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Full text of "The description of the world [translated and annotated by] A.C. Moule & Paul Pelliot"

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MARCO POLO 

THE DESCRIPTION 
OF THE WORLD 



A.C.MOULE & PAULPELLIOT 



I 



GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS LIMITED 
CARTER LANE LONDON MCMXXXVIII 



G 

I/. I 

(( l: £1133''. B 
95051P* 



Printed in Great Britain by 
B. J. Hall and Company Limited London 



Ilili PKhl'ACli 
TO Till- FIRST AND SHCONi:) VOLUMILS 

The sccc^iiJ voliinu' ncojs no iinology. It consists cntiri'Iy of ilu- L.iini text 
wliicli was unonitIu\i at I'oloJo, pliotogiapliCLi and linally printcJ, through the 
cntluisiasni ol Sir IVrcival nAVii). I his is liilly described in the Introduction. 
To serious students it will he a very great advantage to be able to place this 
remarkable text side by side with the Franco-Italian text(F), the Frenchfl'G^, and 
Ramusio's Italian translation(R), of all of which modern printed editions exist; 
and their gratitude to Sir Percival will be correspondingly great. They will also 
be very grateful to the Librarian at Toledo, Don Agustin Guisasola, for his 
invaluable help in the fmding and study of the manuscript, and rejoiced to hear 
that after living in hiding in peril of his lite tor seventeen months he was alive 
and well at the beginning ot this year and able to report that Marco Polo too 
was sate in his place in the Library. The second volume was published before 
the first, in January 1938; tormal leave to print the text having been kindly given 
by the Chapter ot the Metropolitan Church ot Toledo on 12 February 1934.^ 

The larger part ot the first volume is taken up by the English translation. 
This translation is an attempt to weave together all, or nearly all^ the extant words 
which have ever claimed to be Marco Polo, and to indicate the source from which 
each word comes. It has been the occupation ot my leisure hours for many years, 
and was begun with a very slender store of sources. Sources, through the kindness 
first of the Oxford Press and afterwards of Sir Percival David, have increased till 
at the last the work has been done with complete copies of seventeen texts. But 
the passing of time and the gradual accumulation of material were sure to cause, 
and have in fact caused, some inequality of treatment and some lack of uniformity; 
the tendency having been perhaps to be more careful to add the little ands and 
huts as time went on. In particular a great many small additions were at first 
attributed to Ramusio, which were really taken by him from earlier manuscript 
sources which are still available. In very many cases these attributions have been 
corrected in the process of revision, but probably not in all. 

The first attempt to make such a composite translation seems to have been 

1 Don A. Guisasola wrote to Sir Percival David on 7 March this year as follows: 'The 
Chapter dealt with Marco Polo at two sessions. At one it gave, at my request, authorization 
for making the photostats; and at another session it gave leave for the publication of the text, 
expressly authorizing you yourselves for this. And it has given no authori^tion to anyone else 
with regard to the manuscript." (Y a nadie mds concedio autori^cion relacionada con el manuscrito,^ 



Ramusio's own, as will be seen. Yule did something like it when he added 
passages from Ramusio to his version, marking the source by the use of square 
brackets. The more important additions to the standard text of F were collected 
with great completeness by Professor L. F. Benedetto in his edition of 1928; 
but they were not combined with the text of F, nor were they translated. The 
combination was done by Benedetto himself in his modern Italian version, and 
by the late A. Ricci's English translation of that (in the Broadway Travellers series, 
1931). In neither of these versions is there anything to show which words come 
from F and which are additions, and still less is there any indication of the 
sources ot the additions; while the additions themselves are in many cases really 
substitutions tor the original words of F. 

The present translation does then give the reader something new, — the first 
complete English version of F, and added to this all the important and a 
multitude of less important passages and words from other texts, all clearly 
distinguished by the use of italic letters; and finally the source of even the 
smallest word simply and conveniently shown in the margin. Some first beginning 
of critical notes has also been made, though it would have been foolish to 
attempt a complete methodical apparatus criticus which must probably have doubled 
the size of this volume without serving any useful purpose. 

My obligations to Professor Benedetto are very great; and the fact that 
my work on F was done and many ot my notes written before 1928 does not 
deprive him of the pioneer's honour. I was only proud to find, when his book 
appeared, how often we had come to the same conclusions, and if my debts to 
him are not by accident fully acknowledged in every case, I ask him here to 
accept my thanks for all the help which I have received from him. Apart from 
this help and from a few very valuable criticisms and corrections from Sir Percival, 
Professor Pelliot, and some other friends, my translation work has been done 
too much alone, and for its faults, which must consequently be many, I am alone 
to blame. 

With the Introduction it is different, and it would not have been worthy of 
publication at all but tor the vigorous criticism and correction which it has 
undergone at the hands of the same friends. If on some points my own view has 
been pertinaciously held, many others have been greatly changed, enlarged, and 
made better by these friends. The Introduction nevertheless makes no pretence 
to be complete. For many things the student must still go to Yule or Benedetto. 
But in the first three sections it deals in some detail with a few selected subjects, 
namely the family of Marco Polo, and his house, and some facts of his life and 
travels, about which more certain information is now to be had than was in Yule's 



Jny. I IiMc (lu* great Jibi is to (In- I.nc Cavalicrc Or Giovanni Orlandini of the 
Aitliivic) ili Stato at Venice, who has lione on his side as good work as BiiNf-nETTO 
has done loi ilu- ti'xi, and iii two small nainpldets has ilirown the work of his 
predecessors conipKuely into the shade. It is a great ph-asure too to acknowh'dgc, 
thoui^h he cannot now read the words, his personal courtesy and kindness to mc 
{n my work ai Venice, and to thank him and the stall of the Archivio for their 
untiring; help, lo our great dehghi the old man allowed himself to be photo- 
graphed in January 1935, sitting in his accustomed place in the Archivio, and 
seemed to he pleased with the thought that his portrait might appear in this 
book which owes so much 10 his learning (see vol. IV pl.zij. I am allowed to 
translate and combine some sentences from letters which his son Luigi wrote to 
Sir Pcrcival David on 18 April 1937 and 5 March 1938. "In reply to your 
request I tell you that he was born in Venice the 27th of October 1859 and died 
on the 27fh of January 1937 in his house in the Parish oi the SS. Aposcoli, in his 
little room, where he passed all his time in study in the midst of his manuscripts, 
with his notes which he had accumulated in fihy-two years of unwearied work, 
grieving to the last moment that he had been unable m his litetimc to realize his 
dream of being able to publish the fruits of his labour, that he might endow 
his children with a little with which to make their future secure. And another 
thought gave him extreme pain; to thmk that after him, if those notes of his 
should be lost, students in that ocean of documents which rest in his Archivio 
at the Frari would no longer be able to find that guide which would make all 
research easy. I tell you also that the simple funeral took place ui the parish 
Church of the SS. Apostoli in the presence of representatives of all the chief 
learned societies of Venice; on the bier no flower except a few from his children. 
Before he was placed on the funeral barge the Director of the Archivio, Com. 
Da Mosto, kindly said a few words giving a sketch of the whole of his studious 
life. Then he was carried to the Camposanto, to the place reserved for the 
Arciconfraternita di S. Cristoforo. When a stone is set up I think his name 
alone will be enough. I do not believe that I am misled by pride in thinking 
that no student will ever forget him." 

The short paragraphs on the spelling of proper names both in the translation 
and in the original text of F seemed to be required for the moment, but will be 
enlarged by the more learned and authoritative pen of Professor Pelliot when the 
third volume appears. It will easily be believed how very great a pleasure it 
has been to me to be associated with Pelliot in this work, and it would be 
mere impertinence of me to expatiate here on the value of his Notes on the Proper 
Names and Oriental Words which will fill 400 or 500 pages of the third volume 



and will of course be the most important contribution to the study of Marco 
Polo which this whole book will have to offer. 

The rest of this volume is occupied with Tables and Documents which may, 
it is hoped, save future students from waste of time and labour.^ Nor will some 
of the Documents, which include perhaps rather illogically the great printed 
Preface to Marco Polo by G.-B. Ramusio, be found to be without an independent 
interest of their own. 

Amongst the many other friends whose extraordinarily kind and learned help 
has made these volumes less unworthy than they otherwise must have been, a 
very high place must be given to the staff of the Warburg Institute, and most 
especially to the Director, Dr F. Saxl, and to Dr Gertrud Bing and Dr H. Meier, 
and through them to a multitude of Librarians and other scholars and photo- 
graphers personally unknown to me throughout Europe. For it is very much 
owing to their influence that the keepers of the libraries or archives in Berlin, 
Copenhagen, Ferrara, Florence, Milan, New York, Padua, Paris, Rome, Seville, 
Treviso, Venice, Vienna, and elsewhere have without exception kindly allowed 
us free use of the manuscripts and the documents in their care. In Venice too 
direct help was received from Dr Saxl and from his friends Drs H. Buchthal, 
R. Krautheimer, and O. Kurz. Help too has come unstintedly from the staffs of 
the British Museum, of the Cambridge University Library, and of the Library 
of Trinity College. I have to thank also my friend Professor Ellis H. Minns 
who has solved many problems in the reading and transcription of hard places in 
the manuscripts; and Mr A. D. Trendall and the Director of the British 
School at Rome for help there. 

Leave to reproduce the Frontispiece from a fine copy of the German edition 
of 1477 was kindlv given by the heirs of the late Charles Chadenat; while the 
engraving of Cardinal de Zelada, which forms the Frontispiece of the second 
volume, was supplied through the kindness of the Portriit-Sammlung of the 
Nationalbibliothek at Vienna. 

Sir Denison Ross has most kindlv contributed some valuable and interesting 
pages to the Introduction from the stores of his varied learning. And the 



1 It will be noticed that the List of Manuscripts does not include the modern transcript 
of the printed edition of 1477, made for Thomas Grenville at Vienna in 1817 and now 
in the British Museum (MS. Add. 3 3,755); nor that of the Portuguese edition of 1502, 
made some time after i860 and kept in the library of the Academia das Sciencias at Lisbon 
(Gab. no. 3, E.io, no. 3). Detailed descriptions of these will be found in Marsden's Intro- 
duction p. Ixxi, and in F. M. E. Pereira Marco Paulo, Lisbon, 1922, p. ix, respectively. 



8 



oxpcriciKC aiul jiiJgi'im-iu ol Mi I'.iiil.ix I Iai.i nrovcJ lo he of very great service 
111 ilu' iMilu'i' Slavics i>i till' printing. 

Aiul I nuisi not li)si' (liis DppiMiiinity, perhaps my last, of gratefully recording 
lu>u nuuli 1 owe io my brothers George \\\ I langchovv aiui I lenry at Damcrhain, 
whose love and learning and scliolarship have been at my service all through my 
life and in this work. My Wile has given mc great, if unspccialised, help. 

The debt which the book generally and I personally owe to Sir Percival David 
simply cannot be expressed. Not only has his generosity alone rendered the 
making and printing ot the book possible, bur from start to finish he has 
interested himself with enthusiasm in every detail large or small of the work. 
Every stage, whether of the collection and arrangement of the material or of the 
printing, has received his minute attention and his eager and invaluable advice; 
and that m spite of ill health and of other occupations of the magnitude, for 
example, of the direction of the Chinese Exhibition of 1935,36. That this is 
no exaggeration will be believed if I add that as many as four letters and a long 
message have reached me from Sir Percival in one day! 

And lastly I do not know how to thank enough Mr John Bunston and 
Mr S. G. Bradshaw whose great patience and extremely expert skill have been 
able to direct and to carry out an intricate and really troublesome piece of 
printing with conspicuous success. 

Cambridge, May 1938. A. CM. 



riii-: conH'Nis ov Tiir: i-irst volumb 

A I.ISI" Ol' ABBRi:VIAriONS 13 

11 Hi IN rKODUcnoN 



l.-THH HOUS1-: OV' POLO 

II. THll Lll'li AND IKAVliLS OF MARCO VOl.O . 
HI. nil- MANSION OV VHV POLO 1-AMILY . 

IV. hip: manuscripts and various siati-s ov 

THE Dl-SCRIPTION ()/ ////: WORLD 
V.-THE PRHSHN I rRANSLATION 



15 

zz 

35 

40 
53 



THE rilANSLA riON 

PREFACES .......... 59 

THE TABLE OF CHAPTERS 63 

CHAPTERS I TO 232 

THE PROLOGUE chapters I to 19 . . . . . 7 3 

ARMENIE TO ciANDU chapters 20 to 75 (Book I) . . 93 

THE DEEDS OF THE GREAT KAAN chapters 76 tO I04 

(Book II. I ) . . 192 

PULISANGHIN TO TOLOMAN chapters I05 tO 130 

(Book II. 2) . . 255 

CACANFU TO 9AITON chapters 131 to 157 (Book II. 3) . 301 

THE BOOK OF INDIE chapters 158 to 197 (Book III) . 354 

GREAT TURQUIE-ROSIE'THE BOOK OF BATTLES 

chapters 198 to 232 (Book IV) . 447 

ADDITIONAL NOTES 

I, — EXTRACTS FROM lACOPO d'aCQUI . . . . 49I 

II. — A TRANSLATION OF A PASSAGE FROM VB . . .494 

III. — ON CHAPTER 152 . . . . . . . 499 

A COMPARATIVE TABLE OF THE CHAPTER NUMBERS IN 

SEVEN EDITIONS OF MARCO POLO . . . .504 

A CLASSIFIED LIST OF THE MANUSCRIPTS . . .509 

DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE FAMILY • HOUSE • AND 

TOMB OF MARCO POLO 521 

1 1 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

MARCO POLO (from the first edition, 1477) • • • Frontispiece 

THE FAMILY OF POLO OF S. GIOVANNI GRISOSTOMO Facing 15 
THE FAMILY OF POLO OF S. GEREMIA . . . .18 

THE DISTRICT OF S. GIOVANNI GRISOSTOMO (showing the 

ancient Cha Polo drawn to scale on a modern plan) . . -36 

THE POLO FAMILY SHIELD (from a manuscript of 1424 in the 

Fitzwilliam Museum) . . . . • . • 5^ 



12 



A LIST OV ABBRliVIA riONS 



B. . 

B. . 

h. . 
d. . 

lol. . 

IIK . 
JA . 
JNCBRAS 
]RAS 
Or. . 
Pa . 
PN . 



I.iMi^i I\>scoI() Bi:ni;i)i;i It) 

L. I". I^i:ni;i)i;i ro, // Milionr, 1928. 

L. 1'. Bi;Ni:i)i:rro. Marco Polo, 1932. 

hunt a, or pt>riloli() 

Dociimcnr— in this volume pp. 521-595, or in Or.. 

lolit) or leal, ilic first page called recto (r°) and the second 

verso (v°). Sec also p. 59, note. 
P. 1 liRiH, W. W. Roc;khill, Chan Ju-kua, 1912. 
Journal Asiatique 

Journal of the North-China Branch oj the Royal Asiatic Society 
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 
G. Orlandini, "Marco Polo e la sua Famiglia", 1926. 
G. Pauthier, Marco Polo, 1865. 
P. Pelliot, " Notes on the Proper Names and Oriental 

Words " in Vol. Ill below 
A. Ricci, E. D. Ross, Marco Polo, 1931. 

\Recueil de Voyages et dc Memoires I., 1824, Societe de Geographic 
I (text of F) 

T'oung Pao 

A. Van den Wyngaert, Sinica Franciscana I, 1929. 

Henry Yule 

H. Yule, H. Cordier, Marco Polo, 1903. 

H. Yule, H. Cordier, Cathay and the Way Thither, 1913-16. 

Yuan shih, ed. 1908. 

For the index letters denoting the various manuscripts see the List of the 
Manuscripts, p. 509. 



AA. . 

Roux, Roux 

(1824), Ed. 1824, 

1824 

TP 

Wy 

Y. 

r. 

Y\ 
YS 

Note. 



13 



rHi; I-AMILY Ol- POLO Ol- SAN GIOVANNI GRISOSTOMO 



. Arvdrn of San Fcticr 




2- Mjtco s= 
ft.tiSo 
rd.i.2.14) 



6- Nicolu 
1(1.1,6.1). 14) 



7 Martiihi 



dcgii Amici 



1 

8- Agnuiiu^?^ 



[— 1 



9 , Antonio 

(d.1) 



3.N1C0UU = i't:. 

tHi)oo tM-litig 
(il.1.6) (p.tl) 



~(a)FiardAlui Tmruan 
+ fcf.Hw 



lo. MiK = 
K*.i2Sj 
t Mi4 
(d.l.6,i8.69,ttc.) 



(d.9,J9,)6> 



M»u] 



4. Mafni - M«nhi - 
♦ i.ilio t(*f.i|i*i 



ft dan 
d. 1,6.18) 



I I , Matfeo 

t*«/iJio 

'd.i.s.6) 



19. I'lOIxIllltJ 



t MU 

tJ.J.6.i4,jS 



I 3 ' Oioriamno 



•16.11 



id. 1,6) 



1 4 . AutM . M« 
tO>r.i|ei 

(A 1.6) 



(•llJ.tlb.6l 






-U>lphtnrlli 



J 3 . AnArt 
J 4«. 11.0 1 



f - 35. 

\d I J) (iLu) 



I 5 . Marco - (1) Maria = (a) Beta = ( )) B«a Marcfllo 
(Marcolino) + fc^.tJ4( + i}48-J0 (d.70,71) 

(d.6.i4.ii.57.68.7o) ld.70.49j ld-50.i7) 



16. Faniina ~ Marco Bragaijin 
t > J7S-1 i8o + Mjji {60-Ufy 1 (6i 
(d.6,l8,7i.74l td.)s,64,67.69^ 



26 NkoIcio - Agnniiu 
id M.i7 id-*o. 



27 Mithalno - Oitiina 
•flrT I f 68 i^ ^ A>r« 
d. 57.70, d.so 



jK. Andfioloi; ' 



2g. MatTu. 

iOti.iiir-MnnU 

Cd.(7.7<.76 



I 

30. Mm, — (i^Co.Bon 
(Manna) (<LI°i 

JiwSii».i4J7 



4.75,76,86,91 



1 r 1 

^cDunjiu ^1 1 . Girubclb 1 J . A^itciifu » Scr da Llgo 

I'd-SV " 'd.son.s7) :d-i(.7J,7i) 



1 7 , BellfU = Brrrticoo Quir 



I 8 M..r,i. 
id,ia.l9.5i.711 



, I ^ Ranuzyo Oollin - ,; 
+ 'U6-*7« IH7 



; TanuM* CfaJonKU 
■1,111 



33,Zan.„, 

+ V17S 

fd,7i) 



34, bielfjno » (i)Maj[JaltJMConnreni - ; ;i)Nicol«, JJ.Pirtro, 



(d,7«"l 



a.AaoTnrii 

Ci*7,91/ 



40, Mara> • 
t fcf Jlf. H17 

fd,76.S6,Ui 



Motmni 
IT. 1408 

(d,«l, 



. (a) Agnnina Gimli^ 
n,,W,.4io 
^d,96,8Si 



1 

4,l,N.(olo 

+ 1./HI" 
ld,76,e6) 



4 3 , FranciKino 44 , Pinro 
+ I./M1,, +t./.i4io +I./HI0 



! , Doitato 



^d,76,86j 



(d,76.86) (d.76.86., 



45 Cn.nre 

d,76j 



I 
46 , Zan<ia 
+ ",1461 
(d,76,86,91,9),94> 



(d-t) 



j6. S'lcolfio 
(.166.7a) 



3 7 Mtfu - 
Wiwi|7f I 
d.ii.7ai| 



38 Cjinuccu - 
Jim 1 180 

id74) 



50. FfancncKo 

id.;,, 



$ I . Faruino 
'd.74.1 



Ji Antlnolu(^0 



Ru/icr Corner 

+ (*/.i4ja 

(d. 8 1. 86.9 1) 



e "5 . Francficho 
inUtifJ) 
(d.W) 



54, Maf,o 

d Qt.U4 



MritmONAt 


IXXlMfcS'IS 1 


BnM (tw. M. 84 4 lunr 1 149 | 


; 


l!|<M lt8i 


• 


lu 1 fol 4. i8M«t Mc< 



I 1 1 1 

56. Roger 57.Maric(a 58.CaMandra 59.CorncIu 

^A^) (d.94) (d-94. d.94; 



' I 

4 7 . CaicTucia 4 8 . Ma^Iucia 

■d.*; id.I/ 



lacoboMicKael 
d^4, 



60.N1C0I0 

fd.94. 



6 1 . Paulo 

'd.94J 



,V<( 


1 r\,cr Paulin. 


Li - FiorJjIiu Trrviun 
1 di.6«.i.vi4.|8 


r 

t nti 

id-to-H 

0«t.M-r«.| 0. |- 4 


1 

iGraJonico AruhrM ' 

\ .t.»hl„r.i .!,j, 1,!,,, ... 



ri II' iNrRonucTiON 



I. TUl-: IIOUSI' 0\' l>OLO 

OF THI- FAMILY or MARCO POI.O I.ITri.E- IS KNOWN, AND THAI LITFLFi WILL 
be loiind convcMiicMitiy set o{.n iii ilie accompanying genealogical tree, 
where references to tlie contemporary documents are given.' Ramusio 
believed iliat Marco Polo's grandlather was called Andrea. I le writes, " Having 
seen many instruments & very ancient papers about the division of property 
between their heirs ot the said house in the Corte del Millioni, which have been 
shown me as genuine by those who after so many years are now come by reason 
of succession to the possession of that property, I (ind that Master Andrea Polo 
of San Felice, an honoured gentleman, had three sons, the hrst of whom was 
Master Marco, the second Mafio, the third Nicolo. These two last were those 
who went to Constantinople hrst and then to Catai, as is seen. And Master 
Marco being come the first to death, the wife of Master Nicolo . . . , in order to 
renew the memory of the dead, gave the name Marco to the son who was born, 
who is the author of this book.""" It seems, however, that modern research has 
failed to hnd any early document which mentions Andrea of San Felice, while 
on the other hand the elder Marco must have been alive in 1295, if he had a 
share in the purchase of the family house in the ward of S. Giovanni Grisostomo ; 
and his will made in 1280 is extant.^ Two or three times in this will his brothers 

^ Seventy-five or more documents, for the most part found and first published by the late 
Prof. G. Orlandini in " Marco Polo e la sua Famiglia ", in Archivio Veneto-Tridentim, Vol. 
IX, 1926, pp. 1-68. This valuable article is referred to as Or., and the numbered documents 
which are printed there complete or in summary are referred to as d. followed by the 
appropriate number. Supplementary documents, also found by Prof. Orlandini, are printed 
by his kind leave in this volume, pp. 521-595^ and are referred to in the same way, and if a 
page number is added it refers (unless otherwise stated) to a page in this volume. 

2 G.-B. Ramusio Nauigationi et Viaggi Vol. II. 1559, ^^^^' ^^1- ^^°- ^' 95 ?• 5^7- The 
first part of this sentence (Having . . . that property,) was omitted in the later editions. 
Like other documents used by Ramusio these instruments and papers have disappeared. 
CicoGNA Inscri^. Vem^. II. p. 389 : Che Andrea Polo fosse da san Felice lo attestano tutte 
le Genealogie. But he gives no reference, and no better authority has been found. 

' Or. p. 17 (2), d. 14. The date of the purchase does not seem to have been exactly found. 
In 1280 Marco senior and his sister-in-law were living in S. Severo (d.l). It is certain that 
Nicolo senior and Maffeo had shares in the S. Gio. Grisostomo property, and it may be fairly 
inferred that the house had been bought or built between their return from Catai about 1295 
and the death of Nicolo before August 1300 (dd. 2, 6). But at the risk of disagreeing with 

Orlandini 

15 



POLO GENEALOGY AS DESCRIBED BY RAMUSIO f^MARCO POLO 
are mentioned in the order in which they almost invariably appear in the younger 
Marco's book, Nicolo and MafFeo. There is no real evidence to show whether 
Marco was the first, second, or third of the brothers. Ramusio then was certainly 
mistaken about the date of the elder Marco's death, probably about the seniority of 
MafFeo and Nicolo, and possibly about the existence or relationship of Andrea of 
San Felice. He was perhaps rather more happy at the other end of the family tree. 
He continues, "And of the brothers who were born after the second marriage of 
his father, that is, Stefano, Zuanne, and Mafio, I do not find that the others had 
children but only Mafio, who had five sons and one daughter named Maria, who, 
when the brothers died without children, inherited in 1417 all the property of her 
father and brothers, having been honourably married to Master Azzo Trevisano 
of the ward of San Stai of this city. . . . This is the course of this noble and 
honoured family of the House of Polo, which lasted till the year of our salvation 
1417, when, Marco Polo the last of the five sons of Mafio of whom we have 
spoken above being dead without any son, it was quite extinct."^ The 

Orlandini (Or. pp. 2, 17) I doubt whether it may be as fairly inferred that the elder Marco 
had shared with his brothers in the purchase. The one supposed indication chat he may have 
survived the illness which caused him to make his will in 1280 (d. i) and had so shared is the 
phrase Nkolaus Paulo Jilius condam tnarci Paulo de conjinio sancti Johannis grisostomi (d. 14, p. 537). 
This phrase is obviously ambiguous, as are the majority of similar phrases which will be found 
in the Documents; and the important thing in this case (d.14) was to define the position of 
Nicolo's, not of Marco's, property. Among examples which are not ambiguous are, tnarci paulo 
Jratris mathei paulo dejundi (d. 6), where it is Matheus who was dead; blaxius paulino jilius 
nicolai paulino clericus (d. 28a), where Blaxius is the clerk; and Mapheus paulo condam dom. Marci 
paulo de conjinio sancti Angeli (d. 70), where the locality is probably that of Mapheus. We may 
not therefore say positively that the elder Marco is described as de conjinio sancti Johannis 
grisostomi. Furthermore, Maffeo says that of the twenty-four parts of the property four and a 
half, or less than one fifth, belonged to his nephew Nicolo, while the remainder was equally 
divided between liimself and his nephew Marco, carefully adding that the latter with his 
brother (then dead) had inherited from their father Nicolo the elder — que eis remansit a 
predicto Nicolao paulo olimjratre meo (d.6,p. 533). This suggests that the house was first owned 
by the two brothers Nicolo and Maffeo and their nephew Nicolo in the proportions roughly 
speaking of 2 : 2 : i. There seems to be no evidence to show whether the house was bought 
or built. Ramusio makes the travellers go straight to their old home in S. Gio. Grisostomo, 
while Barbaro says that they built the house witli their new wealth. Neither statement has 
any known documentary support. Some connexion between the family and the church of 
S. Felice may possibly be inferred from the signatures appended to dd. 2 (p. 527) and 6 (p. 536). 
1 Ramusio ibidem : d. 95, p. 588. For the dependence of Barbaro on Ramusio see the 
following note and the Article in volume TIL The descent supplied by Ramusio to Barbaro 

(see 

16 



nil' ni-scKinic^N oi- riii-: wori.d'^ cAsiiii.LANO Ar vi:rc)na 

misiakts m ilus passago will lot ilu- most p.iii In- iii.kIi" clear lu' rrlcrcncc to ihc 
genealogical nee, Inn a moir Jeiailed note is i(t|iiired (or the last Marco, who 
c^ie^.^ in 1417. lixcept lor ilie coiiliision ol Mafleo, l>rotlur ol ilu- traveller, with 
a Malleo ol iwo generations laiii, Ramusio's account of Marco and Maria is 
correct ; Inn ^'iii.i:, relying on Marco Bakhauo's Veiuiian Genealogies, aJJeil 
tliai Marco " Jieci Castellano ol Verona".' It seems Iroin certain Venetian inanii- 
scriprs in the British Museum and at Venice to be clear that one Marco, or Mann, 
who died m or about the year 1417 was indeed Warden of the Old Castle at Verona, 
but; as YiJLi- himself suspected, was not of the S. Giovanni Grisostomo branch 
of the lamily. A manuscript oi about 1600 savs, " Polo : these came from 
Dalmatia. Ihey were excellent men and wise, and for the good conduct of Scr 
Nicolo Polio ol San Gercmia in the war of Chio/a against the Genoese in the 
year 1381 he was made of the Council. And this house was extinct from the year 
1415 in one Master Marin Polio who was Castellano at Verona."^ This is con- 
firmed by a similar manuscript of slightly later date and by a far earlier one written 

(see pi. 50) is really much better than that vvliich he gives in his Preface, for Barbaro gives 
Nicolo.-Marco.-Maffio, -Marco correctly, but unfortunately took Nicolo to be the traveller 
instead of the traveller's nephew Nicolo minor. 

* Y. I. p. 76. Barbaro, Vienna Staatsbibliothek cod. 6156, fol. 338VO : Marco Costui Ju 
I'ultitm qual mori del 1^18 essendo Castellan di Verona. But Barbaro says that he owes his 
Polo genealogy to Ramusio : Fatto questa descendentia con scritture con la diligentia di Zuanbatt" 
Ramusio secrcttario del Conseglio di x. He dates his Polo genealogy 1566, nine years after 
Ramusio's death, and the Vienna MS. has been regarded as the original autograph. But 
it seems that the volumes marked 6155, 6156 are written in another hand, while the real 
autograph is still preserved at Treviso (pi. 49, 50). See the Article in volume III. 

- Reg. 14 A. IX A. fol. 6irO: Polo questi ueneno de dalmatia fur no homini ottime &■ sapienti, & per 
li buoni portamenti che Jece Ser nicolo polio da san gieretnia alia guera di chio^ contra gienoesi del anno 
l^Si Ju Jatto del conseglio & manco questa casada del anno 141 j in uno messer marin polio esendo 
castelano a uerona. cf. B.M. Add. 18659 fol. 68ro : Polio questi uene de Dalmatia Jo boni, e 
sapienti homini, e per i boni portamenti alia guerra di Zenoueti Jo Jatto del Cons° Ser Nicolo Polio da 
S. jereinia del 1^81 : manco questa Casada in ser Marin polio siando Chastelan a Verona del 1418. 
A Marco Polo of S. Gereniia is mentioned in 1224 (Venice, Archivio, Liber plegiorum fol. 3, 5, 
27), but it is nor till the middle of the 14th centur)- that anything like a genealogy can be 
made up from the documents noted by Orlandini. And then we are met by a difficulty which 
has not been solved. It will be seen from the genealogical tree that lacobo, Marino, Donato, 
and Hermolao are given as the sons of Pietro Polo in 1341, and no other brother is named. 
Hermolao died in 1348 or 1349, and in 1349 (d. 57a) the three surviving brothers speak of his 
son Nicoleto, defining him as son of their late brother Hermolao. In the same document they 
speak of another nephew Nicolo and niece Agnesina, without specifying their parents. They 

say 

17 



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I HI-: i)i:s(:i<ii>i ic^N c^i" iiii; worlds voi.o ov san (ii:Ri:MiA 

ahoiit 14S0 1)1 i4(u). I In- I.uici says, " Polo : Ilicsc canu* anciriuly from 
Dalmati.i ; .nu] (or tlic v^ooJ coiuiiut ol Mastn Nicolo Polo 111 ilif Genoese war 
ol 1^81 tlicy were made ol ilu- Grand ("oimcil. I he saiil house was extmci m 
the lime ol Master Marcho Polo, who was C^astellano at Verona, m 1418. Note 
that alter this Master Marcho changed the arms he bore that with the bend a/.iirc 
and the pclc below and above. And \'et it is one same house."' The traveller's 
brandi ol the tamily is understood to h.ne Ihiii enno[>led long belore 1^81 ami 
t!ie\' are called nobles (tiohilrs viri or itohili huoiniiii^ through the lourrcenth and 
at the beginning ol the liliecnth century.* But there appears to be no quite 

say that Agnesina had inherited property from Marco Polo, but do not call him her father or 
their brother. Yet it is likely that this Nicolo was son of a Marco fd. i8c, 57a p. 5 5 3) and 
certain that Agnesina was daugluer ol Marco of S. Gereniia and Lucia his wife (d. 55a, B), 
and this Marco's extant will (d. B) mentions also his mother Caterina ^perhaps the same 
as in d. 1 8b, thoui^h no child is there named) and his brother Nicolcto. Whctlier this Marco's 
father had been a hali-brother ol lacomo and the others, or in what other way his brother 
and daughter were their nephew and niece I do not know. 

The documentary evidence relating to Marco the Castellano at Verona is unsatisfactory, and 
his place in the family is conjectural. The Venetian family histories, of which some have been 
quoted, seem to be unanimous in connecting him closely with Nicolo of S. Geremia, en- 
nobled in 1381, and in sa)-ing that the family was extinct with his death in or about 1418. 
Bartolomco, who was about sixteen years old in 1414, may have died before 1418. 

* Add. 12475 fol. 3IV0 : Polo quest i veneron antigamente de dalmatia e per lo bon portamento Jece 
misr tuc" polo a laguera de Jenouexi del 1^81 Jurtw Jatti del gran Consegio mancho la dita chaxada in 
tenpo di miser marcho polo siando chastelan a verona del 1^18. nota che da poi questo miser marcho mudo 
lanna portaua quela con la sbara asura et le pole de soto & de sora. e tuti e vna chaxada medema. 
Marino Sanudo (Mur. Rerum Ital. Script. XXII. p. 426) writes to the same effect in 1522. 
Or. p. 1 note 2, shows that Dalmatia is supported by no document. 

* Cf. G. A. Cappellari // Campidoglio Veneto, c. 1710 (Venice, Bib. Marciana, cod. 8306, 
vol. III.) : Si come e dacredere, che si nominassero anco dal Duce Paolo i Poli che hebbe le sue habitationi 
nella Contrada di S. Ceremia, et al chiudere del Gran Consiglio, proub la disgratia di rimanere esclusa 
dallo stesso, mh in parte ui Ju. poi riassunta I'anno.i^Si.por la guerra de' Genouesi ; . . . Nicolo Polo 
da s. Geremia, figliuolo di Almoro, essendo nauigante osia Patron di Naui, nella periculosa guerra di 
Chicggia con li Genouesi serui la Republica, con un Jamiglio per sei mesi a tutte sue spese, sopra il lido; 
dono liberamente tutti li suoi imprestidi Jatti, e dajarsi, sino a guerra Jinita ; offerendosi di andare sopra 
I'armata, con due Jamigli a tutte sue spese, et di pagare per due mesi otto Balestrieri, a Ducat i otto per 
cadauno al mese, come pure. ij.huomini da remo per un mese, alia paga della Signoria, onde hallotato in 
senato l'anno.i^8i.Ju riceuuto al Consiglio, con .60. uoti pro et .24. contro. But both these places 
seem to refer to the S. Geremia branch only. Marcus PauIIo occurs several times in the Minute 
Books of the Grand Council in the last years of the 13th century, both as a witness and as a 
member of the cancellation committee, but it has not been possible to identify him. (pi. 9.) 

It 

19 



THE FINAL EXTINCTION OF THE POLO FAMILY ^MARCO POLO 
indisputable evidence thac any member of the Polo family was on the Grand 
Council before the election of Nicolo of S. Geremia in 1381. However this may 
be, Ramusio himself does not mention the castellano of Verona, and the fact is 
that two men of the name of Marco Polo died about the year 1418. From the 
genealogical trees and from the documents to which reference is there made it will 
be seen that the last man (Marco Polo) of the S. Giovanni Grisostomo line died 
early in the fifteenth century,^ while his sisters survived till at least 1457 and 1461 
respectively in full possession of their faculties. The interest of this lies in the 
fact that it makes it possible that Ramusio, who reached Venice before 1500, had 
heard Polo stories from old persons who in turn had heard them direct from these 
last survivors of the family." 

The last passage quoted above introduced the subject of the arms of the Polo 
family, and about this too Ramusio has something special to say. " The arms of 
the family (that not even this thing may be passed in silence), by that which is 
seen carved on this tomb,' are a bend with three birds upon it, the colours of 
which, according to certain books of ancient histories in which all the arms of 
the gentlemen of this noble city are seen emblazoned, are the field azure, the 
bend argent, and the three birds sable, which are that sort of birds which are 
here vulgarly called pole^ named by Latins graculi. This is the true shield of 
these most noble gentlemen, which I have wished to say to the end that, since 
many other nobles who many years later have had themselves called members of 
the House of Polo have taken different arms (with indeed the same sort of birds, 
but in other arrangement and colours), it may be known for all time from this 

It has been thought that members of the cancellation committee were always members of the 
Council and therefore nobles, but a minute of 21 August 1287 specifies et possint accipi de omni 
loco exceptis consiliariis judicihus proprii et petitionum et advocatoribus communis. M.C. Zaneta fol. 
32vO (CO.). The exception is not repeated on 27 June 1301. cf. M.C. Luna reg. 12 fol. ^ov°; 
Pilosus fol. 59v°; Zaneta fol. 35, 42, 64, 86 (?); Magnus fol. 15V0, (G.O.). For the use of the 
title " noble " see dd. 4, 50, 75, 86, 88, 90, 91, 92. (pi- 7, 8.) 

^ He was dead some time before 29 May 1417, d. 92. 

2 None of the large number of Venetian genealogies which we have been able to consult 
seems explicitly to recognize more than one family of Polo, namely the " Poli di Dalmazia " 
as Marino Sanudo the younger calls them. But the earliest which has been seen is dated 
1423, when both branches of the family were already extinct in the male line. 

^ The tomb of Nicolo the traveller m the porch of the old Church of S. Lorenzo ; see 
p. 30. 



20 



mi' r)i:sc:i(ii>iioN o\- \\\\[ wori.d^ rni; ikuI' i>olc) siiii.i.i) 

our .iccDimi what w.is ilu inic l>.ulv^c of ihcsc lioiioiircil aiui vnli.iiit gcntlciucn,"' 
Ramusio is very niiph.uic .iIhmh ihis shicKI .iiul ilioii^li, as has hccn seen, his 
mloiiiiai u)ii IS lux always exaci 1 Iiavc fomui no reason ro dispute it in this case. 
I 111' anus cjiiotoj on p. ig n. i just above (|flrg^Nf?] between four pole two ami two 
I sahli' ] a bond a^urc) were those of the S. Gerenua branch early in the fifteenth century. 
With the arrangement which, when Kamusio wrote in 155^, was still visible on the 
shield said to have been set up by Marco Polo hinisell on his father's tomb c. 1300, 
tv\o blazons diflcrcnt Irom that given by Ramusio arc found, namely ^ules on a 
bend or three pole sahlc,' and the same with the l>(.'iid ardent. ^ There is, however, 
nothing, as hir as 1 know, to show that these shields with the field gules even 
profess to be those ot the San Giovanni Grisostomo branch of the family \n the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The birds pole may be, as Yule thought, 
jackdaws, but arc perhaps more probably choughs, especially as they are sometimes 
shown or described with red legs and beaks.* 

^Ramusio Navig. et Vii^ggi, II. 1559, P^^f- ^ol- 7^'°- d. 95, p. 587. 
In the second (1574) and later editions the words accio che . . . cassone and Quest a e la ... si 
conosca were omitted. The second passage may have given offence to the " many other 
nobles " ; bur the omission of the first sentence in 1574 is strange, since the Churcii of 
S. Lorenzo was not destroyed till after 1590. 

^ Fitzwilliam Museum, MS. 301, dated i Feb. 1423/4; M. Barbaro as above on p. 17 
note I. Dr H. Buchthal thinks that in spite of the absence of direct proof this shield 
is very possibly correct, especially because Ramusio's blazon appears in none of the early 
books of genealogy or heraldry, of which he has consulted more than two hundred. The 
two references to the arms in the inventory (d. 69) make it clear that the Polo family had 
a shield early in the 14th century. 

^ Venice, Archivio di Stato, Coll. Misc. 925, fol. 226. Other forms are or between four pole 
sable a bend a^re, and argent three pole, two and one, sable beaked gules (^Y., I, pp. 7, 6), etc.. 

* Brit. Mus. Kings 150, 3, fol. 252VO (arms of Pollini, a family which may have been related 
to Polo — cf. dd. 2, 6a, i8fl) ; Y. I. p. 8. Polio (as the family name was very often written) 
means a chicken, or the )"Oung of any animal or bird. One elderly gentleman at Venice in 
1934 was familiar with the name pola, but described a black and yellow water or wading 
bird ; and one of the attendants in the Natural History Museum in the Fondego dei Turchi 
at Venice professed to know the name as applied to the chough ; but the evidence that the 
name pola really survived or was understood in Venice seemed to be unsatisfactor)^ The 
pola is said in Boerio's Venetian Dictionary to be the same as tacola or jackdaw (monedulay, 
in Italian dictionaries to be mulacchia or cornacchia. cf. Aristotle De An. Hist., I (=9). 24 
(ed. Teubner p. 381); Dante Paradiso, XXI. 34-39. 



21 



THE DEPARTURE OF NICOLO & MAFFEO POLO ^MARCO POLO 

IL THE LIFE AND TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO 

" In the year from the incarnation of the Lord i252[two]nobIe and honour- 
able and prudent brothers, inhabitants of the famous city of the Venetiae, went 
up by common consent in the harbour ot the Venetiae into their own ship which 
was loaded with riches and merchandise, and, with a fair wind blowing, by God's 
guidance reached Constantinople."^ So began a journey which was to last for 
fifteen or sixteen years. The two brothers, Nicolo and Maffeo Polo, went first to 
Constantinople where perhaps they may already have had a business house in 
charge of the third brother Marco, who in his will (dated at Venice on 27 August 
1280) describes himself as " formerly of Constantinople ",^ Having spent " a 
short time ", which may have been several years, at Constantinople, they pro- 
ceeded to Soldaia in the Crimea where too, in 1280 at any rate, the family had 
a business house. All that is known of this first journey is told us in the Prologue 
to the book itself and need not be anticipated here. But neither the dates nor 
the facts there related can be accepted without some caution. Between the start 
from Constantinople and the return to Venice eight or nine years of travel or of 
delays are mentioned in the narrative. The one date which may be accepted with 
confidence is the return to Acre in 1269, and there seems to be no reason to doubt 
that it was in April. Then, taking the statements as they stand, the brothers 
must have left Qubilai's capital early in 1266, and must have left Bukhara outward 
bound in the early spring of 1265 if not in 1264 or earlier. If they really stayed 
three years at Bukhara they cannot have reached it later than 1262. " King of 
it was one who had the name Barac." (p. 76). But modern authorities tell us 

1 P'* (Brit. Mus. Reg. 14 C. xiil 7.) fol. 226 (237)rO. The original reads anno tncc.lij.nohiles 
. . . germani. It seems to be likely that ij has dropped out between mcc.lij. and nohiles, and 
that the almost universal but impossible 1250 of the shorter forms of the sentence (in F, 
FG, TA, &c.) is a false correction of the resultant mcc.lij. nohiles. P'* actually reads m°cc°.l°. 
duo nohiles . . . germani and VB' nel izjo do nohel . . . Jradellj. In any case no manuscript 
that I know of says that the brothers left Constantinople at this date, and there is no reason 
to change 1250 to 1255 (Pauthier) or 1260 (YuLE, Benedetto, &c.) ; though, in vitv/ of 
what we are told about Marco's birth, 1253 would be preferable to 1252 for the year in which 
liis father left Venice, for, as will be seen on p. 81, Marco is said to have been fifteen years 
old in 1269 so that he must have been born in 1254. The suggestion (Encycl. Brit, iithed. 
XXII p. 7c.) that Nicolo's wife was with him at Constantinople is contradicted by the 
manuscripts LT and VA. See pp.74, 81 below. 

2 Or. d.i: condam de const ant inopoli nunc hahitator in conjinio sancti seueri. See p. 523. 



22 



THii ni'SCRipriON ov vwv. woRi.n^ rni ir ri:iui<n lu a(j<i-. 

rli.u Wm.xc began his rciv;M m 1266.' Marco Polo was doi iIutc liiiu'.cll, an^l it 
is ix>ssil>lo tliai i!u- name ol ilu- iiilcr whom the tiavcIK'rs saw in 1267 was irans- 
Icrrcd by nustakr 10 ilio oarhrr nimi . Ihorc is one other small point which is 
c\c,\r. Not the year, hut the time o{ year at which the lirothcrs reached the 
Mon^^ol court tlie secoiul time is shown hy the (act tliat tliey (oiinJ ir \n the 
Summer Palace at Shang-tii, and Marco Polo himsell is carclul to give the approxi- 
mate dates ol the annual migrations to and Irom Shang-tu in chapter 95. 

That the two brothers reiiirned to Acre m April 1269 and thence went on 
to Venice is probably true, but the story is not without dilhcuhy. I'or, having 
learnt at Acre that " the Apostle who had Clement III! lor name was lately (z<) 
November 1268) dead, . . . they went to a learned clerk who . . . was named 
Theobald ot the Visconti oi Placentia " (p. 80). But as long ago as 1651 P. M. 
Campi remarked that contemporary writers agree in declaring that Theobald was 
not in Syria at all in 1269, and did not indeed leave Brindisi for the Holy Land 
until alter he had heard ot the death on 25 August 1270, of St Louis, nor reach 
Acre till after the arrival there near the end of April 1271 of Prince Edward, to 
whose retinue he was attached. The authorities quoted in the note below, including 
those on whom Campi seems to have relied, do not really say where Theobald was 
in April 1269, nor that he was not in Syria ; but yet they must be allowed to 
make it unlikely that he was there when the two brothers came.* 

* S. L. Poole The Mohammadan Dynasties, 1894, p. 242. Baraq seems to have reigned from 
1266 to 1270. The war between Barkii and Hulagii began in August 1262, and was con- 
tinued in 1263 (wiien there was a massacre in Bukhara) and 1264. Hiilagii died on 8 
February 1265. cf. d'OHSSON Hist, des Mongols III. pp. 380 sqq.. 

2 P. M. Campi Dell'Historia Ecclesiastica di Piacen^ Part IL 1651, p. 233, referring to 
ClACCONE and to the Vita di Gregorio X. The latter, written c. 1290, is found in Muratori 
Rerum Ital. Script, tom. IIL 1723. p. 6oia : Denique instance ultramarini passagii termino 
(Theobald seems to have taken the Cross early in 1265), ciam dictus Rex Francis jam se 
parasset ad iter, ipse Archidiaconus per Italiam pervenic Brundisium ; & ciam ex itmere 
fatigatus morani quietis ibi contraheret, de mor[t]e ejusdem Regis, in obsidione tunc 
civitatis Tunicii persistentis certitudine habita, & veritate comperta ; infremuit spiritu, & 
vehementer turbatus est in se ipso. Ne tamen propter hoc divinis subduceretur obsequiis, 
& votum ejus existeret non completum ; discedens de Brundisio, & maris periculis intrepidus 
se exponens, cum omni prosperitate, & gaudio Achon applicuit, ubi tam dictus Odoardus, 
quam soror ejus Beatrix, Comitissa Britannia, de ipsius desiderate adventu non modicum 
sunt gavisi. 

A. G. TONONI Rela^ioni di Tedaldo Visconti colV Inghilterra ajg-izyi, 1904, p. 6 : Tra lui 
e il santo re di Francia Luigi IX ci fu la piu grande intrinsechezza a segno che Tedaldo 

Visconti 

^3 



THE DATE WHEN THEOBALD ARRIVED IN ACRE ^MARCO POLO 
We need not, however, follow Campi in the seventeenth or Langlois in the 

Visconti con atto pubblico data a Parigi 28 dicembre 1269 deponeva nelle mani di S. Luigi 
la somma di 24 marchi d'oro per averla oltramare, &c.. With refs. Vita Greg. p. dec. in Campi 
Hist. Ecc. di Piac. II. 344 ; Biblioth. de I'Ecole des Chartes xix an. T. IV. ser. IV. 1858, 
pp. 285, 286. 

POTTHAST Reg. Pont. Rom. II. 1875, p. 1651 : Ottobonum Fliscum ... a Clemente IV 
in Angliam missum legatum secutus est[Thedaldus]. Cum Ludovicus IX rex Francorum 
expeditionem Tunetanam suscepisset, Thedaldus ab eo accercitus ab Anglia in Italiam 
rediit. Brundisii dum transfretandi in Africam tempus expectat, Ludovici regis mortem 
audivit, qua perturbatus consilium suum, ut Hierosolymam proficisceretur, vertit. Navigio 
igitur Ptolemaidem delatus, Edwardum . . . et sororem, qui . . . eo paulo ante applicuerunt, 
invenit. This passage seems to make it probable that in April 1269 Theobald was in 
England, whither he had been sent in May 1265, arriving there perhaps on All Saints Day 
that year. cf. W. Stubbs Chron. of the Reigns of Ed. I & Ed. II (Chron. & Mem. oj Gt. Brit. & 
Ireland No. 76) vol. I, 1882, pp. 71, 79-81. On this p. 81 Edward's Crusade is said to have 
been delayed by the death of Louis, and the story of the attack made on him at Acre by an 
assassin is put in 1271. In Flores Hist. ed. 1567, fol. 167^ the last item under M.CCLXX is: 
Edwardus, cum magna militia exiuit Aeon, transiens per Nazareth, Cako, & Cayphas castra, 
interficiens, quos reperit, Saracenos. This would make Edward's arrival at Acre not later than 
February 1271. But Marino Sanudo the elder (c. 1320) in Liber Secretorum {Gesta Dei tom. 2) 
1611, p. 224 under An.D. 1271 says: Odoardus etiam, de quo superiori capitulo fecimus men- 
tionem, IX. die Madii, cum auunculo, & filio Comitis Britanix, & multa comitiua, Ptolo- 
maydae applicuit. This date is accepted in Archives d'Orient Latin, I, p. 622. Finally Chron. 
dom. Walteri de Heminghurgh, ed. for the Eng. Hist. Soc. by H. C. Hamilton, vol. I, 1848, 
p. 333, under A.D. 1270, says: Edwardus hiemavit[in Siciliajcum navibus suis quas Deus 
omnipotens sibi salvaverat. Circa medium Quadragesimae (1271), iterato propositum renovans, 
navem ascendit Edwardus, et a Pascha Domini per xv. dies (28 April) ad Acram applicuit 
cum'M.'(v./. multis) viris electis, mansitque ibidem per mensem integrum . . . post mensem 
vero exierunt . . . ceperuntque Nazareth. The same book (p. 335) puts the attempted assassi- 
nation on Friday after Pentecost (17 June) 1271 (sic, for 1272). There is thus considerable 
variation in the dates, but the later dates are accepted both by the Archives d'Or. Lat., as we 
have seen, and by the D.N.B. s.v. Edward I, and Hemingburgh's date for the assassination 
is very strongly supported by Edward's extant Will which is doubly dated Saturday after 
Pentecost 1272, and Saturday 18 June. If these later dates are right Theobald did not reach 
Acre before May 1271. 

Recueil des Hist, des Croisades, Hist. Occidentaux, II. 1859, p. 449 (I'estoire de Eracles Empereur, 
1183-1277, the anon, continuation of W. of Tyre Hist, reruni in part, transmar. gest. bk. 34, 
ch. 5) : Mes a la parfin eslurent .i. sage clerc prodome et de bone vie, qui estoit nes de 
Plaisance en Lombardie, et estoit apeles sire Thealz. Il estoit arcediacre du Liege, et ales 
estoit en pelerinage Outre mer avec mon seignor Odouart et fu mandes querre au .ix. jor 
a Tissue d'octembre. ... Et parti d'Acre avec .iii. galies le jor de la Saint Martin (11 Nov.) 

en iver, 

24 



II Hi i^nscRiPiioN oi I hi; woRi.nt^, was probap.i.y in 1271 

twcnticili contiiry in Mipjxjsing that ilu" lour visits ol tlic Polos must therefore 
be sciuciv.od in between tlie inijille ol May anJ the inuKIIc ol November 1271. 
1 lie Jaie ol ilieir last visit is li\i\l lo liu- first weeks of NovemlHT 1271 by the 
well known Jates ol the elect ii>n ol IheobaKI as Pope and ol his ileparture for 
Ronie. Beli>re that (he brothers anil Marco hail travelled from Venice to Acre, 
from Acre to Jerusalem and back, and then to Laias and back again. They had 
lefr Venice then probably in the summer of 1271 after a stay there, as all the 
manuscripts agree, ot two years. Two years takes us back to the summer of 1269, 
which firs well with their arrival at Acre in April 1269 and learning that Clement 
IV was lately dead. It seems to be hard then to doubt that 1269 was the actual 
year of the return of the two brothers to Acre.' Marco Polo himself was not 
at Acre in 1269, In 1271 he may have been deeply impressed by this great and 
travelled man who could tell him stories c^f the Tower ol London, which he knew 
from inside, or ot the wonders ot Paris and of his friend the Saint King of France, 
and who had been elected Pope before they parted ; and it would not be surprising 
if twenty-seven years later the man who gave his father good advice at Acre in 
1269 too had become in his memory Tcald of Placentia.^ 

en iver, et s'en ala de rerre en terre por I'iver. Id. p. 471 : Et estoit en Acre quant il fu 
esleus. . , . Grant joic fu faire en Acre de cele election. . . . Il . . . monca sor mer en gaHes 
as octaves de la Saint Martin (18 Nov.), et arriva a Brandis le jor I'An Nuef. The modern 
editor chooses 18 November without comment. 

A. M. BONUCCI Istoria de Gregorio X, 1711, p. 53, says, without reference to any authority, 
that on receiving news of his election Theobald first visited Jerusalem and then was sent 
off to Rome by Prince Edward " nel mese di dicenibre ". John of Ypres, writing nearly 
a century later, says that Teabo had been made Legate in Egypt by Clement IV (d papa 
Clemcntc aaeptd licentia transfretandi, ah eodern legatus est constitutus in JEgyptwn^, but he makes 
Nicolo and Matieo Polo meet him at Acre only on the later occasion, cf. E. Martene 
& U. DuRAND Thesaur. novus Anecdotorum, 171 7, III. col. 746B, E. 

These long extracts have shown Theobald probably in England in April 1269, certainly in 
Paris in December 1269, leaving Brindisi for the Holy Land late in 1270 or in the spring 
of 1 271, receiving the news of his election on 23 October 1271, and leaving Acre for Rome 
on 18 or II November, and reaching Brindisi on New Year's Day, 1272. His colloquial 
names, Tedaldo, Thcdaldus, Thealz, are illustrated also in the texts of Marco Polo (Teald, 
Tedaldus, Teabo, Tebaldo) and in Thomas Wykes Cronicon Sarisbur. Men. (MS. Cotton, 
Titus A. 14. fol. 64V0) : Theobaldum archidiaconum Leodiensem quern uulgus consueto 
vocabulo vocitabat tyardum. 

^ The principal variants of the date given are F,FA,FB: 1260; LT: 1270; VA,P,TA'': 
1272; VB",R: 1269; Z,V: omit; L: mensse aprilis without year. 

- It seems to be quite possible that the young Marco saw in the Holy Land not only the 

future 

^5 



THE DATE WHEN MARC POL REACHED CIANDU i^MAKCO POLO 
Finally, we may believe, the party, to which were now added two learned 
Dominican Brothers, left Acre about the middle of November 1271. The 
Dominicans unfortunately soon took fright and returned, " without reporting the 
fact to Gregory who believed them still to be on their journey ".^ The rest 
went on and, after a difficult journey of three years and a half, should have reached 
Shang-tu in the summer of 1275. No date seems to be given in the manuscripts.^ 
But the date is important because in chapter 146 Marco Polo claims that he 
and his father and uncle had made the mangonels which were used at the assault 
of Hsiang-yang ; and it is known from Chinese sources that the mangonels were 
made by I-ssii-ma-yin (Ishmael) a Moslem, and that after five years siege Hsiang- 
yang surrendered on 17 March 1273.' Of the various attempts that have been 
made to clear Marco or Rustichello of the charge of serious blunder if not of 
fabrication, perhaps the most plausible is by Benedetto, who suggests that the Polo 
intervention took place not in China but in Persia whither Qubilai had sent for 

future Pope, but also the future king of England (Edward I), and Rustichello of Pisa to 
v/hom, many years afterwards, he was to owe his immortality, cf Y. I. p. 60 ; B. p. xv — 
xix ; and p. 42, note 2 below. 

* Campi op. cit., p. 246, no doubt truly, though he quotes no authority. 

* VG has indeed a date, 1308, which does not help us ; and the alternative, 1269 or 1278^ 
in LA is not much better. 

3 " The Siege of Saianfu " in JNCBRAS, 1927, pp. 1-35 ; 1928, pp. 256, 257. It will be seen 
that the Persian account agrees with the Chinese in the date and main facts of the siege. 
It is to be observed that there is no mention of the Polo family havmg taken any part in 
the siege in the important group of MSS. Z,L,V. It is true that Z only begins the story 
and omits the greater part of it, while L omits it all. But V has it complete, mentioning 
" alemani " and the Nestorian Christian but not Polo, though otherwise followmg the 
form of F with verbal likenesses to Z. It is difficult to estimate the meaning of this interesting 
difference. A comparison of the story in F and V seems to show no sign of artificial insertion 
of the Polo passages in F or of their omission from V. Benedetto judges that Z, which 
is very defective in the earlier part, L, which is an avowed summary, and V, which is ludi- 
crously corrupt, all nevertheless preserve traces of a text better and more complete than F. 
The text of V in this chapter is on the whole very good, and it is possibly just imaginable 
that it preserves the primitive version of the story to which the Polo passages were deliber- 
ately added by Rustichello. But this cannot be said to be a probable suggestion, though it 
is to some extent supported by the similar omission from the same three MSS. of the 
statement Tof which again there is no Chinese or other corroboration) that Marco Polo 
governed Yang-chou for three years ; and the question, like so many otiier Marco Polo 
questions, must remain for the present unsolved, cf. pp. 315-320 and PN. 



26 



Till' Di'SCRiiMiON c^i rni; worlds is niiiicuLr vo i-ix 

engineers.' lUii li ilu- )iian shih is ny^lit, I-ssCi-ni.i-yin \\:k\ nirc.uiy rcjclicil Kli.m- 
l\il(<| in i.'7i 1)1 viiy iMiIy \iyi, ulien ilu- Polo caravan haJ harcK' Icli Laias.* ['lie 
C'liincso accounis corroUMatc Marco Polo \v\ every other detail except tlie important 
names .nul Jates, iecoi\lmy^ e\en ihe (rial ol ilie machines helore C^uhilai, anJ ii 
is perhaps wiser to admit that whether intentionally or not a serious mistake was 
made, and that this story cannot invalidate other argimuiiis lor the ilate of the 
party's arrival at Shang-tii. The year 1275 would (it well enough too with the 
hnal return to Venice \\\ 1295, alter about seventeen years \n China and a journey 
by sea and land which may well have lasted tor more than three years.' 

^ Marco Polo, 1932, p. 432. 

- cf. Yiiiui shih c. 203, fol. 4V0. 
It is right to mention the solution proposed by the late A. J. II. Cuarignon ''Marco 
Polo III. pp. 53, 54, 297). Starring from a conviction that the story must be true and that 
three or three and a half years are impossibly long times for the journeys Tsee pp. 80, 84 
below), he argued that the three years covered the journey from Bukhara to Shang-tu and 
back to Acre, while the three and a half years covered the same journey from Shang-tu to 
Acre, two years at Venice, and the return journey to Shang-tu. This complicated over- 
lapping of the two periods, of which there is no trace in the text, is almost enough in 
itself to condemn the suggestion. Bur in addition it is to be observed that Charignon 
accepts some figures — the year from Bukhara to Shang-tu, the seventeen years sojourn, the 
dates 1269 and 1290 — with simple faith ; he makes " going and returning " the exact 
equivalent of " returning " ; he completely ignores the repeated statements of the excep- 
tional difficulties and delays met with on both journeys, the recorded examples of other 
slow journeys, the possibility that the party was dela)'ed by illness in the Pamir or by business 
at Kan-chou, and above all the fact that if his chronology is proved to be right the problem 
is still unsolved, because we have good reason to believe that the exact part in the siege 
which is ascribed to Nicolo, Maffeo, and Marco Polo was taken by quite other persons. 

^ See PN (Cocacin). Marco Polo succeeded unfortunately well in his resolve not to describe 
his personal journeys, nor those of his father and uncle, after the summary statement of the first 
nineteen chapters. In those chapters we read that they rode from Soldanie to Bulgara; and thence 
they went to where the great Kaan was. They returned on horses, and rode till they were come 
to Laias. and thence by ship to Acre and Venice. Two years later they rode from Laias to 
Chemeinfu, and on the final journey home they sailed from Zaitun to Persia, and rode thence 
to Trebizond. But in what way Marco or his party travelled m China we are left to mfer 
from the completely impersonal description of the routes. Everywhere "one goes". In Cathay 
and the south-west one sometimes rides, and ala alternates with chevauche just as, at sea, it does 
with naje, "one sails". But from Giogiu to Zaitun one always and onlv "goes". The frequent 
chevauche of FG is not supported by F or by the other early versions except VB. Looking for 
other indications we find that, with the exception of the Brius and other streams in the south- 
west 



27 



THE POLO PARTY SUFFER LOSS IN TREBIZOND ^MARCO POLO 
All seems to have gone well with the overland journey home till they reached 
Trebizond on the Black Sea. There, thanks to the researches of Professor G. 
Orlandini, we now know, or may feel fairly sure, that the party got into trouble 
and suffered serious loss. In the will of Maffeo, dated 6 February 1309 (1310), 
we read : "I wish to make known to my executors that I have satisfied the afore- 
said Marco Polo my nephew with regard to those 500 pounds which he lent me 
to be given by me as a loan to the aforesaid Nicolo Polo[my nephewjas I said 
before, namely with regard to half of a set jewel which is in the house belonging 
to me, and with regard to the three tablets of gold which were from the magnificent 
Chan of the Tartars, and in addition with regard to those three hundred and 
thirty-three and a third pounds which were due to me out of those thousand 
povmds which the aforesaid Marco Polo received from the lord Duke and from 
the Commune of the Venetians for part of the loss inflicted on us both by the 
lord Comnenus of Trebizond and in the territory of the same lord Comnenus 
and also in other affairs of ours. And I testify that with regard to all other 
accounts which I have to make with the aforesaid Marco Polo I have satisfied him 
in full and in future I ought to have the third part of all which shall in any way 



west and of the rivers at Cacanfu and Quenlinfu, no river or canal is mentioned without a 
reference to the number of boats which sail upon it. These boats are specified as carrying 
merchandise or, in one or two cases, troops. Boats were also used, where no road existed, for 
couriers (p. 246), and on the Lake at Quinsai for pleasure parties (p. 331). Official or private 
travelling by boat (except at sea) is not once mentioned. There were then, as in more 
modern times, official post-stages both by water and by road, and the Tan-yang post-house at 
Cinghianfu had stables for eighty horses and kept thirty boats (cf. TP 1915, p. 671). The 
Chinese then as in recent years would commonly travel in house-boats, but Mongols may have 
felt more at home on horseback or in carriages. And Marco tells us specially about the roads 
also. From Coigangiu "one goes" into Mangi by a causeway, and he even says that "one 
cannot come into the province except by this causeway", to which Z adds "unless it is entered 
by sailing" as it had been, according to R, by Baian's troops (p. 3 14). When he describes the 
construction of the Canal for the purpose of grain transport, he does say that thus "one goes" 
by water all the way to Cambaluc, but immediately adds that "they can also go by land", 
and describes the road (p. 322). At Quinsai he expatiates on the excellence of the roads — "so 
are all the ways and the causeways of all the province of Mangi paved so that one can ride there 
quire cleanly" (p. 3 34). Thus as far as his own words will show we may suppose that Marco 
Polo must have been equally familiar with the roads and with the waterways, and perhaps used 
tliem both; and further guidance will be found m the Notes on the Proper Names in volume 
III, by seeing whether the places named were on the water or the land route, when the two 
routes did not coincide. Fifty or sixty years later Marignolli, if we may believe him, travelled 
from Cambaluc to Quinsai and Zaitun with two hundred liorses (Wy p. 530.) 

28 



nil' i)i:s(:rii>iion oi" im-; woiuj)^ division ov PROPi;i<rY 

or iiiuin any piiiixt In- rccoivoil or rccovorcii. Aiui I irstify tli.u lUc alorcsaul 
loss iiilliciai on us as well In ilu- alorosai*.! lotii (^oiniu*nus ol Ircbi/ond as iii liis 
lcrrilor\' was in sum ahoiii ioui' thousand hyperpfra." ' 

Ir is taniali/.inii (hat wc arc not tolJ who utir the three who sufrered this 
loss, nor the exact occasion. But the Jaies which are known seem to justify ihc 
conclusion tiiat the trouble occuiied when the party reached I rehi/.ond on the 
way home from China. And wc may be fairly sure that the three who shared 
equally in the loss were Nicolo, Mafleo, and the younger Marco. Marco, who 
certainh' represents himself as the leading figure in China, and who was of a 
vigorous and seemingly grasping character, may well have insisted on having an 
equal share ot the profits with his hither and uncle. It was Marco who had 
actually received the 1000/ , which had already been recovered. On the other 
hand Mafleo s will, which has been quoted, mentions two other combinations. 
In the very next sentence he says, " When I was in Jraterna compagnia with the said 
Marco and Matteo Polo, sons of the late Nicolo once my brother ' ' ; and here 
too he claims only one third of the property concerned, sharing equally with his 
two nephews. And some way further on in his long will he describes the division 
of rights in the property in S. Giovanni Grisostomo. We may conjecture that 
that property had been bought while Marco was in prison at Genoa. The value 
had been divided into twenty-four eqtial parts or carats. Of these the elder Marco 
or his son had paid, as we have reason to suppose, four and a half, and Nicolo 
and Maffco shared the remainder equally. Maffeo, who had no children, now 
bequeaths tour parts of his share to his nephews Stefano and Giovannino (Nicolo 's 
natural sons born perhaps in the East), two parts to his nephew Nicolo, and the 
remainder (three and three-quarter carats^ to his nephew Marco. Thus we find 
Marco already in possession of more than half the property, and lending money 
to his uncle and other relatives, always, it seems, to his own advantage. In Julv 
1 319 he obtained judgement against his cousin Marcolino for repayment of a debt 
oi the latter 's father, plus double the amount for fine, and interest at 20 per cent, 
for thirteen years .^ And so, while the Polo family was carried on in the male 

^ Or. p. 27, d.6. See p. 531 below. For hyperpera see PN. 

2 Or. d.15. All this passage is based on Orlandini's article mentioned above, especially 
on d.6. I am obliged also for reasons of space to assume constantly that the careful reader 
will have read Marco's own Prologue (chapters 1-19) which tells us all that we really know 
of his birth and early life till he found himself in prison at Genoa in 1298 at the age of 
about forty-five. 



29 



MARRIAGE WEALTH AND DEATH OF MARC POL ^MARCO POLO 
line only through the elder Marco, the family fortunes were quickly gathered into 
the hands of Marco the traveller, and of his daughter Fantina. For, some time 
after his return from the East, Marco married Donata, daughter of Vitale Badoer, 
by whom he had three daughters, Fantina, Bellela, and Moreta. Professor Orlandini 
was not led by the study of legal documents to admire Marco's character and he 
asks us, not unfairly, to observe that in his will (d.i8, pi. 2-5) there is no bequest 
to the cousins whose debts to him had been so severely exacted ; nothing, apart 
from conventional religious bequests, but to his wife and daughters. It is only 
right to say that the will was made just before his death, when he may have 
been unable to resist the pressure which his wife and eldest daughter may have 
put upon him. 

The great traveller died at the age of about seventy on the 8 January 1323/4 — In 
nome de dio, l^ij die 8 fener mori miser Marco polo} The will is dated the 9 January. 
This is quite possible, as the clerical notary would begin the day at sunset ; but 
it does show that Marco's will was made at the last moment, and enable us to 
date his death within a few hours, after sunset on Sunday, 8 January 1324. His 
undying fame rests solely and securely on his great book, well named The Descrip- 
tion of the World, in which he ^ave at least some news about almost every part of 
the Asiatic Continent, the islands of Japan, Sumatra, Ceylon, Socotra, and the east 
coast of Africa, revealing a vast new world to his astonished and incredulous hearers. 
There is good reason to believe that Marco was buried, as he wished to be, in the 
Church of San Lorenzo, perhaps in or near the tomb of his father there ; but the 
Church has been rebuilt and there is nothing to show the position of the grave. ^ 

Marco Polo's will (d.i8) gives little indication of the fabulous wealth which 
has been attributed to him, though it is rather difficult to form a just idea of the 
value of money at the time. At a time when a knight's fee in England was £20, 
ought we to call a man who could bequeath 2000 pounds of Venetian money in 
remission of debts and in other charity fabulously rich ? To his widow he left 
an annuity of eight Venetian pounds grossi (which cannot have represented a very 
large capital sum), and the rest of his property to be divided between his three 
daughters. The inventory of the goods which were thus to be divided is actually 
preserved and has been published by Orlandini (d.69, p. 554), and the value of the 
things amounted to 306/. 155, zd. of Venetian _gro55/. According to Yule, writing 
in 1870, the Venetian pound or lira dei grossi (^grossorum^ was equal to 20 soldi or 



^ Or. p. 62, d. 69. See p. 558 below. 

2 See the Article by Dr R. Krauthhimf.R in volume III. 



30 



nil' i)i:sc:Rii>rioN c^i mi': wokld^ iiii; nicknami-: milion 

to i^o Jt'iiari ( i>ro.M;) ; or ilui natively it was ccjiial in 128^ to 13-^ g''l«-i ducats 
alu^ laiii 10 10 gold ducats, ilio ducai being thus 1-5 (or i) soldi and 18 (or 24) 
liftuiri. I lie lira dci i^rcssi was also ci]ual to 20 lire ai i^rossi {ad f>rossos) each of which 
was iluis eijiial to one soldo dei grossi, and to ^2 lire dei piccoli each of which was 
thus eciiial to 7-5 denari {grossi^. Lira without deliniiion is generally to he under- 
stood as lini dei piccoli. G. Casthllani, writing iw 1924, conlinns ihr stauinent 
that in 1284 the gold ducat was 18 denari, and it was raised to 24 in 1^28. 

I'ollowing these two authorities as carefully as I have been able to do through 
the intricate calculations required, and allowing (for 1924) 100 modern lire as 
the rough equivalent of the pound sterling, I obtain the following very rough 
result : — 

Charitable bequests, 2000 lire ---___ £280 

Annuity, 8 lire dei grossi, £^6 at 6 per cent.(?) - - {at ino^t) £600 
Goods as in Inventory, 306/. 155. zd. {dei grossi^ _ _ _ £1373 

Part value of House (£960 ?) ______ £y( 



'GO 



£29 5 3 
To this must be added the value of the furniture, linen, etc., left to the 
widow, but on the other hand the capital sum to produce the annuity of £36 
may have been far less than £600. And so it seems as it Marco Polo's property at 
the time of his death may have been about the equivalent of £3000 ; and that 
would hardly have earned the owner the nickname of Million/ 

Milion or Milione, nevertheless, he and his book were called m his lifetime, 
and // Milione remains the ordinary name of the book in Italy to this day, while 
the Corte Sabbionera near the site of the Polo house is officially labelled Corte 
del Milion. A contemporary, lacopo d'Acqui, writes in his Imago Mundi, " In 
the year of Jesus Christ 1296, in the tmie of Pope Boniface VI, a battle took 
place in the sea of Armenia at the place called Layas between 15 ships of Genoese 
merchants and 25 of Venetians, and after a great fight the ships of the Venetians 
are defeated and all are killed and captured. Among whom is captured Sir 
Marchus of Venice, who was with those merchants, who was called Millonus 
{or Milionus), which is the same as wealth of a thousand thousands of pounds ; and 
so he is called at Venice. This Sir Marchus Milonus of Venice with others of the 

^ Y. II. p. 591 ; Giusseppe Castellani " I valori delle monete espresse nel tescamenco 
di Marco Polo " in Rivista mensile della Citta di Vene^a, Sett., 1924 ; Or. d.14 {for 25 read 
55), p. 538 below. 



31 



ORIGIN AND SURVIVAL OF THIS NAME MILION ^MARCO POLO 
Venetian prisoners are taken to the prison of Genoa and are there a long time. 
This Sir Marchus was a long time in Tartary with his father and uncle and saw 
many things there and made a fortune and also learnt much, for he was a man of 
worth. And so being in prison at Genoa he makes a book of the great wonders 
of the world, of the things, that is, which he saw. And he says less than he saw, 
because of the tongues of detractors who easily impose lies on others, and rashly 
condemn as a lie whatever they cannot believe or will not understand. And that 
book is called the Book of Milio (^liher milionis or milonis^ about the Wonders 
of the World. And because great and vast and almost incredible things are found 
there, he was asked by friends when he was dying to correct his book and take back 
what he had written too much ; and he answered, I did not write half of what I 



' ' 1 
saw. 



It has been doubted whether the book was called Milione in the author's 
lifetime, but Yule quotes from Villani, "the book called Milione which Master 
Marco Polo of Venice made".^ Yet as far as I know Milione is rarely applied 
to the book in the older manuscripts, and very rarely indeed to the man. 
Professor Benedetto has argued that Milione, Milio, or whatever form it may 
take, is not a nickname at all, but Marco's real name, a form of: Emilio, the Latin 
yEmilius.'* Yule and Orlandini are inclined to accept Ramusio's story that 

^ Quoted by B., p. cxciv, from the Ambrosian MS. D.526, fol. 77c, d. Twice in seven lines 
the Pope is called Boniface VI instead of VIII. B., ihid. note (5), gives pare of the passage 
from a MS. at Turin dated 1428 (Biblioteca Nazionale G II 34) where Marco is called quidatn 
venetus qui diu Juit cum tartaris ct dicehatur Jilius milionis. cf. also Y. II. p. 511 ; Or. d.4 (10 
April 1305), nobiles viri petrus maurecmus & marcus paulo milion. cf. p. 529 below and plate 8. 

