  grass  and  trees,  and  copious  .springs  of 
pure  water  running  down  through  rocks  and  ravines.     In 

Chap.  XXIX.        THE  PROVINCE  OF  BADASHAN.  151 

those  brooks  are  found  trout  and  many  other  fish  of 
dainty  kinds ;  and  the  air  in  those  regions  is  so  pure,  and 
residence  there  so  heakhful,  that  when  the  men  who  dvvell 
below  in  the  towns,  and  in  the  valleys  and  plains,  find 
themselves  attacked  by  any  kind  of  fever  or  other  ailment 
that  may  hap,  they  lose  no  time  in  going  to  the  hills ;  and 
after  abiding  there  two  or  three  days,  they  quite  recover 
their  health  through  the  excellence  of  that  air.  And 
Messer  Marco  said  he  had  proved  this  by  experience :  for 
when  in  those  parts  he  had  been  ill  for  about  a  year,  but  as 
as  soon  as  he  was  advised  to  visit  that  mountain,  he  did  so 
and  got  well  at  once.^] 

In  this  kingdom  there  are  many  strait  and  perilous 
passes,  so  difficult  to  force  that  the  people  have  no  fear  of 
invasion.  Their  towns  and  villages  also  are  on  lofty  hills, 
and  in  very  strong  positions.''  They  are  excellent  archers, 
and  much  given  to  the  chase ;  indeed,  most  of  them  are 
dependent  for  clothing  on  the  skins  of  beasts,  for  stuffs 
are  very  dear  among  them.  The  great  ladies,  however,  are 
arrayed  in  stuffs,  and  I  will  tell  you  the  style  of  their  dress ! 
They  all  wear  drawers  made  of  cotton  cloth,  and  into  the 
making  of  these  some  will  put  60,  80,  or  even  100  ells  of 
stuff.  This  they  do  to  make  themselves  look  large  in  the 
hips,  for  the  men  of  those  parts  think  that  to  be  a  great 
beauty  in  a  woman.^ 

Note  1. — "  The  population  of  Badakhshan  Proper  is  comjDosed  of 
Tajiks,  Turks,  and  Arabs,  who  are  all  Sunnis,  following  the  orthodox 
doctrines  of  the  Mahomedan  law,  and  speak  Persian  and  Turki,  whilst 
the  people  of  the  more  mountainous  tracts  are  Tajiks  of  the  Shia  creed, 
having  separate  provincial  dialects  or  languages  of  their  own,  the  inha- 
bitants of  the  principal  places  combining  therewith  a  knowledge  of 
Persian.  Thus,  the  Shighndni  is  spoken  in  Shignan  and  Roshan,  the 
Ishkdshami  in  Ishkasham,  the  WakJii  in  Wakhan,  the  SaiigUchi  in  Sang- 
lich  and  Zebak,  and  the  Minjdni  in  Minjan.  All  these  dialects  mate- 
rially differ  from  each  other"  {Pand.  Maupliitl).  It  may  be  considered 
almost  certain  that  Badakhshan  proper  also  had  a  peculiar  dialect  in 
Polo's  time. 

The  Legend  of  the  Alexandrian  pedigree  of  the  Kings  of  Badakh- 

152  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

shan  is  spoken  of  by  Baber,  and  by  earlier  Eastern  authors.  This  pe- 
digree is,  or  was,  claimed  also  by  the  chiefs  of  Darwaz,  Kulab,  Shighnan, 
Wakhan,  Chitral,  Gilgit,  Swat,  and  Balti.  Some  samples  of  those  gene- 
alogies may  be  seen  in  that  strange  document  called  Gardner's  Travels. 

In  Badakhshan  Proper  the  story  seems  now  to  have  died  out. 
Pandit  Manphul  states  that  the  modern  family  of  Mirs  is  not  connected 
with  the  old  Princes  of  Badakhshan. 

Zii-lkarnain,  "  the  Two  Horned,"  is  an  Arabic  epithet  of  Alexander, 
with  which  legends  have  been  connected,  but  which  probably  arose  from 
the  horned  portraits  on  his  coins.  The  term  appears  in  Chaucer  (Troil. 
and  Cress.  III.  931)  in  the  sense  oi  Jion  plus : — 

' '  I  am,  till  God  me  better  minde  send, 
At  diikarnoii,  right  at  my  wittes  end." 

And  it  is  said  to  have  still  colloquial  existence  in  that  sense  in  some 
corners  of  England.  This  use  is  said  to  have  arisen  from  the  Arabic 
application  of  the  term  {Bicorne)  to  the  47th  Proposition  of  Euclid. 
{Baber,  13,  N.  et  E.  XIV.  490;  N.  An.  des.  V.  xxvi.  296;  Burnes, 
III.  186  seqq.;  Wood,  2^1,  ■t^ti;  /.  A.  S.  B.  XXII.  300;  Ayeen  Akbery, 
II.  185  ;— see  N.  and  Q.  ist  S.  vol.  V.) 

Note  2. — I  have  adopted  in  the  text  for  the  name  of  the  country 
that  one  of  the  several  forms  in  the  G.  Text  which  comes  nearest  to 
the  correct  name,  viz.  Badascian.  But  Balacian  also  appears  both  in 
that  and  in  Pauthier's  text.  This  represents  Balakhshdn,  a  form  also 
sometimes  used  in  the  East.  Hayton  has  Balaxcen,  Clavijo  Balaxia, 
the  Catalan  Map  Baldassia.  From  the  form  Balakhsh  the  Balas  Ruby 
got  its  name.  As  Ibn  Batuta  says  :  "  The  Mountains  of  Badakhshan 
have  given  their  name  to  the  Badakhshi  Ruby,  vulgarly  called  Al  Ba- 
laks/i."  Albertus  Magnus  says  the  Balagius  is  the  female  of  the  Car- 
buncle or  Ruby  Proper,  "  and  some  say  it  is  his  house,  and  hath  thereby 
got  the  name,  quasi  Palatium  Carbunculi "  !  The  Balais  or  Balas  Ruby 
is,  like  the  Spinel,  a  kind  inferior  to  the  real  Ruby  of  Ava.  The  author 
of  the  Masdiak  al  Absdr  says  the  finest  Balas  ever  seen  in  the  Arab 
countries  was  one  presented  to  Malek  'Adil  Ketboga,  at  Damascus  ;  it 
was  of  a  triangular  form  and  weighed  50  drachms.  The  prices  oi  Ba- 
lascl  in  Europe  in  that  age  may  be  found  in  Pegolotti,  but  the  needful 
problems  are  hard  to  solve. 

"  No  sapphire  in  Inde,  no  Ruble  rich  of  price, 
There  lacked  than,  nor  Emeraud  so  grene, 
Bales,  Tm-kes,  ne  thing  to  my  device." 

—  Chaucer,  Court  of  Lozie, 

Some  account  of  the  Balakhsh  from  Oriental  sources  will  be  found 
iny.  As.  5th  ser.  torn.  xi.  109. 

Chap.  XXIX.        THE  PROVINCE  OF  BADASHAN.  153 

(/  B.  III.  59,  394;  Alb.  Mag.  de  Mineralibus ;  Pegol.  p.  307  ;  N. 
et  E.  XIII.  i.  246.) 

The  account  of  the  royal  monopoly  m  working  the  mines,  &c.,  has 
continued  accurate  down  to  our  own  day.  When  Murad  Beg  of  Kun- 
duz  conquered  Badakhshan  some  40  years  ago,  in  disgust  at  the  small 
produce  of  the  mines  he  abandoned  working  them,  and  sold  nearly  all 
•the  population  of  the  place  into  slavery  !  They  continue  still  unworked, 
unless  clandestinely.  The  reigning  Mir,  in  1866,  had  one  of  them 
opened  at  the  request  of  Pandit  Manphul,  but  without  much  result. 

The  locality  of  the  mines  is  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Oxus,  in  the 
district  of  Ish  Kasham,  and  on  the  borders  of  Shighnan,  the  Syghinmi  of 
the  Text.     {P.  Manp/i. ;  Wood,  315-16,  378  ;  A^  A7ifi.  des  V.  xxvi.  300.) 

Note  3. — The  mines  of  Ldjwurd  (whence  tAziir  and  Lazuli)  have 
been,  like  the  Ruby-mines,  celebrated  for  ages.  They  lie  in  the  Upper 
Valley  of  the  Kokcha,  within  the  Tract  called  Yamgdn,  of  which  the 
popular  etymology  is  Hamah-Kdn,  or  "  All-Mines,"  and  were  visited  by 
Wood  in  1838.  The  produce  now  is  said  to  be  of  very  inferior  quaUty, 
and  in  quantity  from  30  to  do  foods  (36  lbs.  each)  annually.  The  best 
quality  sells  at  Bokhara  at  30  to  60  tillas,  or  12/.  to  24/.  the  pood 
{Manphul).  Surely  it  is  ominous  when  a  British  agent  writing  of  Ba- 
dakhshan products,  finds  it  natural  to  express  weights  in  Russian 
poods ! 

The  Yamgan  Tract  also  contains  mines  of  iron,  lead,  alum,  sal- 
ammoniac,  sulphur,  ochre,  and  copper.  The  last  are  not  worked.  But 
I  do  not  learn  of  any  silver  mines  nearer  than  those  of  Paryan  in  the 
Valley  of  Panjshir,  south  of  the  crest  of  the  Hindu-Kush.    (See  Cathay, 

P-  595-) 

Note  4. — The  huskless  barley  of  the  text  is  thus  mentioned  by 
Burnes  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Hindu-Kush  :  "  They  rear  a  barley  in  this 
elevated  country  which  has  no  husk,  and  grows  like  wheat;  but  it  is 
barley."  It  is  not  properly  huskless,  but  when  ripe  it  bursts  the  husk 
and  remains  so  loosely  attached  as  to  be  dislodged  from  it  by  a  slight 
shake.  It  is  grown  abundandy  in  Ladak  and  the  adjoining  Hill  States. 
Moorcroft  details  six  varieties  of  it  cultivated  there.  The  kind  men- 
tioned by  Marco  and  Burnes  is  probably  that  named  by  Royle  Hordeum 
yEgiceras,  and  which  has  been  sent  to  England  under  the  name  of  Tar- 
tarian Wheat,  though  it  is  a  genuine  barley.  Naked  barley  is  mentioned 
by  Galen  as  grown  in  Cappadocia ;  and  Matthioli  speaks  of  it  as  grown 
in  France  in  his  day  (middle  of  i6th  century).  It  is  also  known  to  the 
Arabs,  for  they  have  a  name  for  it,  Suit.  {Burnes,  III.  205  ;  Moore.  II. 
148  seqq.;  Gale?i,  de  Aliment.  Facidt.  Lat.  ed.  13  ;  Matthioli,  Ven.  1585, 
p.  420 ;  Eng.  Cyc.  Art.  Hordeum.) 

Sesame  is  mentioned  by  P.  Manphul  as  one  of  the  products  of  Ba- 
dakhshan ;  linseed  is  another,  which  is  also  used  for  oil.  Walnut-trees 
abound,  but  neither  he  nor  Wood  mention  the  oil.  We  know  that 
walnut  oil  is  largely  manufactured  in  Kashmir.     {Moorcroft,  II.  148.) 

154  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Note  5. — These  wild  sheep  are  probably  the  kind  called  Kac/ikdr, 
mentioned  by  Baber,  and  described  by  Mr.  Blyth  in  his  Monograph  of 
Wild  Sheep,  under  the  name  of  Ovis  Vignei.  It  is  extensively  diffused 
over  all  the  ramifications  of  Hindu-Kush,  and  westward  perhaps  to  the 
Persian  Elburz.  "  It  is  gregarious,"  says  Wood,  "  congregating  in  herds 
of  several  hundreds."  In  a  later  chapter  Polo  speaks  of  a  wild  sheep 
api:)arently  different  and  greater,     (Seey!  A.  S.  B.,  X.  858  seqq.) 

Note  6. — This  pleasant  passage  is  only  in  Ramusio,  but  it  would  be 
heresy  to  doubt  its  genuine  character.  Mark's  recollection  of  the  delight 
of  convalescence  in  such  a  climate  seems  to  lend  an  unusual  enthu- 
siasm and  felicity  to  his  description  of  the  scenery.  Such  a  region  as 
he  speaks  of  is  probably  the  cool  Plateau  of  Shewa,  of  which  we  are  told 
as  extending  about  25  miles  eastward  from  near  Faizabad,  and  forming 
one  of  the  finest  pastures  in  Badakhshan.  It  contains  a  large  lake 
called  by  the  frequent  name  Sar-i-Kul.  No  European  traveller  in 
modern  times  (unless  Mr.  Gardner)  has  been  on  those  glorious  Table- 
lands. Burnes  says  that  at  Kunduz  both  natives  and  foreigners  spoke 
rapturously  of  the  vales  of  Badakhshan,  its  rivulets,  romantic  scenes 
and  glens,  its  fruits,  flowers,  and  nightingales.  Wood  is  reticent  on 
scenery,  naturally,  since  nearly  all  his  journey  was  made  in  winter. 
When  approaching  Faizabad  on  his  return  from  the  Upper  Oxus  how- 
ever, he  says  :  "  On  entering  the  beautiful  lawn  at  the  gorge  of  its  valley, 
I  was  enchanted  at  the  quiet  loveliness  of  the  scene.  Up  to  this  time, 
from  the  day  we  left  Talikan,  we  had  been  moving  in  snow ;  but  now  it 
had  nearly  vanished  from  the  valley,  and  the  fine  sward  was  ena- 
melled with  crocuses,  daffodils,  and  snowdrops."  {P.  MivipJud ;  Burnes, 
III.  176;   Wood,  2,'^2>.) 