2 G. Villani Historic, ^c, 1559, p. 99 (Bk. V, cap. 28) : il libro detto Milione chejece messere 
Marco Polo di Vencgia. Villani began to write in 1307 and died in 1348. 

3 // Mar^cco, 14 sett., 1930, pp. 1, 2 ; 16 nov., 1930. In his supplementary note (16 nov.) 
B. produces a good example of a child having been named Milion at Padua in 1321 ; and 
the surname Milion is still to be seen over a shop in Venice. On lo October 1936 Sir 
Percival David wrote: "I have found the name of the shop below, Farmacia Galvani 
DI A. Milion. It is No. 2799, ^" '^he Campo Francesco Morosini (gia S. Stefano)." cf. 
Indicatore anagrafico di Venecia, 193 1, p. 297. Orlandini had noted the occurrence of Mattia 
Miglione in 1241 (Perg. proprio No. 3), of Marcus Milio in 1315 (M. Odorico b. 820 
prot.), and of three or four cases of Milion in the i6th century. But it is still to be explained 
how it is that this name was either unknown or misunderstood by Marco's contemporaries, 
and does not seem to have been given him in family documents (except once in 1 362 - Or. 
p. 5 5) until the fifteenth century when it is preceded by " known as " (dictus). cf. BOERIQ D/^. 
Venezjano, MiLlA, Emilia. By the 18th century the name had attained to the curious form 
"Marco Polo Colombo Camilione" (Mus. Corret, MS. Cicogna 3236, p.6; d. 100, p.595 below). 

32 



n \\i DV.SC\UVV\ON OV \\ W. WORIJ)^ MAR( C) POLO IN MASQUfiS 
tlic nickiiaiuc was ijivtn lo liiin Ixxaiiso ol ilii- rxaggfratrJ mimlxis wiili vvluch 
his oju-n ropcatal stories i>l tlic wimIiIi ol die Hast wctc IiIKJ.' In the Imti{*o 
MunJi. as \vc liave seen, ihc name is saiJ to have In-en eaiiiej Uy his actual weahh/ 
It seems lo he the case that ilu- nal nieamng ol the name was not certanily known 
even in the h>iirteenth century, anJ until luiiher evklencc is lound wc must be 
ct>ntent to lemain uncertain t>urselves. 

Ramdsio's anil IV\kharo's well known accounts ol the return of the wanderers 
need nor he repeated here." They do not seem lo l>e supported hy any early 
authority. 



• ). 1. p. 67 ; Or. p. IL. lor Ramusio's words (Prcf. fol. 6vo) see d. 95 p. 585. 
^'ct the word million is nor once found in the h(H)k. If it could he shown that it was 
u\ientionally avoided, this, no doiihr, niiglu tend greatly to coiilirni Ramusio's view. But 
the word was nor common. 

- Miluvuino, used [Jalvolta per esagt'rtJJ^one^ lor a very rich man, seems to have been recently, 
it it is not still, peculiar to Venice. c\. lioiiRlo Di^. Ven. s.v.. 

^ Pref. fol. 5vO-6vO (^p. 58^ below) ; )'. I. pp. 4-6 ; Barbaro (Vienna, 6156), fol. 358. 
It may be well to give more exact references lor the story that " long after our Traveller's 
death there was always, in the Venetian Masques, one individual who assumed the character 
of Marco Milioni " (T. I. p. 67). The story is told by C. Amoretti Voyage cie la Mer Atlantique 
&c., 1812, p. 67, note (a) : " Apr^s sa mort on se mocqua encore de lui, de mani^re que 
dans les masquerades il y avoir toujours quelqu'un qui prenoit son nom. et le representoit 
pour amuser le peuple en racontant tout ce qui lui venoit dans la tete de plus extravagant. 
Ensuite on a usa de mcme envers Pigajetta (Pignoria, Preja^. all'Opera degli Dei antichi) " ; 
and by G. B. I. T. Libri-Carrucci L' Histoire des Sciences Mathematiques, 1838, II. p. 26 note 
(i) : " Tout le monde sait que Marco-Polo fut appele par derision Million, parce qu'il 
racontait les grandes choses qu'il avait vues en Orient : sa maison fut appelee Cha Milione, 
son ouvrage fut d^signe par le meme sobriquet, et une espece de paillasse fut destine, dans 
les mascarades, a tourner en ridicule le grand voyageur (^Doglioni historia venetiana, Venet. 
1598, in-4, p.161-162. Lib, III. — Ramusio, viaggi, torn. II, prefar. — Humboldt, Examen 
critique, edit, in-fol., p. 71). Plus tard, Pigafetta fut traite. ..." But the story is not told 
by Pignoria, who says {Seconda Edit, delle Imagini degli dei delli antichi di Vicen^ Cartari 
Regginno . . . de Lorenzo PIGNORIA Padovano, in Padova M.DC.XXVI. p. 546) : " fine 
gl'auoli nostri si risero di Narco(5if) Polo, al quale per ischerno addossarono il cognome di 
Millione. Et Christoforo Colombo. ... Et in Vicenza il Carnouale le brigate si faceuano 
maschera, narrando spropositi, all'imitatione di Antonio Pigafetta." — nor by G. N. DOGLIONI, 
Hist. Ven., 1598, p. 162 : " Doue, perche nella relatione del gran Can, & della sua molta 
potenza, nominaua spesse uolte le migliaia, e li milioni, acquisto alia sua casa, che era posta 
nel confin di san Giouanni Chrisostomo, che hor fa I'anno s'abbrug^io totalmente, con 
gran danno di molti, il detto nome di cha Milione." — nor by Alexander von Humboldt, 
Examen critique de V histoire du nouveau continent, 1836, vol, I. p. 221 : " Marco . . . connu d'abord 

sous 

33 



THE DATE WHEN MARCO WAS MADE PRISONER ?^MARCO POLO 
We know from Marco Polo himself that he was in prison at Genoa in 1298, 
and R adds that it was ' ' because of the war ' ' . The only contemporary account 
of how he got into prison has been given above, and there is small doubt that 
Benedetto is right in thinking that too little weight has been given to this story 
in the past. It has been assumed that this battle between fifteen armed Genoese 
merchant ships and twenty-five Venetian near Laias in 1296 " in the time of Pope 
Boniface " is nothing but a confused recollection of the better known battle of 
Laias between twenty-two Genoese and twenty-eight Venetian warships in 1294, 
when Marco Polo cannot have been present and therefore was not taken prisoner. 
The alternative occasion is the battle of Curzola fought on 8 September 1298, 
when 7000 Venetian prisoners were taken to the prisons of Genoa, arriving there, 
according to a contemporary ballad quoted by Yule, at noon on 16 October. 
The authority for supposing that Marco Polo was taken prisoner at Curzola is 
Ramusio, whose story is translated in full by Yule.^ Ramusio begins with the 
words, " Not many months after they were come to Venice", and this will suit 
a battle in 1296 much better than one late in 1298 ; and will allow time also for 
the writing of the book. How could so long a book as The Description of the World 
must originally have been be dated in the prison at Genoa, 1298, if the author 
did not reach Genoa before the middle of October ? It is known too that the 
prisoners of Curzola were released in the summer of 1299. Jacopo d'AcQUi says 
that Marco Polo stayed in prison a long time, and a long time is indeed required 
both for the writing of the book and for the details of Ramusio 's own version of 
the story; and he dates the battle not merely 1296 but "in the time of Pope Boniface", 
and Boniface VIII was not elected till 24 December 1294, nor crowned till 
January 1295 ; and his battle of 1296 is distinguished from that of 1294 by the 
number of ships engaged. The contemporary story is then consistent with itselt 

sous le nom un peu satirique de Messer Marco Milione." The words are the same in the 
folio edition (p. 71), which was published under the general title of Atlas[Pittoresque]Geographi^ne 
et Physique des regions e'quinoxiales du nouveau Continent, Paris, 1814-1834. The story, which 
seems first to be applied to Marco in 1812, relates in the older books only to Pigaferta. The 
contemporary record of the burning of the Cha Milione in 1596 is to be noted ; cf. p. 591. 
^ Y. I. p. 6. Ramusio, ibid., Pref. fol. 6vo : Non molci mesi dapoi che furono giunti a 
Venetia ; and on fol. 7v*' he says that Marco was set free " non molti anni dapoi", meaning 
clearly at least four years, if not six or seven, cf. d. 95 p. 587. A recent writer accepts 
the Curzola \iew without discussion, and makes no mention of a possible battle in 1296. 
He agrees with Yule in putting the battle on Sunday, 7 September, but brings the 
prisoners to Genoa on 6 October (^se^ di, which Yule makes '"the i6th"), cf. G. I. Rratianu 
Le Commerce Cenois, 1929, pp. 262-274. 

34 



Ti II-: ni:s(i<iprK>N c)i n ii: world'^ ri ii; polo i-amilv i iousj- 

aiui will) ihr pmhalMlitiCN ol the Ciisc, aiul noi iircC()nciloal>Ic wicli any known 
fact, w'liilo Kamu.su.> i.s incDnsisiiiu \siili IiiniscK and his story intrinsically im- 
prohaMc if not inipossil>Ic. Wo may iluii think that Marco was taktMi prisoner 
at sonic" obscure and oihoiuisc unrecorded eiii^a^enicnt of armed merchantmen 
m iii.)b, and that Ramusio was mistaken in identif\'inv^ this hattle with the famous 
battle of Ciir/ola in 1298.' 



III. THI- MANSION OF THH POLO FAMILY 

To Professor Orlandini again we owe all our more exact knowledge of the 
great Polo mansion or Ca Polo in the district of San Giovanni Grisostomo. 
CicoGNA must have seen the interesting plans ol the house which are here repro- 
duced, (plates 16, 17^ but no notice seems to have been taken ol them till one 
was published by Orlandini in 191 3,* and even then they remained cjuite unknown 
in this country. Above the foundations, which have nor been explored, nothing now 
certainly remains except the tower with the famous Byzantine arches and perhaps 
parts ol the other buildings which overlook the Corte Sabbionera, and it is not 
ar all certain that any ot these formed part of the Polo property.' 

The surviving plans of the ground and second floors are attached to a deed 
or conveyance of that portion of the property which belonged to Almerigo and 
Marin Balbi and to StefFano Vecchia when it was sold by them to Giustin Dona 
in July 1677. The site was sold for the express purpose of building a theatre, 
and the plans show part of the site of the present theatre. It will be seen that the 
deed (d.98) describes the site as bounded by two streams and a public street and 
as being " commonly called Camilion, partly vacant and partly with some few 
buildings made there for the most part of planks, covered with tiles". The 
ground plan shows the actual theatre site occupied by a courtyard surrounded with 

^ B. Marco Polo, 1932, p. xiii. A small conjectural corroboration of the earlier and longer 
imprisonment may be found in the fact that Marco seems to have had no direct share in 
the purchase of the house in S. Giovanni Grisostomo ; but till we know the date of the 
purchase, this will not count for much. 

- Origine del Teatro Malibran, pp. 5-21, one plan, Venice, 1913. 

^ It seems in fact to be known that the tower with its arches was not part of the Polo 
house. Cav. Antonio Salvadori writes of the Corte Sabionera (now Corte seconda del 
Miiion), 'This court was included in the precincts of the ancient fortified palace of the 
Morosini, and was entered by the gate surmounted by a tower which is still admired to 
day" See C. Zangirolami, Indicatore anagrafico di Venecia, 1931, p. 94. cf. G, LORENZETTI 
Venecia, 1926, p. 344. In 1514 property of Vincenzo MOROSINI seems to have been on 
the N.-E. side of the Corte Sabionera (Arch, di Stato. Esam. Invest, 12 fol. 41, 159, 161.). 
See pi. 18, 19. 

35 



THE DISTRICT OF SAN GIOVANNI GRISOSTOMO ^MARCO POLO 




36 



rmi i)i:sc:kii>iion oi- iiii: wokld'^ iiii mii. oi iiii. nousi-: 

a poriico aiul Ncvciitccii rooms with two lliy^lus ol si.iirs. vvitli covered ways Iciiiiiig 
to the (WO canals anil an evil to (he lane wliicli as " (^alle del Iea(ro " sdll leads 
to tl\e C'luircli. A plan ol (he hrst floor may have existed, hui li so k is los(, 
while tlie phm ol the sect>nd floor survives. These (wo plans, of the ground an*.! 
second floors, do nor look like plans of a site " partly vacant and partly with some 
lew huildinv^s for the most part of planks ". Sixteen years earlier the cadastral 
survey had rect>rded that in |anuary and lehruary of 1661 (1662) two cottages 
(casettc) had been built by Sieflano Vccchia on the site, the rest of which was still 
empty and in ruins (/'/ rimancntc rcsta vacuo t rovinoso) and had till then yielded no 
income at all." Going back to 1598 wc find that Doc.lioni, writing presumably 
in 1597, sa\'s that the house was totally destroyed by fire a year before. A minute 
of the Senate dated 7 November 1596 approves of a reward of 60 ducats having 
been given to 150 men ot the Arsenal who had given prompt and good service at 
the fire which occurred "very recently " in the Ca Million, so that wc may suppose 
that it happened in August or September 1596.^ It will be seen that the deed 
stipulates that " the plan ot the site sold, as above, that is a copy of the same 
shall be kept with the deed ; and it seems to mc to be certain that the plans which 
have survived are by good fortune copies of plans made before 1596, showing the 
exact arrangement ot part at least of the ancient house. 

The site is described in 1677 as " commonly called Camilion", but I do not 
tee! sure that it was the whole ot the ancient house, or even the whole ot the 
property of the Baibi and Vccchia at the time. As far as is known the extent, 
content, and boundaries of the whole original property are described n\ no extant 
document. All that wc have are various detailed accounts of the part of the house 
belonging to the heirs of Marco the elder and of some other parts, and a few more 
vague indications. The latter are, first the existence to this day of the Balbi 
shield on the old wall overlooking the Rio di S. Marina south-west of the theatre 
and also over the entrance to the little sottoportico at the south-east corner of 
the Church. But the Balbi may have owned adjoining property which had never 
been part of the Polo house. Secondly, we learn that the Church of San Giovanni 
Grisostomo was rebuilt in the last years of the fifteenth century, having become 
unsafe through old age and through damage done to it by a fire in " the neigh- 

* Arch, di Stato, Notifiche reg. 393, aggiunte a. 1661 ; Caseggiato 1661, S. Gio. Grisostomo, 

X — , 421. 

2 Cf. Y. I. p. 27. See d. 97 p. 591. 



37 



THE CHURCH OF SAN GIOVANNI GRISOSTOMO ;^MARCO POLO 
bouring houses of the Polo " in 1475/ No fire in the present theatre would be 
hkely to do serious damage to the present Church, so that it may be possible 
that the Polo house extended to the north-east and north-west of the present 
Corte del Teatro ; and moreover the Church was moved nearer to the theatre 
when it was rebuilt, and its old position is occupied by the street, Salizzada di 
S. Giovanni Grisostomo, and the houses west of the present Church.^ There 
were, too, in 1321 " large halls or porticoes which face and are towards the Church 
of San Giovanni Grisostomo * ' .^ And there was also ' ' a well which is outside 
the court, to which one goes through a door which is on the lane outside the 
principal door of the whole property of the Cha Polo ".* This well may have 
been the old well in the Corte Sabbionera approached through the old arches in 
the tower. Other wells near by are one in a hidden court east oi the Church and 
a large one in the Campo north of the Church.^ 



^ P. Paoletti V Architettura &c., Part IT. 1893, p. 178 : in conseguenza dei danni patiti quando 
nel 1475 bruciarono le vicine case dei Polo. Unfortunately the source of this statement has 
not been found, cf G. Tassini Curiosita Vene^ane, 1863, I, p. 281 : Nel 1080 la famiglia 
Cattaneo fece inalzare una chiesa a S. Giovanni Grisostomo, la quale nel 1475 abbruciossi. 
Idem, ed. 4, 1897 (later than Paoletti), p. 330 : Nel 1080 . . . una chiesa a S. Giovanni 
Grisostomo, la quale nel 1488, per asserto del pievano Lodovico Talenti, trovavasi in 
cattivissimo stato pei danni del tempo, a cui alcuni aggiungono quelli di un prossimo incendio, 
accaduto nel 1475. In all this there is no mention of the Polo house ; and search in the 
registers of Lodovico Talenti (Archivio di Stato, se:^. iiotarile, b. 955-957), which date only 
from 1480, has failed to produce better evidence. 

2 F. Corner Ecdesia Veneta, II. 1749, decas 1 (2), p. 235 : in eo quidem situ fundata fuit, 
in quo nunc ad faciem Ecclesix prostant via, & adverse domus, qus utpote extructae supra 
veteris Templi ruinas, funebri pompa in die commemorationis Defunctorum a Clero 
Ecclesis quotannis visitantur, ut Christifidelium in eo solo quiescentium animabus aeterna 
pax imploretur. Quatuor ab ejus fundatione elapsis sxculis anno N.D. 1475 incendio 
consumpta est, coepitque Lodovici Talenti ejus Plebani [1480-1516] cura nobiliori molitione 
restitui in apposita area non longe a diruti Templi ruinis, in cujus postea solo, ut supra 
retulimus, publica via domus & officinse constructae fuerunt. D. Malipierq Annali Veneti 
(in Archivio storico Italiano VII. 1843, p. 705) : 1497 A questo tempo, e sta comenza a renovar 
la giesia de S. Zuan Grisostomo. 

^ Y. II. p. 519 : sale sive porticus magne que respiciunt et sunt versus Ecclesiam Scti. Johannis Grisos- 
tomi. Yule (with reference to Istituto degli Esposti No. 6) unfortunately gives only extracts 
from this important document. Recent efforts to find the original in the Archivio and 
elsewhere at Venice have failed. 

* Y. II. p. 519. 

•» The fine liead of this well was brouglit there from the Giudecca in 1855. cf. Tassini 
Cur. Veil. 1897, p. 331. 

38 



rni{ i)i:s(:Kin K^N oi iiii; wokij)'^ riii-: comi': i)i:i. miijon 

One tiling .u liMsi Okiandini's loscarclics U.nc made certain, iliat the Cortc 
<\c\ Milii>n I omul which (he house, wiih access Co two canals ami to a common 
way, was i^^oupe(.^ was within (he present theatre walls. When one tries to fit 
the old descriptic^ns t>l parts ol the property fdJ. 14, 42, 90, i)i) to the plans, 
the task Joes not seem lo he hopeless with the earlier one of 1^19, though our 
detailed knowledge is still too small 10 secure definite results ; hut the liltccnth 
century documents, where each (^1 the properties is made to ahut at both ends on 
the same thmg, baffle me completely. 

Harly in the fifteenth century the property was siill divided between the 
descendants of Marco Polo senior and those oi Marco Polo called Milion ^ Marci 
Pijuli dicti Miliotx), the former represented bv Maria Trevisan and Zaneca Corner, 
sisters of the last Marco, and the latter by Marco Bragadin descended from Fantina 
Polo and Marco Bragadin. The municipal records of Venice were destroyed by 
fire in 1515, but from the later returns Orlandini has found that in 1514 Zuan 
Batta Trevixan owned two houses and two shops in the Chorte al Milion ; in 
1537 Zaccaria Trevisan owned nine houses and a shop \.n the Calc del Milion and 
Zuanc Bragadin owned ten houses and a shop m the court of the Cha Milion. 
It is clear from this that the old house was no longer a mansion but divided into 
small tenements in very bad repair and threatening to fall (^malissimo condi^onate et 
menace ruina). The smaller property of the Trevisan began to pass by marriage 
to Antonio dalla Vecchia in 1566, as the larger Bragadin share had done to Zuane 
Balbi in 1536. 

The name Ca Milion seems to appear first in the will of Maria Trevisan, 
1455 (^mie chaxe che si chiafua dal milion d.93) ; the Cortc del Milion, as we have 
seen, in 1514. The Calle del Milion, which was probably the present Calle del 
Teatro, is mentioned in 1507 when the Silk Office, whose old door still exists at 
the south-east corner of the Church (F. I. facing p. ^o^ resolved to open two 
windows in their wall versus callcni milioni (^Archiv. Arte delta Seta, b. 650 istromcnti 
No. i). By 1712 it had become Calle dell'Opera. In 1712, too, we first find 
Corte del Sabbion ; in 1783 Corte Sabioncra (Catastico delle case, lyii ; Archiv. 
ser. Signoria, processo 132, b.34). In neither 1712 nor 1783 does Milion appear in 
any place name. In 1876 the name Corte del Milion was mistakenly given to the 
Sabbionera, and Orlandini ends his pamphlet with " it would be well to restore 
to the Corte del Milion the name of Sabbionera, familiar in the past." 



39 



THE MYSTERIOUS STORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS ?=^MARCO POLO 

IV. THE MANUSCRIPTS AND VARIOUS STATES OF THE DESCRIP- 
TION OF THE WORLD 

Being in prison at Genoa, Marco Polo met a professional romance-writer, a 
fellow-prisoner, Rustichello of Pisa ; and to that fortunate accident we owe the 
existence of his book, for ' ' he caused all these things to be recounted (retraire) by 
Master Rustaciaus of Pise who was in that same dungeon." In England we 
have called it " The Travels of Marco Polo " as resolutely as the Italians have called 
it "II Milione" , and with as little reason. For it is not the story of Marco Polo's 
travels, but " the book which is called the description and the strange things of 
the world", the pioneer of scientific geography. It is a serious and invaluable 
description country by country and town by town of a large part of medieval Asia, 
relieved by a few well told stories — but they are not stories of Marco Polo's travels. 

The question of the true text of the book is a very curious and intricate 
onc.^ The book may have become popular, although Ramusio probably exaggerates 
when he says that " all Italy in few months was full of it". But this popularity 
resulted not in the preservation but in the destruction of the book in the form in 
which it left the author's hands, till there has survived no single known copy which 
can claim at all to be either complete or correct. Not only so, but it appears that 
there are some errors and omissions which infect every manuscript which has yet 
been examined ; as if the large number of extant manuscripts were all ultimately 
derived from one copy, and that not the original, but one already corrupt. We 
are in fact almost forced to the conclusion that the original itself, while it must 
have been in a sense complete, may have had (as indeed it is likely to have had) 
serious clerical mistakes left uncorrected. It was very long and not a little dull, 
the work of one who had, as has been said, "looked at everything and seen nothing"; 
it was written in an uncouth French much mingled with Italian which sometimes 
puzzled even contemporary interpreters ; and so from the first each copyer 
omitted, abridged, paraphrased, made mistakes and mistranslations, as he saw ht, 
influenced naturally by his own point of view and immediate interests or purpose ; 
and the result with which wc have to deal is nearly 120 manuscripts of which, it 
is little exaggeration to say, no two are exactly alike. ^ 



^ For a masterly and very detailed treatment of this subject consult L. F. Benedetto 
// Milione, 1928, pp. xi-ccxxi. 

2 For details of tiie grouping, dates, languages, &c., of tiiese MSS. we must refer again to 
Benedetto's great work, and to the list oi MSS. at p. 509 below. 



40 



riii-; i)i;s(;kii>i K^N c>i mi: wokij)'^ a summaky siauvMi.ni 

llio bost sliort si.uniuiK ol (he l.imily history of the iiunuscripis is Manually 
providcil l>y Sigiior I.. !■. l^i:Ni;i)i:rio. I lis view is siminicii up likr this : The cxinnt 
luanuscripis ma\' he JiviJcii into two groups, A aiul B, hoih ultimately dcnvcii 
Iron) a losi copy (0») ol the lost original (Oj. Ihc arclu-iypr faUo lost) of l> 
was much more laiihlul to 0> than ihc archetype of A was. Group A is represented 
hy I' (Paris, B.N., MS. Ir. iiiO, the Insi oi all e.vtani MSS.) which retains the 
orii^inal language, and hy I'», I'^ I'a which only survive m their respective transla- 
tions into Court I'rench (suh-group IG), Tuscan (sub-group I A),* and Venetian 
(sub-group VA, including the most popular Latin version P). Group B is represented 
by a lost manuscript or manuscripts known only by Ramusio's printed text, and 
Z the Latin text which is printed in this edition. Fhcse are ol the (irst importance 
tor the completion and correction ot the text ot Group A ; and there are also several 
other B texts which Blnldutto was able to use in a less degree for the recon- 
struction of O'.^ 

For this lestoration, in whatever degree it may be possible, of the original 
words of Marco Polo there arc, as will have been seen above, three ancient copies 
of the book which are of primary importance. These are (i) the Franco-Italian 
text in the Bibliothequc Nationale at Paris (MS. fran9ais 1116), known as F ; 
(2) the Italian version by G.-B. Ramusio, first published m 1559, known as R ; 
and (3) the Latin text in the Chapter Library at Toledo, here referred to as Z. 

(i) F was written in Italy in the first halt ot the 14th century, parchment, 
measuring about 292 x 205 mm., 112 leaves in twelve gatherings ot 12, 10, 10, 8, 
8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 4 leaves, two columns to a page, 34 or 35 lines to a column : 
fol. la — ^d Table of: chapter headings ; tol. 4a iiicipit Ci comanccnt le lobriqc de 
cest liure qui est appelle Ic dcuiscment dou monde (pi. 22) ; tol. iiic explicit 
schanpoit ausint. deo gratias amen. This text was printed literatim (with several 
errors) by the Societc dc Geographic as Tome I oi Recueil dc Voyages ct de Mcmoircs, 

^ This includes the famous della Crusca MS. at Florence (TA^), on whose flyleaf is the 
following note : Oucsto lihro si chiama la nauigagone di messere marcho polo Mobile Cittadino di vinegia 
scritto in Jiren^ da niccholo Ormatmi mio bisauolo da lato di mia madre quale uiori negli aniii di 
christo tnille trecento none quale lo porto mia madre in casa nostra del Riccio ede di me piero del riccio 
e di mio Jratello l^jS and just below : compro per me Piero del Nero questo di 7(?) di sett'. ijSg 
Ly Benedetto is content to say that we are not bound to believe the first note, written 
150 years afterwards ; but books were rarer and memories longer than they are now and, in 
the absence of paLxographical or documentary evidence against it, it may at least be regarded 
with respect. See pi. 27. 

^ Marco Polo, 1932, pp. xxi, xxii. 



41 



THE FRANCO-ITALIAN MANUSCRIPT AT PARIS ;^MARCO POLO 
Paris, 1824 ; and again by Benedetto, more satisfactorily though not literatim, in II 
Milione, No. 3 ot the publications ot the Comitato Gcografico Nazionale ItaHano, 
Florence, 1928. It is also said to have been reproduced in facsimile by Dr. A. 
Steiner of Karlsruhe in 1902, but this appears to be a mistake.^ While F is the 
longest and in some respects the best ol the surviving manuscripts, an examination 
of the following version will show that it contains no chapters and tew passages 
of any length or importance which are peculiar to itself. That the curious 
Franco-Italian language of this manuscript is the language in which the book was 
first written is made likely by comparison ol the early Tuscan version which shows 
obvious signs of having been translated from such a French text, and is made 
quite certain by the passages which Benedetto quotes from the earlier work of 
Rustichello, the romance of Guiron le courtois, where the language is identical, 
with whole phrases and sometimes sentences word tor word the same in the two 
books.* And Marco Polo is explicitly said to have written his book " in the 
French vernacular " by John the Long ot Ypres, who wrote about the year 1350.^ 



^ There is a copy in the Bibliocheque Nationale in Paris, now marked " facsimile 40-242 ", 
which is a set of actual photographs of the MS. bound up with a printed title (If divisiment 
dou monde de Messer March Pol de Venece. Die Handschrift Ponds Frangais No. iii6 der 
Narionalbibliothek zu Paris photographisch aufgenommen auf der Gr. Hof- und Landes- 
bibliothek zu Karlsruiie von Dr A. Steiner. Karlsruhe. Hof-Buchdruckerei Friedrich Gutsch. 
1902.) and introduction, where it is stated that the negatives were done by J. Hauft et Cie., 
Feuerbach. It seems to be certain that Dr Steiner meant to issue a limited edition of these 
photographs printed on special paper and treated by some special process, but no second copy 
has been found, nor is the whereabouts of the negatives known. 

2 B. pp. xiii-xxvii ; Y. I. pp. 81-86. The book was also called Meliadus (B. p. xix) and 
Roman de Tristan. It begins : Seingneur enperaor & Rots & princes & dux & quenz^tjr baron^ciualier 
& uauuasor & borgiois & tous le preudonie de ce monde que aues talen^ de delitier uo^ en romain^ ci 
prenes ceste & le Jeites lire de chiej en chief si i troueres toutes le^gran^auentures qui auindrent entre 
les chiualiers herrant dou ten^ li Roi huter pandragon jusque an ten^ li Roi arcus son ji2[^ & des compain 
de la table reonde. & sachie^ tot uoirement que cestui Romain^Ju treslaites dou liure monseingneu Odoard 
li Roi dengleterre a celui ten^ quil passe houtre la mer en seruire nostre Sire damcdeu pour conquister le 
saint sepoucre. & rnaistre Rusticiaus de pise li quel^ est imagines desoure compile ceste Romain^ car il 
en treslaite toutes les tresmeruillieuse nouelles quil trueue en celui liure & totes les greingneur 
auentures. . . . This seems to show that Rustichello had access to the book of Romances by 
Flelyes de Boron when Prince Edward was on a Crusade (c. 1271), possibly in Sicily. But 
nothing seems to be really known of his life and movements. See pl.45. 

3 y. I. p. Ill, with ref to E. Martene & U. Durand Thesaur. Nov. Anecdot., 1717, III. 
col. 747c : Marcus Pauli . . . quern Chaam propter suam habilitatem in suis negotiis ad diversas 
India & Tartaria partes & insulas misit, ubi illarum parttum multa mirabilia vidit, de quibus 

postea 

42 



nil' i)i;sc;kipi K)N c)i nil' world'^, i^ANciUAcii-: & stkuciuri-: 

(2) R isa priuto*.! Ii.ili.m version ol vvliuli tlioro is no niniuiscnpi ; .iiui its origin, 

postfit lihtuin til vuli^iiti C^iillifo loiiiposuil ijunn lihiuin inirtihiliuin atiii plunbtis similihus penes nos 
hiihfmus. riiis in.iy porli.ips only sliovs' tl1.11 It)liii li.ul .1 I'opy m lii-iuli; .uui i( iiuy l>c 
tlu)iiglii (Ii.ii '\juiti- iiMi.iiii" is too scioiiv; .m oxprcssiDii ((> .ipj-*!)' lo ihc .KCi-ptcd lu-lirl ili.ictlic 
book was first wriidMi in I'lciuh. PilMNo's Liitin. tlu- oiil)' oKI \risioii of whose history we 
know .111)' litM.iil. u.is ih.kK" hoin .\ l.oml>.ir<.1 Irxl whiih 111 M.uco Polo's hlclimc w.)s thought to 
be iUc oiii:;m.il; I'A in.iy jusi .is well In* iraiisl.itcd Iroin .1 tr.iiisl.it ion as wc commonly assiunc 
Pipino to ho; / is live hoin actual IVciuIi words (though thi-rc arc several un-Latin words 
and phrases which may suggest .1 Irench not less than an Italian source), has an occasional 
Italian word (che ior ijue, raucdoio), and shows Venetian influence in the proper names; and so 
it might possibly he argued that rlie original form of I- was a version made hy Kustichello in 
his characteristic I'ranco-Italian dialect, and with emhellishmenis especially in the battle 
stories, from an Italian original. But on the one iiand I- has nor been shown to betray any sign 
ol being a translation, and on the other hand the occurrence in all the other texts, French, 
Venetian, Tuscan, or Latin, ot many and diflerent sentences which reproduce V word for 
word leaves an irresistible impression that a text in the language of I- is the mother of them 
all. It may be remarked here that Bi-;ni-dktto seems to have changed his opinion with regard 
to Kusfichello's share in the work. In 1928 he devoted many pages to Rustichello's part, 
though the facts must of course have come from Marco; but in 1932 this part is "a very 
small thing", nothing more than the translation (trascrivere^) into the language of romance of che 
book o I which Marco Polo was "the true and only author". Others (including Oklandini; 
have suggested that the form ot the book and all the stories, including perhaps the embassy to 
the Pope, are Rustichello's work, though no one now ventures to suppose that the descriptions 
of places and customs are not genuine reports of what Marco Polo had seen and heard. 
It is still too early to make a positive statement about the way in which the book was 
composed, but it seems to be likely that it was to a great extent compiled from written 
docuntents, and there are some things which seem to support this a priori probability. In 
the first place Ramusio, reporting presumably a tradition which he may have heard at second- 
hand from the survivors of the Polo family^ says that Marco Polo sent from Genoa to his 
father at Venice for "his writings and memoranda which he had brought with him" (see d. 
95 p. 586 below), and there seems to be no need to doubt the tradition. Then there are 
several places where Qubilai is described as the great Kaan "who now reigns", while in c.19 
we are told that the travellers heard of his death, and this suggests the use of documents of 
various dates; although incidentally it is surprising that the contradictions m the book are as 
few as they are. Again, in the first thirty or forty chapters, which deal with the Moslem 
lands of West and central Asia, "the people worship Mahomet", but in the interspersed 
stories — the capture of Baudac, the miracle of the Mountain, the Old Man of the mountain, 
the Church of Samarcan — it is alwa)'S "Saracens". In the few mentions of Moslems in the 
chapters on Cambaluc, Catai, and Mangi they are generally "Saracens", but in Caragian 
"they worship Mahomet". In the stories such as the death of St. Thomas, Adam's Peak, 
the king of Abasce, or the wars of Argon and Acmat, it is always "Saracen", and when we 

return 

43 



G.-B. RAMUSIO • HIS NAVIGATION! ET VIAGGI ^MARCO POLO 
as well as the origin of one of the texts of Odoric in the same volume, has been 
and remains a mystery. Giovanni-Battista Ramusio was an official and a learned 
student of geography in Venice in the sixteenth century.^ The Venetian printers 
GiUNTi seem to have determined to publish a collection of voyages and travels 
(Navigationi et Viaggi) with Ramusio as their editor. The first volume appeared 
in 1550, the third in 1556, without mention of Ramusio's name. Marco Polo, which 
was to be in the second volume, seems to have been ready, with Preface (d.95 
P-577; written in 1553, but other matter for that volume could not, somehow, 
be got ready for publication so quickly. On 10 July 1557 Ramusio died at Padua, 
and on 4 November the same year the Giunti printing press was burnt down. 
Some ot the matter intended for Volume II was destroyed, but Marco Polo escaped 
and was printed in 1558 and published in 1559, with a note by Tommaso Giunti 
saying that Ramusio, who would not let his name be published in his lifetime, 
had really done all the work tor the three volumes ; and the Collection has been 
Ramusio ever since. ^ Careful analysis ot R by Benedetto shows that it is based 
on P (the common Latin version by Pipino') with additions trom other known 



return towards the end of the book to the Moslem lands we find more than once "Saracens 
who worship Mahomet". Not only so, but in F "Saracen" is consistently sarain in c.41, 
saracin or the like in cc.26 — 29, and so on, as if Rustichello had perhaps a book of stories 
whicii he had copied from various sources, and copied them out again into Marco Polo with- 
out making the spelling uniform. And lastly c.152 seems to be doubly based on documents, 
for it claims to be based on a Cliinese document (cf pp. 326, 327) from which Marco Polo 
presumably made notes, and tlie result is a number and accuracy of details quite without 
parallel in the rest of the book. 

A more difficult question is that of the subsequent alteration of the text by conscious editing. 
"Malabar" for "Dilivar" (c.36) and the statement that Curmos is on an island (c.37), with 
the forms tctnbul and toscaol, may perhaps be due to Ramusio's deliberate wish to correct, 
and when ior "tiie great lord who now reigns" (c.25) V substitutes "Mongu who reigned at 
that time" we cannot doubt that a deliberate change has been made. But these are points 
which it has not been possible to collect and study in detail here. 

^ See the Article by Sir Percival David in volume III. 

2 See d. 96, p. 589. It is remarkable that Ramusio's name was openly published, 
presumably with his knowledge, in the French edition of vol. i, Lyons, 1556. 

^ So he is always, I think, called b)- modern editors. The colophon to P", a beautifully 
written manuscript of the fourteenth century, has Jrater Jranciscus pipini ciuis Bononiensis ; but 
Luigi Manzoni quotes more than one example of the autograph signature Franciscus Piptnus 
(?= Pipino) from the archives at Bologna, cf. " Fr. F. Pipino da Bologna" in Atti c Mem. 
della R. Dep. di Storia Patria per le prov. di Romagna. 3a ser. volume XIII, 1896, pp. 256-3 32. 
The statement (p. 581) that ihe ancient books {Lihri) which had come into Ramusio's hands 

did 

44 



Till- DI'SCRIIMION OV llli; WC^KI.I )^ HIS OKICINAI. SCMJKCI-S 
sources aiul with very laii^i- .iiul iiupon.iiii .uKlmons wimli h.iil iioi, iiniil loiirrccn 
\'oais a^i>, Ixtii lotiiui in any mamiscripi or otlici niiiitiil tiiiiioii. Wlirii Z ^a 
a>p\' ol / made iii ly^S^ vvas Jiscovt*rt\i hy Bi;ni:i)I no in tlu- Anihrosiana at 
Milan n was (ouiul (o coniani niany I>ti( not all ol the jvissni^cs nrcniiat to R. 
I'oi siuii iniivMtaiu places, lor example, as ilie ininJer ol Acinar '^pp. 214-2 i6y 01 
rhe Palace at Quinsai (pp. ^}S, ^^q) R remains to Jay our only authority.' It has 
Ihih assumed that these peculiar passages (those which .ire uni(|iie aiui those which he 
now shares with Z) were taken hy Kamusio Iroin an okl Latin MS. which he Ii.IlI 
examined and ol which he writes as follows. Alter saying; that Marco Polo was, 
as he believed, lirst written in Latin, he proceeds, " of which hook a eopy, written 
the first lime xn Latin, ol wonderful antiqiiiiy, an*.! perhaps copied from the 
original by the hand ol the same M. Marco, I have often seen and compared 
with this which we arc now publishing, lent me by a gentleman ol this city of 
the I louse ot Ghisi, a i^reat Iriend of mine, who had it with him and luld 11 
very dear."' Nine pages earlier \n his Preface he had said: "Now seeing that so 
many details of that part of the world ot which the aforesaid M. Marco has 
written are being discovered in our time, I have judged it a reasonable thini^ to 
make his book come to the light with the help of different copies written more 
than two hundred years ago (in my judgement) perfectly correct and by a great 
length much more faithful than that which is read hitherto ; so that the world 
should not lose that fruit which can be gathered from so great diligence and 
industry about so honourable a science, for the knowledge which is acquired of 
the part towards the east-north-east, put down by the ancient writers for land 
unknown."^ This is a plain statement that his text was compiled " with the 
help of different copies ", and in the later passage he says that he " compared 
the Ghisi Latin text " with this which we are now publishing ". He does not 
say nor at all imply that something like one fifth of " this which we are now 



did nor say that Soldadia was a city of Armenia suggests chat he may have seen and used no 
text of P but a printed edition, for the words ciuitatis Annenie do occur in the early MSS. 
of P. And it is natural enough that he should rake the best existing printed text as the basis 
of his new edition; but it is not easy to be sure which text he used, for that of c. 1483 
would not have given him the name Pipino, but Pepur, while Novus Or^i5, 1532, omits the 
prologue ; and the only early printed edition which includes the prologue and has the name 
Pipuio correctly seems to be the Portuguese version of 1502. Yet R. speaks of P as Latin. 

* See Additional Note on chapter 152, p. 499 below. 

2 Nauigationi et Viaggi, 1559. Prefacione fol. yr". d.95 p. 586. He means, obviously, chat 
he had seen an old copy of the original (as he believed) Latin. 

^ Nav. et Viaggi, 1559, Pref. fol, 2vo. d.95 p. 578. 

45 



RAMUSIO • THE FATE OF ALL HIS MANUSCRIPTS ^MARCO POLO 
publishing " was taken from the old Latin which he borrowed, and so we really 
cannot be sure that the unique passages were taken by him from the Ghisi manu- 
script. We can only be reasonably sure that among his "different copies" Ramusio 
had one manuscript which contained many of the peculiar passages now found in 
Z, and that cither in that same manuscript or elsewhere he found those other 
unique passages which are not in Z. 

The sentence quoted above about the Ghisi manuscript was published in 
1559, but was silently omitted from the second and following editions of 1574, 
1583, 1606 ; and it is interesting to speculate on the reason for this omission. 
Had the publication of this sentence caused the owner to come and ask if he might 
have his book back, only to learn that it had been destroyed in the fire ? Or had 
he perhaps merely objected to the advertisement of the fact that he owned so 
precious a volume ? In view of the fact that Ramusio was apparently employed 
by the Giunti as their editor for this collection of voyages and travels, and of the 
homely ways and known customs of the time, it may not be unreasonable to guess 
that Ramusio had his documents and did much of his work at the printing office, 
which is said by Ramusio himself to have been in S. Zulian ;^ or after his death 
all his unpublished material may have been handed over to the printers. At any 
rate I cannot learn that this MS. (or any MS. containing the unique passages) has 
ever been seen or described after Ramusio s own mention of it in 1553. And so 
with the other manuscripts which he used, which may well have been as valuable 
as we guess the Ghisi one to have been. Where are they now ? Of all places 
in the world where one might expect to find a good copy of Marco Polo, Venice 
surely comes first ; and after Ramusio 's day there might also have been good 
copies at Padua where Ramusio sometimes lived and where he died. In neither 
place does there now seem to be a copy of any value or distinction except two 
copies of the Venetian text, one in each place, dated respectively 1445 and 1446 
(with a Latin compendium dated 1401), and these can hardly be among those which 
in 1553 Ramusio "judged " to be more than two hundred or at least one hundred 
and fifty (fol. 4ro) years old. Were his copies all burnt in the fire of 1557? 
It does not seem to me to be impossible ; though Giunti only specifies among 
the * ' losses to students of geography ' ' certain copy (essemplari^ and maps which 
Ramusio had handed over to the printers not long before his death. ^ 



^ Nav. et Viaggi, 1559, Dichiararione fol. i6v*'. 

2 Dr G. G. CouLTON and Dr A. W. Pollard rell mc that the suggested explanation 
is less likely to be true in the case of a man in Ramusio's position than in the case, for 

instance, 

46 



Tin- ni-sdUPTioN ov vwv woRi.n^ nii: roni:x or TOi.i:no 

111 tlu" socDiui voliiMu- o\ ilu- Niivn^atioiii ft ^^'<'^^^,'^ Vniici-, 1559 printc^l 1558^, 
Marco Tolo will he lomul .is lollows : di m. c;u>. li.MiisiA kamvsio puiiAtioNi 
soi'K I II. I'liiM irio nil. i.iuko nil. m.h;co m, M.iRco roi.o am 'i:c;c:i;i.i,i-:nii; m. 
im:KONiMO 1 KAiiAsroRO. ((.Inicci l)i Voikmi.i, a soiii- dc I veil. K) M I) MM.; (t)l. 
2r"-8v" ; liSPOSiiioNi: i)i m. two. BAnisiA ramvsio .Vci/)rrt cjucstc parole di Messer 
Marco Polo Ncl tempo Ji B.ilJiiiiio &c. fol. 9r"-i7v" ; Longitikics ami Latituilcs 
fol. 181"; iNDicii DHL siicouDO voi.VMii f ol . i9r"-28v"; Icxt ' beginning PKOHiiMio 
PRiMo &c.) fol. ir'»-6oro, 52 leaves (the numbers 18, 19, 2^, 24, ]j, 38, 45, 44 bemg 
omittedX each leal JiviJet.1 into six sections, a, w, c, d, v., v, for convenience of 
reference. 

(^) Z. After several other inquiries had proved incfTectual, Sir Percival David 
succeeded in finding this valuable manuscript in the Chapter Library of the Cathedral 
at Toledo on 7 December 19^2, through the very kind help of Seiior Pedro Longas, 
Chaplain, of the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, Don Agustin Garcia Guisasola, 
Notario Mayor del Ar/obispado, Toledo, and other friends ; and photograp)hs of 
it were obtained in January 193^ through the kindness of Seiior Ramon Gil Miquel 
of the Museo Arqueologico Nacional, Madrid. 

It is a great advantage to be able to add here a general description and estimate 
of the value of this text from the pen of so well known and competent a scholar 
as Sir Denison Ross, formerly Director of the School of Oriental Studies, and 
himself an editor of Marco Polo. He writes : — 

" The manuscript is a Latin translation of a Romance text superior to any 
that has come down to us. Unfortunately it is much abridi!;ed at the beginning, 
although the manuscript itself is obviously complete. Marco's long preface is 
reduced to a few lines ; the sections on Cherman and Samarcan are curtailed ; 
there are notable suppressions in the chapters on Ciugiu, Pingiu, Yangiu, and 
Saianfu ; while these chapters — 64 (It was true), 71, half of 75, 76-100, 102-104, 
108-110 (\vorth little more^ 120 (But I tell you), iz^, and 139 — are altogether omitted. 
From the beginning of the chapter on the city of Singiu (147), however, down 



instance, of Erasmus, who is known to have lived and worked in his publisher's house 
botii at Venice and at Basel, cf. d. 96 p. 590. It might be possible also that the omissions 
were simply due to want of space. In 1559 the Preface ended comfortably and ornamentally 
on the 1 6th page. In 1574 the first sheet was reduced from eight to six leaves, and the 
Preface even with the rather closer italic type and longer lines could not be squeezed into it 
unless something was left out. But it is really more probable that, after the omissions had 
been made, the printer perceived that the Preface could now be squeezed into less space, 
and resolved to reduce the bulk of the sheet, cf. also p. 519 note 135. 

47 



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

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



" THE ADDITIONS, 



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

" The following statistics are of interest : more than two-thirds of Z 
represent chapter 147 to the end, or less than half, of F. Or, to put it another 
way, the first 45 leaves of Z correspond to the first 60 leaves of F, while the 
remaining 88 leaves of Z correspond to 47 leaves of F. 

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

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



* See the Additional Note on chapter 152, p. 499. (A. CM.) 
48 



11 Hi DHSCRIPIK^N C^I' nil; WDRLI)^ IUCjUKISIAN AN'I) RUSSIA 
tioncd (i) a lu-vv cliapiii on ilu- province of jugiirisrnn wiili its iMpir.iI Kli.ira- 
Khojo (p. xx), (2) a lt>ng passai^c 011 ilir C^lirisrians m rugiii pp. lii-liVy, aiiJ 
^}) a long aiiilirion to ilu- cliapttT on Russia Tpp. cxxix-cxxxi). 

Widi rogaiJ to the cliapiif on lugiinstan, it lias always been a matter o( 
surprise to siiiJents that no mention slioiiKi have been uyaAc of the Uigluirs ani-i 
of their capital Khara-Khojo. which has yielded so many remains of a highly 
deveh>ped civilisation to modern explorers. It is indeed strange that so important 
a chapter should have been dropped out of all the other texts. Short as it is, it 
contains accurate history and curious lolk-lorc. Incidentally the legend regarding 
the hrst king, who was born of "one of those swellings that sap produces on the 
bark ol trees and that we call esca" , reminds one of the famous Turkish legend 
regarding the origin of the tribe ol Q'lpcaq, who are said to have derived their 
name fiom the tact that their ancestor was born in the hollow of a tree ^qavuq , 
where he was discovered with his mother by the great Oghuz Khan, who there- 
upon adopted the boy. Curiously enough there is an alternative form of this 
name, qavlaq, and in old Turkish qav means tinder (esca). 

"With regard to the Christians in Fugiu, it has been suggested by Professor 
Pei.liot that these Christians in whom Marco and his uncle Maffeo took so much 
interest were Manichxans, who were very numerous in the district but had no 
official status under the Mongols. However this may be, the omission from all 
other texts of this long and important passage is quite unaccountable.^ 

" With regard to the chapter on Russia no one can fail to be struck by the 
minuteness and abundance of details which could not possibly have been invented. 
Marco Polo, of course, obtained these details at second-hand, as there is no reason 
to suppose that he ever visited Russia himself. 

' In reconstituting, as far as we are able, the original narrative of Marco Polo, 
we are confronted with the difficulty of accounting for the various omissions 
which occur in the best available texts. No doubt a number of theories might 
be adduced to explain each type of passage omitted, but such theories must of 
necessity be confined to the realm of conjecture. For one type of omission we 
might find as an excuse the incredulity of the scribe, for another his religious 
scruples, and for a third his lack of interest. 

Knowing Marco Polo as we do, I think we may accept the \itw that the 
fuller the text, the more curious the details and the more prolix the language, the 



^ But see Christians in China before the Year ijjo, p. 143 n. 23; and specially PN. (A. CM.) 



49 



Z • SIZE AND BINDING • PAPER • WRITING • DATE ^s^MARCO POLO 
nearer we arrive at what his fellow-prisoners in Genoa had the good fortune to 
hear at first hand." 

The manuscript is written on laid paper, the page measuring 213 mm. x 140 mm., 
the writing occupying approximately 164mm. x 91mm., the outer margin being 
about 33 mm., and the tail usually 34mm.. The book consists of an independent title 
written on paper like that of the rest of the manuscript probably in the seventeenth 
century (fol. ir°, verso blank, cf. pi. 31), and of twelve gatherings consisting respect- 
ively of 10, 10, 10, 12, 10, 10, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 leaves, numbered (in modern 
pencil) 2 to 135. The number of lines to a page varies from 26 to 28 in the gather- 
ings 1, 4, 5, and 9 ; 24 lines in 6 and 7 ; 23 or 24 in 8 ; 27 in 2 and 3 ; 28 in 10 and 
11; and 25 to 30 in 12, the last leaf having 13 lines on the recto and the verso 
blank. The margins contain a large number of notes in the same hand as the text 
(pi. 33). These are usually, and especially in the first half, religious — adorant ydola, 
&c., and there are many cases of the single word nota, which in 1795 was transcribed 
as non. On fol. 2r° (pi. 32), so high up that it did not appear on the photographs 
from which the present text was printed, is written in a rather later hand : Incipit liber 
domini Marci pauli veneti. The writing is judged by Sir Sydney Cockerell and 
Professor E. H. Minns to have been done in Italy about the year 1470. The 
Italians in 1795 dated the manuscript about 1400, and the scholars at Toledo to 
day assign it to the first half of the fifteenth century.^ There are two fly-leaves 
at either end, of eighteenth century paper (one of them watermarked A.M.G. in 
a shield), and the first of these leaves is inscribed ' 4 ' in the top left corner, 
'1163' in the bottom left corner, and 'Cajon 49 Num 20 Zelada' in the middle. 
The volume is bound in marbled brown calf with the ribs gilded, and is lettered 
on the back marc.paul.op, in the second panel with Zelada 's crest and F X Z 
(Francesco Xaverio de Zelada) in the lowest panel. The figures 49.20, which indicate 
the shelf and number of the book in the Zelada Collection at Toledo, appear 
again on a paper label pasted on the back of the volume (pi. 36). The book 
is entered with these numbers in the manuscript Catalogue of the library made 
by L. Fri'as and copied by Joaquin and Juan Villalobos in 1808 and still in use. 

^ Don A. Guisasola wrote on 10 May 1936 that he and Dr Don Agustin Millares 
Carlo, Professor at the Central University, had examined the book together and "we believe 
that it is of the beginning of the fifteenth century". On the other hand Don Martin de 
la Torre, Librarian of the National Library at Madrid, is reported in 1932 to have informed 
Seiior Pedro Long as that he thought the MS. dated from the first half of the sixteenth 
century. 

50 



THi- niiscRiiMioN ov II Hi woKij)'^ I'OKMiK owNiiRS or 7 

Tlu* fust owner ol (he liook wlu) srcms to l>c known w.is Josppli Antcnor 
ScAl.AHUiNi, i6i)4 - iS April 1777, born .11 IVrr.ua .uiil (roni 174 i a C!anon .inA 
Professor clurc, and a noial an(u|nary And a Iriciul ol MuKArom. I fis name 
appears in Greek initials aiui ni Laiin at the loot ol the title page Tpl. ^ij. I'Voin 
him if scenis 10 have passcci to Cardinal JMancesco Xavcrio de Ziu.ada, 27 August 171 7 
- 19 December iSoi, who, coming Irom a Spanish lamily, though born at Rome, 
was amongst the most prominent men ol letters ol his time in Italy, and had been 
"Librarian of the holy Church" (1778-1801) and Secretary of State to Pio VI 
(1789 - 1796). Part ol Cardinal de 'Zr.i.\D\'<, great library, which he is said to have 
bequeathed to the Casa di Gcsu at Rome, was obtained by Cardinal Francisco III 
Antonio Lorenzana, 22 September 1728 - 17 April 1804, and conveyed by him 
to the already famous Cathedral Library at Toledo, ol which cit\' he had been the 
distini^uished Archbishop from 1772 till 1800.' 

It is worth while to recall, as Benedetto has done, that this interesting manu- 
script was described by Baldelli-Boni, and it is astonishing that the inquiries which 
have now fortunately resulted in the rediscovery and printing of it were not made 
fifty years ago. The description referred to is as follows : cartaceo in 8. del 
Secolo XV. Contiene il Milione in latino. "Marci Pauli, de diversis hominum 
generibus, er diversitatibus regionum mundanarum" . Comincia il prolog© : "Domini, 
Imperatores Rcges, Duces, Marchiones, Comites, Militcs et Burgenses, et omnes 
qui vultis cognoscere diversa hominum genera, et diversarum regionum mundanarum 
diversitate, accipitc hunc librum." Controntando detto frammento colla traduzione 
di Fra Pipino, si ravisa essere questa di diverso autore ...(// Milione, 1827, 
torn. L p. cxxxv). Baldelli-Boni says in the same place that this with other 
books was bequeathed to the Toledo library by Cardinal de Zelada himself. '^ 

To the transcript made in 1795 and now kept in the Ambrosian Library at 
Milan (Y. 160. p. sup.) the following note is prefixed : 



^ See Antonio Bottoni Cinque Secoli d'Universita a Ferrara, 1892, p. 197; G. MORONi Di^- 
oiuvio del Irudizjone &c., vol. 103; Tipaldo Biografia Ital. Illustr., II., p. 224; Biografa 
Uiiivers., LXV., p. 122; and notes kindly supplied to Sir Percival David by Don Agustin 
GuiSASOLA. Zelada's uill in the Archiv. Comm. dei Filippini gives no books except some 
to the Collegio Romano. See also the Frontispiece of vol. II below. 

^ Apparently good evidence is given by Jose Foradada y Castan (Revista de Archives &c., 
VII. 4, 25 Feb. 1877, "Resefia Historica de la Bibl. del Cabildo . . . de Toledo", pp. 66, 67) 
that the collection of 1540 manuscript and printed books was sent to Toledo by Lorenzana 
as a gift from Zelada himself more than two years before the latter's death. 
cf. also V. Lazari Marco Polo, 1847, p. xxxiv : Una terza versione latina si conserva 
manoscrirta a Toledo, nella Biblioteca di quella Cattedrale ; ma e opera del secolo XV. 

51 



Z • THE TRANSCRIPTIONS OF 1795 AND 1935 ?^MARCO POLO 

Joseph Toaldo Lecturis 

Exemplum hoc excriptum fuit a Codice Manuscripto Cartaceo Eminentissimi 
Domini Cardinahs de Zelada, qui eum benigne permisit mihi excribendum, 
misitquc Patavium curam prebente Eminentissimo Card. Scephano Borgia atque 
Excellentissimo D. Petro Pesaro Veneto apud S. Pontificem Legato. Codex 
judicatur scriptus Seculo XIV exeunte, vel XV ineunce. Descriptus autem fuit 
dihg^entia summa, et non sine labore magno, ob immanem characteris obscuritatem, 
a DD. Augustino Calzavara, et Benedicto Tonini CathedraHs hujus Ecclesie 
Patavine communi opera, collatusque, me presente, cum autographo : Descriptio 
absoluta fuit hac die 8. juHj 1795. 

Codex ipse Latinus, sed latinitate vero barbara, videtur esse versio, aut potius 
paraphrasis, exemplaris Hngua Hetrusca, quod Florentise tenetur in BibUotheca 
Maghabechiana, nomine Academicorum De la Crusca. Scriptio ipsa oscitantia summa 
peracta videtur, multis passim omissis, translatis, iteratis non modo verbis, sed 
sententijs. Interpres ipse, quicumque fuerit, ineptus homo fuisse videtur, credulus, 
somniator, fabulator, battologus, puer muHercula ; tot nugas interserit ; adeo ut 
singularibus, que solus ipse refert, tuta fides haberi non possit. Quare caute eorum 
usus faciendus erit : nihilominus nonnulla, saltem variantium nomine suppeditabit. 

And on the title is written : Titulus hie est alterius caracteris et recensioris. 

The transcript which was then made with so great care is on the whole faithful, 
but some common words — quando, quia, &c. — were mistaken throughout, and there 
are a few more important errors, slips, and omissions, so that the recovery of the 
original is a matter of great congratulation. The old judgement of the value of the 
text has been singularly reversed by Professor Benedetto and other modern critics, 
for it is now recognized as a document of quite first rate importance, and it is 
exactly " the singularities which he alone records " for which we are specially 
grateful . 

In making the transcript which is now printed I have tried to copy the original 
letter for letter, only writing out the abbreviations (except &^ in full, and have 
even preserved the erratic and often apparently meaningless punctuation ; feeling 
that students who use such a text will like to have as nearly as possible an exact 
representation of the manuscript, unchanged by any editing at all. It has proved 
to be impossible to be perfectly consistent in the use of capital letters, especially 
of the large capitals which begin the paragraphs. The double spaces mdicatc the 
ends of the sentences, and are indeed a piece of" editing as the sentences are not 
divided in the manuscript. Missing letters and, sometimes, words are often supplied 
in square brackets; additional or wrong letters have not been left our or corrected. 

52 



TH[- i^nscRiPTiON oi IH1-: worlds riii- ni-w translation 

V. TUl-: IM^liSliNT TRANSLAriON 

I In- .uni o\ (ho prrsiMit tr.iiisl.u ion is lo yivc m ilu" first place a complete and 
literal translation ol I'. 1 lie elloii to Jo iliis ha-., it is feared, proiliicej raihcr a 
rough aiul iincoiitli eflect in some plaecs, luii the iimiIi i >, it is hoped, iJcncrally 
intellii;ihle andiu\ei mteni lonally archaic. Iiiio this literal version of I' have been 
inserted as far as possible the additional words, phrases, sentences, or whole 
chapters, which have been found m a selected number of other good representative 
texts, namely \'0. FA'. I-lV. TA'. TA'. LT. VA^ P'\ VG', Z. L', V. VB^ I, VL. 
S, and R. The versions have been made direct f^rom photographs of these manu- 
scripts (or from the first edition of S. R, and VG) ; but in a few instances I am 
indebted to Signor BiiNiiDinro's great edition ot Marco Polo for short extracts from 
other manuscripts. These additions and insertions have only been made when it 
was possible to do so without making any change m the translation of F, so that if 
the additions were to be removed the translation ot F could be read without alter- 
ation/ There are, ot course, additional words and sentences which could not be 
so fitted in. These, ii they v\erc clearly unimportant, have been omitted or, if 
they were important, have been given at the foot of the page or at the end of a 
chapter. And there arc obviously some things which such a version will not do. 
It will give a complete version of: F ; and it will show the principal passages 
which are in other manuscripts but not in F ; but it will not show at all what 
parts of F may be missing in any other manuscript ; nor will it show whether 
an addition made from a given manuscript is peculiar to that manuscript or is 
common to two or more manuscripts, as is often the case. 

The additions are printed in italics, and when two or more additions follow 
one another they are divided by the sign • . The sources of the additions are 
shown in the margin by the index letters given above (in the simplified forms of O. 
FA, FB, TA (TA', TA), LT, VA, P, G, Z, L, V, VB, I, VL, S, R),' correspond- 
ing in position from left to right to the order of the additions, when there are more 
than one in a line. 



^ The only exceptions to this rule are that some small changes in the punctuation and in 
the use of capital letters have been made in F to suit the additions. There are also a few 
cases in which and or some other small word has been supplied to enable an insertion to be 
made, and such words are printed in square brackets. 

^ In some of the footnotes it has been necessary to refer to two manuscripts of the same 
family, and in such cases the index letters (e.g. L,L' ; N'^B.VB") must be understood to 
have their correct value, as in the List of Manuscripts, pp. 509-516. 

53 



THE NEW SPELLINGS OF THE PROPER NAMES p^MARCO POLO 
Little or no attempt has been made to exercise a critical discrimination and to 
accept or reject additional matter as it may seem more or less certainly to represent 
the original or to have been added by a copyist. The marking of all added words 
and the indication of the sources not only render such discrimination unnecessary, 
but give the reader some opportunity of forming his own judgement of the value 
of the different texts. Even a first-rate text like F seems to have been abridged 
not only in matter but in form, so that the expansions of, say, VB may seem to 
have a chance of having been taken from the original ; but when it is observed 
that VB adds very little to the matter of the book, it is hard to avoid the suspicion 
that these sometimes considerable elaborations of expression (^puerile ed ambigua 
retorica, Benedetto calls them) may be merely imaginary additions to a text which 
was at first at least as short as F.^ There are places, too, where it seems to be 
very obvious that a divergent reading is merely the result of a deliberate paraphrase ; 
but on the whole there is, in the present state of our knowledge of the text, so 
little foundation for a sound criticism that it has seemed better to include as much 
as possible ; and, besides the multitude of small words and phrases which are of 
little importance, some larger passages which Benedetto at first included and later 
rejected are still included here. 

In the version of the text the spelling of the proper names has been modified. 
While my general aim has been to give as nearly as possible the spelling of F or 
ot some other good manuscript, it has yet seemed to be necessary first to spell a 
given name in the same way whenever it occurs, and secondly to use the same form 
in the version as is used in Pelliot's Notes in volume III. In these Notes some 
changes have been made in the spelling of a few of the words which seemed to 
be wrong in the manuscripts with a view to giving them a correct, or at least a less 
incorrect, form while preserving the general manner of the old transcriptions.^ 

1 Marsden (p. Ixi), Murray (p. 38), Yule & Cordier (II, p. 531), and Benedetto 
(p. clxxxiii) all abuse the handwriting of VB' (Sloane 251). It is closely written in a 
picturesque Italian cursive to which pal.TOgraphers seem to have given little attention ; 
but the letters are formed with so great regularity that the reading rarely presents serious 
difficulty. The explicit and colophon are, I think : Esplj^^t liber mjljonis ^uis vene^arum 
and Questo Ijbro scrjsse saluador paxutj del l^jj auiazo de barutj patron miser cabriol ualaresso 
chapetanio miser polio barbarigo. 

2 The spellings of names in F present, like the language of the text, a curious blend of 
I'rench and old Italian forms. Some terminations seem to be simply Frcncli, as Annenie or 
Alexandre; and it is quite possible, as Pellio r suggests, that Abasce is a hybrid representation of 
French Abache with mute e. Other final vowels are Italian, though forms like Sacion may 

suggest 

54 



nil'; niiscKiPiioN ov vwii wokij)^^ riii: ways oi- iiii: wind 

Oiu" liMturc ol tlu" ii.inslation needs sonic cxpl.ni.uion. Ii d\d not seem to be 
riglu to reduce M.iico l\)lo's nicturestiiie points of tlie compass, named nficr the 
sun, stars, and winds, to commonplace nortli, soutli, east, and west; and yet the 
plciiioh-hfiuii or the Citrck winJ mi^lu not enable (lie reader to steer a correct course 
\Mtlioiii some clearer guidance. According to Marco's contemporary Bruneiio Latini 
I Ik- winds, and consecjiiently the points of the compass, were named as follows. He 
gives first ilu- book name and then (if it is different) the sailor name, sometimes 
adding the origin of it : I:., levant or orient ; S.B., eromes, siloc (sirocco, Arabic 
sharaqa) ; S., midi ; S.W., aufriciues, garbin ( porcc que cil pais (juc lescripturc dit 
aufriijue Ian Ic dit en uuloal parlcure l( garp), or Icbech ; W., conchant or Occident, 
ponent ; N.W., thorns, maistre (^por .vii. estoiles qui sont en celui mcismes leu — i.e. the 
Plough, maistre, plough-beam) ; N.N.W., arec ; N., tramontaignc (stella tra- 
montana, the Pole-star) ; N.E., uularie, grec (porce qutl uient deuers grecej.^ The 
names used in the translation are shown below. 



plough- h 



Kam 



sunsctting 



south-west \^und 



tramontainc 




Greek wind 



sunrtstng 



strocco 



suggest the existence of an earlier French iou in place of the iu which ultimately prevailed. 
Initial q or qu is again French, qen read ken, and quian, kian; while other consonants seem to be 
Italian and generally, I think, Venetian, but apparently without rigidly fixed values. Baian one 
supposes must be read Bay an, but Caraian should be read Carajan and is indeed alternatively 
written Caraoian; and we see in toscaor a trace of that confusion of r and / which could make 
a man write vissibel & inuesiber. While the spellings of F may be, on the whole, the best 
guide we have to Rustichello's original spelling, )'et the text as we have it has suffered 
many changes; and if Benedetto may be right in thinking that the original was more Italian 
in its wording, it may also have been more French in its spelling. 

^ Le Livrc dou Tresor, c. 98, "De lair & de la piuie & dou vent & des choses qui sont en lair" 
(Bibliotheque Nationale MS. fr. 12581, fol. 112). 



)> 



THE 
TRANSLATION 




i 



THE DI'SCRIPTION OV \l\\l WORLD'^ T. PIPING'S PROLOGUH 

TI \\i PRiM.oc.ui-: TO nil; hook op sir marcus r>AULUS oi- vi-nici- Aiioi;r rm- 
coNnrnoNs and cusmMs of- tmi- i-asti-rn rhgions bi-cwns.' The book of 
the prudent, lionoiiral>lc, aiul most faithlul Sir Marcus Paulus of Venice 
concerning ihc con*.litions ol the eastern regions, by bini laiihlully published ami 
written out in the common tongue, I brother Francis Pipino ot Bologna ol the Order 
ot the Brothers Preachers am forced by many of my fathers and masters to reduce by 
true and laithhil translation from the common tonirue to Latin, that those who arc 
more pleased with Latin than with the common speech, and these too who on account 
ol the variety of tongues of- every kind or on account of the difference of idioms are 
unable to understand the proper meaning of another tongue easily or at all, may either 

* Following the example of Ramusio, I have thought it best to prefix the opening paragraphs 
of certain important families o( manuscripts which could not be worked into tiie text of F. 
The Latin version by Pipino was made from a Venetian text which has been identified by 
B. with the prototype of VA. Ramusio says twice (PreJ. fol. 8vO, p. 588 below, and in the 
title ol Pipino's Prologue, which he also translates) that it was made in 1320, but no 
corroboration of this has been found. It seems that General Chapters of his Order, at the 
earlier of which Pipino was perhaps told to make the translation, were held at Bologna in 
1302 and 1315, and that he was sent to Palestine in 1320 (Quktif &. Echarl:) Script. Ord. 
Praed., I. p. 539). According to L. Manzoni ("Frate Francesco Pipino da Bologna" in 
Atti e Mem. della R. Dep. di Storia Patria, 3a serie vol. XIII., 1896, pp. 262-273) Pipino's 
Chronicon was finished near the end of I 3 14 (id. p. 270), and since in lib. 24 cc. 71,89 he 
mentions his own translation of Polo that must probably have been finished before 13 14, 
but not before I 310, as the Prologue was clearly written after the death in or soon after 
that year of Matteo Polo. 

The division into three books, which is found in some texts, is indicated in F only by the 
use of special initials. 

After these prologues to P, FA', and FB^ the translation of F begins on page 63 with the Table 
of Chapters. In this Table the first number is the correct number of the chapter, followed by 
the title or rubric of the chapter. This is followed by two Roman numbers in brackets. The 
first of these is the number given to the chapter in the original Table, and the second the 
number given to it in the original text. These are followed by the page on which the chapter 
begins in this volume so that the whole will serve as a Table of Contents to the present version. 
Owing to the omission of c. 21 from the original Table and the failure to number c. 20 in 
the text, c. 23 is numbered 22 in both places, and thenceforward the numbers are generallv 
at least one wrong. This error was corrected in 1824, but B. divided c. 95 and c. 194 so that 
his numbers also are wrong by one or two. It is with regret that I have been obliged to make 
the chapter numbers differ from those of B., but comparison of this translation with his 
French text is made easy by the fact that both books mark the pages of the original manuscript 
in the same way, namely the number of the leaf, followed by the letters a or b for the two 
columns of the recto, and by c or d for the two columns of the verso page. 

59 



PIPING DEFENDS HIS VERSION AND THE BOOK ^MARCO POLO 
read it with more pleasure or take it in more readily. Moreover they could have per- 
formed this labour which they have compelled me to undertake more fully by them- 
selves, but giving their leisure to higher contemplation and preferring the sublime to 
the most lowly, as they refused to know earthly things so also[they were unwillingjto 
describe things of earth. But I obeying their command have translated the contents of 
the book faithfully and completely into simple and clear Latin, the style which the 
matter of this book required. And that this labour may not seem too vain or useless 
I considered that from the reading of this book faithful men can win from the Lord 
the merit of manifold grace, either because observing the wonderful things of God 
in the variety of the things said and the greatness of the creatures they will be able to 
wonder with more wonder at his power and wisdom, or seeing the gentile peoples 
wrapped in such darkness ot blindness and in such uncleanncss may give thanks to 
God who lighting his faithful with the light of truth has deigned to call them from 
so dangerous darkness into his wonderful light; or pitying their ignorance shall pray 
the Lord for the illumination of their hearts, that the faithlessness of undevout 
Christians may be confounded because the infidel people are more ready to worship 
idols than are most ol these who are signed with the mark of Christ ready for the 
worship of the true God. Or even the hearts of some devoted to religion could be 
provoked for the spread of the Christian faith to carry by the favour of the divine 
Spirit the name of the Lord Jesus Christ among so great a multitude of peoples 
given over to oblivion, to the blinded nations of: the infidels, where the harvest truly 
is great but the labourers are few. Lest however the many unheard of and to us 
unusual things which are told in very many places in this book may seem incredible 
to the inexperienced reader, let it be known to all who read in it that the aforesaid 
Sir Marcus, the relater of these wonders, is a man prudent, faithful, and devout, and 
adorned with pure morals, having good testimony from all his familiar friends, so 
that by the merit of his manifold virtue his story may be worthy of trust. His father 
moreover, Sir Nicholas, a man of complete prudence, used to tell all these things in 
the same way. And his uncle, whom this book mentions, a man indeed mature, 
devout, and wise, asserted in familiar talk to his confessor, when he was on the point 
of death, with unwavering firnmess that this book contained the truth in every way. 
For this reason I undertook the labour about the translation of it with the securer 
conscience for the comfort of the readers and to the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ 
Creator of all things visible and invisible. Now this book is divided into three 
books, which are divided up into their proper chapters. And the titles of the chapters 
are prefixed at the beginnings of the books for the easier finding of the contents of 
them. 

60 



rill' ni-SCI^lIMlC^N OV IIII' worlds lill-: I'KIiNCH PKOI.CXiUHS 

1 HI: PROLOGUIi lO lA' 
\i\Ul BHCiiN TMI-: Rinuurs ov rms hook wmcFf is callrd tmf. ORSCRirnoN 



H 



ov Tin; WORLD, WHICH I CiUlCiOlKI-S COPII-l)' FROM Till: HOOK OF MASTIiR 



marc: poi. rni: mosi lixcHLLiiNi crn/i-N of vfnissh ijiii.iiiVFR in christ, 
Qlere follows the Tabic of Rubrics or Chapter I leadings.^ To know the pure rrurli of the 
diHiMcnt nvioiis of the vvorki, take then this book and cause it to be reaJ. So will 
you lind there I he very great marvels which are written there ol the great Hcrnicine, . . . 
And therefore he thought that it wouki be too great evil if he did not cause to be put 
in writing that which he had seen and heard for truth, so that the other people who 
have not seen or heard it may know it by this book. And I tell you too that to know 
this he stayed n\ those strange places quite twenty-six years. The which book after- 
wards when he was staying m the dungeon of Jcnes (Genoa) he had recounted m order 
by Master Rusta the Pisan who was in that same prison. . . .^ 

THE PROLOGUE TO FB' 

SEE HERK THU BOOK which m\- lord Thicbault knight, lord of Cepoy, whom 
God absolve, asked that he might have the copy of it of Sir Marc Pol, citizen 
and inhabitant in the city of Venise. And the said Sir Marc Pol, as most 
honourable and well experienced in many lands and well mannered, and himself 
desiring that what he had seen should be known through the whole world, and for 
the honour and reverence of the most excellent and powerful prince, my lord 
Charles son of the king of France and count of Valoiz, handed and gave to the 
above-said lord of Cepoy the first copy of his said book after he had made it. And 

' contrescris. B. thinks that by this word contrescris (which he read contrejais) is meant more than 
simply transcribed, so that, in his opinion, we may suppose that the unknown Grigoires was 
the translator of the original into the Court French of the FG group of manuscripts. See pi. 24. 

- In the Prologue to TA' we read: "He said to himself that it would be too great evil if he did 
not put in writing all the wonders which he had seen, so that those who did not know them 
might learn them by this book. And I tell you too that he stayed in those lands quite thirty-six 
years. Who afterwards being in the prison of Gienova caused all these things to be put into 
writing by Master Rusticho of Pisa." And in VA': "And this is the reason why he was moved 
to have this book written, because it seemed to him that it would be great evil and great blaine 
that so great and strange things and wonderful should not be told and known of the people 
through tlie different parts of the world and should not be put in perpetual memory-. To know 
these things he stayed in those parts of the world quite twenty-six years. And being in prison at 
Zenova, then he had this book written by Master Ristazo of Pixa who was prisoner like him- 
self; he reduced it to writing Qui loridusse inscritura). And this was in the year of the Lord 
1298." If seems to be clear that the "afterwards" or "then" has reference to the time spent 
abroad, and not. as has been suggested, to a previous attempt on Marco Polo's part to write the 
book himself. 

61 



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

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

^ On this Preface to FB (pi. 26; it appears in at least three of the FB group) see B. p. Ivi. It may 
at least be taken to show that the important FG family of manuscripts is ultimately derived 
from a copy given to Thiebault by the author himself, and, though not given till August 1307, 
that may indeed have been the first copy ever made; but it is impossible to think that FG, as 
it has come down to us, is a text which has the author's own approval and imprimatur. On 
p. Ix B. gives a very slender indication that the FG text may have been first made in 1308; 
but we really do not know that the French version was made by Grigoires, whoever he may 
have been, nor that it was made in 1308; and indeed 1308 is too early a date if we assume, as it 
is natural to do, that "the first copy of this book which ever was made after it was carried to 
the kingdom of France" was the prototype of the FG group of manuscripts. For Thiebault, 
Lord of Cepoy, and his son Jean left France on 9 September 1306, were in Naples in 1309, and 
it was only on 29 April 13 10 that they "found my lord of Valois at S. Christofle in Halapte 
near Senlis." Thiebault died between 22 May 1311 (^Arch. di Stato, Naples, Registri angioini, 
197, fol. 158VO.), and 22 March 1312 (A.N., J, 165B, n^ 78.); and his son Jean seems to have 
died in or soon after the year 1332. (cf. J. Petit "Thibaut de Chepoy" in Le Moyen Age, 1897, 
tome X (2 s^r., tome I), pp. 224-239 (esp. p. 238); Ducange Histoire de l' Empire de Constant- 
inople, ed. J. A. BuCHON, Paris, 1826, vol. II. pp. 102, 352-356, where he reprints the account- 
roll of Thiebault; J. A. BuCHON Chroniques Etrangeres, 1841, pp. 467-474 (Chronique de Ramon 
Muntanery, Anselme Histoire ge'ne'alogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, cont. by 
M. du FouRNY, 3rd. ed., tome VII, 1733, PP- 739- 74*^ (Amiraux de France^^ The fact that 
this version in Court French and at least three other versions seem to have been made within 
perhaps twenty-five years of the first writing of the book shows a certain recognition of its 
importance, but if, as has been said above, all versions and extant copies are ultimatel)' 
derived from one faulty copy, it is clear that there must have been very few, if any, correct 
copies of the book in its original form to be found. 

62 



THi: i)i:sc:kiption ov iiii- worlds iiii-: iaiuj- oi ci iai' fhks 



3 

4 

5 
6 

7 
8 

9 

lo 

1 1 

12 



Id 



I llil^li begin tlic imroduciion.s ol ilus boDk vvlucli i^ ollcJ tljc 

dfscripiion ol the vvi)rl».l.(i;i) - - - - 7i 

I lt)vv M.Ksier Nicol.iu aiul Master Maleu departed Irom (loiisianii- 

iiople to search tlie world. (ii;ii) - - - - 74 

I low Master Nicolaii and Master Maleii departed Ironi Soldanie. 

(iii;iii) ....... y^ 

I low the two brothers cross a desert and came to tlic city of Bucara. 

(iiii;iiii) ....... y(^ 

I low the two brothers find the messengers to the great Kaan.(v;v) - 77 
How the two brothers came to the great Kaan.(vi;vi) - - 77 

How the great Kaan asks ot the two brothers ol the doings ol the 

Christians. (vii;vii) - - - - - - 77 

How the great Kaan sends the two brothers for his messengers to the 

Apostle ol Rome. (viii;viii) - - - - - 78 

How the great Kaan gives to the two brothers the gold tablet of the 

orders. (viiii;viiii) - - - - - - 79 

How the two brothers came to the city of Acre.(viiii;x) - - 80 

How the two brothers departed from Uenese to go back to the great 

Kaan and take with them Marc the son of Master Nicolau. 

(x;xi) - - - - - - - -81 

How the two brothers and Marc set out from Acre. 

(How the two brothers go to the Apostle of Rome.) (xii;xii) - 82 
How the two brothers go to the Apostle of Rome. 

(How the two brothers and Marc came to the city of Chemeinfu 

where the great Kaan was.) (xiii;xiii) - - - - 83 

14. [ih] How the two brothers and Marc came to the city of Chemeinfu 

where the great Kaan was. 
(How the two brothers and Marc go.)(xiiii;xiiii) - - 84 

How the two brothers and Marc go before the great Kaan at the 

Palace. 
(How the two brothers and Marc departed from Acre before the 

great Kaan at the Palace. )(xv;xv) - - - - 85 

How the great Kaan sends Marc for his messenger, (xvi;xvi) - 85 

How Marc returns from his mission and reports his embassy to the 

great Kaan. (xvii;xvii) - - - - - 86 



15 



16 
17 



At the top of the first page are the numbers 645 and 7367. 



63 



THE NUMBERS & CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS ^MARCO POLO 



18. 

19. 

20. 
21 . 
22, 
23. 

24. 
25. 
26. 



27, 



28. 



29, 



30. 

31 

32 

33 
34 
35 
36 



How Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master Marc ask leave 

of the Kaan. (xviii;xviii) _____ 

Here he tells how Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master 

Marc departed from the great Kaan. (xviiii;xviiii) 
Here he tells of the little Arinenie.(xx; — ) _ _ _ _ 

[Here he tells of the province of Turcomanie.] ( — ;x?) 
Here he tells of the great Armenie.(xxi; ?) _ _ - - 

Here he tells of the king of the Giorgiens and of their affairs. 

(xxii;xxii) _______ 

Here he tells of the realm of Mosul. (?;xxiii) _ _ _ 

Here he tells how the great city of Baudac was taken. ( ?;xxiiii) 
Here he tells of the noble city of Tauris. 

(Of the great wonder which happened in Baudac about the 

mountain. )(?;xxv) ______ 

Of the Monastery of the Blessed Barsanio which is within the borders of 

Tauris. Cap. 10. 
Of the great wonder which happened in Baudac about the mountain. 
(How the Christians have great fear of that which the Calif had 

said to them.) (?;xxvi) _ _ _ _ _ 

How the Christians have great fear of that which the Calif had said to 

them. 
(How the vision comes to the Bishop that the prayer of a shoe- 
maker was heard (?) y(?;xxvii) _ _ _ _ 
How the vision comes to the Bishop that the prayer of a shoemaker 

was heard ( ?) 
(How the prayer of the Christian made the mountain move.) 

(?;xxviii) _______ 

How the prayer of the Christian made the mountain move. 
(Here he tells of the noble city of Tauris. )(?;xxviiii) - 
Here he begins about the great province of Persie. (?;xxx) - 
Here he tells of three magi who came to worship God.(?;xxxi) 
[if] Here he tells of 8 kingdoms of Persie. (xxxii;xxxii) 

Here he tells of the city of lasd. (xxxiii;xxxiii) _ _ _ 

Here he tells of the kingdom of Cherman. (xxxiiii;xxxiiii) 

Here he tells of the city of Camadi.(xxxv;xxxv) - _ _ 



87 

90 

93 
95 
96 

98 
100 
101 



104 



105 



105 



107 



109 

1 10 

113 
114 

116 

118 

118 

120 



B. corrects /mojY to firoit[motioir la inontngne]. 



64 



11 Hi i)i:sc:ripiion oi wm worlds iiiii iablh of c:nAiMiiRs 

37. Uni- lie iclls c)l ilu- great (.icsccnt. (xxxvi;xxxvij - - - ii^ 

38. I low one goes ihioiiv'Ji u'lKl country .ukI poor. fxxxvii;xxxviij - 126 

39. Heie he tells ol ilugre.ii iii\- and noble ol Cobinan. (xxxviii;xxxviiij i ij 

40. 1 U)w one ^^oes (liicMigii a Jesert . (xxxviiii.'xxxviiii) - - -128 

41 . Mere he tells ol the OLl Man ol the Mountain and ol his Assassins. 

(^.\.\.\x;\!) ------- 

42. I'low rhe Old Man ol the Mouniani makes his Assassuis perleet awA 

obedient . (^xxxxi;xlt) ------ 

43. How the Assassins arc trained to do evil. ( ?;xliij - - _ 

44. Here he tells ol the citv ot Sapiirgan. (?;\liii) _ _ _ 

45. Here he tells ot the noble and great city of Bale. ( :;xliiii) - 

46. Here he tells ot the mountain of salt. ( ?;xlv) _ _ _ 

47. Here he tells of the great province ol Badascian. (^ ?;xlvi) 

48. Here he tells ot the province of Pasciai.(?;xlvii) - - - 

49. Here he tells ot the province of Chesccmir. (?;xlviii) 

50. Here he tells ot the very great river oi Badascian. (xlviiii;xlviiiiy 

51. Here he tells ot the kingdom of Cascar. (xlviiiii;!) - 

52. Here he tells ot the great city of Samarcan. (Ii;li) - - - 

53. Here he tells ot the province of Ciarcian. (Iii;lii) _ _ _ 

54. Here he tells of the great province of Cotan.(liii;liii) 

55. Here he tells of the province ot Pern. (Iiiii;liiii) 

56. [ir/] Here he begins about the province of Ciarcian. (lv;lv) 

57. Here he tells of the city of Lop. (Ivi;Ivi) _ _ _ _ 

58. Here he tells of the province of Tangut. (lvii;Ivii) - - - 

59. Here he tells of the province of Camul. (lviii;lviii) 
Juguristani is a certain Itirge province ----- 

60. Here he tells of the province of Ghinghin talas. (lviiii;lviiii) 

61. Here he tells of the province of Succiu. (lx;Ix) _ _ _ 

62. Here he speaks of the city of Camp^io. (lxi;lxi) _ _ _ 

63. Here he tells of the city of E9ina.(lxii;lxii) _ _ - 

64. Here he tells of the citv of Caracorom.(lxiii;lxiii) - - - 

65 . How Cinghis was the first Kaan of the Tartars. (lxiiii;lxiiii) 

66. Hou- Cinghis Kaan prepares his people to go upon the Prester Johan. 

(lxv;Ixv) _-__-_- 

67. How Prester Johan with his people goes to meet with Cinahis Kaan. 

(ixvi;lxvi) _--__-- 



28 

^> 
?^ 

35 

36 

39 
39 

41 
43 

43 
46 

46 

47 
47 
48 

50 

54 
56 
56 
58 
58 
60 
61 
62 

64 
65 



65 



THE NUMBERS & CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS ^MARCO POLO 

68 . Here he tells of the great battle which was between Pr ester Johan and 

Cinghis Kaan.(lxvii;lxvii) _ - _ _ _ 166 

69. Here he tells of the Can who rule after the death of Cinghis Kaan, 

(lxviii;lxviii) - - - - - - -167 

70. Here he tells of the God of the Tartars and of their religion. 

(lxviiii;lxviiii) - - - - - - 170 

7 1 . Here he tells of the plain of Bargu and of the strange customs of the 

people. (lxx;lxx) ______ 177 

72. Here he tells of the great kingdom of Ergiuul(?).(lxxi;lxxi) - 178 

73 . Here he tells of the realm of the province of Egrigaia. (lxxii;lxxii) 1 8 i 

74. Here he tells of the great province of Tenduc. (lxxiii;lxxiii) - 181 

75. [la] Here he tells of the city of Ciandu and of a wonderful palace of the 

great Kaan. (lxxiiii;lxxiiii) _ _ _ _ _ 185 

76 . Here he tells of all the deeds of the great Kaan who now reigns who is 

called Cublai Kaan and tells how he holds court and how he 
maintains his people in great justice and again he speaks of his 
conquest. (Ixxv; — ) - - - - - -192 

77 . Here he tells of the great battle which was between the great Kaan and 

the king Naian his uncle. (lxxvi;lxxvi) - - - 192 

78. How the great Kaan goes to meet Naian. (Ixxvii;—) - - 194 

79. Here he begins about the battle of the great Kaan and of Naian his 

uncle. (Ixxviii; — ) - - - - - - 196 

80. How the great Kaan made them kill Naian. (lxxviiii;lxxviiii) - 199 

8 1 . How the great Kaan returns to the city of Cambaluc. (lxxx;lxxx ?) - 20 1 

82. Here he tells the fashion of the great Kaan. (lxxxi;lxxxi) - - 204 

83. Here he tells of the sons of the great Kaan. ( — ; Ixxxii) - - 206 

84. Here he tells of the palace of the great Kaan. (Ixxxii ;lxxxiii) - 207 

85. Here he tells of the palace of the son of the Kaan who must reign 

after him. (Ixxxiii; — ) - - - - - 211 

R Of the treachery planned to make the city of Cambaluc rebel, and how the 

authors were taken and put to death. Lib. II, Cap. 8. - - 214 

86. How the great Kaan has himselt guarded by 12000 horsemen. 

(lxxxiiii;lxxxiiii) - - - - - -216 

87. Here he tells of the great feast which the great Kaan makes of his 

birthday. (lxxxv;lxxxv) _ _ - _ _ 220 

88. Once more about the feast which the Kaan makes of his same birth- 

day. (Ixxxvi, lxxxvii;lxxxvi) - - - - - 221 

66 



nil 


89. 


L)0. 


C)l. 


92. 



9i- 
94. 

95- 
96. 

97. 

98. 

99. 

100. 
loi , 
102. 
103. 

104. 
105. 

106. 

107. 
108. 
109. 

1 10. 



DHSCI^ll'IION OV \\\V. WORLDS !HI'; rAI'.I.Ii Ol- C:HAIMi:iCS 
2/>J 1 Icrc lie ii'lls o{ ilu- very gn-u li^si ulmli ilu* grcai K.wn in.ikcs on 

ihcir bct^iniiing ol ihr ycnr.(lxxxviii; ?j - _ . 222 

I Icic he tells ol ihc iiooo kiioiis who come 10 ihc leasts/lxxxviiii?; 

Ixxxviiii?) - - - - - - -225 

I low I lie i^reat Kaaii has plaimej thai his people br[ing] him' game]. 

(^I\x.\.\;l\xxx) - __--_- 226 

Mere he lells ol (he lions and ol the leopards and oflynxcs which are 

trained 10 catch animals. And he speaks also ol gerlalcons and 

ol lalcons and ol other birds. (Ixxxxi;lxxxxi) - - 227 

1 lere he speaks ol the two brothers who are over the dogs of the 

chase. (Ixxxxii.lxxxxii) - _ _ _ _ 228 

Here he tells how the great Kaan goes hunting to take beasts and 

birds. (lxxxxiii;lxxxxiii) _____ 229 

How the great Kaan holds great court and makes great feasts. 

(lxxxxiiii;lxxxxiiii) - - - - - -234 

How the great Kaan causes sheets[of paperjto be spent for money. 

(lxxxxv;Ixxxxv) - - - - - -238 

Here he tells oi the twelve barons who are over all the doings of the 

great Kaan. (lxxxxvi;lxxxxvi) - _ _ _ _ 241 

How many roads which go through many provinces start from the 

city of Cambaluc. (lxxxxvii;Ixxxxvii) - _ _ _ 242 

How the great Kaan has his people helped with corn and with 

animals when they have suffered. (?;lxxxxviii) - - 247 

How the great Kaan has trees planted by the ways. (Ixxxxviiii; ?) - 248 

Here he tells of the wine which the people of the Kaan drink. (C;C) 249 

Here he tells of a kind of stones which are burnt like logs. (Ci;C.i) 249 

[zc] How the great Kaan has great quantity of grain gathered and 

distributed to help his people. (Cii;Cii) _ _ _ 250 

How the great Kaan does great charity to his poor people. (Ciii;Ciii) 2 5 i 
HERE he began about the great province of Catai; and we shall tell 

of the river of Pulisanghin. (Ciiii;Ciiii) _ _ _ 255 

Here he tells of the great city of Giogiu. (Cv;Cv) - - - 256 

Here he tells of the realm of Taianfu.(Cvi;Cvi) - - _ 257 

Here he tells of a castle of Taianfu.(Cvii;Cvii) - _ _ 258 

How the Prester lohan made them take the King of Gold.(Cviii; 

Cviii) - - - - - - - -260 

Here he tells of the very great river of Caramoran. (Cviiii;Cviiii) - 262 



67 



THE NUMBERS & CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS ;^MARCO POLO 

Here he speaks of the great city of Quengianfu.(Cx;Cx) - - 263 
Here he speaks of the borders which are between Catai and Mangi. 

(Cxi;Cxi) ------_ 264 

Here he tells of the province of Acbalec. Mangi. (Cxii;Cxii) - 265 

Here he tells of the great province of Sindutu.(Cxiii;Cxiii) - 266 

Here he speaks ot the province ot Tebet.(Cxiiii;Cxiiii) - - 268 

Once more of the same province of Tebet.(Cxv;Cxv) - - 272 

Here he tells of the province of Gaindu. (Cxvi;Cxvi) - - 273 

Here he tells of the great province of Caragian.(Cxvii;Cxvii) - 276 

Once more he tells of the province of Caragian.(Cxviii;Cxviii) - 278 

Here he tells of the great province of (^ardandan. (Cxviiii;Cxviiii) 28 i 
How the great Kaan conquers the realm of Mien and of Bangala. 

(Cxx;Cxx) - - - - - - -286 

Here he tells of the battle which was between the army of the great 

Kaan and the king of Mien. (Cxxi;Cxxi) _ _ _ 287 

Here he speaks again of the same battle. (Cxxii;Cxxii) - - 289 

How one goes down a great descent. (Cxxiii;Cxxiii) - - 292 

[2^] Here he tells of the city of Mien. (Cxxiiii;Cxxiiii) - - - 293 

Here he tells of the great province of Bangala. (Cxxv;Cxxv) - 295 

Here he tells of the great province of Caugigu.(Cxxvi;Cxxvi) - 296 

Here he tells of the province of Amu. (Cxxvii;Cxxvii) - - 297 

Here he tells of the province of Toloman. (Cxxviii;Cxxviii) - 298 

Here he speaks of the province of Cuigiu.(Cxxviiii;Cxxviiii) - 298 

Here he tells of the city of Cacanfu.(Cxxx;Cxxx) - - - 301 

Here he tells of the city of Cianglu. (Cxxxi;Cxxxi) - - - 301 

Here he tells of the city of Ciangli.(Cxxxii;Cxxxii) - - 302 

Here he tells of the city of Tundinfu. (Cxxxiii;Cxxxiii) - - 302 

Here he tells of the noble city of Singiu.(Cxxxiiii;Cxxxiiii) - 306 

Here he tells of the great city of Lingiu. (Cxxxv;Cxxxv) - - 307 

Here he speaks of the city of Pmgiu.(Cxxxvi; — ) - - - 308 
Here he speaks of the city of Ciugiu. 

(Cxxxvii;Cxxxvi (rubric and number mis-placed) ) - - 308 
How the great Kaan conquers the great province of Mangi. (Cxxxviii; 

Cxxxvii) - - - - - - -309 

Here he tells of the city of Coigangiu. (Cxxxviiii;Cxxxviiii) - 313 

Here he speaks of the city of Paughin. (Cxi ;Cxxxx) - - 314 

Here he speaks of the city of Cauyu.(Cxli;Cxli) _ - - 314 

68 



III. 


I 12. 


113. 


114. 


115. 


116. 


117. 


118. 


119. 


120. 


121 . 


I 22. 


123. 


124. 


125. 


126. 


127. 


128. 


129. 


130. 


131. 


132. 


133- 


134. 


135. 


136. 


137. 


138. 


139. 


140. 


141. 


142. 



I 5 

>5 
I 6 

1 6 

20 
22 
22 

23 

26 



Till' i)!;sc;i<iiMioN oi' mi: world'^ rnr. iai'.ij- or chai'TFRS 

4^. liiir In- (tils 1)1 (he city ol I igm. ((-xlii;CJxlnj ... 

4.^. I Icir lu- iclls ol ilu- ci(\' c)l ^'.uigiu. (Cxliii;Cxliu; - - _ 

45. I ion- Ik- (ells o[ [\\c pcovincc ol Namgliin. (Cxliiii jCixiinij - 

4(->. I IcMo ho speaks ()1 (ho city ol Saiiinlii.(Cxlv;Cxlvj - - - 

47. I lore ho lolls oi (he city of Singiii.(Cxlvi;Cxlvi) - - - 

48. 1 lore ho (oils ol tho oitN' ol Caigiu. (^Cxlvii;CxIvii) - - - 

49. 1 ioto ho tolls ol the city ol Cinghiantu. (CxIviii;Cxlviii) 

50. Here ho tolls ol the city of Ciangiu ( Tanchin). (Cxlviiii.Cxlviiiij - 

51. Heie he tells ol the city of Stigiu.(Cl;Cl) - - - - 

52. Here he tolls of the noble city of: Quinsai. (Cli;Cli) 

53. Hero ho tolls ot the great revenue which the great Kaan has from 

Quinsai, (Clii;Clii) - - - - - - 341 

54. Here he tells ot the great city ot ranpigiu.(CIiii;Cliii) - - 343 

55. Here he tolls ot the realm ot Fugiu.(Cliiii;Cliiii) - - - 345 

56. Here he tells ot the city of Fugiu.(CIv;Clv) _ _ _ ^47 

57. [3^] Here he tells ot the city ot (^aiton. (Clvi;CIvi) - - -350 

58. HE^RH boi^ins the book ot Indie. And he will tell all the wonders 

which are there and the manners of the people/ (CIvii;CIvii) 354 

59. Here he tells ot the island ot (^ipingu. (Clviii;Clviii) - - 357 

60. How the people ot the great Kaan escaped trom the storm ot the sea 

and atterwards took the city ot their e[nemies] .(Clviiii;CIviiii) 360 

61. HERE he tells ot the tashions ot the idols. '^(Clx;Clx) - - 364 

62. Here ho tells ot the country of Ciamba. (CIxi;Clxi) - - 366 

63. Here he tells ot the great island ot ]ava.(Clxii;CIxii) - - 368 

64. Here he tells ot the island ot Sondur and ot that ot Condur. (Clxiii; 

Clxiii) _______ ^6c) 

65. Here he tells ot the island ot Pcntan.(CIxiiii;Clxiiii) - - 370 

66. Here he tells ot the island of Java the less. (Clxv;CIxiiii) - - 370 

67. Here he tells ot the realm of Sumatra. (Clxvi;CIxvi) - - 373 

68. Here he tells ot the realm ot Dagroian.(Clxvii;Clxvii) - - 374 

69. Here he tells ot the realm ot Lambri,(Clxviii;Clxviii) - - 376 

70. Here he tells ot the realm of Fansur.(Clxviiii;Clxviiii) - - 376 

71 . Here he tells of the island ot Necuveran, (Clxx;CIxx) - - 377 

72. Here he tells ot the island of Angaman. (Clxxi;CIxxi) - - 378 

73. Here he tells ot the island ot Seilan.(Clxxii;Clxxii) - - 379 

^ des Jors perhaps for des idres or, as FG, for des iens. cf. pp. 354, 364. 
- or "the ways of the idolaters." 

69 



THE NUMBERS & CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS ?^MARCO POLO 

174. Here he tells ot the great province of Maabar.(CIxxiii;CIxxiii) - 381 

175. Here he tells of the reahn of MutifiH. (Clxxiiii;Clxxiiii) - - 394 

176. Here he tells[of the town]where the body of Master Saint Thomas 

the Apostle is. (Clxxv, Clxxvi;CIxxv) _ _ _ ^^j 

177. Here he tells ot the province ot Lar whence the Braaman are 

sprung. (Clxxvii;Clxxvi) - - - - - 401 

178. He tells attain of the island ot Seilan.(Clxxviii;Clxxvii) - - 407 

179. Here he tells ot the noble city of Cail. (Clxxviiii;Clxxviii) - - 412 

180. Here he tells ot the realm of Coilum.(Clxxx; — ) _ _ _ 414 

181 . [36] Here he tells of the city ot Comari.(Clxxxi;Clxxx) - - 416 

182. Here he tells ot the realm of Eli. (Clxxxii;Clxxxi) - - - 416 

183. Here he tells of the realm of Melibar. (Clxxxiii;Clxxxii) - - 417 

184. Here he tells of the realm of: Go9urat.(Clxxxiiii;Clxxxiii) - - 419 

185. Here he tells ot the realm ot Tana. (Clxxxv;Clxxxiiii) - -421 

186. Here he tells of the realm of Cambaet. (Clxxxvi;Clxxxv) - - 422 

187. Here he tells of: the realm of Semenat.(Clxxxvii;CIxxxvi) - - 423 

188. Here he tells ot the kingdom of Kesmacoran.(Clxxxviii;Clxxxvii) - 423 

189. Here he tells of the island male and woman. (Clxxxviiii;CIxxxviii) - 424 

190. Here he tells of the island of Scotra.(Clxxxx;Clxxxviiii) - - 425 

191. Here he tells of the island of Mogedaxo.(Clxxxxi;Clxxxx) - ■- 428 

192. Here he tells of: the island of (^anghibar.(Clxxxxii;Clxxxxi) - 431 

193 . Here he begins about Abasce which is the middle[Indie] . (Clxxxxiii; 

Clxxxxii) - - - - - - -434 

194. Here he begins about the province of Aden. (CIxxxxiiii;Clxxxxiii) - 440 

195. Here he tells of the city of Dufar. (CIxxxxv;Clxxxxiiii) - - 444 

196. Here he tells ot the city of Calatu.(Clxxxxvi;Clxxxxv) - - 444 

197. Here he tells of the city of Curmos.(Clxxxxvii;Clxxxxvi) - - 446 

198. Here he tells of the great Turquie. (Clxxxxviii;Clxxxxvii) - - 447 

199. What the great Kaan says of the harm which Caidu does him. 

(Clxxxxviiii, CC;Clxxxxviii) - _ _ _ _ 452 

200. Here he tells of the daughter of the king Caidu how she is strong and 

valiant. (CCi,.CCii;CiC) - - - - - 453 

201 . How Abaga sends his son Argon to war.(CCiii;CC) - - 456 

202. How Argon goes to take the dominion. (CCiiii;CCiii) - - 457 

203. How Acmat goes with his army to fight with Argon. (CCv;CCiiii) 458 

204. How Argon takes counsel with his barons to go to fight with Acmat. 

(CCvi;— ) - - 459 

70 



THI-; i)i;s(:i<iiM ION ov mi- \voi<i,i)^ im-: iaim.i-: oi ( m.\imi:ks 

205. I low tin- l\m>n.s answi-nJ 10 Argoii. (^CCvi»;CCvij - - - 460 

206. I U)\\' Aik^DM siiKis Ills mc.sM'iigii's 10 Acinat . (CCviii;CCvii) - 461 

207. [jf J I li>\\' Acin.H ioplu\! to ilu- iiK'sscngcrs ol Alison. fCCviiii;CCviiij 462 

208. 1 Icic \\c ti-lls ol iJic gic.u Ivmic vN'liicli was hcivvccii Argon and 

Acinar. (CCx;CCviiii)- - - - - -463 

209. I low Argon was prisoner andl how the barons took counsel that lie 

should be Jset tree. (CCxi;CCx) _ . _ _ ^d^ 

210. How Argon was set free. (CCxii;CCxi) - _ _ _ ^64 

211. How Argon had the dominion. (CCxiii;CCxii) _ _ _ 465 

212. h\o\v Argon caused his uncle Acniat to be killed. (CCxiiii;CCxiii) - 466 

213. How the barons do homage 10 Argon. (CCxv; — ) - - - 467 

214. How Quiacatu took the dominion after the death of Argon. (CCxvi; 

CCxiiii) _______ ^^6y 

215. How Baidu took the dominion after the death ol Quiacatu. (CCxvii ; 

CCxv) - - - - - - - 468 

216. Here he tells ot the king Conci who is in tramontaine. (CCxviii; 

CCxVl) _______ ^()C) 

217. Here he tells oi the province of darkness.^ (CCxvii ii;CCxvii) - 472 

218. Here he tells of the great province of Rosic^ and of the people. 

(CCxx;CCxviii) ______ ^j^ 

219. Here he tells of the mouth of the Greater Sea. (CCxxi;CCxviiii) - 477 

220. Here he tells of the lords of the Tartars of the Sunsetting. (CCxxii; 

CCxx) _______ ^jj 

221 . Here he tells of the war which rose between Ulau and Berca and the 

battles which were between them. (CCxxiii;CCxxi) - - 478 

222. How Berca and his army goes to meet Ulau. (CCxxiui;CCxxii) - 478 

223. How Ulau speaks to his people. (CCxxv;CCxxiii) _ _ - 479 

224. Here he speaks of the great battle which was between Ulau and 

Berca. (CCxxvi;CCxxiiii) _____ 480 

225. Once more about the battle of [U]lau and of Berca. (CCxxvii;CCxxv) 481 

226. [3</] How Berca behaves himself valiantly. (CCxxviii;CCxxvi) - - 482 

227. How Totamongu was lord of the Tartars of the Sunsetting. 

(CCxviiii;CCxxvii) - - - - - -483 

^ ciscurte for oscurte 
^ rome for rosie 



71 



THE NUMBERS & CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS f^UAKCO POLO 

228. How Toctai sends for Nogai for the death of Tolobuga (Tota- 

mongu).(CCxxx;CCxxix) ----- 484 

229. How Toctai sends his messengers to Nogai, (CCxxxi;CCxxx) - 485 

230. How Toctai goes to meet Nogai. (CCxxxii(?);CCxxxi) - - 486 

231. How Toctai speaks to his people. (CCxxxiii(?);CCxxxii) - - 486 

232. How the king Nogai behaves himself vahantly.( — ;CCxxxiii) - 488 



72 



THi{ i:)i:s(:i;iiM ION oi nil', worlu'^ why ir was wkitthn 

Hl'lvli liiiciiNs mi; iNTRODucrnoN ov mis iuh)k which is cai.i.i.i> rin-: 
DiiscRiPiiON OI iiii: woKii). I.OKDS I ' iiiporors, aiui Kings, Duke;., .ukI 
Maixjiicsscs, C\)uius, Kiiiglus, aiul Bmgi.s.si's, and all people who are plemed \k 
& wish lo know ihc Jillercnt generations ol men and the diversities of the different 
regions atui lauds ol the world, the diversities also of the kingdoms aud provinces and regions of h i i 
all the parts of the east, • and to know their customs and uses, take then this book and have it r 
read, & here vou will find all the greatest marvels and the great diversities of the Great 
fl«</I«5Armenie and of Persic, M^(^/<j,-ri<r^M;V, and of the Tartars and Indie and of the r r m 
many other provinces about Asya Media and part oj Europe, • going toward the Creek wind, /. r 
levant, and tramontaine, just as our book will tell you clearly in order, as Master Marc 
Pol of the Mclion, wise and noble citizen of Venose, relates because he saw them with his o 
own eyes. But there are some things there which he did not see, but he heard them 
from men ht to be cited and of truth. And therefore in writing we shall put the things r 
seen tor things seen and the heard tor heard; and this was done so that this our book may o r i.t 
be pleasing and right and truthtul with no falsehood & that the things said may not he vb vb 
counted Jahles. And each one who shall read or hear this book must believe it fully, a 
because all arc most trurhtul things. For I make you know chat since our Lord God r 
[46] fashioned Adam our first father & Eve with his hands until this moment never v 
was Christian, Saracen, nor pagan nor Tartar nor Indian nor any man of any kind who v 
saw & knew or inquired so much of the different parts of the world & of the great v 
wonders so much as this said Master Marc Pol searched out & knows, nor had travelled z z r 
through them, 'nor had such ability to see & understand; & even from the course of his life it can vb 
be understood & judged that this tioble citizen is of an excellent and good understanding, because 
he was always highly valued by all lords and princes wherever he went. And therefore he 
says to himself that it would be too great evil if he did not cause all the great 
wonders which he saw & which he heard for truth to be put in writing so that the 
other people who did not see them nor know may know them by this book. More- 
over I tell you that to know this he stayed in those different parts & provinces 
quite twenty-six^ years, _/rom the beginning of his youth until the age of forty years. ^ And r 
afterwards, when he was staying in the dungeon of Jene because of the war, • not wishing r z 
to be idle he thought he ought to compile the said book for the enjoyment of readers.^ And he himself 
noted down only a few things which he still kept in mind; • & they are little compared to the many r 
6^ almost infinite things which he would have been able to write if he had believed it possible to 
return to these our parts; but thinking it almost impossible ever to leave the service of the great 
Kaan, king of the Tartars, he only wrote a few small things in his notebooks. • Now he caused z 



^ VB: 25 - cf. Z p.v. ^ cf. p. 60, the same phrase in Pipino. 

73 



. I . NICOLAU AND MAFEU SET OUT FROM VENICE ?^MARCO POLO 

FB LT all these things^ to be recounted in order by Master Rustaciaus citizen of Pise who 

LT LT was v^ith him in that same dungeon at Jene, at the time when it was 1298^ years since 

VB LT the birth of our Lord Master Jesus Christ; dividing this work into three parts. 

• 2- "T "TTOW MASTER NICOLAU AND MASTER MAFEU SET OUT FROM CONSTANTINOPLE 

FB I I TO SEARCH OUT THE WORLD . It was true that at the time when one named 

V JL JL Baudoin was Emperor of Constantinople and in the time of Master Ponte of 
Vencse vv/x) then ruled Constantinople in the name of the ducal power oj Venese, namely in the 

p p FB VB thous2Lnd two hundred[8iC^fL{ty-secondye:iT from the incarnation of the Lord -Christ, 'two noble 

citizens of Venese, namely Master Nicolau Pol who was father to Master Marc & Master 

LT Mafeu Pol who was brother to Master Nicolau, being in the harbour of Venese agreed to 

go on hoard one of their ships which was loaded with various and valuable merchandise and 

P LT setting sail went out into the deep sea and,- with a fair wind blowing, by God's guidance -safely 

reached the city of Constantinople with their said ship and merchandise . These two brothers 

were in the city of Constantinople, who were gone there from [4^] Venese with 

P their merchandise. Noble & wise & prudent they were without mistake. And- when 

they had been a short time in the city of Constantinople with good success they consulted 

VB R together & said that they would go with their wares on the Greater Sea to see if they 

p R could make more gain & to make their profits. And then they bought many jewels very 

VB L beautiful & of great value & set out with them from Constantinople in a ship & entering 

P into the Greater Sea went off to the harbour of a city of Armenie which is called Soldanie. 

. 3 • y "FOW MASTER NICOLAU & MASTER MAFEU SET OUT FROM SOLDANIE. And when 

V I I they had stayed in Soldanie awhile & saw after many days in that land that 
FB JL JL there was nothingfor them, they thought & said that they would go still farther 

V VB forward. And what shall I tell you about it? They set out from the said Soldanie and 

LT LT arrived in Armenie and mounting their horses set themselves on the way and rode so far day 

p after day without finding adventure worthy of mention that they were come to the court 

LT of a great king of the Tartars who was called Berca Kaan, who was king and lord of a part of 

LT VB Tartary, who was at that moment at Bolgara and at Saray.' This Berca Kaan-having 

learned of the coming of the said two Latins wished to see them, and when they had heard, seeing 

them men of good value he did great honour to Master Nicolau and to Master Mafeu and 

LT R had very great joy at their coming. The said two brothers gave him freely, seeing that 

LT they pleased him, all the jewels which they had brought with them from Constantinople, 

^ FA: Le quel liure 

^ VB: e per dar prin^jpio ne in piuj longo parlare non mi estendere vignero a narazjon dela chossa chome 
per il dito messer marcho nele prisson de z^noa fu notade esscrjte ne ianj . . . . M iflxxxviij. V: 1299 

^ That is, probably, "between Bolgara andSaray". Seep. 105, entre baudac &niosul, where TA 
has a baudac e a mosul. 

74 



TiiF- niiSCRiPTioN or nir. worlh'^ and cannot go iuck .3. 

hrholJiiti^ his i^rtiUtifss ^ i^racicus courtesy . AnJ Bonn Ktuui took (lu*in very willingly and lt 

they pIcascJ ium bcyonJ iiummmc. Aiiii like ii iie title lorJ In- made give ilieiii lor ilu-in vb 

other thiti^s which were well worth • mere than twice as iiukIi as i lie jewels were worth, isfalso va va o r 

very ^re at &■ rich ^ijts;- the which things he sent iluin in several directions to sell, fid they va 

werevery well sold /// those parts. ^ And when t hey //;^ id/V/ ^rof/^rrs had stayed mthiscity in va i r i.r 

I he land ol Berca through the routui oj one year and wished to return to Venese, then arose a i.r p 

most violent war hetwecn the said Berca Kaan and Ulan Kaan the lord ol the Tartars of lt lt lt lt 

the sunrising. They w ent the one against the other [ 4</J with all their niii^ht . They 

fought together most bitterly and siiflercd there ^reat loss of people both on the one side lt 

and on the other, biit^rf at the last Berca the lord oJ the Tartars of the sunsetting was defeated- i.r FB 

and his army had the greatest discomfiture -and Ulau was conqueror. And by reason oi that R FB 

battle and oi that war the roads not being safe, no man was able to go by road through those R lt 

regions who was not taken, and that danger was towards the road whence they were fb fb 

come; but forward they were well able to go riding safely and turn back. And then the fb 

two brothers seeing that they could not go hack said between themselves, Since we cannot lt 

turn back to Constantinople with our merchandise, then let us go on proceeding farther lt 

by the way oi the simrising until we go round the realm of Berca by unknown roads; so shall R 

we be able to turn back at last to Venese^ by another way . They made themselves ready l lt 

* illes enuoia.a parer en plosor parties efurent vwut hienpares.The only other texts where I have found 
any trace of this sentence are V'A': le qual cosse egli lemandano auender in quelle parte sono moltc ben 
vendute and \T: i qnal dcni loro mandano a ucndcre in diuerse parte. The latter appears in Santaella's 
Spanish, 1503, fol. i b.: los quales ellos embiaron a vender a diuersas partes (copied by Frampton, 
1579, ed. Pe p. 16: whiche they sent into dyuers partes to sell). I have ventured to use this 
contemporary' version, supported by the word doni and to a slight extent by Godefroy: parerie 
s.i., etalage, boutique, and lesquclles pareries les marchans portent vendre en divers royaumes(^i 5 cent.). 
The text has also been translated by Charton, Voyageurs anc. et mod., 1854, II, p. 259: il les 
envoya loger en plusieurs lieux oil lis f went moult bien refus; in B.' p. 4: E le mandc a legare in piu 
luoghi e venture legate assai bene(^=RR p. y. He sent the jewels to be set in various places, and they were 
very well set.y, and in El Millon, 1934. p. 7: jy les invito a pasar una temporada en varias partes del 
reino, en donde hallaronse con gran content attiiento. B.'s version conforms more exactly to the 
known meanings of the verbs parer or parare, but VA seems to give very much better sense; 
namely, that they were able to sell at a good profit in places in the neighbourhood the 
things which Berca gave them in exchange for the jewels. \^A may well be right too in 
making enuoia plural. 

- retorner autaesse. The version is conjectural, based on the fact that if the original had been 
retorner an dereain a uenesse it might very easily have become corrupted to what we find, and on 
the following readings: L: ad taesse tamdemreuerti LT: ut per aliam uiam possent reuerti uetietias 
and F (c. 134 below): autature (for auenture, with exactly the same corruption which would here 
turn a uenesse into autaesse). B. (following VA, per tornar possa per trauersso) reads here retorner 
au traverse, cf. p. 5 19 n. 133. For R: uie incognite P reads vias oppositas. 

75 



H 



THEY GO FROM BERCA TO OUCACA & BUCARA ^MARCO POLO 

LT there and set out from Berca and went off in safety to a city which has for name 

R R Oucaca, which was at the end of the reahn of the lord of the Tartars of the sunsetting. 

p VB And from Oucaca they set out ^n(i going further cvosstd the river of Tigri, which is 

VA VB one of the -four ■ natural rivers which is said to come down from the Paradise of delight, and 

VB LT afterwards went through a desert which was seventeen marches long, in which they 

R VA found no towns or villages or other fortified place hut found a great multitude of Tartars 

VA V only who dwell in the open country with their tents, who lived on the milk 0/ their animals 

FB which grazed in the fields . 

OW THE TWO BROTHERS PASS A DESERT AND CAME TO THE CITY OF BUCARA. 

And when they have passed that desert then they were come to a city 

z JL -L which is called Bucara. It was very noble and great; the province also had 

z Bucara likewise for name. King of it was one who had the name Barac. The city was 

z the best that was to he found in all Persie. The two brothers, when [5^] they were come 

VB to this city they were unable to go forward any more because the roads were cut or to turn 

R V V hcLckfor the great war which was among the Tartars, and so they determined to stay there and 

FB V dwelt • in the said city of Bucara three years . And while they stayed there, then peace 

P was made between those Tartars; and after some days there came a very wise man, sent as 

z messenger from Ulau the lord of the sunrising, who was going to the great Kaan, 

z to wit lord of all the Tartars, dwelling at the ends of the earth between sunrising and the 

z VB Creek wind, who had Cublai Kaan for name. And when this messenger had learnt that 

FB the said two Latins were there and sees these two brothers Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu 

P P who had now fully learned the Tartar tongue, he has great wonder at it[and]boundless joy, 

P because they had never seen any Latin in that country. And when he had talked and had 

L company with them very many days and had learned their pleasing manners, • and when he knew 

P them to be merchants,- he persuaded them to go with him to the greatest king of the Tartars. He 

said to the two brothers, Sirs, says he, if you will trust me you will have great profit 

from it and great honour. The two brothers said to him that they will trust him 

gladly if it is a thing that they could do. The messenger says to them. Sirs, I tell you 

that the great lord oi the Tartars never saw any Latin and has great desire and wish 

FB to see some of them; and so if you will come with me all the way to him I tell you that, 

VB as you are noble and wise men, he will see you very gladly and will do you great honour 

VB and great good and will have the greatest pleasure and contentment in hearing from you the news 

and conditions of your lands, for he is a lord of the greatest power and has great wish to hear new 

FB things; and you will be able to come safely with me without any hindrance /rom any 

V evil people -or fear that any attack will be made on your persons while you are with me. 



76 



II ii; i)i:sc:i<iiMioN oi- mi: woiu.i)^ and ic^ mi; (,i<.i;ai' kaan .5. 

How nil I \VC^ HKDniliKS IKUSIII) Mil- MiiSSF.Ndl-RS TO TMU GRr-AT ICAAN. 

Now wUcn i\\c two brotluTs line heard what this messenger liad saui to v 

iIuMu // plfiised than much ami-'^ecin^ that they could not return home without con- V v 

tinutil dijJicuh\-Uke men of ore at spirit not counting the long journey they had to make, ilicy v» 

inaiic liuMu ready aiul said that they go gladly with him to the presence of the great lord vii 

oj' the Cartarsi- wherewith he was well content. And when it was time then they lejt the said v v v 

city and, -commending themselves to the care of (iod, set themselves ^5/)] on the road with p 

this messenger, having Christian servants as companions whom they had brought with them i' 

from Venese, and went a whole \'car of marches -toward sunrising and then, turnino to the IB vb s 

left hand,^ by rramonraine and by the Greek wind before they were come there where fb 

the lord was.' And the reason why they were so long time in going was this, because for the P 
snows and for the overflowing of the rivers and torrents it was necessary that they should wait 
on the way until the snows which had exceeded and the waters which had overjiowed were 

decreased. And as they ride the\' hnd great wonders and strange things which v\'e will fb 

not tell you here, because Master Marc, son ot Master Nicolau aforesaid, who saw vb 

all these things also will tell you clearly in the course of this book below, vb 

HOW THE TWO BROTHERS CAME TO THE GREAT KAAN. And when the Said tWO VB • 6 • 

brothers Master Nicolau and Master Matcu were come and had been pre- v 

sented to the great lord of the Tartars -named Cublai, who beamed with the vb i.t 

greatest kindness, he received them with or^^t honour and makes them great jov and very fb fb 

great festival. He has very great delight at their coming as one who had never seen any ta 

Latin,- because in his days men of the sunsetting had not been in those parts.- And he asks them vb fb 

of many things of the lands of the sunset; first ot the emperors of the Romans • and how P p fb 

they maintain their lordships and their land m justice, and how they go when they have a va 

great affair, and how they go to battle, and of embassies, and of all their other doing and va fb \'a \a 

estate. And akcrward he asks them of the other kings and of the Christian princes and R P 

o{ all -the other herons, and of their greatness, customs, and power. v fb r 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN ASKS OF THE TWO BROTHERS OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE - J - 

CHRISTIANS. And afterwards he asks them with great care of Master the va 
Apostle & of the Cardinals and of the faith and ot all the doings of: the vl 
Roman Church, and of all the manner and customs of the Latins. And the two brothers vb fb 
Master Nicolau and Master Matcu told him step by step all the truth of each by v 
itself well and orderly and wisely, like wise men that they were who knew well the 
tongue of the Tartars and the Tartaresque," so that they are very dear to the lord, and he Vb 

^ VL: verso garhitio passa per greco poi 

^ & la tartaresce FB: la langiu tartaresse VA: la lengua tartarescha but V: de tartari e de 
turchi B. conjectures ce est la tartaresce. 

77 



7- NICOLAU AND MAFEU ARE SENT TO THE POPE ?^MARCO POLO 

p delighted much to talk with them to learn of the things of the sunsetting, • so that he often 
commanded them to be brought before him. 

. 8- T" "]rOW THE GREAT KAAN SENDS THE TWO BROTHERS FOR HIS MESSENGERS TO 

VA VA I I THE APOSTLE OF ROME. [5^] And whcii the great Kaan, that is the lord of 

LT JL jL all the lords, who had Cublai Kaan for name, who was king and lord of all 

V V the Tartars of all the world and of all the provinces and kingdoms and regions of the 

greater part of the east, that vast part of the earth, had heard all the doings of the Latins 

VA so as the two brothers had told him well and skilfully he showed that it pleases him 

V FB P beyond measure. And in his mind he thought\_and'\s2iys to himself ow day that he will send 

FB R thetn as messengers to the Apostle; and he wished first to have the counsel of his barons upon 

LT this. 'And when his barons had been summoned to council he told them that he wished to send his 

messengers to the lord Pope of the Christians, & the said barons with one mind declared it to be good. 

LT V And then he called these brothers to him, & with kindly words prays the said two brothers that 

LT FB they go on this embassy to the lord Pope v\'ith one of his barons. And they answered him 

LT VA VA prudently that thev will be quick and ready to do completely all his commandment as that 

V of their liege lord. But it is true[,they said,^that it is a great while since we left those parts, 
and we do not know what may have happened or been done away, because the conditions of the 
lands are changed, and we are much afraid that we cannot fulfil thy commandment; but none the 
less we are ready to all our power to do all that thou shalt command us, and we promise thee by 

V the help of the grace of God to return to thee as soon as we can. Then the great lord, having 
heard that which the two brothers said, makes one of his barons come before him who had 

FB Cogatal for name, and says to him that he should make himself ready, for he wishes him 

to go with the two brothers to the Apostle. He says to him. Sir, I am your man, and 

VA TA am ready to do all your command with all my might. Then he had sealed charters made 

that his subject princes might see and honour the said ambassadors . After this the great lord 

V had his letters and privileges immediately made in the Turkish tongue to send to the 
Apostle and entrusts them to the two brothers and to his baron, and charges them 
that which he wishes them to say on his part to the Apostle.^ And you may know 

FB that in the letter and in the embassy was contained that which he[sent]him, so as 

* V has, "... privileges immediately made in the Tartar (tartarescha^ tongue to send to the 
chief Pontiff; whicli letter spoke in this form: O Chief Pontiff of all the Christian Faith, I 
Cholai Emperor of ail the sunrising pray thee to send as many as 100 men who are very discreet 
and instructed in the law of the Christians, and who know the seven arts to dispute with and 
overcome the Indians (cf. c. i 26) and other kinds of people, and to destroy the idols which my 
people worship and keep in their houses, and know well to show by reason that the law of the 
Christians is better than ours." 



78 



I mi: DiiscKipiiON ov mi' wc^ri.d^ wmii a iaki.i:! oi- cold .8- 

you slull hear.' lie seni U) ihe AuDstle saying that he must send as many as a 

hiinJre*.! uise men of learning itt ilie Christian rehgion unJ doctnnr, ami who [5</l VB VB 

slunikl know also the seven arts aud he fitled to teach his people aiui who should know VB 

well lu)W to argue" aiul lo .show plainly to him and lo the idolaters & to the other v.\ 

classes oi people submitted to his rule that all ihiir religion was erroneous and all the i.r ia 
idols which they keep in their houses and worship are devilish things, & who should 

know well how to show clearly by reason that the Christ ian/<nf/j & religion is better va 

than theirs & more true than all the other reli(>ions; • tr ij they proved this that he and all his i i i li 

potentates would hecome men of the Church. Again when he had made the said letter the great v 

lord charges the two brothers with pious words that they must hnng him on their return i,r vrj 

some ot the oil of the lamp which burns above the sepulchre of Jesus Christ -our i.i in 

Lord Cod in Jerusalem; /// whom he had the greatest devotion, -for he believed Christ to be one R v 

in the number of the blessed Gods, -holding him in the highest veneration.- And they promised R v 
/;/'/// to bring him some of it when they shall come back to him. In such manner as you have 
heard was it contained in the embassy which the great lord sends to the Apostle by 

his three messengers, the Tartar baron & the two brothers Master Nicolau Pol & Master fb i-b 
Mafeu Pol. 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN GIVES THE GOLD TABLET OF THE ORDERS TO THE TWO -Q- 

BROTHERS. And when the great lord had charged the two brothers & his 
baron with all the embassy which he sends to the Apostle, he made one 

give them a tablet oi gold engraved with the royal seal and signed according to the custom of P 

his estate, in which was contained that the three messengers were from the great Kaan, and vb 

that in all the places to which they might go there must be given them by all the governors p 

of the lands subject to his rule -on pain of their disgrace all the lodging^ which they needed, v 

boats and horses & men to escort them from one land to another, and all other things vl fb 

which they might wish -for the way, • as for his own person if he were to pass by there, va vl 

And when all these three messengers, Master Nicolau & Master Mafeu & the other fb 

messenger, were prepared & were well provided with all the things that [6fl] were v 

necessary to them they took leave ot the very great lord. And he gave it them; and having v 

leave then they mount on horses & set themselves on the way to ride from land to land- v 

^ lahastre ce quel li oites Read perhaps lanhascee ce que li mandoit si come uos oires or something 
to that effect. 

^ despuer FB: desputer VA: desputar V: disputare 

^ mession B. prints mesion and translates abita^oni. FA: toutes les closes qui besoins leur fust 
FB: toutes leurs mansions que hesoing leur feist TA: honore e spese LT: prepararentur singida que 
mandarent VA: per vituaria e per pechunia ede chauali ede conpagnia ede scoria VB: tuto quello i 
aueua mestiero et scorta di caunlieri 

79 



.Q. THEY FIND THAT POPE CLEMENT IV IS DEAD ^MARCO POLO 

p p carrying the letters & the tablet of gold} And when they had ridden together some way 

VA P VB & travelled twenty days marches then the Tartar baron Cogatal who went as messenger with 

p TA the two brothers fell very ilP & could not pursue the way & stayed at a city which was 

VB named Alau. And when Master Nicolau & Master Mafeu saw the haron their companion, 

VB FB that he was {\\\ and^through the illness could ride no farther, after many days -it seemed to 

p the two for the best to leave him,-& so by his wish and by the advice of many, they left him & 

p set themselves on the \\'^y\^&'\pursued the journey which they had begun: & I tell you that 

R the\' were received with the greatest kindness & served & honoured in all places where 

i-B R P they went with all that they tieeded & could order & escorts were given them- because of the 

FB p tablet of gold-of the lord's authority -which they had. And what shall I tell you about it? 

V VB L They rode by their days marches until o^r^rt); they were come 50MMr^ to Laias flf/t); on tif 

VA sea in Lesser Armenie; & I tell you that they work hard to go there from the land where 

FB L the great Kaan was -to Laias in three whole yesLTs.^ And this happened because they were 

VB VB FB not always able to ride for the bad weather, ^or the great cold, & for the snows & ice'& 

FB great rains which sometimes fell & for the rivers which were swollen that they found- 

p FB VB in many places, -which they could not cross,- & for the difficulties of the road, which were the 

VA causes of their long delay -in reaching Laias. 

•10- VA "T "yOW THE TWO BROTHERS CAME TO THE CITY OF ACRE, And from Laias, w/;^» 

V I I they had arrived there & stayed a short time, they went on board a ship & set out 
R V VA JL JL. by sea & go off to Acre & in the space of many days arrive there in the middle 

of the month of April in the 1260* year from the incarnation of Jesus Christ, & find 

that Master the Apostle was dead. And when Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu have 

V p P found that the Apostle who had Pope Clement llll for name was lately dead, at which they 

R were exceedingly grieved, they went to a learned clerk who [6&] was legate of that Pope for 

V the Church of Rome in all the realm of Egipte, who was come to Acre to go to the holy 
LT places, that is to Jerusalem. He was a man of great authority & influence there & was named 

P V Teald of the Visconti of Plajence. They told him all the embassy for which the great 
VB Kaan lord of the Tartars sends them to the Apostle, And when the legate had heard 

V what the two brothers who were come from so far a land had told him he has great wonder 
VB VB at it & very great pleasure, & it seems to him that this is a mission from which can come 

^ P: quam qui defert deduci debet de loco ad locum a cwutis rectoribus terrarum eius itnperio subiectarum 
cum omnia sua comitiua securus et quamdiu immorari uoluerint in ciuitate uel oppido debet illis de expensis 
& necessariis omnibus integraliter prouideri. — repeating what has been said above, R. reproduces 
this passage slightly expanded at an earlier point. 

^ VL: "Cochobal fell ill and died on the way," 

^ VB: per anj do 

* The true reading is probably 1269; cf p. 25 above. 

80 



II11{ DHSCRIIMIC^N (^1 nil WC^KLn^ AND WAI I Al VI-NICI- • f o- 

forth groat gooil i^' gii-.u lu)iu)iii loi «/// ( Jii is|(mi»|oiii . I If says lo ilu- two nuistngcr w. w, 
brothels. Sirs, s.i\s lu\ \oii /.vicnv' i'-- we// mi- ih.u tlu- Apostle is iloaJ, & so rif rt// f» p 
fvr«f.s' it will In- riglii lor \oii lo w.in (inn! tlicic sh.iil In* chosen an Apostle. Aiul wlien v 
rliere sliall W .\ Pope \ i>ii will In- ,il>li- lo Jo \ our mission. So tlie two brothers, who iij 
see well ili.u ilu- legale spoke ihe tmih, C- thinking that they cannot accomplish anything vii 
oj their embassy until the creation oj the new Pope, said that they would do so iy that while k 
waiting till an Apostle shall be nameJ they wish to go to Venose to .sec their home. 
And then they immediate^ took leave of the said I eald tsr went on hoard a ship & set out v 
Iroin Acre & go oil to Nogropont, And from Nogropont they set out m a ship & 
sailed until the\' wore come to Venesc-to stay there till the Chief Pont ijf should he created, rn P 
And when they were come to Vcnese Master Nicolau finds that his wile, whom he had left lt 
pregnant when he first departed from Venese, v\as dead & buried & there was left him a small v fb l 
son ot lihoon years who had tor name Marc, w/;o;/j Master Nicolau had never seen because va 
he was not yet horn when he set out from Venese. And it was that Marc of whom this book 
speaks, who searched out & saw so much of the world and wrote this hook, as will be said after- vb 
wards.- But in the mean time the election of the Chief Pontiff was so long delayed that- the two p va 
brothers, -the said Master Nicolau and Master Matcu, stay in Venese/or the space of-vv 
about two years more to wait till there was an Apostle; in the which time Master va vb 
Nicolau took a wife and left her with child. 

HOW THE TWO BROTHERS SET OUT FROM VENESE TO RETURN TO THE GREAT 'H 

KAAN [6c] AND TAKE WITH THEM MARC THE SON OF MASTER NICOLAU. And 
when the two brothers have waited at Venese so long as you have heard, \'B 
and they see that an Apostle was not made, they said that henceforth they might stay 
too long to return to the great K:i3.n, fearing lest the king should be too much disturbed at p 
their delay and should think that they would not return to him more. Then they set out trom 
Venese and take with them the foresaid Marc his son, and go off by sea quite straight P l 
to Acre, and when they came there they find there the legate, the said Master Teald, of whom v v 
I have told you above. They speak much \\'ith him of these things, and having been there v 
many days they ask him leave to go to Jerusalem to have some of the oil of the lamp of 
the sepulchre of our Lord -Jesus Christ, for which the great Kaan had asked them much; and fb v v 
he wanted it because of his mother who was a Christian} The legate gives them leave that 
they should go. Then the two brothers set out from Acre and went on board a ship and v 
go to Jerusalem and have some of the oil of the lamp of the sepulchre of Christ. And v 
leaving the sepulchre they return thence to the said Master Teald the legate to Acre and v 
said to him. Sir, since we see that there is no Apostle we wish to go back to the great 
lord, because we know that against our will we have stayed too long and waited enough. - l fb 

^ Qubilai's mother had been a Christian; but she had died in 1252. cf. YS. c. 3 fol. 2ro. 

81 



I I . NICOLAU MAFEU & MARC SET OUT FROM ACRE j^MARCO POLO 

L V And so with your good will we have presumed logo hack. But one thing we wish to ask of you, • & 
may it please you to make privileges & letters certifying that we came to do the embassy to the Pope 
and found him dead, and have waited if there should he made another, and seeing that after 
so long a time none has been chosen you as legate certify all that you have seen. And Master 
the legate, who was among the greatest lords of all the Church of Rome, said to them, 
Since you wish to go back to the great lord it pleases me well. Then he made his 

V letters and his embassy to send to the great Kaan as they had said to him and testifies 
FB FB VA how the two brothers Master Nicolau and Master Maieu were come indeed -faithfully to 

TA do their embassy & had waited so long a time for a Pope to be made, but because there 

V was no [6^/1 Apostle they had not been able to do it; and gave them to the said Ambassadors,- 
VL butlsaidlthat when a new Pope was made he will certainly make their embassy known to him^ 

for which provision will be made as shall be right. 

12- X "TOW THE TWO BROTHERS AND MARC SET OUT FROM ACRE.^ (HoW THE TWO 

I I BROTHERS GO TO THE APOSTLE OF ROME.) When the two brothers have had 

V JL jL the letters of the legate then immediately they set out from Acre and set 
themselves on the way to return to the great lord. They go till they were come to 

L the city of Laias. And when they were come there it does not stay a moment before 

TA V TA P they heard news how this aforesaid Master the legate whom they had left in Acre -received the 

LT envoys of the cardinals that he was chosen Apostle and was called Pope Gregor the tenth 

LT of Plajence, who afterwards held a council at Lyons on the Rhone. ^ The two brothers have 

great joy at this. And after this it does not stay a moment before a messenger came 

to Laias on behalf of the legate who was chosen Pope to Master Nicolau and Master 

VB Mafeu to let the two brothers know of his creation, with a message saying to them that if 

VB VA V they were not gone from Laias they must come back to him immediately ; -who were still 

there, for they were not able to go further forward because a grandson of the great Kaan, who was 

a Christian and was named Chari^era, who was escaped from the great Kaan, went destroying 



'; 



1 The titles of chapters I2, 13, 14, 15 seem to have become confused. On comparing the titles 
with those in FA and FB, it seems to be clear that the first part of the title of 15 belongs to 12, 
while the titles of 12, 13, 14 belong respectively to 13, 14, 15, the second part of the title of 
15 being in its proper place. The correct title according to this rearrangement is placed first in 
the translation, followed by the original misplaced title in brackets. 

2 R:. . . Gregorio decimo, qual considerando, che al presente. che gl'era fatto Papa, poteua amplamente 
satisjar' alle iimande del gran Can, spaccio immediate sue lettere al Re d' Armenia, dandoli nuoua della sua 
elettione, &- pregandolo: che se li due amhasciatori, che andauano al gran Can, non fossero partiti, gli 

facesse ritornare a lui. Queste lettere, gli trouorno ancora in Armenia, li quali con grandissima allegre^^ 
uolsero tcrnar'in Acre, ... V: ueder sel podea trouar 1 anhasadori del gran chan et seloi trouasse li Jesse 
tornar a lui onde inchontenente el messo se partirono da rovia. . . . S (misunderstandmg VL) does not 
make it clear that the new Pope (gregorio de placencid) was the same man as the legate {theohaldo). 

82 



Tin-: DHscRiPTiON ov nn-: worlds wui coMh back again .12. 

all the roads oj the desert, making many ^reat trenehes and pits; and this he did so that the armies 
should not he able to follow him; so that J'or this reason the said ambassadors were obliged to stay 
in a city many days. And upon this came the messenger whom the Pope sent to the said Master 
Nicolau & Master Majcu & told them how the Pope had been made, & that they must not 
go farther forward but must return to him. 1 he two brothers have very great joy at this v 
and said to that messenger that they will do so gladly. And what shall I tell you about v 
it? The king oi Aniienic made fit out an armed galley lor the two brothers messengers ta i b 
and they with the messenger of the Pope went up on to the said galley, & he sent them to Acre v fb 
to the legate with honour ijr great joy. ta 

HOW THF, TWO BROTUIiRS GO lO IHL APOSTLL OF ROMIi, (HoW THi: TWO -I^- 

BROTHERS AND MARC CAMIi TO THE CITY OF CHKMEINFU THE PLACE WHERE 
THE GREAT KAAN WAS.) And when after the space of many days they were v 
come with great honour to Acre they landed with no delay & immediately go off* to FB v 
Master the Apostle with great joy and salute him very humbly. Master the Apostle vb 
received them with very great honour and gives them his blessing and makes joy and fb 
feasting tor them, hoping that from this turn of his fortune many things useful & honourable VB 
to the Church of God must follow. Then the Apostle after some days gives to Master v 
Nicolau and to Master Mafeu two Brothers learned in theology, of the Order of the [yfl] vb 
Preachers,^ who must go with them -as his ambassadors -to the great lord to satisfy the need, fb vb fb 
who were really the most learned and worthy that were in all that province at that va 
time. The one had the name Brother Nicolau de Vicense, the other had the name 
Brother Guilielme de Tripule. He provides them with all things necessary & gives them vb 
privileges, charters, and letters with full authority that they might be able to do everything v l 
freely in those parts which the Pope himself can do in these parts, -that they might be able to v 
make bishops and priests and to absolve and bind as he himself, and he gave them many jewels 
of crystal and other gifts to give to the great Kaan and his embassy of that which he wished 
to send to the great Kaan; and among other things he sought that the brother of the great L 
Kaan named Abaga, lord to wit of the Tartars of the Orient, should ^ive the Christians help 
and favour for this purpose that they might make the passage beyond the sea. And when 
Master Nicolau and Master Mateu and the two Brothers Preachers have received the 
privileges and the letters and the embassy of Master the Apostle they obtain leave fb 
and his blessing. Then they set out all and four together from Acre, and with them Marc FB 
the son of Master Nicolau. They went off quite straight to Laias and thence by land R 
into Armenie. And when they were come there then they learned that Bondocdaire who R 
was sultan of Babilonie comes into Armenie with a great host of Saracens and does fb 

^ V: andarouo a roma 

^ TA'': dt quegli del monti del charmino 

83 



.13- THEY COME TO THE GREAT KAAN AT CHEMEINFU f^MARCO POLO 

Fii R L very great damage through the country, ravaging and burning, and for this reason when 

FB P FB FB they took their way these said messengers were often in very great danger to be slain or 

L taken. And when the two Brothers Preachers saw this &- when at last by God's mercy 

FB R P they escaped, they have very great fear to go on farther, being cf raid for their life -that they 

V could never reach the king of the Tartars. • Whereupon it was said to those Brothers that they 

VL ought not to go on farther; & with this they were well content, ■ and wrote letters to the great Kaan 

how they had come there and the reason of their stay. Then they said that they will not 

R go at all. They give all the privileges and letters and the gifts from the Pope which they 

VA P had to Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and departed from them and stayed- in 

VB Armenie and go ofFwith the Master of the Temple back to Acre by way of the sea. 

.14. T" TTOW THE TWO BROTHERS AND MARC CAME TO THE CITY OF CHEMEINFU THE 

I I PLACE WHERE THE GREAT KAAN WAS. (HoW THE TWO BROTHERS AND MARC 

FB JL JL GO.) And so the two brothers Master Nicolau and Master Mateu and Marc 

TA R VB VB the son of Master Nicolau leaving Armenie -not long afterwards set themselves with no small 

R peril on the way and ride [7I?] both by winter and by summer not regarding any danger or 

hardship and, crossing deserts of a length of many days and many difficult passes, went forward 

VB always in the direction of the Greek wind and tramontaine till they were come with safety to 

TA the place of the great Kaan who was then at a city that was called Chemeinfu which 

VB was very rich and great. And he received them the more joyfully in proportion as their journey 

had been longer. On which journey they found and saw many strange and noble things. And 

FB we will make you no mention of that which they find on the way both in going and in 

FB VA returning, and that because we shall tell it you all clearly and all in order in another place 

VA in our book below. Moreover you may know that they hardly go riding from Laias to 

FB V the land where the great Kaan was-on the return in quite three years and a half^ before they 

VB VB could accomplish this their business, and this was for the very great snow and ice and for the 

FB V rain, /or the bad weather which they had and for the great cold and for the great rivers, and 

VB for the great south-west gales which were in the countries which they were obliged to pass,- which 

much lengthened & hindered their journey, and because they cannot ride by winter as by 

FB summer. And he tells you for truth that when the great Kaan knows that his envoys 

L Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu were coming back from the lands of the Christians, - 

R TA and how they were much toil-worn, -he was very glad and he sends his messengers quite forty 

R days marches to meet them and had all that they needed prepared for them in every place, so 

that with the help of God they were conducted at last to his court. And they were very much 

FB served and honoured with every thing which they could order, going and coming. 



^ S: de la giaz^ a Betneniph vn am & medio where Bemeniph vn niay be corrupted from an original 
Berneniphu-iii- VL: a demenij tre anni 



84 



I hi: i)i:sc;kipi ion o\' nii: wokld^ marc is ma\)\i wi:lc:omf: .15. 

How nil I wo IIROIIIIKS AND MAK(, CiO HI.IDRI-. Illl (,KIAI KAAN IN IHIi 
I'AI Al ^ .[\ low INI I WO hKOIIII.KS AND MAKi; Shi OU 1 IKOM A(.KI. IW.IORli 
Illl lilUAl KAAN IN nil i'Al,AC;i;.j And wIl.U sll.lil I tell \()ll .llioiil If? 

WluMi thi- nolylc brothers M.isicr Nicol.ui .iiul M;istcr Malcu and Marc were conu- into vii 

ihar ^rcat city iij'orcsiud in which the ^n- at Kiuut was, llicy go oil imincdiatcly to the chief va V 

palace ulioro ilie\' luul the great Kaan with a \'e!\' great company oi all his barons. Arxd i< va 

tlie\- kneel IhIoi e hiin with ^rcat reverence and luinible themselves the most that they arc \'a 

able stretchino themselves out on the earth. The great Kaan makes them rise and stand upright k r 

on their feet ixnd received them with //y ^)rfrt/<-5r honour and makes vrr^ great rejoicing va r tb 
and great feasting lor them. And he (.juesrions them much about their life and how 

they had conducted it since by the way. The two [yfj brothers told him that they had va 

done ver\' well by the grace of God since they have found him m health and strength lt 

and happiness. Then he asked them to tell him what dealings they had with the chiej Pontiff. They lt 

explained to him well and skillfully -with great eloquence and order -all that they had done, as vb lt 

was right, -being heard with great and long silence by the lord and all the barons, who wondered vb 
much at their great and long fatigues and at their great perils. Then they present him with 

the privileges and the letters and the gifts which the Apostle lord Pope Grcgor sends him, r lt 

in which he had great delight. And when he had gladly received these, he greatly commended lt 

their laudable faithfulness & diligent care. Next they hand him the holy oil which they lt 

had brought -from the lamp of the sepulchre of our Lord fesus Christ -from ferusalem, -which he p va vb 

had so much desired before, at which he made great rejoicing and holds it very dear and lt 

ordered it to be kept with great honour -and reverence, - and nothing was ever more dear or welcome r vb 

than that. The great Kaan, when he sees Marc who was a young bachelor of very great vb 

and liable aspect, he asks who he is. Sir, says his father Master Nicolau, he is my son fb 

and your man, whom as the dearest thing I had in this world I have brought with great peril vb 
and ado from such distant lands to present him to thee for thy slave. May he be welcome, says 

the great Kaan, and it pleases me much;- and he held him in great favour and made them write lt r 
him among the other honoured members of his household, for which reason he was held of great 
account and value by all those at the court. And why should I make you a long story? You 
may know quite truly that very great was the joy and the feasting that the great 

Kaan makes and all his court, lords and barons and everyone generally both great and small, vb 
at the coming ot these messengers, and they were greatly served and honoured with 

everything. They stay at the court of the said great Kaan and always had honour lt lt 

above all the other barons, when all men saw the singular love which the lord bore them, lt vb 

HOW THE great kaan SENDS MARC FOR HIS MESSENGER. NoW it happened • l6- 

that while he stayed at the court -of the great Kaan this youth, to wit Marc the son ta lt 

of Master Nicolau, being of a very distinguished mind, learnt the customs and vb va 

85 



1 6- MARC IS SENT TO CARAGIAN AND COMES BACK ^MARCO POLO 

FB L uses of the Tartars and their language and their letters and their archery so well that it 

seemed a wonder to all; for I tell you quite truly that before a great deal of time after he 

FB LT came to the court of the great lord, he knows several languages and four other different 

LT VB letters and writings so that he could read and write in any of those languages very well ;-so that no 

other surpassed him in virtue and noble manners, kindly and gracious with all, loved and received 

by all. That noble youth being already come to a good age, he was wise and prudent [yt^] 

VB beyond measure, and much did the great Kaan above all men wish him great good for 

the goodness which he saw in him and for the great valour. And when the great Kaan 

p VB sees that Marc was so wise he wished to try his sense -as one who he secretly hoped was very apt 

p R p and well able to obtain what he wished; he sends him messenger on some -important -royal 

LT L business to a very distant land to a city named Caragian, to which he hardly goes in six 

VB VB months of marches. The young bachelor does this embassy well and wisely. Being 

furnished with his necessities he set himself riding on the road, and arriving & being furnished 

with his necessities he returned to the lord. And because he had many times seen and 

heard that the great Kaan, when the messengers whom he sent through the different 

parts of the world, when they came back to him and told him the mission for which 

they were gone and were not able to tell him other news of the countries where they 

were gone, he told them that they were tools and ignorant, and said that he would 

like better to hear the new things and the customs and the usages of those strange 

countries than he did to hear those matters tor which he had sent them; so Marc, 

VL who knew all this well, when he went on that mission would fix his attention, noting 

R and writing all the novelties and all the strange things which he had heard and seen- 

FB FB according to the countries, going and coming, so that he might be able to recount them, on 

R L his return, to the great Kaan to satisfy his wish.- He also brought with him very many and 

strange wonders, and this pleased the lord greatly. 

OW MARC RETURNS FROM HIS MISSION AND REPORTS HIS EMBASSY TO THE 

GREAT KAAN . When Marc was come back from his mission he went before 

VB JL JL the great Kaan and reports to him with very great wisdom how much he had 

succeeded about all the affair for which he [8fl] was gone, and he had carried it out very 

TA well. Then he tells him all the novelties and all the great things which he had seen on 

VB that road so well and cleverly beyond the wont of the other ambassadors who had been sent 

TA before that the great Kaan & all his barons were much pleased, and all those who hear 

TA VB him have great wonder at it & commended him for great sense &" great goodness.- To the 

lord this noble youth seemed to have divine rather than human understanding, & the love of the 

lord increased; & the more he learned of the excellence of his virtue the more gladly he saw 

him, until by the lord and by the whole court there was nothing more wonderful told than of 

the wisdom of the noble youth, and they said among themselves. If this youth lives 

86 



17 



iirangc wv 

H 



11 Hi DGscRiiMioN oi" nil; world'^ ihi-.y wish io oo homi- -17 

tor long lu" caniux l.iil lo In- .» m.m of great sciibc ami of very grcai v.ilour. Atu\ i\ 
what shall I iill \uii .ihoiii it? Itdiii this mission onward thry honoHrai him not as a vb 
youth but as a iiiiiii cj very ^rcat a^c, (sf thenceforward the youth was called Master Marc Pol 
(1/ court, and so will our book call him in luture, thou^^h his virtue is' wisdom deserve a much va vb 
more worthy name than Master Marc. And this is really very right, for he was wise and 
experienced. And why should I make you a long story? On his return from that embassy TA 
the ^reat Kaan set him over all his embassies. And you may know cjuite truly that ajter lU 
this Master Marc stays with the great Kaan ijuite seventeen years, and in all this time 
he did not cease to go on missions hither and thither through different countries wherever FB 
the lord sent him; 'and sometimes for private affairs of the same Master Marc, but by the good R 
w/7/ and order of the great Kaan. Vov the great Kaan, since he sees that Master Marc 
so brought him back news Irom all parts and that he carried out so well all the duties 
tor which he sent him. lor this reason all the important missions and the distant ones 
he gave all to Master Marc. Like a wise man and one who knew all the ways of the lord, he fb 
took much pains to know and understand everything which he thought would please the great Kaan. 
And he accomplished the duty very well, thank Cod, and knew how to tell him many fb 
novelties and many strange things. And the great Kaan, the conduct ol Master Marc 
pleased him so much that he wished him very well and did him [8/>] so great honour 
and kept him so near to himself that many of the other barons had great vexation va 
at it. But all thinos which the said Master Marc Pol saw and did and with whatever he vl 
met of good or of bad he put in writing and so told all in order to his lord. Now this was 
the reason why Master Marc knows more of those things of that country than any 
other man, because he explores more of those strange regions than any man who was 
ever born; and also because he gave it his attention more to know this and to spy out fb 
and enquire that he might tell the great lord;' whence it came about that there was never any vb 
who saw more lands than Master Marc, nor had learnt and heard more strange things,' which R 
things are written here below carefully and in order. 