Note  7. — -Yet  scarcely  any  country  in  the  world  has  suffered  so 
terribly  and  repeatedly  from  invasion.  "  Enduring  decay  probably  com- 
menced with  the  wars  of  Chinghiz,  for  many  an  instance  in  Eastern 
History  shows  the  permanent  effect  of  such  devastations.  And  here 
wave  after  wave  of  war  passed  over  a  little  country,  isolated  on  three 
sides  by  wild  mountains  and  barbarous  tribes,  destroying  the  apparatus 
of  culture  which  represented  the  accumulated  labour  of  generations, 
and  the  springs  of  recovery.  Century  after  century  saw  only  progress 
in  decay.  Even  to  our  own  time  the  progress  of  depopulation  and 
deterioration  has  continued.  About  1760,  two  of  the  Khwajas  of  Kash- 
gar,  escaping  from  the  dominant  Chinese,  took  refuge  in  Badakhshan, 
and  were  treacherously  slain  by  Sultan  Shah,  who  then  ruled  the  country. 
The  holy  men  are  said  in  their  dying  moments  to  have  invoked  curses 
on  Badakhshan,  and  prayed  that  it  might  be  three  times  depopulated. 
And,  in  fact,  since  then  it  has  been  at  least  three  times  ravaged  ;  first,  a 
few  years  after  the  outrage,  by  Ahmed  Shah  Durani  of  Kabul,  when  the 
treacherous  Sultan  Shah  was  put  to  death ;  in  the  beginning  of  this 
century  by  Kokan  Beg  of  Kunduz ;  and  again,  in  1829,  by  his  successor 


Murad  Beg,  who  swept  away  the  bulk  of  the  remaining  inhabitants, 
and  set  them  down  to  die  in  the  marshy  plains  of  Kunduz."  {Cathay, 
P-  542.) 

Note  8, — This  "  bombasticall  dissimulation  of  their  garments,"  as 
the  author  of  Anthropometamorphosis  calls  such  a  fashion,  is  no  longer 
affected  by  the  ladies  of  Badakhshan.  But  a  friend  in  the  Panjab 
observes  that  it  still  survives  there.  "  There  are  ladies'  trowsers  here 
which  might  almost  justify  Marco's  very  liberal  estimate  of  the  quantity 
of  stuff  required  to  make  them." 


Of  the  Province  of  Pashai. 

You  must  know  that  ten  days'  journey  to  the  south  of 
Badashan  there  is  a  Province  called  Pashai,  the  people  of 
which  have  a  peculiar  language,  and  are  Idolaters,  of  a 
brown  complexion.  They  are  great  adepts  in  sorceries 
and  the  diaboUc  arts.  The  men  wear  earrings  and  brooches 
of  gold  and  silver  set  with  stones  and  pearls.  They  are  a 
pestilent  people  and  a  crafty  ;  and  they  live  upon  flesh  and 
rice.     Their  country  is  very  hot.^ 

Now  let  us  proceed  and  speak  of  another  country  which 
is  seven  days'  journey  from  this  one  towards  the  south-east, 
and  the  name  of  which  is  Keshimur. 

Note  1. — The  name  of  Pashai  has  already  occurred  (see  chap,  xviii.) 
linked  with  Dir,  as  indicating  a  tract,  apparently  of  very  rugged  and 
difficult  character,  through  which  the  partizan  leader  Nigudar  passed 
in  making  an  incursion  from  Badakhshan  towards  Kashmir.  The  diffi- 
culty here  lies  in  the  name  Pashai,  which  points  to  the  south-west, 
whilst  Dir  and  all  other  indications  point  to  the  south-east.  But 
Pashai  seems  to  me  clearly  the  reading  to  which  all  texts  tend,  whilst  it 
is  clearly  expressed  in  the  G.  T.  {Fasciai),  and  it  is  contrary  to  all  my 
experience  of  the  interpretation  of  Marco  Polo  to  attempt  to  torture  the 
name  in  the  way  which  has  been  common  with  commentators  professed 
and  occasional.  But  dropping  this  name  for  a  moment,  let  us  see  to 
what  the  other  indications  do  point. 

IS6  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

In  the  meagre  statements  of  this  and  the  next  chapter,  interposed  as 
they  are  among  chapters  of  detail  unusually  ample  for  Polo,  there  is 
nothing  to  lead  us  to  suppose  that  the  Traveller  ever  personally  visited 
the  countries  of  which  these  two  chapters  treat.  I  believe  we  have 
here  merely  an  amplification  of  the  information  already  sketched  of  the 
country  penetrated  by  the  Nigudarian  bands  whose  escapade  is  related 
in  Chapter  xviii.,  information  which  was  probably  derived  from  a  Mongol 
source.  And  these  countries  are  in  my  belief  both  regions  famous  in  the 
legends  of  the  Northern  Buddhists,  viz.  Udyana  and  Kashmir. 

Udyana  lay  to  the  north  of  Peshawar  on  the  Swat  River,  but  from 
the  extent  assigned  to  it  by  Hwen  Thsang,  the  name  probably  covered 
the  whole  hill-region  south  of  the  Hindu  Kush  and  the  Dard  country, 
from  Chitral  to  the  Indus,  as  indeed  it  is  represented  in  the  Map  of 
Vivien  St.  Martin  [Pelerins  Bouddhistes,  II.).  It  is  regarded  by  Fahian 
as  the  most  northerly  Province  of  India,  and  in  his  time  the  food  and 
clothing  of  the  people  were  similar  to  those  of  Gangetic  India.  It  was 
the  native  country  of  Padma  Sambhava,  one  of  the  chief  apostles  of 
Lamaism,  i.e.  of  Tibetan  Buddhism,  and  a  great  master  of  enchant- 
ments. The  doctrines  of  Sakya,  as  they  prevailed  in  Udyana  in  old 
times,  were  probably  strongly  tinged  with  Sivaitic  magic,  and  the 
Tibetans  still  regard  that  locality  as  the  classic  ground  of  sorcery  and 

Hwen  Thsang  says  of  the  inhabitants  :  "The  men  are  of  a  soft  and 
pusillanimous  character,  natia-ally  inclined  to  craft  and  trickery.  They 
are  fond  of  study,  but  pursue  it  with  no  ardour.  The  science  of  magical 
formulce  is  become  a  regular  professional  business  with  them.  They  gene- 
rally wear  clothes  of  white  cotton,  and  rarely  use  any  other  stuff.  Their 
spoken  language,  in  spite  of  some  differences,  has  a  strong  resemblance 
to  that  of  India." 

These  particulars  suit  well  with  the  slight  description  in  our  text,  and 
the  Indian  atmosphere  that  it  suggests  ;  and  the  direction  and  distance 
ascribed  to  Pashai  suit  well  with  Chitral.  which  may  be  taken  as  repre- 
senting Udyana  when  approached  from  Badakhshan.  For  it  would  be 
quite  practicable  for  a  party  to  reach  the  town  of  Chitral  in  ten  days 
from  the  position  assigned  to  the  old  Capital  of  Badakhshan.  And  from 
Chitral  the  road  towards  Kashmir  would  lie  over  the  high  passes  of  the 
Laspur,  or  Laspisar  range  to  Dir,  which  from  its  mention  in  Chap,  xviii. 
we  must  consider  an  obhgatory  point.  {Fah-hian,  p.  26  ;  Koeppen.,  I,  70  ; 
Pelerins  Boud.  II.  131-2.) 

We  must  now  turn  to  the  name  Pashai.  The  Pashai  Tribe  are  now 
Mahomedan,  but  are  reckoned  among  the  aboriginal  inhabitants  of 
the  country,  which  the  Afghans  are  not.  Baber  mentions  them  several 
times,  and  counts  their  language  as  one  of  the  dozen  that  were  spoken 
at  Kabul  in  his  time.  Burnes  says  it  resembles  that  of  the  Kafirs. 
A  small  vocabulary  of  it  was  published  by  Leech,  in  the  7th  volume  of 
the  J.  A.  S.  B.,  and  has  been  repeated,  with  scarcely  any  modification, 

Chap.  XXXI.        THE  PROVINCE  OF  KESHIMUR.  157 

by  Raverty  in  vol.  xxxiii.,  alongside  of  a  vocabulary  of  the  Siah-posh 
Kafir  language.  Both  seem  to  be  Indo-Germanic,  but  not  very  close 
to  one  another. 

Ibn  Batuta,  after  crossing  the  Hindu  Kush  by  one  of  the  passes  at 
the  head  of  the  Panjshir  Valley,  reaches  the  Mountain  Bashai  (Pashai), 
And  it  is  still  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Panjshir  that  the  tribe  is  most 
numerous,  though  they  have  other  settlements  in  the  hill-country  about 
Nijrao,  and  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Kabul  River  between  Kabul  and 
Jalalabad.  Pasha  and  Pasha-gds  is  also  named  as  one  of  the  chief  divi- 
sions of  the  Kafirs,  and  it  seems  a  fair  conjecture  that  it  represents 
those  of  the  Pashais  who  resisted  or  escaped  conversion  to  Islam.  (See 
Leech's  Reports  in  Collection  pub.  at  Calcutta  in  1839;  Baber,  140; 
Elphinstone,  I.  411 ; /.  A.  S.  B.  VII.  329,  731,  XXVIII.  317  seqq., 
XXXIII,  271-2  ;  /.  B.  III.  86.) 

My  first  impression  was  that  the  route  indicated  by  Polo  lay  by  the 
Panjshir  passes,  and  the  Pashai  districts  in  that  quarter;  but  I  am  satis- 
fied that  this  is  irreconcileable  with  the  other  data.  The  difficulty  there- 
fore remains  as  to  how  he  came  to  apply  the  name  Pashai  to  the  country 
south-east  of  Badakhshan,  I  cannot  tell.  But  it  is  at  least  possible 
that  the  Pashai  tribe  (of  which  the  branches  even  now  are  spread  over 
a  considerable  extent  of  country)  may  have  been  once  more  important, 
and  that  their  name  may  have  had  a  wide  application  over  the  southern 
spurs  of  the  Hindu  Kush.  In  the  Tabakat-i-Nasri  {Elliot,  II.  317)  we 
find  mention  of  the  Highlands  of  Pasha-Afroz,  but  nothing  to  define 
their  position.  Our  Author  is  speaking  here,  as  we  consider,  from  hear- 
say, and  hearsay  geography  without  maps  is  much  given  to  generalizing. 
I  apprehend  that,  along  with  characteristics  specially  referable  to  the 
Tibetan  and  Mongol  traditions  of  Udyana,  the  term  Pashai  as  Polo 
uses  it  vaguely  covers  the  whole  tract  from  the  southern  boundary  of 
Badakhshan  to  the  Indus  and  the  Kabul  River. 

But  even  by  extending  its  limits  to  Attok,  we  shall  not  get  Avithin 
seven  marches  of  Kashmir.  It  is  234  miles  by  road  from  Attok  to 
Srinagar  ;  greatly  more  than  seven  marches  in  such  a  country.  And, 
according  to  Polo's  usual  system,  the  marches  should  be  counted  from 
Chitral  or  some  point  thereabouts. 


Of  the  Province  of  Keshimur. 

Keshimur  also  is  a  Province  inhabited  by  a  people  who 
are  Idolaters  and  have  a  language  of  their  own/  They 
have    an    astonishing    acquaintance   with    the    devilries   of 



Book  I. 

enchantment ;  insomuch  that  they  make  their  idols  to 
speak.  They  can  also  by  their  sorceries  bring  on  changes 
of  weather  and  produce  darkness,  and  do  a  number  of 
thino-s  so  extraordinary  that  no  one  without  seeing  them 
would  believe  them.^  Indeed,  this  country  is  the  very 
original  source  from  which  Idolatry  has  spread  abroad.^ 

In  this  direction  you  can  proceed  further  till  you  come 
to  the  Sea  of  India. 

The  men  are  brown  and  lean,  but  the  women,  taking 
them  as  brunettes,  are  very  beautiful.     The   food  of  the 

Ancient  Buddhist  Temple  at  Pandrethan  in  Kashmir. 

people  is  flesh,  and  milk,  and  rice.  The  clime  is  finely 
tempered,  being  neither  very  hot  nor  very  cold.  There 
are  numbers  of  towns  and  villages  in  the  country,  but  also 
forests  and  desert  tracts,  and  strong  passes,  so  that  the 
people  have  no  fear  of  anybody,  and  keep  their  inde- 
pendence, with  a  king  of  their  own  to  rule  and  do  justice."* 
There  are  in  this  country  Eremites  (after  the  fashion 
of  those  parts),  who  dwell  in  seclusion  and  practise  great 

Chap.  XXXI.         THE  PROVINCE  OF  KESHIMUR.  159 

abstinence  in  eating  and  drinking.  They  observe  strict 
chastity,  and  keep  from  all  sins  forbidden  in  their  law,  so 
that  they  are  regarded  by  their  own  folk  as  very  holy 
persons.     They  live  to  a  very  great  age.' 

There  are  also  a  number  of  idolatrous  abbeys  and 
monasteries.  [The  people  of  the  province  do  not  kill 
animals  nor  spill  blood ;  so  if  they  want  to  eat  meat  they 
get  the  Saracens  who  dwell  among  them  to  play  the 
butcher.^]  'The  coral  which  is  carried  from  our  parts 
of  the  world  has  a  better  sale  there  than  in  any  other 

Now  we  will  quit  this  country,  and  not  go  any  further 
in  the  same  direction ;  for  if  we  did  so  we  should  enter 
India ;  and  that  I  do  not  wish  to  do  at  present.  For  on 
our  return  journey  I  mean  to  tell  you  about  India,  all  in 
regular  order.  Let  us  go  back  therefore  to  Badashan,  for 
we  cannot  otherwise  proceed  on  our  journey. 

Note  1.  —  I  apprehend  that  in  this  chapter  Marco  represents 
Buddhism  (which  is  to  be  understood  by  his  expression  Idolatry,  not 
ahvays,  but  usually)  as  in  a  position  of  greater  life  and  prosperity  than 
we  can  believe  it  to  have  enjoyed  in  Kashmir  at  the  end  of  the  13th 
century,  and  I  suppose  that  his  knowledge  of  it  was  derived  in  great  part 
from  tales  of  the  Mongol  and  Tibetan  Buddhists  about  its  past  glories. 