HOW MASTER NICOLAU AND MASTER MAFEU AND MASTER MARC ASK LEAVE OF -iS' 

THE KAAN. And when Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master 
Marc had stayed with the great Kaan at this court many years, as long as you R 
have heard above, they said among themselves one day that they wished to go back to va v 
their parts, that is to their native country, for it was now high time to do so. 'Though they v fb R 
found themselves very rich in jewels of great value and in gold, an extreme desire to see their native 
land again was always ffxed in their mind; and even though they were honoured and favoured, yet 
they thought of nothing else but of this. And seeing that the great Kaan was very old, they feared 
that if he were to die before their departure they might never be able to return home, because of the 
length of the way and infnite perils which threatened them ; though they hoped to be able to do this 

87 



I 8- AIIGON SENDS TO CUBLAI FOR A NEW BRIDE ?^MARCO POLO 

if he were alive. And so Master Nicolau one day, seeing that the great Kaan was very cheerful, 

V took occasion to beg of him on his knees in the name of all three leave to depart -to their home,- 
K y at which word he was all disturbed- and answered, Why do you wish to go to die on the way? 

R Tell me. If you have need of gold I will give you much more of it than you have- at home,- 

V R and likewise every other thing for which you shall ask;- and he would advance them to whatever 

V honours they might wish. -Then Master Nicolau answered, O lord, that which I say is not 
for want of gold, but it is because in my land I have a wife and by the Christian law I cannot 
forsake her while she lives. Then for the great love which he bore them the lord answered. 

On no condition in the world am I willing that you depart from my realm, but I am well 
content that you go about it where you please. They ask leave[thus]of the great Kaan 

LT to return to their homes and families several times and pray him lor it very sweetly; 

LT but the great Kaan loved them so much, was so much pleased with their deeds, and kept 
them so willingly about him that for nothing in the world did he give them leave. 

V R Now it happened after a certain time that the great queen Bolgana who was wife ot 
L Argon, the lord at that time of the Tartars of the sunnsing, died. And that queen 

R LT at the point of death asks favour of the king, and so leaves by her last will that no lady 

R might sit on her throne nor be wife of Argon if she were not of her line, which 

FB R was found in Catai.-So then Argon took three of his wise barons who had names 

FB FB like this, the first Oulatai, the second Apusca, and the third Coja. And he sends 

VA FB LT them very grandly -as his messengers to the great Kaan with a very great[andy2iiv company 

LT FB in order to ask that he should send him a lady who was of the line of the [8f] queen 

FB LT Bolgana his wife who was dead,^ to marry him;- because she had so ordained, as was 

said above. And when the three barons were come to the great Kaan then they 

FB FB told him their message and the reason why they were come from Argon. The great 

p FB FB Kaan received them most honourably and made great joy and great feasting for them. 

VB Then since king Argon was his very great friend he sends for a lady who had Cocacin 

VA FB for name who was of the lineage which they desired of that queen Bolgana who was 

VB FB dead, who was a girl of seventeen^ years, a noble lady very tair^ and amiable. And 

when she was come he said to the three barons that this lady was the one of whom 

L they came in search, saying. Take her to Argon your lord, for she is of the family he seeks, 

VA so that he may take her safely to wife.- And when they had heard the word those said that it 

R pleases them well. And when all things necessary had been made ready and a great brigade 

to escort with honour this new bride to king Argon, the envoys, after taking leave of the great 



1 LT: de lignagio cotroeo regine holgarie dejonte 

2 FB: XV. VB: hoto 

' bien but FB, etc.: belle VB; nobille et beljssima dona 



88 



THH DI'SCKIIM ION Ol" INI. WOKI.D'^ MAKC C:OMI:S IKOM INDIi; iH 

Kaan, set cut iiJiiii^ fcr the sfttifc cj ct^hl iiionths hy that siutif way that they were come. 

And on the jour my they fottiul that hy a war newly />rj>i<M hclween certain kings cf the lartan 

the roaJs were eloseJ, aiiJ not heing ahle to go forward they were ohliged against their will to 

return again to the court oj the great Kaan, to whom they related all that had befallen them. 

Aiui tlioii at this lime that the said anihassadors were come for that lady Master Marc' v 

rcriirns with a certain embassy ivoiu InJic, who was gone as ambassador of the lord-tsr' had li I-b vb 

been or jyassed through the province of king Argon-& told the-embassy and the other -different m i a ru 

things which he had seen on his way dy how he had gone ihrougU foreign provinces 6' very i. 

strange seas and tells many wonderful new thiiii^s ol that country. And the three i. 

barons that ha\e seen Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master Marc who 

were Latins and wise men, had very great wonder .• And when they heard that those had FB va 

a wish to depart, then they thought and the\- said anion^ themselves that they wish FB 

that the\' nia\- go with them b\- sea ; for their intention was to return to their country i-b 

by sea for the sake of the lady, because of the great labour that it is to travel so far by land; 

and they go immediately to the great Kaan and ask him favour, as also did the queen, v vb 

that he should send them hv sea and thai he send the three Latins with them to v 

their lord-to do honour to king Argon.- And on the other hand they would gladly take them with P FB 

them -as their companions in this journey -because they knew that they had seen and explored L FB 

much of the sea of Indie and of those countries by which they must go, and especially Master 

Marc. The great Kaan who loved these three his Latins as much as I have told you, FB 

did them that favour with great reluctance, and gives leave to the three Latins and lt 

tells them that they should go with those three barons with that lady.^ 



^ V: missier nieholo e misier mafo This is a slight indication that V may come from a text 
which did not give Marco the supreme position which he holds in F. cf. pp.26, 316,3 17. 

2 R, fol. 3F: "At this time M. Marco who was returned from the parts of India, where he 
had been with some ships, told the great Can many new things of those countries and of 
the journey v\'hich he had made, & among the other things that those seas were sailed with 
great safety. And when those words were come to the ears of the ambassadors of king Argon 
who were desirous to return home, from which the)- found themselves absent for three years 
past, they went to speak with the said M. Nicolo. Maffio, & Marco, whom they found 
likewise very anxious to see their native land again; and they made a plan between them, 
that the said three ambassadors with the queen should go to the great Can and should say 
that as it was possible to go safely by sea to the lands of king Argon, less would be spent 
by sea, and the journey would be shorter, as M. Marco who had sailed to those lands had 
said, his Majesty should be content to do them this kindness that rhev should go by sea, 
and that these three Latins, that is M. Nicolo, Maflio, & Marco, who had practice in sailing 
the said seas, must accompan)- them to the lands of king Argon. Hearing this their request, 
the great Can showed great displeasure in the face because he did not wish that these three 

Latins 

89 



19- NICOLAU MAFEU MARC AND BOLGANA SET SAIL ;^MARCO POLO 

HERE HE DESCRIBES HOW MASTER NICOLAU AND MASTER MAFEU AND MASTER 
MARC SET OUT FROM THE GREAT KAAN. And whcn the great Kaan sees 
that the said Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master Marc 
V R must go with those ambassadors, he makes them all and three come before him and 
spoke to them many gracious words of the great love which he hore them, and that they should 
promise that when they had been some time in the land of Christians and at their home they 
FB LT would return to him, & gives them two^ tablets of gold -sealed with the royal seal with 
R L R [8^j orders written thereon that they should be free 6/ exempt from every burden- & 
TA secure through all his lands, and wherever they might go they must have all the 
VB R expenses for themselves and for all their train, and an escort given them that they may 
VB he able to pass in safety. He entrusts them with many things on his own behalf & with 
FB an embassy to the Apostle and to the king of France and to the king of England and 
VA to the king of Spain and to the other crowned kings of Christendom. Then he 
VB made fit out for the queen fourteen ships which had each four masts and many 
R times went with twelve sails. ^ And I could well tell you how they were made, but 
because it would be too long a matter I will not mention it to you at this point 
FB R hut below, when it is place & time for it.- Among the said ships there were at least four 
VB or fve which had from zjo to 160 sailors. And when the ships were fitted out and 
furnished with food & with all things necessary & the three barons and the lady and 
TA FB these three Latins, -the two brothers Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master 
VB Marc, were ready to go to king Argon, they presented themselves to their lord, took leave 
V of the great Kaan, and with great joy came to the ships which were prepared & assemble 
VB themselves on the ships with a very great company of ladies and gentlemen. And 
LT R the great Kaan made men give them many rubies and other jewels very fne and of very 
great value, and also the expenses for ten years. ^ And what shall I tell you about 
it ? They set themselves on the sea and sailed quite three months till they came 
to an island which is toward midday which has the name Java ; in which island 
FB are many marvellous things which I shall tell you in this book hereafter all clearly. 
Then they set out from that island and I tell you that they sailed through the 



Latins should leave. Nevertheless, as he could not do otherwise, he consented to all that they 
asked of him. And if it had not been so great and powerful a reason that compelled him, 
the said Latins had never departed." 

If this is authentic, it fixes the return of Marco from India approximately to 1289. See PN. 
^ L: vnam 

2 R: con none vele V,P: 4. VA: undo auella Z, TA'' omit the clause. Others: 12 

3 por.x.anf FA, FB, TA, LT, VA, P, V, L, VL, R all read " two ", which may perhaps 
be correct. 



90 



Till: i:)i;scRiiMiON c^i nil'; woki.i)'^ and comi: unto I'I:Rsii. -19 

^reat sea ol liulu iiiiiti- iigluccn' iih)iuIis l>i-li)ii- lUcy were come to the land oj king i h w; 
Argon wlure ilie\' vvislieJ id ^d, l'v' (m this journey they sawf strange (jt dijjerenl things tsr k 
they fiiui many ^^reat marvels wliicli again we shall (ell yoii in that book. And when 
they were come there they find that king Argon to whom these barons were going with v it 
the laJy was already dead ; and his lady was given by the said ambassadors when they i. v 
saw this to Caiman the son oi Argon to wife. And I tell you without lad that P 
when they entered into the ships in the land oJ the great Kaan they were between ladies va vb 
& men [9*1 1 quite six hundred persons without the sailors. And when they reached the va 
land where they were going they made a count that they had all died on the way except va p 
onl\' eighteen. And of those three ambassadors there remained but one, -who was named v R 
Coja ; and of all the women and girls none died but one.^ They find that one named R 
Quiacaru held the lordship ot Argon ^or the boy who was not yet Jit Jor rule, -for he was p R 
young ; to whom it seemed right to them to send to say how, having brought that ijueen by 
order of the king Argon, they would do whatever seemed to him right. He made answer to 
them that they ought to give her to Ca^an, son of the king Argon, who was at the time in 
the -distant' parts of the Dry Tree, on the borders of Persie, with sixty thousand men to l r 
guard certain passes that certain enemy people should not enter by them to spoil his land. 
And so they did. They entrust the lady to him and did all their embassy and their 
mission. And when Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master Marc have 
done all the duties about the lady and the missions with which the great Kaan 
had charj^ed them wholly,- they returned to Quiacatu, because their road must be that way, va r 
and there they stayed nine months. And then they took leave of the lady and departed and v 
set themselves on the way. Moreover you may know quite truly that before they fb 
set out Quiacatu^ gives to those three messengers of the great Kaan ; they were 
Master Nicolau & Master Mafeu & Master Marc ; four tablets of gold of orders, fb 
the two with gerfalcons & the one with a lion and the other was plain,* each of R 
which was one cubit long and five fngers wide, of a weight of three or four marks each ; which 

^ V; nuoue VB: ^rni disenoue 

^ R: dal d), che introrno in mare, fno al giunger suo, morirono fra marinari, & altri, ch'erano in 
detti naui, da seicento persone. Sec. V: et de queli tre anbassadori vno solo rimaxe e de ^nto femene 
che iera non romaxe se no la regina et li do frateli chon misier marcho B. incorporates a modified 
form of V in his Marco Polo, p. 17, though he retains the mysterious statement of F (below, 
p. 92) about the daughter of the king of Mangi which implies that at least two ladies sur- 
vived. The total number is given "without the sailors" as follows : FA,P: 600 FB: 500 
LT.TA: 700 (?6oo men & 100 women) V: 600 persons, 100 women VB: between men and 
women more than 600 L: plusquam centum 

' FA.FB: cogatra la dame V: il dito signer 

* V: blaua L: palmam 

91 



.19- HOW NICOLAU MAFEU & MARC WERE TRUSTED ;^MARCO POLO 

R said in their legends that in the strength of the eternal God the name of the great Kaan 

must he honoured and praised for ever, and that every one who shall not obey he put to death 

and his goods conf seated ; & then that these three messengers should be honoured & 

L served through all his land as his own person, and that horses if they were needed 

L and all expenses and all escort should be given them in full through any dangerous 

LT plaees,-for themselves and their whole company. And indeed it was so done, for they 

have through all his land horses and expenses and all things necessary well and 

liberally ; for I tell you without fail that many times there were given them two 

hundred^ horsemen, and more and less according as was necessary for their escort 

VA and to go safely from one land to another. And this was very necessary many 

R times, for they found many dangerous places, because Quiacatu had no authority and was 

VA not natural nor liege lord and therefore the people did not refrain from doing evil 

R R as they would have done if they had [9^] a true and liege lord. And while Masters 

Nicolau, Mafeu, and Marc were making this journey they learnt how the great Kaan was 

cut 0^ from this life, and this took away from them all hope of being able to return any more 

to those parts .^ And again I tell vou another thing which does well to mention 

for the honour of these three messengers. For I tell you quite truly that Master 

Mafeu and Master Nicolau and Master Marc have so great authority as I shall 

tell you. For you may know that the great Kaan trusts so much in them and 

TA was so fond of them that out of reverence for these three messengers he trusts to them 

the queen Cocacin and also trusts the daughter of the king of Mangi' that they 

should take them to Argon the lord of all the Sunrising. And they did so, for 

they take them by the sea just as I have told you before with so many people and 

with so great expense. Moreover I tell you that these two great ladies were in 

the care of these three messengers, for they caused them to be saved and protected 

as if they were their daughters, and the ladies who were very young and fair took 

these three for their father and obeyed them so. And these three placed them in 

the hands of their lord. Moreover I tell you with all truth that the queen Cocacin 

who IS wife to Cagan who now reigns, her lord Ca^an and herself, wishes so great 

good to the three messengers that there is not a thing that she would not do for 

them as her own father himself. For you may know that when these three messengers 



1 TA,LT: 400 TA': iiif charri 

^ This sentence, peculiar to R, is rather difficult to reconcile with the places where Qubilai 
is spoken of as still living. See below, pp.102, 167,185,192, 193, and p.4 3 above. It is worthy 
of notice that R omits the specially awkward reference to the year 1298 in c. 77 below. 

^ TA'; la reinaj caciesej fgliuola de Re de mangi TA': aghatu affido loro la reyna chaciesi fgluola 
derre de mangi 

92 



'11 li: DI'SCRllMION OV WW: WORLDS AND COMI; HOMi: A I LAST .19. 

Ick lui 10 niiim in tlu-ir CDiiiuiy slu' wipi (or gtirl nr (Iicir <ii-parmrc. Now 1 

have loKI \o\.\ A iliiiii' wliith tlocs well I or I to icIkmi-u-, liow imuli two siuli Indies 

wcro trii.sic\l 10 tiio.sc tliicc incsscngcrs to t.ikt- to iluii loiJ liom so f.ir .1 pl.icc. 

Now \\o will h\\\c \'oii this M\A will go oil Willi your story. Aiul what shall I 

icU you ah(.)ui it ? When the three messengers uere gone from Quiacaiu' they 

set themselves on the way an«.l roJe l>\' their lon^ marches, searching many provinces vi*. \'t'. 

& lands which will hr told hclow, till they were come at last -by the grace oj C.od after \'\'. i i 

tnuch time o^ after many labours to Trepesonde which is set on the (Greater Sea, and from i. 

Trepesonde the\- came awa\' to Consranrinople, and Jrom Constantinople they came FB 

awa\' ro Negrepont, and Irom Ne^^reponi with many riches and with a great company, v 

thanking Cod who had delivered them Jrom so great labours and- infinite perils, -they went up R v 

into a ship and came-safe- at last to Venesc ; and this was in the 1295'' year from the P i- 

Incarnation ot the Lord Christ. Now, since I have told \'ou all the facts of the lt 

prologue just as you have heard, I shall next begin the book of the description of the fb 

various things which Master Marc Pol and his uncle found in the countries & on the road.^ 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE LITTLE ARMENIE."* It is truc that there are two -ZO- 

Armcnies, one is called Armenic the great and one Armenie the little, that VB vb i 
is little in extent. Of" the Little, a kin^ who dwells in a city called Scvasto R 



^ V: da quel fo di argon 

' L: 1255 

^ LT: "Now all these things are written at the beginning of this book that all those who 
shall read this book may learn whence & how Sir Marcus Paulas of Venice was able to know 
the things which are contained below. For the said Sir Marcus Paulus was in the parts of 
the East for 26 years, the whole time having been-carefully-counced by him. The Prologue 
ends; and the Book of Sir Marcus Paulus about the description of the provmccs and lands of 
Hermenia, Persia, Turchia, & of either India, and of the islands which are in India begins." 
This closely follows P(from which one word above is taken) and is copied by R. VA: "We 
have written this histot)^ that each may be able ro see hov\' these two brothers & Master Marc 
were able to see & know & hear so many things as were written in this book." 

* The headings of the chapters are given from F, ignoring as a rule the comparatively few 
variants. But some of the openings of this first chapter of the Book proper are translated here. 
Z: "Here are described all the regions, provinces, realms, & cities established about Asia 
Media & part of Europe, & all the manners & custpms generally & separately of all the 
peoples dwelling in the same. And first about Armenia the Less. It is true. . . ." 
P: "A Description of the Oriental Regions. And first about Armenia the Less. Having 
finished the story of our travels, let us now come to tell of what we saw. First however we 
shall briefly describe Armenia the Less. There are two Armenias. ..." 
LT: "And first about Hermenia the Less. Now that we have recited and told the facts 
and circumstances of our journeys and what happened to us by the way, we shall begin to 

speak 

93 



2 0. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE LESSER ARMENIE ^MARCO POLO 

V V is lord of ic who holds all the lands and maintains the land well in the greatest justice 

I VB in all things, & no malefactor can any how escape ; and is subject to the lord great Kan, the 

V I Tartar king, ■ though they are Christians, for they are not rightly in the true faith as the 

Romans are ; and this is for want of teachers, for they were formerly good Christians. This 

lesser Armenie would be quickly placed in the true Christian faith if good and faithful 

VB R preachers remained there. ■ And under him there are many towns, fortresses, & many 

L villages ; and there are of all things in great abundance. And it is a very fertile land- 

p VA and pleasant. It is also a land of great enjoyment, and the people of the land make much 

L practice of all beautiful hunting both of beasts and ot birds. But yet I tell you that 

I it is not a healthy province but mightily unhealthy, nor has it good air. And long ago the 

TA VB V gentlemen were very valiant and expert men at the business of arms, each of them as 

L TA R VB good as two,'and of good manners, but now they are all • become • very slavish and mean 

z L o and have no goodness except that they are very good gluttons and drinkers. They have 

VB plenty of wine white and red; -and give themselves much to the lust of drinking in which they 

TA V greatly delight.' Again you may know that there is also on the [9^] sea of the said province^ 

p VA I a town with a harbour which is called Laias, which is a city -good & great & of great 

FB trade ; for you may know quite truly that all the spicery and the cloths of silk and 

R of gold- and of wool from inland are carried to this town, and all other dear things. 

o LT There is cotton in plenty.^ And the merchants^ from Venese, /rom Pise, and from Jene 

L FB and from all inland parts come there and buy them and sell there their own things, • 

VL and keep their warehouses in that city. And all men and merchants who wish to go 

R L R farther inland through the regions of the east,- come frst to the said port of I.<?/rt5[<jr]take 

z their way from this town. And these are the boundaries of this kingdom of the Lesser 

Armenie: on one side towards midday is the Land of Promise which the Saracens hold; on the side 

w 7. of tramontaine are -people named- Turcomains, who are called Caramani ; to the sunrising and the 

Greek wind is Turquie, Caiserie, and Sevasto, and many other cities which are all subject to 

the Tartars; toward the sunsetting is the sea through which one sails to the lands of the Christians. 



speak of what we saw; and first we shall speak of the Lesser Hermenia. Wherefore you must 
know that there are two Hermenias . . ." 

VB; "To give a beginning to the story of the provinces which I Marco Polo saw in Asia 
and of the things found in them worthy of notice, I say that there are two Armenias . . ." 
VA: "Since we have written the story of our life & how we went, stayed, & returned, so 
we wish to tell you in order of the things which we saw & found. We will begin. \n the 
name of God; & about the province of Armenia." 
FG,TA follow F exactly; R follows VB. 

1 L: surrie 2 See PN. 

^ merciandies But FB: marcheans TA: merchatanti LT,P: mercatores 



94 



Till': l)liSCKIl>110N OI nil: WOKLD^ AND OV TURCOMANIIi 20- 

Now vvc have loki you oi ihc Liiilr Aiincnii- .mJ .i([it\v.ii\1s we shall rell you of 

riii\iMnanic,' which is jnirt of it. S 

HliRli iir. TiiLLS OF THE PROVINCE OF TURCOMANIE. Ill the province of I -ll- 

rurconianic arc (luce gcniTatioiis of pcopK-. Tliry arc Tiirconuins who 

worship MahonuM atul holJ his religion; and have a brutish law and live l 
like lu-asts tn all things; and they are ignorant people and have a barbarous language 

and distinct Jroni others.- And sometimes they stay in mountains and sometimes on moors' lt i I 

according to where (he\' know that there is good pasture /or their flocks, because they va va 

do not plough the land hut make their living from flocks alone.- And these Turcomani i z i 
rarely dwell except in the fields with their Jtocks, and they have garments of skins and houses 

oj felt or oj skins. And 1 tell you that very good Turcomain horses arc bred there va 

and wry good mules large & of great value. And the other people are Armenians va ta 

(^not very perfect Christians'), and the third Greeks who live & dwell mixed with them i vb va 

in cities and towns and in villages and live by trade and by crahs. They have many goods, z i 

For you may know that there in five of their places are made the sovereign carpets v 

oi the world and of the most beautiful colours. There are made also cloth ot ta ta 

crimson silk and of other colours & of gold very beautihil & rich in very great quantity, vb fa 

and many other [loa'j things also. They also cultivate the land. Yet the whole province i 
is named from the first people & is called Turcomanie, while the Armenians and Greeks are 

there as if by accident. Their best 6^ most famous city in that province is Como, Caisene, va va 

and Sevasro. And Master Saint Blasius suffered martyrdom there -for Christ.- And these cities L va P i 
are very good and fertile, hut others less. And there are also many other cities and 

^ It is a great misfortune that the Cotton MS. Otho D 5 (FO, see pi. 23.) was very 
seriously damaged and almost destroyed by fire. It has consequently been impossible to make 
very much use of even those parts which survive, but a version of the remains of the chapter 
on Little Armenia is here given as a specimen : 

"Here begins our first book, of the Little Ermine. It is true that there are two Ermynie, 
one large and[one small. The people of the Litltle are Christians and there is aFking who 
mainrainsjwell his Land both by force and . . . parts the Soldan of Babilonie, and they make 
great tribute e\'ery year. They are subjecrTto rhelgreat Can of Tartairs lord of the Sunnsing 
. . . many castles proud(?) and strong and towns enough. . . . One has for name Laias. It is 
between(?) the sea and . . . road of the sunrising. And they live . . . precious stones pearls 
spicerv which the merchants of . . . buy there and carry them through the whole v\'orld of 
the sunsetting. There is cotton (Cotowi) enough. They are people of great enjoyment and of 
great drink. They have plenty of wine white and red. There are things of all kinds and bone 
eise leis ?\ There are plenty of . . . and of passes narrow and strong." 
The old French in which this manuscript was written difi:ers too from that of either F or FG. 

* landes di so FG. VA: piano TA: valle LT,P: vallihus L; ualles Z: uiis V: neue 

95 



2 1- CITIES & HOT SPRINGS IN GREATER ARMENIE ?^MARCO POLO 

V V villages in that province of which I shall not tell you mow because it would be too 
z z long a matter to mention. They are all subject to the Tartar king of the sunrising 
z I and he places there his rule and he sends them deputies and governors .• These Tartars do not 

care what God is worshipped in their lands. If only all are faithful to the lord Kan and quite 

obedient and give therefore the appointed tribute, and justice is well kept, thou mayest do what 

pleaseth thee with the soul. Yet they will not that thou speak evil of their souls, nor fail thou 

to assist at their doings. And do thou what thou wilt with God and thy soul whether thou art 

Jew or Pagan or Saracen or Christian who dwellcst among the Tartars. They corf ess indeed 

in Tartary that Christ is Lord, but say that he is a proud Lord because he will not be with 

other gods but will be God above all the others in the world. And so in some places they have 

Christ of gold or silver and keep him hidden in some chest, and say that he is the great Lord 

TA supreme of the Christians. Now let us leave this province and we will go to speak oi 

the Great Armenie. 

22' z L nr "TTERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT ARMENIE. The greater Armenie is a v^r)> great 

I I I province. And it has its own idiom and speech foreign and common and different 

JL JL from all other provinces . Yet it agrees well in all things with Armenie the less, 

VB though it is greater both from position and number of lands.- And it begins from a city 

which is called Ar^ingan in which are made the best buckrams that are in the world, 

I TA beautiful and good and durable, for there are good master-workers ;• and there is the best & 

z the most beautiful cotton ;• and many other crafts are done there which cannot be told. And 

I I there in that city is hot and boiling water, and there are the most beautiful & wholesome- 

L z HfltMrij/ baths and the best of springing water that are to 6f_/owAi^ on earth. The people 

VB VB are for the greater part Armenian and are all moreover servants of the Tartar. There are 

VB VB V L many villages and ^00^ cities. ^Kf the most noble city of all -the kingdom is Ar^ingan 

z I LT which /;a5 an archbishop who rules the Christians ;- whence it is the metropolis of that whole 

I province,- and therefor the greater part they are subject to the faith of Jesus Christ, though 

among them there are many heretics in different articles of the faith because they have not 

V L teachers who know well. The others are Argu'on which is great, '^and^i very great quantity 

of silver is dug there, and Arqiqi. It is a very great province; and I tell you that in 

FB the summer all the hosts of all the Tartar of the sunrising stay there because in this 

province there is very good pasture in the summer for the beasts, and for this reason 

the Tartars stay' with their beasts in the summer, but in winter they do not stay there 

V for the very great cold of the snow which there is beyond measure, for which the 

V beasts would not be able to live. And for this [lo^j the Tartars leave those places in 
L v/intcr and go off to seek for warm places where thev find much grass and good pasture 



^ & por ce qe demorent B. corrects qe to hi 
96 



Tin-: DliSCRIPIION OV WUi WORLl)'^ AND A lOUN IAIN OF OIL -22 

for their beasts. And in a ccritun vilUi^c which is collid Paperth there is a very lar^e silver mine, z 

and thii viUaoc is found as one ^oes from rrepcsonde to I aiiri';. An^.^ again I tell you that m 

the middle of this Circat Armoiiii' is the ark ol Noo, as it is said, on a great mountain, z vii 

It is indeed a very ^^re at and hi^h mountain like a ruhe,^ upon which Noe's ark is said to have /. 

rested, and Jrom this that mountain is called the mount of Noe's Ark. And it is so broad and 

long that it could not be encircled in two days ; and on the top oj the mountain there is always 

so abundant a quantity oJ snow that none is able to {>p up to the top, because the snow never 

melts altogether, 'but one falls upon the other and so it grows.- And this ark is seen Jrom K r 

very Jar because the mountain on which it is is very high, and there is snow there almost all 

the year, and in one part there is as it were a spot and a large black thing is seen Jrom Jar 

amidst those snows ; but close by nothing oJ it is seen. lor this Armenie has many very great 

and high mountains and among others there is a certain mountain which is called Mount Baris 

or Mount Olympus, and this mountain seems as ij to touch the sky. And some say that many 

were saved there Jrom the waters of the great Jlood . In those parts Noe's ark is called the ship 

of the world. And they speak as little about it as ij it were not there, unless visitors ask 

about this thing, and then they speak; it is said that that black thing is the ship oJ the world.- 

But on the slopes toward the plain, owing to the moisture of the snow which runs down when R 

it melts, the mountain is sojat and abounding in grass that in the summer all thejlocks around 

are brought together Jrom Jar to stay there ; nor do they ever Jail there. And moreover through 

the running down of the snow deep mud is Jormed on the mountain.- Now on the borders z 

of Armenie toward the south are these provinces, Mosul, Mus, and Meridin, about which it 

w/// be told below ; and there arc many others which it would be long to recount. It is 

bounded from the direction ol: midday toward the sunrising bv a city and kingdom vb 

which is called Mosul, who are Christian people ; they are Jacobites and Nestorians ; 

ot whom I will tell vou below ; on which here we shall only touch. Towards tramontaine vb 

it is bounded by the Giorgiens of whom again I shall speak below. And on this 

boundary towards the Giorgiens to the north is a fountain which sends up a liquid P vb 

like oil in great abundance so that sometimes a hundred great ships^ can load & do load P I z 

there easily at one time; but it is not good to eat. But it is good to burn, and to i 

anoint men and any animals Jor the scab,\and^t\\t camels tor the itch and for the mange, z 

And the men come tor this oil from very far, and all the country round they burn 

no other oil but this liquid or oil Jrom that Jountain,- and it avails Jor many diseases. Now vb z 

let us leave the great Armenie and we will tell you of the province of the Giorgiens. 

^ Or perhaps, "cup". 

- Z makes it "ships of the desert", mile cameli V; z^nto ganbeli Just below both Z & LT 
read simul & semel, where semel is hard to understand. 

97 



.2 3- OF GIORGIANIE AND OF THE GATE OF IRON ^MARCO POLO'^ 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE KING OF THE GIORGIENS AND OF THEIR AFFAIRS. 
In Giorgianie is a province which is ruled by a king who is always called 
David Melic, which means to say in French King David ; and he is 
p VB subject to the king of the Tartars. And they say that anciently all the kings of that 
TA province who were born were born with a mark ot an eagle on the right [lof] shoulder, 
I V but now they have that mark no more. They are very fine people and valiant in arms 
I and good archers & good fighters m battle. They dive. formerly all Christians and 
I for want of preachers they are so no tnore^ but in many things they observe the Greek rule, 
V TA L and the hair they wear short in the way of Greek^ clergy. And this Giorgianie is the 
VB I L province which it is written that • king Alexandre the Great could not pass when he wished 
VA to go to the sunsetting,^ because the road is narrow and very dangerous. For on 
L L V the one side is the sea of Bachu and on the other pathless woods and a very great mountain 
VB where they cannot ride. The road is very narrow which is left between the mountain 
TA and the sea so that one cannot ride, and this narrow road lasts for more than four 
I leagues,' & two men could not walk through it together side by side but one would fall into 
I the sea; so that a few men will hold the pass against all the men of this world. And 
this was the reason why Alexandre could not pass ; and I tell you that Alexandre 
FB VA had a very strong tower built there and made a fortress there at the mouth of that pass so 
VA that those people should not be able to pass to come upon him nor upon his people- 
VB L from here, as he could not pass beyond ; and it was called to this day the Gate ot Iron. 
And it is the place where the Book of Alexandre tells how he shut in the Tartars 
within two mountains. And it was not true that they were Tartars, but they 
were a people who were called Comain and other races enough, for there were 
L not Tartars at that time. There are towns and villages enough in this province and 
L FB they have silk in very great abundance, and silk cloth and cloths of gold of all sorts 
I are made there the most beautiful that man ever saw, and they are cheap and cheaper 
L than woollen, because there is much silk & there are many workers of that craft. There also 
L L I profound the best goshawks in the world called avigi, -& fne places for catching birds. 
All the men of that province live as it were sumptuously , for there is abundance \}od'\ oi 
VA all things and they live by trade and by labour on the land. The province is all 
FB VL full of great mountains and of very narrow passes and of strong, and many springs, 
VB so that I tell you that _/of the narrowness of the passes the Tartars could never quite 
VA z entirely have the rule of that province. 'For one part of the province is subject to the Tartar 



^ P: occidentis 

* L,V,R: "north" Z omits P: ad zor^tmos . . . ah oriente 

^ V,L: "marches" 



98 



Tin-: MONAsii-m' ov s.LiONAKi) AND si:a oi- c,\:\. OR ("hi:lan .23 

kino hut the rrunMiun^ juirt is not subject to hiiii hut lo kin^ David, heatusc oj the stronj^ plares 
which it has. And in these strotii* places and mountains are their woods in which there ts no 
other tree hut box. A^.iiii (lion* is ,\ monastery ol eastern iiiDiiks which is called Saim i' 
LionaiJ.' very noble ijr worthy, -which monks for the most part observe our rite; which lias v i 
it is said such a marvel as 1 shall tell you. You may know that there is all round it a vb vb 
great lake ol \Nater which comes f/ovv» Irom a^^rfrtf mountain near by the 5ajW Church v i. v 
oi Saint Lionard, and m that water which comes ironi thai mountain no fish nor 
small nor large is lound in all the year except so much only that the first day of 
Lent they he^in to come and they come each day ol Lent nil 1 loly Sabbath, that 
is the vigil ol l^istjue or the Resurrection of the Lord ; and on the day 0/ Pasque they disappear ; z 
and \n all this term hsh enough are found there the finest in the world and a great fb 
quantity, • so that all the province has enough, bur in all the other times ol year they are G 
not found at all till the next lent; and so it goes each year, so that it is a fine miracle.- FB 
And the foresaid province looks toward two seas of which one is called the Greater Sea which z 
15 on the side of tramontainc. And again I tell \ou that the other sea'^ of which I have z 
told vou, which is beside the mountain where the lake is which surrounds the said Church, vb 
is called the sea ot Gel or Chelan and the sea of Bachu, toward the sunrising, and is two z z 
thousand seven hundred^ miles round, and it is like a pool because it is not mingled with z 
any sea. And it is distant from every other sea quite twelve days marches; and the v 
river of Eutrates ends within it, which is one of the four rivers of Paradise,- as it is said va i 
in Scripture, -the river named Tigri, & the Gion, and many other very large rivers,* oMi v R P 
of which all the lagoons are formed, & they enter it from every side; and it is all surrounded 
with mountains and with much good land on the shore of that sea, and cities & villages.- i i 
And in it are many islands well populated, in which there are - many -fne cities. And these islands z v z 
were inhabited by the people who had fled from the face of the great Tartar when he went conquering 
through the kingdom or province of Persic, -wishing to destroy them, -whose cities and lands used R z 
to be ruled by the commons. And these people indeed in their flight retired to these islands and to 
mountains where they believed they would be safer; and so these islands v.>erc inhabited.- There are R 
also some of the said islands desert. -Likewise the said sea produces -very -many fishes and z L z 
especially sturgeon, salmon, and other large fshes. And lately the merchants of Jene 
sail through that sea, ior they have brought & put ships there in which they sail, fb 



* VB: / tartari non pote intrarne ne segnori^ saluo fna auno monestier de done che se chiama san 
bernardo P: saiicti Cuillehni nonains is taken as masculine by VA,P,I,R, Roux (1824), B.; 
feminine by VB (done'), Pauthier, Y. V; zorzani explains perhaps P: monachorum orientalium. 

- I: ''On the other side of the lake is a gulf of the salt sea . . ." 
3 VA.VB.TA: 700 P: 600 Z,V: 2800 I: 300. 

* R: Herdil, Ceichon, & Cur, Araz^ & molti altri. ... I: eufrathes uel uillns 

99 



2 3- THE JATOLIC OF THE NESTORIANS IN MOSUL f^MAKCO POLO 

P z And from thence comes the silk which is commonly called ghella. Near this province 

is a certain beautiful and very large city whose name is Tyflis, round which are many villages 

and towns which are subject to this city in which dwell Christians, namely Armenians & 

R Giorgiens & some Saracens & /^vv5^ hut Jew. -Here are made cloths of silk and of many 

other and different sorts. The men live by their craft and arc subject to the great king of the 

Tartars. And it is to be known that we have only written of the two or three chief cities 

of the provinces, but there are many others there which it would be long to write in order, if 

they had no special thing of wonder. But some of those which we have passed by, which arc 

found in the aforesaid places, are described more fully below. Now we have told you 

FB of the [ii^] neighbours o( great Armenie from the direction ot tramontainc. Now 

we wish to tell you of the other bordering places which are between midday and 

sunrising. 

24- FB p I' "TTERE HE TELLS OF THE REALM OF MOSUL. On the Other border -of Greater 

FB I I Armenie -which is between midday and the sunrising is the kingdom of Mosul. 

FB JL JL. And Mosul is a very great kingdom which several races of people inhabit, 

TA whom I shall now describe to you. First there is a people which is called Arabi, 

VL who all worship Mahomet. Again there is another race of people who hold the 

TA Christian rule, but not as the holy Church of Rome orders, for they are mistaken 

FB V z in many matters of the faith.- And they are called Nestorian & Jacobite & Armenians,- 

LT V P 6- they are the worst heretics.- And they have a great Patriarch whom they call Jatolic, 

FB VA & this Patriarch makes archbishops & bishops & abbots & all other prelates & 

I z priests & clerics, & sends them everywhere to preach, into all the parts of Indie & to the 

z Catai & into Baudac & to all places where Christians dwell, just as the Apostle of Rome 

FB I does throughout the countries of the Latins. Moreover I tell you that though they preach 

they do not preach the truth in all things, but as heretics preach, so that heretics make heretics and 

all the Christians that you will find in all these places of which I have told you arc 

FB P Nestorian & Jacobite Christians, of whom there is a very great number. And all the most 

I beautiful cloths of silk & of gold which are called mosulin are made there, & they 

are very good masters of that art.^ And also I tell you that the very great merchants 

FB who are called mosulin, who bring the very large quantities of all dear spices & 

VA of pearls & of cloth of gold and of silk, are /or the more part from this kingdom^ above. 

FB FB And again m the mountains of this realm live a manner of people who arc called 

VA Curd, who are Nestorian & Jacobite Christians, the one part of that people; and in 



^ FA.FB.V express it the other way, that all cloths made there are called muslin, Z omits 
the passage. 
^ L: regione 



100 



nil': i)i:scRii>iioN ov iiii- worlds tmh taking ov baudac .24- 

another part arc Saracens who [ iifc) worship Mahoinci . And they arc vahant' dc good va i 
archers, but-very evil people, aiul voh ihe nierchanis gladly when they can find them with rn i 
merchandise ui the places where they dwell . • With this province is a certain -other -province named /. k /. 
Mus and Meridni in which cotton grows in the greatest quantity & a great manufacture of 
buckram is done in it and many other manufactures.- And there are many merchants and artisans v 
and they are subject to the king of the Tartars. Now let us leave the realm of Mosul, 
anJ we will speak to \-ou ot the great ciiy of Baudac. 

HI'Rl- nn ri2LLS how thf grfat cirv of baudac was iaken. In those lt -zy 

parts is a great city which is called Baudac, which in Holy Scripture is called Susis.^ 
BauJac is a \er\' great cit\-, and different races of people dwell there, namely i 
Jews, pagans, & the greater part Saracens, where the chief prelate who was called calif of all i. r 
the Saracens of the world is, just as at Ronie/or the most part is the see of the Pope & of va Mi 
all the Christians ot the world. And there are some Christians, & bad ones, & also some, i 
but few, who are good Catholics. And it is said to be so great that a man can go round 
the circuit in three days. And through the midst of the city passes a very great 
river which runs into the sea in the direction of midday, and by that river one can well \'b fb 
go to the sea of Indie, and there go and come continually-a very great number of the l fb 
merchants with their much merchandise. And you may know that the said river is va vb 
quite eighteen^ davs journeys long from Baudac to the sea of Indie, & more & v 
less according to the current of the water and the direction* of the ships, and the merchants 
who wish to go into Indie go bv that river as far as to a city which is named Chisci, 
which is on the sea of Indie, where the said river enters the sea, and from there they enter l 
into the sea of Indie. And I tell you also that Baudac^ ends at that city which is called lt 
Chisci.- And again on that said river between Baudac and Chisci up the stream is a v v vb 
great city which has the name ot Basora. And all round the city 6^ its suburbs in lt 
the great woods of palm trees grow a vast supply of the best dates which may be found va lt lt z 
in the world. And in the said city of Baudac are made many kinds of cloth of gold \- v 
and of silk. They are nascici & nac & cremosi and many other cloths,- damasks & y^ K 
velvets, of various kinds worked very richly with fshcs, animals, and with birds, v 
& with other patterns ;- which are carried to Indie .- And all the pearls which are carried into va v z 
Christendom from Indie are for the most part bored in Baudac. And -again -in Baudac they v z 

^ prodomes VA: prodomini X: prohi V: volenti (sic) L: fortes R: faff/M/ suggesting that 
he found or guessed improbi. TA: male giente VB: homeni da strada pessimj et crudel rohatorj 
^ 1: fuit antiquitus dicta niniueh 
3 R: 17 
* zereza 
^ Possibly a mistake for "the said river", as L. 

lOI 



2 5- THE GREAT WEALTH OF THE CALIF OF BAUDAC ?^MARCO POLO 

L z V z Study -very much in all knowledge & especially -in the law of Mahomet^ 'and -in necromancy, 

V physics, astronomy, geomancy, and physiognomy,- and philosophy. And it is the most noble 
z city and the greatest that is to be found in all those parts. Moreover you may 

V know truly that with the calil oi Baudac who dwells here is found the greatest treasure 
R of gold & of silver & ot precious stones that ever was known to have been [iic] found 

LT VB with any man through all Levant ; and through it in the end he was made to die of hunger. 

LT And I shall tell you how/ It was true that about the 1255* year that Christ was 

FB born the great lord of the Tartars oj the sunrising who had Ulau for name, who 

VA was brother to the great lord who now reigns, he who is named Cublai,^ assembles 

VB TA VB a very great host of horse & of foot and comes upon the calf in -the city of Baudac and 

P V besieged it and-fnally took it by force. And this was a very great thing, because 

VB there were in Baudac more than a hundred thousand horsemen to guard it without 

VB FB VA the vast number of men on foot. And when he had taken it'& when the king came into 

TA the city, he finds with the calif this multitude of treasure & he fnds a tower all full of 

TA P VA gold & of silver & of precious stones and of other treasure of immense value ;■& the 

VA P treasure was so great that so much was never seen at one time in one place ; hut 

because he was a miser nor knew how to provide himself with a sufjicient army, nor gave 

gifts to the horsemen which he had, so he could not escape disaster. When he sees this great 

FB FB VB treasure assembled he has very great wonder at it, hardly believing that there is so much 

LT FB gold in the world, and sends lor the calif who had been taken and makes him come 

V FB before him immediately . Then he says to him, Calif, says he, now tell me why hadst 

VA thou amassed so much treasure ? I have great wonder at thy avarice, that thou wast 

so miserly as to refuse to spend or give of this treasure to the horsemen and to thy people, 

FB What oughtest thou to do with it ? Now didst thou not know that I was thy 

VA V z mortal enemy and was surely coming upon thee with so great an host to take thee 

V and thy land, to disinherit thee ? And when thou knewest it why didst thou not 
V V take thy treasure & have it given to horsemen of the land and to other mercenaries 

FB z TA VB 67- to men at arms to defend & keep thee & thy people and thy city ? The calif astonished 

& terrifed answers him nothing because he knew not what he ought to say. And 

FB VB then the lord Ulau said to him, Calif, thou dost not speak, & since I see that thou 

VB lovest the treasure so much & hoped that it would be the support of thy life, so I wish 



^ il dirai LT: et quomodo fuerit dico nobis so read ie dirai 

2 P: m.cc.l. R:i25o VB: m cc Ix (?) Others: 1255 The actual date was 1258. 

' V: fradelo de mengon el qual regnaua in quel tempo This correct alternative raises a curious 

question of authorship. That Mongka was reigning at the time was known to the author of 

the text preserved in R. See pp. 43,92, 103, 167, &c.. 



102 



Ti ir; Di-sciuPTioN or n \v. worlds tmf- df.atii or twv. caijf .25 

to show thee how well thou hast ywi/t,'<'</, 67' this treasure so much loved by thee I will give VB 

it lUcc to cai, as heiii^ thy very own. TluMi In- in.ulc them take (he c.ilil .iiid made FB 

tliciii put him m ilu- icnvor in the niiJst iA ilio triMsiiic and commands iliai notlimg v 

may be ti;ivcn liim to eat [n<^) nor 10 drmk. And nntnediately the commandment oj the lord v 

was done ; the calij was put in the tower as the lord had ordered. And thcMi he says to him, 

Calii, now cat of the treasure as much as thou wilt, since it pleases thee so much, 

tor thou must certainly know that never shalt thou cat or drink an\thing else than this VA va 

treasure. Alter this he is lek there in the tower where seeing too late his mistake & vb 

being unable to have any sustenance from his treasure he died oJ hunger -like a slave at the LT FB 

end ol lour days. And so it would he better worth for the calif to have given 

& divided his treasure to the men oJ arms to defend him isf his land and his people FB FB FB 

that his land should be safe with his treasure, than that he should be taken, as he was, & v FR 

dead with all his people & disinherited. I judge that our Lord Jesus Christ wished to VB 

avenge his Christians who were so much hated by the calif. And from this calit onward 

there was no more calif oJ Saracens • neither in Raudac nor elsewhere, -but it is under va fb lt 

the rule of the Tartars. And let this be enough about Baudac. Now let us leave Baudac[&''\ TA 

we will tell you ot Tauris. And yet it is true that I could well have told you 

more of the inhabitants, oi their doings and of their customs, but because it would z 

be too long a matter I have shortened you my tale. And for this reason we shall 

tell you other great and wonderful things so as you will be able to hear.^ 



* It seems to be clear that the summary account of the capture of Baghdad gi\'en by F and 
the majority of texts, saying that the city was taken "by force", misrepresents the full account 
which is preserved by R and, in part, by Z; which may be translated as follows: — 
Z: "Ulau took the city and the calif his brother by a feigned plan and by fraud." 
R: "At the time that the lords of the Tartars began to rule there were four brothers, the 
elder of whom named Mongu reigned in the throne. And having at that time subjected 
Catai to their rule by their great power, and other countries round about, not content with 
these but wishing to have much more, they proposed to subdue all the whole world. And 
therefore they divided it into four parts; that is that one should go to the direction of the 
East, another to the side of the South, to obtain lands, and the others to the other two 
regions. The region of the South fell by lot to one of them named Ulau. He first of all, 
having collected together an immense army, began vigorously to conquer those provinces 
and among them came to the city of Baudac in 1250. And knowing its great strength, through 
the great multitude of people which was there, he thought to take it by artifice rather than 
by force. And since he had from a hundred thousand horse without the footsoldiers, in order 
that they might appear to be few to the calif and to his people who were inside the city, 
before he came near to the city he secretly placed part of his people on one side of it and 
another part among the woods on the other side, and with the rest he went galloping up to 

the 

103 



2 6. THE TRADE AND THE PEOPLE OF TAURIS ^MARCO POLO 

p X T'ERE HE TELLS OF THE NOBLE CITY OF TAURIS.^ bi thosc regions Tauris is 

LT G VA I I a great city & very noble which is between Armenie and Persie in a great 

G FB JL -1- province near by Baudac which is called Yrac^ and so it has had such a 

z VB V name; in which also there are many other cities and many villages under it, -very rich, but 

TA TA because Tauris is the most beautiful & the best & the most noble city of all that 

z province I will tell you about its affairs at present. It is true that the men of Tauris 

G TA are subject to the Tartars and live by trade and by crafts, that is for the most by 

FB working cloth, for there are made there many cloths with gold and of silk & of many 

L sorts very beautiful & of great value. And the city is set in so good a place that the 

FB L other merchandise comes there conveniently from Indie and from Baudac and from 

FB Mosul [i2(i] and from Curmos and from many other places, and therefore many 

FB VA TA Latin merchants & specially Genoese come there often to buy of t\\osc foreign goods 

TA FB L t\\^t coiwt x.\\t\:t ivoiw stt2ingt distant Xdinds & to do their business . And especially ■^vtc\o\i-s 

z FB stones and pearls which are found there in very great abundance are also bought 

G there. It is a city of great trade so that the travelling merchants make great profit 

TA there. They are people of small doings'' and are much mixed with many sorts of 

VB people. For many Christians of every sect may be there; there are Armenians, Nestorians, 

and Jacobites, and Giorgiens, and Persians, and there are also men who worship 

TA Mahomet, and these are the common people of the city' who are called Taurisin, 

R and they have di_fferent speech among them. The town is all enclosed round about with 

VA FB FB many beautiful gardens & delectable, full of many very fair fruits and good of many 



the gates. The calif, seeing that that force consisted of few men and not making any count 
of it, thought to destroy it altogether trusting on the sign of Mahomet alone, and without 
delay issued from the city with his people. When this was seen by Ulau he pretended to 
fly and drew him beyond the trees and the barriers of the woods where the men were hidden, 
and here having hemmed them round in the middle he broke {ruppe) them, and the calif was 
taken together with the city." 

^ It IS hard to be sure of the order of the next five chapters. In the original the headings 
follow the order of FG, Z, & V, placing Tauris after the miracle of the mountain, while the 
text follows the order of the TA & VA MSS.. It seems to be probable that the difference 
of order is due to deliberate editing ratlier than to accident, as the end of chapter 25 is trans- 
ferred in FG to the end of chapter 29 so that it still forms the introduction to Tauris. Here 
the order of the original is followed without change, the rubric of chapter 30 being transferred 
to 26, and the rubrics of 26, 27, 28, 29 being moved down to 27, 28, 29, 30 respectively. 
The direct connexion of ch. 25 with 27 in VB supports the order of FG,Z,V. 
^ de poch ajer TA: piccholo But FB: pome R: poueri LT: modice honitatis 
^ TA: cioe il popolo minuto dela terra VA: lo puouolo dclla tera VB: segiwrizata soto la leze 
de machomento 



104 



THH DliSCRllMION 0\ I Ml': WOI<LI)**5 IHIi MONKS 0\ lURSAMO .26- 

kinJs,-anJ Wiitn nioHiih. Ilu S.u-.iccns of the city ol I'aiiris arc very cruel people, evil (i v vh 

and ciislowil, iiMi/ ./o inuch h.niii to the C^hriitiau'i atiil to all the other people who are not of v 
their law.- 

Ol Tin: Mox.isriR) or Tin: ni.Essih h.ihs.imo 11 men is 11 11 111 \ tin iioudih', 01 i< 

TAVRIS. (\ip. to. 

In the horJers of I \iuris is tt very religious monastery with the title oj the Blessed Saint 
Barsaino.^ f'here is an ahhot with many monks who wear the habit like that oJ the Carmelites. 
And that they may not he ^iven up to idleness these are always making woollen girdles, which 
they then place on the altar of the Blessed Barsamo when they celebrate the Offices. And when 
they 00 though the provinces begging (^like the Brothers oJ the Holy Spirit) they give of them 
to their friends and to the noblemen, because they are good to take away the pain which any one 
may have in the body, and for this reason everyone devoutly wishes to have them. 

OF THE GREAT WONDER OF IHE MOUNTAIN WHICH HAPPENED IN BAUDAC. • ZJ ' 

liEFORi-: IT ii\is r.-tKE\ BY TiiK CHEAT CAN. And \vc wish to tell you also a V 
^rcat wonder which happened between Baudac and Mosul. ^ It was 
true that in about the 1275^ year horn the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ there /. v 
was a very evil and cruel calif of Saracens in Baudac who, wishing very great evil to the v va 
Christians— -rt/j^y this is natural to all Saracens, to hate Christians — , both day and night lt 
thoue;ht of nothing else but-of a means and plan how he could make all the Christians R z 
of his land turn Saracen again or, if not, that [12^] he might rob them and spoil them vb 
of their things and make them all be put to death. And about this he consulted 
every day with his monks and with one of his casses* of his law, for all together fb fb 
wished great evil to the Christians. And it is a true thing that all the Saracens of 
the world always wish great ill to all the Christians of the world. Now it happened fb 
one day -at last that the calit who was very learned, searching certain writings, that is the v z v 
Gospels of holy Scripture, with the wise men who were round him found a point 
of Scripture in a Gospel such as I shall tell you. They find that in a Gospel* it says z 

^ Monasterio intitolato il beato Barsamo santo, molto deuoto. B. finds great difficulty in 
the last two words (Marco Polo, p. 430; cf. B. p. 23). The present version follows Marsden. 

2 VA: dentro haldacho e mosul and In le eontrade de turis e baldacho P: inter thaurisium et 
baldachum cf. p. 74 note 3 above. 

3 Z.V.R: 1225. FG,TA,LT.VB: 1275. VA,P omit. 

* Casses may be kasr}, the Arabic for "priest". See PN. FB: vng des prestres de sa ley. 

^ As examples of small corruptions and perhaps deliberate variations we give : TA': innuno 
vasello tscritto (twice) V: in vuo van^lio . . . che di^a dio chon la suo bocha VA: '"One day 
those wise men said to the calif, Sir, we have found that which you go seeking. The Gospel 
of the Christians says whoever shall have so much faith as the size of a seed of mustard, that 

if 

105 



-2-]' THE WONDER OF THE MOUNTAIN IN BAUDAC f^MARCO POLO 

FB that if there were a Christian who had as much faith as a mustard seed, an^ should 

tell a mountain to lift itself up it would he lifted up. And know that this is the truth that by 

z his prayer which he should make to his Lord God the Majesty on high he would 

z make two mountains join together, rushing or being moved from the place. And when 

z R z they have found this they have great joy because, not believing that this could • ever - by 

any means be fulfilled, they said that this was a thing to make the Christians turn 

V Saracens or to put them all together to death. For it is impossible that there will be 
any among them to make the mountains move from one place to the other, and when they cannot 
do this we shall have the excuse needed to do what we wish. And so this counsel pleased all the 

V Saracens. And then immediately the calif sends for all the Nestorian and Jacobite 

V LT Christians who were in the said city and in the other districts of his land beyond the river, 
LT V who were a very great number, and struck fear into them. And when they were gathered 

V V together in a few days and were come before the said calif" saying, What do you command 

VB us ? Then he put this before them : You are here a very great quantity and multitude of 

Christians of all nations. Arc you all called Christians ? To whom they all answered that 

they were and were called Christians. The calif shows them that Gospel and makes one 

FB LT read it to them, the point therein which I have told you.- And the Gospel was the Gospel 

z of Saint[Matthew'\. And when they have read it he asks. If the truth was so as the 

V text of your Gospel declares,- it is a wonderful thing. The Christians said that indeed 

V it was truth, and that a much greater thing than this could be done. Then you say, says 
the calif, that a Christian who should have as much faith [i2f] as a seed of mustard, 

LT that by his prayer which he should make to his Lord God he would make two 

FB mountains join together. Truly we say this, say the Christians. Then, since you say 

that it is true, I will put a choice before you, says the calif. Since you are so many 

V LT Christians gathered here, it needs indeed be that you have among you^ all one who 
FB VB LT has such a little faith as to be able to fulfil the Gospel of Christ. Wherefore if it is so, 

I wish, and thus I say to you. Either you will make that mountain which you see 

z z FB Standing there remove by the power of your God as you say ; and he shows them with the 

fnger a mountain which was near; or I shall make you all die by an evil death. For 

YR tf I shall see the proof of this faith in you I shall judge you all faithful Christians as you say; 



if he shall say to the mountain that it be taken away from its place and go elsewhere, that it 
will depart. Do you have all the Christians gathered together and tell them to make one of 
these our mountains move. ..." 

^ hien cri doit auoir entre uos FB: bien doit auoir entre vous B. silently and perhaps rightly 
corrects cri to en ; but the fact that it is omitted by FG may show that it is an early and 
puzzling mistake. 



io6 



THE DHSCRIPIION 0\ I I II, WORLDS I I II- C.liRISllANS MiAR .27- 

htt \{ vDii vlo iK)i make 11 iiidvo, lUcn yuii will sjiow ih.ii you are to ht thought wicked, h 

n-prchiilf, and liavf lu) f.uili .u .ill. I sli.ill in.ikc them kill you all as Jahe Christians VB 

or if you wish to escapejroni death yt)U will coim- l>ack 10 our ^^ood law which Mahoiuct f ri 

inir pronhoi gives us and will have* laiih aiul he saved hy the very act;-Jor he who has /. 1.1 

not Jaith ought to he killed; -for I am determined that there may not he more than one law and v 

one Jaith m my land. And 10 do (his I give you respite irom now for ten days. 

And \[ h\' that time you shall nor have done it I shall make you all he put to 

death, or you will turn Saracens.- And if you shall do this, that is to remove the mountain, i-n v 

/ shall believe in your Jaith, and likewise all my people. Then the calif speaks no more 

and immediately hids farewell to the Christians, that they should go and think upon v FB 

what was needful to accomplish this act. 

HOW WUi CHRISTIANS HAVE GREAT FEAR OF lUAT WHICH THJ-. CALIF HAD • 28 • 

SAID 10 THi-M. And when rhc Christians have heard that which the 
caiit had said to them, knowing his cruel nature, that he did this only to spoil vb 
them of their goods, they went away sad, and they have very great anger and great fear of 
death and knew not what to do. But none the less they had good hope in their Creator' i.t 
our Lord Master Jesus Christ that he will help them from this great peril. And when va v 
they were departed from the calif they all met together and they were in diligent counsel, z 
all the wise Christians who were the leaders there ; for there were [i2.d] bishops fb 
and archbishops and priests enough of holy life come there.- And they can take nor see v fb fb 
no other way nor counsel but to turn to him from whom all good things come and to pray v fb 
10 their Lord the most high God that for his pity and mercy he may guide and stretch z z 
out his hand to them in this action, and that he deliver them from so cruel judgement ta 
and death as the calif would have done to them if they should not do that which 
he asks of them. What shall I tell you of it ? You may know quite truly that the 
Christians ^^'ere prostrate on the earth with very great weeping all day and all night in vb 
prayer, and gave attention to nothing else hut to pray devoutly the Saviour[Godjof the R 
heaven^ and of the earth that for his pity and mercy, and for the increase of his Faith- lt 
that he might be known as the eternal God, he may plan to save them from this so great vb lt 
shame and from this so great peril in which they are, and that he would not regard their v 
sins. The Christians were in this great supplication and in this prayer with most vb 
hitter tears and fasting eight days and eight nights, men and women, small and great. 
Now it happened that at the end of the eight days,- in that night,^ while they were in fb lt 
this supplication that the holy angel of heaven came again in a vision as messenger fb fb V 

^ Z: redemptorem R: Redentore 

' sauaor deo eel probably, as B. suggests, for sauaor deu dou eel VA: dio chreator del z^elo 

• TA': la nona Notte TA^: lottaua notte 

107 



2 8- A BISHOP DREAMS OF THE HOLY SHOEMAKER ?^MARCO POLO 

FB V of God to a bishop who was a very good Christian -servant of God, and a man of very 

V holy lite. He says, O Bishop, / come from God who has heard thy prayers and of all the 
TA people ; and that you may not be killed by this wicked people now go thou in the morning 

FB VA to such a Christian shoemaker who has one eye ; and he told him the name and the 

z VB house of the shoemaker,- whose name is not told\herc Ibecause it is not known;- a man acceptable 

to God, and he by his faith shall fulfil the Gospel and save you from the plots of the calif. 

FB V And to him you shall say that he make prayer to God -when the time set you shall 

FB come, that the mountain be moved, and that of his goodness God would fulfil the prayer 

VA which they had made, for the holiness of the shoemaker ; and the mountain will be moved 

V V at once ; and this said he disappeared. And of this shoemaker of whom the angel had 

spoken to the bishop I shall tell you what man he was and his life. Now \ou mav 

VB know indeed that he was a very honourable and very pure man and of singular faith ;- 

FB V FB VB and he fasted much and did no sin ; and he went every day to the Church and holy 

FB places, and he continued always at prayer and to hear the Mass. He s^ave each day of 

FB the bread which he had, of his silver, of his gain, for God. He [13^] was a man of 

so good a sort and ot so holy life that one would not find a better neither near 

nor far. Moreover I shall tell you a thing that he did that one would say of him 

FB that he is a good man of good faith and of good life. The reason why he had only 

VA one eye was this.- He had himself pulled out the right eye for the reason which I shall tell 

VA VA LT you. It was truc that he had many times heard said and read and preached -the word 

LT FB which the Lord had said, in Holy Gospel of Blessed[Mark]-in the Church, that it said 

FB FB that it the eye without^ trips thee up to sin in the conscience within that thou must pull 

FB z it from the head immediately -and cast it from thee or make it blind so that it make 

VB thee not to sin, because it is better to go to Paradise with one eye than with two to hcll.- 

VA This shoemaker could not read nor write and was of a good simplicity and believed that that 

FB wor^ was understood as it sounded, nor could he think of other meaning in that word.- And 

z V he did so.- And what F- While this shoemaker was in his shop before this thing was, namely 

V that the calif had made that command, it happened that one day while the said man was 
VA standing in his shop, a fair young woman came to the house ot this shoemaker to buv 

VB V rt pair of shoes. The master seeing her so fair wished to sec her leg and foot to see 

what shoes would be good for her. And then he made her show the leg and the 

VA VB foot, and the woman took off her shoes and- lifting her skirt shows them immediately 

FB to take the measure. And no mistake they were so beautiful, the leg and the foot, 

that you ask for nothing more beautiful. And when the master, who was so good 

as I have told you, has seen the leg and the foot of this woman he was all tempted 

* FB: lueil dehors VA: drito 

108 



Ti ir- i:>i:scRiPTioN or ti in worlo*^ ti in si ioi-maki-r is found .2H 

Uy iluin /// his conscience to sm, Ucc.uiso his eyes saw tlu'in uilimgly. Hut imuieduitely TB VB 

lonitn^ hack to his usuiil virtue In- lets tlic wiMiian go out of the shop and woiiKl not sell VB 

luM the siioos. Aiul uluMi ilir woman was gone away ilu- master recalUn^ the Ciospel vb 
lo memory, and grieved at the ojjence Jrom the woman's le^, sani lo himscli. I la ! disJo\'aI 

aiul iroachcious man of noui^ht, ol wliai Jost thou think ? Certainly thou hast done V V 

^reut \vroni>. And so 1 will certainly lake great vengeance on my treacherous eyes whicli v 

make me ollend. And so he lakes all ai once a little punch' with which he sewed- in iv. vb 
the shop and makes it very sharp and strikes himself in tin middle [iih\ ol one of 

the e\es, the rioht eye, in such a way ihat he burst it in his head so that he saw no / 

more with that eye. In such way as you have heard does this shoemaker destroy him Lr 

one oi ihe eyes of the head, which thing clearly proves the greatness of his constant R 

faith ; and truly ^ou may see that he was indeed a most holv man and just and good. Fu FB 
Now then we will come back to our matter. 

HOW IHE VISION CAME TO THE BISHOP THAT THE PRAYER OF THE SHOE- • Z(^ • 

MAKER WOULD make|the MOUNTAIN move]. Now you may know that 
when this vision was come many times to that bishop, as you have fb 
heard me relate above, that he must send lor thai shoemaker, and that he by his 
prayer will make the mountain move by the power of God, this bishop told it one z fb 
day -when the morning was come amonir the other Christians, when he had gathered them v ta 
all together,' and all the archbishops, all the tact oi the vision that was come to him v 
so many times. So they all prostrate on the earth with very great tears of joy returned high vb 
thanks to our Lord God that he had deigned to hear the tears and prayers of the Christian 
people. And the Christians all agreed to make that shoemaker come before them,^ 
and then they immediately took pains • and many went and found the said shoemaker VB v 
[fl/j^Jmade him come Inforc these bishops. And when he was come the shoemaker v VB 
presented himself to them with the greatest reverence^ by whom he was received with very great 
weeping for joy ; and they told him the vision of the angel, and thev said that they wish 
that he should pray the Lord God that he u'ould make the mountain move and vb 
save his faithful Christians from the present danger,' and that God had promised them to fb 
accomplish it by his prayer. And when this shoemaker hears what the bishop and the 
other Christians said to him he says with many excuses 'that he was a sinner and -that fb va z 
he was not worthy for this, that he is not so good a man as they said, that Lord fb 

^ macque FA: lesne FB: lesueQ) TA: lesina Z: cuspide LT: subula V: mazeta et fexe 
vna stecho VB: steche R: stecche Pauthier reads I'alcsnc 

2 tuit lotrent fuissent uenir The version follows FB: 5/ sacorderent tous ensemble de fair venir 
B. emends to the same effect, tuit loerent qu' il feissent , "all advised chat they make ..." 

109 



2 9- THE CHRISTIANS ARE ASSEMBLED TOGETHER ^MARCO POLO 

God* should do so great a deed for his prayer. The Christians pray him very sweetly 
that he should make that prayer to God. And what shall I tell you about it ? They 
VA pray him so much that he says that though he were a sinner he will do their will and 



will make that prayer to his Creator.^ 



30* X "FOW THE PRAYER OF THE CHRISTIAN MADE THE MOUNTAIN MOVE. And 

TA FB I I when the tenth day of the set time was come [13^:] the Christians all 

V X. JL get themselves up early in the morning both men and all the women, 

VB small and great. They go to their Church and sing the holy Mass, all most humbly 

praying our Lord God to save his Christian people from the hands of the cruel calif, and when 

z V rhey hdivt first sung and finished all the service of our Lord God they took the Body 

of Christ and with very great devotion they all set themselves on the road together to 

FB VA VB go in a great procession into the plain which was at the foot of that mountain w/j/V/; 

FB z had been appointed them, and carry the precious cross of the most high Creator Saviour 

FB before them with great crying and with great weeping. And when all the Christians 

who were quite a hundred thousand' were come into this plain, they set themselves 

VB before the Cross of our Lord. The ca.\i( with the other Saracen cadi was there with so 

VB great a multitude of Saracens that it was a marvel, waiting to see what must come 

TA R of this thing ; who were come armed to kill the Christians and send them to perdition- 

VB FB FB with good reason,-or to turn them to their faith, for they did not believe at all that God 

VB would do this kindness to the Christians and that the mountain so great and high would 

VB be moved. He commanded the bishop that according to his Gospel, since they were most 

faithful Christians as they had testifed that they were, he must command the mountain that 

it must be moved. And if this thing followed he would judge them all most faithful and good 

Christians ; but if the mountain did not move he would count them all most unfaithful, and 

as not faithful Christians he would make them die, except those who should be willing to be 

Saracens and to confess Mahomet to be the highest prophet of God and his law to be ttiost faithful 



^ he damenedeu feisse Sire or segnor, used in the immediate context, are the commoner forms. 
cf B.N. MS. fr. 1463 (another work by Rustichello; see pi. 45) fol. la: nostre Sire damedeu 

2 VB (more elaborately): "he answered, Knowing that I am a sinner, most beloved father, 
I believe that I am not the man revealed to your paternity by the angel, because there is not 
in me that sincere faith nor tliat fervent obedience toward our Lord God that there ought to 
be, but I call myself a sorrowful and miserable sinner. Wherefore have good confiidence(?) 
that among so many fathers of very good life and manners I am sure not to be he who is 
chosen with so great faith. To whom the most holy bishop declaring that it was he alone 
who was shown by the angel, he was begged by all with piteous and most sweet tears, and 
presented himself obedient to the commands of the bishop." 

^ FB.TA: "more than 100000" VB: oltra miara ^nquanta 



1 10 



II ii: nnscRiPTiON or n in worlds ti \\i mountain is movhd .30- 

above all others. And when the iuihop .ukI .ill ilir CiluiMi.ins small .iikI grcu heard the vh 

connnanJtnetit of the calif they knelt down with the bead on earth and Iv.xd great I car and 

^rcai drcaJ, l>ui \ ci thoy \\;\d good hope in ilu-ir (jcator Jesus Christ, -and with vn V 

i^reat weeping made prayer to Cod. Aiul vvlu'ii all ilu'sc pcopK-, C^hnsiians and Saracens, 

were in iliai plain, ilien the shoemaker exhorted them to stand tnost firm in the Christian vb 

Jaith, because if they all died by the hand of the calif with the [greatest and undoubted faith 

they must be sure as martyrs from the camp to ^o to the holy Paradise; to whom all with the 

greatest constancy if mind promised that if our Lord Cod were pleased with their death they 

were all ready to receive it for his love. The shoemaker -received the bishop's blessing and kneels i-B 

bare-kneed-on the ground -with i>reat dcvoutness before the true Cross & holds his hands vi. fb v fb 

towards the sky and prays his Creator Saviour Master Jesus Christ, who was lord of heaven /. va 

and earth, much with most humble prayer 'to look upon the earth to the praise and excellence of /. r 

his name and for strengthening and confirming of the Christian faith, that he would give help 

to his people about the commandment laid upon them, and would show his strength and power 

to the detractors of his faith, and that that mountain may be obliged to move and rhat 

so many Christians as arc there should not die an evil death ; and made this prayer, fb 

Fair Lord Cod almighty, -Creator of all things visible and invisible, -who hast made man in vb V 

thy image and likeness, -who hast thought fit to send thy -only -Son to receive human flesh and vb V VB 

death 'On the tree of the Cross -for the redemption of us miserable sinners -who were punished V vb v 

for the sin of our frst parent ;- whose name we have always confessed and do confess, and if vb 

it please thee we are ready not denying thy name to receive whatever torment thou, Lord Cod, 

shah please; but -I pray thce,-0 my Lord,- that by thy holy kindness thou wilt do this FB v FB 

favour to this thy people so that they may not die and that thy faith be not cast down nor 

despised, -but that thy supreme power by us thy Christians confessed may be known by all those VB 

most unbelieving men;- not at all that I am worthy to pray or request of thee, but thy power FB 

15 SO great and thy -immense kindness and -mercy that thou wilt hear this my prayer from me vb fb 

who am thy servant full of sin, -asking thee, eternal Father, special grace that by the power vb 

of thy name this mountain may be forced to move -and go to the other side, so that this unjust v 

people may not destroy thy faith. And when he had made his prayer with great devotion va 

and faith, -he said-with a loud voice, -Ln the name of the Father and of the Son and of the z R z 

holy Chost I command thee the mountain to depart thence to that place there by the strength 

of the holy Chost ; and it delays not a moment before the mountain begins by virtue va 

of Jesus Christ -visibly to crumble _/rom above and to move one mile toward the plain- v z z 

where the calif had ordered it, -with wonderful and terrible trembling of the earth, which fb vb 



* de castro This presumably has some technical meaning which I have nor been able to 
discover. 



Ill 



30. THE FAITH OF CHRISTIANS AND OF SARACENS ^MARCO POLO 

terrified the calif and all the Saracens. Stop, by God, Jroin your prayer, all the Saracens 

began to cry out ; for the tiiountain went and moved as long as the prayer of the shoemaker 

FB continued, when prayer ceased the mountain stopped. And when the calif and all the 

s FB Saracens see this so great and so manifest miracle they remained all dismayed and have great 

VL wonder at it [13^] saying, Great is the God of the Christians; and nianv turn Christian 

FB because of it. And the calif himself in particular had himself bapti^d in the name of the 

Father and of the Son and of the holy Ghost, Amen; and became Christian, but it was secretly 

V LT for fear of the Saracens of the province. But when he died there was found a golden cross 
FB z hanging on his neck which he always bore hidden beneath his robes. Whereupon the Saracens 

FB do not bury him in the tombs of the other calit but put him in another place apart 

V FB from the rest -because the cross was found upon him.^- The Christians had very great joy of this 

great most holy miracle and went home making very great festival, giving thanks to their Creator 

V for what he had done for them . -In this way all the Christians of that land are free and were always 
z well treated from then till now .' Moreover from reverence of the aforesaid cobbler and of the favour 

then obtained the Christians, Nestorians and Jacobites, always ever since solemnly celebrate the 

day of the anniversary of this miracle continuously fasting on the vigil. Note that the Christians, 

Armenians, Nestorians, and Jacobites, di_ffer in certain articles ; indeed on this account one 

repudiates and is separate from another. In that way went this wonder as you have 

FB FB heard. And do not wonder if the Saracens hate the Christians, because the accursed law 

which their prophet Mahomet has given them commands that all the evil that 

they can do to all people who are not of their law and all that they can take from 

z them, they have no sin from it. And if Christians were to kill them or to bring any 

harm upon them they are counted among themselves as martyrs. And for this thing they 

V V do great evils and would do much more ill if it were not for the government. And all 

z the other Saracens of the world behave themselves in this manner. And at the end 

of their life their priest comes to them asking whether they believe Mahomet to have been the 

V z V z true messenger of God, and -if -they answer that they believe, then -they say that -they are safe;- 

V and thus they reduce the Tartars and many other people to their law because they are very free 
FB to sin and according to their law no sin has been forbidden them.- Now see how bloody a law 
VA and how evil commandments they are. -This thing which was not for silence, which happened 

in the regions of Tauris and Baudac, has been told. And now let us leave Tauris and \vc 

V will begin about Persie. And from this Tauris into Persie there are twelve days journeys. 

1 S: "because after that miracle he had lived and died as a true Christian, and after death a 
cross of {{csh(cru^de came) was found on his right shoulder." Frampton omits the last clause. 
VL: una croxe de came. 

2 The story of the mountain is summarised in P as follows : "About the translation of a 
certain mounrnin in that region, c. wiii. In those regions, rliar is between Thauris and 

Baldach, 

112 



rm-: dinckiimion ov mi worlds im- iomivs oi iiii. magi .31 

HI'KI' HI lihtilNS AUOlll nil: tiKI.AI I'KDVINCil. Ol I'IKSIh. I'lilCSll. Is .1 VCfy 
i;io.u province whuli \\ .>s uuii'iuIn \it\' iiolilr .\\k\ ol great doings, l)Ut 

now tin- I art. us h.uc JcMroycJ .uul wasted it ^or thr greater part, -it is i.i i. 
much smaller than it ciue was. In IVrsio is ilu* city which is called Sava from which 

the three magi set *)iii when they came ii> worship okt Lord Jesus Christ ^^^hen he vb va 

was hcrti iti Hcthlehem.- And in this same city too, hy what is said, -all (he three magi ta i. z L 

are buried m three sepulchres or tomhs very great and heaiitiful, and above the i, 

sepulchre ahove each sepulchre — is like a square house, and round above, very well Mi v 

uorked.'and the one is beside the other. [i4<?J And the said (^r^-f bodies are still all / vb 

whole and have hair and beards as when they were alive [-whose names are these. One vh / 

had lor name Balrasar, the second Caspar, the third Melchior. And the said Master fb 

Marc w<i5 u\ that city & .isks many people ot that city about the life of those three va 

ma^^i many times, but there was no one there who was able to sav anything about ta 

it, except that they said that they were three crowned kings friends one oj another, va vb 

who long as»o were buried there in those three tombs. But he learnt about them that va 

which 1 shall tell you, Jrotn other people of the province. And indeed it is not to be despised va 
as a thing which is false. You must know that three days marches further forward they 
find a village which is called Cala Ataperistan, which means to say in French 
Village ot the Worshippers of Fire. And this is really truth, for the men of that 

village worship the fire /or their god. And I will tell \'ou wh\' the\' worship it as va fb 



Baldach, is a mountain which was once transferred from its own place to another place by 
di\inc power. The Saracens moreover wished to show that the Gospel of Christ was vain, for 
that which the Lord says, If you have faith as a seed of mustard you shall say to this moun- 
tain, pass over hence, and it will pass over, and nothing shall be impossible to you. For they 
said to the Christians who were living in those parts under their rule. Either move that 
mountain over in the name of Christ, or all be converted to Mahomet, or you shall all perish 
with the sword. Then a certain devout man, comforting the Christians, by prayer poured 
out in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ moved that mountain to the place which was pointed 
out in the sight of a multitude of people. And on account of this many of the Saracens were 
converted to Christ." 

* 67- desoure nont tmtt bien cures Z: & a parte superiori rotunda multum artifciosa The text needs 

the least possible change to make it, as B. suggests, & desoure riont ntuit bien eures of which 

Z is an exact translation. V: quadra chomo vna chassa eda porte disopra ede molto artifcialmente 

fata FA: mult bien enquieree dessus FB: moult bien escuree dessus TA'',VA.LT.P,R omit the 

sentence. 

F is undecided between three tombs and one apparently; FA,FB speak consistently of three, 
while Z,TA\LT definitely say that the three bodies were in one tomb. P and R omit the 
whole story. 



IM 



.31- THE THREE MAGI WENT TO WORSHIP CHRIST ^MARCO POLO 

z z they say.- For the men ot that village used to say that once long ago their three kings 

L VA of that country went to worship a prophet^ who was newly born, in the lands of 

y z z the Jews, and these three carry with them three offerings, namely gold, incense, and 

myrrh, to learn if that prophet was God, or earthly king, or physician.^ For they 

z V say thus, to make distinction, if he takes the gold that he is an earthly king, and if he 

V V takes the incense he is God, and if he takes the myrrh that he is a physician. And 

FB z LT z it came to pass -indeed when those magi they were come to the place where the infant 

TA VB God was born, the yotmgest of these three kings went off all alone to the house 

FB where the child was to see the infantum, and then finds that he was like [14^] to 

LT himself, for Christ he seemed of his age and of his likeness. Then he comes forth 

z z outside much wondering at this. And afterwards goes in following him the second, 

who was of the middle age ; and just the same he seems to him, as to the other, 

z of his likeness and of his age, and again then likewise he comes forth outside all 

z astonished. Then goes there the third also, who was of greater age, and it happened 

FB just the same to him as to the other two before, and again he comes forth outside 

z in much thought. And when the three kings were all and three come together they 

z FB each say the one to the other what they had seen and found, and they make very great 

wonder at it and said that they will go all and three at once.^ Then they go off 

z z VB all together before the infant, and going in they find him -attended hy the angels, of 

the likeness and of the age that he was, for he had only thirteen days. Then they 

z worship him and offer him the gifts, namely the gold and the incense and the myrrh. 

z VA The infant took them, the offerings, all and three at once.- And about this story they 

VA tell many lies ; and among the other falsehoods they say that then next when they wished 

to leave the prophet, who was a little child of a few days, the infant gives them a closed 

VL z casket, commanding them not to open that casket. -And afterwards when they had received it 

LT the three kings set out to return to their country whence they were come, with that 

casket thus closed. 

32' "Y "TERE HE TELLS OF THREE MAGI WHO CAME TO WORSHIP GOD. And when 

LT V I' I they have now ridden some days journeys they remembered that casket & 

z LT JL jL said that they wish to see and know what the aforesaid infant had given 

V LT them. Then they take and open the casket saying. Let us see what is in this casket which 

z z LT the hoy gave us, and find placed inside only a stone. When therefore they saw the stone they 



* LT: regem Elsewhere the texts vary a good deal between 'kings' and 'magi'. 

* TA: etternale LT: homo mortalis FA: mire FB: myrre, mire Z: medicus The reading of 
TA may be connected with that of VB: ho re eterno ho medicho 

^ LT: Et etmdo Juerunt de hiis ualde mirati et promiserunt sibi ad inuicem credentes que dicta sunt 



114 



Till'. ni-scKiPiioN ov nil: worlds riii: worship (^i- i-iri: .32 

make \in':n wondering lo ilu-msi-lvcs wii.u Li4<') n can be thitt the inj\utt had gtvfn IB 

th(m,-nol knowing the meaning oj the stonr. But it is this. VUc iiilant C/;rijr had givi-n / TA 

it (liom U) nuaii iliat tliey slioukl In- linn as rocks ni ilu- laith received Jrom hint i r 

wlucli [lu-\- h.ul l>fv;iin. I or \\7,y/; they presented their ojjenn^i to the infant, then he took IK 

them all three, and wlion ilu' [lino kin^s saw ihat tlio mfaiit had i.ikcii (he gilts all 

and three, they said that he was at ciuf-tnir (unl and true earthly king and true / in m m 

physician^ as is declared ahove. And because the iniani knows these three kings have / 

that laith he ^ives them the said stone which was hard and strong as a sign that they / z 

should be in the same way firm and constant to that which they believe, /or he well '/ FB 

knew their thoughts. -But the three kin^^s who did not know that the said stone hore the 7. FB 

meaning,- and thought themselves mocked, look that stone and threw it into a very deep LT v 

well, for thev did not know why the stone was given to them. Nothing oJ all this va 

15 true, hut there is this belief in that people who have no true faith. And again they say that va 

as soon as the stone was thrown into the well, a burning y/arrif of fire came down va 

from heaven and comes quite straight to the well into which they had thrown 

the stone. And suddenly -by divine miracle -an immense flame began to rise through the z v z 

mouth of the well. And when the three kings saw this great marvel they become all 

dismayed at it and much repented that they had thrown the stone so foolishly, for FB L 

they see well then that it was ot great meaning and good. And they took of that fb ta 

hre immediately and carried it with them into their country and put it in a very l 

beautiful and rich Church of theirs as a thing come down from heaven. And again all vb va 

this is false, but this is the truth that they make it burn and shine there always and those z z 

who dwell there worship it, the said f re ' which was from that well, as they say, as God. And z va 

all their sacrifices and holocausts which they make they roast with that fire. And 

if k should happen anv time that the fire is extinguished in any of these cities they vb 

go to the other cities round about who hold that same faith and worship the fire FB 

also and make them present them with some of their fire which is^ burning in the va 

lamps in their Church, and go back and carry it into their Churches to light their fire fb 

to make their sacrifice. Nor [14^] ever would they take it if it were not of that fire vb 

which I have told you. And many times they go eight and ten days journeys* to VL 

find that fire. And if they do not fnd it they go sometimes as far as to the -original f re VL lt 

which is in that well where they threw that stone which that boy who was born in Bethlehem 

had oiven them, which is never quenched. For these reasons which I have told you do those 

of that country worship fire, and I tell you that they are many people in those va 

errors. And all this thing aforesaid do those of thc^ village relate and tell to Master z 



^ ait B. reads art, "burns". ^ L: 4. dietis ^ done 

"5 



H 



.32. THE KINGDOMS AND FINE ASSES OF PERSIE ^MARCO POLO 

z Marc Pol* in order, and all like this is truth. And again I tell you that one of the 
z V said three magi was from a city called Sava and the second from Ava & the third 
L from Caxan,^ the village of which I have said to you that they worship the fire 
FB s with all that country.- Of all this you shall take that which agrees with the holy Gospel, 
in saying the magi went to worship our Lord and did o_ffer him those gifts. All the rest are 
errors of the faithless vulgar and do not reach the truth, hut add lies to lies, as the vulgar 
people without learning are accustomed to do.^ Now I have told you this fact quite com- 
pletely and afterwards I shall tell you of many other cities of Persie, of their doings 
and of their customs. 
35 • T' TTERE HE TELLS OF EIGHT KINGDOMS OF PERSIE. Now you may Icnow that 

in Persie are eight kingdoms because it is a very great province. And 

so I will tell you them all by their names. The first kingdom, that is 

L FB from the beginning of the province, has the name Casvin, the second which is towards 

R midday is called Curdistan, the third is called Lor, toward tramontaine, the fourth 

Cielstan, the fifth Ispaan, the sixth (^ira9, the seventh Soncara, the eighth 

L L Tunocam which is at the going out from or at the end of Persie. And all these king- 

VA doms are towards midday except the last written one only, this is Tunocain, which 

VB VA is near to the Lone Tree towards tramontaine -which the Christians this side of the sea call 

z the Dry Tree ; of which tree we shall tell in its place. In these kingdoms* are many very 

fine war-horses, and they take many of them into Indie to sell. And you may 

FB know that they are horses of great value, for they sell one for quite as much of that 

money as two hundred pounds tournois, and all the most are [15^] of this value, 

FA one more and the other less according to what they are like. There are also the most beautiful 

z and largest asses of the world which are well worth thirty marks of silver each, for 

FB VB they are great and good runners and doing well at the amble, which is contrary to the 

VA z nature of the asses of these our lands, •& carry their load very well.- And they are sold for 

much more than horses; and this is the reason. Because they eat little, carry great loads, and go 

^ Z: domino Nicholao paulo It is hard to say whether this may preserve the original, or is a 
mere slip. V: marcho L has neither name. 

^ "Z: & tertius de caxan without the rest of the sentence (p. xi). TA: laltro del chastello LT: 
tercius de castello FA,FB follow F. Z is supported by L (Chasan^ and V (chasa)', but B. is 
not justified in printing the text of F as le terf de Cashan. See PN. 

' I have ventured to keep this picturesque expansion by S of the text of VL: le qual cosse 
henche per queli de quele prouintie Josseno affirmate al dito marco polo esser uere in suma uerita in se 
contiene perche di tre re chiamati tre magi i quali andono adorare yhesu xpisto nato in hethlem dela 
uergene maria non piu ne meno di quelo recita lo euangelio di xpisto. 

* VA: In questo regniame de tenochain 

116 



nil-; DHSCKinioN c^i- im; \\'oi<i.i)«^ i^andms anu I'Koimk.is -33. 

over much road in otte Jay. Hm neither horses nor mules can </o this nor could they endure so P / P / 

much labour as the ahove asses endure. ■ I or when the merchants oj those parts ^ofrotn one province u / 

to another they pass throin^h i^reat deserts, to wit places sandy, hare, and dry, yielding no ^r ass 

or anything which was suitable for Jood Jor horses; and also because of the distances oJ wells 

and oJ sweet waters it would be necessary Jor them to make long marches if they wish the beasts 

to have drink; and because horses could not endure this, therefore so much the more willingly do R / 

the merchants use those asses only, since they are ■ more • swijt and trotting well and are taken with R z 

less cxpen<;e. And Jor this reason they are sold Jor more than horses. ■ Fhcy use camels also which in R 

the same way carry great weights and cause little expense; none the less they arc not so swiJt as the 

asses.- And note that in Indie the heat is so Jervent that horses can by no means be kept there nor z 

bred. And if one is born, it is born monstrous, that is dejectivc in the limbs and dejornied, of no 

value or strength. The people of these kingdoms take the horses and asses oi which I h.ive L 

told you as far as to Chisci and to Curnios, which are two cities which are on the 

shore of: the sea of Indie, and there they find the merchants who buy them and take 

them by sea into hidie and there sell them as dear as I have told you. In these kingdoms L 

aforesaid are many very cruel & bad people and murderers, for they arc killed one by z z va 

another with mutual wounds every day, and if it were not tor dread ot the government z 

oJ the great Kaan, or rather that is of the Tartar of the Siuirising, to whom they are ta va 

subject, they would continually do great harm to all the merchants as they travel, z ta 

For the lord of the Sunrising has them severely punished, and has decreed that in all the dangerous R 

passes the inhabitants be bound on the demand oJ the merchants to give carejul and good escorts 

from country to country Jor their protection and sajcty; and that Jor the payment oJ the escorts 

there be given them two or three gross i Jor each load, according to the length of the way. And 

for all the government they never fail to do them damage often as they are able, for fb 

if the merchants are not well provided with arms and with bows they kill them and 

ill-treat them badly and rob them all, -or make them observe the law oJ Mahomet their fb v 

prophet. -And sometimes when they do not keep good watch they destroy them all. -So that they FB P 

are obliged to go -well -armed and banded together in a large company, -ij they wish to escape. LT P LT 

And I tell you without mistake that they are all Saracens, Jor they all hold the law of FB 

Mahomet their prophet. In the cities are many merchants and artisans enough va 

who live by trade and by labour, for they make cloth ot gold and cloth of silk of 

all kinds in this province . -And very much cotton grows there. And they have abundance vb l va 

of wheat and of barley and of millet and of panick and of all grains, and of wine 

and ot all truits in plenty and very good grapes of Persie both large and noble. -But someone va z 

could say, Saracens do not drink wine because their law Jorbids this. To this it may be answered 

that they so gloss the text of their law, that if the wine boil on the Jire till it is partly consumed 

and is made sweet, they can well drink it without breaking the commandment or law; Jor they 

117 



.33- lASD & CHERMAN • TURQUOISE & ANDANIQUE ^MARCO POLO 

call it no more wine, because with the change of taste the name also of wine is changed. Now 

let us leave these kingdoms and we shall tell you of the great city of lasd, all its 

doings [15^] and its customs. 

.2^. z nr "f"ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF lASD. lasd is in the borders of Persic itsclt, 

VB I I a very good city and noble, worthy of particular description and ot great 

TA VA VB TA JL JL, and various trade. And many most beautiful cloths of gold and ot silk which 

LT V are called lasdi are made there, which the merchants carry them to many parts /;; 

FB V L VB the east to make their business and their great profit. And they worship and hold the 

p YB faith of Mahomet there. And when one departs from this land of lasd to go forward 

V LT he rides quite seven^ days journeys towards Chcrman all level, and except in three 

L places there is found there no house where one could lodge. There are many beautiful 

L z LT VB small woods producing dates, -and beautiful plains where one can very well ride. There 

z FB FB L is also much fuc chase ot animals^ and much fne fowling.- And likewise there arc 

FB partridges and quails enough and many other kinds of birds, and the merchants who 

V z FA ride that way through that plain- and those who delight in these things -take many of them, 

V L L from which they take great pleasure & enjoyment therein. And there are rIso found many 

z and very beautitul onagers, that is to say wild asses. And at the end of these seven 

FB VB FB days journeys of plain is tound a city which is called, and it is a great realm which is 

very beautiful which is called, Cherman. 

. 2c . VA T" "TTERE HE TELLS OF THE REALM OF CHERMAN. Cherman is a great kingdom 

z z L I I in the borders of Persie itself toward sunrising, - and the city has the same 

JL JL name. And anciently its ruler had it by inheritance; but since the 

Tartars conquered it the rule docs not go by inheritance, but the Tartar sends there 

V L L that lord whom he wishes /rom his land, and they govern.- And in the mountains of 

L this kingdom are produced the precious stones which one calls turquoise, and they 

are there in great abundance, for they find them in the mountains, for they dig 

z them out in veins of the rock. And again they have veins ot steel and of andanique 

z VB V enough /ow«^ in those mountains, -the best the world has.- And in this city they employ 

themselves with all horsemans harness very well, that is bridles [15^] and saddles 

FB and spurs and swords and bows and quivers and all their other kinds of armour 

VB VL according to their usages which all those provinces have. And the ladies of the men of 

VL FB that land do no work hut order their maidservants and damsels who work too cunningly and 

FB very nobly with the needle m beasts and ui birds and in trees and in flowers and in 



' V.VB.R: "eight" 

^ chachaion de hosces Z: uenationes siluestrium R: cacciagioni d'animali saluatichi FB: belles 
chaces FA: hiau chacier So correct, chachaion de bestes TA: begli boschi B. keeps hosces. 

118 



I HI-: i)i;sc:kii>iion ov iin: worlds a vi:ry (iri-.m deschnt .35. 

many otluT likiiicsscs on iloih 0/ _jjo/(/ an,! of silk of .»II (.«)loiirs lu-tter than other i. va 

\voiiu'ti. ■ AtuI iluy work ilic cnrnins for the hcda ol tin h.uons anJ ol the ijrr.it men ta i* 

so \Noll .uiii so lulily ihni 11 is .1 j:rroat wonJii 10 sci-. And ctivcrlcts and cusliions 

aiul |mIIi>us and ,ill ether things they work also very siibtillw And their work is carried i li vb 

thrcui^h all these parts. Aiul 111 ihc iiioiintanis of this kind are l^red ihc best falcons. 

<^ the hruvcst, and i\\c besi Ibiis. ol ihe world. And ibey are rather smaller than our ia vb \'h 

peregrine falcons And are red on the breast and under the tail between the legs. 

Moreo\er 1 tell von that ihe\' are so iininensel\- swift that there is no bird which 

can escape before them by flight . And when one leaves the city of Chcnnan he 

rides seven' days journeys through a plain always finding villages and towns and R 

fair duellings enough ; and there is too good riding through that country and one fb va fb 

finds there chase enough and fowling of great enjo\nienr, for there is game enough and 

partridges in abundance. And \\hen one has ridden seven days journeys through 

this plain then he finds a very steep great mountain and when one has clunbed that vb fb 

tnountain then one finds the very great descent,'' lor he rides good two days journeys 

always down hill and always hnding many sorts o( trees which bear fruit in great va fb 

abundance and good.- For long [lyd^j ago they had many dwellings but now they are TA L fb vb 

all dispersed and there arc none, but many -shepherd people stay there with their grazing ta v 

flocks. And from the said city of: Cherman up to this descent there is so great fb 

cold in winter that one hardly escapes by always wearing many clothes and many z 

garments and furs, ^ and even so many cannot escape death.- A certain experiment will be v z 

narrated which was made in the kingdotn of Cherman. For the people of Cherman are good, 

plain, humble, and peaceful and serve one another as much as they can. Wherefore the king of 

Cherman said to his wise men when they were before him, Sirs, I wonder much not knowing 

what may be the reason of this, nattiely, while in the kingdoms of Persie which are so near 

to our district there are such bad people and most evil who continually kill one another, yet 

among us who are as it were one with them o^ence almost never arises nor anger. And the 

wise men answered him that of the land was the reason why. Then the king sent to the parts 

of Persie, and specially to the kingdom of Ispaan named above, whose inhabitants exceeded 



* VL,R: eight V: nuoue and below oto 

- niontangiie & dcsendunt & The second & must be omitted; the first may possibly be for en, 
and in any case the phrase may be intended to mean a mountain not for ascent but for descent. 
TA^and LT support in shorter form the expansion found in FA.FB. V: vna gran desmontada 
L: mons et descendens P,R omit the mountain. Z omits the whole sentence. VB: "the said 
mountain, which has so bad a descent that it is necessarv to dismount[& gojon foot." 

' asef dras & asef pannes Z: niultus uestes &- peles L: pcllikus et pannis V; tnolte lustimente e 
pelle onde ehe molti non puono . . . VB: pani efodre 

119 



35- CAMADl AND THE BIRDS AND OXEN OF REDBAR ^MARCO POLO 

others in all evils, and there according to the advice of his wise men caused seven ships to be 

loaded with earth and to be brought to his kingdom. And when it was brought he caused it 

to be spread in certain halls in the manner of pitch, and afterwards carpets to be put over it 

that they should not be soiled when they were on it because of the softness. And when they 

took their places in those halls to eat, immediately after food one began to rise against another 

with insulting words and acts and to wound one another. And then the king said that truly 

the cause of this was the land. 

• 36- f ^ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF CAMADl. And wheii One has comc down 

FB TA I I riding-from the mountain those two days journeys of which I have told 

VA LT z JL JL you above, then he finds a very great beautiful plain which continues 

L towards midday for fve days journeys, and at the beginning of that plain is a great 

L city which is called Camadi which once was a much more great city and marvellously 

noble. But now it is not so great nor so good, for Tartars from other lands have 

FB ruined it several times. And I tell you that that plain of which I am telling you is 

FA FA z R z in a very hot^ place. -It produces wheat, -barley, -and other grains. And the province of 

V V R which we now begin to speak is called Reobar. And the fruits of it, which grow 

z about the slopes of the mountains of the said plain, are dates, pomegranates, citrons, and 

z V apples of Paradise and pistacios and many other fruits which are not found in our 

z cold place. Infinite turtle-doves live there on account of the many fruits which they fnd 

there to eat, and they are without number. Nor do the Saracens ever eat any of them because 

they dislike them. Pheasants are also found there and many other birds. And in this plain 

V VA is found a kind of bird which one calls hancolin which are very different from the 
LT other francolins of the other lands, for they have feathers which are black and white 

V VA mixed together and they have the feet and the beak red.'' And the animals of that 
R L land are also different /rom other places. And I will tell you of the oxen first. For 

the oxen are very large and are all white as snow. The hair they have short and [i6<i] 

smooth, and this comes about from the hot place. They have the horns short and 

thick and not sharp.' Between the shoulders they have a round hump quite two 

V L VA palms high like camels in look. -And they are indeed the most beautiful thmg m the world 

VA VA to see. And when one wishes to load them they kneel\_andl^\ie down on the ground just 

VA as the camels do, and when one has loaded them they get up on to their feet and carry 

FB VA their loads which are very great very well, for they are strong beyond measure. And 

^ chaue TA (misunderstanding): f/i^MO LT : caua L: valde concaua et depressa Z (correctly): 
calidissirna FA: haut 

* V: becho negro et le altre bestie e simile' ale nostre 

^ VA: et sono achute LT: et acuta V: et nonna ongo 

120 



THI-: i)i:scRiiMioN oi mi: worlds mi: KOiihHK caraunas .36- 

thiTo arc also slu'cjt \m^k- as asses, aiul ilu*y liavo the tati s() thick, lonj^, ami so broad' / ii 
that it weighs iti my juii^fiiirnt <.]iiite thirty poiinJs and more. I hey are u'/>»/f and vb / ia 
very beaiiiiltil a^^.^ fat. and are wry gooii to eat. And in tliis plain .ire several iw v 
citifs & villages ami ii>\vns which have the ramparts oi earth high and thick and ta vr 
hi^h towers to deleiid them from their enemies the people called (Caraunas who are there VL i. IB 
in plenty; these are <j most cruel ct wicked race and robbers who go scouring the land VB 
& doing great harm. And why are they called ("araiinas, which means to say as much as va vb 
guasmul or mongrels in our tongue} Because long ago their mothers were Indian and vb 
their fathers Tartars. And these people when they wish to scour the whole land and v 
to rob, thev make the whole dav become dark like a dark night by their enchant- l 
ments and by devilish work, so that one does not see tar or hardly at all, and one va ib 
hardly sees his contrade at his side. And this darkness they make /rom distant places to lt 
last seven days journeys'^ in length through that plain -so that men cannot protect themselves v lt 
from them.- And then they who know the country very well, they ride through that l l v 
plain silent 6' one very close beside the other when they have made the darkness; and vl fb 
they arc sometimes quite [i66] ten thousand in a company, and sometimes more, and v 
sometimes less, and are divided in many parts, so that they make so long a line that v va 
they seize the whole plain from which they wish to rob, so that all those whom 
they find on the plains outside town or castle cannot escape them, neither men nor i-b v fb 
women nor beasts nor things, without being taken. And it is true that when they L 
have taken the men, they kill all the old without any pity, & the young & the women vb fb 
thev take & sell them in other places tor serfs & for slaves, so that they greatly destroy the fb fb 
land & have made it almost all desert.- These have a king, & their king is called Negodar, lt 
a man of very great spirit. And this Negodar once went to the court of Ciagatai, lord vb v vb 
of a noble province, who was own brother to the great Kaan with quite ten thousand 
horsemen of his people and stayed with him /or some time because he was his uncle fb \'b 
and a very great lord. And while he stayed with him then that Negodar thought to fb 
himself and did a very great crime, and I will tell vou how. He seduced ten thousand vb 
armed men of the best brigade which Ciagatai had, and -one day he left his uncle Ciagatai v 
who was in Great Armenie and fled away with quite ten thousand horsemen of his fb 
people who were very cruel and wicked, and with these twenty thousand valiant & vb 
brave men he passed thence through Badascian and through a second province which fb 
is called Pasciai and through another province which has for name Chescemir, and fb 
there^ he lost many of his people and of his animals because the ways were narrow 

^ VB adds: come castronj de tartarja, "like Tartary wethers". ^ y\- ^^^^ di 

^&ellan FA: etillec FE: et illecques VB: qujuj \': presemolta zente. K: done B. prints 
elluec, but suggests allati "as he went". 

121 



.36- THE ORIGIN OF THE CARAUNAS & CANOSALMI ?=^MARCO POLO 

and bad. And when ihcy have taken all these provinces they enter into Indie in 

R FB the borders of a province which is called Dilivar. They take by storm a very noble 

FB VB city which also has Dilivar for name, and he stays in that city and stopped with his 

FB army, and took the [i6f] kingdom/ which he took from a king who was of that province 

R who had Asidin Soldan as name, who was very great and rich. For he came upon 

VB R him at unawares. And there he began to reign- at rest. -And the white Tartars began to mix 

with the Indian women who were black, and begat sons of them who were called Caraunas, 

that is, in their language, mixed; and these are they who go scouring through the country of 

Reobar and through each other country as best they can. And when they came into Dilivar^ 

they learned the magical and devilish arts with which they make darkness come and hide the 

z daylight, so that unless one is near the other they are not seen; -and thus sometimes they ride 

R for thirty or forty days journeys, and usually towards the direction of Reobar, ■ because all 

the merchants who come to trade in Curmos, until they learn that the merchants from the 

parts of Indie are coming, send in the winter time the mules and camels, which are become lean 

through the length of the journey, to the plain of Reobar where, through the abundance of grass, 

they are bound to grow fat. And these Caraunas, who are waiting for this, come carrying 

everything of[, and they take the men and sell them. Nevertheless if they can ransom themselves 

VA they let them go.^ And there Negodar stays with his people and is in so strong a 

VB region that he has no fear of anyone. He makes war on his own people, on all the other 

V Tartars who dwell round his kingdom in the way I have told you above. Now I have 

VA told you of this plain and oi the people who have darkness made to come that they 

VB may rob; by the which people of Negodar all those countries were at war and the roads cut. 

L TA Moreover I tell you that Master Marc Pol himself was as good as taken or killed 

V FB VB by that people in that darkness on this plain, but as God willed it he escaped with 

FB the greatest speed to a village which was near there which is called Canosalmi, and many 

FB of his companions were taken and were sold, and some were killed, so that only 

seven persons escaped with him. So I have told you just as it happened. Now we shall go 

on to tell you of other things .* 

1 & pro le regtie FA.FB: et par cellui Regne VA: per lo regniame V: e tolse el reatne B., 
following V, reads & pri le regne "and took the kingdom", probably rightly. 

2 Malabar see p. 44 and PN. 

3 It seems as if Ramusio had perhaps retold this story in his own words, but for the sake 
of the new matter which he gives it has seemed to be worth while to insert part ot his version 
at the risk of some repetition. 

* VA: E siue digo io mareho che fu vna fada in grande pericolo deser prexo da qtulla ^nte in quella 
oschurita ma eschanpi a vno chastello che era li apresso auea nome cbalosebini . . . VB,P,LT similarly 
m the first person. 

I2Z 



Tnii i)i:sc:i<iiM ION ov iiii-: worij)^ mi: i^lain ov cukmos .37. 

HI'RIi III II II.S ./(,,//\ 01 nil (.HIM l)|S(INI IM) 01 rill (IT\ .l\l> nf- III M', 

////•; Mi:.\ 0/ <:i!RM().s. Ii is iiiu- ih.ii iIiin pl.uii oj which I have tclJ you v 
I.tsts it)\var*.iN miJJ.i\' lor tjuitc livr J.u s marchoN, aiul then ai the c\u\ of ir fb v 

thi'sc In I A.xys lu.wchcs one liiuls anoiJuT vfiy i^rcat descent and slope which it ii better to i. Vii 

travel on foot, wlicrc one imisi ^o all down lull ipiite twcm\' miles, and it is a vcrv bad ru 

road and bad men who rob and assault continually those who pass there come ilicrc ui u r 

abundance and tlierelore it is a very dangerous road. And when one has gone down this p 

slope of twenty miles he finds another ver\ beaiuiliil plain and if is called the plain va 

of C.iirmos,' and it lasts ijutte two da\s )onrne\-s in length. And there are many v v v va 

waters &-most beautiful rivers, and dates enough and much oJ other fruits .■ It is a very r fb vb 

noble land.- And birds there are many francolin and parrots and very many other l v l 

birds which are not at all like ours of our lands- this side of the sea;- there are also many l va P fb 

kinds of birds which we do not know how to name. And at the end of the said province when vb 

one has ridden these two days journeys he finds the Ocean sea; and note that on the fb z 

shore of the sea is a city [i6<^] which is called Curnios'' which has a very good harbour, z l 

And I tell you that all the merchants come there from all the -different parts of Indie z r z 

with their ships, bringing there all spiceries and other merchandise, that is precious v 

stones and pearls and cloth of: silk and of gold and of other different colours and v 

elephants tusks and many other wares, and in that city they sell them to the various R 

other men. There are merchants also -of the city who then carry them through all the fb v 

whole world, selling to the other merchant peoples. It is in truth a town of very fb r 

various and great trade. It, namely Curmos, is the royal city and has under it cities and lt lt 

villages enough; /or it is chief: of: the kingdom of Cherman. The king of the city has i.T R R 

for name Rucnedin Acmat who rules tyrannically but is subject to the king of Cherman.- R 

And there is very great heat, for the sun is very hot there, and it is a very unhealthy l z 

land. And if it happen that any merchant trom other lands die there the king takes z 
and puts away for himself all his possessions. And in this land the wine is made of z 

dates and with many other oooi/ spices, and it is very good. And yet when the men va p 

who are not used to drink it drink it at frst it makes them go down much and l 

purges them entirely; but afterwards when he is used to drink it it does ^r^^t good and lt fb 

gives them flesh enough. And the men of that country do not use our food because lt lt 

it they eat wheat bread and flesh when they are well thev fall ill /or the most part- fb l 

imtnediately . • And when they are ill then they eat flesh and wheat bread. But when they are lt fb 



^ fonnose R: Ormus followed by B. V: belissima 

* R: doue sopra vna Isola vicina vi e vna citta chiamata Ormus This seems to be due to 
Ramusio's editing, cf F. I. p. no. See p. 44 and PN. 

123 



3 7- THE FISH SHIPS AND HOT WINDS OF CURMOS ^MARCO POLO 

well, and to be healthy, they eat dates and salt fish; these are tunnies; and they 

LT also eat coarse foods such as are garlic and onions. And to keep well they use this food 

VB LT of which I have told you, which here for us is unwholesome food .- The men of this city 

z L z have many ships, and their ships are very bad and -weak and very -dangerous, and many 

V z of them are lost because they are not nailed with iron pins like ours, • because it is 

K z a hard wood- of which they are made -of a certain kind brittle as pottery, so that as soon as a 

R z R z R nail is driven into it it • rebounds • on itself- and as it were -is broken up, but the planks are 

z bored with iron drills as carefully as they can at the ends, and then -are fixed with little 

z treenails; afterwards they bind them or they are sewn with coarse thread which is made 

FB R of the husks of the trees of nuts of Indie, which are large and over them are threads like 

R horsehair. For they have it soaked^ and when the substance is rotted it remains clean and it 

V VA becomes like strands of horse [ija] hair and then it is spun like silk; then they make this 

L thread of it and so sew the ships with it, and it is not easily rotted by the salt water of 
FB P the sea but lasts long in it, hut it cannot last in a storm.- And indeed strengthening with iron 

V VA is better .- And they go with them tofsh, & so many of them perish . Andt\\t ships have only one 

mast and one sail and one rudder and have no deck. But when they have loaded them 

VA L they cover the goods with boiled hides of animals, and above the goods, when they have 

FB a covering, on the hides they put the horses which they carry into Indie to sell. They 

TA FB have no iron of which to make nails and so they make pins of wood with which they 

VA FB VA VB nail their ships, and then sewing oi that -aforesaid thread. They have no iron anchors, but 

anchor with other tackle of theirs, and so they perish with every little storm. And for this 

reason it is great danger to sail in those ships, and I tell you that they sink many 

R V of them because the sea of Indie is very terrible and often makes great storms. And 

V VA V the people of the said land are all black and worship Mahomet. And in all the summer 

the people do not stay in the city because there is so great heat there that they 

LT all die there, but I tell you that they go outside to their gardens which they have 

VA in places where there are rivers and water enough,^ so that everyone has water enough 

V for his garden -led through conduits & canals. And for all this they would not escape 

if there were not that which I shall tell you. It is true that many times in the 

R P VA summer/rom half terce till noon every day a strong wind blows from towards the desert of 

z z sand which is round that plain, which is so extremely /(?rvfnt and hot that preventing 

z z one through excessive heat from breathing it would suddenly suffocate and kill the men — and 

none can escape from it if he is found on the dry land — if it were not that as soon as the 

FB VA P men see that that hot wind is coming they all immediately -run & go into the water 

^ macerer I'A.FB: batre But TA,LT,R take it to mean "soak". VA: maxerare 
* VB: ^rchando le riue del mar . . . le riue del mar e de fume 

\1\ 



I hi: DiiscRiPiiON oi mi': wc^rld^ modknincj in curmc^s .37 

up to the chin;\\'hfrr with (crtaiu lattices thry makr roofs over the waters, and these they /. K 
fasten en one side with stakes planted m the waters and on the other side on the bank, and they 
cover them over with leaves to protect themselves Jrom the sun; and so stay unttl the wind /. 
ceases; and in this way they escape Iroin that hot winJ. And as evidence of the heat of R 
the said wind Master Marc said that he was in those parts when an accident happened m this 
way. lor when the ruler of Cunnos had not paid the tribute to the kin{^ of C.^hernian,\this last,] 
planning to have him at the season when the men of Cunnos were staying outside the city on 
the mainland, made ready a thousand & six hundred horse and five thousand foot, whom he 
sent throui>h the region of Reobar to take them at unawares. And so one day being unable, 
throuoh beiiio badly guided, to reach their destination before night overtook them they rested in 
a wood not very far from Cunnos. And when they wished to set out in the morning, the said 
wind attacked them and suffocated them all, so that none was found to carry the news to their 
lord. And when the men of Curnios knew this they went to bury them that those dead bodies 
should not infect the air. And when they took them by the arm to put them in the trenches 
they were so much dried by the very great heat that the anns left the body, for which reason 
it was necessary to make the trenches near to the bodies and to throw them into them. And 
again I tell you that in the said country they sow their wheat and the barley and the v 
other grains m the month ot November and have reaped them completely everywhere L 
in the whole month of March. And so it happens with all the [i?^] fruits, for they are l 
finished and done in the month of March, &- then all the grass &- leaves dry up, nor va 
after that will you find any living or green plant surviving on the land except in a wet L LT z z 
place, except by chance the dates which last until the middle^ of the month of May. L 
And this comes about by the exceedingly great heat of the said wind- which is there z VB FA 
which burns & dries up everything. And about the ships I shall tell you that they VB 
are not pitched with pitch -for protection from rot, -because they have no pitch; but they L R VB 
grease them with an oil made from the fat of a certain fish, and caulk them with oakum. R L R 
And I tell you that there is a custom in this country that when the men die or women, v 
they make great mourning for them. Moreover I tell you that when the man dies the va 
ladies weep and wail continually over each of their dead quite four years* after he is z 
dead, at least once every day. For they continue for the said term to assemble themselves z 
in the house of the dead with all their kinsfolk and with theiv friends and neighbours va v fb 
and make great weeping and great crying aloud and great mourning for the dead, va 
And since they very often die, they are in this way never without mourning. And women are z 
found there much trained in wailing who agree for a price to weep on any day you please for the 
dead of other men and other women. Now let us leave you this city. And we shall not 

^ ami perhaps for a mi B. prefers au 
* P: menses 



•3 7- HOT SPRINGS OF CHERMAN AND SALT DESERTS ?^MARCO POLO 

FB tell you of the facts of Indie at this point, for indeed I shall tell you of it below 

in our book when it shall be time and place; but now I shall go back by tramonraine 

V L to tell you of those regions & provinces, and we shall go back in order to do this 

from Curmos of which we have now spoken by another road to the city of Cherinan ot 

V which I have told you above, because into the countries of which I wish to tell you 
one cannot go except from this city of Cherman. And I say to you that the king 

V of the said\_city'\, Rucnedin Acmat whom we left just now, is a vassal of this king 
of Cherman. And on the way back from Curmos to Cherman is a very beautiful 

z VA L VB and great plain and great abundance of food. And there are many good & most perfect- 

FB z VB naturally hot baths springing from the earth. -And there are partridges enough and very 

V VB FB L cheap. And there are fruits and dates in very great plenty and very cheap.- And even 

VA the wheat bread here is so bitter that none can [i?^] eat of it if he is not /or a 

z good time used to it; and this comes about because the land is soaked with the water 

z R there which indeed is bitter and salt.^ The baths of which I have spoken to you 

above are of spring water very hot, and they are very good for many diseases and 

P FB tor removing the itch. Now I wish to begin to tell you about the countries which I 

FB V shall name to you in this my book turning to the road towards tramontaine, and 

V you shall hear how^ one goes through many wild and desert places. 

•38- "I" TTOW ONE GOES THROUGH WILD COUNTRY AND POOR.' When one setS off 

FB P I I from this city of Cherman towards Cobinan he rides quite seven days 

z JL JL marches of very troublesome road, and I shall tell you how. When one 

z leaves Cherman where there are three days marches, a certain desert is entered where one 

VA finds no river* nor rivulet nor water, or very little, and that which one finds is salt 

P VB and green as meadow grass, so that it looks more like the juice of grass than water, -and 

unwholesojne ; and it is so bitter that none could bear to drink it, and if one were 

z to drink only one sip of it it would make him retire more than ten times. And 

LT again he who should eat only a little grain of the salt which that water produces, 

z it would also make him purge a great deal. And therefore the men who go crossing 

V LT LT those deserts by that way must carry good water with them to drink through all that road. 

* TA: e questo e per lo mare cheuui uiene and so LT. 

2 et hores comant l-'B: et cre^conwient TA: et diretno chome V: diremo chomo se uano per tiiolti 
liiogi saluadegi e dexerti But FA: & ore commence So B. translates Incominciamo. 

^ part sauuaie centre a pour Y-t part saouaie contree & pour. This rubric seems to have puzzled the 
scribes and appears in many forms. It is probably right to read with B. poure; but his reading 
par tre is less certain. The mark on the cross of the t in the Table (p. 6 5) looks like a smudge, 
and is not a familiar sign for re in this MS.. 

* riuer VA: aqua ne fume ne riozMol Others: "water" 

126 



T\\\l niLSCRIPlION OV inn WORLDS I I 11" TUTTV OV COBINAN .38- 

The animals however Jrink a little ol 11 with f^reat pain and vviih ^rc.ii effort,' and for / i. LT 

t!;roat compelling thirst because they have no ether, and 1 tell you too thai the water / ik 

iinineJiatcly makes them pin\;e beyoiul measure, so that they sometimes die oj it. And / w. 

in all these three days marches there is Jound no dwelling, hut it is all desert and / 

land o/^i;reat drought . Wild animals arc not Jound there because they will find nothing va mi / 

there to eat, /or the land is so hard & so dry that grass could not grow.- And on the fourth Vh k 

day one arrives at a river oJ sweet water which runs underground, and in some places there 

are certain openings cut out and dug by the Jtow oJ the river, through which it is seen to pass, 

and then immediately it goes in under ground. None the less one has abundance of water. 

And near this the wayfarers, tired by the hardship of the preceding desert, rest themselves, 

refreshing themselves with their beasts.- And at the end of these three days marches a little vb vb vb 

inhabited place is found; but after this little space of habitation is passed we fmd another 

place [17^] which lasts tour days marches mo more nor less, which also is all dry desert, ta 

and the water is also bitter; where no house is found, and there are no trees, nor animals vb 

because they would have nothing to eat nor to drink, except that wild asses only are found i/r Li vb 

in some places. And at the end of these four days marches the kingdom of Cherman 

ends and we find the citv ot Cobinan. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT AND NOBLE CITY OF COBINAN. Cobinan is a • 3C) 

very great city. And the people of that country worship the abominable v v FB P 

Mahomet. There is iron and steel and andanique enough, and many va 

mirrors of the finest steel are made there very beautiful and large. And tutty is r 

made there, which is not made elsewhere, which is very good tor disease of the eyes, v z 

And with it spodium is made there also ; which I saw made, and I will tell you how fb vb 

they are made. They take an earth or a vein ot earth which they dig from a mountain- lt vb 

in that country, which they think is good for making this, and they put it in a great va v v fb 

furnace ot burning fire, and above in -the mouth of the furnace is set an iron grating l va lt 

very fne. And the smoke and the steam which comes up from that water & earth vb lt v 

by virtue of the fre and is caught on the iron grating hardens when it is cooled, and l r 

that is tutty, and that which remains of that earth in the fire, that is the coarse which r 

remains -at the bottom of the furnace -when burnt, is called spodium; which is called cane l R l vb 

spodium, and this because the said spodium or burnt earth remains light as cane, -So that you v 
have heard how tutty and spodium are made.^ And now let us leave this citv and go 
forward . 

^ a grant force Z: uiolenter 

* Tutty, tutia, is "a crude oxide of zinc found adhering to the flues of furnaces in which 
brass is melted". (5.O.D.). Spodium is "a fine powder obtained from various substances by 

calcination' ' . 

127 



.40. THE PROVINCE OF TUNOCAIN & THE DRY TREE ?^MARCO POLO 

HOW ONE GOES THROUGH A DESERT. And wlicn One scts out trom this 
said city of Cobinan one goes through a desert which lasts quite eight 
days journeys, in which is great drought, and there are no fruits nor 
VA VA TA trees, and the waters which are found are also very bitter there and bad as in that of 
V z which I have told you above. And he who wishes to pass through this place brings with him 
LT VA z all that he needs to eat and ^00^ water -for the men to drink, except the bitter water 
VA z z of the desert which they compel the animals driven by thirst to drink with great pain, 
z for they mix flour with the water and so tempt them to drink. And at the end of these 
VB eight [i8a] days journeys one finds a province which is more than eight days journeys 
VB in circuit, which is called Tunocain. And subject to it there are cities and villages 
L enough, and it is in the province of Persie and on the borders of Persie towards tra- 
VB montaine, and in the said province there is a very great plain^ in which is the Lone 
Tree, which the Christians call the Dry Tree, and I shall tell you what it is like. 
z V The likeness and nature of it is this. It is very large and very thick, and its leaves are 

V green on one side and white on the other, and it forms burs like the burs of chest- 

V nuts, but there is nothing inside them, they are not good to eat; and of its wood balsam 
R L LT is made. And it is solid and-very hard wood and is yellow like box, and in all those 

LT parts where that tree is there are no other trees nearer than more than a hundred miles, 

except in one direction^ where there are near trees at ten miles. And there, say 

L LT those of that country that the battle between Alexandre the Great, -king of Macedonia, 

V V VB and Darius king of Persie was. And the towns and the villages in this province are many 

V and have great abundance of all things good and fine, tor the country is in a fair 
Z V place too well tempered, neither too hot nor too cold_, hut temperate .- And the people 

¥B Y VA z of this land all worship Mahomet, and there are very beautitul people there, and 

VA VB specially the women there are very beautiful beyond measure in my judgement. And 

we shall leave this and shall tell you of a country which is called Mulecte, the place 

FB where the Old Man of the Mountain used to live with his assassins, as you shall hear. 

41- ^^ X "FERE HE TELLS OF THE VALLEY OF THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN AND 

VB P I I OF HIS ASSASSINS. Mulecte is a country^ where, as is told, -a certain very 

JL JL evil prince who was called the Old Man of: the Mountain used to live 

z R long ago; in which country heretics according to the Saracen law used to dwell. -For this 

calcination". (S.O.D.). For cane spodium cf. Avicenna, Venice, 1507, fol. 15147: Tractatus 
II. De spodio Cap. dcxvij. SPodium quid est. Radices cannariim adusre. See PN. 

* LT: prouincia 

' VB adds versso la contra VG (just below): c^wenc^k mylen 

^ LT: montanea 



128 



Tiir- nnscRiPTiON oi- riiii world's; ini' oi.i^ man alaoi;in -41 

tuinw of Muloctc I i»S/)| mo.niN U) say it place where heretics stay, in the tongue o\ Sar.icciiN.' R 
AnJjrotii the said place the men are called Mulehetiei, that is heretics of their law, like Patarini »< 
anionic the Christians. Now I sli.ill (ill \ou all his iloiii^s and the life this Old Man led v 
according as i Masici Maw /V/ luaiJ ii U)M Uy several men of these countries.- i ii i \: 
Now they said that tlio OIJ Man was called in iheir language Alaodin and was with v P 
all the people over whom he ruled a follower of the taw of Mahomet. //< thomiht moreover of 
an unheard-of wickedness, that he should make men into hold murderers or swordsmen, who 
are commonly called assassins, hy whose courai>e he mi^ht kill whoever he wished and be feared 
by all.- lie dwelled in a most noble \'alle\' shut in between two very high mountains v v p P 
where he iiad made iheni make the largest garden & the most beauiilul that ever was v 
seen /// this world. There are abundance and delioht ol all ihe ^ood plants, flowers, and /. va p 
truifs oi the world, and trees which he had been able to find. And here he had made make r 
the most beaut itui houses and the most beautiliil palaces that ever were seen, of p 
wonderful variety, lor they were all gilded and adorned in azure -very well with ail fb ta fb 
the tair tliiiii^s oi the world, both with beasts and with birds, -and the hangings all of ta R 
silk. And besides he had made them make /// that garden many beautiful fountains- v 
which corresponded on di^erent sides of these palaces, •& all these had little conduits there, r v 
for each one, through which ran that which they threw up; through some oi which it was v R 
seen ran wine & through some milk & through some honey & through some the r 
clearest water. There were set to dwell ladies & damsels the most beautiful in the r 
world, who all knew very well how to play on all mstruments & sing tunefully & va z 7 
sweetly dance better than other women of this world -round these fountains, -so that it z z v r-ii 
was a delight, -(^ above all trained in making all the dalliance & allurements to men that can r 
be imagined. -Their duty was to furnish the young men who were put there with all delights p 
& pleasures. There was plenty of garments, couches, food, & all things which can be desired. 
No sad thing was spoken of there, nor was it lawful to have time for anything but play, love, 
& pleasure. -And these damsels most beautifully dressed in gold & silk were seen going sporting r 
continually through the garden & through the palaces; for the women who waited on them 
remained shut up & were never seen abroad in the air. And the Old Man made his 
men understand that in that garden was Paradise. And for this reason he had it fb 
made in such a way, that Mahomet in his time made the Saracens understand about z 
it that those uho did his will should -all when they died go to Paradise where they would r \' r 
find all the delights and pleasures of the world and will have there as manv fair women 

* de sarain This reading is certain, it cannot be desaram. \J: sonat in lingua nostra Sarrain. 
V: muleze . . dc saraxini L: de sarram The clause is omitted by TA,LT,VA,\'B,P and 
curiously distorted by FG (FA: Et veult dire viuleete en francois.diex terrien?). See PN. 

129 



•4 1 • THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS ASSASSINS ?=^MARCO POLO 

FB as they wish at their pleasure and that they will find there beautiful gardens &full of 

z rivers -which run separately in fullness ol wine and of milk and of honey and of water, 

FB in the same way as that of the Old Man; and therefore had he made them make that 

garden like the Paradise of which Mahomet had spoken to the Saracens. And 

FB therefore the Saracens of that country believe truly that that [i8r] garden is Paradise, 

LT R because of its beauty & delectable pleasure. -He wished to give them to understand that he was 

a prophet and coinpanion of Mahomet, and that he could make whoever he wished go into the 

V said Paradise. And into this garden entered no man ever except only those base men 
z R z of evil life whom he wished to make satellites and assassins. Because he had indeed a 

R z VB castle at the entry of that garden at the mouth of the valley so very strong and impregnable 

R that he was not afraid of a man in the world; and it could be entered by a secret way;- 

P V and it was very carefully guarded, and in other parts it was not possible to enter into 

V this garden but only there. And the Old Man kept with him at his court all the 
R young men of the inhabitants of those mountains of the country from twelve years to 

FA R twenty; they were those who seemed to wish to be men of arms^ and brave and 

P valiant, who knew well by hearsay, according as Mahomet their most unhappy 

FA prophet had told them, that their Paradise was made in such manner as I have told 

FB R you, and so they believed in truth as Saracens believe it.- And every day he preached to 

them of this garden of Mahomet, and how he was able to make them go therein. And what 

V VB shall I tell you about it? Sometimes the Old Man, when he wished to kill any lord 

who made war or was his enemy, made them put some of these youths into that 

FB R FB Paradise by fours and sixes and by tens or twelves and by twenties together just as he 

TA wished, in this way. For he had opium to drink given them by which they fell asleep 

R FB TA and as if half dead immediately as soon as they had drunk it,- and they slept quite three 

LT V days -and three nights. Then he had them taken in this sleep and put into that garden 

FB R FB FB of his, -into different rooms of the said palaces, and there made them wake, and they found 

themselves there. 

•42- T" "TOW THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN MAKES HIS ASSASSINS PERFECT AND 

I I OBEDIENT. And when the youths were waked up and they find themselves 

FB X. -L in there and see themselves in so fne a place and they see all these things 

VA R which I have told you, made just as the law of Mahomet says, • and the damsels were round 

VA R each one -always, and all the day were -singing and playing and making all the caresses and 

dalliance which they could imagine, giving them food and most delicate wines, so that intoxicated 

with so many pleasures and with the little streams of milk and wine which they saw, they 

R believe that they are most truly in Paradise. And the ladies and the damsels stayed 

^ FA: qui auoient volente destre hommes dartnes et leur disoit 
130 



THI- niiSCRIPTION OV 'V\U-. WOKLI)^ AND liAKIULV PARADISR -42 

uidi tlicin all day playing aiul singing and causing great cnjoynicni, and thcv did 
with thcin as they pleased, sd ih.u iliesc yoiiilis liad all tliat thev \i&d\ wished, and 
never will the\' ^o oiii Iidiii thence (>l their own will. And ihi- Old Man lord, Mi 
of whom / have- toLi you, holds his court very beamiliil and great and lives very nobly, 
and makes those simple people ol the mountains who are about him believe that ta 
it is so as I have said and thai he is a orfat prophet, and so ihe\' all truly believe. l-B Fii 
And this Old Man sent of these his youths preaching in many places, by which many people were V 
turned to his law. And after four or five days when the Old Man wishes any of them his R fb 
assassins to send ro any place and to have any man killed, then he has the drink of opium fb lt 
given ai^ain ro as many as pleases him of these youths to make them sleep, and when they arc R va 
asleep he has them taken into his palace which was outside the garden. And when these va 
youths are awaked and rhcy find themselves out of their garden m chat castle in the fb 
palace, they make great marvel at it and arc not very glad of it, that they fnd them- FB ta 
selves outside of the Paradise, for from the Paradise from which they came they would 
never of their own will be parted. The Old Man makes them come before him, and they fb 
go immediately before the Old Man and behave themselves very humbly towards 
him and kneel as those who believe that he is a great prophet. The Old Man asks ta 
them whence they come, and those say that (^by thy goodness^ they come from Paradise, vb 
And they said indeed- in the presence of all that in truth that is Paradise, as Mahomet fb vb 
told our ancestors in their law, recounting to them all the things which thev find fb 
there, and how they had great desire to return there. And the others who hear this and ta 
had not been there and have seen none of it -wondered extremely to hear it and had great fb vb 
wish to go to Paradise, and many had a wish to die that they might be able to go va 
there, and much desired that day when they should go there. And the Old Man vb 
answered them, Son, this is by the commandment of our prophet Mahomet, that whoever defends 
his servant he will grant to him Paradise; -and if thou art obedient to me thou shalt have this R 
favour. • Through this means he had so inspirited all his people to die that they might go to VB 
Paradise that he whom the Old Man ordered to go to die for his name reckoned himself happy, 
with sure hope of deserving to go to Paradise, -so that as many lords or others as were enemies R 
of the said Old Man were killed with these followers and assassins, because none feared death 
if only he could do the commandment and will of the said Old Man, and they exposed themselves- 
like madmen- to every manifest danger, -wishing to die together with the king's enemy and- VB R VB 
despising the present life. And for this reason he was feared in all those countries as a tyrant. R 
And when the Old Man wishes to have a great lord killed, he makes proof among 
[19^] his assassins of those who were better in this way. He sends several of the young va va 
men who had been in Paradise no great distance round him through the countrv and 



131 



•43 



vnc w«i III 

H 



42- THH EVIL ACTS AND END OF THE ASSASSINS ;^MARCO POLO 

VA orders them to kill that man^ whom he described. They go immediately and do their 

TA lords command. Then those who escape return to court to their lord; for some 

VA LT there are sometimes who are taken and slain; aher they have killed the man. And if 

one was caught he wished to die, believing that he would come back to this Paradise.^ 

OW THE ASSASSINS ARE TRAINED TO DO EVIL. And when those who are 
escaped are come back to their lord, they tell him that they had per- 
formed the duty well. The Old Man makes great rejoicing and great 
feasting tor them. And he well knew hmi who had shown greater courage, for he 
VA had sent some of his men after each one secretly when they went that they might be 
able to tell him which is the boldest and best to kill a man. And when the Old 
Man wished to have any lord or any other man killed he took some ot these his 
assassins and sends them where he wished, and told them that he wished to send 
FB them carried by his angels to Paradise, and that they go to kill such a man, and if 
they should die that they will go immediately to Paradise. Those to whom this 
was commanded by the Old Man did it very willingly more than anything that 
they could do; and they went and did all that the Old Man commanded them 
VA for the great desire that they had that they might come back to Paradise. And in this way 
no man escaped who was not killed when the Old Man ot the Mountain wished. 
VB And ij it happened that the jirst man died before the command of the Old Man was carried 
out, he sent a second, & so on till his enemy was killed. And thus did these villains do mischief. 
z Moreover I tell you quite truly that very many kings and many barons [19^] made 
FB him presents and were on good terms with him to have peace and friendship with him 
z for fear that he should have them killed. And this was because the people were not then under 
one rule, but divided in hearts and purposes. Now I have told you of the doings of the 
Old Man ot the Mountain and ol his assassins. Now I shall tell you how he was 
destroyed and by whom. And also I wish to tell you another thing about him 
R which I had left. For I tell you that this Old Man had made him two deputies who 
R v\'cre subject to him and observed all his manners and his customs^and^the same 
order with the young men whom he sent. And the one he sends into the regions ol 
R Domas and the other he sends into Curdistan; and however great a man he might be, if 
he were an enemy of the said Old Man he could not escape that he should not be killed.' 
VB The said Old Man was subject to the dominion of the lord Ulau, of which lord I have told 



^ eel homes FA: tel Perhaps read tel 

2 FA.I-B have the above to the same effect but partly in direct speech. For instance, FB, 
fol. 27r°: Ale^ si occie^celle personne. Et quant vous serez^ retourne je vous Jeray porter par vies angel^ 
en paradis 

132 



I I II' DI SCRUM ION OI' nii: W'C^KM)^ nil. WAV lO SAPUIUjAN .43. 

voir /'(/o/v. Now Iri its \c.\\c iliis .iiul iDmi ii> Ins Jcsuiu 1 1011 . It w.is inif ili.ii .il>'>ni 
(In- i.'Oi' yen tli.u w ,».s siiki" ( Ihim w.js horn, when ULiu brother of the ^rait Kaan /. 
subjrctcJ the whclc rule oj the I asl to himselj, the SiiiJ Ul.iii [\\c fifth lord ol all tlir T.Tri.irs LT LT 
ol iho suniisin^, w Iio knows .ill ilicsc exeerahle c\i\ 1 line's ili.it tins OM Man so / / 
w'tekeJly AiA with these itssiissiiis,-tT- his customs; C7 also heciutse the Old Man had all those i. vii 
robbed who passed alon^ the road, -drove out all these evil people and Uc says to linnscll LT 
that lu' will lia\i' liini destroyed yro;/; ojf the earth. Ilicn he took some ot his barons v 
ajid sends ilum over to ilws warden and castle of the Old Man with nuich people, and '/ i.r / 
they besiege the castle Cjr- held it besieoed-vcry closely so that none could come out, cjuitc v VB 
three \ ears witl-n^ut being able tc) take it, because the castle was so very strong that it va 
could not be taketi by storm. And the\' vNould never have taken it as lon^^ as thev should 
have had what to cat; hm finally at the end ol three years they have no Ioniser what z 
to eat iti the castle. Then ybr want of victuals thcv were taken and the Old Man va va 
of the mountain who had Alaodin tor name was killed with all his men tsf all those l va 
assassins- and all that place was destroyed and utterly laid waste by the people of Ulau lord LT 
of all the Tartars of the sunrisino, ■ and he caused that castle to be levelled; so that in this v 
way did that cursed Old Man come to his end. And from this Old Man to this moment 
there has not hccn found any such Old Man nor ^ny such assassin /;; that place; and l l va 
in him was ended all the rule and the evils which the Old Men of the Mountain 
& those assassins had formerly done so much in the past. Now let us leave you this va fb 
matter and we will ao forward. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF SAPURGAN. And vvhcn OHC departs from •44' 

this aforesaid castle he rides through beautiful [19^] plains and through l 
beautiful valleys and through beautiful slopes where there is much va 
beautiful grass and much good pasture /or cattle and fruit enough and of all things va fb 
to eat in great abundance. And the armies of lord Ulau stay there very gladly for the va \' fb 
great plenty which was there. And this country lasts quite six^ days journeys, and 
there are towns and villages enough, and the men of that region worship Mahomet, fb va 
And sometimes one finds in parts of that country a desert of sixty miles and of fift\- lt 
in which water to drink- sometimes is not found, but it is needful for the men who v fb v 
have to pass by there to carry it with them. Beasts do not drink till they are come 
out of that desert and come to the places where they find water; and it is necessary r 
to pass it with great speed, because then they find water. And when one has ridden six days 
marches, those which I have told you, and has now crossed the desert, then one finds a lt 



1 FB,VA,P,L,R:i262 FA: 1242 TA',LT: 1277 TA': 1278 VB: 1272 Vomits. 

2 FA,FB,Z.VA,P,V,L,R: "six" TA.LT: "seven" Others "six" 



133 



45 



44- DRIED MELONS & THE CITY & RUINS OF BALC ^MARCO POLO 

V L city which is called Sapurgan. It is a town beautiful & great & ■fertile & of great plenty 
R TA L of all things needful for life. -It is a land of many trees. And I tell you that among other 

V P things there .wc found the best pumpkins which the common people call melons in the world 
TA LT and in the greatest quantity, which they have dried and keep them through the whole 

V P year m this way. For when they are dried they cut them in slices all round like threads 
LT VA or strips ol leather, or as gourds are usually cut for keeping; then they put them in 

the sun and make them dry, and they become sweeter than honey. And I tell you 

L that the)' make merchandise of" them and they go selling them dried like this through 

p p the neighbouring country in great plenty and they are very acceptable to the people for food 

LT and because they have the sweetness of honey.- There are in that country many birds and beasts 

z of di^erent kinds. And there is hunting of beasts 2inA fowling of birds beyond measure, 

z FB FB and many other things. Now we will leave speaking to you of this town & will tell 

VA you of another city. When one departs from that country he fnds a city which has Bale 

for name. 

ERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT AND NOBLE CITY OF BALC. Balc is a noble 

city and great; and formerly it was more noble and greater enough 

LT V JL JL than it is to day, -the largest & most beautiful found in those parts. For the 

z z Tartars and other people [19^] have often ravaged and wickedly damaged it. For I 

tell you that there were before many beautiful palaces and many beautiful houses 

VA of marble of many fashions, and they still exist destroyed and ruined. Moreover 

V L I tell you that in this city the king Alexandre the Great took the daughter of Darius 
L V king of the Persians to wife, according to what they of that city told them. But all 

LT P the people of this city worship the abominable Mahomet. Moreover you may know 

VA V V that the rule & the land of the great Can, that is ol the lord ot all the Tartars of the 

VB lands of the sunrising, lasts up to this city, and at this town are the borders of Persie 

between the Greek wind and sunrising.^ Now let us leave you this city and we 

V will go on to tell you of another land which is called Dogava. And when one departs 

V from this city of which I have told you above he rides quite twelve^ days journey 
VA V between sunrising & the Greek wind where one finds no inhabited dwelling, and this 

LT VA because the people have forsaken the whole plain and are all fled and retired to the 

p mountains in strongholds tor fear of the evil people, robbers, & bandits, and of the 

z armies which did them much harm & loss many times, as they marched continually 

VB through the country .- Those regions are wasted, & one cannot well travel but with a great 



lui iiaiiic. 

H 



^ P: ex parte aquilonari terminatur . . . inter plagam aquilonarem.et orientalem itur 
» FA,FB,TA,Z: "twelve" LT,P,R: "two" VA: ^0 (three times). 



134 



nil'; i)hsc;Kii>i ION c^i mi; worlds rm- sai;i" ov rAic:AN .45 

fotiijuniy. A\k\ I I (I I \oii ili.ii thirr ,itc iiiitny houacs on the mountains, t-r ilurr is water vb 

cMioiii;h on this road ,- and \^ood \\\\\u\u^ cnow^w ^ thcii- .ui- also soino lions. Hut food i.i i. v 

one docs not lind thoii' in these niountiiins m ,ill ilicsi- ivvi'lvc days marches, bin it r 

is necessary that those wlio /\m'c ^■• ^o that \v,\y carry looJ uith them for their v 
horses an J lor themselves. 

H1'!K1{ hi; ii;ii.s oi imi; MotiNiAiN oi sali. And vviien one has gone these -46' 

t\\ei\e days mardies he hnJs a \iliage which is called I aican, where 

there is found a very great market ol wheat dy other corn. And it is built 7. vb z 

\\\ very [-ioij] heaiirilul (^gracious country, and all the mountains of it are towards vb v va 

midday and are very large and high, and some are \\\ juW oj sale, very white and well VA R ta vb 

savoured, hard as rock. And all the country round [or more than thirty days journeys FB 

come to seek for that salt which is the best in the world, & they use no other salt.- fb vb 

And ir is so hard thar one cannot take it except with a great iron pick;* and I tell L 
you that it is in so great abundance that all the world would have enough oi it to 

the end of the world. Some mountains indeed abound in almonds and pistachios of which a Z 

very great market is held there. And when one leaves this city he goes riding three days FB 

journeys still between the Greek wind and sunrising always finding beautiful FB 

country where one continually hnds beautiful dwellings enough, and plentiful in L ta 
fruits and in corn and in vines and in all things,- And all the inhabitants moreover fb v z 

worship Mahomet. And they arc very bad people, thieves & robbers and murderers va l vb 

and treacherous. They stay a great deal in taverns'^ with beaker to mouth, for all the day z ta va 

they like to drink, for they have much good fermented wine and they are great FB 

drinkers and become drunken very willingly .- And they are expert in that Jaithlof Mahomet], v 

wherefore they wear nothing on their heads nor feet but a cord about ten palms^ long vb vb 

and they wind it round their heads. And they are very good hunters and catch game va 
enough, and have no other clothes but the skins of the beasts which they catch. 

And* them they cure in their way and clothes and boots are made of them, and they vb 

all know how to cure the skins of the beasts which they catch; and each one cures FB 

the skins for his own clothes and boots. And when one has gone these three days marches L 

one finds a city which is called Scassem on the plain, which belongs to a count. L 
And his other cities and villages are in the mountains. And through the middle 

^ L,P: malleis VA: pichoni VB: pai defero e piconi 

2 // demorent mult en hercarie FA: en huueries FB: en buuerie Z,P: /;/ potationibus TA: col 
hicchiere a hoccha LT: cum ceatis ad os So perhaps bercarie should be translated "drinking". 

3 TA'.LT: brachta 
* in read & 



135 



•46- THE PORCUPINES OF SCASSEMAND BADASCIAN ^MARCO POLO 

V L ol this city passes a rather large river/ And in this province there [20^] are taken 

VB many porcupines. And when the hunters wish to catch them and set the very fierce ■ 

VA FB large dogs upon them, the porcupines gather themselves all together"^ and they are 

P many. And when they are all assembled, -they shake themselves each with great Jury and- 

FB z VA run 6- then throw the spines, which arc lightly fastened on their backs and on the head 

p FB P and by their sides, at the dogs and men and wound them badly -very often in several 

V L FB places. Then the hunters go upon them & take them. -And this city of Scassem is in a great 

FB province' which is also called Scassem and has a language for itself. And the rustics 

FB who have their flocks stay in the mountains; tor they make very fine dwellings 

FB FB there and large underground. For they make great caves there, and they can do so 

FB z VB L very easily because the mountains are not of rock here but are for the more part -only ot 

FB earth. And when one leaves this city of Scassem ot which I have told you above 

FB he goes riding three days marches in which he finds no dwelling nor tood nor 

R drink_/or the wayfarers except water; but grass enough for the horses is found; but the way- 

FB VA farers must carry it with them as much as they need for the journey. And at the end 

V FB ot these three days marches one finds the province of the name of Badascian, and I 

V will tell you here below of its doings. 

4y- ^ T' 'TWERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT PROVINCE OF BADASCIAN. Badascian is a /rtfg^ 

I I province where the people worship Mahomet and have a language of 

FB VB R JL JL their own. It is a very great & broad realm which for length lasts quite 

L V twelve days marches, and is ruled by inheritance, that is that it is said that- all the kings 

V they are ot a lineage descended trom the king Alexandre and from his wife who was 
FB FB the daughter of the king Darius the Great who was lord of the great realm of Persie; 

V and all those kinas of the said\province^!LVC still called (^ulcarnein in Saracen, their 

V language, which means to sav in French king Alexandre, for love of [20f] Alexandre 
FB LT the Great. And in this province or kingdom the precious stones are produced which 

LT one calls balasci, which are very beautitul and of great value. And they are called 

balasci from Badascian, that is from the province or from that kingdom where they are found. 

z And they are produced m the rocks ot the great mountains, and I tell you that 

V VB when they wish to dig them-\they are got'\with great trouble, for they make great caverns 



' FA.FB: auqucs grant Z: aliquantulum magnum P: ^uuius magnus TA,VB: grande fume 
V: vno fume grande VA: vno gram f nine L; in phmc per medium cuius transsit Jlumen satis magnum 
R: assai ben grande 

2 les porches sacoilent toutes enseiiblc Z: porcus totits in se glomcratur It seems to be probable 
that Z IS rigiit, but the other texts have taken it as in F. 

' scasunen est une grant prouences Read perhaps seasim est en utie But V: questa sono vna gran 
prouin^ia L: est magna prouincia dicta scasunen Sec PN. 

136 



Till- IMiSCKIPIION 0\- III! W'OKIJ:)*^; 11 Ii; RUI'.li:S OF SK',MINAN .47 

111 ilu' moiiMi.iiMs with \>t'i\' i^itiil f\juiisf t'j' trouhlf lo Jiiui them, .uu\ <^iy l.ir uiuit-i {>roMM</ vb IB 
as /// thi'si- junts here ilioy Jo who ilig ilu- \i-in of [^old and silver.^ Aiul tins is done- VB v v 
only 111 .1 p.uticulai* moiiiiiam uliuli is lallixi Sigliiii.iii. Aiul .i^nin you may know ib 
(h.U ilu- kiii^ of the said provniff li.is du'in Jiiv; for liimscll. nor loiilj .iii\ oilicr man v 
native 01 joreii^n beside the knii^ dare lo ^o to ili.ii inoimtaiii to ili^ iin am ol those / 
halasci Jiv himself who wollk^ ikm he slam .11 once. And again he says that it is at ru 
the price ol head .\nd possessions il t)iie takes any of (hem irom his kingdom, lor 
the king eoUeets them all and -keeps the dearest for himself & sends them hither (jf thither ib vb va 
by his men to the oiUcr kings and to the other princes and great lords, to some lor 
tribute and to some for love," and also lias some oi them ij he pleases sold i or gold fb fb 
and tor silver to merehants;- and these can he taken to other countries. And the king docs vb r 
this /or his own honour that his balasci may be dear and of great value everywhere /. z 
as they are. I-or if he let other men dig them and carry them through the world 
so many of them would be taken away that all the world would be full of them and they fb 
woulcH not be so dear nor ot so great value, so that the king would make little or no i.T 
gain. And tor this cause the king has set so great a penalty that none mav take 
any of them awa\' without his leave. And again in another mountain in this province v 
sapphires are produced and they are dug out in the same way as the balasci arc. And again 
you may know in truth that in this same country in another mountain are found 
the stones from which one makes ultramarine azure, and it is the hnest azure and l 
the best that is known in the [20^] world. And the stone of which I have told you, vb 
of- which one makes azure, is dug, as gold & silver are, from a vein of earth which is v ta 
produced in mountains like other veins; and that vein is called lapis laful. And lt 
again 1 tell you that there arc other mountains /;; this province in which one finds fb v 
veins from which they take silver, copper, and lead in great plenty. And it is a very z l 
cold country and province. And again you ma\- know that very good horses are 
bred there and they are great runners and large and wear no irons on their feet p 
though there are many stones there; and the reason is because of the good, -hard, and -strong lt p lt 
feet which they have and good hoofs. And they go in the mountains & on had roads fb 
always, and do not hurt their feet,- and the men gallop with them over the mountain slopes p r 
where other animals could not gallop, nor would they dare to gallop there. And it was said 
to hitn that no long time past -there used to be found in this province horses which had descended z 
from the seed of king Alexandre's horse named bucefalo, which were all born with a horn,- 
with a mark, -on the forehead like bucefalo; because mares had conceived from that very horse. R z 

^ & montagnes ^ V: ferrum ^ K:& qtialche volta ne dona ad alewii gentilkuomini, chepassano 

di la, quali non possono eomprarne da altri, ne pcrtarne fuori del suo regno sen^ sua licenza. 