I  know  not  if  the  spelling  Kescieinur  represents  any  peculiar  Mongol 
pronunciation  of  the  name.  Piano  Carpini,  probably  the  first  modern 
European  to  mention  this  celebrated  region,  calls  it  Casmir  (p.  708). 

"  The  Cashmeerians,"  says  Abul  Fazl,  "  have  a  language  of  their 
own,  but  their  books  are  written  in  the  Shanskrit  tongue,  although  the 
character  is  sometimes  Cashmeerian.  They  write  chiefly  upon  Tooz 
[birch-bark],  which  is  the  bark  of  a  tree  ;  it  easily  divides  into  leaves,  and 
remains  perfect  for  many  years"  [Ayeen  Akbery,  II.  147).  A  sketch  of 
Kashmiri  Grammar  by  Mr.  Edgeworth  will  be  found  in  Vol.  X.  of  the 
/.  A.  S.  -B.,  and  a  fuller  one  by  Major  Leech  in  Vol.  XIII.  The  latter 
says  the  language  is  without  doubt  of  Sanscrit  origin. 

Note  2. — The  Kashmirian  conjurors  had  made  a  great  impression 
on  Marco,  who  had  seen  them  at  the  Court  of  the  Great  Khan,  and  he 
recurs  in  a  later  chapter  to  their  weather-sorceries  and  other  enchant- 
ments, when  we  shall  make  some  remarks.  Meanwhile  let  us  cite  a 
passage  from  Bernier,  already  quoted  by  M.  Pauthier.     When  crossing 

r66  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

the  Pir  Panjal  (the  mountain  crossed  on  entering  Kashmir  from  Lahore) 
with  the  camp  of  Aurangzib,  he  met  with  "  an  old  Hermit  who  had 
dwelt  upon  the  summit  of  the  Pass  since  the  days  of  Jehangir,  and 
whose  religion  nobody  knew,  although  it  was  said  that  he  could  work 
miracles,  and  used  at  his  pleasure  to  produce  extraordinary  thunder- 
storms, as  well  as.  hail,  snow,  rain,  and  wind.  There  was  something 
wild  in  his  countenance,  and  in  his  long  spreading  and  tangled  hoary 
beard.  He  asked  alms  fiercely,  allowing  the  travellers  to  drink  from 
earthen  cups  that  he  had  set  out  upon  a  great  stone,  but  signing  to 
them  to  go  quickly  by  without  stopping.  He  scolded  those  who  made 
a  noise,  *  for,'  said  he  to  me  (after  I  had  entered  his  cave  and  smoothed 
him  down  with  a  half  rupee  which  I  put  in  his  hand  with  all  humility), 
'  noise  here  raises  furious  storms.  Aurangzib  has  done  well  in  taking 
my  advice  and  prohibiting  it.  Shah  Jahan  always  did  the  like.  But 
Jahangir  once  chose  to  laugh  at  what  I  said,  and  made  his  drums  and 
trumpets  sound  ;  the  consequence  was  he  nearly  lost  his  life.'  "  {Bcr?iier, 
Amst.  ed.  1699,  H.  290.)  A  successor  of  this  hermit  was  found  in  the 
same  spot  by  P.  Desideri  in  17 13,  and  another  by  Vigne  in  1837. 

Note  3. — Though  the  earliest  entrance  of  Buddhism  into  Tibet 
was  from  India  Proper,  yet  Kashmir  twice  in  the  history  of  Tibetan 
Buddhism  played  a  most  important  part.  It  was  in  Kashmir  that  was 
gathered  under  the  patronage  of  the  great  King  Kanishka,  in  the  cen- 
tury before  our  era,  the  Fourth  Buddhistic  Council,  which  marks  the 
point  of  separation  between  Northern  and  Southern  Buddhism.  Nu- 
merous missionaries  went  forth  from  Kashmir  to  spread  the  doctrine 
in  Tibet  and  in  Central  Asia.  Many  of  the  Pandits  who  laboured  at 
the  translation  of  the  sacred  books  into  Tibetan  were  Kashmiris,  and 
it  was  even  in  Kashmir  that  several  of  the  translations  were  made.  But 
these  were  not  the  only  circumstances  that  made  Kashmir  a  holy  land 
to  the  Northern  Buddhists.  In  the  end  of  the  ninth  century  the  religion 
was  extirpated  in  Tibet  by  the  Julian  of  the  Lamas,  the  great  persecutor 
Langdarma,  and  when  it  was  restored,  a  century  later,  it  was  from 
Kashmir  in  particular  that  fresh  missionaries  were  procured  to  reinstruct 
the  people  in  the  forgotten  Law.  (See  Koeppen,  II.  12-13,  7^;  J.  As., 
ser.  6,  torn.  vi.  540.) 

"  The  spread  of  Buddhism  to  Kashmir  is  an  event  of  extraordinary 
importance  in  the  history  of  that  religion.  Thenceforward  that  country 
became  a  mistress  in  the  Buddhist  Doctrine  and  the  head-quarters  of  a 

particular  school The  influence  of  Kashmir  was  very  marked, 

especially  in  the  spread  of  Buddhism  beyond  India.     From  Kashmir  it 

penetrated  to  Kandahar  and  Kabul  ....  and  thence  over  Bactria 

Tibetan  Buddhism  also  had  its  essential  origin  from  Kashmir  ....  so 
great  is  the  importance  of  tliis  region  in  the  History  of  Buddliism." 
{Vassilyev,  Der  Buddhismns,  I.  44.) 

It  is  thus  very  intelligible  how  Marco  learned  from  the  Mongols  and 

Chap.  XXXI.         THE  PROVINCE  OF  KESHIMUR.  l6l 

the  Lamas  with  whom  he  came  in  contact  to  regard  Kashmir  as  "  the 
very  original  source  from  which  their  Rehgion  had  spread  abroad."  The 
feehng  with  which  they  looked  to  Kashmir  must  have  been  nearly  the 
same  as  that  with  which  the  Buddhists  of  Burma  look  to  Ceylon.  But 
this  feeling  towards  Kashmir  does  not  now,  I  am  informed,  exist  in 
Tibet.  The  reverence  for  the  holy  places  has  reverted  to  Bahar  and  the 
neighbouring  "cradle-lands"  of  Buddhism. 

Note  4.  —  The  people  of  Kashmir  retain  their  beauty,  but  they 
are  morally  one  of  the  most  degraded  races  in  Asia.  Long  oppres- 
sion, now  under  the  Lords  of  Jamu  as  great  as  ever,  has  no  doubt 
aggravated  this.  Yet  it  would  seem  that  twelve  hundred  years  ago  the 
evil  elements  were  there  as  well  as  the  beauty.  The  Chinese  traveller 
says  :  "Their  manners  are  light  and  volatile,  their  characters  effeminate 

and  pusillanimous They  are  very  handsome,   but   their  natural 

bent  is  to  fraud  and  trickery"  {Pel.  Boiid.  II.  167-8).  Vigne's  account 
is  nearly  the  same  (II.  142-3). 

Note  5. — In  the  time  of  Hwen  Thsang,  who  spent  two  years  study- 
ing in  Kashmir  in  the  first  half  of  the  7  th  century,  though  there  were 
many  Brahmans  in  the  country.  Buddhism  was  in  a  flourishing  state  ; 
there  were  100  convents  with  about  5000  monks.  In  the  end  of  the 
nth  century  a  King  (Harshadewa,  1090-1102)  is  mentioned  exceptionally 
as  a  protector  of  Buddhism.  The  supposition  has  been  intimated  above 
that  Marco's  picture  refers  to  a  traditional  state  of  things,  but  I  must 
notice  that  a  like  picture  is  presented  in  the  Chinese  account  of  Hu- 
laku's  war.  One  of  the  thirty  kingdoms  subdued  by  the  Mongols  Avas 
"  The  kingdom  of  Fo  (Buddha)  called  Kishimi.  It  lies  to  the  N.W.  of 
India.  There  are  to  be  seen  the  men  who  are  counted  the  successors 
of  Shakia ;  their  ancient  and  venerable  air  recalls  the  countenance  of 
Bodi-dharma  as  one  sees  it  in  pictures.  They  abstain  from  wine,  and 
content  themselves  v/ith  a  gill  of  rice  for  their  daily  food,  and  are  occu- 
pied only  in  reciting  the  prayers  and  litanies  of  Fo "  {Rem.  N.  Mel. 
Asiat.  I.  179).  Abiil  Fazl  says  that  on  his  third  visit  with  Akbar  to 
Kashmir  he  discovered  some  old  men  of  the  religion  of  Buddha,  but 
none  of  them  were  literati.  The  Risfiis  of  whom  he  speaks  as  abstaining 
from  meat  and  from  female  society,  as  charitable  and  unfettered  by 
traditions,  were  perhaps  a  modified  remnant  of  the  Buddhist  Eremites. 
{Vie  et  V.  de  H.  T.  p.  390;  Lassen,\l\.']oc);  Ayeen  Akb.  II.147,  III.151.) 

We  see  from  the  Dabistan  that  in  the  17th  century  Kashmir  con- 
tinued to  be  a  great  resort  of  Magian  mystics  and  sages  of  various 
sects,  professing  great  abstinence,  and  credited  with  preternatural  powers. 
And  indeed  Vambery  tells  us  that  even  in  our  own  day  the  Kashmiri 
Dervishes  are  pre-eminent  among  their  Mahomedan  brethren  for  cunning, 
secret  arts,  skill  in  exorcisms,  &c.  {Dab.  I.  113  seqq.,  II.  147-8  ;  Vd/nb. 
Sk.  of  Cent.  Asia,  9.) 

Note  6. — The  first  precept  of  the  Buddhist  Decalogue,  or  Ten  Obli- 
VOL.  I.  M 

l62  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

gations  of  the  Religious  Body,  is  not  to  take  life.  But  animal  food  is 
not  forbidden,  thougli  restricted.  Indeed  it  is  one  of  the  circumstances 
in  the  Legendary  History  of  Sakya  Muni,  which  looks  as  if  it  must  be 
true,  that  he  is  related  to  have  aggravated  his  fatal  illness  by  eating  a 
dish  of  pork  set  before  him  by  a  hospitable  goldsmith.  Giorgi  says  the 
butchers  in  Tibet  are  looked  on  as  infamous ;  and  people  selling  sheep 
or  the  like  will  make  a  show  of  exacting  an  assurance  that  these  are 
not  to  be  slaughtered.  In  Burma  when  a  British  party  wanted  beef 
the  owner  of  the  bullocks  would  decline  to  make  one  over,  but  would 
point  one  out  that  might  be  shot  by  the  foreigners. 

In  Tibetan  history  it  is  told  of  the  persecutor  Lang-darma  that  he 
compelled  members  of  the  highest  orders  of  the  clergy  to  become 
hunters  and  butchers.  A  Chinese  collection  of  epigrams,  dating  from 
the  9th  century,  gives  a  facetious  List  of  Incojignwiis  Conditions,  among 
which  we  find  a  poor  Parsi,  a  sick  Physician,  a  fat  Bride,  a  Teacher  who 
does  not  know  his  letters,  and  a  Butcher  who\  reads  the  Scriptures  (of 
Buddhism)!      {Alph.  Til?.   445;  Koeppen,  I.  74;  iV:  and  Q.,  C.   and  J. 

in.  34.) 

Note  7. — Coral  is  still  a  very  popular  adornment  in  the  Himalayan 
countries.  The  Merchant  Tavernier  says  the  people  to  the  north  of 
the  Great  Mogul's  territories,  and  in  the  mountains  of  Assam  and  Tibet 
were  the  greatest  purchasers  of  coral.    {Tr.  in  India,  Bk.  II.  ch.  xxiii.) 


Of  the  Great  River  ob'  Badashan. 

Ix  leaving  Badashan  you  ride  twelve  days  between  east 
and  north-east,  ascending  a  river  that  runs  through  land 
belonging  to  a  brother  of  the  Prince  of  Badashan,  and  con- 
taining a  good  many  towns  and  villages  and  scattered  habi- 
tations. The  people  are  Mahommetans,  and  valiant  in  war. 
At  the  end  of  those  twelve  days  you  come  to  a  province 
of  no  great  size,  extending  indeed  no  more  than  three 
days'  journey  in  any  direction,  and  this  is  called  Vokhan. 
The  people  worship  Mahommet,  and  they  have  a  peculiar 
language.  They  are  gallant  soldiers,  and  they  have  a  chief 
whom  they  call  None,  which  is  as  much  as  to  say  Count, 
and  they  are  liegemen  to  the  Prince  of  Badashan.' 

Chap.  XXXII.       THE  GREAT  RIVER  OF  BADASHAN.  163 

There  are  numbers  of  wild  beasts  of  all  sorts  in  this 
region.  And  when  you  leave  this  little  country,  and  ride 
three  days  north-east,  always  among  mountains,  you  get 
to  such  a  height  that  'tis  said  to  be  the  highest  place  in 
the  world !  And  when  you  have  got  to  this  height  you 
find  [a  great  lake  between  two  mountains,  and  out  of  it] 
a  fine  river  running  through  a  plain  clothed  with  the  finest 
pasture  in  the  world  ;  insomuch  that  a  lean  beast  there  will 
fatten  to  your  heart's  content  in  ten  days.  There  are  great 
numbers  of  all  kinds  of  wild  beasts  ;  among  others,  wild 
sheep  of  great  size,  whose  horns  are  good  six  palms  in 
length.  From  these  horns  the  shepherds  make  great  bowls 
to  eat  from,  and  they  use  the  horns  also  to  enclose  folds  for 
their  cattle  at  night.  [Messer  Marco  was  told  also  that  the 
wolves  were  numerous,  and  killed  many  of  those  wild  sheep. 
Hence  quantities  of  their  horns  and  bones  were  found, 
and  these  were  made  into  great  heaps  by  the  way-side,  in 
order  to  guide  travellers  when  snow  was  on  the  ground.] 

The  Plain  is  called  Pamier,  and  you  ride  across  it  for 
twelve  days  together,  finding  nothing  but  a  desert  without 
habitations  or  any  green  thing,  so  that  travellers  are  obliged 
to  carry  with  them  whatever  they  have  need  of.  The 
region  is  so  lofty  and  cold  that  you  do  not  even  see  any 
birds  flying.  And  I  must  notice  also  that  because  of  this 
great  cold,  fire  does  not  burn  so  brightly,  nor  give  out  so 
much  heat  as  usual,  nor  does  it  cook  food  so  eff'ectually.^ 

Now,  if  we  go  on  with  our  journey  towards  the  east-/ 
north-east,  we  travel  a  good  forty  days,  continually  passing 
over  mountains  and  hills,  or  through  valleys,  and  crossing 
many  rivers  and  tracts  of  wilderness.  And  in  all  this  way 
you  find  neither  habitation  of  man,  nor  any  green  thing, 
but  must  carry  with  you  whatever  you  require.  The 
country  is  called  Bolor.  The  people  dwell  high  up  in 
the  mountains,  and  are  savage  idolaters,  living  onlv  by  the 
chase,  and  clothing  themselves  in  the  skins  of  beasts.  They 
are  in  truth  an  evil  race.' 

M   2 

l64  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Note  1. — The  river  along  which  Marco  travels  from  Badakhshan  is 
no  doubt  the  upper  stream  of  the  Oxus,  known  locally  as  the  Panja, 
along  which  Wood  also  travelled.  It  is  true  that  the  river  is  reached 
from  Badakhshan  Proper  by  ascending  another  river  (the  Vardoj)  and 
crossing  the  Pass  of  Ishkashm  (10,000  ft.),  but  in  the  brief  style  of  our 
narrative  we  must  expect  such  condensation. 

Wakhan  was  restored  to  geography  by  Macartney,  in  the  able  map 
which  he  compiled  for  Elphinstone's  Cmibul,  and  it  has  been  made 
known  more  accurately  by  Wood's  journey  through  it.  It  embraces  the 
Panja  valley  above  Ishkdshm  and  some  tributary  Dardhs  or  Vales. 
Wood  estimated  the  total  popualtion  of  the  province  at  only  1000  souls, 
though  it  might  be  capable  of  supporting  5000.  He  saw  it,  however,  in 
the  depth  of  winter.  As  to  the  peculiar  language  see  note  1,  ch.  xxix. 
We  appear  to  see  in  the  indications  of  this  paragraph  precisely  the 
same  system  of  government  that  now  prevails  in  the  Oxus  valleys.  The 
central  districts  of  Faizabad  and  Jerm  were,  before  the  late  Afghan 
conquest,  under  the  immediate  administration  of  Mir  Jahandar  Shah, 
the  Prince  of  Badakhshan,  whilst  fifteen  other  districts,  such  as  Kishm, 
Rtistdk^  S/ng/uid/i,  Ishkashm,  Wakhdn,  were  dependencies  "  held  by 
the  relations  of  the  Mir,  or  hereditary  rulers,  on  a  feudal  tenure,  con- 
ditional on  fidelity  and  military  service  in  time  of  need,  the  holders 
possessing  supreme  authority  in  their  respective  territories,  and  paying 
little  or  no  tribute  to  the  paramount  power."  {Pandit  Manphul)  The 
first  part  of  the  valley  of  which  Marco  speaks  as  belonging  to  a  brother 
of  the  Prince  may  correspond  to  Ishkashm ;  the  second,  V/akhan,  seems 
to  have  had  a  hereditary  ruler  ;  but  both  were  vassals  of  the  Prince  of 
Badakhshan,  and  therefore  are  styled  Counts,  not  kings  or  Seigneurs. 

The  native  title  which  Marco  gives  as  the  equivalent  of  Count  is 
remarkable.  Non  or  None,  as  it  is  variously  written  in  the  texts,  would 
in  French  form  represent  Nona  in  Italian.  Pauthier  refers  this  title  to 
the  "  i?<7(?-nana  (or  nano)  Rao^'  which  figures  as  the  style  of  Kanerkes  in 
the  Indo-Scythic  coinage.  But  Wilson  {Ariana  Antigua,  p.  358)  inter- 
prets Raonano  as  most  probably  a  genitive  plural  of  Rao,  whilst  the 
whole  inscription  answers  precisely  to  the  Greek  one  BASIAEY2  BA- 
2IAEON  KANHPKOY  which  is  found  on  other  coins  of  the  same  prince. 
Gen.  Cunningham,  a  very  competent  authority,  adheres  to  this  view  and 
writes  :  "  I  do  not  think  None  or  Non  can  have  any  connection  with  the 
Nana  of  the  coins." 

We  find  in  the  published  Timur's  Institutes  (p.  329)  "the  Beglerbegs, 
the  Amirs,  and  the  Ni/?iidn."  If  the  last  word  were  a  genuine  term  we 
might  be  satisfied  to  regard  it  as  the  plural  of  Polo's  None.  But  it  is 
probably  an  error  for  Nuindn,  Nuin  or  Noydn  being  a  prince  of  the 
blood  in  Mongol. 

It  is  remarkable,  however,  that  Nono  (said  to  signify  "  younger,"  or 
lesser)  is  in  Tibet  the  title  given  to  a  younger  brother,  deputy,  or  sub- 
ordinate prince.     In  Cunningham's  Ladak  (259),  we  read:  '■^ No-no  is 


the  usual  term  of  respect  which  is  used  in  addressing  any  young  man  of 
the  higher  ranks,  and  when  prefixed  to  Kahlon  it  means  the  younger  or 
deputy  minister.  Moorcroft  (I.  p.  334-5)  gives  the  term  without  the 
title,  as  the  usual  designation  of  the  deputy  minister,  just  as  we  should 
say  *  the  deputy,'  instead  of '  the  deputy  chairman.' "  And  again  (p.  352): 
'■^  No-no  is  the  title  given  to  a  younger  brother.  Nono  Sungnam  was  the 
younger  brother  of  Chang  Raphtan  the  Kahlon  of  Bazgo."  There  is  a 
slight  error  in  the  reference  to  Moorcroft ;  for  though  the  latter  speaks 
of  the  Niina-Khalun,  I  cannot  find  that  he  uses  Nuna  simply  (see  I. 
248,  253,  334).  But  I  have  recently  encountered  the  word  used 
independently,  and  precisely  in  Marco's  application  of  it.  An  old  friend 
in  speaking  of  a  journey  that  he  had  made  in  our  Tibetan  provinces, 
said  incidentally  that  he  had  accompanied  the  commissioner  to  the  in- 
stallation of  a  new  NoNO  (I  think  in  Spiti).  The  term  here  corresponds 
so  precisely  with  the  explanation  which  Marco  gives  of  None  as  a  Count 
subject  to  a  superior  sovereign,  that  it  is  difiicult  to  regard  the  coinci- 
dence as  accidental.  The  Yuechi  or  Indo-Scyths  who  long  ruled  the 
Oxus  countries  are  said  to  have  been  of  Tibetan  origin.  Can  this  title 
have  been  a  trace  of  their  rule  ?  Or  is  it  rather  Indian  ?  for  Gen.  Cun^ 
ningham  writes  to  me  that  he  regards  the  word  as  "the  same  as  the 
Hindi  Nannu"  (qu.  Nannhd  of  J.  Shakespear,  "small,  diminutive"?). 

Note  2. — This  chapter  is  one  of  the  most  interesting  in  the  book, 
and  contains  one  of  its  most  splendid  anticipations  of  modern  explora- 
tion, whilst  conversely  Captain  John  Wood's  narrative  presents  the  most 
brilliant  confirmation  in  detail  of  Marco's  narrative. 

We  have  very  old  testimony  to  the  recognition  of  the  great  altitude 
of  the  Plateau  of  Pamer  (the  name  which  Marco  gives  it  and  which  it 
still  retains),  and  to  the  existence  of  the  lake  upon  its  surface.  The 
Chinese  pilgrims  Hwui  Seng  and  Sung  Yun,  who  passed  this  way,  a.d. 
518,  inform  us  that  these  high  lands  of  the  Tsung  Ling  were  commonly 
said  to  be  midway  between  heaven  and  earth.  The  more  celebrated 
Hwen  Thsang,  who  came  this  way  nearly  120  years  later  (about  644)  on 
his  return  to  China,  "after  crossing  the  mountains  for  700  //,  arrived  at 
the  valley  of  Pomilo  (Pamer).  This  valley  is  1000  li  (about  200  miles) 
from  east  to  west,  and  100  //  (20  m.)  from  north  to  south,  and  lies 
between  two  snowy  ranges  in  the  centre  of  the  Tsung  Ling  mountains. 
The  traveller  is  annoyed  by  sudden  gusts  of  wind,  and  the  snow-drifts 
never  cease,  spring  or  summer.  As  the  soil  is  almost  constantly  frozen, 
you  see  but  a  few  miserable  plants,  and  no  crops  can  live.  The  whole 
tract  is  but  a  dreary  waste,  without  a  trace  of  human  kind.  In  the 
middle  of  the  valley  is  a  great  lake  300  li  (60  m.)  from  east  to  west,  and 
500  //  from  north  to  south.  This  stands  in  the  centre  of  Jambudwipa 
(the  Buddhist  oiKov}dvr])  on  a  plateau  of  prodigious  elevation.  An  end- 
less variety  of  creatures  peoples  its  waters.  When  you  hear  the  murmur 
and  clash  of  its  waves  you  think  you  are  listening  to  the  noisy  hum  of  a 

l66  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

great  market  in  which  vast  crowds  of  people  are  mingling  in  excitement. 
.  .  .  The  lake  discharges  to  the  west,  and  a  river  runs  out  of  it  in  that 
direction  and  joins  the  Potsu  (Oxus).  .  .  ,  The  lake  likewise  discharges 
to  the  east,  and  a  great  river  runs  out,  which  flows  eastward  to  the 
western  frontier  of  Kiesha  (Kashgar)  where  it  joins  the  river  Sita,  and 
runs  eastward  with  it  into  the  sea."  The  story  of  an  eastern  outflow 
from  the  lake  is  no  doubt  legend,  connected  with  an  ancient  Hindu 
belief  (see  Cathay,  p.  347),  but  Burnes  in  modern  times  heard  much  the 
same  story. 

"After  quitting  the  (frozen)  surface  of  the  river,"  says  Wood,  "we 
.  .  .  ascended  a  low  hill  which  apparently  bounded  the  valley  to  the 
eastward.  On  surmounting  this,  at  3  p.m.  of  the  19th  February,  1838, 
we  stood,  to  use  a  native  expression,  upon  the  Bam-i-Duniah  or  '  Roof 
of  the  ^^^orld,'  while  before  us  lay  stretched  a  noble,  but  frozen  sheet  of 
water,  from  whose  western  end  issued  the  infant  river  of  the  Oxus. 
This  fine  lake  (Sirikul)  lies  in  the  form  of  a  crescent,  about  14  miles  long 
from  east  to  west,  by  an  average  breadth  of  one  mile.  On  three  sides 
it  is  bordered  by  swelling  hills  about  500  feet  high,  while  along  its 
southern  bank  they  rise  into  mountains  3500  feet  above  the  lake,  or 
19,000  feet  above  the  sea,  and  covered  with  perpetual  snow,  from  which 
never-failing  source  the  lake  is  supplied.  ...  Its  elevation,  measured 
by  the  temperature  of  boiling  water,  is  15,600  feet." 

The  absence  of  birds,  noticed  by  Marco,  probably  shows  that  he 
passed  very  late  or  early  in  the  season.  Hwen  Thsang,  we  see,  gives  a 
different  account ;  Wood  was  there  in  winter,  but  heard  that  in  summer 
the  lake  swarmed  with  water-fowl. 

The  Pamer  Steppe  was  crossed  by  Benedict  Goes  late  in  the  autumn 
of  1603,  and  the  narrative  speaks  of  the  great  cold  and  desolation,  and 
the  difficulty  of  breathing.  We  have  also  an  abstract  of  the  journey  of 
Abdul  Mejid,  a  British  agent,  who  passed  Pamer  on  his  way  to  Kokan 
in  1 86 1  : — "  Fourteen  weary  days  were  occupied  in  crossing  the  steppe; 
the  marches  were  long,  depending  on  uncertain  supplies  of  grass  and 
water,  which  sometimes  wholly  failed  them;  food  for  man  and  beast 
had  to  be  carried  with  the  party,  for  not  a  trace  of  human  habitation  is 
to  be  met  Avith  in  those  inhospitable  wilds.  .  .  ,  The  steppe  is  inter- 
spersed with  tamarisk  jungle  and  the  wild  willow,  and  in  the  summer 
with  tracts  of  high  grass."  {Neumann,  FilgerfaJirten  Buddh.  Fr tester,  p. 
50 ;    V.  et  V.  de  H.  T.  2^1-2;    Wood,  354  ;  Froc.  F.  G.  S.,  X.  150). 

We  may  observe  that  Severtsof  asserts  Fanier  to  be  a  generic  term, 
applied  to  all  high  plateaux  in  the  Thian  Shan. 