137 



e 



•47. THE HORSES AND HEALTHY AIR OF BADASCIAN ^^^MARCO POLO 

R But afterwards the whole breed of them was destroyed.- And the breed of them was only in the 

power of an uncle of the king, and when he refused to allow the king to have any of them h 

was put to death by him; and the wife out of spite for the death of the husband destroyed 

the said breed, and so it is lost. Again there arc bred amongst those mountains 

sakar falcons which are \'cry good and good fliers. And the lanner falcons arc bred 

R there too, perfect goshawks, & sparrowhawks . Hunting and chase of beasts and of 

V V birds there is great plenty. And wheat they have good; and barley they have without 

z p husk, that is to say that it is all grain and no bran is taken from it.- They have likewise 

abundance of millet & panick. They have no oil trom the olive, but they make it of 

R sesame^ which is like flax seeds, hut those of the sesame are white and the oil is better and 

more savoury than any other oil, and the Tartars and other dwellers in those parts use it; 

V p FB P and of nuts. And in the enterings into this kingdom are many narrow bad- and steep 

P passes and many strong places, so that they have no fear that any people of other 

regions and of those near them could come in to their hurt. And their cities and their 

z villages are in great mountains in very strong places. Likewise the peculiar quality 

of the mountains is like this. They arc very high so that a man continues in the journey from 

the hottoin to the top from morning until vespers before he can mount up. Moreover on the 

K z K z top are -very -great plains where there is -great -wealth of grass and trees, where are great 

R springs and very clear which run down over the rocks like rivers to the bottom. -In the said 

z springs are found trout and many other delicate fsh.- On those tops of the mountains the air 

R z is so pure and the sojourn - there - so healthgiving that if, while he lives in the cities and houses 

R z which are built- on the plain and- in the valleys near the mountains, a man catches fevers of any 

R kind, namely tertian, quartan, or continuous, -or any other chance sickness, he immediately climbs 

z K z the mountain- and resting there on the mountains -two or three days -the sickness is driven 

R z away and he receives health -on account of the goodness of the air.- And Master Marc said 

R that he had proved this same .- Because when he was in those parts he remained sick for about 

a year, and immediately, when he was advised to go up to the said mountain, he was well 

z again. -There are also two or three mountains as it were sulphurous, and the waters always 

R come sulphurous from those mountains. There is a very great supply of wild sheep; -and they 

go sometimes in one flock four hundred, fve hundred, and six hundred. And many of them are 

L FB taken, but they never fail . - And they are very good archers and good hunters, and the greater 

VA z part of them are dressed in skins of beasts because they have great dearth of other 

P garments of cloth, for woollen garinents are either quite impossible to be had there or are 

V FB exceedingly dear. And the great ladies of this land and the gentle wear cloth. They wear 

R VB V FB garments like trousers down to the feet-like men such as I shall tell you, and make them 



^ VA: de somenti e de susimani et de nuxie 
138 



'mi': nr.sc:i;iiM ION ov iiii; wokld'^ uiii ladils liiuj-xniis .47. 

0/ cotton cloth tinJoJ very Jiiic nlk, with musk inudc- Aiul they put much cloth tnto their vi. va 
trousers. 1 lion- arc .some l.uiu's wlu) iii oiu- p.ur ol l)rci'clics, ili.u is ilu- covii iiig 

ol the legs, \i\(i\ }Hii cjiiiic' :\ Inmdvcd ells ol very fine stujf iiuuie ojjlax and of coiiuit VL 

cloth, wriippcii nhout the body like swiithin^-lumds, aiiil soiiu- ilicrc arc who put ninety, vi. i t 

ivid some cM^hty ol it, aiiJ some sixty, some jorty, and some thirty, -and some less,- ta ir. 

according to their power; -and they make them pleated all round. And they do this to show k v 

that they have laige hips to become beautiful, because in that region their men delight in vi. va 

lat women, atid she who appears more stout -below the waist -seems to them more beautiful,- /. i.r / 

and more glorious among other women. Now wc have told you all the affairs of this i,t fb 
kingdom and wc shall leave it then and shall tell you oi a different people who 

are towards midday & arc distant ten days journeys from this province. v 

HERB HH TF.LLS OF THL GRHAl PROVINCE OF PASCIAl . It IS true that fl |00<^ VA •48' 

ten days journeys distant from Badascian towards midday is a province 

which is called Pasciai, and they have a language for themselves. And all v 

the people of the province are idolaters^ who worship the idols, ^ and they are dark^ va V 

people. And rhev know much of enchantments and of the diabolical arts, spending v p 

time in invocations of demons.- And here the men wear hung in their ears rings and v z 

buckles of gold and of silver and of pearls and of precious scones enough according vb 

to their means, -worked with great skill.- And they are very malicious people and cunning r v 

and cruel and clever in their customs. And this province is in a very hot place. Their z v z 

food is nothing but flesh and rice and spices; whence the vice of sensuality reigns there in vl it 
such manner as I will not write.* Now let us leave this and we will tell you of another 

province which is seven days journey distant from this province towards sirocco, L 
which has the name Chescemir. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF CHESCEMIR. Chescemir is a province •49' 

where again they are all idolaters like the others above and the inhabitants lt vb p 

have a language of their own." They know so much more than all others R 

of the enchantment of the devils that it is a wonder; for they make the dumb and z 

deaf idoU speak, and receive answers when they consult them. By enchantment thev make P 

the weather change® at their will, and have great [zib'j darkness made over the light l z 



^ V: son chiamadi indiani et adora leidole cf pp.295 n. 2,5; 297 n. 3. 

* TA: mawnetto 

' P: nigros V,VA: bruna VB: bruta 

* It indicates the Italian text printed at Venice in 1496. 

^ G: Chesimior ist eyn provincie ouch in Persida wide hot di selbe sproche als di Persi This is an 
early and elaborate example of the misunderstanding of linguaperse which is found all through S. 

* S: & mouer los tetnplos (^" and do make their Temples seeme to moue") misunderstanding 
VL: mouer i tempi 



•49- DIVINERS LIBERTY AND MONKS OF CHESCEMIR ;^MARCO POLO 

VB or day, -and from darkness change it into sunshine. They do by enchantment and by 

L z wisdom so very many other great wonderjul things that there is no one who did not 

see them who could beHeve them. Moreover I tell you that they are the head 

L z TA 67^ source oi all the other idolaters of the world, and Irom them the idols* descend. 

V LT And from this place one could go to the sea of" Indie. And commonly they, the men 

p LT P V and women of Chescemir, arc dark and not perfectly black, -and big, and very lean. And 

V likewise the women are very beautiful for dark women. And their food is flesh 
FB V p VA and milk and rice & many other things.- For it is a very temperate^ land where it is 

V V neither too hot nor too cold. And there are cities and villages enough, and thev 

L L VA LT L have many woods and some -very large deserts around them and so many narrow & very 

p strong passes that they have fear of none, & access to them is difficult on every side, • 

LT so that one could not go to them without great weariness. And they keep themselves by 

FB V VB themselves; for they have their kings who maintain them in-great justice & for 

P their justice are much loved by all their people, -and are tributary to none. In this province 

VB P VB they have many hermits aher their customs who sta.y[(:ind]servc the idols- shut in their 

p hermitages or cells and make great abstinence from lood and from drink, and 

are very pure from self-indulgence and keep themselves beyond measure from 

FB VB doing any other sin which may be against their goodness & from transgressing the command- 

p z VB ments of their wicked-law and faith; so that they might he called blessed if they knew the true 

God & were obedient to his commandments as they are to their false idols & gods. They 

z p are held wise and very holy and great reverence is shown them by their people, and I 

FB VB z tell you that they live for a very great age because of the temperate air. And all the 

p great abstinence from sin which they make they make for the \ove[and]honour of 

V their idols according to their law. And they have too abbeys and monasteries enough 
z VB z of their faith. And the brothers -of many sorts -in them lead a strict life and wear tonsures 

like the Brothers Preachers and Minors. Moreover the men of that province do not kill any 
R z animals, do not shed blood, but -if they wish to eat flesh it is necessary that -certain Saracens 

who are mixed among them kill their animals that they may have to eat. And the coral which 
R is brought from our land to[sell isjsold"'' more in that country for greater price 
R than in any others. Now let us leave you this province and these parts. And we 
L shall not go forward, because if we were to go forward twelve days marches further 
L we should enter into Indie, to the parts where pepper grows which are near the kingdom 



^ ydoles . . .ydres Z: qui adorant ydolla . . .ydola But this distinction between ^^o/« (or jyr/M/«) 
and ydres is not strictly observed in F. 

* Z: calida V: chalda R: calda temper at amente 

^ po uende Read perhaps, as B., por ucndre se uende FA.FB: se uent V: seuendc 



140 



IHI-; DILSCKIIMION OV V\\\i WORLH^ I III; NONI-: OI- VOCAN .49. 

of Brtiiinian, and 1 do not wish to go m iIutc m this l^irj point because on our 

return tron\ our journey we shall tell \ou all the things of Indie in order m thf v 
third book. And so we will go back to our province towards Badascian, because 

bv other road or in oihei directions we shall not be able 10 i^o. So wr shall ^0 by v \> 

another way be^innin^J'roin the other border oj the province oj Badascian, -through which runs i< 
the roail to Catai between sunrisini^ and the Creek wind, treating as I have begun to do of 
the provinces and countries which are on the way, and of others which are around there bordering 
on them to the right hand and to the left. 

HliRl- m; iiiLLS OF the vi-ry gri-at rivhr of badascian. And when one .<0' 

leaves the region of the province oJ Badascian he goes twelve* days journc\'s / 
betw een sunrising and the Greek wind upwards b\' a river which belongs 

to the brother ol the lord ol Badascian, finding very many rivers large and small and v. 

where there are villages and dwellings enough. And the people of this country are v fb 

vtT^ valiant men of arms and worship Mahomet, And at the end of riding- these v fb vb v 
twelve" days journeys one finds a province not too large, tor it is three days 

journeys long & broad on all sides, and is called by the name of Vocan. And the people vb z v 

0/ this realm worship Mahomet and ha\'e a lan^^uage ot their own and are proved v 

and very valiant men ot arms. And they have one their lord whom they call None, which i. fb fb 

means to say in the French tongue Count ,^ and thev are^ subject to the rule of the vb 

lord ot Badascian. And they have wild beasts & all other animals enouah and preat v fb va 

htmting and chase ot all sorts. ^ And when one leaves this little place he goes forward • fb ta 

riding three days marches always -between sunrising and by the Greek wind,* almost fb va z vb 

always going up through mountains, and one rises so much that they say that on l z 

the top of those mountains that is the highest place, or one of the highest, in the whole vb z 

universal world. And when one is up in that high place then he finds a large plain va vb 

between two mountains in which is very beautiful pasture and- a great lake from which runs ta r 

a very beautitul river' both good and large. And up there in that plain is the best and ta vb z r 



^ VA,P: "two" LT: duodecim with note, alibi dicit duarutn ^iornatarum R: tre 

2 VA: tre 

^ non e seingnor que uant (sic) « dir en langue fran^ois cuen^ FG seems to be the only famih- 
of MSS. which lias preser\'ed, though in a difterenr form, this obviously miperfecc sentence. 
FB: et ont vng leur seigneur que il appellent none qui vault &c.. \': cdano vno chonte per signer 

* VB: son non — perhaps a slip for sonno, "are". 

* VB: hestie asai saluatiche et chosi la son asai someiante a le nostre abiamo in queste parte (possibly 
corrupt). 

« F,FB,L,V,VA,VB: "north-east" only; P: "ease"; TA,LT omit. 
' V: do f unit 



141 



50. THE HORNED SHEEP & HIGHLANDS OF PAMIER ?^MARCO POLO 

z ? fattest pasture of the world that can be found; for a thin horse or ox or any thin beast 

R P V L (let it be as thin as you please^put there to gra^ grows very fat there in ten days. And 

R z L there is very great abundance [21^] of all wild beasts. And especially there are among 

others very great multitudes of wild sheep^ which are very large, for they have the 

VB L FB L L horns extremely large, ■ some quite six palms long and some at the least four or some 

VB R three, & very thick. And of these horns the shepherds make bowls and great vessels* 

VB from which they eat, & sell great quantities of them which are carried into other lands.- 

LT And of them they put together & make for themselves huts in which they shelter themselves. 

L And with these horns also the shepherds enclose the places like folds where they 

FB z R z keep their animals by night .- And • it was told him that- there are infinite wolves which eat 

R up and kill many of those sheep ;^- and that there is found such a multitude of horns and bones 

that of those about the roads are made great mounds to show the way to the wayfarers who 

FB pass at the time of the snow. And through this plain one goes riding quite twelve days 

marches, and it is called Pamier. Nor in all these twelve days marches is there 

P TA dwelling nor inn,* but in the course of the road it is desert -and nothing is found there to eat, 

V but it is necessary for the travellers who have to go that way to carry with them the 

FB VB food which they need. Flying birds up there are none because of the high place and 

z P intense cold that it is, and because they could have nothing to eat there. Moreover I tell 

R z you that it was declared to him for a miracle that because of that great intensity of cold 

V LT z which is in that place fire is not so bright and burning nor of that colour^ as it is in 

z TA TA other places, and things are not able there to be -so well cooked as below. Now let us 

leave this and we will tell* you of other things also farther on by the Greek wind 

and by sunrising. And when one is gone these three' days marches of which I have 

L VB V told you by the Greek wind, - dwellings are found. But-setting out from here it is necessary 

that they ride quite forty days marches between the Greek wind and sunrising, 

L always through mountains and through slopes and through valleys, and pass very 

1 V: buo 

* V: schudele e chadini cadini seems to mean "irrigation channels", BOERIO, s.v. cadin. 

2 R: becchi and so Marsden "sheep or goats". 

* herbages FA.FB: herbage VA,P: herba Z,TA,LT,V,L,R omit. In view of what is said 
of the grass in this same plain it seems to be likely that we should read herherge. cf. pp. 143,160. 
B. printed herbages without note, & allowed "grass" (1931), but translated "alberghi" (1932). 

^ color Z: coloris FA,FB: chaleur TA: chalore LT: callorem V,It: calor VA.VB: chaldo 
VL: non a tanto chalore ne quel cholore P,R: omit. B. (1932) substitutes hmiinoso. 

* il conteront FB: conterons TA: chonterovi 

' L.VA.VB.VL: "three" LT: xdtra tres TA': oltre tre R: dodici FA,FB,Z,TA',P,V 
omit. 

142 



Till- niLSCRIRION OV VWV. WORLDS FROM VAil.OR lO c:asCAR .50. 

many rivers and many licsri i placi's. Nor in all [Iksc forty days marclics is there va 

dwelling nor inn,* nor even food, bin the travellers are olili^rd lo carry food w/>»V/) V I'B 

they need with them. And this country is called Belor. And the people live as it were v /. 

scattered in the very high mountains, and they are idolaters and very savage, and v 

they live by nothing else but only by the chase oi animals. And (heir clothes also arc z v fb 

ol (he skins ot those beasts which they catch, and they are mighty fr«r/ and evil people, lt va va 

[^2.a^ Now let us leave this country and we will tell you oi the province of Cascar. 

HMRB HE TELLS OF THE KINGDOM OF CASCAR. Cascar was formerly (as is said) R • 5 i ■ 

a kin^^dom by itself, but now it is subject to the rule of the great Kaan.- VB z z 
And the people of it worship Mahomet; and in this province there arc towns v v v 
and villages enough, & the largest city & the most noble is Cascar; and they are also 
between tramontainc,^ the Greek wind, and sunrising. Much cloth and merchandise come LT FB 
there. 'And in this city they live bv trade and by crafts and specially by working in cotton. ■ v z 
And they have very beautiful gardens and vines and beautiful closes of fruit trees.- v lt 
The land is fertile and productive of all sorts of necessaries -for life, because the place is temperate, z v 
And cotton grows there in plenty and flax and hemp & many other things. And from L 
this country go out many merchants who go through all the world doing trade. 
And they are in truth very mean people there and miserly, for they eat ill and drink ta z z 
more ill. And in this country aforesaid -beside the Mahometans live some Turks who are R z r z 
Ncstorian Christians who have their church^ and their religion, who observe the z v 
Greek rule; -and they arc mixed & dwell with the inhabitants, as the Jews in these parts do vb 
with Christians. Anci the people of the province have a tongue for themselves.' 
And this province lasts five days journeys. Now let us leave you this country and v 
we will talk to you of Samarcan. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT CITY OF SAMARCAN. Samarcan is a very great • 5 2 • 

city and noble in that region, - where are very beautiful gardens and a plain P R 
full of all the fruits which a man can wish. The people of it are Christians v 
and worshippers of Mahomet whom they call Saracens. And they belong to the nephew P va 
of the great Kaan & are under the domain of the great Kaan; and he is not his friend v 

* erbaiges FA.FB: herbage VA: erba P: herbas VL: herbe R: herba TA': aberghagione 
TA': alberghi LT: hospicium Z,V,L omit. 

^ The many places where north is substituted for ease or for north-east in LT or P have 
not all been noted when they are not supported by other texts, but this time LT has added 
the north: tramontanam grecum et leuantem. 

^ TA,LT,VB omitting "the people of the province" make this remark apply to the 
Christians, and may possibly be right. FA,FB,VA,V follow F exactly. Z,R omit the 
sentence. L inserts it earlier after "worship Mahomet". 

H3 



.52- THE WONDER OF THE PILLAR OF SAMARCAN ;^MARCO POLO 

VB but many times has been at enmity with him, & there have been great wars between 

FB V them, -and they hate one another much; and he has Caidu to name.- And it is towards the 

R plough-beam. And I will tell you a great marvel which happened, it was told him, 

p like this in this city by the power of Christ. It is true that it is still not a great time 

R R — already a hundred and twenty-Jive years — since one named Ciagatai, own brother to the 

P V great [226] Kaan, persuaded by the Christians and taught, -came to holy baptism and became 

VB Christian, & was lord oi this country & oi many others. And all the Christians 

TA of the city oi Samarcan, when they saw that the lord was made Christian, they have 

FB VB R very great happiness & joy at it; and then with the favour of the lord they made in that 

P FB VB LA L city of Samarcan a very great & noble -round^ church //; memory of this to the honour oi 

VA LT Master Saint John Baptist, and so that Church was called to day.^ And they took a 

VB R VL VB very beautiful and great - square ■ marble stone, which the lord had taken from a building 

FB TA which belonged to the Saracens and put it in the middle of this Church, and set it tor 

p VA support ot a column of marble which was in the middle oi the Church, and the 

V P V Church was made in such a way that -this column held up the whole roof" of the Church- 

R VB which was round; -to the very great displeasure of all the Saracens who were obliged to stay 

VI. VB silent and quiet from fear, -because the Lord was a Christian, -but yet with very great hatred 

& ill will towards the Christians; and as they naturally were, but much more multiplied 

by the noble stone taken from their building and set in the Christian Church, holding this to 

L VB be done by the Christian lord in their despite. Now after no long time, -when the Church 

V L was built and nobly adorned, it happened that this Ciagatai who was Christian died,[and^ 

R VB his son -who was young & who was given into the charge of the nephew of the great Kaan- 

R p who did not wish to be a Christian succeeded him. And when the Saracens who hated the 

L Christians, -& who at frst had stayed quiet from fear of the lord, saw that he was dead, 

FB and because thev had had and still had great wrath for that stone which had been 

V V FB theirs, which was taken and put in the Church of Saint John ot the Christians as you 

FB VA have heard, they said among them that they wish to take back that stone which supported 

L FB LT the pillar of the Church -from the Christians -by love or by forcejrom under the pillar, and 

L carry it out of the Church. And they could well do this, for they were far more, indeed 

V ten times as many as the Christians, And when they had taken counsel then some of 

the better Saracens go to the Church of Saint John and said to the Christians who 

V LT were there that they wanted by all means that stone which had been theirs, which had 

FB been taken from them. The Christians said that it was indeed theirs, but they are willing 



^ For the reading of LA. which is supported by R (il tetto di quella, che era ritonda,) but not 
by G, see jB., p. 40. 
2 VB: la qual si ha ora si chiamata san ^an dela collotia 

144 



I hi: i)Hsc:RinioN oi mi: woki.d^ which stands on aik .52 

fo /m«v '' «'"'/ ^' !,'MY (iuin .ill the inoiw); ili.ii tlic\' shall wish lor ii .iiul Ic.ivr th«- stouc l.r i. 
ijs (/ \/iV./, Ih-c.uisc It w'oiiKI l>i- \oo gio.H harm lo tlu- Ciuinii li ihat .stone were l.r 
lakon out ol ii . Ilu- Saracens saiil ihai iho\' Jul not wane vZ^iii iwr silver for i( nor V 
treasure. Inn ilu\ uameJ their stone In' all [^2r| means ijor mo wraith in the world IB 
wviilil they L'live it. And what shall I tell \oii ahoiit it? Ihe rule belonged to that 
nephew of the ^reat Kaan. the son of this Cia^tUai who had heeii brother of the great Kaan. ■ [.T 
Thus the words went so far that the lord knew it, -for the Saraeens full of hatred went with I-B VB 
very oreat fury to the Saraeen lord proteetor of that eity to tell him what Ciagatai had done 
to the despite of the faith if Mahomet .■ And he, stirred by that same hatred whteh the Saraeen rh vb 
people had, hopmo that the tiohle Chureh would he altogether ruined by the moving of the said 
stone, -ordered the C^hristians either to agree with the Saraeens reasonably for money or to give FB 
them back their stone. What shall I tell you about it P Know that for no wealth would the 
Saracens agree to leave the stone. And this they did from spite of the Christians and for nothing 
else, for they knew well that if the stone were taken away the Church would fall. They cause 
an order to be made to the Christians that at two' davs trom that da\' thev must 
^ive back that stone to the Saracens. And when the Christians have had that order 
the\' have great sorrow and vexation and do nor know what thev ought to do, nor lt vb 
seeing how to overcome the Saracens either by force or by sum of gold, nor seeing how to take 
away the stone without the ruin of the noble Church. -Coing home -they turned to the best lt fb 
counsel, that is that they should pray Jesus Christ -the fountain of pity -to guide them in this VB fb 
matter, that the holy Church should not be ruined nor the shrine of Saint John Baptist shattered 
in his own Church. -Then they prayed devoutly and with many tears to Blessed John Baptist LT 
that he must help them in this their so great trouble. Now there came oi it such a miracle 
as I shall tell \ou. You may know that when the term which the lord set them and the fb 
mornina o{ the da\- that the stone must be given back was come, and the Saracens LT 
frmly believed & were altogether expecting that the Church would fall because of the taking away 
of the stone, -when they came to the Church to take away the stone, they found the column L 
which was above the stone litted itselt from the stone by the will ot our Lord 
Jesus Christ through intercession of the Saint and was raised up quite three'^ palms and R lt 
did not touch the stone, and was held up as well as if the stone was under it; and the fb 
column carried the load, and had the foot up in the air.- And that stone still stays there under LT 
the pillar and the pillar does not touch the stone. And alwavs from that dav forward has 
that column staved so, and it is so still. And it was held by all and is still held one lt 
of the great miracles which has happened in the world. And in this way the Saracens v 



^ FA, FB.VB: "three" VA:adiexedi TA.LT.V: "two" P.Romir. Z omits the whole 
story. 
* TA.VA: "four" others "three" 

145 



52- THE GREAT PROVINCES OF YARCAN AND COTAN p^MAKCO POLO 

FB P had their stone- with their great tnisadventure ; and so the pillar is- unto this day without 

FR VB support of human prop, -and will he as long as God shall please, -through the intercession of 

the precious Saint. And from many parts there run together people all day long to see the 

R mighty miracle. Now let us leave you this of which enough is said, and we will go 

forward and will tell you ol a province which is called Yarcan.^ 

c ^ . y "ITId^E HF TELLS OF THK PROVINCF OF VARCAN. Yarcan is a province which 

VA VB FR LI i I lasts (juitc five^ days journeys long. And the people of that province are all 

JL JL of the relit^ion ot Mahomet, and there are some Nestorian Christians 

FB VR LT and Jacobins, -but not a great number. Thev belong to the domain o/" that same nepheA' 

VB ot the great Kaan ol whom I have told vou above. And it is a province where they 

LT R have great abimdance ot all things which are generally necessary for the life of man, -and 

7. principally of cotton. The inhabitants are great craftsmen.- And for the most part the dwellers 

in that province have one foot very large but the other small, and yet they walk very well;- 

R L R and the legs swollen- and they have a lump in the throat, -which comes about through the nature 

TA of the water they drink. But because there is nothing else which does to mention m 

FB FB our book, so then let us leave {([and \go forward, and we will tell you ot another 

province which is named Cotan. 

<^. y y ERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT PROVINCF, OF COTAN. Cotan is a province [^2 2i/ j 

I I between sunrising and the Greek wind, and is eight days marches long. 

V V V LT X. jI. y4Mr^ they belong to ?/;f n</t' o/ the great Kaan. ylN^y the people o/"t/;(?f/)rov/>if^ 

V VB TA all worship Mahomet. And there are cities and ^n^ villages enough, and they are 

noble people. And the most noble city and that which is chiet of the realm is called 

TA L Cotan, that is the name of the whole province. And it is fertile and it has abundance 

R V L ot all things needful for the life of man.- And there grows cotton enough, & flax and 

VL L hemp, &-oil, wheat, -corn, and witie & the rest as is done rightly in our lands. I hey 

V have vines and closes and^ gardens enough. And they live by trade and by crafts, 

V VR V and they are not men of arms, but mean enough and very cowardly.- And in this province 

there is nothing else to say, but now we will leave it and tell you of another province 

TA which has for name Pern. 



^ Throughout this chapter VB purs the whole pillar in place ot the stone base as taken trom 

and restored to the Saracens, ending like this: veiiuto el ter^^o ^or/io a cristiani iniposto troaorcnc 

la collona spichata dal teto per mode che fn::;jllissimaiiiente fa nioxe et sen^i lexioii alguna delle hi oiexiu. 

Jh trata e data a saraxini non senza suo grande atrura^one e dispia^re ... In the extracts above 

"stone" has been put for collona. 

« VA: sete 

' de IB: et Just below F-B has dras lor durs. 



146 



ini': i:>HscKii>i ION of n m wokld^ oi- im.m and oi- c:iakcian .55- 

HliKl: m: h-.lls oi- ihh provinci; oi- im;m. Pcm is .i small province which f\ 
IS live J.ivs m.uciu's low^ lH'(v\'i*tn siinnsiiig dn^^l ihc Greek wind. And v 
ihe people of that provinci' worsliip Mahoinei .iiul belong likewise to the i.r v 
gre.u kaan. Aiul ihere are towns anJ villages enough utulcr it, and the most noble v vii 
ciiv /'/ iill this province, which is heaJ oi the realm, is called l\-m. There is a river v 
running through it where precious stones are lound which one calls jasper and chalcedony /. LT 
in i>nMr plenty. They have in the province -great abundance ot all necessary things. AnJ v z VB / v 
aoain iheie grows cotton enough. AnJ they live /or the more part by trade and by v Vtt 
crafts. And aoain I tell you that they oj that province have such a custom as I shall va i.t 
rcU you. For when a woman has a husband and it happens that he leaves her to go / 
oil a journe\' to another place- and does not know where he nmst go, and provided that he z va 
must stay awa\' Irom rwent\' or thirty^ da\'s upwards, the woman who stays at home, vi. va 
as soon as her husband is set out from home to go on a journey, she takes :inother v /. 
husband till his return. And this bv their local erroneous usage she can well do if she VL P z 
wishes. And likewise the men [■i3<JJ wherever they go may if they wish to do so take z va 
wives also. And you may know that all these provinces which I have told you from 
Cascar to here, that is Cascar, Cotan, Pern, and yet others in tronc* a<; far as the city r r 
if Lop, -all belong to the great Turquie. Now let us leave you this province, and we fb v 
will tell you ot Another province which is called Ciarcian. fb 

HHRH HE BFGINS OF THH PROVINCF OF CIARCIAN. Ciarcian is a large province ta • 56 • 

ot the great Turquie and between the Greek wind and sunrising. va 
Formerly it was a noble country and fertile, hut is much laid waste by the Tartars, z 
The people of that province worship Mahomet and have a language for themselves. And fb vl 
there are towns and villages enough under it; and the master city 6- head ot the vb l 
whole realm is also called Ciarcian. And there also are many large rivers which bring much v fb vb z r r 
jasper and chalcedony, which precious stones the merchants they carry to sell to Catai va 
and have great proht trom them, tor they have plenty ot them and very good, va 
And almost all this province is sandy; and trom Cotan to Pern it is also sandy, and vb 
from Pern here it is still sandy, and /or this reason there are many bad and bitter fb 
waters; and yet again there are in several places sweet waters and good. And when l v 
the summer comes, when it happens that an army of Tartars, as well friends as enemies, R 
passes through the country of Ciarcian,- if they are enemies they carry off all their goods, p r 
and if they are friends they kill and eat all their cattle. And therefore, provided that they 



* S: ij or 30 or more or less 

- encore alara autuit FA.t-B: et de ei en auant B, prints oltre 



147 



• 56- THE SANDY DESERTS OF CIARCIAN AND OF LOP ^MARCO POLO 

VA arc enemies,^ all the men of that province who are in a place where the army passes they fly 

FB LT with all their wives and with children and with their beasts and all their things 

LT p among the sands two days marches or three /rom Ciarcian into other places where 

LT L they know that there is pasture to be found and -good water and that they could live 

V LT with their beasts, & that their enemy does not find them;- and there they stay and wait until 

the army is passed. Moreover I tell you that none can see where they are gone 

V LT because the wind /rom the south west, which prevails in those places, -destroys their footsteps- 
L LT made in the sand immediately - and covers the ways by which they are gone with sand, 

VB so that when the army comes & does not fnd anybody, they do not know where they are & 

it is not seen where they are gone and it does not seem that man or beast had 

VA LT ever gone that way, & they know not what to do.- After the departure\of the enemy^they 

return to their proper place. In that way they escape from their enemies as I have [23^] 

LT told you. And if it happens that an army of the Tartars to whom they are subject, who 

LT V are friends, pass that way, then the men do not fly but the beasts only fly, & they do 

this because they do not wish them to be taken from them and eaten; tor the 

LT VA armies of the Tartars do not pay for things which they take from the people where 

R they pass. -And know that when they reap their corn they store it far from the dwellings in 

those sands, in certain caves, for fear of the armies, and thence they bring back home what is 

necessary from month to month, nor do others than themselves know those places, nor can any 

ever know where they go, because the wind when it blows immediately covers their footprints 

with sand. And when one departs from Ciarcian he goes quite five days marches 

V VA VB still through sand where there is some very bad water and some very bitter, and in 

VA some places there is found some good and sweet. And there is nothing which does 

FB to mention in our book; so we will go forward and will tell you of a province which 

V FB has Lop to name. And at end of these five days marches one finds a city also, which 
FB is named Lop, which is at the end of the great desert, where the men rest themselves 

[<jn^]take food to cross the desert. And therefore let us leave it and we will tell 

you further. 

5-7 • ^ '¥'ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF LOP. Lop is a great city which is at the 

FB z L I I end of the desert, trom which when one departs one enters into the very 

JL -1- great desert which is called the desert of Lop, and it is between sun- 

V VA V rising and the Greek wind. And this city belongs to the rule of the great Kaan, and 

z P the people of it worship Mahomet. All things needful for travellers who wish to cross 

the desert are made ready in this city. And I tell you that those who wish to cross the 

VA V V great desert must rest in this town at the least a week to refresh themselves and their 



' il que soient enesus cf B. p. 42. 
148 



rni; di-scripiion o\' iiii; wc^ki.d's im. i)i:si:i<r ckossincj 57 

beasts. Ai c]u{ 1)1 .» \Mok ilicy must i.iko looj lor .» monili lot ihi-insclvi-> .\nA lor v 
thrir bc.isis. luciuisc tbfy take so lon^ to pass across that ^reat desert .• And there they load vk !• 
strong asses and raniels with iiierehandise and with victuals and so takr their way through the 
desert ;• anil if they are used up hejore the\ can cross it, -when they free the asses or camels from u v 
their loads of victuals they kill them -and eat them, -or let them jjo /// the desert, because they n \> 
could not provide them with food up to the end . I hey are more \\/7/»mjj however to keep the camels,- 
and they take camels Jor the most part,- because they eat little and carry i^reat loads. And then u i' 
one starts from this (own .uul thc\ cmcr mio die JrsiMi .' And I tell \'oii tliai it is 
SO lon^, according to wliai tlun' oj the district s.\y. tliat one would hardly go riding va \ a i-b 
from the one end to tin- other cn<\ m a \ear, and u'liere ii is less broad \\c works hard iii 
to cross it in a nionili. But lengthwise it cannot be passed because of the great length of it, vb 
Jor it would be impossible to carry enough Jood. Across, as has been said, one travels for a 
month of marches never finding any dwelling. It is all barren mouiitains and plains o/^ sand vb p 
and valle\s, [2:;^] and nothing to cat is loiind there. Bin 1 lell vou that when one 
is gone a da\ and a night he (inds sweet water to drink in the winter, but no water fb va 
which a sii(Hcientl\- large coninanx' could take, but as much as is needed for quite fihy IB 
or a hundred men, but yet not with their beasts," but not for more.- And so it is necessary va fb vb 
to cross with a small company, not more than ffty persons at one time. And through all the 
desert you must always go a day and a night finding nothing before you find water va 
to drink- in this way. Moreover 1 tell you that in three places or in fotir one finds va ib 
bitter and salt and evil water, and all the others are good to drink-but by no means fb va fb 
plentiful, which are about twenty-eight waters. And there are no beasts of any sort fb vb 
nor birds, because thev would find nothina to cat there. But \ et I tell vou that in fb l 
the crossing of this desert one finds there such a wonder as I shall relate to you. They r 
tell for a manifest thing that in the said desert there dwell many spirits which make for the 
wayfarers great and wonderful illusions to make them perish.- For while any company of y. 
merchants or others is crossing the desert, it is true that when one rides by night^ through 
this desert and a thing happens that anyone stays behind the others -and goes off the va fb 
road and is separated from his companions to sleep or tor other cause, and f the p 
company goes on till for mountains or hills it cannot be seen, and then he wishes to go to 
join his companions, then often it happens that they hear spirits malignant in the air va lt 

^ entrent len en desert FB: entrent ou desert 

- len troue eiue deueres mes nin aigue que peust auoir ase^grant iens ines cinquant ou cent homes con lor 
bestes The tentative version of deueres by "in the v\ inter" is supported b)- L: yemis tempore 
inuenit aquani dulcem; but alternatively read, with B., "water to drink in the winter-time" (L). 

^ R: <J tempo di giorno 



149 



.57- THE DELUDING SPIRITS IN THE DESERT OF LOP ;=^MARCO POLO 

talking in a way that they seem to be their companions, for they call them some- 

R times bv their names, and many times thcv make them, believing that they are some 

V z L of them , •follow those voices & go out of the right way so that they are never reunited 

VA z to their fellows & found, & news of them is never heard; and in this way they know not 

how to return^ and being without food and drink many ot them are dead in the past and 

L lost. And again I tell you that not only by night does this appear, but often even by day 

men hear these voices of spirits, and it often seems to you that \'ou hear many 

P VA FB instruments of music, sounding in the air, and especially drums^ more than other 

R V LT V instruments, -and clashings of weapons.- And so those who wish to- pass that way\and~\- cross 

LT this desert, -must take very great care of themselves that they be not separated from their fellows 

V for any reason, and that they go with great caution; -they must hang bells on the necks of their 

L horses & animals to hear them continually so that they may not sleep, -& may not be able 

R VB to wander .-Sometimes by night-they will perceive what is like a rush of people in another 

direction, and so believing that they are their company they go where they hear the march of 

the cavalcade, and when it is day they fnd themselves taken in by these spirits in this & other 

ways, and many not knowing of these spirits come to an evil end. Sometimes by day spirits come 

in form of a company to one who has stayed behind & he goes o^ the way, & then they 

leave him to go alone in the desert & perish. And there have been some of them who as they 

travelled, these spirits have put themselves into the form of an army & come charging towards 

them, who believing that they were robbers have taken to flight and, having left the high 

way, no longer knowing how to fnd the way, for the desert stretches very wide, have perished 

miserably of hunger. And thus those who are not well warned of these deceptions come to bad 

ends. And they are wonderful things to hear and difficult of belief, which these spirits do; but 

R indeed it is as is told, and much more wonderful .- And therefore they are accustomed to go very 

.Urictly in a company, and before they begin to sleep they set a mark towards the direction they 

R have to travel. And[in]this [23r/] way of necessity this desert is crossed, and at so great 

LT FB trouble and great peril and fear as you have heard. Henceforth we will leave telling 

FB you of the desert, of which uc have really told you all the doings, and we will tell 

FB FB you of the provinces which one finds when he comes out of the great desert of Lop. 

•58- y "TERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF TANGUT. And whcn One has riddcn 

i ' I these thirty days marches of the desert of which I have told you, then 

TA JL JL. one finds at the going out of the desert a city which is called Saciou, which 

L L VB belongs to the great Kaan. And it is in the province which is called Tangut. And 

z z they of that province arc all idolaters; though it is true that there are some Turks who 



* V,L: "bells" L adding that it is because travellers use bells. 



150 



I'lII' DliSCRlIM'IONOI IMi: WORLH*^ IHi: RliLIC.ION OI" I AiNCiU 1 .5 8' 

hoU the iilii^ion oj Nosioii.in ( hii.sn.uvs,' .niil .ilso tlurc .nc some S.u.iccns. Ami the 1. v 

iJt)l.itcis indeed \\A\c a lan\;iHi;o l^i ilu'insi-lvos. /Jk/ ilic town is hi-iwrcn ilic Circck / v 

wind .iiul the- siimisiiig. And clu'\ .in- not pi-opli- w lu) have handierajts cr livi' by v Vii 

trade l>iii tlio\ li\c o[ ilic pioln dI iIu- ckmw wimh they reap from tlie land. And v 

tlu'v have moreover inan\ abbe\s and inan\ monasieiies uhicii aie all lull ol idols ol / 

many kinds, u) u liich they do great sacrilice and great hontnir .xnd very greai reverence, / 

and have oreat devotion. And noii nia\' know that il is a eustoni m this province that all 1 r> v 

the men who haxe children, when a child is horn, iniitiediately ha\'e a sheep fattened i- 

every year in honour oi the idols, and at the beginning ol the \ear'' or on the festival v 

ol their idol those /<?//;<• ri \\ho ha\e laitened the sheep Idling 11 with their child ia 

helore the idol and there do him very great reverence and make ajeast in honour oj their /. l v 

idol, both the\' and <i/50 their child. And when the\ have done this they have it all IB 

cooked; then [i4(<] they carry it again before the idol with great reverence and fb 

there the\- leave it until the priests they have said their ollice and their prayer; & they v v 

do this that the idols may save their son ;;/ health, and then they say that the idols /. l 

eat the substance or savour of the flesh; of which those idols do not touch a thing, v. vl 
\or they are deaj er dumb and without mouth. When the\- have done this ihey take 

that flesh which had been before the idols^ and give the idols their share of the Jlesh, ta 
and take the rest and carry it to their house or into other place which they wish, and send 

for all their relations and friends and eat it with great reverence and m great festivity, va z 

And when the\' have eaten the flesh of this sheep the\- also collect all the bones and v l 

religiously keep them in a box \er\- safely. But the priest -oJ the idols -has the head ijfjeet l L z L 
Cjf inwards 6" skin oJ such a sheep as this, and some of the flesh. And \'ou niav know that 

// is a custom in this province that all the idolaters in the world, when they come to die, v v 

ordain that the others make burn the bodies cf men <jr of the women. And again I tell v va 

you that they do it in this way. When these idolaters are dead & arc taken & carried l v 

trom their houses outside the city or town to the place where thev must be burned, \n p 

some places on the wa\'^ the kinsmen of the dead have made a small house of canes l lt 

or of rods with its porch, covered with the richest cloth ol silk and with cloth ot gold r vb 

according to their power, in the middle of the road. And when the dead is carried l 

before this house so adorned they are stopped and the men of the house -place the body fb va 

on the ground at the foot of that pavilion, and lay wine and food and flesh enough on the fb va 

ground before the dead, thinking that the spirit of the dead is somewhat refreshed and r 



* Z: rdiqui turehi xristiani qui nestoriam legem tenent 

* L: complete anno 

^ entreuoies possibly in triviis "at the crossvvays ", but the early versions have not taken it so. 



151 



58- CEREMONIES OF FUNERALS AND OF BURNINGS ;:^MARCO POLO 

receives strength from it, since he must he present to see the hody burned; and they do it 

because they say that with such honour will he be received in the other world. 

VB And thus they do in each little house made on the way till they arc come to the place where 

the hody must he burned. And when he is carried to the place where he must be burned 

L VL L VA then his kinsmen have painted- images of men and wotnen cut out ot sheets oi paper 

R V wade of the bark of trees, -and have the names of the kinsmen written so that their bodies are 

L burnt, — and horses and camels and sheep and other animals; and papers likewise in the 

L form of money^ [-4^] '^^ I^^rge as besants. And they have also sendals of different colours, 

z VA &• clothes silver & many other things in numbers; and they have all these things thrown into 

the f re and burnt with the body, and say that in the other world the dead man will 

FB VA have with him as many slaves & maids and horses and coins, and as many beasts and as 

TA many sheep as they have paper ones burnt for love of him in that place before the body, • 

P and so he will live there in wealth and honour. And again I tell you that when the bodies 

P are carried to burn all the musical instruments of the land go sounding before the 

V L bodies around that f re. -For they say that he is sure to be received with such honour in the 
z other world.' And all this is done according to the position of the person and what his means 
L require. And again I tell oi another thing which they observe with regard to their dead, 

R R that when any of these idolaters, who are of a position that they wish to burn the body, 
VA VB V V are dead the kinsmen they send immediately for nmny of their astrologers, and when these 

V astrologers are where the dead man is they tell them the nativity of the dead, that is the 

V year when he was born, in what month and what day and the hour, and the day that 
VB he died. And when the necromancer or astrologer has heard it he makes his divination 

V R by diabolical arts and says to his kinsmen, when he has done his arts[^and]^seen under 
VA what constellation, planet, and sign he was born, the day and the hour that the body must 

VB TA be burned. And I tell you it often happens that some he makes wait a week or ff teen 

R days without being burned, if at the time that planet is not in the ascendant, and some a 

i-B FB month, & some quite six^ months, and less and more, according as he tells them by his 

art. And then it is the duty of the relations of: the dead to keep them in their house 

R as long as I have told you, waiting for the planet to be propitious to them & not contrary; for 

VA they would never dare to carry them out of the house to make burning till the diviners 

V tell them that it is good to burn. And as long as the body is not burnt and stays 
m their house they keep it in such a way; for I tell you that they have a coffin of 

' B. points out that just below "sheep" (jnontons) rake the place of "money" (tnonete^ here, 
and suggests that the original may have had both words in botii places. This is partly supported 
by L, which has both words here and neither below. V has monede only, in both places. 

' VA: vndexe VL: un giorno do, x, xx, xxx, e tal fiada sie mesi 

152 



I hi; i)i:sc:kii>i ion o\ iiii: world^:? ov nii: r)i ad in iangut .58 

l">t>.irds A i^ooii p.iliii (liiik. .mj those hcttnls arc well joiiu*.! logrdici, (/;»</ the fojjiii n all VA VA VA 

iioMn' p.iiiUi-J. Mu\ ilu"\' pill ilu- Innly iiisiJi- k ,inrl shut the ccjfin well, -and they stop VA K 

the joints with juteh iuui liiiir. Aiui duii (licy co\».r ii wiih such cloilis oj silk and so K 

arr.uigcii' |24f| l>otli \\itli c.impiior, sajjron, .nul wiili n\ai\y otlior spici's tliat the lA i. 

Ixxly Joes iu>i slink .u .ill lo iliosi' ol ilir iunisc. Aiul a^ain I iill you iliai the 

kindred ol ihr dc.ui. iliosc arc those ol ihc house, every dav as long as the LH)dy 

stays there have a board set lor him. and put there bread and \Mine and jlesh and many v 

other kinds of food to eai and to drink just as il he were alive. And they put u m 

front ol the coflin where the bod\ is .uid leave it till one could think that the dead v 

man at his convenience could have eaten ii; and they do the same at supper, and rhcy say V 

that his soul comes and cats ol the savour of that lood and drinks; and thus they do it fb r fb 

every day, -and all the relations stay in the house to watch him. In such way they keep vb 

him from the day the body died until the da\' that he comes to be burnt. And again I vb 

tell you that they do another thing; that these diviners olien say to the kindred 

ol the dead that it is not good that they take the dead bod)' out by the chief cioor L 

of the house, but by some other, and they hnd occasion either from a star or from other l 

thines which mav face that door; and then the kindred of the dead have him taken 

out b\- another door; and often they have the wall which Jaccs straight towards the R 

planet which is propitious and favourable broken and make a new door, and have him vb 

carried out b\- there to burn. -The reason however why their astrologers say that a body must fb l 

not be taken from the house on any day is that it must not be taken out except under that 

planet under which he was born, or at least not under one in opposition to it;'-&' if the v 

relations were to take him out at another time he would suffer great pain. -They say that the L 

dead would do much harm in the house; and it often happens that evil spirits hurt or kill some 

of the family.- So that for this cause every one obeys the word of the astrologers .- And if it v R 

were done otherwise they say that the spirits of the dead would be offended with those of the 

house and would do them harm. And if it happens that any one of the house meets with some 

ill or misfortune, or dies, the astrologers immediately say that the spirit of the dead has done 

this because he was not carried out when the planet under which he was born was in the 

ascendant, or indeed that it was in opposition to him; or indeed that it was not through that 

proper part of the house which it ought to have been. And all the idolaters of the world go 

in this manner and by the way that I have told you, their pagan blindness preserving this LT P 

superstition in the burning of the dead bodies of men. Now let us leave you this matter 



^ & si ordre V: drapi hodoriferi VL: siando lo corpo prima ben aromatizato 
- vel ad tninus in noit sibi contrario V: oner soto lo so chontrario, meaning probably the same 
thing, rliough not quite grammatically, cf. B. p. 45. 



58- THE BAD CUSTOMS OP THE PROVINCE OV CAMUL ^MAKCO POLO 

and wc shall speak to you of other cities^ which are towards the plough-beam 

close to the edge of this desert. 

en- "W" T'ERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF CAMUL. Camul is a province which 

VA P 1 I used to be* a kingdom by itself, -in the great province of Tangut. There are 

VB JL jL towns and villages enough under it, and the chief town is called Camul 

VB VA like the province. And the province is towards the plough-beam between two deserts, for 

L FB LT on the one side is the very great desert of Lop • of which we have spoken above and on the 

p LT LT other is a little desert ot three days march in length. -[i^d] And the people of that 

VB province are all idolaters like the others narrated above, and have a language for them- 

V selves. And they live on the fruit ot the land; ior they have things to eat and to 

p LT drink enough, both for themselves and they give and sell them to the wayfarers who pass 

LT VB that wav, to whom they will and as they please, -and to merchants who carry them to other 

V VB places.- And they arc men of very cheerful looks and all greatly given to amusement, for 

they are devoted to nothing else but the playing of instruments and singing and 

L L dancing and brief y in taking great bodily enjoyment. They delight also in reading and 

p L writing after their nmnner. And I tell you that, led astray from of old by their idols, -these 

VA people have such a custom. If a stranger passes through the region and comes to him to his 

VB house to lodge, he is too much delighted at it, and receives him with great joy, and 

V z labours to do everything to please. -And he tells his wife, daughters, sisters, and other 

L relations to do all that the stranger wishes more than for him; and he leaves his house 

L V and his wife for the stranger, and goes immediately to do his work and stays two days 

VA R or three on the farm or elsewhere, where he will.- And from there they send all thai their 

guests need (^none the less with payment for thcni); nor do they ever return home while the 

stranger stays there. And the stranger stays with his wife in the house and does as he 

likes and lies with her in a bed just as if she were his wile, and they continue in 

z great enjoyment. And in this way it can be said that all those ol this city and province 

z FB FB aforesaid -of Camul are shamed by their wives as you have heard. But 1 tell you that 

z they do not hold it as a shame to them but regard this as great honour and glory,- 

LT R because of the gemral custom which is in all that province ;- and very pleasing lo their idols 

when they give so good a reception to wayfarers in need of rest, and that for this reason all their 

goods, children, and wealth are multiplied and kept from all dangers, and all things succeed 

VA z for them with the greatest happiness. And the women arc very fair and gay and very 

R TA wanton and most obedient to all that their husbands order, -and greatly enjoy this custom. 

V p LT P Now it happened one day that at the time when Mongu the great Kaau, fifth -general 

' LT: de trihus terris perhaps mistaking TA: daltre terre 
* V:/o ede "was and is" (?) 

154 



Tin: i)i;sc:riimion c^i mi: woRi.n'^ could noi liii sioimm:!) 

lorJ 1)1 <i// I he I .ui.iis. riM\;iuiI iiiul was thctr lord in this province, then i( was rcporicJ i' i ii 

ID lum lu)\\ ilu)sc oj this proviiuf i>l C.nmil so m.ulc iluMi" wives cominii adiiltcrv tr 

with strangers, and he loathed such a enstoni. Aiul (li.u Mon^ii, havtn^^ learnt the huhtts i.i i< 

and so shameful customs, scuds io ilioin immediately coininandiiiv; iiiidcr very grcai i.i \ r. 

pciiahios that ihcy and all oJ that province \\n\si Jor the future leave this so indecent belief vu k 

[rtMr^jnoi dare to IdJv^c ilio sifan^crs any more in that way;- but preserving the honour of vii va v 

their wives should provide the wayfarers with public lodgings ;■ isr that they do not maintain any va 
more that shaming of their wives. And wlion tiio\' o{ Caimil had had this order they 

were imich grieved by it, and sadly obeyed the commandments of the king for about three k 

years; and then in the end, seeino that their lands were not yielding the accustomed fruits and n 

that in their houses many misfortunes followed one another, they were in ccninsel how to vii 

remedy so great a loss and counsel and do that which I shall tell \on. hOr they sent lt 

their ambassadors who took a great & beautiful present and carry it to Mongu and vu 

pray him (-i5<'] that so great a wrong with so great loss to them & danger should not be vb 

done, & rhat he would be content that they might observe that which by their old fathers and R 
grandfathers had been left them with such solemnity[and^wou\d leave them to make the use 

of theii- wives which their ancestors had lelr them, and that otherwise they knew not f-b 
how to live, and could not; and they tell him how their ancestors had said that ior 
the pleasure which they made tor the strangers with their wives and \\ith their 
things that their idols held them in great favour and that their corn and their 

labour on the land multiplied greatly because of k] for since they failed to do these R 

pleasures & kindnesses to the strangers their houses went from bad to worse & to ruin.- And when vb 
the ambassadors, furnished with their great & most notable gifts, were come to the lands of 
the great Kaan they were joyfully received, as is the custom with those who come with their 
hands full (/ do not speak of the rulers of these our parts, for they are far removed from this 
opinion^, & when the great Kaan had heard their embassy he laboured to remove this con- 
temptible belief from their minds, but they remained ever more sure that they could not hope 
for any good from their gods when they felt displeasure & if they dared to do contrary to their 

laudable commandments.^ And when Mongu Kaan heard it he says, For my part I have lt 

done my duty; but since you wish your shame and contempt so much, then you may have R 

it. Go and live according to your customs, and make your wives a charitable gift to travellers. R 

And then he revoked the order which he had made about this and consents that they do their lt 

will with their evil usage. And I tell you that with this answer they went home with the fb r 

greatest joy of the whole people and -from that time till now they have always kept up and v 

still keep up rhat custom throughout that province. Now let us leave speaking 0/ Camul va fb 

* VB has two columns (fol. ioc,d) in this manner, with much repetition. 

155 



59 



59- 1UGUR1STAN-& RELIGIONS IN GHINGHIN TALAS f^MAKCO POLO 

and we will tell you oi the others that are between traniontaine and the olout^h- 
V beam. And you may know that this province belongs to the rule of the great Kaan, 
z lUGURISTAN is a certain large province and is subject to the great Kaan. In it are cities 
and many villages hut the chiejest city is called Carachofo. This city holds many other cities 
and villages subject under itself, whose people worship idols. But there are many Christians 
following the Nestor ian rule. There are also some Saracens. The Christians are very often 
joined with idolaters in marriage. But they say that the king whom they frst had did not take 
his beginning from human generation, but was sprung from a certain fungus which is made 
up from the sap of trees, what indeed[is accustomed \among us to be called esca; and from him 
all the others descended. The idolatrous people are very learned according to their rules and 
customs, and are always studying in the liberal arts. In that land ^row corn and very good 
wine; but in winter the cold there is more severe than is known in any part of the world. 

60 • ^ T" fERE HE TELLS OF IHE PROVINCE OF GHINGHIN TALAS. When One SCtS OUt from 

i» I I this aforesaid province -of Camul, Ghinghin talas is a province which again 

z VB V JL JL is likewise next to the aforesaid -little desert between tramontaine and the 

V V z plough-beam. And it is sixteen^ days marches m size, and it belongs to the domain of 

V LT V the great Kaan, and there in that province are cities and villages enough. And there 

z z are three kinds ot people; these are idolaters some, and they are the more, and some 

z z those who worship by the law of Mahomet, and some Turks who follow the law of 

VL Nestorian Christians & Jacobites. And on the border of this province towards 

tramontauie is a mountain in which is a very good vein of steel and ot andanique.* 

FB z L And know too that in this same mountain is foimd a good vein trom which the cloth 

p V which wc frt// of salamander, which cannot he burnt if it is thrown into the fire, is made, & 

FB VA it is of the best that is found in the world. And you may know in truth that salamander of 

VA L which L speak is not a beast nor serpent, for it is not true that those cloths are of the hair of 

FB an animal which lives in fre, as one says in our country, but is such a thing as I shall 

FB say below; it is a vein of earth, and you shall hear how. It is truth that you know well 

that by nature no beast nor any animal can live in fire, because each [256] animal 

VB is made of the four elements, namely air, water, fre, & earth, so that an animal of 

any kind has in it heat, moisture, cold, & dryness, & so it would be impossible that an 

animal made up of the four elements should he able to live in fre. And because people 

did not know the certainty about the salamander they said it in the way that 

they say still that salamander is a beast; but it is not truth. But I shall tell it you 

TA now, how salamander is made and what it is. For I tell you that I had a companion. 



1 TA.LT: 6 FA.FB,Z,VA,P,L: 16 V: dodexe VB: xv. 
^ VA: dandanicho e de a^tro 



156 



Tur: niiscRiprioN ov rni: worlds mow asiu^stos is madi: .6o- 

a haron who hnJ C,"ullk*.u' lor ii.imc, a I ink tiicrcbant, who was very knowing m v vii vh 

my judgctnent L'T trustworthy, who /o/*/ Aow /;<• /^di/ staycil three years m th.ii province fb 

for ihe ^reat Kaan in charge of the work of the mines to have thai sakiinanJer hroin^hi p 

out yor the lord aiui iliar andanu|ue and that steel anJ everything, and he used to ii: i\ 

have these salamanders made. [And al jways' the great Kaan sends a lord there tor 

three years to rule the province and to do the business ol the salamander. And 

this haron my companion told me (he tacts,' and he was a person who had often seen it v TA 

made, and 1 saw them mwselt — / saw many made. The wav moreover of making salamanders LT 

is this. For I tell you that when one has dug from the mountains some ot that vein 

ot which you have heard, and one has corn it and broken it up, it is twisted together' 

and makes threads like wool. And rheretore when one has this vein he has it dried 

in the sun; -and then when it is dry he has it pounded in a great copper* mortar; and p v v v 

then when it is pounded he has ir washed with water, and only that thread like wool ot v p v lt 

which I have told you stays on the top of the water, and all the earth clinging there, vb l lt 

which is worthless, talis oti, jjod'5 to the bottom of the water,\&''^-is thrown away. Then vb va 

this thread which is like wool, he has it well spun like wool and then he has it woven lt vb 

&'cloth or towels & mantles made ot it, which we say are of salamander. And when the lt v l 

towels are made I tell you that they are not at all quite white, and they are brown lt 

when they are taken from the loom. But when they wish to make them white they put them v 

in the tire and leave them to stay there a space of an hour, and when it is taken out the v p fb 

towel becomes very white like snow. And whenever these salamander towels have lt 

any soil or stain one [2 5f] puts them in fire and leaves them there a space and they 

are not burnt up nor hurt but become white like snow; & in that way they keep them pure lt ta v 

& clean. And this is the truth of the making ot the salamander which I have told you, va 

no other. -I have seen it with my eyes put into the fire & come hack very white.- And those of FB vb fb 

the country tell it in this way themselves, -but of the salamander serpent which is said to live P 

in the f re I heard nothing in the parts of the east; and all the other things which are said 

of it, that it is an animal, are lies and fables. And again I tell vou that there is a lt 

towel ot it at Rome which the great Kaan sent to the Apostle for a very great present v 

when he sent him the two brothers for ambassadors, and for this reason the holy napkin ot v 

* &■ toutes couses foies probably for & toutes couses & toutes foies cf B. p. 47. 

^ le fait P: modum — rakin^g le fait for "rhe making". L: hec que . . primo audiuerat 
propriis oetdis uidit. 

3 & leu la rent & despece elle se trent ensemble Both reading and version are uncertain. E. 
reads se tient ensemble and translates: si ha un bel romperla e spezzarla: esse si mantiene unica, 
LT: et stringitur simul L: cum frangitur est tota plena pillis VB: batuta eben rota parre escha 
come fl dellana 

*TA:ehuoio VA: chuore LTiferro V: met ah 

157 



.6o- THE PROVINCE OF SUCCIU & CITY OF CAMPgiO ?^MARCO POLO 

VA VA L our Lord Master Jesus Christ (^niay he be blest!^ was put inside it, and on this towel were 

z written in letters of gold • these words, Tu es Petrns et super banc petrani edijicabo ecclesiam meam . • 

V PB FB In this province there is nothing else to say, so now let us leave speaking to you of this 

FB province and we will tell you of the other provinces which are between the Greek 

FB wind and sunrising, that is of the province which is called Succi^t. 

. 6l' T" T'ERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF SUCCIU. When One leaves this 

p V FB I I province of Ghinghin talas oi which I have told you above he goes riding- 

p JL X. continually ten days marches between sunrising and the Greek wind. And 

FB V in all this way there are no dwellings, or very few; and 50 there is nothing else which 

FB LT does to mention in our book. And next to this province at the end of these ten days 

FB marches one finds :inother province which is called Succiu in which are cities and 

R V z villages enough; and the chief city is also itself called Succiu. And there are also 

V V V z some-Nestorian Christians, and the people of it are idolaters. And they belong to the 

V domain of the ^reat Kaan, as do the other provinces aforesaid. And the great general 
VA VA province where this province of Succiu is and these tvvo^ other provinces oi which I 

VA have told you further back, that is Canutl & Ghinghin talas, is called Tangut. And 

FB VB z throui^h all their mountains of these provinces -the very finest rhubarb is found in very 

z great abundance; and there the merchants buy ir and carry it then through all the 

VB R world; nor is other merchandise found here. -It is true that the wayfarers who pass by there 

7. dare not go to those mountains with other than native beasts, for a certain poisonous herb grows 

in them such that if beasts eat it they lose the hoofs, but the animals born in that country 

V recoonize that herb and so avoid it in feeding.- And here is great abundance of flocks and of 
z fruits, and they live on the fruit which they get h-om the land and on their flocks, but 
z at trade they do not work at all. The whole province is healthy and the people are brown.- 

V FB FB Here there is nothing else to say, but now we will leave telling you of this and will tell 
FB you of a city [25^^] which is called the city of Camp^io, 
• 62- T" T'ERE HE SPEAKS OF THE CITY OF CAMPCio. Camp^io is a city which is in 

1 I Tant^ut itself, which is a very great city and noble; and it is the head 

V V JL JL and rules all the province of Tangut. And the people of that province M'e 

idolaters, and there are some of those who worship Mahomet, and again there are 

L z V some Christians. And they have in this said town three Churches of Christians very 

FB VA VB large and beautiful. And- in that city the idolaters have many most beautiful monasteries 

z V and very many abbeys according to their usage & customs. And in these monasteries they 

VA have a very great quantity & multitude of idols. Moreover I tell you that they have 



' FA.FB: de ces.iij. R: (sr altre due prouincie subsetjuenti The reading of FG (.Hi.) goes back 
apparently to a text which included lugiiristan. 

158 



mi- i)i:sc:kii>iion oi- mi-: worlo*^ imagi-.s and I'AsrnAYS .62. 

sou\c o{ tlieni which .nc (ti) p.k'i's m m/c, anJ more iiiiJ lea. And some .xxc of vvcxjd v 

.iiul soim- o{ f.uth or pottrry .iiul sonu' ol slum-, & some oj bronze, .iiul ihcy arc all p v 

a>vnt\i with v;oKi .iiul vti\' well \voiki\l c-^ wondnfully.-Oj these iJoli some are less v vh 

/(iror <iM./ some siihill. These v>reat i>.^ols mc Kiii^ clown' streteheJ out aiui several other k 

small Kii>Is are stiinJimi loimd ihose greai ones, anJ it seeius ih.u they An there h 

luiimht\ aiul reverence to them like disciples.- AnJ the Liri>c idols are much more reverenced R \'B 

//'.(// the smtdl. And because I have \un loKI ve>ii all the lioin^s of the uiolateis I 

wish to tell von them here. Now yon may know thai ihe regulars of the idolaters 

who hcep It nde live more decently than the other idolaters, /or they keep themselves ih v 

from certain things, namely from sensuality (t/i</ other improprieties, Init they hoKI it not / / 

for a v^reat sin. lor this is their opinion, that ij a woman invites them in love they can lie with /. 

her without sin, hut if they first invite the woman then they reckon it for sin. But vet I tell 

you that il the\ find am man who has lain with a woman unnaiurallv they condemn 

him to deatli. And they make the festivals of their idols at di^erent times as we do of our saints, ia i. 

and they have something like the kalendar where the feasts of their idols are arranged on fixed 

days. And I tell you that they have a moon kalendar just as we have the months, 

and in this way they reckon the time of the year. And they have certain moons when all VA 

these monks\of^ihc idolaters /or anything ol the world would not [26*1] kill beasts v FB 

nor flying birds, nor shed blood, tor five consecutive days of the week, -or four, or at least v v p v r 

three, nor would they eat flesh which was killed m those five days, and they hold them v 

in reverence as we Christians hold in reverence the Iriday and the Sahhath, and other vigils- 

of the Saints. And these live da\s they live more decently than they do the other R 

days in all the year.* -Some of them for reverence and devotion do not eat flesh food all their va z 

time, 'these are the monks; hut the laymen eat it always. And -the laymen indeed, they can take v '/. va 

up to thirty wives and mc^re and less according as he is rich and as they are able to 

* V: Ixitane dale pizole 

^ This passage about the kalendar (oinirred by Z) is rather difficult, and the different te.xts 
are hard to combine. 1': ont Inner ausi con nos aiiuni les itiois TA': anno lunare chome noi abiamo 
il viese VA: ano Innari chusi chome mii aiiemo le niexi VB: ano lo lunar chome nui niexi The 
version suggested seems on the whole to be supported by FB: ont kalendier aussi cotnme nous 
auons et ont. v. jours par moys and P: Totum anni circulum per lunaciones computant nee alios menses 
nee ebdoniadas habtnt In qutbusdain lunacionihus obseruant dies quinque continuos and R: hanno vno 
lunario di niesi, quasi come habbiamo noi TB.X'B.R make the five iiisc davs ever)' month, 
instead of in some months. VL: In alguna luna de lanno fin al quinto de la luna V only. I 
think, half implies that the fast days are weekly; while P says that there are no weeks. 
In old French luner or lunaire seems to have meant both a kalendar (not necessarily lunar) 
and a lunation or lunar month. F seems to use the word here in both senses, and in the 
second place VA translates it by hmaxone. 



.62- CUSTOMS OF CAMPgiO & THE CITY OF EgiNA ^MARCO POLO 

R keep them. And the men do not receive dowries from them but give to their wives^ for 

P their dowry flocks and slaves and money, & according to what may suit bis position & 

7. L his power. But you may know also that he holds the first wije for xS\z greatest & best. 

V And again I tell you that if he sees that any of his wives is old & is not good'' and 
VB that she does not please him he can well put her away 6^ can take to wife the sister of 

z FB V the wife divorced, and do with them as he likes, and takes another if he wishes.- Again they 

L take cousins for wives, and they are also allowed to take the wiit of their father, 

FB VB VA except their mother, -& also the wives of hrothers[or of]every other relation.' And they do not 

z z V hold as sins very many grave sins which we have as mortal sins, for they live in this 

VB FB FB way like animals with no law. And therefore let us leave speaking to you of them then 

& we will tell of the others towards tramontaine. Moreover I tell you that Master 

VB VA Nicolau and Master Mafeu and Master Marc stay about a year^ in this city of 

Campfio for their business which is not worth mention. And therefore we will 

FB V depart from here and will go forward sixty days journeys towards tramontaine, & 

will speak of many things. 

•63 • VB T" T'ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF E^iNA. When One leaves this aforesaid city 

V I I of Campgio he rides twelve days journeys and at the end of these twelve 
X. JL days journeys he finds a city which is called Egina, which is at the head ol 

VB the desert of sand towards tramontaine, and is part of the province of Tangut. And 

LT V V R all the people of that province are idolaters. And they have camels and other flocks of 

VB V P many kinds in great plenty. [26^] And there are bred heron or lanner and sakar falcons 

V enough and they are very good. And there is abundance of many fruits & of animals. And 
they live on the fruit of the land and on flocks, nor are they men of trade.* And in 

7 this city one takes as he passes through on the way food for forty days marches, tor you 

may know that when one leaves this city of Egina he rides forty days marches by 

tramontaine through a desert where there are no houses nor inns,^ nor do people 

FB stay there except in the summer; and this is for the great cold which is found there in 

VA V winter. In the valleys and on the mountains of the desert one finds indeed there many 

waters in which there are many fshes and pike, and wild beasts enough,* and there are 

^ V: ano da quele moier 

^ R: non si porte bene con le alt re Z: noii bene se gerat 

^ VA: ^nque ani P: anno vno VL: sete anni fa^ndo mercadantie 

* V here inserts obscurely: et vieno molti marchadanti lutani et fornisse questa de tiite vituarie et sono 
ben quaranta ^rnade lutani ede vno gran dexerto and then proceeds as in rhe version. 

' erberges FB : herbages pour bestes TA'': ne erbe ne frutti senone last ate 

• neuei demorent iens for lestee es uales & en montagnes hi treuue len . . R: ne stanno le genti se non 
V estate ne i mouti, & in alcuni valli. lui si trouano Of the three possible punctuations, B. has 

chosen 

160 



II II ni'SCRiPiioN oi' II II-: worlds n ii: ci i v ov caracorom .63. 

wiM .isscs in very i]rc ill p!c'n(\'. /or iluir .uc ioinftinifi iiii<ill pmc wdoJs' in plenty on vh i ii ir VA 

the fii^fs of this Jcsnt. AikI ulu-n diu- Ij.is ruiilrn thfu- lorty d.iys joiinicys through tins i. 

desert 111" liiuls a proviiui- low.nJs ii.inu>n(.niu- u'/;(Tc is a very ^rc at city which is called i.i 

Ciiriuwwii; .iiul \oii sli.ilj lu'.ii w h.u this city iS'hereaJter.- And all the abovesaid provinces i.i ip. c 
and cities, that is the city of Saciou, the province of Cainul, and the province of Cihin^hin talas, 
the province of Siiccni, and the city oj Cainpfio, and the city of L(ina^ belong to the great 
province of langut. 

H\'.\\.\\ 111 I r.LLS or nil. city of caracorom. Caracorom is a city which is all i. -64 

of timber and dirt h, which in niy judgement is ihrco miles roimJ, which was VB 

as they say the Inst city' which the Tartars have when they come out Vfi 

trom their countrw The city indeed is surrounded with a strong mound, because they have /. 

no supply of stones, • near to which on the outside is a very large castle, and in that is a most r 

beautiful palace where the ruler of it dwells.- And when they came out from this land all the v 
citi^'iis went to the palace where the lord stayed and holds it.^- 

You have learned then and heard of many provinces and kingdoms and cities. Now I wish to tell va 
you of the great Kaan, lord of the Tartars, how he wasfrst made, and what was the occasion of 

his lordship. And 1 will tell vou about the deeds of him and of all the Tartars and all va 

their ways, how :hcy first have the rule and how they were spread through the world, fb fb 

It was true that in the beginning the Tartars lived in tramontaine about Ciorcia* and v r 

Bargu. And in that country there is a very great plain which had no dwellings as ot v 

cities and ot villa^^es. But there was good pasture/or rtnimfl/5 and v^ry great rivers and v v 

good water enough. And the Tartars lived there, and they had no lord over their head, but v va v 

chosen to follow that of R, partly supported by V: et molti z^nte stano per Ii monti e uale. and 
by VB: Massi in algwia parte per la montagna et he abitada ene bestie. The present version is sup- 
ported by VA which purs a stop at "summer". FB omits all mention of mountains and 
valleys. The passage is perhaps at best incomplete and confused. 

^ bestaies de pin corrected to boscajes de pin by Roux(i824). TA: boschi di pini FB: bosque^ 
peti^ de pin aucunesfoi^ 

2 lequel fu le primer sire que les tartar out. L: et ex hac fuit primus dominus LT: in qua fuit 
primus dowinus TA: nella quale fue il prime singniore VB: e segondo dicono el prime signorsono tartaro 
VA: in la qualfcfatofugire el prime signior che aue mai i tartari de soa zente. P: ubi originem hahuit 
dominium tartarorum But le primer sire becomes in FA.FB la premiere cite, in V la prima se^i 
Z: & fuit primus locus ad quern antiquitus tartari se primitus reduxerunt The version follows FB. 

^ et quando lor insi de quest a tera tuti Ii ^tadini ando al pala^ la che staua el signer e quele tene 
It seems to be just possible that this obscure sentence is meant to state that when Caracorom 
was given up the capital was moved to Cambaluc. 

* en tramentaine entre ciercia ^ en eel contree The old versions var)' between entour and inter in 
place of entre. L: in lece dicte trociorcia 

161 



64- HOW CINGHIS WAS FIRST LORD OF THE TARTARS ^MARCO POLO 

V yet it is true that they paid tax to Prester Johan of their own free will, a^ great lord who 

V R was called in their tongue Uncan, which is as much as to say the great lord, which, it is 

the opinion of some, means to say in French Prester Johan ;^ [^^^] '^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ 
Prester Johan of whom all the world talks of his great rule. The Tartars gave him 

V FB for his tax of every ten beasts one; and thus he had the tenth of all their things. Now it 

happened that they multiplied much. And when Prester Johan saw that they were 

P so great a people he says that they were able to hurt him if hy chance they wished to 

R LT rebel and being afraid of them 'thought how he could harm them, & says that he will divide 

VA R VA them apart & scatter them through the world in several countries that they might have 

R less power.- And so every time that he found opportunity when some lord rebelled, he chose three 

and four in a hundred of these Tartars and sent them to those places, and so their power grew 

less; and he acted in a like way in other affairs of his; and then he sends some of his 

V barons there to do this, saying that they must kindly submit to his rule, & if they will not 
do this he will make them submit, to their cost & to their shame. And when the Tartars 

FB FB saw ^^/5[6T']heard what Prester Johan wished to do to them they were much grieved 

R by it. Seeing with what indignity they were subjected to so great slavery, not wishing to be 

LT separated one from another, and knowing that he was seeking nothing but their ruin, -they took 

counsel among themselves about this what they had to do. And they accepted the counsel to leave 

that country and go elsewhere where Prester Johan could not hurt them nor do harm. And then- 

VB R gathering all their goods & flocks they set out all together _/rom the places where they lived 

and go through desert places towards tramontaine so far that Prester Johan 

LT cannot hurt them. And they were rebels against him and paid him no tax nor any 

TA FB VA tribute. And so they stay some long time, the people of that province, ■ in a safe place. 

65 • T" 'I'OW CINGHIS WAS THE FIRST KAN OF THE TARTARS. NoW it happened that 

V VA I I m the 1187^ year of our Lord Jesus Christ the Tartars, having stayed thus for 
P FB V A. JL a long time, -by common consent make a new -lord & king of theirs who had 

V R Cinghis Kan for name in their language. This Cinghis Kan was a man very upright, 

V eloquent, and of great valour and of great wisdom and of great prowess, so that he was 
most worthy to receive the lordship. Moreover I tell you that when this man was chosen 

VB for king he ruled with such justice and moderation that he was loved by all and reverenced 
not as lord but almost as God, so that when this his good fame spread through many lands all the 
Tartars of the world who were scattered through those strange countries came off 



^ a u FB: a vng TA.VA: a uno 

2 F,FA,L,VA,R are the only texts of those consulted which make this statement quite 
positively. B. changes prestor iohan in the text to le grant sire on the sole authority of V. 