Wood  speaks  of  the  numerous  wolves  in  this  region.  And  the  great 
sheep  is  that  to  which  Blyth,  in  honour  of  our  traveller,  has  given  the 
name  of  Ovis  Foli.  A  pair  of  horns,  sent  by  Wood  to  the  Royal  Asiatic 
Society,  and  of  which  a  representation  is  given  below,  affords  the  follow- 
mg  dimensions  : — Length  of  one  horn  on  the  curve,  4  feet  8  inches ;  round 
the  base  14^  inches;  distance  of  tips  apart  3  feet  9  inches.     This  sheep 

Chap.  XXXII.  THE  OVIS  POLL  167 

appears  to  be  the  same  as  the  Jiass,  of  which  Burnes  heard  that  the 
horns  were  so  big  that  a  man  could  not  Uft  a  pair,  and  that  foxes  bred 
in  them  ;  also  that  the  carcase  formed  a  load  for  two  horses.  Wood 
says  that  these  horns  supply  shoes  for  the  Kirghiz  horses,  and  also  a 
good  substitute  for  stirrup-irons.  "  We  saw  numbers  of  horns  strewed 
about  in  every  direction,  the  spoils  of  the  Kirghiz  hunter.  Some  of 
these  were  of  an  astonishingly  large  size,  and  belonged  to  an  animal  of  a 
species  between  a  goat  and  a  sheep,  inhabiting  the  steppes  of  Pamir. 
T/ie  ends  of  the  horns  project'mg  above  the  snow  often  ifidicated  the  direction 
of  the  road;  and  wherever  they  were  heaped  in  large  quantities  and 
disposed  in  a  semicircle,  there  our  escort  recognized  the  site  of  a  Kir- 
ghiz summer  encampment.  .  .  .  We  came  in  sight  of  a  rough-looking 
building,  decked  out  with  the  horns  of  the  wild  sheep,  and  all  but  buried 
amongst  the  snow.      It  was  a  Kirghiz  burying-ground."     (pp.  340,  350, 


In  1867  this,  great  sheep  was  shot  by  M.  Severtsof  on  the  Plateau 
of  Aksai  in  the  western  Thianshan.  He  reports  these  animals  to  go  in 
great  herds,  and  to  be  very  difficult  to  kill.     However  he  brought  back 

Horns  of  r,  vis  Poll. 

two  specimens.  The  Narin  River  is  stated  to  be  the  northern  limit  of 
the  species.  Severtsof  also  states  that  the  enemies  of  the  Ovis  Poli  are 
the  wolves. 

As  to  the  pasture,  Timkowski  heard  that  "  the  pasturage  of  Pamir 
is  so  luxuriant  and  nutritious,  that  if  horses  are  left  on  it  for  more  than 
forty  days  they  die  of  repletion"  (I.  421).  And  Wood  :  "  The  grass  of 
Pamer,  they  tell  you,  is  so  rich  that  a  sorry  horse  is  here  brought  into 
good  condition  in  less  than  twenty  days  ;  and  its  nourishing  qualities  are 
evidenced  in  the  productiveness  of  their  ewes,  which  almost  invariably 
bring  forth  two  lambs  at  a  birth"  (p.  365). 

With  regard  to  the  effect  upon  fire  ascribed  to  the  "great  cold," 
Ramusio's  version  inserts  the  expression  "  glifn  affermato  per  7niracolo," 
"  it  was  asserted  to  him  as  a  wonderful  circumstance."  And  Humboldt 
thinks  it  so  strange  that  Marco  should  not  have  observed  this  personally 
that  he  doubts  whether  Polo  himself  passed  the  Pamer.  "  Plow  is  it  that 
he  does  not  say  that  he  himself  had  seen  how  the  flames  disperse  and 
leap  about,  as  I  myself  have  so  often  experienced  at  similar  altitudes  in 

i68  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

the  Cordilleras  of  the  Andes,  especially  when  investigating  the  boiling- 
point  of  water?"  (Cent.  Asia,  Germ.  Transl.  I.  588.)  But  the  words 
quoted  from  Ramusio  do  not  exist  in  the  old  texts,  and  they  are  pro- 
bably an  editorial  interpolation  indicating  disbelief  in  the  statement. 

Major  Montgomerie,  R.E.,  of  the  Indian  Survey,  who  has  probably 
passed  more  time  nearer  the  heavens  than  any  man  living,  sends  me  the 
following  note  on  this  passage  :  "  What  Marco  Polo  says  as  to  fire  at 
great  altitudes  not  cooking  so  effectually  as  usual  is  perfectly  correct  as 
far  as  anything  boiled  is  concerned,  but  I  doubt  if  it  is  as  to  anything 
roasted.  The  want  of  brightness  in  a  fire  at  great  altitudes  is  I  think 
altogether  attributable  to  the  poorness  of  the  fuel,  which  consists  of 
either  small  sticks  or  bits  of  roots,  or  of  argots  of  dung,  all  of  which  give 
out  a  good  deal  of  smoke,  more  especially  the  latter  if  not  quite  dry  ; 
but  I  have  often  seen  a  capital  blaze  made  with  the  argols  when  per- 
fecdy  dry.  As  to  cooking,  we  found  that  rice,  ddl,  and  potatoes  would 
never  soften  properly,  no  matter  how  long  they  were  boiled.  This  of 
course  was  due  to  the  boiling-point  being  only  from  170"  to  180°.  Our 
tea,  moreover,  suffered  from  tlie  same  cause,  and  was  never  good  when 
we  were  over  15,000  feet.  This  was  very  marked.  Some  of  my  natives 
made  dreadful  complaints  about  the  rice  and  dal  that  they  got  from  the 
village-heads  in  the  valleys,  and  vowed  that  they  only  gave  them  what 
was  very  old  and  hard,  as  they  could  not  soften  it  !" 

Note  3. — According  to  Gen.  Cunningham  the  Tibetan  kingdom  of 
Balti  is  called  Bator  by  the  Dards  of  Gilgit,  and  the  same  high  authority 
considers  Balti  to  be  the  Potuto  or  Bolor  of  Hwen  Thsang,  and  the 
Bolor  of  Polo.  I  cannot  concur  as  to  the  latter,  though  very  possibly 
(as  indeed  Gen.  Cunningham  seems  to  intimate)  the  term  Bolor  had  at 
one  time  an  extension  which  included  both  Balti  and  the  mountains 
adjoining  Pamer.  Some  corroboration  of  this  supposed  wide  extension 
of  the  term  is  found  in  the  account  which  the  Tdiik/i  Rashidi,  a  work 
written  in  Eastern  Turkestan  in  the  i6th  century,  gives  of  Malaur 
(Balaur  or  Bolor)  :  "  It  is  a  country  with  few  level  spots.  It  has  a  cir- 
cuit of  four  months'  march.  The  eastern  frontier  borders  on  Kashgar 
and  Yarkand  ;  it  has  Badakhshan  to  the  north,  Kabul  to  the  west,  and 
Kashmir  to  the  south."  Also  in  a  Pushtu  poem  of  the  lyih  century, 
translated  by  Raverty,  we  find  the  mountains  oi  Bitanr-\%\.^xv  assigned  as 
the  northern  boundary  of  Swat.  But  there  can,  I  think,  be  no  rea- 
sonable doubt  of  the  existence  of  a  ptace  and  small  mountain  state  called 
Bolor  (perhaps  a  rehc  of  the  extension  just  alluded  to)  immediately  west 
of  Pamer.  This,  according  to  V.  St.  Martin,  is  the  Piiliho  of  Hwen 
Thsang ;  it  appears  as  a  geographical  position  in  the  Tables  of  Nasir- 
uddin,  and  reappears  in  the  Chinese  tables  of  last  century  with  precisely 
the  same  latitude.  These  last  I  fancy  form  the  chief  authority  for  the 
position  assigned  in  our  modern  maps  to  a  place  called  Bolor,  which  the 

questionable  traveller  George  Ludwig  Von claims  to  have  visited. 

The  state  of  Bolor  is  described  in  the  great  Chinese  geography,  of  which 

Chap.  XXXIII.         THE  KINGDOM  OF  CASCAR.  169 

Klaproth  has  given  extracts,  as  situated  to  the  south-west  of  Yarkand  and 
east  of  Badakhshan,  and  as  containing,  when  it  submitted  to  the  Chinese 
in  1749,  30,000  families.  This  of  course  could  not  be  Balti.  Another 
Chinese  extract  speaks  of  the  Foolurh  (Bolor?)  people  as  a  race  of 
Mahomedans  west  of  Yarkand,  who  live  in  a  veiy  uncivilized  state  with- 
out books  or  writing,  not  understanding  the  language  of  other  Maho- 
medans, and  dwelling  pell-mell,  men  and  women,  like  herds  of  cattle. 
This  probably  refers  to  the  Kirghiz. 

They;  A.  S.  Bengal,  for  1853  (Vol.  XXII.),  contains  extracts  from 
the  diary  of  a  Mr.  Gardner  in  those  central  regions  of  Asia.  These 
read  more  like  the  memoranda  of  a  dyspeptic  dream  than  anything  else, 
and  the  only  passage  I  can  find  illustrative  of  our  traveller  is  the  follow- 
ing ;  the  region  alluded  to  must  be  in  or  near  the  Bolor  country,  for  it  is 
described  as  lying  twenty  days  south-west  of  Kashgar  :  "  The  Akaas 
are  short,  stout,  and  hardy ;  but  few  Mahomedans,  except  the  tribe 
Oojuem  near  Andejan  ;  women  not  handsome  ;  dress,  skins.  The  Keiaz 
tribe  live  in  caves  on  the  highest  peaks,  subsist  by  hunting,  keep  no 
flocks,  said  to  be  anthropophagous,  but  have  handsome  women  ;  eat 
their  flesh  raw"  (p.  295  ;  Pelerins  Bond.  III.  316,  421,  &c.  ;  Ladak,  34, 
45,  47  ;  Mag.  Asiatique,  I.  92,  96-7  ;  Not.  et  Ext.  II.  475,  XIV,  492  ; 
J.  A.  S.  B.  XXXI.  279;  C/iin.  Repos.  IX.  129). 


Of  the  Kingdom  of  Cascar. 

Cascar  is  a  region  lying  between  north-east  and  east, 
and  constituted  a  kingdom  in  former  days,  but  now  it  is 
subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  The  people  worship  Mahommet. 
There  are  a  good  number  of  towns  and  villages,  but  the 
greatest  and  finest  is  Cascar  itself.  The  inhabitants  live  by 
trade  and  handicrafts;  they  have  beautiful  gardens  and 
vineyards,  and  fine  estates,  and  grow  a  great  deal  of  cotton. 
From  this  country  many  merchants  go  forth  about  the 
world  on  trading  journeys.  The  natives  are  a  wretched 
niggardly  set  of  people ;  they  eat  and  drink  in  miserable 
fashion.  There  are  in  the  country  many  Nestorian  Christians 
who  have  churches  of  their  own.  The  people  of  the  country 
have  a  peculiar  language,  and  the  territory  extends  for  five 
days'  journey.' 

I/O  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Note  1. — It  would  seem  that  Polo's  party,  instead  of  crossing  the 
Pamer  from  west  to  east,  and  then  descending  by  the  rugged  country 
above  Yarkand  upon  that  city  (as  Benedict  Goes  did),  travelled  north 
in  the  length  of  the  steppe  for  twelve  days,  probably  following  so  far 
the  route  of  Abdul  Mejid  in  our  day,  and  then  descended  upon  Kashgar. 

The  name  of  this  city  is  generally  pronounced  by  the  people,  as 
'Izzat  Ullah  tells  us,  Kdshkdr.     Goes  also  spells  it  Cascar. 

It  is  not  easy  to  understand  how  Kashgar  should  have  been  subject 
to  the  Great  Kaan,  except  in  the  sense  in  which  all  territories  under 
Mongol  rule  owed  him  homage.  Yarkand  Polo  acknowledges  to  have 
belonged  to  Kaidu,  and  the  boundary  between  Kaidu's  territory  and  the 
Kaan's  lay  between  Karashahar  and  Kamul,  much  further  east. 

Kashgar  was  at  this  time  a  metropolitan  See  of  the  Nestorian 
Church.     {Cathay,  &c.,  275,  ccxlv.) 


Of  the  Great  City  of  Samarcan. 

Samarcan  is  a  great  and  noble  city  towards  the  north-west, 
inhabited  by  both  Cliristians  and  Saracens,  who  are  subject 
to  the  Great  Kaan's  nephew,  Caidou  by  name;  he  is  how 
ever,    at    bitter  enmity  with    the    Kaan.'     I   will  tell  you 
of  a  great  marvel  that  happened  at  this  city. 

It  is  not  a  great  while  ago  that  Si  gat  ay,  own  brother 
to  the  Great  Kaan,  who  was  Lord  of  this  country  and  of 
many  an  one  besides,  became  a  Christian.^  The  Christians 
rejoiced  greatly  at  this,  and  they  built  a  great  church  in  the 
city,  in  honour  of  John  the  Baptist ;  and  by  his  name  the 
church  was  called.  And  they  took  a  very  fine  stone  which 
belonged  to  the  Saracens,  and  placed  it  as  the  pedestal  of 
a  column  in  the  middle  of  the  Church,  supporting  the  roof 
It  came  to  pass,  however,  that  Sigatay  died.  Now  the 
Saracens  w^ere  full  of  rancour  about  that  stone  that  had 
been  theirs,  and  which  had  been  set  up  in  the  church  of  the 
Christians  ;  and  when  they  saw  that  the  Prince  was  dead, 
they  said  one  to  another  that  now  was  the  time  to  get  back 


ttieir  stone,  by  fair  means  or  by  foul.  And  that  they  might 
well  do,  for  they  were  ten  times  as  many  as  the  Christians. 
So  they  gat  together  and  went  to  the  church  and  said  that 
the  stone  they  must  and  would  have.  The  Christians 
acknowledged  that  it  was  theirs  indeed,  but  offered  to  pay 
a  large  sum  of  money  and  so  be  quit.  Howbeit,  the  others 
replied  that  they  never  would  give  up  the  stone  for  anything 
in  the  world.  And  words  ran  so  high  that  the  Prince  heard 
thereof,  and  ordered  the  Christians  either  to  arrange  to 
satisfy  the  Saracens,  if  it  might  be,  with  money,  or  to  give 
up  the  stone.  And  he  allowed  them  three  days  to  do  either 
the  one  thing  or  the  other. 

What  shall  I  tell  you  ?  Well,  the  Saracens  would  on 
no  account  agree  to  leave  the  stone  where  it  was,  and  this 
out  of  pure  despite  to  the  Christians,  for  they  knew  well 
enough  that  if  the  stone  were  stirred  the  church  would  come 
down  by  the  run.  So  the  Christians  were  in  great  trouble 
and  wist  not  what  to  do.  But  they  did  do  the  best  thing- 
possible  ;  they  besought  Jesus  Christ  that  he  would  con- 
sider their  case,  so  that  the  holy  church  should  not  come 
to  destruction,  nor  the  name  of  its  Patron  Saint,  John  the 
Baptist,  be  tarnished  by  its  ruin.  And  so  when  the  day 
fixed  by  the  Prince  came  round,  they  went  to  the  church 
betimes  in  the  morning,  and  lo,  they  found  the  stone 
removed  from  under  the  column  ;  the  foot  of  the  column 
was  without  support,  and  yet  it  bore  the  load  as  stoutly 
as  before  !  Between  the  foot  of  the  column  and  the  ground 
there  was  a  space  of  three  palms.  So  the  Saracens  had 
away  their  stone,  and  mighty  little  joy  withal.  It  was 
a  glorious  miracle,  nay,  it  is  so,  for  the  column  still  so 
standeth,  and  will  stand  as  long  as  God  pleaseth.' 

Now  let  us  quit  this  and  continue  our  journey. 

Note  1.—  Of  Kaidu,  Kublai  Kaan's  kinsman  and  rival,  and  their  long- 
wars,  we  shall  have  to  speak  later.  He  had  at  this  time  a  kind  of  joint 
occupancy  of  Samarkand  and  Bokhara  with  the  Khans  of  Chagatai,  his 

1/2  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Marco  evidently  never  was  at  Samarkand,  though  doubtless  it  was 
visited  by  his  Father  and  Uncle  on  their  first  journey,  when  we  know 
they  were  long  at  Bokhara.  Having  therefore  little  to  say  descriptive  of 
a  city  he  had  not  seen,  he  tells  us  a  story : — 

"  So  geographers,  in  Afric  maps, 
With  savage  pictures  fill  their  gaps, 
And  o'er  unhabitable  downs 
Place  elephants  for  want  of  towns." 

As  regards  the  Christians  of  Samarkand,  who  figure  in  the  following 
story,  we  may  note  that  the  city  had  been  one  of  the  Metropolitan  Sees 
of  the  Nestorian  Church  since  the  beginning  of  the  8th  century,  and  had 
been  a  bishopric  perhaps  two  centuries  earlier.  Prince  Sempad,  High 
Constable  of  Armenia,  in  a  letter  written  from  Samarkand  in  1246  or 
1247,  mentions  several  circumstances  illustrative  of  the  state  of  things 
indicated  in  this  story  :  "  I  tell  you  that  we  have  found  many  Christians 
scattered  all  over  the  East,  and  many  fine  churches,  lofty,  ancient,  and 
of  good  architecture,  which  have  been  spoiled  by  the  Turks.  Hence, 
the  Christians  of  this  country  came  to  the  presence  of  the  reigning  Kaan's 
grandfather  {i.e.  Chinghiz) ;  he  received  them  most  honourably,  and 
granted  them  liberty  of  worship,  and  issued  orders  to  prevent  their 
having  any  just  cause  of  complaint  by  word  or  deed.  And  so  the  Saraceiis, 
who  used  to  treat  them  with  contempt,  have  now  the  like  treatment  in  double 

Shortly  after  Marco's  time,  viz.  in  1328,  Thomas  of  Mancasola,  a 
Dominican,  who  had  come  from  Samarkand  with  a  Mission  to  the  Pope 
(John  XXn.)  from  Ilchigadai  Khan  of  Chagatai,  was  appointed  Latin 
Bishop  of  that  city.      {Mosheini,  p.  no,  &c.  ;  Cathay,  p.  192.) 

Note  2. — Chagatai,  here  called  Sigatay,  was  Uncle,  not  Brother,  to 
the  Great  Kaan  (Kublai).  Nor  was  Kaidu  either  Chagatai's  son  or 
Kublai's  nephew,  as  Marco  here  and  elsewhere  represents  him  to  be  (see 
Book  IV.  ch.  i.).  The  term  used  to  describe  Chagatai's  relationship  is 
frere  char?iel,  which  excludes  ambiguity,  cousinship  or  the  like  (such 
as  is  expressed  by  the  ItdiYiKn  f rate llo  ciigino),  and  corresponds  I  believe 
to  the  brother  german  of  Scotch  law  documents. 

Note  3. — One  might  say,  these  things  be  an  allegory  !  We  take  the 
fine  stone  that  belongs  to  the  Saracens  (or  Papists)  to  build  our  church 
on,  but  the  day  of  reckoning  comes  at  last,  and  our  (Protestant)  Christians 
are  afraid  that  the  Church  will  come  about  their  ears.  May  it  stand, 
and  better  than  that  of  Samarkand  has  done  ! 

There  is  a  story  somewhat  like  this  in  D'Herbelot,  about  the 
Karmathian  Heretics  carrying  off  the  Black  Stone  from  Mecca,  and 
being  obliged  years  after  to  bring  it  back  across  the  breadth  of  Arabia ; 
on  which  occasion  the  stone  conducted  itself  in  a  miraculous  manner. 

There  is  a  remarkable  Stone  at  Samarkand,  the  Kok-Tash  or  Green 

Chs.  provinces  of  yarcan  and  cotan.   173 

Stone,  on  which  Timur's  throne  was  set.  Tradition  says  it  was  brought 
by  him  from  Brusa  (180  cubic  feet  of  it !)  but  tradition  iTiay  be  wrong 
(see  Vdmbcrfs  Travels,  p.  206). 


Of  the  Province  of  Yarcan. 

Yarcan  is  a  province  fire  days'  journey  in  extent.  The 
people  follow  the  Law  of  Mahommet,  but  there  are  also 
Nestorian  and  Jacobite  Christians.  They  are  subject  to  the 
same  Prince  that  I  mentioned,  the  Great  Kaan's  nephew. 
They  have  plenty  of  everything  [particularly  of  cotton. 
The  inhabitants  are  also  great  craftsmen,  but  a  large  pro- 
portion of  them  have  swoln  legs,  and  great  crops  at  the 
throat,  which  arises  from  some  quality  in  their  drinking- 
water].  As  there  is  nothing  else  worth  telling  we  may 
pass  on.' 

Note  1. — Yarkan  or  Yarken  seems  to  be  the  general  pronunciation 
of  the  name  to  this  day,  though  we  write  Yarkand. 

Mir  'Izzat  Ullah  in  modern  days  speaks  of  the  prevalence  of  goitre 
at  Yarkand.  And  Mr.  Shaw  informs  me  that  during  his  recent  visit  to 
Yarkand  he  had  numerous  applications  for  iodine  as  a  remedy  for  that 
disease.  The  theory  which  connects  it  with  the  close  atmosphere 
of  valleys  will  not  hold  at  Yarkand.       {/.  i?.  A.  S.,  VII.  303.) 


Of  a  Province  called  Cotan, 

CoTAN  is  a  province  lying  between  north-east  and  east, 
and  is  eight  days'  journey  in  length.  The  people  are  subject 
to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  are  all  worshippers  of  Mahommet.' 
There  are  numerous  towns  and  villages  in  the  country,  but 

174  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Cotan,  the  capital,  is  the  most  noble  of  all,  and  gives  its 
name  to  the  kingdom.  Everything  is  to  be  had  there 
in  plenty,  including  abundance  of  cotton  [with  flax,  hemp, 
wheat,  wine,  and  the  like].  The  people  have  vineyards  and 
gardens  and  estates.  They  live  by  commerce  and  manu- 
factures, and  are  no  soldiers.^ 

Note  1. — ^'■Aoiirent  Mahommety  Though  this  is  Marco's  usual 
formula  to  define  Mahomedans,  we  can  scarcely  suppose  that  he  meant 
it  literally.  But  in  other  cases  it  was  very  literally  interpreted.  Thus 
in  Baudouin  de  Sebourg,  the  Dame  de  Pontieu,  a  passionate  lady  who 
renounces  her  faith  before  Saladin^  says  : — 

"  '  Et  je  renoie  Dieu  et  le  povoir  qu'il  a, 
Et  Marie  sa  Mere  qu'on  dist  que  le  porta  ! 
Jllahom  voel  aourer,  aportez-le-moi  cha  ! ' 

*       *       *       *     Lj  gQmJa,ns  commanda 
Qii'on  aportast  Alahom  ;  et  celle  Vaoiira''' — I.  p.  72. 

And  this  notion  gave  rise  to  the  use  of  Mawmet  for  an  idol  in  general ; 
whilst  from  the  Ma/wfntnerie  or  place  of  Islamite  worship  the  name  of 
mummery  came  to  be  applied  to  idolatrous  or  unmeaning  rituals  ;  both 
very  unjust  etymologies.     Thus  of  mosques  in  Richard  Coeur  de  Lion  : — 

"  Kyrkes  they  made  of  Crystene  Lawe, 
And  her  Maivmettes  lete  downe  drawe." —  Weber,  II.  228. 

So  Correa  calls  a  golden  idol,  which  was  taken  by  Da  Gama  in  a  ship  of 
Calicut,  "  an  image  of  Mahomed  "  (372).  Don  Quixote  too,  who  ought 
to  have  known  better,  cites  with  admiration  the  feat  of  Rinaldo  in 
carrying  off,  in  spite  of  forty  Moors,  a  golden  image  of  Mahomed. 

Note  2. — 800  //  (160  miles)  east  of  Chokiuka  or  Yarkand,  Hwen 
Thsang  comes  to  Kiiistatma  (Kustdna)  or  Khotan.  "  The  country 
chiefly  consists  of  plains  covered  with  stones  and  sand.  The  remainder 
however,  is  favourable  to  agriculture  and  produces  everything  abundantly. 
From  this  country  are  got  woollen  carpets,  fine  felts,  well  woven  taffetas, 
white  and  black  jade."  Chinese  authors  of  the  loth  century  speak  of 
the  abundant  grapes  and  excellent  wine  of  Khotan. 

Ilchi,  the  modern  capital,  was  visited  by  Mr.  Johnson  of  the  Indian 
Survey  in  1865.  The  country,  after  the  revolt  against  the  Chinese  in 
1863,  came  first  under  the  rule  of  Habib-ullah,  an  aged  chief  calling 
himself  Khan  Bddshah  of  Khotan ;  and  since  the  defeat  and  death  of 
that  chief  about  1867,  it  has  formed  a  part  of  the  kingdom  of  Ya'kiib 
Beg  of  Kashgar,  which  now  embraces  the  whole  basin  of  Eastern 
Turkestan  to  Karashahr. 


Mr.  Johnson  says  :  "  The  chief  grains  of  the  country  are  Indian  corn, 
wheat,  barley  of  two  kinds,  dcrj fa,  Jowdr  (two  kinds  oi  holcus),  buckwheat 
and  rice,    all  of  which  are  superior   to   the  Indian  grains,  and  are  of 

a  very  fine  quality The  country  is  certainly  superior  to  India, 

and  in  every  respect  equal  to  Kashmir,  over  which  it  has  the  advantage 
of  being  less  humid,  and  consequently  better  suited  to  the  growth  of 
fruits.  Olives  (?),  pears,  apples,  peaches,  apricots,  mulberries,  grapes, 
currants,  and  melons,  all  exceedingly  large  in  size  and  of  a  delicious 

flavour,  are  produced  in  great  variety  and  abundance Cotton  of 

valuable  quality,  and  raw  silk  are  produced  in  very  large  quantities." 

Mr.  Johnson  reports  the  whole  country  to  be  rich  in  soil,  and  very 
much  under-peopled.  Ilchi  the  capital  has  a  population  of  about 
40,000,  and  is  a  great  place  for  manufactures.  The  chief  articles  pro- 
duced are  silks,  felts,  carpets  (both  silk  and  woollen),  coarse  cotton 
cloths,  and  paper  from  the  mulberry  fibre.  The  people  are  strict 
Mahomedans  and  speak  a  Turki  dialect.  Both  sexes  are  good-looking, 
with  a  slightly  Tartar  cast  of  countenance.  {V.  et  V.  de  H.  T.  2']'^  ; 
Rh)iusat,H.  dela  V.  de Khotan,  73-84  ;  Chiji.  Repos.  IX.  128;  J.  R.G.  S. 
XXXVII.  6  seqq.) 


Of  the  Province  of  Pein. 

Pein  is  a  province  five  days  in  length,  lying  between  east 
and  north-east.  The  people  are  worshippers  of  Mahommet, 
and  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan.  There  are  a  good  number 
of  towns  and  villages,  but  the  most  noble  is  Pein,  the 
capital  of  the  kingdom.^  There  are  rivers  in  this  country, 
in  which  quantities  of  Jasper  and  Chalcedony  are  found.^ 
The  people  have  plenty  of  all  products,  including  cotton. 
They  live  by  manufactures  and  trade.  But  they  have 
a  custom  that  I  must  relate.  If  the  husbandof  any  woman 
go  away  upon  a  journey  and  remain  away  for  more  than  20 
days,  as  soon  as  that  term  is  past  the  woman  may  marry 
another  man,  and  the  husband  also  may  then  marry  whom 
he  pleases.^ 

I  should  tell  you  that  all  the  provinces  that  I  have  been 

176  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

speaking  of,  from  Cascar  forward,  and  those  I  am  going  to 
mention  [as  far  as  the  city  of  Lop]  belong  to  Great 

Note  1. — There  have  been  considerable  differences  of  opinion  as  to 
where  Pein  is  to  be  sought. 