3 FA,I-B,TA,VA,P: 1187 L.LT.VB: 1287 V.R: 1172 



162 



nil'; Di-scRinioN oi mi: wori.i)*^, and wf-nt conqui-fiing f)-^ 

to him .iiul \vi!lin\^{)' luKI liim with reverence & ohediencc lor lor. I. Ami lliis Cin^liis p va 
K.in Mi.iiMi.iiiuil (lu- loiJsliip well ,iiu| li.nikly. Aiul wh.it sli.ill I \A\ \()ii about il? 
In ti little time mi i'lcu ,i miiliKiuli- nl r.iii.us (.Mine iluic ili.ii ii was a lunrvcl that V lA 
coitlJ net he helievetl. .Aiul wlun Can^i^liis k.m s.iw tli.ii lir li.ul so ^rcai a multitude of vb 
most viiliiint people lu", hein^ of a i^reat heart, wished to come out Jrom those deserts and wild h 
places and aira\c\i himself with this his people witli bows and with pikes and with their li iv. 
oihei' arms of their use -and with victuals, 'because they were strong and well trained with rii v r 
hows, having heen used to them while they were shepherds, and went conquering through 
all those [-iCW] other parts; and 1 lell you that so great was the fame of his justice and i\: k 
kindness that wherever he went everyone came to submit himself, and happy was he who was 
able to be in his favour, so that -in very little time^ they conquered quite eight'^ provinces, ta 
And this could reasonably happen because at the time the lands and provinces in those parts k 
were either ruled by the conununity or each had its own king and lord, and as there was no 
union among them they could not separately resist so great a host. But when he had gained and r 
taken the provinces and cities -and villages by force, he let no one be killed or spoiled after the p 
victory; and -he put governors in them of such justice that he did them no harm nor took R 
away from them their things, but when he had ordered the lands anew with lords and lt 
guardians of his own people and with those whom he trusted well, he -took all the chiefs and- all r vb 
the brave young men who were in them & led them with him to conquer other people, 
with great provision and gifts. And in this way he conquered this great multitude of R 
people which you have heard. And these people who were conquered, when they saw that fb 
he saved and guarded them against all men and that they had taken no harm from him, and 
when they saw the good rule and the great kindliness of this lord they went too 
gladly with him and were loyal to him. And when Cinghis Kan had gathered so great fb 
a multitude of people that they cover all the world, and saw that they all obeyed him lt 
faithfully •& followed him,'Secing that fortune so favoured him, he proposes to hitnself to v R 
attempt greater things; — he says to them that he wishes to conquer a great part of the lt 
world .^ And the Tartars answered that it pleased them well and that they would follow him lt 
gladly wherever he should go. -And then he sends his messengers to Uncan, that is in v vb 
our manner Prester Johan_, feignedly because he knew in truth that the aforesaid would not R 
listen to their words; and it was in the 1200 year that was since Christ was born. 
He sends to him to say that he wishes to take his daughter to wife. And when ta 
Prester Johan hears that which Cinghis Kan sends to him asking his daughter to 

^ VA: empochi ani 

2 V: nuove 

^ TA: tutto il momh LT: totum alium mondum 

163 



.65- HOW CINGHIS REBELS AGAINST PRESTER JOHAN ;^M ARCO POLO 

LT VB wife, he counted it a great insult to himself and holds him in great scorn. All furious 

FB & full of wrath he cannot restrain his words & cries and says to the messengers, And how 

has not Cinghis Kan great shame to ask for my daughter for wife? Does he not 

V V know that he is my man and my slave? But go back to him then and tell him on 

my fart that I would have my daughter burnt sooner than I would give her him for 

V wife. And tell him also on my part that I send him a message that I ought to put 
VA VA hini to an evil death as a traitor that he was against his lord and disloyal, & because 

V he had heen so rash as to ask for his daughter. And then he said to the messengers with 
LT p great anger that they should go at once from before him and from his whole realm -in 

V disgrace and that they should never come back to him on pain of their life. And when 

V V FB the said messengers heard it they set out at once from him. And they went and rode 

TA hy their marches till they came to their lord and tell him all [ija] the message that 
Prester Johan sends to him all in order without making any mistake. 

66' 'T' "yOW CINGHIS KAN PREPARES HIS PEOPLE TO GO UPON PRESTER JOHAN. And 

I I when Cinghis Kan hears the great insult which Prester Johan sends him 

VA JL JL & with such threats, & how he had called him slave & rebel, he has his heart 

V so inflamed by it that he thought he would die, & it is by a little that it does not burst 

V within his belly. For I tell you that he was too greatly masterful a man, & this 
because he was become a great lord & had been insulted by Prester Johan. He speaks after a 

V V FB space of two hours and says to himself so loudly that all who were about him heard it 

V V that he swears he will never keep the rule if he is not avenged of the great insult which 

Prester Johan sends him, if he does not sell it there more dearly than ever was 

LT insult sold to man.^ And he says that he must show him soon if he is his slave or 

FB not. And then he has his armies and all his people summoned and makes the greatest 

LT V preparation that ever was seen or heard in those countries .• And this done he sends im- 

FB mediately & he lets Prester Johan know well that he may prepare to defend himself- as 

VA far as he can, and how he goes upon him with all his might to find him in his own land. 

V And when Prester Johan knows certainly of that which he sent to say, that Cinghis Kan 
FB L r V was coming upon him with so great a number of people, he was very glad and he begins 

LT & makes fun of it and held him for nothing, not believing that he would dare to march 

V against him, for he said that they were not men of arms. And he said to those messengers 
that he did not regard him, & if he shall come down upon him he will return no more to his 
country. But still he says to himself that he will do all he can for this reason, that 

LT if he comes he wishes to take Cinghis in person and put him to an evil death. And 



^ P,LT,R change the form of this story in a way which makes those texts difficult to 
combine with F, without however making essential changes or additions to the sense. 



164 



ri II' Di'SCRiiMic^N c^i" II u- wc^Ki.i)'^ i>Ki:sri:R jc^i IAN sirrs out -66 

when thosf ainhiisstuhrs \wtf i^oitr ilicii In- h.is .ill Ins people from ail his cities through v V 
many rci^ions .iiul sir.>nv];c .siimmoiu\I .iiul .ur,i\t\I. I It makes iiulce».i so [^7^] great 

a lorce o) so numy sorts of people nmi strtiii\^e ili.u a gieaier hail almosi never heen heard f-b 
speak, ol . In siuh \\.\y as yow ha\e hcaiJ weie the one people arrayed and the oilier. 

And uln' shouKl I make \(ni a long siory of // ? ^'oll may know luiite truly that Mi 

Canghis Kan lorJ of the lartius-dul the same, & wnli all his i>rr<7f host of people came i-ii v fb 
away into a vasi plam and heauiiiiil which was called lenduc, which belonged to 

Uneaii who is called Prester Johan, and there he pitched iiis camp. And I tell yon that i' 

they were so great multitudes ol people ihai none could know the number oj horse va 

& of foot who were altooelher very many. And staying there he had news in the space of a v v 

few days how Prester Johan was coming with all his force. And so Cin^his Kan he rejoiced v v 

i^reatly at ii because that was a lair plain and so great and so broad to make battle with v f-b 

broad space. And iherelore he waited therefor /;///( very gladly and much wished his fb 
coming to light uith him. But then the story ceases to speak of Cinghis Kan and 
of his men, and we shall come back to Prester Johan and to his men. 

HOW PRIISlLiR JOHAN WirH HIS PEOPLE WENr lO MEEl CINC.HIS KAN . Now - Sj 

I he story says that when Prester Johan knows that Cinghis Kan with all 
his people was coming upon him & was encamped in the plain oJ T endue, va 
he went with all his people against him, and they go till they were come into this 
plain ot Tenduc, and there they pitched camp near to that ot Cinghis Kan by about v 
twenty miles/ And there each party rested themselves two days so as to be more tresh v i-b fb 
and lusty the day ot the fight. In such way as you have heard were the two vast 
armies in that plain ot Tenduc. And with Cinghis Kan were many Nestorian Christians v 
& also many Saracens. And one day Cinghis Kan king of the Tartars makes astrologers p 
who were [lyr] Christians and Saracens come before him and orders them that 
they should be able to tell him by their enchantments and skill of astrology who must v 
win the battle between him and Prester Johan. The astrologers viewed it by their 
arts. The Saracens do not know how to tell him the truth of it, but the Christians 
told him the truth of it and before all show it clearly there. For they said, O lord Cinghis fb v 
Kan, thou desirest to know who must be the conqueror of this fght; we wish thee thyself to see. 
And immediately they have a green^ cane before him and cut it throu^jh the middle R 
lengthwise & made two parts of it, and then they put one half on one side, on the side v fb lt 
of Cinghis, and the other on another, on Prester Johans side, -one not far from the other lt va 

^ de tangutc.cingins chan a.xx.miles tangute should probably have been cancelled. TA,R: "lo 
miles" Others, "twenty" 

V: breganega, a word not easily found in the dictionaries. See pp. 268, 343. 

165 



2 



•67- THE BATTLE OF CINGHIS WITH PRESTER JOHAN ?^MARCO POLO 

V FB on the ground, and no one held it. And then they put as on one half of the cane the 
FB LT name Cinghis Kan and on the other half cane towards his side they wrote the name of 

Prester Johan, and said to Cinghis Kan, Sir, now look at these canes and see that 

this is your name and the other is the name of Prester Johan, and therefore when 

FB we shall have made our enchantment look if you shall see the truth, who must have the 

P better of the battle; -these parts of the cane will fight together. He whose cane shall come 
above the other will win the battle. Cinghis Kan says that he wishes indeed to see 

R that and told the astrologers to show it him as soon as they can. And then, when 

V the whole army was come together to see this thing, • in the presence of Cinghis Kan the Christian 
TA astrologers^ have the Psalter and read certain verses and several psalms and make 

P their enchantments, and then the parts of the cane were disturbed and it seemed that one 
lifted itself up against the other, and at last the cane on which was the name of Cinghis 
Kan, without anyone touching it, joins itself to the other and mounts up on that 
of Prester Johan; and this was in the sight of all those who were there. And when 
VA P Cinghis Kan & his people sees it he has great joy thereat, and the Tartars were much 
comforted when they were assured of future victory; and because he finds the Christians in 
the truth he always afterwards did great honour to the Christians and had them [27^] 

V FB for men of truth and trustworthy, and had them in favour always afterwards.^ Now 

let us leave speaking of this and we shall tell you of the battle of the great Kan and of Prester 
Johan. 
•68 • T" "FERE he tells of the great battle which was between prester johan 

V FB 1 I AND CINGHIS KAN. And two^ dnys Sihcv this incantation was made, -when the 

X. JL armies were well rested, both parties armed themselves and fought hard 

LT together, and it was the greatest hsiZtle^andyiaughter of men that was ever seen. 

LT VA There was very great loss both on the one side and on the other, & many people died 

L there, but at the last Cinghis Kan won the battle and Uncan, that is Prester Johan 

LT was killed in that battle and from that day forward loses all his land, while Cinghis 

V V Kan departed from that place & goes conquering it always & making it subject to his rule;- 

R and Cinghis took his daughter to wife. Moreover I tell you that Cinghis Kan reigned six* 

L VA V years alter that immense battle and in these six years -continually goes conquering many 

FB VA castles and many provinces and many cities. But at the end of six years he goes to war 

^ VA,VB,P,R omit all mention of Christians and Saracens, and R makes the astrologers 
do their work per pot en ^a de gVldoli. Z,L unfortunately omit the story. 

* et out puit toites foies Read probably et ot puis toutes foics & supply tel, "them so", or some 
similar word. 

3 V: hoto 

* V: sete 

166 



lUli DI-SCKIIM K)N Ol nil- WC^KI.I)'^^ I I ll- (iKIlA'I' TARIAK KAN -68 

ai^iiiiist .1 casdc wliuli li;ul (^.mv;iii lor m.iiiu-, .nul iIutc while he was hestfi>iiiii tt lie was i. r 

liii by .in .iiiDw 111 (In- kiu-i-, .uul ol ili.ii Mow lie JicJ ttfter a Jew dayi, (Jr he wai buried v 

oil the i^rciit mount Altiii. IVom iliis (hen- was grcji loss, lor he was a nriidi'nt m.iii and 

wise (//;./ (/ iiitiii ot war. Now I li. u'c ilcs(.i"ilH\J to you liow liic {'.irtais lirst have a i.i 

lord. aiiJ who was their Inst lord, aiiJ ih.it was (jiiv^his Kan, <^ he set them free from i.i v 

servitude ; aiui again 1 ha\c' lolj you how tlioy lust coiiciuercci Prcster Johan. Now I 

wish to icll you the many other lords-who reigned afterwards and ol their customs and n( v in 

their hahirs as you shall learnt v 

H\i\Ui ni: iKLLS oi- rnii kan who rhign afff-r thh nnATH or cinghis kan. -69 

You may know quite truly that alter the death o/'C^inghis Kanyirif lord of r;r v 
the Tartars Cui Kan'' was second lord, the third lord named Batu Kan r va 
reigned, & after him reigned the lourth Ulau^ Kan, after Ulau Kan reigned the fifth v v 
Mongu Kan, after Mongu Kan reigned the sixth [iSa\ Cublai Kan who mow reigns & v i. 
is greater and more powerhil than was any ot the others. I'or il all the other five 
were together they will not have so much power as this Cublai, /or he inherited what r 
the others had, and then obtained as it were the rest of the world; for he lived about sixty years 
in his rule. And agam 1 tell you a greater thing than I am telling you: that all the 
emperors ot the world and all the kings both ot Christians and ot" Saracens also, if l fb 
they were all together, would not have so much power nor could they do so much as 
this Cublai great Kaan could do, who is lord of all the Tartars of the world, both of those fb 
of the sunrising and of those of the sunsetting, for all are his men and subject to him.- And this r 
name Kaan means Emperor in our tongue. And I will show you this his great power- in its fb lt 
own place in this our book quite clearly. And you may know truly that such a custom v l 
is observed; for all the great Kaan and the great lords of the Tartars who are descended v lt 
from the line of their frst lord Cinghis Kan are carried tor burial when they are dead fb v 
to a very great mountain which is called Altai. And wherever the great lords of L 
the Tartars die, if they die a good hundred days marches* away from that mountain, v 
they must be carried there to the said mountain for burial with the others, - nor are they v fb vb 
willing to be buried in another place. Moreover I tell you another ^r^^t wonder, that they fb vb 
have this custom that when the bodies of these great Kaan of the Tartars are carried to lt 
that mountain to bury, though they may be distant forty days marches or more or v 



1 This story (chapters 64 — 68) is translated from VB on pp. 494-498 below as an example 
of the way in which that version deals with the text, adding man)- words but no facts, & 
actually omitting several interesting details. 

^ An old note in the margin of V adds hoccata can. 

' Alton and most texts have something similar; but see PN. 

* TA'; c° tnigla 

i(>7 



') 



69- THE FLOCKS AND FELT TENTS OF THE TARTARS ^MARCO POLO 

less, all the people whom they met by the way by which the bodies are carried are 

TA V FB put to the edge of the sword by those who conduct the said body. And they say thuS' 

LT LT to them when they kill them, Go serve your^ lord in the other world. For they have 

p come to such foolishness and the devil has so blinded them -and surrounded them with such 

LT madness that they believe truly that all those whom they kill [28^] /or this cause must 

VA VA go to accompany & to serve the great lord in the other world. And they do the same 

VA with the horses which they find on the road, & say that he has so many horses in the other 

VL V world. For when the lord dies they kill all the best horses^ camels, & mules -that are 

L left that the lord had. They have[them]killed^ believing that the lord may have them 

V LT in the other world; (cr- so they all believe. And you may know that when Mongu the 

FB ffth Kan died more than twenty thousand^ men were killed on the way, as I have told 

V R you, ' all those who met the body when it was being carried by the horsemen, who held 

FB this wicked and frm belief, to that mountain to burial. And since we have begun to speak 

about the Tartars for you, I will even tell you many things of them. The Tartars 

P R comtnonly feed many flocks of cows, mares, and sheep, for which reason they -never stay in one 

V place, but -retire to live in the winter in plains and in hot places where they have grass 

R L in plenty and good pasture for their beasts; and in the summer they move themselves 

over to live in cold places in mountains and in valleys where they find water and woods 

R L R and good ^2LSturc for keeping their beasts; and also for this cause, that where the place is cold 

flies are not found nor gnats and suchlike creatures which annoy them and their beasts; and they 

go for two or three months ascending continually and gracing, for they would not have enough 

V V p grass for the multitude of their beasts, feeding always in one place. -And they have their -small 

P V houses like tents -of rods of wood and cover them with felt;^ and they are round; 

VB R and they always carry them with them on four-wheeled waggons wherever they go. For 

R they have the wooden rods tied so well and orderly that they can_/it them together like 

p R VB fl pack and- spread them, take them up, put them down, and carry them very easily where they 

VB please. And every time that they stretch and set up their house they set it so that the 

VB R R door is always looking towards midday.^ They have beside this very beautiful carts with 



^ uostre FA: vostre TA,R: vostro FB: nostre VA,V,LT,P: nostra 

2 /■/ occient . . . seingnor auoit font ocire FB: il ait omitting the redundant font ocire B. 
reads avoit, [et^font ocire 

^ FB: "9000" VL: trecentoniillia R: "loooo" VB consistently makes the persons kill 
themselves. 

*feunes ¥A,¥'S>:cordes L:/^/!o, so attesting the early date of/<?MNC5; butTA,LT,V,VL,P,Rall 
have "felt", and the omission of a very small mark would tuvnfeutres into feuiies. VB: tauolle 

5 VL: "And they always set the door of their house in the summer toward the south (austro^ 
and in the winter toward the north." 

168 



'iiii-: i)i:sc;rii'i ION oi nii. \vx)kli)^s iiiiik i iawking & i-ood 69 

only two wheels covovcA witli M.uk Irli which is so iiooil atul so well preparrd tli.u li it va V 

raim\l .ill \.\.\\ on the earl w.xn woiiki soak iiDtliiiie ili.ii w.is iii ilic cm iimier that va va 

cover oj Jelt .• AnJ tlu-y h.ivc ihiin iMoiiglii .md ilr.iwn hy horses and by oxen .inJ vn rn 

sonielinies by ooo./ camels. AiiJ on ihi-so carts ihcy cany ibcir wives and iheir children i, va 

and all the things and food which they need.- And in this way they i^o wherever they wish to go, K i.i 

and thus they carry everything which they need. And I icll you thai the Tartar ladies trad'', va r 

buy, and soil, and do all the work that is needed lor their lords and Jamily and for i. 

themselves.' /// expense they are not burdensome to their husbands, and the reason is that they i,i 

make much gam by their own work. They are also very provident in managing the family and 

are very careful in preparing food, and do all the other duties of the house with great diligence. 

And so their husbands leave all the care of the house to their wives. I'or the men trouble 

themselves with [^t>f] nothing at all but with hunting and with feats of battle & of va 

war and wuh hawking and with falcons and with goshawks, like gentlemen, •& in this in tb vb 

they take great delight. Fhey have the best falcons in the world, and likewise dogs. They live 

only on flesh and on milk and on ^ame, the flesh of all wild animals which they take in r vb 

their country, and also they eat certain little animals which arc like rabbits, which with us r 

are called Pharaoh's rats,'' which are there in great abundance in the midst of the 

plains below' and everywhere. They cat even flesh of horses and ot dogs and of v\ 

mares and oxen- and camels, -provided that they are fat, ^nd gladly drink camel and mares r vb l vb 

milk, and in general they eat ot all flesh of other animals clean and unclean. They keep v p 

themselves so that for nothing m the world would the one touch the wite of the 

other, tor if it happen that a man were taken they hold it tor an evil thing and vile vb 

exceedingh'. And the loyalty of the husbands towards the wives is a wondeiful thing, and a vb 

very noble thing the virtue of those women -who if they are ten, or twenty, a peace and in- r 

estimable unity is among them, nor is it ever heard that they say an evil word, but all are 

intent and anxious (^as has been said^ over the trade, that is the selling and buying, and things 

belonging to their occupations, the life of the house and the care of the family and of the children, 

who are common between them. -For in my judgement they are those women who most in the vb 

world deserve to be commended by all for their very great virtue; and they are all the more 

worthy of very well earned praise for virtue & chastity because the men are allowed to be able to 

take as many wives as they please, to the very great confusion of the Christian women (Z mean in 

these our parts^. For when one man has only one wife, in which marriages there ought to be a 

most singular faith and chastity^ or[else'\confusion of so great a sacrament of marriage, I am 



^ a se mesme B. corrects plausibly to a se viesnie . ^ See PN. 

^ desote perhaps read destee V: de instade R: nella state TA,LT,VA,P omit. But FA: 
en pertuis sou^ terre FB: es partuis soub^ terre (" in burrows under ground") seem to show 
that desote is \cry early, ct. c. 213. P calls the rats reptilia. 

169 



• 69- WEDDING CUSTOMS & GODS OF THE TARTARS p^MARCO POLO 

ashamed when I look at the unfaithfulness of the Christian women,\_and call^those happy who 

being a hundred wives to one husband kecp[thcir virtue'^to their own most worthy praise^ to the 

VB very great shame of all the other women in the world. The ladies are the most chaste women in the 

V VB world and are good and very loyal to their lords, nor would a woman be found false to 

VA V V her husband, - and they are very hard-working women and take great pains to do the necessary 

duties of the household very well. The marriages are done in this way. For each 

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

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

VB and to the mother of their wife to obtain them, nor does the wiie give anything to 

VA L the man /or dowry when she is married. But you may know too that they always hold 

TA R the first of their wives for more genuine and for better than the others, -and likewise the 

L L V children who are born of her. -And they have more sons than all the other people in the 

VB world have because they have so many wives^ as I have told you, & it is a marvel how 

many children one man has, I mean those who have the power to keep many wives. They take 

VA L their cousins /or wife and, what is more, if the father dies his eldest son takes to wife 

R the wife of his father, if she is not his mother, and all the women who are left by the 

father except his mother and sisters. He takes also the wife of his own brother it he 

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

people. 

.yO- T" "FERE HE TELLS OF THE GOD OF THE TARTARS AND OF THEIR RELIGION. And 

FB R I I you may know that their religion is thus as I shall tell you. -They say that 

JL JL there is the high, sublime, and heavenly God of whom every day with censer and 

VB incense they ask nothing else but good understanding and health. For they worship idols, & 

they have one of their gods whom they call Natigai, and they say that that is a 

LT VB FB terrestrial god or god of the land who [28^] protects & cares for -their wives and their 

V sons and their cattle and their corn. And they do him great reverence and great 
P honour, for each keeps him in an honourable place in his house. For they make this 

p LT god of felt and of other cloth and they keep him in their houses; and they believe that 

LT VB this god of theirs has a wife and sons, and so they also make of cloth -another feminine image 

VB & say that it is the wife of this god and they make other little images & say they are his 

V L R sons. And the wife of this god they put on the left side and the sons in front, w/;o 

VB seem to be doing him reverence, - and keep all honourably covered, and give them honour 

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

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



1 tantes foies B.'s conjecture of t antes femes is supported by TA,LT,P,VA,VB,V,R. 
^ toutes femes I'B: tant defames & so V. 



170 



nil': i)i:sc:kiimk^n ov iiiI' wokld^ ihi:ik dkink and I)I<i-:ss 70- 

then ilu\ {.\kc sDiiu- l>n)tli or Wiiln- tn which the jlfsh is (ooked-to wash thnr tnouth aiul l* v 

.spiiiikli- It III then honoiii i)utsulr I lie iloof ol ihcir house or room, when- that i>od of I' I-l' 

theirs stanJs, -to the other spirits. Aiul ulun ilu-y have done this they say that tlieir god R 

.ukI his l.imiK Ii.ivi- \\.u\ iluMi- share. And alter this they eat and drink the rest-as v vii K 

they pledse. Vov vo[i ina\ know that thev drink mares inilk. lint I tell you loo that 

they have learnt to piepaie" it ni siieli a way tliat it is hke wliiie wine; and it is very i' i' 

good to drink and thev call it //; their tongue cheinis." I heir clothes are like this, va 

Por the rich men & nobles wear cloth ol gold and cloth ol silk and under the outer i. i' 

i>iirnients rich liirs ol sable and ermine and vair and ot tox & of all other skins very v 

richl\-; .md all their trappings[6']/wr-//>irr/ robes arc very beaiitiliil and of great value, v 

And their arms are bows and arrows and very {*ood swords and clubs studded with iron, v fb vu vd 

and some lances -and axes, bin the\- avail themselves of bows more than ol any other fb 

thin^; lor the\' are exceedingly good archers, the best in the world, -and depend much- fb vb 

/V0//1 f/;/7(//;oo(/-K^o// <7rrow5.-/lm/ on their backs they wear armour ;;ifl</f ot buffalo hide r vb v l 

and of other animals very thick, & they are of boiled hides which arc very hard and vb vb 

strong, rhey arc good men and victorious in battle and mightily valiant and they are P vb 

very furious, and have little care for their life, which they put to every risk without any regard. 

They are very cruel men. And we shall tell you how they arc able to work more than 

other [29^] men. For when the army goes out for war or for any other necessity, more readily v 

and bravely than the rest of the world do they submit to hardships, and often when he has 

need he will go or will stay a whole month without carrying any common food except va ta l 

that he will live on the milk of: a mare and will eat of: the flesh of: the chase which 

they take with their bows. And his horse will graze on the simple grass that he shall fb p 

find in the f elds 'by the way so that he need not carry barley and other grain -or hay or fb v vb va 

straw. And they are very obedient to their lord and I tell you that when there is v 

need they stay two days and two nights on horseback without dismounting, and he stays all vb 

the night on horseback with all his arms and sleeps on horseback, and the horse will fb vb 

go grazing all the time on the grass wherever it may be found.- And they are those people p v 

who most in the world bear work and great hardship and wish least expense, & are fb p 

content with little food, and who live more and 2ive for this reason suited best to conquer ta l 

cities & lands and kingdonis. And it was well seen in them; just as you have heard and shall v fb 

hear in this book how from slaves they are now lords of the world. They are very well arranged fb 

& ordered m this vi-ay that I shall describe to you. You may know that when a lord v 

^ labent FA.FB omit. TA (acehonciallo), LT (j^arant'), L (confciunt'), P (jparare), VA,V 
(chon^^ support B.'s correction I'adobent. 

2 chetnins perhaps for chetnuis, kumiss. V: chemenis See PN. 

171 



yo- THE ORDERLY DIVISION OF THE TARTAR HOSTS p^MARCO POLO 

R ol the Tartars goes to war he takes with him an army of a hundred thousand horse- 

V men. He plans his business so as you shall hear; and he arranges his men in this way. 
FB FB He makes a chief to every ten, & to every hundred, & to every thousand, and to 

TA L LT every ten thousand, so that -the chief lord he has to take counsel with only ten men, the 

V captains of ten thousand men, • who are heads of a hundred thousand; and he who is lord of 
ten thousand men had only to do with ten men; and he who is lord of a thousand 
men had only to do with ten; and likewise he who is lord of a hundred has only 

R to do with ten. Thus as you have heard each answers to his chief; every ten heads of 

ten answer to the heads of a hundred, and every ten heads of a hundred answer to the heads of a 

thousand, and every ten heads of a thousand answer to the heads of ten thousand, and in this 

FB way each man or captain without other plan or trouble has only to fnd ten men, -so well and 

R orderly that it is a wonder. And when the lord of these hundred thousand wishes to 

V VA V send any of them or to go -for any reason in any direction he sends for and orders the head 

V P often thousand^ men to give him a thousand of his men, and the head often thousand 

p V orders [29!)] the head of a thousand, the tribune, -to put all his men in order and to give 

p him his share — to pick a hundred, and the head of a thousand orders the head of a 

p hundred, and each head of the hundreds orders the head of ten, that each give a 

R share, of that which comes to them, of the thousand men. And they — all the heads 

R of the tens — each know immediately the shares that touch them and give them so many, 

R a hundred head to the heads of a thousand and a thousand head to the heads of ten thousand, and 

P thus they settle it immediately .• And in this way a thousand of the ten thousand are chosen. 

This however is kept in so good order that all are sent by equal turns, and each one knows when 

he may be justly chosen. Everyone moreover obeys immediately when he is chosen. For 

each is obedient to that which is commanded them more than any people in the 

L VB world. ^ And you may know that the company of the hundred thousand men in their 

VB P tongue IS called a tuc and the ten thousand men a toman. And the whole army is thus 

p ordered by thousands and by hundreds and by tens; they observe the same way in a large 

1 x" for x"" 

^ This elaborate arithmetical passage is omitted by the majority of texts, but is preserved by 
V,VA,P,R. In VA ir reads: "And when the lord of looooo wishes to send 1000 men 
for any reason to any place, he orders a captain of loooo to give him 1000 men of his people; 
the which captain of loooo orders each captain of 1000 to give 100 men, and each captain 
of 100 orders each captain of 10 to give one man; so that in this way he has 1000 men." 
The ratlier difficult sentence au chief de.x.qe chascnn done parte de eel que les uienent des.m. homes is 
paraplirased by B.; and El Millon has y cada utio for qe chascun. V: et loro chomanda a li lor 
homeni si che ognuno li da la sua parte de li omeni che li tocha 



ijz 



II ii' i)i:s(^i<iiMic^Nc^r 1 1 ii; wc^iun^ ^ri n:iK (iKi:Ai hari)INi:ss 70- 

i/>7//v (JMi/ 1/ \///.(//.' Aiul wliiii thr /or./ with ilic troops j^o (o i|o .m\iliini;, to i^et citifs V v 

or kiiH^Joins, wIu'iIum- {\\cy mc on .1 pl.tm 01 111 luoiini.uiis and valltys, ilicy always semi 1.1 i.i 

luo luiiulri\l MuMi or niorc [\so J.i\s m.uclios bcloif lor spies /o 5/yy out the roadi and \' i.i 

the count r\>, .iiul /.'<• /ciivcv-iiv ///dMy .ilso iH-liiuii .uul .11 ilu- sides, tliat is so that they have v 1.1 v 

outposts in lour Jirocitons. Aiul ihoy do this iIku ilu' aimy cannot he attacked ^rom v 
<7/iV side without knowing it. And when they go a long way to war they carry nothing 

ol kit, especially of those thinos which are needed Jor sleepino. I hey live at most times on milk K 
(«i.s" has been said^, and oj horses and mares there are about eighteen Jor each man, and when any 

horse is tired hy the road another is taken in exchan{>e. I'or tlie\' carrv no food but -one or two v VB 

baos ol leather in which they put their milk which they drink, and they carry each va 

a small pi^^nare. that is an earthen pot, in which they cook their meat. But if they L 

had not this, -when they find some animal they kill it and take out the belly and empty it and V 
then fill it with water; and take the flesh which they wish to cook and cut it in pieces and put it 
inside this belly so filed with water, and then put it over the fre and let it cook; and when it is 

cooked they eat the flesh cauldron and all. And rhev carry with them also a small tent of felt v R 

in which they stay tor the rain. Moreover 1 tell you another thing, that sometimes R 

when there is need and the press of some enterprise -requires that they go a great way in haste, R va 

they ride quite ten days marches without eating any cooked food and without lighting va p 

fire, in case their journey may chance to be delayed by cooking of food, -and without fruits, but p lt 

often, for want of wine or water, they live on the blood^ ot their horses; for each pricks p 

the vein of" his horse and puts his mouth to the vein and drinks ot the blood till he is fb fb 

satisfed; then they stop it up. -And again they carry blood with them, & when they wish to eat VB 
they take some water & put some of it in the water & leave it to dissolve, & then they drink it. 

And in the same way they have their dried mares milk too which is solid like paste, v 

And it is dried in this way. They make the milk boil, and then the cream which floats on top R 
is put in another vessel, & of that butter is made; because as long as it stays in the milk it 
could not be dried. Then the milk is put in the sun, and so it is dried. And when they go to 

war they carry about ten pounds of this milk. And in the morning they take some ot that R 

milk (each man takes half a pound of /t) and put it in a little leather flask, made like a bottle, R R 

with water & stir it with a stick and carry it until that [29^] milk in the flask is dissolved p R 

being beaten up and made like syrup as they ride, and then they drink it when a convenient R l 

time comes, 'and this is their breakfast.-So that in this way they go against their enemies, & K \' 

^ & les per milier &por centener &por desine P (in slightly different context, and quite omitting 
titc and toman): Sic enim uniuersus exercitus ordinatur per mille centum & decern In B. p. 55, the 
lacuna is supplied by the words toman se poent center. V,L omit the sentences. \^B: he cuxi 
ua se mando de.x.in.x. 

2 dun sane and so below. But FB: du sang LT: de sanguine 

173 



70- THE MANNER IN WHICH THE TARTARS FIGHT ^MARCO POLO 

P use their horses in such a way. And when they come to battle with their enemies in the 

LT field they defeat them as much by flight as by pursuit in this way: for they are not 

R turned from them in shame of flight; for they arc never mingled with them altogether, 

R hut go shooting now here now there, riding continually around their enemies/ ^and] 

VB VA often they pretend to fly -and in this way they lead their enemy where they wish and cause great 

R loss to the enemy with those arrows. And they have so trained their horses that at a sign they 

P turn themselves here & there at the will of the riders as quickly as a dog would do. And 

when one chases them and they go flying they fight as well and as stoutly as when 

they are face to face with the enemy. For when he flies more quickly then he turns, 

V himself back against them with his bow and makes great volleys of arrows and kills 
FB some ot the horses of the enemy and some of the men also who are pursuing them 

R behind their backs; -as if they were fghting face to face; and when the enemy believe they 

LT have discomfited and conquered them by putting them to flight, then they have lost, 

V LT V for they fnd' all their horses are killed and themselves in plenty by those arrows which 

are poisoned. And when the Tartars see that they have killed some of the horses of 

L their enemies and some of the men too, united together at length they turn themselves 

FB upon them & come back all at once to the battle and behave themselves so well and so 

FB valiantly and so orderly & with so great noise that they put their enemies to flight and 

FA V conquer them immediately. For they are very brave in battle and strong and hardened, •& 

they make cruel battles. And in this way they have already won many battles and 

V conquered many people. And this is the truth, & all that I have told you are the ways 
VB and customs of the real Tartars. But I tell you that now they are much debased & 

L have forsaken some of these customs, for those who frequent Catai keep themselves very 

VA greatly to the ways and to the manner and to the customs of the idolaters of those 

L regions and have very much left their law; and those who frequent the Levant keep 

* car il ne sen tornent ad honte defuit car il uoit arcaor la or entor a lor ennimis This is evidently 
corrupt, but it is not very easily mended. The first clause was apparently taken to mean that 
they were not ashamed to pretend to fly, and so FB: Car Jl^nont honte de fuir; and nothing 
like the second clause seems to be found in the other texts except R. It seems rather to mean 
that if they are repulsed they do not take to shameful headlong flight but return and ride 
round the enemy. The last sentence will then be, // uont or fa or la entor a lor ennimis or 
perhaps, il uont arcaor or fa or la entor &c.. R suggests, as B. points out, yet another slightly 
diff^^erent idea: mai si meschiano totalmente con loro, anz^ continuamente caualcano a torno qua, & Ih 
saettando, et alle volte fngono di fuggire. VA: in hataglia con i siioj nimixj segli ano el pizere egli non 
ano vergognia nisuna VL: "When the Tartars begin a skirmish with their enemies they always 
set their ambushes in hidden places, and those who attack set themselves immediately in 
flight as if they were weaker than the enemies, and as they fly they lead their enemies into 
their ambushes." 

'74 



1 1 Hi DiiscRiiM ION oi' nil; woki.d^ punisiimi-nts & cm vim .-jo- 

iluinsi'lvos \'(7v in\uh in (lu- m.miui dI Saracons & hold the finlh <Lt' /<jwj oJ Mahowiet • Atui i, vu v 
ilu\ I ii)(/| inaiiit.im jiin( ico and jutl^^cnicnt in siicl) a way as I shall /jowilcscnhc to you. I or i.i r g 
(I murderer there is no riuisoni. Indeed ij a man strikes with steel or with a sword, whether he hits 
or not, or threatens one, he loses his hand. He who wounds inwst reeeive a like wound from the 
wounded. It IS mic tli.u wlun a man has taken some little thing lor which he oiighr 
tun to die, 'they eondeinn hint to he heaten. Iherc is given him hy the i^overnntent -at least seven v i. in i. 
hKnvs with a rod or, iJ he has stolen two things, seventeen blows or, if three things twenty- i' vk VFi VB 
se\en blows or thirr\'-se\en or lorty-seven, anj in this way it goes up sometimes to a VB I, 
hundred and seven, al\\a\ s increasing by ten blows for eaeh thing which is stolen, according l vb 
to N\ hat he has raken and the measure oj the crime. And many ol them die ot this beating. ? 
And il the man steals ij oxen so that it would come to exceed toy blows[or]si horse or vb 
other thine lor which he ouoht to lose lite he is cut in two with a sword and killed;^ p 
so, truly, that il he who steals can pay and will give nine'^ times as much as the value l 
o/" that which he has stolen he escapes yro/;i death -and they do not despatch him with the P v 
sword. And the country is so secure that each lord or the other men who have animals vb 
in plent\', they have them marked with their seal stamped on the hair, that is the horses P 
and the mares and camels and oxen and cows and other large beasts; then he lets 
them go safely to graze anywhere over the plains and over the mountains without a l r 
watchman; and it on their return they are mixed the one with the other, each man v 
who finds them recogni^s the owner's mark and immediately -takes pains to inquire for him lt p 
and quickly gives back his own to him whose mark is found. And in this way each v 
fnds his own animals. 'But -the flocks and small rt«;/?/n/5, the rams & the sheep and the goats l lt 
they have indeed watched by men, without a stamp. Their flocks are all very large l 
and tat and very fine^ beyond measure. And again I shall tell you another wondertul v 
usage which they have which I had torgotten to write, that they make among themselves lt 
marriages of their dead children. You may know quite truly that when there are two 
men who, the one has had a male child [30^] who is dead, and he may be dead at v 
four years or when he pleases before he is married, and he inquires for another man who fb lt lt 
may have had a temale child suited to him, and she also may be dead before she is lt fb 
married; -these two parents they make a marriage of these two dead together in this way,- v v v 
when he is at the age that he should take a wife if he were alive. For they give the dead girl lt 
to the dead boy tor wife, and they have documents made about it in corroboration r 

^ P: per transuerswii in uentretn mucrone percutitur et occiditur seems rather to surest disem- 
bowelling. VB: i fa monzar la testa 
2 FB: viii VA.VB: .x. 
^ bestes for belles VA: grande grosse e belle oltra muodo 

175 



70- WEDDING CEREMONIES FOR DEAD CHILDREN ?^MARCO POLO 

V of the dowry and marriage aforesaid, -how the father of this dead girl gives that his daughter 

V to wife to this dead hoy. Then a necromancer throws this paper into the fire and thev burn 
LT rhose documents and when they see the smoke which goes into the air then they say 

L that they go to their children ui the other world and announce this marriage to the dead, 
L and that they know it and that they, the dead boy and dead girl in the other world, 

V hold themselves as husband and as wife. And thus they believe that henceforth they are 

V married. And then they make a great wedding feast and banquet, and of that food they 

V scatter some of it hither & thither on running water^ and say that they go to their 
P children in the other world that the bride and bridegroom may eat their share of that feast.' 

VB And having made two images, one in the form of the youth and the other in the form of the 

maid, they put both cf these images on a car adorned as richly as possible, and the carriages 

being drawn by horses they take these two images with great festival and rejoicings through all 

the land, and then conduct them to the fire and burn those two images, and with great prayer 

and supplication to the gods that they make that marriage known in the other world with 

happiness. And again they do another thing, for they have painted and portraved 

L R on card men in the likeness of slaves^ and horses and other animals and cloth of all 

R p FB sorts and bezants and every kind of furniture and many utensils, -and all that they agree 

to give one to the other for dowry, without being obliged to give it; and then they have them 

L burnt and say that their children, the dead bridegroom and bride, will have in the other 

VA world all those things in reality which they have had portrayed and burnt. And 

p when they have done it they the parents and kinsmen of the dead count themselves as 

V P kindred and keep up their relation as long as they live as well as if that wedding had 

V VB been exactly celebrated in reality, and as if they their dead children were alive. Now it 

VB seems to me that I have shown you and described clearly enough the provinces of this 

FB race and- all the uses and the ctistoms of the Tartars; not that I have told you of the 

R very great deeds and enterprises of the great Kaan, that is the great lord of all the 

V Tartars, nor of his vast imperial court, but I shall tell you them clearly in this book 

^ L: circwnquaque per teram . . . per teram exspanssas 

2 des eles cf.B.p.^j. B. leaves the text uncorrected (to be translated presumably "of them") 
on the ground that VA,VB,P read "of the boy & girl" without "slaves"; but he recorded 
iliat V (omeni chomo schiaui), L (homines in modum seruorum^, R Cfuomini in luogo di serui^ have 
"men like slaves" without the "boy and girl"; while TA (vccielli, ISY'.aues) shows that the 
passage was early regarded as puzzling. In 1932 B. translated it uomini che somiglino a schiavi. 
FB omits the sentence. 

VB has taken it to be the marriage of a dead boy and living girl, matremonio della gar^ona uiua 
con el puto morto . . . et con gran leti^ia . . . la meschina gar zona i mete nel focho et arde quella, and 
naturally calls it questo crudel costwno. 

176 



nil. i)i;s('i;iiM ION oi 1 1 ii w'oki.d^ I'.Aiuiu \s\ ii ii; 0(:i:an siiA .70- 

wlu'ii II ■.lull In- iluii mm- .iiul pl.uf, loi iluy .in- iiMJiy in.irvollous ijjings lo pm 
mil) wriiiMv;. 11 V sluill sprak oj the rule cj' the ^r cat Kaan aiul of his court, whtcb in my vii 
jitJi^ciiunt I holil, /jfJV/Mj) searched cut and seen many parts oJ the world, that no other dominion 
can he compared with the power and wealth and dominion of the ^re at Kaan which is wonderjul 
and almost incredible to him who has not seen it. And I shall hind myself Jor certain not to 
sa)> cj' If mere than is aecordino to the truth, that my witness in the sight of all, and chicjly 
of those who throuiih the times shall see or hear, may he known to he true. Ikii [^o^j now 
leavino these things wo wish lo go h,wk lo mir story in the great plain where wc were L 
when wc hcoan aboui iho Joints ol the Tartars. 

HI'Kl: m: iiii.Ls oi mi- plain oi- harc.u and of thh different customs -yi- 

ov THE PEOPLE. And u hoii o\]c departs from Caracoroni and from 
mount Ahai where is the place where are put the bodies ot the Tartar p ta 
lords -of the house of the great Kaan as 1 have told \ou above, he goes then through a fb va 
plain & through the coinitry towards traniontaine which is called the plain of Bargu vb 
and through this plain are found as it were no dwellings, or Jew, & this plain lasts quite VB 
forty^ da\-s journeys. The people who dwell there are called Mecrit and are very wild v l 
people, and Jor the most part they live on animals which they take in the chase, and the vb p 
most are deer which are very large, -of which they have many. And what is more I tell you vb P L 
that they domesticate and ride the deer by way oJ horses, -they are so large. -They live p l vb R 
likewise on birds, because there are many lakes, ponds, and marshes, & the said plain borders 
toward traniontaine on the Ocean sea, and those birds which lose their old Jcathcrs live the 
more part oJ the summer round those waters, and when they are all naked so that they cannot 
Jly, those people take them at their good pleasure; & they live also onjsh. -And uses and customs vb 
thev have like the Tartars^ and thev belong to the dominion of the great Kaan. And v vb v 
thev have no Jelds of corn nor wine. And in the summer they have hunting and chase v v 
oi Jour-Jooted beasts and birds enough and take a great cjuantity oJ birds, but in the winter VB R 
no beast nor bird stays there for the great cold oJ that region. And when one has gone P 
riding (^as was saidy these forty days marches over this great plain then one finds the R v FB 
Ocean sea, and there on the sea shore they have a very high mountain where the goshawks vb vb r 
and peregrine falcons arc Jound in plenty. In those mountains they have their nests. And va v 
the plain is like this.' For you may know that there are no men nor women nor beasts 
nor birds except the peregrine Jalcons & one kind of bird which are called bagherlac, on va 

^ R: sessanta L: 4 FA.FB say that one reaches Bargu after a journey of 40 days. LT: 
Ouando hotm recedit de tartaro et peruenit alchay . . . homo uadit magis ultra P(nibric^: De ciuitate 
bargu 

^ K: e nella pianura. VB: In dite montagne 

177 



71- BARGU FALCONS & THE KINGDOM OF ERGIUUL ?^MARCO POLO 

L VB V which the falcons feed themselves. And they are large as good partridges^ and chey 

V P V have the feet made like parrots, and the tail like swallows[of]/)flw^5;-fl«^ they are 

VB FB very swift, & so the falcons which feed on them have of necessity to be swift & good. -And it 

is for the great cold which is found there that no animal can dwell there. And when the great 

LT Kaan wants some peregrine falcon nestlmgs he sends as far as to these mountains there 

VB for them; he does not allow falcons to be taken from this mountain except for his court & 

L to send as presents to the lords. And in the islands which are in that sea around that place 

VB L FB V are bred [}oc'\ the gerfalcons also -in abundance. Moreover I tell you in truth that all this 

VA P place of which I have told yovi above is so far towards tramontaine that the north pole, 

the star which is commonly called the tramontaine star is somewhat left behind towards 

midday/ And again I tell you that the gerfalcons which are bred on the islands of 

which I have told you above are in so great abundance that the great Kaan has as 

V many ol them as he wishes at his pleasure. And do not understand that those who 

VA brmg them from Christian lands to the Tartars carry them to the great Kaan, /or 

he has great abundance of them; but they carry them to the Levant to Argon and to those 

V P other lords of the Levant who are near to the Armenians and Comain. Now we have told 

you clearly all the facts of the tramontaine provinces as far as to the Ocean sea 

FB where there is no more land, and henceforward in future we shall tell you of the other 

FB provinces, & we shall come ha.ck!^andl^shall tell you of the other lands all the way to the 

LLP place where the great Kaan dwells. And here it is necessary that we shall come back to 

L P a province which we have written in our book above which is called Camp^io, so 

that we may describe other provinces bordering upon it. 

■J2' TT T ERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT KINGDOM OF ERGIUUL. And when One 

z I I leaves this said province of Campgio of which I have told you, one goes 

FB VA P JL JL riding- through a region of quite five days marches in which in great numbers 

V L z VA of places are found -very msiny fantastic spirits which one hears talking by day and 

TA most times by night in the air. And at end of those five days marches towards 

VB sunrising one finds a kingdom which is called Ergiuul. And it belongs to the dominion 

L L of the great Kaan and is also part of the aforesaid very great province of Tangut, 

z z L V VA which kingdom indeed has several other -fne kingdoms. But the people of the region 

z V VB arc of three races; there are some -Turks and -many Nestorian Christians,^ and idolaters, 



^ FA: demeure auques a deliure denii tour Pauthier explains this to mean, "is somewhat 
visible to the south." FB: est auques pres a demy jour, "is rather near the zenith." TA,LT, 
VA,P,L,R repeat the cheerful hyperbole of F. V: li monti in verso me^o di. 

2 R here and in more than one place follows V in distinguishing the Turks from the 
Nestorians. cf. pp. 183, 263, 264, 277, 314. 



178 



THI-: niiscKin ION oi mi-; worli)":^ \viij)oxHNi}t musk duhr yj 

and some- Silt luctts <i/m>, iIiom- who worslup hy the law 0/ Mnlionicr . There are nohlf /. vn / \'b 

cities enough iinJ v/7/iJi><v in the .s<jn/ provincf. an*.! the capital city is nanifd lirgiuul. / fA 

AnJ liiiin this cit\' towards siriHCo one can vlt> mto the countries ofCarai. and on 

this road ol michco towards the countries of Caiai [ i^^] he finds a city whicli 

has Silnii^iu tc luiiiif. -dihl the province is called Silingiii, and there are towns and cities FB / 

enough unJer it. and 11 is also pan ol the abovesaid province o/Tangiir iiselfand belongs vb i. /. 

to the (loniinion of the great Kaan. And the people likewise are idolaters and people vb v p 

who worship Mahomet, m\<\ there are also some Ncstorian Christians. And there are /. L v 

great numbers of wild oxen and cows which arc as large as it were as elephants & they vb i. 

are very good and beaiitilul to sec, for they arc all hairy except the back, and they va 

are white and black. And the hair is about three palms long;* and they say that their L l vb 

hair is wonderful, and is very Jine and white wool, and the said wool is more Jine than silk is. 

I Marc Pol brought some of it here to Venese as a wonderful thing, and so it was counted for 

such by all. They arc so beautiful that it is a wonder to see. And of these same oxen 

they have many domesticated, [wi't/j hair]so long, but not so long as the wild. For thev vb 

catch some ot the wild ones when they were small and make them breed with the domestic I"b r 

cows, so that they already have a very great number of them. And the oxen which are l vb 

born oj them are wonderful animals, and more fit for labour than any other animal. And 

they load them with great loads and plough with them, and I tell vou that in a short R p 

time they plough twice as much as the others and have double strength. And in this fb z 

country is produced the best musk and the finest that is to be had in the world, p 

And vou mav know that musk is found in this way that I shall tell vou. You mav 

know e]uite truly that in this country there is a little kind of wild animal which is of the fb fb z 

size of a gazelle," that is of a goat, but its fashion is thus. It has deer's hair, but very z l 

much more thick, and the feet large as a gazelle, horns as the gallic it has not, it has L v ta R 

a gazelle's tail; but it has four teeth, two below and two above, which are quite fb 

three fingers long and are very thin, and white as ivory, and go two upwards and two va vb 

downwards. And it is a very beautiful beast to sec; -and it is called gudderi according to v v z lt 

the Tartar tongue.- And I carried with mc here to Venese the head and the feet of one of the vb 

said animals dried, and some musk in the musk sac, and pairs of little teeth. ^ -But the musk is V 

found in this way. The hunters sally forth at the full of the moon to catch the said animals; vb 



^ R: / loro peli sotio in cadauna parte del corpo bassi eccetto che sopra le spalle, che sono lunghi tre palmi, 
Z omits the sentence. 

^ TA.LT.VA.P: "a cat" — and so just below. 

^ \'B: edel viuschio enel chapo del muschio pare pote de denti picolli — of which the exact sense 
escapes me. 



17Q 



72- THE PRODUCTS BIRDS AND PEOPLE OF ERGIUUL ;=^MARCO POLO 

for when one has taken it he finds on it at the navel in the middle under the belly 

VB between the skin and the flesh a pustule ot blood which grows on this animal when the 

VB moon is full, which one cuts off with the whole skin^ and takes it out^ and they dry 

it in the sitn. And that blood is the musk from which comes so great [31^] odour. 

VB And from this country is the finest musk that is found. The flesh of this animal is very good 

to eat, & they are taken in great numbers. And you may know that in this country it" 

L V exists in very great quantity and so good as I have told you. The men of this province 

FB they live by trade and by crafts both of cloth of gold and of silk, and have abundance of 

V p 1. all corn. And the province it is twenty-five^ days marches in size & is very fertile. -And 

VB there are in this province most beautiful pheasants twice as large as those of our country 

P V V VB in Italy, tor they are about of the size of peacocks^ a little less. And they have most 

beautiful tails ten palms long at the most^ and there arc many of ninc^ & of eight_, 

L L and of seven at the least. Yet there are also pheasants of another sort which are of the 

L L VA same size and altogether of the fashion of those of our country .'' Of the other birds 

P P there are many most beautiful of many di^erent kinds with very beautiful feathers and 

VA P V VA very well coloured with very beautiful variety of colours. -But the people of this region 

VB P P VB V are all idolaters and followers of lust, and they are commonly -tall and -very fat and have 

V VB L z small noses and the hair of the head black. And they have no beard except only so 

R many^ hairs on the chin. The honourable ladies have no hair except on the top of 

V the head; nowhere else have they any hair. The women are very white and have very 

z fair flesh, -and in all the members they are very well made in all respects. And you may 

z know that the men they delight themselves much in sensuality and take wives 

enough_, because their religion nor their usage does not hinder them^ but they can 

take as many* of them as they wish and as they have the power to keep. Moreover 

P z I tell you that the men seek for beautiful wives rather than for noble, for if there is a very 



^ L: cum parte pellis sihi correspondente 

- TA.LT.V refer, as here, to the musk; FA,FB,VA,P: "of these animals"; L is ambiguous. 

•' TA': XV 

* de lagrande & de faison^ des nostres pais TA': al iiiodo di queste paese L: fasiani alterius modi 
qui sunt totaliter similes nostris et eiusdem magnitudinis VA: de grandeza de queli dele nostre chontra 
VB: . . . chome questi nostri Perhaps we should omir pais, or ve^d grande defaisan^, or, with B., 
& de faison^des faisans des nostres pais. 

Equant ¥A,¥B: aucuns L: aliquantulos P: itiiberbes sunt set pilos solum circa labia habent Z; 
iiij V: quatro R: quattro TA,LT have no corresponding word. Possibly we should read 
quatre 
After "idolaters" V adds: e trouasse chauali negri although it retains e li chaueli negri below. 

^toutes ¥A,¥?>: asse^ TA,'V,V^: tante LT: quot l\: quant e Z: /«M/rfl5, very mucli short- 
ening the passage. Perhaps read t antes. 

180 



nil, DI-SCKIIMION C)| Illi; worlds I-XiKIC.AIA AND riiNDLJC 72- 

comely itiiJ l.iir worn. in .iiul she is poor ami -horn of low lic-sccnr, yet a great haroii or vh / 
a v^ri'.U ni.ui, the ^nuHcsl of the LiiiJ.-who ii rich t.ikfs lui lo uiic loi her hiMiity and ia vh 
gives siKor iMKHigli lor Iut 10 \)ov Jiithrr iiiul moilu-f .is [\w\ can best li.ivc agrccci w. /. 
to^cthcr.-aiul thcv arc valtic.l acconiin^ as they arcjair. Now \vc will Jcp.in liom Ihtc / vb 
ami \vc shall i^o ;iiul \\r sli.ill (rll \()u ol .inotluT province lownrtis ihe siinrising. ia 

HI'RI' III II IIS 01 iiii: KINGDOM 01 nii: province of hgrigaia. []\l>] And -jy 

win 11 our Ji.m^ I'i\;uuil .iikI ^^oes riding towards the sunrising eight ir. 
d.u > ui.iiilu's lie iinds .1 very ocod pioNince which is c.illed I'igngaia 11 
v\'hero ihoro arc ciiies .iiul \ill.ioes enough iimlcr it, and // is also-undcr the name oj'the y, vii P / P 
great province ol I aiu^iii . And the capital cii\' /// ;/ is called Calacian. The people v l 
who dwell there are_/or the most part idolaters, and there arc many Saracens, and there are vb i.i va 
also three* very bcautijul churches t^l Christians who follow the law Ncstorian.^ And / ib /. v 
they all moreover belong to the great Tartar Kaan. And in this city of Calacian arc p fb p 
made many-cloths which are called camlets ol camels hair, the most bcautiliil that fb p 
are to he found 111 the wtM'Id and the best; and ac^ain ol white wool, for they have white z fb 
camels, they make ol it white camlet very beaiitikil and good, and they make vrry r 
great qiiamit\' ol it . And thence many of the said camlets arc sent for sale to other parts, or vb 
the merchants carry them to sell through many places and specially to Catai and vb z fb 
into other places through the midst ol the world. ^ Now let us come out ot this 
province toward the Creek wind & sunrising and we will enter -and will tell you of another va ta FB 
province which one calls Tcnduc; and so wc shall enter into the lands which were r fb 
of: Prester Johan. 

HERE IIF. TOLLS OF THE GREAT PROVINCE OF TENDUC. When Onc SCtS OUt V -74 

from here he finds Tenduc which is a province toward sunrising which has v 

towns and villac^cs enotigh; and it is onc of the provinces -where that great L P 
king most famous in the world, who was called by the Latins Prester Johan. used to stay. 

Now however they are subject to the rule of the great Kaan, for all the descendants ot z z 

Prester Johan who reign there arc subject to the great Kaan. And the capital city is z v 
named Tenduc. And one of the line of Prester Johan is king of this province; 

and indeed he is still a Christian priest/ because all the Christians of those parts are made z z z 

'*■ VB: quatro 

^ V: e la non scno giexic ne christiani 

^ VA: la zentc adora vno dio . . . In qucsta ^tade se fano i ^anbclloti de pello de ganheli plui belli 
che scweglia li nostri E fano cl fillo dela lana hiancha che par veliitc hiancho e signiori grandi ne portano 
per tuto el paixc del grandc chaatn; 

* encore est prestre iohan and so TA,LT,VA,P — VA adding: F.t e suo nonie proprio L: et usque 
ad hoc tempus sic dicitur. Set proprium nomen rcgnantis ad presens est georgius, clear!)' based on the 

reading 

181 



74- PRINCE GIORGE AND THE ARGON OF TENDUC ^MARCO POLO 

V L V R VA such; -and his own name is Prcster Giorge. And -the greater part of the people are Christians. • 

V And he holds the land for the great Kaan, but not all that which Prester Johan 

p held, but some part ot that. But I tell you also that after the death of that king who 

VB w^j killed by Cinghis in battle, -these lords, that is Ciorgians, are reckoned of noble blood, 

YB for the great Kaan_, descended from Cinghis who had the daughter of Uncan (whom we in 

our tongue call Prester Johan^ for wife—from which lady all these lords are descended — , 

z have always given of their daughters and others of their kindred to the kings who 

VA z VA reign in that region who are descended of the lineage of Prester Johan. And in this 

FB province are found the stones from which azure [31^] is made, which is like a vein 

VA VB V of earth, and it is plentiful there and very good, and they are good at making it. -And 

z FB FB VA there is made -much camlet of camels hair very good and of every colour. -And they live 

VB on flocks and on the fruit which they take from the land, with which they do great 

V z business, and some trade also is done there and handicraft. And the rule indeed belongs 

z to Christians because the king is Christian though he is subject to the great Kaan, as I have 

V VA L P told you above, but there are also idolaters enough and some men who worship by 

V z FB the law of the abominable Mahomet. And there is also a race of people (the Christians 

VB who have the rule^ who are called argon in their own tongue, which means to say guasmul 

in French, that is to say that they are born of the two races, of the lineage of those 

z z of Tenduc who worship idols and of those who worship by the law of Mahomet.^ 

TA They are the whitest men of the country and fine men more than the others of the country 

FB P who are infdels, and more clever and better traders than can be found elsewhere in any 

FB province; -and for this cause they have the rule. And you may know that the chief seat 

z of Prester Johan was in this province when he ruled the Tartars and all those other- 

VA VA z great provinces and kingdoms round; and all his descendants keep his seat\_and~\ dwell 

there still. And this Giorge whom I have named to you is of the lineage of Prester 

VA Johan, as I have told you in the story, and is the sixth^ lord since the great Prester 



reading of F. FA.FB.VB oniit. Z: preshiter quidem est xristianus quia omnes &c.. V: e to re 
de questa prouin^a si sono de la prouin^ia(sic) del pretc ^ne e vicn chiamado per so nome prete gieorgin 
e tien la tera &c.. It seems to be possible that iohan is a very earl\' error due to prestre iohan 
only three words above, cf. IP 1932, pp.iii-114. 

* hil hi a une ienerasion de iens que sunt appelles argon qe uaut a dire en franfois guasmul ce est a dire 
quil sunt ne del deus generasions de la lenguec des cel^ argon renduc & des cel^ rcduc & des cel^quc aorent 
tnaomet The words des cel^ argon renduc & should probably be omitted as in the translation, 
but the mistaken insertion of argon is not easy to explain; unless it may be a relic of a clause 
like que aorent les ydres, whicii appears in Z. 

^ FA,VA,L : "sixth" FB: sei^esme Z: quantum de progenie ilia R: quarto di quella progenie 
Others omit. 



182 



'11 fi ni;sc;i^iiMioN ov ri ii: woKLn*::; cor, & magog and ydii-u 74. 

Joluii, iiiid IS held to bf thf i^ifiitcit lord oj that line.^ And the place where he reif^ns, it is (he / / 

pI.Kc wliicli \\i- call 1)11 (Ills Mill- III our C(ninir\' Cjog anJ Magog, but tlicy that dwell / 

there call i( /// their tonouc IJiig .uk\ Mongiil. And in each oi tlicsc provinces was a i, 

dijjerent i.kc oI people, y^; iii Hug were the Cjog and in Mongiil lived ilie farrars. i. i. 

/or htj'orc the lartars lejl it there were two races of men in this province; ling were those oJ fb 

the land, and Mononl were the Tartars. And therefore the Tartars are sometimes called Mongul.' 

And when one rides through tliis province seven' days marches by sunrising one f » 

draws toward the borders of C^aiai; so that riding these seven marches one [^i'^] finds many fb fb 

cities and villages in v\hich there are people who worship the law of Mahomet and z 

there are also- many idohuers and some Nesiorian Turkish Christians also. And they fb va z i. 

live by trade and by crahs, tor there are made cloths of silk and of gold which one vb 

calls nascici, very hne, and another kind oJ cloth which is called nac, and cloth of silk fb vb 

oi many different kinds.' Tor just as wc have the woollen cloths in our countries of L fb fb 

many kinds, just so they have cloths oi gold and of silk of many kinds. And they v 

arc 17// subject to the great Kaan. And there is a city in the said province which is called fb 

Sindaciu, and in this town are done many crafts^ & chiefly of all things and harness i. 

which is needed tor an armv of the lord -very fine & good. And in the mountains of fb vb 

this province is a place which is called Yditu, in which is a very good silver mine* 

in which indeed silver is got out in very great plenty. And in this region they have chase z z L 

and hawking of all kinds oi beasts and birds enough on account of the multitude of wild v P 

beasts. Now we will leave this aforesaid province and city and will go riding three r v 

days marches/orwrtr^, and then after these three days marches we shall find a city which fb fb 

is called Ciagannor, which means White Pool in Latin, in which is a very fair and great l va 

palace much adorned, which belongs to the great Kaan, in which he dwells when he vb va 

comes, -and dwelling places. For you may know that the great Kaan sometimes stays at vb vb 

this city in this palace very willingly because he has great pleasure there, for -in the fb v vb 

neighbourhood of the said place there is very fine hunting and chase, and chiefly there are lakes 

and rivers enough where live swans in plenty and other sorts of birds. And again there fb 

is a beautiful plain in which there are cranes enough and pheasants and partridges 

enough and many other kinds of: birds. So that for the great plenty of birds and for the FB 



^ V: tute le altre ^rchonstante prouin^e e reami erano e sono de li suo su^sori et questo giergin . . . 
scrto sumo signer in luogo del prete ^ne 

- VB: " two races of people who dwelt there, the one called Ung, the other Mongul who 
stayed with the Tartars." 



3 VB: vna 
* See PN. 
^ VB: vna montagna chesse chtania idisuen^ia che unci dtr argentjna 



1S3 



74* FALCONS & CRANES & CATORS OF CIAGANNOR ?^MARCO POLO 

FB VB good hawking which there is the great Kaan stays there vtry gladly every year at 

the season of the chase and takes his pleasure there. For he hawks with gerfalcons and 

P with herodians or falcons and takes [32^] birds enough with great joy and with 

V FB VB FB great festivity. And there atc Jound five kmds & manner of cranes in these regions, 

R which I will describe to you. The one kind is all black like a raven^ with great wings, 

R and they are very large. The second kind is all white. The wings are larger than 

the others, white, and very beautiful, for the feathers are everywhere full of round 

p eyes like those of the tails of the peacock, but they are of the colour of gold very 

VB V FB splendid and beautiful. And the head they have red and black and-very well formed, 

FB and black and white at the neck^ and of the colour of gold; and they are much larger 

V P than any of the others and arc very beautiful to behold. -They have eyes of varied colour, 

R L naniely white black and blue. The third kind are like ours of Italy -in every way; and 

VB R the fourth kind are small (^smaller than these here of ours^ -having red and blue feathers 

FB FB TA very beautifully arranged, and at the ears have long drooping red and black and white 

TA feathers very beautiful.' The fifth kind are all grey; they have the head white & 

FB red and black, very beautiful and well formed, and they are very large. And near 

this city is a valley, in which the great Kaan has had several little houses made 

VB R c/" wood & of Stone, • where they stay the night, in which he has a very great number of 

VB R VB carors, which in our language we call the great partridges, and quails kept. And there 

R is another kind of bird kept and fed for the court of the lord.- And for their food the great 

Kaan always has millet and panick and other seeds which such birds like sown over those 

hill sides in summer, commanding that none shall be reaped so that they may he able to feed 

R R themselves abundantly. He makes many men stay there to watch these birds that they 

may not be caught. And they also throw the millet to them in the winter time, and they are so 

used to the food which is thrown to them about the ground that, as soon as the man whistles, 

wherever they may be they come to him, and there is so great abundance of them that 

VB FB this is a marvel to see. And when the court of the great Kaan is there & comes into 

VB that country* for hunting & his pleasure he has of these birds in great abundance, as 

R many as he wishes of them. And in the winter when they are very fat (because for the 



^ LT: carbones Others: "raven" 

2 aucour The addition from FB is supported by several texts. L: bene protractum, of the 
head, perhaps for bene perfectum L (Ferrara): collum habent longum & nigrum L': collum habent 
nigrum et album 

^ G: 'The fourth are small and have two heads; the one head has no eye. and they eat 
with the blind head, and with the eyed they drink and see." B., p. cxxiv, quotes the same 
from LA. 

* LT,P,V: "city" 

184 



11 II' ni-.scRiPTTON ov rill wc^Ki.n'^ iiii: pai.aci-: ai" ciandu 74. 

on III lolJ he thfi not it ay thitr at that tunc) he has thfiii (arnfJ to him wherever he may he, 

loaJiil 0/; camels. -All these iLr man\ other things are prepared Jor his eourt in very nreat vb 
iiuantity of all thiiiiis for his //v/mj> (Lr that of his family, until the i^reatness oj all his needs 
IS a wviulcrful and stupendous thing to sec. Aiui from iliis wo slull mm out and shall 

<^oJor\K'ard iliroo J.iys jcninioys biMwcon irainontainr aiuj tin- ( In-ok wiiul. i v. 

Hi'Ivli III ni.LS OF luii CUV ov (iandu and oi- ihi-: wondhrful palach of --jy 

WW. GRiiAr KAAN. Alul wlu-ii ouo IS SCI out Iroiii ilu' city of Ciagannor i.r 

which I have nanu\1 lo \ on above and one goes riding [^2.b] three davs Fii 

joiirne\ s then one linJ.s a city which is calleJ Ciandii, which the greac Kaan^ who mow ia 

is and reions .\n^\ who has the name C^nMai Kaan, who is spoken oJ in this book, made va 
them make there. And in this cit\' Cublai Kaan made them make there a vast palace 

oi marble cunnini>ly worked and oi other Jair stone^ which with one end has its boundary vb k r 

in the middle of the city, and with the other with the wall of it. The halls and rooms and vb 

passaoes are all otlded 6" wonderfully painted -within with pictures and images oJ beasts vb fb 
and birds and trees and Jlowcrs and many kinds of things, so well and so cunningly that it 
is a delight and a wonder to see. Ir is very wonderlully beautiful and well worked. 

And Irom this palace is built a second wall which in the direction opposite to the palace, r r 
closing one end in the wall of the city on one side of the palace and the other on the other side, 

encloses and surrounds quite sixteen* miles oi plain land in circuit, -in such a way that r p r 

unless one starts from the palace he cannot enter into that close ;•& it is fortified like a castle; v 

in which wall' are fountains and rivers of running water and very beautiful lawns and va vb r vb 

groves enough. And the ii^reat Kaan keeps all sores of not ferce wild beasts which can fb vb 

be named rhere^ 6" //; very great numbers, that is harts and bucks and roe-deer, to give vb 
to the gerfalcons to eat and to the falcons^ \\'hich he keeps in mew in that place, 

which are more than two hundred gerfiilcons without the falcons. And he always goes fb fb r 

himself to see them in mew at least once every week. And the great Kaan often r 

2[oes ridino through this park^ which is surrounded with a wall and takes with him va 

one tame leopard or more on the crupper of his horse, and when he wishes he lets p r 

it go and rakes one of the aforesaid animals, a hart or buck or roe-deer and has them v 

given to vhc falcons and gerfalcons which he keeps in mew. And he does that often r p 

tor his pleasure and for amusement. And certainly this place is so well kept & adorned vb 
that it is a most noble thing of great delight. And again vou may know that in the 

middle place of that park thus surrounded with a \A'all, where there is a most beautiful v r 



1 TA.LT.VA.P: "fifteen" 

^ P: nemore 

' V: vano in ehauo de quele mure et essendo a chauo. 



185 



75- THE WONDERFUL PALACE OF CANES AT CIANDU ^MARCO POLO 

VB L grove, the great Kaan has m3.de for his dwelling a great palace or loggia which is all of 

R L canes^ upon beautiful pillars gilded and varnished,^ -and on the top of each pillar is a great 

R dragon -all gilded which winds the tail round the pillar and holds up the ceiling with the head, 

and stretches out the arms, that is one to the right hand for the support of the ceiling and the 

P VA other in the same way to the left; but it is all gilded inside and out and worked & painted 

TA with beasts and with birds very cunningly worked. The root of this palace is also 

R all of canes gilded and varnished so well and so thickly that no [32^] water can hurt it, 

P VB and the paintings can never be washed out;-& it is the most wonderful thing in the world 

to be understood by one who has not seen it; and I will tell you how it is made of canes. 

VB You may know truly that those canes of which these houses are made are more than three 

LT VB or four palms thick and round and are from ten paces to fifteen long. One cuts them 

FB TA L across in half flf the knot, from one knot to the other, and splits them through the middle- 

LT P lengthwise, and then a tile is made; and from each splitting two tiles arc made. And of 

p FB these canes which are thick and so large are made pillars, beams, and partitions, -and 

they are put to many other uses, for they do many other works with j/)^m, [50] that one can 

P roof a whole house with them and do all from the beginning," — and this palace 

VA of the great Kaan, which is in the middle of that park, of" which I have told you above 

L R was all made of canes. But each tile of cane is fixed with nails for protect ion from the winds,- 

VB P and they make those canes so well set together and joined that -they protect the house from rain 

and send the water 0^ downwards . Moreover the great Kaan had made it so arranged that 

L L P he might have it easily taken away and easily set up, -put together and taken to pieces, 

P without any harm whenever he wished, for when it is raised and put together more than 

RPR two hundred very strong ropes of silk held it up in the manner of tents-all round about, 

because owing to the lightness of the canes it would be thrown to the ground by the wind. 

FB And I tell you that the great Kaan stays there in that park three months oi the year, 



^ V: cholone de marmoro inmarmorade et invernichade But this does not seem to agree with the 
statement that the palace could be taken to pieces, and may be due to confusion with the 
permanent marble palace. 

^ len le trence par mi de un nod as autre & adonc est fait un coup & de cesstes channes que sunt groses 
& si grant que len en puet courir maison & fer toute de chief This seems to be incomplete, obscure, 
and perhaps out of order. P: Arundines . . . in longitndine hahent passus .xv. et in grossitudine 
vhra palwas tres. De hiis Jiunt columpne trabecule et clausure. Desuper etimn hiis tegitur tola domus. 
Diuidwitur etiam arundines iuxta nodes et pars per medium scinditur. et de scissura qualique ( P qualihet^ 
tegule due jiunt; que super domum composite domum a pluuia protegunt.et aquani emittunt injerius. 
L: Et ex hiis tarn grossis cannis potest fieri domus quelibet quia ex ipsis est totum hoc palaciwn futum 
B.'s correction is: "And of these canes[are made tilesjwhich are thick &c.." I suppose that 
de un nod as autre means "knot by knot", or "at every knot". 



186 



Ti ir. nnscRTPTiONOi' 1 1 n;\voiu.i)'^ n in i irkdoi- \vi ii ri-: marhs 7 5 

that IS Jiino .iiul |iily aiul Aiiv;uni, sometimes in the iiuirhle palace ami sometimes in this in I » 

one oj cauc. And lor iliis icimmi In- stays ilurc ill iliis time and has had it maie-that he i< i. 

may escape the hurnin^ heat,-Jor that the air there is very temperate and good, and th.it it is i< 

iioi very \\o[, hut is very fresh, ■tncrc than in other places; and for the griMi nliMsure and v \v. \ii v 

delight. AnJ (hose liiroc nioiuhs which you havc[hc.ird]thc great Kaan keeps the 

palace ol canes niaJe, and immediately when he departs it is taken to pieces, and all the \b 

other inonihs ol ihe year he keeps it taken to pieces and folded up, -as I have told you. \> vb 

And he has so planned it that he CAn make it and take it to pieces at his will very \r 

ijuickly; 6 it is all packed hy pieces and is carried very easily wherever the lord commands. 