"  In  old  times,"  says  the  Haft-Iklim,  "  travellers  used  to  go  from 
Khotan  to  Cathay  in  14  (?)  days,  and  found  towns  and  villages  all  along 
the  road,  so  that  there  was  no  need  to  travel  in  caravans.  In  later  days 
the  fear  of  the  Kalmaks  caused  this  line  to  be  abandoned,  and  the  cir- 
cuitous one  occupied  100  days."  This  directer  route  between  Khotan 
and  China  appears  to  have  been  followed  by  Fahian  on  his  way  to  India ; 
by  Hwen  Thsang  on  his  way  back  ;  and  by  Shah  Rukh's  ambassadors 
on  their  return  from  China  in  142 1.  The  main  question  as  to  Polo's 
route  is  whether  he  took  this,  or  the  circuitous  route  alluded  to  in  the 
extract  just  quoted.  The  latter  appears  to  have  gone  north  from  Kho- 
tan, crossed  the  Tarimgol,  and  fallen  into  the  road  along  the  base  of 
the  Thian  Shan,  eventually  crossing  the  Desert  southward  from  Kamul. 

Marsden  is  here  very  vague.  Neumann  would  seem  to  prefer  the 
southern  route  by  his  suggested  identification  of  Charchan  with  Chira 
east  of  Khotan,  were  it  not  that  he  had  just  before  identified  Pein  with 
Fijdn,  some  700  miles  to  the  N.E.  of  Chira.  Such  random  zigzag 
geography  is  of  no  aid  or  value.  Murray  suggested  that  Pein  Avas  the 
Bai  of  our  maps,  a  town  and  district  of  Eastern  Turkestan  lying  about 
350  miles  nearly  due  north  of  Ilchi,  near  the  foot  of  the  Thian  Shan. 
He  also  identified  the  Charchan  of  the  following  chapter  with  Kard- 
shahr,  and  thus  assigned  to  Polo  what  we  have  spoken  of  as  the  northern 
or  circuitous  route.     This  scheme  has  been  followed  by  Pauthier. 

Several  circumstances  had  led  me  to  doubt  this  view.  First  (though 
on  this  I  lay  little  stress),  we  go  on  upon  the  old  bearing  of  E.N.E. 
There  is  no  indication  of  a  change  to  due  north  such  as  would  be  in- 
volved in  the  journey  to  Bai.  Next,  we  have  no  ground  that  I  can  learn 
for  believing  that  the  rivers  flowing  south  from  the  Thian  Shan  afford 
Jasper,  i.e.  Jade.  This  is  the  product  of  rivers  flowing  north  from  the 
Kuen  Lun  and  Karakorum.  Professor  Vambery  also  has  favoured  me 
with  a  note,  in  which  he  expresses  a  strong  opinion  that  Polo's  Pein 
"  must  have  existed  on  the  way  from  Khotan  to  Komul  along  the 
Khotan  Deria  (River),  a  road  which  is  even  now  much  frequented. 
Marco  Polo  speaks  of  cotton  growing  in  Pein.  I  know  for  certain  that 
cotton  begins  to  grow  only  south  of  Aksu,  and  Bai  has  almost  the 
coldest  climate  of  the  Six  Towns"  {i.e.  of  Eastern  Turkestan). 

Since  reading  Johnson's  Report  of  his  Journey  to  Khotan  I  am  able 
to  feel  tolerable  certainty  as  to  the  position  of  Charchan,  and  as  to  the 
fact  that  Marco  followed  a  direct  route  from  Khotan  to  the  vicinity  of 

Chap.  XXXVII.         THE  PROVINCE  OF  PEIN.  177 

Lake  Lop.  Pein,  then,  I  have  little  doubt,  was  identical  Vidth  Pima,*" 
which  was  the  first  city  reached  by  Hwen  Thsang  on  his  return  to  China 
after  quitting  Khotan,  and  which  lay  300  //  east  of  the  latter  city.  The 
Si-yu-ki,  followed  by  St.  Martin  in  his  map,  puts  Pima  7vest  of  Khotan, 
but  this  is  quite  inconsistent  both  with  the  direction  of  the  returning 
pilgrims'  route,  and  with  other  notices  of  Pima  quoted  in  Re'musat's 
History  of  Khotan.  These  place  Pima  330  li  to  the  eastward  of 
Khotan,  on  the  banks  of  a  river  flowing  from  the  east  and  entering  the 
Sandy  Desert.  Johnson  found  Khotan  rife  with  stories  of  former  cities 
overwhelmed  by  the  shifting  sands  of  the  Desert,  and  these  sands  appear 
to  have  been  advancing  for  ages  ;  for  far  to  the  north-east  of  Pima, 
even  in  the  7th  century,  were  to  be  found  the  deserted  and  ruined  cities 
of  the  ancient  kingdoms  of  Tiiholo  and  S/ieTftat/iona.  "  Where  anciently 
were  the  seats  of  flourishing  cities  and  prosperous  communities,"  says  a 
Chinese  author,  speaking  of  this  region,  "  is  nothing  now  to  be  seen  but 
a  vast  desert ;  all  has  been  buried  in  the  sands,  and  the  wild  camel  is 
hunted  on  those  arid  plains." 

Pima  cannot  have  been  far  from  Kiria,  visited  by  Johnson,  if  it  were 
not  practically  identical  therewith.  This  is  a  town  of  7000  houses  lying 
east  of  Ilchi,  and  about  69  miles  distant  from  it.  The  road  for  the 
most  part  lies  through  a  highly  cultivated  and  irrigated  country,  flanked 
by  the  sandy  desert  at  3  or  4  miles  to  the  left. 

{N.  et  E.  XIV.  477  ;  V.  et  V.  de  H.  T.  2%Z  ;  H.  de  la  Ville  de 
Khoten,  63-66  ;  Klap.  Tabl.  Historiques,  p.  182.) 

Note  2, — The  Jasper  and  Chalcedony  of  our  author  are  probably  only 
varieties  of  the  semi-precious  mineral  called  by  us  popularly  y^^/^?,  by  the 
Chinese  Yu,  by  the  Eastern  Turks  Kdsh,  by  the  Persians  Yashm,  which 
last  is  no  doubt  the  same  word  with  tao-Trts  and  therefore  vf'iXh  Jasper. 
The  Greek  Jaspis  was  in  reality,  according  to  Mr.  King,  a  green  Chal- 

The  Jade  of  Turkestan  is  chiefly  derived  from  water-rolled  boulders 
fished  up  by  divers  in  the  rivers  of  Khotan,  but  it  is  also  got  from  mines 
in  the  Karakorum  range.  "  Some  of  the  Jade,"  says  Timkowski,  "  is 
as  white  as  snow,  some  dark  green,  like  the  most  beautiful  emerald  (?) 
others  yellow,  vermilion,  and  jet  black.  The  rarest  and  most  esteemed 
varieties  are  the  white  speckled  with  red,  and  the  green  veined  with 
gold"  (I.  395).  The  Jade  of  Khotan  appears  to  be  first  mentioned  by 
Chinese  authors  in  the  time  of  the  Han  Dynasty  under  Wuti  (b.c.  140- 
86).  In  A.D.  541  an  image  of  Buddha  sculptured  in  Jade  was  sent  as 
an  ofl'ering  from  Khotan;  and  in  632  the  process  of  fishing  for  the 
material  in  the  rivers  of  Khotan,  as  practised  down  to  modern  times,  is 
mentioned.  The  importation  of  Jade  or  Yu  from  this  quarter  probably 
gave  the  name  of  Kia-yu-Kuan  or  "  Jade  Gate  "  to  the  fortified  Pass  look- 
ing in  this  direction  on  the  extreme  N.W.  of  China  Proper,  between 

*  Pcin  may  easily  have  been  niiscoiied  for  Pciii. 
VOL.   I. 

178  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

Shachau  and   Suchau,      {H.   de  la    V.  de  Khotai,  2,   17,   23;    also  see 
/.  R.  G.  S.  XXXVI.  165,  and  Cathay,  130,  564;  Jiitfcr,  II.  213.) 

Note  3. — Possibly  this  may  refer  to  the  custom  of  temporary  mar- 
riages which  seems  to  prevail  in  most  towns  of  Central  Asia  which  are 
the  halting-places  of  caravans,  and  the  morals  of  which  are  much 
on  a  par  with  those  of  seaport  towns,  from  analogous  causes.  Thus 
at  Meshid  Khanikofif  speaks  of  the  large  population  of  young  and. 
pretty  women  ready,  according  to  the  accommodating  rules  of  Shiah 
Mahomedanism,  to  engage  in  marriages  which  are  perfectly  lawful,  for  a 
month,  a  week,  or  even  twenty-four  hours.  Kashgar  is  also  noted  in 
the  East  for  its  chaukans,  young  women,  with  whom  the  traveller  may 
readily  form  an  alliance  for  the  period  of  his  stay,  be  it  long  or  short. 
{Khan.  Mem.  p.  98;  Ritss.  in  Central  Asia,  '-,2;  J.  A.  S.  B.  XXVI. 
262  ;  Biinies,  III.  195  ;    Vigne,  II.  201.) 


Of  the  Province  of  Charchan. 

Charchan  is  a  Province  of  Great  Turkey,  lying  between 
north-east  and  east.  Tiie  people  worship  Mahommet.  There 
are  numerous  towns  and  villages,  and  the  chief  city  of 
the  kingdom  bears  its  name,  Charchan.  The  Province  con- 
tains rivers  which  bring  down  jasper  and  chalcedony,  and 
these  are  carried  for  sale  into  Cathay  where  they  fetch 
great  prices.  The  whole  of  the  Province  is  sandy,  and  so 
is  the  road  all  the  way  from  Pein,  and  much  of  the  water 
that  you  find  is  bitter  and  bad.  However  at  some  places 
you  do  find  fresh  and  sweet  water.  When  an  army  passes 
through  the  land,  the  people  escape  with  their  wives, 
children,  and  cattle  a  distance  of  two  or  three  days'  journey 
into  the  sandy  waste  ;  and  knowing  the  spots  where  water 
is  to  be  had  they  are  able  to  live  there,  and  to  keep  their 
cattle  alive,  whilst  it  is  impossible  to  discover  them ;  for 
the  wind  immediately  blows  the  sand  over  their  track. 

Quitting  Charchan,  you  ride  some  five  days  through 
the  sands,  finding  none  but  bad  and  bitter  water,  and  then 


you  come  to  a  place  where  the  water  is  sweet.  And  now 
I  will  tell  you  of  a  province  called  Lop,  in  which  there 
is  a  city  also  called  Lop,  which  you  come  to  at  the  end 
of  those  five  days.  It  is  at  the  entrance  of  the  great 
Desert,  and  it  is  here  that  travellers  repose  before  entering 
on  the  Desert.' 

Note  1.- — Though  the  Lake  of  Lob  or  Lop  appears  on  all  our  maps, 
from  Chinese  authority,  the  latter  does  not  seem  to  have  supplied  infor- 
mation as  to  a  town  so  called.  We  have,  however,  indications  of  the 
existence  of  such  a  place,  both  medieval  and  recent.  The  Persian 
geography  called  Haft  Iklim  (the  Seven  Climates)  describing  the  Great 
Basin  of  Eastern  Turkestan,  says  :  "To  the  S.E.  reigns  a  vast  desert, 
presenting  only  arid  tracts,  and  hills  of  shifting  sand.  Formerly  there 
were  here  several  cities,  of  which  two  only  have  preserved  their  names, 
viz.  Tob  and  Kaiik.  All  the  rest  are  buried  in  sand."  Here  Quatremere 
happily  suggests  that  Tob  should  be  read  Lob,  and  identified  with  the 
Lop  of  our  text.  Again  in  the  short  notices  of  the  cities  of  Turkestan 
which  Mr.  Wathen  collected  at  Bombay  from  pilgrims  of  those  regions 
on  their  way  to  Mecca,  we  find  the  following  :  '•'■  Lopp.  Lopp  is  situated 
at  a  great  distance  from  Yarkand.  The  inhabitants  are  principally 
Chinese  ;  but  a  few  Uzbeks  reside  there.  Lopp  is  remarkable  for  a  salt 
water  Lake  in  its  vicinity."  And  in  Johnson's  account  of  his  observa- 
tions in  Khotan,  speaking  of  a  road  from  Tibet  into  Khotan  alleged  to 
be  passable  by  wheeled  carriages,  he  says  :  "  This  route  ....  leads  not 
only  to  Ilchi  and  Yarkand,  but  also  via  Lob  to  the  large  and  important 
city  of  Karashahr."  And  among  the  routes  attached  to  Mr.  Johnson's 
original  Report,  we  have  : — 

"  Route  No.  VIL  Kiria  (see  note  2  to  last  chapter)  to  Chachan 
and  Lob  {from  native  information)^''  as  follows  : 

■  -  •  •    ,  Estimated  distance  t,  , 

K>na  to  ;_^  j^j;,^^  Remarks. 

1.  Usalun  Langar  16  A  Posthouse. 

2.  Nia 17  Village,  50  Houses. 

3.  Kumrabad  Langar     16  10  Houses. 

4.  Khadalak    20  Encampment  and  Gold  Mine. 

5.  Akmaran    17  Do.  do. 

6.  Kukmaran 16  Do.         do. 

7.  Egar    19  Do.         do.         and  Well. 

8.  Chakalak    17  Grazing  Ground. 

9.  Chachan  16     1  Village,  500  Houses,  and  Cul- 

I     tivation. 

10.       Encampment 20     Shepherds' Tents. 

II  — 14.  Do.  do 21,  18,  17,  19   Do. 

y  ^  J  Village,  and  large  Lake  with 

I      fish  in  it. 

269  miles. 

N    2- 

i8o  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

I  cannot  doubt  that  in  the  Chachan  and  Lob  of  this  itinerary  we 
have  Marco's  Charchan  and  Lop ;  and  that  his  route  to  the  verge  of  tlie 
Great  Desert  is  thus  made  clear.  He  omits  the  usual  estimate  of  the 
extent  of  "  the  province  of  Charchan,"  but  the  five  days'  journey  from 
Charchan  to  Lop  is  fairly  represented  by  Mr.  Johnson's  report  of  six 
marches  averaging  19  miles  each,  from  Chachan  to  Lob. 

Nia,  2^2,  miles  from  Kiria,  is  possibly  a  vestige  of  the  ancient  city  of 
Ni-jang  of  the  old  Chinese  Itineraries,  which  lay  200  //  (from  30  to 
40  miles)  on  the  China  side  of  Pima,  in  the  middle  of  a  great  marsh, 
and  formed  the  eastern  frontier  of  Khotan  bordering  on  the  Desert. 
(/.  R.  G.  S.  XXXVII.  pp.  13  and  44  ;  iV^  et  Ext.  XIV.  474 ;  /•  A. 
S.  B.  TV.  6^6;  H.  de  la  K  de  Kohfen,  u.s.) 


Of  the  City  of  Lop  and  the  Great  Desert. 

Lop  is  a  large  town  at  the  edge  of  the  Desert  which  is 
called  the  Desert  of  Lop,  and  is  situated  between  east  and 
north-east.  It  belongs  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  the  people 
worship  Mahommet.  Now,  such  persons  as  propose  to 
cross  the  Desert  take  a  week's  rest  in  this  town  to  refresh 
themselves  and  their  cattle ;  and  then  they  make  ready  for 
the  journey,  taking  with  them  a  month's  supply  for  man 
and  beast.     On  quitting  this  city  they  enter  the  Desert. 

The  length  of  this  Desert  is  so  great  that  'tis  said  it 
would  take  a  year  and  more  to  ride  from  one  end  of  it  to 
the  other.  And  here,  where  its  breadth  is  least,  it  takes 
a  month  to  cross  it.  'Tis  all  composed  of  hills  and  valleys 
of  sand,  and  not  a  thing  to  eat  is  to  be  found  on  it.  But 
after  riding  for  a  day  and  a  night  you  find  fresh  water, 
enough  mayhap  for  some  50  or  100  persons  with  their 
beasts,  but  not  for  more.  And  all  across  the  Desert  you 
will  find  water  in  like  manner,  that  is  to  say,  in  some  28 
places  altogether  you  will  find  good  water,  but  in  no  great 
quantity  ;  and  in  four  places  also  you  find  brackish  water.' 

Beasts  there  are  none  ;  for  there  is  nought  for  them  to 

Chap.  XXXIX.  THE  GREAT  DESERT.  l8l 

eat.  But  there  is  a  marvellous  thing  related  of  this  Desert, 
which  is  that  when  travellers  are  on  the  move  by  night, 
and  one  of  them  chances  to  lag  behind  or  to  fall  asleep  or 
the  like,  when  he  tries  to  gain  his  company  again  he  will 
hear  spirits  talking,  and  will  suppose  them  to  be  his  com- 
rades. Sometimes  the  spirits  will  call  him  by  name  ;  and 
thus  shall  a  traveller  ofttimes  be  led  astray  so  that  he  never 
finds  his  party.  And  in  this  way  many  have  perished. 
[Sometimes  the  stray  travellers  will  hear  as  it  were  the 
tramp  and  hum  of  a  great  cavalcade  of  people  away  from 
the  real  line  of  road,  and  taking  this  to  be  their  own  com- 
pany they  will  follow  the  sound ;  and  when  day  breaks 
they  find  that  a  cheat  has  been  put  on  them  and  that  they 
are  in  an  ill  plight.^]  Even  in  the  day  time  one  hears 
those  spirits  talking.  And  sometimes  you  shall  hear  the 
sound  of  a  variety  of  musical  instruments,  and  still  more 
commonly  the  sound  of  drums.  [Hence  in  making  this 
journey  'tis  customary  for  travellers  to  keep  close  together. 
All  the  animals  too  have  bells  at  their  necks,  so  that  they 
cannot  easily  get  astray.  And  at  sleeping  time  a  signal  is 
put  up  to  show  the  direction  of  the  next  march.] 
So  thus  it  is  that  the  Desert  is  crossed. 

Note  1. — It  is  difficult  to  reconcile  with  our  maps  the  statement 
of  a  30  days'  journey  across  the  Desert  from  Lop  to  Shachau.  Ritter's 
extracts  indeed  regarding  this  Desert  shew  that  the  constant  occurrence 
of  sandhills  and  deep  drifts  makes  the  passage  extremely  difficult  for 
carts  and  cattle  (III.  375).  But  I  suspect  that  there  is  some  material 
error  in  the  longitude  of  Lake  Lop  as  represented  in  our  maps,  and 
that  it  should  be  placed  considerably  more  to  the  westward  than  we 
find  it  therein.  By  Kiepert's  Map  of  Asia  Khotan  is  not  far  short  of 
600  miles  from  the  western  extremity  of  Lake  Lop.  By  Johnson's 
itinerary  (including  his  own  journey  to  Kiria)  it  is  only  338  miles  from 
llchi  to  Lob.  And  our  text  is  in  accordance  with  Johnson  for  that 
part  of  the  distance  that  we  can  compare  (assuming  my  identification  of 
Charchan  of  course). 

Note  2. — "  The  waste  and  desert  places  of  the  Earth  are,  so  to  speak, 
the  characters  which  sin  has  visibly  impressed  on  the  outward  creation  ; 

i82  MARCO  POLO.  Book  I. 

its  signs  and  symbols  there Out  of  a  true  feeling  of  this,  men 

have  ever  conceived  of  the  Wilderness  as  the  haunt  of  evil  spirits.  In 
the  old  Persian  religion  Ahriman  and  his  evil  Spirits  inhabit  the  steppes 
and  wastes  of  Turan,  to  the  north  of  the  happy  Iran,  which  stands 
under  the  dominion  of  Ormuzd  ;  exactly  as  with  the  Egyptians,  the  evil 
Typhon  is  the  Lord  of  the  Libyan  sand-wastes,  and  Osiris  of  the  fertile 
Egypt "  {ArcJibp.  Trench,  Studies  in  the  Gospels,  p.  7).  Terror  and  the 
seeming  absence  of  a  beneficent  Providence  are  surely  the  suggestions 
of  the  Desert  which  led  men  to  associate  it  with  evil  spirits,  rather  than 
the  figure  with  which  this  passage  begins ;  no  spontaneous  conception 
surely,  however  appropriate  as  a  moral  image. 

"  According  to  the  belief  of  the  nations  of  Central  Asia,"  says 
I.  J.  Schmidt,  "  the  earth  and  its  interior,  as  well  as  the  encompassing 
atmosphere,  are  filled  with  Spiritual  Beings,  which  exercise  an  influence 
partly  beneficent,  partly  malignant,  on  the  whole  of  organic  and  inorganic 
nature.  .  .  .  Especially  are  Deserts  and  other  wild  or  uninhabited 
tracts,  or  regions  in  which  the  influences  of  nature  are  displayed  on  a 
gigantic  and  terrible  scale,  regarded  as  the  chief  abode  or  rendezvous  of 
evil  Spirits.  .  .  .  And  hence  the  steppes  of  Turan,  and  in  particular  the 
great  sandy  Desert  of  Gobi  have  been  looked  on  as  the  dwelling-place 
of  malignant  beings,  from  days  of  hoar  antiquity." 

The  Chinese  historian  Matwanlin  informs  us  that  there  were  two 
roads  from  China  into  the  Uighur  country  (towards  Karashahr).  The 
longest  but  easiest  road  was  by  Kamul.  The  other  was  much  shorter, 
and  apparently  corresponded,  as  far  as  Lop,  to  that  described  in  this 
chapter.  "  By  this  you  have  to  cross  a  plain  of  sand,  extending  for  more 
than  100  leagues.  You  see  nothing  in  any  direction  but  the  sky  and 
the  sands,  without  the  slightest  trace  of  a  road;  and  travellers  find 
nothing  to  guide  them  but  the  bones  of  men  and  beasts,  and  the  drop- 
pings of  camels.  During  the  passage  of  this  wilderness  you  hear  sounds, 
sometimes  of  singing,  sometimes  of  wailing  ;  and  it  has  often  happened 
that  travellers  going  aside  to  see  what  those  sounds  might  be  have 
strayed  from  their  course  and  been  entirely  lost ;  for  they  were  voices  of 
spirits  and  goblins.  Tis  for  these  reasons  that  travellers  and  merchants 
often  prefer  the  much  longer  route  by  Kamul."     {Visdehni,  p.  139.) 

"  In  the  Desert "  (this  same  desert),  says  Fahian,  "  there  are  a  great 
many  evil  demons;  there  are  also  sirocco  winds,  which  kill  all  who 
encounter  them.  There  are  no  birds  or  beasts  to  be  seen ;  but  so  far  as 
the  eye  can  reach,  the  route  is  marked  out  by  the  bleached  bones  of 
men  who  have  perished  in  the  attempt  to  cross." 

Hwen  Thsang  in  his  passage  of  the  Desert,  both  outward  and  home- 
ward, speaks  of  visual  illusions  ;  such  as  visions  of  troops  marching  and 
halting,  with  gleaming  arms  and  waving  banners,  constantly  shifting, 
vanishing  and  reappearing,  "  imagery  created  by  demons."  A  voice 
behind  him  calls  "  Fear  not !  fear  not ! "  Troubled  by  these  fantasies  on 
one  occasion  he  prays  to  Kwanin  (a  Buddhist  divinity)  :  still  he  could 

Chap.  XXXIX.  THE  GREAT  DESERT.  183 

not  entirely  get  rid  of  them  ;  but  as  soon  as  he  had  pronounced  a  few  . 
words  from  the  Pmjna  (a  holy  book)  they  vanished  in  the  twinkling  of 
an  eye. 

These  goblins  are  not  peculiar  to  the  Gobi,  though  that  appears  to 
be  their  most  favoured  haunt.  The  awe  of  the  vast  and  solitary  Desert 
raises  them  in  all  similar  localities.  Pliny  speaks  of  the  phantoms  that 
appear  and  vanish  in  the  deserts  of  Africa  ;  Mas'udi  tells  of  the  Gktils, 
which  in  the  deserts  appear  to  travellers  by  night  and  in  lonely  hours ; 
the  traveller  taking  them  for  comrades  follows  and  is  led  astray.  But 
the  wise  revile  them  and  the  Ghills  vanish.  Thus  also  Apollonius  of 
Ty^ii^,  and  his  companions,  in  a  desert  near  the  Indus  by  moonlight,  see 
an  Empusa  or  Ghiil,  taking  many  forms.  They  revile  it,  and  it  goes  off 
uttering  shrill  cries.  Mas'udi  also  speaks  of  the  mysterious  voices  heard 
by  lone  wayfarers  in  the  Desert,  and  he  gives  a  rational  explanation  of 
them.  Ibn  Batuta  relates  a  like  legend  of  the  Western  Sahara  :  "  If  the 
messenger  be  solitary  the  demons  sport  with  him  and  fascinate  him,  so 
that  he  strays  from  his  course  and  perishes."  The  Atghan  and  Persian 
wildernesses  also  have  their  GhuI-i-Bedban  or  Goblin  of  the  Waste,  a 
gigantic  and  fearful  spectre  which  devours  travellers  ;  and  even  the  Gael 
of  the  West  Highlands  have  the  Dircach  Ghlimi  Eifid/i,  the  Desert 
Creature  of  Glen  Eiti  which,  one-handed,  one-eyed,  one-legged,  seems 
exactly  to  answer  to  the  Arabian  Nesnas  or  Eiupusa.  Nicolo  Conti  in 
the  Chaldaean  Desert  is  aroused  at  midnight  by  a  great  noise,  and  sees 
a  vast  multitude  pass  by.  The  merchants  tell  him  that  these  are  demons 
who  are  in  the  habit  of  traversing  these  deserts.  {Schnudfs  San.  Setzen, 
p.  352  ;  V.  efV.deH.T.  22,,  2?>,2^q;  Pliny,  VII.  2  ;  Fhilostratus,  Bk.  II. 
ch.  iv.  ;  /'/Wr/Vj'</'6'r,  III.  315,  324;  BeaPs  Fah-hian ;  CampbeWs  Popu- 
lar Tales  of  the  W.  Highlands,  IV.  326 ;  /.  ^.  IV.  382  ;  Elphin stone,  I. 
291  ;  Chodzkds  Pop.  Poetry  of  Persia,  p.  48  ;  Conti,  p.  4.) 

The  sound  of  musical  instruments,  chiefly  of  Drums,  is  a  pheno- 
menon of  another  class,  and  is  really  produced  in  certain  situations 
among  sandhills  when  the  sand  is  disturbed.  A  very  striking  account 
of  a  phenomenon  of  this  kind  regarded  as  supernatural  is  given  by  Friar 
Odoric,  whose  experience  I  fancy  I  have  traced  to  the  Reg  Rtiwdn  or 
"  Flowing  Sand  "  north  of  Kabul.  Besides  this  celebrated  example, 
which  has  been  described  also  by  the  Emperor  Baber,  I  have  noted  that 
equally  well-known  one  of  the  fibal  Nakus  or  "  Hill  of  the  Bell "  in  the 
Sinai  Desert ;  Wadi  Hamade  in  the  vicinity  of  the  same  Desert ;  the 
Jibal-ul-Thabi'il,  or  "  Hill  of  the  Drums,"  between  Meilina  and  Mecca  ; 
one  on  the  Island  of  Eigg  in  the  Hebrides,  discovered  by  Hugh  Miller; 
one  among  the  Medanos  or  Sandhills  of  Arequipa,  described  to  me  by 
Mr.  C.  Markham  ;  the  Bramador  or  rumbhng  mountain  of  Tarapaca ; 
one  in  hills  between  the  Ulba  and  the  Irtish  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Altai, 
called  the  Almanac  Hills,  because  the  sounds  are  supposed  to  prognos- 
ticate weather-changes  ;  and  a  remarkable  example  near  Kolberg  on  the 
sliore  of  Pomerania.  (See  Cathay,  p.  ccxliv,  156,  398;