And when he comes to the twenty-eighth day of the moon oJ the said month oi August R 

the great Kaan leaves this city of Ciandu and this palace each year on this day, & I P 

will immediately tell you wh\'. It is true that/or the greater part of the food of this lord L VB 

he has a breed of white horses and ol mares white as snow without any other 

colour, and they are a vast number, that is that there are more than ten thousand 

white mares. And besides he has a great number of very white cows. And the milk ot these FB vb 

white cows and mares no one else in the world dares drink oi it on that day except only vb vb p vb 

the great Kaan and his descendants, that is those who are ot the lineage of the empire, 

that is ot the lineage ot the great [32^^] Kaan. Yet it is true that another race of 

people of that region that are called Horiat can indeed drink ot it. And Cinghis the p p 

great Kaan gives them this honour and this privilege -as reward for a very great victory va vb l 

which they won with him to his honour long ago, and they have this preeminence. He P vb 

wished that they and all their descendants should live and should be fed on the same food on 

which the great Kaan and those of his blood were fed. And so only these two families live on 

the said white animals, that is on the milk which is milked from them. Moreover I tell you 

that when these v\'hite animals go grazing through the meadows and through the forests • and R va 

pass by some road where a man wishes to pass, one docs them so great reverence that if, 

/ do not mean only the ordinary people but, a great lord and baron were to see them passina vb vb vb 

there he would not dare for anything in the world to pass through the middle of these vb 

animals, but would wait till they were all past or would go so far torward in another va fb 

direction, quite half a days journey, that he would have passed them. All give way to vb 

them and all do what is possible to please them, and as I have said they are respected by all 

with no less honour and reverence than would be done to their own master. And the astroloaers 

and the idolaters^ have told the great Kaan that he must sprinkle some of this milk 

of these white marcs through the air and on the land on the twenty-eighth day of the vb r 

moon ot August each year so that all the spirits which go hy the air and hy land may have R fb 

^ TA: degli ydoli L: incantatores 

187 



75- THE MILK SACRIFICE & CHARMERS OF CIANDU ^MARCO POLO 

VB FB R some of it to drink if they please, and the earth and the air and the idols which they 

VB worship, so that ^or this charity done to the spirits they may save him^ all his things^ 

VB VA VA VA VA & that all his things may prosper, -both ir.cn and women^ and beasts^ and birds^ and 

R corn^ and all other things which grow on the land. And from there the great Kaan 

L departs in the month of August from the aforesaid park for this reason and goes to another 

FB R P place, as I have told you, -to make with his own hand that sacrifce of milk -to his gods. And 

on the day of the festival mares milk is prepared in vast quantity in honourable vessels, and 

the king himself with his owji hands pours much of the milk hither and thither to the honour of 

his ^ods. And the astrologers say that the gods drink the milk poured out. After the unspeakable 

sacrifice the king drinks of the milk of the white mares. So this rite is solemnly observed on the 

18 day of August for ever. But I will go on to tell you also a marvel which I had 

FB forgotten to tell. Now you may know that when the great Kaan was staying in his 

FB palace in this place every year three months of the year, and there was rain or fog or bad 

FB R weather/^ he had wise astrologers with him and wise charmers who go up on the roof 

VB of the palace where the great Kaan dwells -when any storm cloud or rain or mist rose in the air- 

R L and by their knowledge and by their incantation dispose all the clouds^ & rain and 

V all the bad weather to remove above his palace, that they do not touch that palace, 
VB but go beyond; so that above the palace there was no bad weather nor ever a drop of 

R water fell on it, and everywhere else the bad v^eather went on; rain, stortn, and thunder- 

V bolts falling all around, while the palace was )iot touched by anything.- And these wise men 
VB VB who do this arc two sorts, the one called Tebet and the other Chescemir.They are two 

races of people who are idolaters. They know devilish arts and [33^] enchantments 

VB more than all other men & control the devils, so that I do not believe there are greater 

FB charmers tn the world; and that which they do they do it all by devil's art and make the 

VB other people believe that they do it by their goodness & great holiness and by God's 

R work. And therefore they go f I thy and unclean, not caring for their own honour nor for 

the persons who see them; they keep mud on their faces, nor ever wash nor comb themselves, 

VB but always go dirtily. And these same people, this most evil race of necromancers & charmers 

R of whom I have told you, have such a beastly and horrible usage as I shall tell you. 

V V For I tell you that when they know that a man is condemned to death _/or /// that he 



^ por coi les espirt en aient a boir e les ydres espirt por ee que il li sauent The translation leaves out 
the second espirt. B. inserts, apparently without any MS. support, ydres[dient qu'il convient 
que en aient a boir les]espirt &e.. VB repeats spiriti but in a slightly different place. 

2 il fust luic ou musles on mautens Ed. 1824 (corrected by Godefroy) read il fust pluie ou niusles 
ou mautens and nothing better seems to have been suggested by other texts or by B., who 
translates musles by nuvolo. L (Ferrara): quod acr nubilisi^Cor nubihus^ inficeretur.uel pluuia 

^ mies for nues L: nubes VB: nenbo 

188 



THI-: ni-SCRlPTION OV nil- W\)RLn^ MAGICIANS i^ IDOLATHRS 75 

has Jour .uul is killrJ In ihc goviMiiiiiciii 0) the ltuiJ.-tl>iil comlcnindi tnaii n yivtn to i.r vh 
tht'itt & llu'\' i.ikc him .uul Ii.uc- limi CDokixl .uul iMi luin; hiii il lie U'cri" to «.iic lA 
lus iM\ 11 itiiliiriil Jr. nil ilu-y ucwi cm lum for anythtiii^ in the worlJ . And of this race VH VB 
of charnwrs there is so i^reat a niiinbcr that it /v ,1 inarvil .■ Besides the ahovesaid name they are K 
also called hacsi, that is, of such a religion or order, as they would say Brothers Preachers or 
htinors; and they are so trained and expert in thi'^ inai^ieal or devilish art that they do almost 
anythino that they wish. And a^ain you may know cjuitc iruK' tli.it these lucsi ol whom V 
1 tell you above, wlio know so many enchantments, Jo <j/;;o/J{J the rest so great R 
marvel past all belief as 1 shall tell you. for I tell you that w Iv.-ii the v^re.it Kaan sits n i. 
at dinner or at supper in his ehiel hall in his capital city, .11 his j>r<-»jf table, which table v f-B i.r VB 
set apart for the catino of the lord is more than ei^ht cubits high, as will he said in the R 
next book, and {\\c oolden-drinkinii cups are after their inanner-on a table in the midellc ol i' v vb P 
the pavement on the other side oi the hall quite ten paces away from the table and arc ia 
hill of wine and ol milk and of other good drinks/or the lord, then these wise charmers vb 
of whom 1 have told you above, who are named bacsi, they do so much by their 
enchantments and by their arts that those full cups are lifted of themselves from 
the pavement N\here the\' were and go away by themselves alone -through the air to he vb r l 
presented belore the great Kaan when he shall wish to drink, without anvone touching i. 
them. And when he has drunk, the said cups go hack to the place from which they set out. R 
And they do this sometimes while ten thousand* men look on^ and in the presence of l R 
whomsoever the lord wishes to see it; and this is most true & trustworthy with no lie, L 
for it is done at the table of the lord every day. And indeed we shall tell you the wise VB 
men of our land who know necromancy say that it can well be done." Again I tell you fb 
that [33^] these bacsi, v^'hen the feasts of their idols come which they wish to celebrate, they v 
go off to the great Kaan and say to him, Sir^ we tell you that on such a day such a feast v 
of such an idol of ours is comings and name the name of that idol that they please; 
and then thev say to him, You know, fair Sir, that this idol knows how to make 
bad weather and plagues come and loss of our things and of the beasts and of corn, R 
if thev have not been honoured with offerings and holocaust. And therefore we pray R 
you^ fair Sir, that you have given to us so many sheep which have black heads — and fb 
they say what number of them they please — and we wish you to let us have also so much incense fb 
and so much lien aloe and so much of such a thincr and so much of such, as it seems fb 
good to them at their will, that we mi^ht be able to do great honour and great sacrifice 

^ TA^- //" Others: "loooo" 

^ & hien uoc diron . . . dient FB: Car bieii voiis en dirciit les sages So B. (perhaps rightly) 
omits dient. 

189 



75- THE MONASTERIES AND FEASTS OF THE IDOLS ^MARCO POLO 

FB to our idols so that they m.iy he able to save us and our bodies and our animals and 

VA FB our corn & the fruits of the land -and all our things. And these bacsi say these things 

R not to the great Kaan personally, hut to the barons who are about the great Kaan and 

R to those who have authority to speak to the lord for others, and these say them to the 

V FB great Kaan^ and then when that day is come -the lord orders his hailiffs who are about him 

V that they have all that they ask to honour the feast of their idols^ such as flesh, bread, 
& wine. And when these bacsi have had all those things for which they have asked, 

VB they do great honour with them to their idols to which that day is set apart with great 

VB FB FB singing sweet & pleasant, with most beautiful praises, and with very great festival and 

FB with very many lights. For they cense them with the good smell of incense which they 

V V make of many sorts of all those other good sweet-smelling spice things, and have the 

VA FB flesh cooked and put it thus cooked before the idols, and go and sprinkle some of 

VB LT VA the broth taken from the cooked flesh - and milk hither and thither in the air, and say that 

VB the idols take so much of it as they wish. And they do this in the presence of the people 

who stand to watch the sacrifce with very great reverence &frmly believe that by such sacrifices 

most pleasing to the gods they keep the lord from all danger & all their things proceed with the 

very greatest prosperity. In such a way they do honour to their idols on their feast 

z VB days. For you may know quite truly that all idols have their proper -days dedicated 

P to them, on which days they make solemnities & reverence & great feasts in their names^ 

FB z VB P every year, as our saints have on the special days. 'In that region many monks are set apart 

\B for the service of idols. For they have very large monasteries and abbeys dedicated to 

VB z those idols. [33^:] For I tell you that there Sive some of the large monasteries so large that they 

VB are as large as a small^ city, in which are according to the state & size of the temples from 

R 1000 to more than two thousand monks who serve the idols according to their custom, 

P V who dress more decently with more religious garments than all the other men do. 

FB P For they wear the crown of the head shaved and the beard shaved beyond the fashion 

V of laymen.- And they make the greatest feasts for their idols with greater singing 
P and with greater lights than were ever seen. Beside them there are many other different 

idolater monks elsewhere in the region. And again I tell you that these bacsi have among 

P them some such as according to their order can take many wives, and they do so; 

LT for they take them and have children enough. These dress differently from the others. 



^ feste en lor nomes nomes should not mean ^'names'', and so B. proposes en lor j or names FB: a 
son nom.et jour de safeste VA: al so nome 

2 FB: grande VB: grandissima TA.LT have made ir: "Tlierc is a small city where is a 
monastery in which are more than two thousands of monks"; & VA: "In that region there 
is one monastery which is as large as a small city." 



190 



\\\\i im:sc:riimion oi nii: wc^kld^ run shnsin Asctnics 75 

And ai^.un I (ill \ ou ih.u hrsiJt'i these ihcrc is .moiluT kiiij dI rcliv^ioiis men (leeorJtn^ v v 

to their itsaoe wUo arc callcJ tn their toin^ue sciisin, whi) arc inrn dI very great nb>rincncc V F b 

according to their ciisioni aiui lead their life so vrr)* hard & rough as I shall tell you. / / v 

ior you may know uiiiit- imlv ih.H m all the times oj (Inn Iili i\\cy i-.it nothmg hut Ih / 

semola and bran, ihat is the husks thai arc Icli irom wheat flour.' And they prepare i.i 
if iis we prepare it for swine; for thcv take that semola, that is bran, & put it in hot 

water tc nuike it soft and leave it to stay there some time till the whole heart or ^rain is n /. 

removed Jrotn the husk, and then they take it out and eat it washed like this without any i.r z 

substantial taste.- And it is their food. They fast many times a year and eat nothing fb 

in the world but thu bran of which I have told you & drink water, -and stay much fb i.r 

in prayer; -so that it is a very hard life beyond measure.- And they have great idols and fb v 

many, and sometimes they worship the fire. And I tell you that the other idolater p 

regulars who hold laxer rules say that these who live in so great abstinence^ arc like p 

heretics yrc;;j their law, because thev do not worship the idols m such manner as z 

they do according to due form and properly. But there is great difference between them lt 

in many things, that is between the one [33:^] rule and the other. And these would not i;r v 

take a wite tor anvthino in the world, hitt thev wear the crown and the beard shaved: v 

and thev wear black and blue^ clothes of the commonest and coarsest sackcloth, and if v lt 
they should be of silk thev would wear them of such colour as I have told you. 

They always sleep on the v^ry hard and cheap mats, these are rods.'* They lead a harder vb lt 

life than any men in the \\'orld. And-they have their monasteries or temples separate v vb vb 
from the ethers. And their idols are all women ;^ that is to sav that they all have 



^ P: nee eomedunt nisi sulphur aqua mixtum See p. 404. 

2 que uent ensint grant astinence The translation follows Z: uiuentes in tanta abstinencia and 
P; sic dure uiuentes 
' VA: biancho 

* sor les estiues cc stmt boides Z: super sextoria FA.FB: siis nates LT,P: super stramina 
durissima T A omits V: dcrme soura stuore VB: nelle stuore K: sopra stuore grosse VA: suxo 
pani B.: sor les estuies, cc sunt hoises, with a note which does not sa)' what estuies means, but 
says that boises is attested in the sense of baculi. B. also suj^gests hosces, and points out that 
this could easily be con^upred to boides. Another very simple change would make bordes, mcanmg 
"cabins" or, possibly, "boards". Estiii seems to mean a close-fitting; case, a narrow pen, or 
sty; but estiues must probably be supposed to represent the Italian stuoie or stuore, "mats", 
as the words describe that on which, & not in which, the men slept. 

* qe homes dou vxonde lor moistier & lor ydres sunt toutes femes FA(FB\" que cest merueilles, leur 
ydoles sent toutes James. Cest per ce que leur ncns sont tou^ nons Jemenins V: e li suoi mcnestieri e le 
suo idole si a notne pure dejemene Few, if any, texts besides F and V have the "monasteries", 
but most (except Z,R) have the statement that the idols are feminine. After monde, e ("in" — 

". . . in 

191 



.75- THE GREATNESS AND POWER OF CUBLAI KAAN ^MARCO POLO 

LT womens iianies; G' they give them such names that they may induce women to worship 

FB FB them. Now let us leave speaking to you of chis^ and we shall cell you of the very great 

V deeds and of the wonders of the very great lord of the lords of all the Tartars of 

FB LT the world, that is the very noble and powerful great Kaan who is called Cublai. The 

frst hook of Master Marc Pol concerning the wonders of the eastern regions ends, and the 

second hook on the same subject begins. 

•j6- TT TTERE he tells of all the deeds of the great kaan who now reigns 

I I WHO IS CALLED CUBLAI KAAN^ AND TELLS HOW HE HOLDS COURT AND 

JL A HOW HE MAINTAINS HIS PEOPLE WITH GREAT JUSTICE, AND AGAIN HE 

VA SPEAKS OF HIS AFFAIRS. Now I WISH to begin to tell you in this part of our book 

LT all the very great doings and all the very great marvels ot the very great lord of 

the Tartars, namely the great Kaan who now reigns, who is called Cublai Kaan, 

VA FB VA which Kaan means to say in our language^ the great lord of lords, emperor, and this 

VA lord who now reigns indeed he really has this name of lord of lords by right because 

everyone knows truly that this great Kaan is the most powerful [34a] man in 

people and in lands and in treasure that ever was in the world or that now is 

FB R from the time of Adam our first lather till this n^;Oment; and under him all the peoples 

are set with such obedience as has never been done under any other former king. And this I shall 

R LT P show you quite clearly in the course of -this our second book, that it is a true thing 

FB VA which I have told you, so that each will be sure that he is as we say without contra- 

FB P diction the greatest lord that ever was born in the world or that now is; and in the 

following chapters I shall show you reason how. 

. yy. TT "TTERE he tells of the great battle which was between the great 

I I KAAN AND THE KING NAIAN HIS UNCLE. Now you may know quite 

FA VA JL JL. truly that it is true that this -king who is named Cublai, he is of the direct 

L FA descent from the imperial line ot Cinghis Kaan the first lord of all the Tartars of the world; 

for the lord of all the Tartars is bound to be directly of that lineage. And this 

FB Cublai Kaan is the sixth great Kaan, as I have told you before in this book; this means to 

TA say that he is the sixth great lord ot all the Tartars who have been until now. And you 

P may know that he had the rule in the 1256 year that was since Jesus Christ was born, 



". . . in the world in their monasteries.") could easily have dropped our, or could easily have 
become f ("&") as in V; and that "their monasteries are all women", though accepted by B., 
seems to be improbable. The most plausible reading is perhaps that of VB: ano lellor chiexe 
oner tenpli separati daiallri et ano issue idolli tuti de nouii feiuenil VA: tiite lidolle . . . anno nomi 
de femene. 

^ FB: en francoi^ L: //; latino 



192 



nil; Di-scKiPiR^N oi nii; wokij)^ mi; i^iii'.i:i.i.iON oi- naian 

.iiul 111 tli.u yiMi lu l>i'v;ins ii) iiiy'ii^ ,ti the a^e oj tw'cnly-icven yciui.^ AmvI \<)ii niay know VB 
ili.u hi li.ij I 111" iiilc hy his v;ili)iir aiul l>y his prowess and hy his grrat knowledge 
(/\ was just (/Ml/ ri^ht ; Idi his kiiuliej .iiui his hroihers and many other harons.-who vn vb k 
\^'(7V iinwilliiii^, -wisheJ to takf it to themselves aiul kept ii lioin him. I'jiii he by great i.i 
prowess snatehed it fiwn their hands and h.ui ii ai^ainst the will of the hrothers. And l vb 
\'Oii nia\ kiun\ ih.u the sitecession to ihi' rule which he has came to him directly by k i.i 
ii^hi. I heie are loriy-iwo \ears since he begins to reign iiniil ihis ciirrcni moment 
cj' the present day in the course oj the year oj the I. ord -Christ, 1298. He can well have about 1.1 fb i, 
lourscore [34^] iind live years of age, so that he nii^ht well have been about forty-three years fb 
of aoe when he was enthroned.' And before he was lord he used almost always to go 
to \\ar several times in the year, -and wished to he found in every enterprise, because, besides FB R 
the fact that he was an expert man of arms and valiant and brave with weapons in hand, R 
he had come to be reckoned a good captain, the wisest and boldest in counsel and strategy R 
that the Tartars ever had . Bui alter he was lord he does not ever go to any war in person, • i. i. vb 
but sends his sons and captains on the expeditions -as he pleases, except once only, and that r va v 
was in the 1286 year of the Lord-Christ, and I will tell you v^'hv. It was true that L fb 
there was a great Tartar lord, one that had Naian tor name^ who was uncle of the said fb fb 
lord Cublai Kaan; who is a young gentleman of thirty^ years, ruler and lord of v 
many lands and of many people & of several provinces so that he can well make up VA 
400000"* horses, that is horsemen. His ancestors have formerly been under the 2;reat v 
Kaan, and this man himself was also under his nephew the great Kaan who was named fb fa 
Cublai; and was rightly bound to be so. But so as I have told you, this was a young 
gentleman of thirty years. So that when he saw himself so great a lord that he can fa 
well put 400000 horsemen in the field, he grew proud because of his youth and because fa 
he had great power. He says that he would not be under the dominion of the great Kaan va 
any longer, because he feared that the great Kaan would take away from him his rule, but V 
says that he will rebel against Cublai & take away all the land" and the rule from him vb ta 
if ever he can with all his might. Then this Naian that he might be able to do this sends v VB 



77' 



^ Qubilai was actually enthroned on 5 May 1260, in the forty-fifth year of his age, his 
predecessor having died on 11 August 1259. See PN. 

■^ The variants ni the dates and ages seem to be simple slips. FB: 40 since he began to 
reign, but treated as 42 in the subsequent calculation. FA,LT.V,VA: 1288. Of more mterest 
is the reading of FD(B.p.l>:): jusques a ore meec et viii de crist though this by no means proves 
that the FG version may have been made in or before 1308. cf. p.62 above. 

' TA: XX 

* TA': Mcccc' 

^ LT: & acccpit sibi totam terram 



77- NAIAN AND CAIDU PLOT AGAINST CUBLAI KAAN ^MARCO POLO 

VB V R his messengers very secretly to Caidu who u'as a very great lord and strong in the 

regions towards the great Turquie, and was nephew to the great Kaan, but was also a 

R rebel against him and wished him great ill, because he was always afraid that the great 

FA FA Kaan would chastise him,-& was cousin to Naian. He sends to him saying these words, 

that he was making himself ready with all his power, which was very great, to go upon the 

FA FA FA great Kaan his lord trom the one side, and that he prayed him that he will also do his 

FA utmost and come from the other side upon the great Kaan, to rob him of the land and 

FA the rule when they came upon him with so great a force one from one side and the other from 

FA FA the other. And this Caidu, when he had heard this news which Naian^ sent him, says that it 

FA pleases him well, and he thought indeed that now was the time to have his desire, and says 

R that he will be well prepared to come to his help with his people at that time which 

they had planned, and will go upon the great Kaan. [34^] And you may know that 

this man really had power to make up and to put in the field looooo horsemen. 

And what shall I tell you about it? These two barons, that is Naian and Caidu, 

VA VB determined the day that they wished to meet &• having agreed together as secretly as they could 

went hastening to prepare themselves and make a great gathering of cavalry^ and of 

p men on foot to go upon the great Kaan. And they agreed together to meet in a certain 

plain with their armies that afterwards they might suddenly invade the king's lands together. 

Moreover Naian having assembled /fOOOOO horsemen arrived at the appointed place and there 

VB waited the coming of king Caidu. -But they could not do these things so secretly that it should 

not come to the ears of Cuhlai Kaan. 

■ yg. "W" Trow THE GREAT KAAN GOES AGAINST NAIAN. And when the great Kaan 

V 1 I knows this thing, how Naian was coming upon him with so great an army, 
p JL JL he was not at all dismayed^ at their conspiracy, but like a wise man and 

V VA one ot great valour he would not delay, and prepares himself with his people to oppose 
FB them -very quickly, as one who was not afraid of them because they did contrary to right, and 

V when his people were gathered he says that he will never wear crown nor hold land if he 
FA FB does not put these two Tartar lords who are traitors and disloyal to him to an evil 

death. And you may know that the great Kaan made all his preparation in twenty- 
FB two* days so secretly that none knew anything of it but those of his privy council. 



^ If FA, from which so many additions are here borrowed, represents (as it well may do) 
something like the original, the passage provides a good example of the way in which F 
was shortened, resulting in the reversal of the parts in the sentence "He sends to him 
saying . . .", and here in the accidental keeping of Naian in place of Caidu. 

- TA^: di charri and, above, Mc for f"' 

^ V: 50/10 molto spauentato and, just above, gaidin for Naian. 

* .xxii. But .X ends a line, and xii. begins the next. FA: en. ij. jours ou en.xij. FB: en x.ou 

en xij. 

194 



riii- ni-scKiPTioN ov Tin: wc^iu.d^ nii: ai(mii-:s oi- cublai 78 

//(• hiul i^unrds pluctJ without delay at all the pasu'<; which went towards the lands of Natan R 
and Cc.idii, that they shottld not know what he u\tn\dcd to do; and then he ininirdiately ordered 
that the men who were round the city oj Canihaluc hy the space oj ten days journeys should he 
gathered together with the greatest haste.- Aiul Iw li.ul asscnihli-J (itiiir ^6(H)()() horscim'ii va 
& quite UHHHH> loodnni of those who were near the city oJ (Ainduiluc. AnA lor ilu^ P 
reason did lie maki- up so lew people, l>ecaiise these were ol Ins .iiinies wliicli were 
near io luni, because he wished to attack the enemy suddenly and unexpectedly. His other P 
armies, which \n ere i\\el\e, whieh weie a \er\' \asi nmnln'r, kept continually to guard R 
the provinces oJ Catai, -were ten times as many, &- were so lar awa\' at war to conquer v 
lands and cities & were scattered m nian\' directions at his command that he could not v FB 
ha\'e had them in time and on the spot. // would have required the time of thirty or R 
forty days journeys, and the preparation would have been known, and Caidu and Naian 
would have joined together and -either withdrawn altogether or -retired into strong positions P R 
of their own choice. But he wished with speed (which is the companion of victory^ to prevent 
the preparations of Naian and to find him alone, when he would be able to conquer him better 
than when in company. And because in the present place it is convenient to say something oJ 
the armies of the great Kaan, it must be known that in all the provinces oJ Catai, of Mangi, 
and in all the rest of his dominion are found many unfaithful and disloyal persons who would 
rebel against their lord if they could; and therefore it is necessary in every province where 
there are large cities and many people to keep armies there, which stay in the country four or 
five miles away from the city, which cannot have gates or walls to prevent them from entering 
in whenever they please. And the great Kaan makes these armies change every two years, and 
he does the same with the captains who command them; and with this curb the people stay 
quiet, and cannot inove nor make any change. Besides the pay which the great Kaan always 
gives them from the revenues of the provinces, these armies live on an infnite number of flocks 
which they have and on the milk which they send to the cities to sell, and so buy the things 
which they need. And they are scattered in different places thirty, forty, &" sixty days journeys 
distant. For it he had made up the half of all his force he would make up as many R 
knights on horseback as he woulci wish/ so great a multitude that it would be 
an impossible thing to believe and to hear. And these 260000^ horsemen & infnite v 

en xij.jours, so making it probable that by a strange coincidence this odd division of xxii 
into X xii was found m the text from which FG was made. VL: xij. TA,LTA^VA,P: 22 
R: 20 

^ con il uondroit B. suggests et il uendroit — "make up so many knights on horseback, and 
there would come so great a multitude, that" 

2 cclx'?homes L: 260000 (in short summary) V: 260000, in both places. But others 
360000 here, as above. 



78. THE GREAT KAAN FINDS NAIAN UNPREPARED ?^MARCO POLO 

R footmen whom he made up were those appointed for his body guard, and the greater part 

R V his falconers, and men of his household and other men who were remaining about him; 

R VB and in twenty days they were assembled -to take vengeance on his enemies, and he went out in 

person to the field. And when the great Kaan had prepared these few people of whom 

V I have [h^] ^^^^ Y^^ above_, he has it seen by his astrologers with their arts of astrology, • 
R in the presence of the whole army, if he shall defeat his enemies and if he shall come to 

V VB a good end of it, or be the loser of this battle. And those, who well knew this day what 
FA V VB must come of this^- considered it by their art and- said, Sir, we tell thee good news; and- in the 

name of our gods promise that thou shalt return victorious over thine enemies, & told him 

FA to go confidently, for he shall conquer and have the honours and the victory and that he shall 

LT R deal with his enemies at his pleasure and put them to death. -The great Kaan used always 

V to do this performance of divination to inspirit his armies.- And when he had heard this then 
PB VB the great Kaan very joyful thereat, -giving thanks to the gods, promised not to return till 

he had seen the destruction of his enemies, and having cheered his army with most eloquent words 

R V R set himselt with this frm hope on the way with all these his people and goes toward 

R the land of Naian, riding day and night, so that in twenty^ days they came to a hill 

p R beyond which was seen a great plain where Naian was waiting for Caidu, • encamped 

VB with all his people, who were quite ^00000 horsemen, that he might join with Caidu 

at the given time, & thinking that he stood secure without being able to imagine that Cublai 

R had surrounded him with so great a host. -Being arrived Cublai made his men rest for two 

V VA days. They came there one day^ very early in the morning, and it was in such a secret 

R way that his enemies, Naian nor any of his people, knew nothing, because the great 
VA FB Kaan had made them so seize all those passes & the roads and watch them with his 

V spies that none who could know of his coming can go or come who was not taken, 
VB so that no one could go before him to let Naian know of his coming. And this was the reason 
FB why their enemies did not know their coming, at which they were all dismayed and 

V surprised. And I tell you that when these arrived there in that valley with his people, 
FA LT who were few in respect of those of Naian, Naian was in his tent with his wife -or concubine, - 

p FA whom he had brought with him, -and was asleep in his bed. And this was because the lord 

made his expedition very secretly and quickly, as I have told you. He was with his wife in 

LT FA bed and was enjoying h.\m?,t\i greatly with her, for he was very exceedingly fond ot her.'^ 

HERE HE BEGINS OF THE BATTLE OF THE GREAT KAAN AND OF NAIAN HIS 
UNCLE. Now the Tartar set himself in such a place that Naian with all his people 
knew nothing. And what shall I tell you of it? When the dawn of the day 



•79 



1 R: 25 2 p. ^octe 

^ FA,FB have the last sentences of this chapter twice over, with slight variations. 



196 



rill' ni-scKiiMiON o\ mi; wc^iu.i)^ his (iriim i'.ai ili-: array 79. 

i>l ilu- ImkK- was cc^inr, iluii ilu- g'l'.n K.i.iii .ippcarcj with all his host on a j^rcat IH IB 

intnind wlucli w.is im ilu pl.im where N.iian was in hii trnts' with his people who v\ v 

ucif staying \or\- M'ciircl\',* scattered unarined about the plain, like ih(ise who i\\A not v 

Ih'Iicvo' lor aii\thing in ilu- woilJ thai the ^reat Kaan\or]any people would come ia 

rhcre to do iluin harm without their knowiiii^ it in very i>oo(i time. And this w .1 > the va 

reason iha( ihe\- siaNoJ m so great seciint\' and did not have their camp guarded, 

niM" had ihe\' sent an\ l?5<i| spies neither in Iront nor hehind;yor they had never v Mi 

il'Movv'M anythini^ oj the coining oj the great Kaan, as I have told you, hecause the ways were 

so well i^uarded and also hecause they were very far ojj' in wild places; and moreover it was 

thirty days journeys to the oreat Kaan. hut he rode them in twenty with all his host because 

of the oreat desire which he had to meet him. What shall I tell you of it? The great Kaan was 

on the mound o{ which I have told you, in ^ great wooden c:\s\:\c,Jull oJ crossbowmen k r 

and archers, -very well arranged on lour elephants all covered with boiled leather very v k 

hard, and above were cloths oJ silk and oJ gold. He had his ensign royal, with the figure oJ r 

the sun and of the moon, raised above him so high that it could be well seen from all 

sides yro;;/ afar.- And his people were all drawn up according to his custom -in twelve VA v VB P 

divisions by joooo and by 30000/ and surround the whole camp of Naian in a ta v 

moment. And he had the greater part of his men on horseback. And with each man on horse fb 

in the frst squadrons was a man on toot behind at the crupper of the horse with lance va 

in hand^_/or thus were all the footmen drawn up with lances in this way.^ In such way as fb 

vou have heard was the great Kaan with his people drawn up with their squadrons 

round the camp of Naian to fight with them, so that all the f elds were covered with them, fb 

And when, being waked up by his servants -with very great haste, and told that Cublai was p vb 

* estoit atendes FA: estoit en ses tentes FB: estoit qui attendoit 
2 TA: sagretainente LT: secrete 

^ FB: creingnoit 

* IT: schierata ad iiiginti iiiilia VB: vna sciera de xl'" cauallj 

^ R describes the combination of horse and foot in more derail thus: — "Cublai arranged his 
army in this way: Of thirty squadrons of horse, which each had ten thousand, all archers, 
he made three parts; and he made those on the left hand and right stretch out far round the 
army of Naian. In front of every squadron of horse were five hundred men on foot with short 
lances and swords, trained so that every time that they showed a wish to fly these jumped 
on to the crupper and fled with them and, when they stopped, dismounted and killed the 
enemies horses with the lances." 

And P: — "He distributed all the cavalry of his army into twelve divisions, so that each 
division should contain 30000 men. And lie stationed the infantry next to the cavalry- in 
this way, that in all the divisions two footmen holding lances should be placed at the sides, 
this side and that, of one horseman; till the number of footmen were filled up." 

197 



79- HOW THE BATTLE WAS PREPARED AND BEGUN ?^MARCO POLO 

near him, going imtnediately out of the tent, Naian and his men saw the great Kaan with 

V VA his people so well disposed - so near & so suddenly round their camp they were all amazed 
VB at it, j^^g'^^g ^^^f ke could not give time to prepare his things, for he knew the eagerness & 

P VB activity of Cublai. • The army also of Caidu was not yet come. Nevertheless, -after he had called 

FB P his chiefs to him & set his things in order, they all run to arms while those were coming 

FB down; they array themselves immediately very well and form their squadrons well 

R V and in order, grieving that he had not joined with Caidu.- And when both sides were 

FB array cd_/br the battle, as I have told you, so that they had only to strike, then one could 

R R FB see and hear infinite horns & many other instruments sound of many sorts, and many 

VB FB VB pipes, and the singers -all singing with a loud voice, in so great numbers that the air seemed 

to tremble; for you may know that the customs of the Tartars are such. For when 

they are drawn up and in squadrons to fight, they would not rush into the battle 

FB for so long as the drums^ do not sound, that is those of their captain. For else before the 

sound of the great drum of the great lord none would dare to begin the battle. And then while 

FB the drums do not sound all the most of the Tartars sound their instruments of two 

VB strings, very pleasant to hear, and sing to cheer up the hosts; and that was the reason why 

the playing [35I'] and the singing were so great there both on one side and on the 

LT FB other that it was wonderful. And when all the people as they sang and played were well 

prepared on both sides, then the great drums of the great Kaan begm to sound 

R FB frst, on the right side and the left, -and the other of Naian began also to sound. And as soon 

as the drums begin to sound, then they make no delay but let the one people run 

V towards the other and joined hands with bows and with swords and with clubs and a 
VB V few lances, _/br the horsemen do not carry lances; but the greater part of the great Kaan's men 

V FB on foot had^ uideed crossbows and other arms of o^encc enough; so fercely that it 

was a wonder to see. And what shall I tell you about it? They begin the very cruel 

V and wicked fight. Now can one see arrows fly so that there was so great darkness from 
FB V the great abundance of arrows & missiles -on one side and on the other -that the sky could not 

R be seen, for all the air was full oi them, as if it were rain on every side. Now can one 

R FB see knights indeed and horses fall dead to the earth in great number -till all the ground 

FB was covered with them. The cry there was so great and noise on one side and on the other 

R that one does not hear God thimder. And so horrible was the crying of the men and the 

noise of arms and horses that it inspired an extreme terror in all who heard it. When they had 

shot the arrows they came to close quarters with the lances and swords and with the iron-shod 

clubs; and the multitude of men, and above all of horses, which lay dead one upon the other 

FB was so great that one party could not pass over to where the others were. -For the battle was 

^ Sec PN (Nacar;. 

2 aucnent Read auoient FA,FB: ont 

198 



rill- DliSCM^lIM ION OI" IHi: WOKLl)«^ nili KIIJ.INCj OI- NAIAN .79. 

very hittiv atui fierce , and they spareJ not to kill one another at all. AiiJ you may know 
tli.ii Nai.iii v\as .1 C-hiisii.in lupii/cJ, .uul in iliis Baltic In- Ij.kI iIu- Cross of Clirisr 
oil ilu- standardyor his hatii>e ; ■ but it was no tise to him because he was j;>oin^ very wrongly va 111 
against his lon{;Jor he was vassal to the great Kaau, and was bound to hold his land oj him, 
as all his ancestors had done. And v\Iiy slioiild I make you a long story oJ it? You may f-b 
know cjuito truly tliai thai was iIu- most dangerous battle and the most fearful 
that e\er was seen; nor ever m tnir tuiu- wore ihere so many people to fight together I'R FB 
on ouc lield ol Ixutle, and especially horsemen; ^or indeed on one side and on the other FB 
there were more than yboooo horsemen without the men on foot, who were a great number. 
So many men died there both on one side and on the other that it was a wonder 
to see; and with such equality of force on cither side that Fortune stood for a very long space VB 
undecided towards which army she should have to turn herself kindly in this fight which R 
lasted from morning till midday, because the goodwill of Naian's people towards their R 
lord, who was very liberal, was the reason why for love of him they obstinately chose rather 
to die than to turn their backs. But at last^ as it pleased God, and according to his right, the FB 
great Kaan won the victory and Naian lost the battle & was defeated. For^ when Naian fb fb 
and his men saw the great force of arms that they made, so that they could [35^] bear up fb 
no more, they set themselves to flight. But as they were already completely surrounded vb 
it avails them nothing, for the people of the Tartar followed them killing and doing them va 
great harm, so that Naian was caught" and all his barons and his men who remained r 
alive, 'among whom were very many Christians, gave themselves up with all their arms i> fb 
to the great Kaan. 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN MADE THEM KILL NAIAN. And whcn the great • 80 

Kaan knous that Naian was taken he was very glad and joyful because of it, fb 
and he commands that he may be put to death immediately, that he might fb 
not see him at all, lest he should have pity on him because he was of his flesh & of his blood; 
and then he was killed in such a way as I shall tell you. For he was wrapped Vi'ry v 
tightly -and bound in a carpet^ and there he was dragged so much hither and thither p 
and tossed up and down so rigorously that he died ; & then they left him inside it ; • so that Naian vb va v 
ended his life in this way. And for this reason he made him die m such a way, /or the va 
Tartar said that he did not wish that the blood of the lineage ol: the emperor be 
spilt on the ground nor make lamentation to the air, nor that the sun nor the air mav ta 

^ can Read perhaps car 

2 VB adds, with many other embellishments, "and immediately led into the presence of 
Cublai." 
^ VB: ligare et cossire fra do tapedi 

199 



So- HOW PEOPLE DERIDED THE CROSS OF NAIAN ^^^^MARCO POLO 

VB sec it, tior the limbs of Naian be touched by any animal. And when the great Kaan had 

V V u'on this aforesaid battle in such way as you have heard_, all the men great & small 
V FA R TA and the barons of the four provinces of Naian -immediately -came to submit and -paid tribute 

FA VB FA and-madc their pledge to the great Kaan. And they were of four-noble & great -provinces so 
as I shall tell you, who had been of the domain of the said Naian. \_And'^l will name these 

V tour provinces. The first was called Ciorcia, the second Cauli, the third Barscol, the 
FA fourth Sichintingiu. And of all these four great provinces was Naian lord, which was a 

R very great thing.- Naian having had himself secretly bapti^d yet would never do the works of 

r a Christian, but in this battle he thought ft to wish to have the sign of the Cross on his banners; 

and he had infnite Christians in his army, who were all killed. And after the great Kaan 

FB VA had done this and won this hazt\e\ and^had conquered Naian, as you have heard, -& he 

FB was dead, the races of the people who were there in the lordship of Naian in these four 

provinces aforesaid, who were Saracens, idolaters, and Jews, and many other people 

FB VA who do not believe in God — but there were some Christians — made fun of the Christian 

V K faith & of the -sign of the holy Cross which Naian had carried on his banner, when 

V they saw that the banners of the Cross were defeated, -and saw well that Naian was a Christian, 
& made very great mocking & derision and spoke against the Christians who were there, 

FB so much that they could not bear it, and said to them. See how the Cross of your God 

FB TA has helped Naian who was a Christian and worshipped it, -and his people. They made 

FB so great fun ot it and [35^] so great mockery and their words about it grew so great that 

VA they came to complain of those insults before the great Kaan. And when the great Kaan 

VB hears it he called to him the chief Saracens and Jews and Christians & spoke evil to those 

FB R who made fun of it before him and before the Christians, -and rebuked them severely saying 

to them, If the Cross of Christ has not helped Naian it has done reasonably and justly, because 

V he was disloyal and a rebel against his lord, -and the Cross of God has left him, & this because 
R he well deserved it because he went against justice, -and therefore see to it that you never have 

the hardihood to say that the God of the Christians is unjust, for he is highest goodness and 

highest justice. Then he calls many Christians who were there and he begins to comfort 
VA them, saying that they had no reason or occasion for shame, and says. If the Cross of your 

God has not helped Naian it has done very right, because it is good nor ought to 
FB do anything ii not good and right nor other than what it had done. For Naian who came 

against his lord was both disloyal and treacherous, and so there is great right in 

VA that which is happened to him and the Cross of your God was righteous & did 

FB very well if it does not help him against right, because it is a good thing nor ought 

FB V to do other than well. And he spoke so loudly that everyone heard him. -And then the 

V Christians hearing these words had very great joy, & answered the great Kaan, Most 

V great Sir, say they, you speak indeed truth, for the Cross is good, it would not do 



200 



iiii' ni;scRiPiioN ov iiii: wokli:)^ rnr. ri;ii(.ion oi- curlai -So- 

tli noi Ji>K)y.iliy .is N.n.ui Jul wlio w.is .i ii.uU)i .ukI ilisloy.il .igainsf liis lord, so \K 
ihtil It wviiU net Jo iinythiii^ for him who did evil. AnJ \\c has iiuicfd had that of which 
he wa.s \\i)r(h\ . Siuh woiils iIutc wcic l^ctu'iTii (hr great Kaan aiul ihr (ihribUans 
abi>ui [\\c ( !ro.ss wimli N.iiaii had carrier! on his ensign, so that they were no more \ w 
reproached by the Saracens, because they had heard well the speech of the great Kaan to the 
Christians; -nor after that did any dare any more to speak evil to them nor to tempt them from \'\ 
their Jaith, but they stayed (juiet and in peace .^ 

HOW mi: ciRiiAi KAAN Ki:ruKNs \o lui; ciiv ov (AMUai.ijc. And when -Si- 

the greai Kaan had ct)nc]iiercd all the domain oj Naian and won and had \\: v 
the victory in the battle in such way as you have heard above, -he determined v vii 
to go home, and on the way back he reached CiandH"^ his most noble city which abounds very 
greatly in all good things and is the most delightjul country of all the hunting countries, more 
than any other land. And therefore they stay there some days to the very great refreshment of all 
his army and with very great pleasure. And when his army was rested, then he goes back 
with great pomp and triumph lo the capital city of Cambaluc, and it was in the month r r 
of November, and there he stays in great enjoyment and with great feasting & happiness^- v 
ordered throughout the city for the great victory, -till the month of February and March, when vii r 
our Easter is; whereupon learning that this was one of our principal feasts he made all the\ 
Christians come to him, and desired them to bring the book in which arc the four Cospels,\ 
which he had censed many times with great ceremony, kissed it devoutly, and desired that all\ 
his barons and lords who were present should do the same. And he always observes this custom 
at the chief fcasls cf the Christians, as is Easter and the Nativity. He does the like at the chief 
feasts of the Saracens, Jews, & Idolaters. And being asked about the reason, he said: There are 
four prophets who arc worshipped and to whom everybody does reverence. The Christians say 
their Cod was Jesus Christ; the Saracens Mahomet; the Jews Moses; and the idolaters Sagamonii 
Burcan,^ who was the first god of the idols; and I do honour and reverence to all four, that is 
to him who is the greatest in heaven and more true, and him I pray to help me. But by that 
which the great Kaan showed he holds the Christian faith for the truer and better, because he 
says that it commands nothing which is not full of all goodness and holiness. And by no means 
would he endure the Christians to carry the Cross before them, and this because on it was 
scourged and dead such and so great a man as was Christ. _ 

Someone could say. Since he holds the faith of Christ as the best, why does he not attach 
himself to it and become a Christian? The reason is this, according to what he said to Master 
Nicolau and Mafevi when he sent them as ambassadors to the Pope, who at times began some 



* VB gives this passage with considerable verbal additions. 
2 Cumaloii See PN. 
^ Sogomombar Can 



20I 



Si- i WHY CUBLAI KAAN DID NOT BECOME CHRISTIAN ^MARCO POLO 

talk about the faith of Christ. He said to them, How do you wish me to make myself a Christian P 
You see that the Christians who are in these parts are totally^ ignorant so that they do nothing 
] and have no power; and you see that these idolaters do whatever they wish, and when I sit at 
table the cups which are in the 7niddle of the hall come to me full of wine or drink or of other 
things without anyone touching them, and I drink with them. They compel storms to go in 
' whatever direction they please, and do many wonderful things, and as you know their idols 
speak and foretell them all that they wish. But if I am converted to the faith of Christ and am 
made a Christian, then my barons and other people who are not attached to the faith of Christ 
would say to me. What reason has moved you to baptism, and to hold the faith of Christ F 
What virtues or what miracles have you seen of him? And these idolaters say that what they 
do they do it by the holiness and virtue of the idols. Then I shall not know what to answer them, 
so that there will be very great error between them and these idolaters who do such things with 
their arts and sciences; and they will easily be able to make me die. But you shall go to your 
Pontiff and pray him on our behalf to send me a hundred wise men of your religion, that before 

' these idolaters they may be able to reprove what they do, and may tell them that they know and 
can do such things but are unwilling, because they are done by the art of the devil and of evil 
spirits, and may so restrain them that they have not power to do such things before them. Then 

' when we shall see this we shall reprove them and their law, and so I shall be bapti^d, and 
when I shall be bapti^d all my barons and great men will be baptized, and then their subjects 
will receive baptism; & so there will he more Christians here than there are in your parts. 
And if, as has been said at the beginning, men ftted to preach our faith to him had been sent 
by the Pope the said great Kaan would have been made a Christian, because it is known for 

VB certain that he had a very great desire for it. -And for three days he wished that all should go 
to eat and drink in his Court. The great and bountiful feasts of every kind last for many 
days. They make very great sacrifices to the gods. And though Cambaluc city is six miles long 
and has very large suburbs, all the people could not dwell in it, but lodged some in the suburbs 
and some outside. When the feasts and entertainments were ended^ he dismissed his armies, 

FB and all went away to their houses. And the other [36^] Tartar baron who was a king, 
V who had Caidu for name, who ought to have been with Naian against the great Kaan, 

VA when he hears this news that Naian had been defeated and killed he had great vexation 
VA VA at it and did not any more think to go to war against the lands of the Tartar, as he 

TA had determined, but had^ great dread of him and great fear of being so treated as Naian 



1 totalmente Baldelli-Boni, following the later editions and followed by B,, prints talmente. 
^ jornite whicii I have supposed to be (or finite. 

^ mes auent B.: me's, avent "ever, having" BmVA,FB: nies(jnai^] il ot TA': ma auea TA^• 
ma ebhe VA,V: aue LT: imo hahuit So probably read mes auoit 



Zoz 



Ti II' I )i;s(:rip I ION ov ii ii: wokli:)'^ ri:wards & punisi imhnts -8 1 

\v.\d been, iuul his tinny. Now you h;ivo 1k'.u\I liow the groat Kaan onlv goes this v 

cm tuiu- lo WAV in person aj'tn he wws kino. Vox m .ill liis other needs and wars he sent i h va 

new his sons and now his harc^ns, Init in this he was unwiMing that any should go tA i \ 

there but Iiinisell alone, because the arrogance ol ih.ii ilisloyM ni.ni Naian seemed to ib i\: 

him too great a AccA aiul evil and perilous. Now we will leave you this matter and IB 

will come back to tell vcni ol the \er\' iireai doings dI tin- v'rcai Kaan. And we have FB 

told you ol what line he was and his age. Now we will say what he dul oj the R 

rew'iirds and honours which he oives-Jor this victory to tin* barons who bear themselves L 

well in war and in battle, when he came back;^ and a^ain I will tell you u'hat he did va fb ta 

to those who were mean and cowardlv. You must know then that the great Kaan has K 

twelve wise harons who have charge oJ learning and informing themselves of the operations which 

the captains and soldiers carry out particularly in the expeditions and battles where they are; 

and those then report to the great Kaan. I roll you that to those captains who prove va 

themselves well in war and in battle, hi in who at first was lord^ that is head, oi a hundred va l v 

men he makes him lord oi a thousand, and him wko-at frst-was lord of a thousand he in l fb 

makes him lord of ten thousand and thus he gave to each according to his rank as he saw that fb 

they deserved; and with all this he makes him a great gift ot gold and fair silver vessels v fb 

and of many fair jewels, and a superior tablet having or denoting authority, that is with \' fb fb l 

orc^ers ol authority. And he presented them also with fair jewels of gold and of silver and fb 

with pearls and with precious stones & with horses; and he gave so many of them to each that 

it was a marvel. For they had deserved it very well, for never afterwards were men seen who 

did so much in arms for the love of their lord as those did on the day of the battle. For the fb 

tablets of authority are so arranged that he who has command of a hundred has a silver fb 

tablet; and he who has command ot a thousand a tablet of gold, or really of silver l 

gilt; and he who has command of ten thousand has a tablet of gold with a lion's l 

head. And I will tell you the weight of these tablets^ and what they mean. Those fb 

who have command of a hundred and of a thousand men, -their tablets each weigh v fb 

120 saggi, and that with a lion's head [3 61)] engraved on it, who have command of ten fb 

thousand, also weighs 220' saggi. And on all these tablets is written an order in this L 

manner, and they say, By the power and strength ot the great God and of the great R 

grace which he has given to our emperor, blest be the name of the great Kaan, and ta 

may all those who shall not obey hmi be slain and destroyed. And again I tell you 



* FA.FB.LT.L seem definitely to rake this following passage to refer to the rewards given 
after the battle with Naian. The context, and the wording of F.TA.VA, seem to make 
the reference general, and this view is supported by P,R. 

2 L,R: 220 FA.FB.TA': 120 LT.P omit; TA": altrettanto 



20^ 



8 I • TABLETS OF GOLD & OTHER MARKS OF DIGNITY ?s«MARCO POLO 

L that all those who have these tablets have also warrants on paper with writing of all 

R V that they must and can do in their command & domain. Now we have told you 

V enough of these facts. Now we will tell you further of this same. For I tell you that 
FB V TA he who has a great command of looooo men or who is lord^ that is captain, of some 

province with a great general army^ these have a tablet of gold which weighs 300 

FB saggi, and there are letters written which say just as the others of which I have told you 

FB P above. And below the letters on the tablet is portrayed the lion or the image of the 

FB TA gerfalcon or of di_fferent animals, and above the lion-on the other side are imaged the sun 

L V and the moon. And again hcside this they have the great Kaan's warrants of great 

R authority as is seen in this noble tablet and of great power. And these who have these 

R important tablets have also for an order that whenever he rides in public he must 

LT FB carry a golden canopy which is called an umbrella, which is carried on a pole above his head 

R as a sign of great authority and power which they have. And every time that he sits 

TA in the chief hall he must sit on a silver^ chair. And again to such as these the great 

V lord gives a gerfalcon tablet; and he gives this tablet to the very^ great barons & 
L nobles that they may have full authority like himself. For it is of such power that 

L L when he who has it wishes to send [^6f] both envoys and other men^ then he provides 

VA him with such a tablet, namely of a gerfalcon, that if it is necessary he can take all the horses 

L LT of any person & wherever they may be, -and can take when he pleases and lead from place to 

VA R place with him the whole army of any great prince -who is subject to the great Kaanfor his 

L R guard; -for he can take the horses of a king, and can take the horse of the great Kaan if he 

wishes. And since I have spoken to you of the horses of kings, therefore you may 

R LT know that he can take from all other men of less dignity. -And thus all things in which 

he ought to he obeyed are defned in very good order for those who hold the ahovesaid tablets; 

and if any dared not to obey in everything according to the will and command of those who 

FB have those tablets, he must die as a rebel against the great Kaan. Now we will leave telling 

you this matter and we will tell you of the fashion of the great Kaan and of his face. 

82 • 'T' 'I' ERE HE TELLS THE FASHION OF THE GREAT KAAN. The great lotd of lords, 

V I I that is of all those of his dominion, who is called Cublai Kaan is like this. 
V R R JL -L He is of ^00^ & fair size, neither too small nor too large, but is ot middle 

p size. He is covered with flesh in a beautiful manner, not too fat, nor lean; he is more 

R than well formed in all parts. He has his face white and partly shining red like 

V V R V the colour of a beautiful rose, which makes him appear very pleasing; -and he has the eyes 

V P LT black and beautiful; and the nose very beautiful, well made and well set on the face.- 



1 V: doro 

^ LT: tribus npparently mistaking tres 



204 



Till- Dl'SCRimiON 0\- nil WC^RLH'^ THr. WIVI-S C)l CIJI'.I.AI .8j 

Awl In- li.is lour women uliom In- lioUU .ilw.iys as Ins irnc wives, .iiul ilv cKlcsi lis 
son wliuli lu- lias cf the first ol ilusi- Idim women oiiglii to l)e loiJ of the whole va V 
empiie l>\' n^lit wluii ilu- v'.ie.ii K.i.iii thejather sliouKl die. I he\ .uc ealleJ empresses, i ii 
And e.uh cf those four wctnni n ciilleJ- also by her other • proper name. AnJ eacli ol these v fb th ii 
Jour laJies hoKIs a very fine -roy til court by herself in her own palace ; for there is none va i li i' i' 
of them who has not three hunjrej" chosen girls very tair and annahle. They have i.i i' 
very man\' valets eunuchs and many other men and women, so ihai each ol ihe^e i. 
ladies has m her court iiuue ten thousand' persons. And whenever he wishes to 
lie with an\' owe ol these lour* wt^men he makes her [^0>(l\ come to his room; 
and sometimes he ooes to the room ol his wite. And he has also very manv other v r. V 
concubines, and 1 will icll \ ou in what wa\ . Ir is true that there is a province in r 
which dwells a race ol lartars who are called Ungrat (and the city likewise) who are R 
very handsome and fair-skinned people; and these women are very beautiful -and adorned k i.i v 
with excellent manners. And every second year a hundred maidens, rhe most beauciful R 
rhar are to he found in all that race, are chosen and arc brou^^ht to the great Kaan v 
as he may wish. The great Kaan sends his messengers to the said province that they may fnd R 
him the most beautiful girls according to the standard of beauty which he gives them, /f.OCj, joo, 
more and less, as they think right. And these girls are judged in this way. When the messengers 
are come, they make all the girls of the province come to them. And there are judges deputed 
for this purpose, who seeing and considering all the parts of each separately, that is the hair, 
the face, and the eyebrows, the mouth, the lips, and the other limbs, that they may he harmonious 
and proportioned to the body, value some at l6 carats, others at ly, l8, lO, and more and less 
according as they are more and less beautiful. And if the great Kaan has charged them to bring 
those of the value of twenty carats or twenty-one, according to the number ordered them they 
bring them. And when they are come to his presence he has them valued again by other judges, 
and cf them all he has thirty or forty who are valued at most carats chosen for his own room. 
And he has them kept by the elder ladies of the palace, one to each cf the wives cf the fb r 
barons, -who use diligent care in watching them; and makes them lie with them in one p 
bed to know it she' has good breath and sweet, and is clean, and sleeps (Quietly without r 
snoring, and has no unpleasant scent anywhere, & to know if she is a virgin, & quite sound 
111 all things. And when they have been carefully examined, 'those which are good and fair r fb 
and sound in all their limbs are sent to wait on the lord in such wav as I shall tell vou. 



* toutesfoies V.VA.P omit. B. omits, foies. 
'^ TA"': eccc'-' 

^ FB: mille TA^: ij'" Others "loooo" 

* quant it e femes FA.FB: iiij. fames So perhaps read qnatre femes 
" sollo Read selle 



205 



.82- THE SONS OF CUBLAI KAAN & HIS CONCUBINES ;^MARCO POLO 

L It is true that every three days and three nights six^ ot these girls are sent to wait on 

p the lord when ke gees to rest & when he gets up, both m the room and in the bed and for 

all that he needs; and the great Kaan does with them what he pleases. And at the 

FB V end of these three days and of three nights come the second six girls in exchange for 

FB these, -and those depart. And so it goes all the year that every three days and three 

LT nights they are changed from six to six girls until the number of those hundred is 

R completed, '& then they begin again another turn. It is true that while one party remains in 

the chamber of the lord, the others stay in another room near there so that if the lord has need 

of anything extraordinary, as drink and food and other things, the girls who are in the lord's 

chamber order those in the other room what they must prepare, and they prepare it immediately . 

And so the lord is not waited upon by other persons but by the girls. And the other girls who 

were valued at less carats stay with the other women of the lord in the palace, and they teach 

them to sew and to cut out gloves and to do other genteel work. And when any gentleman is 

looking for wives, the great Kaan gives him one of them with a very great dowry, and in this 

way he fnds them all husbands of good position. 

And it could be said, Are not the men of the said province annoyed that the great Kaan 

takes away their daughters from them? Certainly not. Rather they think it a great favour and 

honour, and are very glad that they have pretty daughters which he deigns to accept, because 

they say, If my daughter is born under a good planet and with good fortune, the lord will be 

able to satisfy her better and will marry her into a good position, which thing I should not have 

been able to do with satisfaction. And if the daughter does not behave well or has bad fortune, 

then the father says, this has happened to her because her planet was not good. 

• 83- T" TTERE HE TELLS OF THE SONS OF THE GREAT KAAN. And again you may 

VA V VA I I know that Cublai the great Kaan has indeed of these his four wives twenty- 

V P JL jL two male children. And the elder son of the frst had for name Cinchim 

FB lor the love of the good Cinghis^ Kaan, the frst lord; and this one ought to have 

LT been great Kaan and lord of the whole empire after the death of Cublai his father.- 

R And he had been already confrmed as lord while his father was alive. Now it happened 

VA P that he died, this Cinchim, -before the father; but there remains a son of his who has 

VA Temur for name, and this Temur ought to be great Kaan and lord cfter the death 

of Cublai; and it is [37^] tight because he was son of the eldest son of the great 

R VA R Kaan, that is of Cinchim. Moreover I tell you that this Temur is a valiant man, -full 

VA of kindness, wise, and prudent, and has often already behaved very well & has had many 

victories in battle. And you may know that the great Kaan has also quite twenty-five 



^ R: cinque 

^ cinchin . . . cinchin VA: chinchiin . . . chinchis 



206 



TUli I)i:SCRlPTION OV TI IF. WORLO':^ tI IF. CMY Ol" CAMBALUC -83 

oilici sons ol his coiuiibiius \\lu> .in' v^ooj .iiul valiani in anns hrcause he continually R 

hin thftii pritctisfii in things hrlonoin^ tc wuir, .iiul cacli is a great baron. And again I 

tell you iliat ol tlic sons whicli lie lias ol liis iour wives rlinc arc seven of tlicni 

crowtied kint^s ol seven vast provinces and kingdoms, and all keep up their rule well \a v\ 

in rioht and in justice, tor they are wise and prudent men. And 11 is (jiiite reasonal^Ie va i.i 

that they shonhi be valiant lords, -because they are like the father, lor I tell \()ii that their va i.i 

father the great Kaan is the wisest man and the most provided with all things and i-b 

the best captain of an army and the greatest ruler ol people and ol empire, and a man 

of greater valour than ever was in all the races of the I'artars. Now I have told you 

of the doings ot the great Kaan t^ of his likeness -and of his wives and concubines and of va va lt 

his sons, and then 1 shall toll you how he holds court and his ways. 

HHRH HE TELLS OF THE PALACE OF THE GREAT KAAN. YoU may know quitC '84 

truly that the great Kaan stays in the capital town which is in the province va 
of Catai, which is the great city called Cambaluc, toward the Creek wind, fb r r 
three months of the year, that is December and January and February. And in this v 
town he has his great palace near the new city on the side toward midday, in this fomt; r 
and I \\ill describe its likeness to \ou. The palace is square in every way. -First there is lt r 
a square circuit of wall, and each face is eight miles lono^ round which is a deep moat; and in 
the middle of each side is a gate by which all the people enter who gather therefrom every side. 
Then there is the space of a mile all round, where the soldiers are stationed. After that space 
is found another circuit of wall, of six miles for a side, which has three gates on the midday 
face and other three on the tramontaine side, of which the one in the middle is larger and stays 
always locked and is never opened except when the great Kaan wishes to conic in or go out; and 
the other two smaller, which are one on one side of it and the other on the other, always stand 
open, and by them all the people come in. And at each angle of this wall, and in the middle of 
each of the faces, is a beaut ful and spacious palace, so that all round about the wall are eight 
palaces, in which are kept the munitions of the great Kaan, that is one kind of trappings in 
each; as bridles, saddles, stirrups, and other things which belong to the equipment of horses. 
And in another bows, strings, quivers, arrows, and other things belonging to archery. In 
another cuirasses, corslets, and similar things of boiled leather; and so with the rest. Within 
this circuit of wall there is first of all a great four-sided wall which is for each side 
one mile long, that is to say that it is four miles all round. It is very thick, and of v 
height they have quite ten paces, and they arc all plastered on the outer face with red va 
colour and white and [37/'] embattled, made like a castle. And each corner of this wall v 
has again a great palace very beautiful and very rich, in which are kept in the same r r 
way the great Kaan's equipments, these are bo\^•s, arrows, and quivers and stirrups, P P 
saddles, and bridles for horses and lances, clubs, bo\\-strincTs, tents, and all other p lt fb 

207 



83- THE WALLS & GATES &c PALACES OF CAMBALUC ^MARCO POLO 

LT FB things nccdhil for an army and war. And again between the one palace and the second 

L there is also a palace in the middle of each side like those of the corners, so that all round 

FB L the walls there are eight very beautiful palaces, • namely four at the corners and four 

L between corner and corner, and all & eight are full of nothing but the equipments of 

P the great lord. And you may know that in each palace there is only one thing, that 

FB is that in the one are bows and nothing else, and the second had saddles and nothing 

FB FB else, and the next is all full of bridles and so it goes all round that in each is all one 

FB V manner of thing/ And there is a higher wall all round, & in the same way it has eight palaces. 

And this wall has five gates on the quarter towards midday,^ in the middle a great 

L TA gate much greater than the others which is never opened or shut except only when the 

TA FB V great Kaan comes out of it to make war and when he goes in there, & then it is shut, • 

P for the entry is open to none but to the king alone. And beside this great gate are two small 

VA ones, one on each side, and all the other people who are in company with the great 

Kaan come in by those. And then there is towards the corner another very large 

one, and towards the other corner another, by which again the other people enter, 

FB so that they are fve, and the large one is in the middle, and by those four smaller gates enter 

all the other people . But the other four gates where the other people enter are not one beside the 

other, but they are two at the two corners of this same face, and the other two are beside the large 

VA one, so that the large one remains in the middle.- And each other side has only one gate in the 

middle of the wall. All the people who wish enter through all those gates, except by the great gate 

FB of which I have spoken above. And inside this wall at the distance of one mile, in the middle 

of this face of the wall toward midday, is another wall which is rather more long than 

FB broad. There are also eight palaces on this wall all in the same way as the eight 

FB VA P others outside, -of which I have spoken above. And again the equipments and other vessels 

FB & valuable utensils & jewels of the great lord are kept there inside, as in the others. 

There are also five gates in the side toward the midday all like the other wall in 

P i^ront. And in each other side is a single gate in the middle, through which anyone may 

come in; and so have the other walls of which I have told you. And in the middle of 

VA FB FB P the space which is inside these two walls [37^] is the^r^^t palace of the great lord, in which 

FB he dwells, which is made in such a way as I shall tell you. Know that it is the greatest 

V R 6" most wonderful that ever was seen. It is bounded then towards tramotUaine with the 

foresaid wall, and towards midday, and there is an empty space^ where the barons and the soldiers 



* FA: hernois FB: harnoi^ 

2 R: in questo terzo circuito, sono set porte similmente ordinate come nel secondo circuito. cf p. 207 
above. The account of the walls in V differs in wording & arrangement, & it is doubtful 
whether the extract given is a real addition. 

^ R fol. 2 2B: &^ verso me^^ di, & e vacuo doue i Baroni, B. and. in effect. Marsden omit 

the second 

208 



11 ii: ni'Sci^iiM ION c^i mi: wokld^ rm: i>alaci: o\- cublai 84 

piiss /o .(/;./ 1 10. 1 1 Ikis iu> hn^h upper (loiM'. Inn is on </ level /><isr in such a Wiiy that the m FR 

piU'i'mont IS .iIh>iii irn p.ilms liii^Iui ili.in ilit oiIum' groiiiKl iiround . • And ilic loof ri', v 

or rowriMj) is \'cry o\tmm-Iy li'^li. -I"'/ <'// 'o/(//(/ //.Yn" /i a wall of innrhlc level with the \< » 

jiiivenient, two juices thick, anJ within the wall the palace is placcil in such a way that all 

the wall oiitsiiie the palace is as it were a walk by which one ^oes and passes all round, where 

men can see from the outside. And on the outer edoes oj the wall is a most heautijul balustrade 

with columns, on which people can lean.^ VUc walls oi ilic halls anJ of ihc rooms inside FB 

arc all L-ovorcd wirh gold and \\ ith siKor and blue, and ihcrc arc portrayed very finely ta va 

• in carved work -lions & dragons and In-asts and birds and fair stories of ladies and R v ta 

knights and many other diiloreni knids ol beautiful things'* and stories of wars, -which \\ ta p va 

are on the walls; Ik the roof also is made so that nothing else is seen' there but gold 

and silver and paintings. ()/; each ejuarter of the palace is a great flight of marble steps fb r 

which 00 up from the ground to the top of the said wall of marble which surrounds the palace, 

by which steps one goes up into the palace. The hall is so great and so broad that it is a fb 

oreat marvel, and more than six thousand^ men would well feed there at once, p 

sitting at table together . -And in that palace there die four hundred rooms, so many that v lt 

It is a marvel to see them. It is so beautiful and so larae and so rich and so well fb fb 

made and arranged, that it is thought that there is not a man in the world who should R 

have the power to know how to plan it better nor make ir. And the roofs^ above, that ta 

is outside, are all red and green and a^ure & peacock-hluc and vellow and of all colours, r 

and arc glazed so well and so cleverly that they are bright like crystal, so that thev 

are seen to shine very far round the palace.^ And you may know that that roof is ta 

so strong and so firmly put together that it lasts many years. ^ In the part behind the r 

palace there are large houses, rooms, and halls, in which are the private things of the lord. 



the second &. The sentence begins the account of the palace hall, with its terrace. 

^ or "where people can assemble." al qual si possono accost ar gli huomini. 

' bestes But FA,FB: choses \'',TA: chose R(omitting the first besstesy. diuerse maniere di 
bestie 

^ ne i se port autre TA: non ui si puo vedere altro R: che altro non si vede So read (with B.) 
se pert 

* TA: y"' V: sie z^nto R: gran tnoltitudine 

^ FA,FB: Les tres de la couuerture explained by Pauthier to mean "the beams of the roof", 
but as both texts include the phrase about the consequent splendour of the roof when seen 
from a distance, one would wish that tres could mean "tiles". 

* R: di tutti i colori. & vi sono vitreate nelle fenestre cosi ben fatte . . . come christallo, This sug- 
gests that the original may have said that the tiles were coloured and glazed like quarries m 
windows; possibly reading come sono for & vi sono. F: & sunt enuertree V: et sono in veriadt 

' FA: a tou^ temps FB: a tous jours V: piu de mile ani R: molti anni Others omit. 

209 



.84- THE LAKE & PARKS & ANIMALS & GREEN HILL ?^MARCO POLO 

that is all his treasure^ gold^ silver, precious stones, and pearls, and his vessels cf gold and of 

silver; where his ladies and concubines stay, and where he has his affairs done conveniently and 

when he pleases; into which places other people do not enter. And between the one wall 

FB VA FB VA and the other of those circuits of which I have told you ahove are very beautiful • large 

VA VA FA FA lawns & gardens and beautiful and good trees of different sorts of fruits in which too are 

many kinds of strange beasts; these are white stags, the animals that make the musk 

LT TA (^namely gudderi^ roe-deer, lallow-deer, and squirrels, and ermines, & of many [37^] 

VA FB LT kinds of other strange beautiful animals in great abundance. And all the grounds of 

R FB this garden, -wherever an empty space is found, inside the walls are full of so many of these 

FB beautiful animals that there is no way, except the roads alone on which men walk 

FB R to and fro. -The meadows have grass in abundance, because all the streets are paved and raised 

quite two cubits above the ground, so that no mud ever collects on them nor is the rain water 

caught there, but running through the meadows it fattens the land and makes the grass grow 

VA abundantly. And at one corner of this palace outside, that is toward the plough-beam, 

R FB R is a very large and deep' and beautiful lake (of the earth from which was made the hilllto 

FB beynentioned^belowj), in which are many kinds of fish and plenty, for the great lord 

LT has made them put many kinds of fish there, which are brought from elsewhere to that 

lake and are fed there, and every time that the great lord wishes some of" those fish 

FA R he has them at his will and at his pleasure. Moreover I tell you that a not very great 

R river flows in there and f Us the said hollow and makes a kind of fshpond; and there the 

VA R animals go to drink; and flows out of the lake -afterwards, passing through a conduit near 

the said hill, and f Us another very great and deep hollow between the palace of the great Kaan 

and that of his son Cinchim, of the earth from which likewise the said hill was raised. And 

the river departs from the other side of the lake and runs away; but it is so planned that 

TA FB no fish can escape, and this is done and is closed with nets of iron wire and of brass 

L FB both at the entry of the river in the lake and also at the going out, -which do not let them go 

R out -on either side. There are also swans and other waterfowl. And again I tell you that 

towards tramontaine, about one crossbow-shot^ distant from the palace, he has 

R had a mound made by hand within the circuit of the walls. It is a hill which is quite a 

hundred paces high, and it is more than a mile round; the which hill is all full 

FB L TA and all covered with most beautiful trees which at no time lose the leaves nor fruit in 

V P winter -nor in summer but are al\A'ays green, and it is covered with green grass. And I 

tell you that the great lord, wherever one tells him that there was a beautiful tree 

^ due aralente FA: vne archie FB: de my archee TA': vna archata LT: unam archatam 
R: VM trarre di balestra V: vno trar de halestro L: vnum atalentum VA: vna liga LT (mar- 
gin), P: unam leucam These support B.'s emendation dune arbalestre. 

210 



im-: niisci^iPiioN oi mi': worij)'^ iiii. I'Ai.ACii ov ri:Mui< .84- 

in ihost' rc\^ions, Uc iii.uli- iluni i.ikc i( with .ill ilu" roots aiul wiili mucli earth' rounJ va PB 

it anc] iiiaJc ilu-m »..iii\ it wiili iltph.iiiis to plant on that lull. AnJ the tii'i- iiiiglii ia 
he ^rcai as it nlcasi\l, Inn In- woiiLi li.i\c iliis done wirli ir." Atul in iliis way there 

were the mosi bcaiiiiliil trees in the uimKI there, and always green . Aiul 1 tell you that R 
the i^reai lord has haJ all that lull covereti f^Stij with a/.ure-stone' which is very 

^s^reen, so ili.ii the trees .ue all ^reen an«.l the hill .ill i^reen. So that nothing is seen FB 

except green thint^s ami thereiore it is called the Green \ Iill; ijf truly it has a good FB 
right to its name. And on top ol the hill in the nnJdIe of the siininur is a palace 

very lair and great, and it is all green within and without. An*.! I tell you that this FB fb 

hill and the trees and the palace are so heaiitiliil to sec for the verdure all of one kind fb 

that it is a wonder; Jor all those v\'ho see them ha\e delight and ]oy from them, FB 

and all the people go there. And therefore has the great lord had them made, to have va 

that lair sight and because ir gives him comlort and enjoyment & gladness in his FB 

heart -that the ehief palaee may he adorned with beauty. -The great Kaan often goes to this L LT 
mount and takes his pleasure as it pleases him and as he wishes. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE PALACE OF THE SON OF THE KAAN WHO MUST REIGN '85 

AFTER HIM. And again I tell you that near by this chief pAace, of which l va 

/ have spoken above, -on the other side of the circuit of the palace facing the palace R 

of the great Kaan, the great lord has had another palace made like his own in every va 
way so that nothing is lacking;. And it is made that his son may have it when he 
shall reipn and be lord. And so it is made all in such manner and as larae and with 

as many walls as is that of the great Kaan ot which I have told you above. The ta 

grandson of the great Kaan, this Temtir the son oi Cinchim, who was the eldest son of the ta 

great Kaan, whom 1 have named to you above that he must be lord, lives there; and ta 

know that all those manners and those customs and those deeds which the great va 

Kaan Cublai- his grandfather does, he maintained and did because he is chosen for va ta 

lord as soon as the great Kaan shall be dead. He has indeed imperial bull of gold P ta 
already and seal of authority, but not so completely as the great lord has as long as 

he lives. And from one palace to the other one passes by a bridge built over that water. Nov\' R 
[386] I have told you and described about the great palaces of the great Kaan and of y "PR 

his son. Now I will tell you of the plan and condition of the city of Taidu, the great R 

^ comoute rerte Read con moute terre TA': chomolta terra FB: aueeques toute la terre V: chon 
tiito el terer VA: chon tuta la tera suggesting, as often, a very earl)' difficulty. 

2 & fust lalhre grant quant il uousisti quil ne foist ce faire TA': et sia grande quanta vuole cheglj 
lo fa portare aleofanti FB: et soit larbre tant grant comme il veult. The version seems to be 
uncertain. ^ de rofe delaeur B.': di pclvere di lapislazjiuli cf. PN (aziu:). 



211 



85* THE ANCIENT CAMBALUC NEW BUILT AS TAIDU ?^MARCO POLO 

FB town oi Catai which is called Cambaluc, the place where these palaces are, why it 

VA VA was made where it is, and how it is made} 

p VA It is true that there was an ancient city standing on a great river -in the province of 

Catai, which in time past was very great and noble there, which had Cambaluc for name, 

which means to say in our language the city of the lord. And the great Kaan 

found from his astrologers that this city was bound to rebel & to make great 

V opposition against the government. And for this reason the great Kaan had it 

VA FB VA destroyed and ruined &■ had this other city of Cambaluc made by the side of that, beyond 

L a great river which is there, -where the said palaces are, so that there is only a river between, 

R and made them take all the Cataians (that is those who were natives of the province of 

R R Catai^, the people from that old city, and put[them]into the new town which he 

R had founded, which is called Taidu. And those of whom he was not afraid that they would 

rebel he left in the old, because the new would not contain so many people as lived in the old, 

which was very large. And yet it is so great as I shall tell you. It is twenty-four miles 

FB L VA round, that is that on every quarter it has a face of six miles, and is exactly square by line, 

R R so that it is no more or no longer on the one side of the square than on the other. 

FB L It is all walled with walls of earth which are about ten paces thick below, and 

FB more than twenty high. But I tell you that they are not so thick above as below, 

because all the way from the foundations upwards they came tapering so that at 

p L FB top they are only about three^ paces thick. They are all entirely embattled and the 

L P battlements white. There are moreover twelve principal gates, and above each gate is 

VA a very large palace and fair, so that on each side of the walls are three principal 

FB gates and five palaces, because there is yet another palace very fair and large for each 

L L VA R corner of the city. In all these palaces are many very great and wide halls in which the 

R armies of those [38^] who guard the city dwell.' Moreover I tell you that the whole 

R L city is set out by line; for the main streets from one side to the other of the town are drawn 

VA R out 'Straight as a thread, & are so straight and so broad that if anyone mount on the wall 

R at one gate and look straight one sees from the one side to the other the gate of the other 

side, opposite to that, and they are so planned that each gate is seen as the others* 



^ FB,TA,LT,P,R all begin a new chapter at this point. FA follows F in making no break. 

2 FB.LT: "four" Others "three" 

^ les armes . . cite demorent FA: les artnes . . cite sont FB: les armes . . palais demeurent TA: 
jstanno gli uomenj . . la terra and so LT But P: seruant artna . . ciuitatis R: stanno I'armi . . 
citta V: sono larme . . ^tade L: sunt stant(sic) armamenta pro custodia VA: le arme de cholor 
che guardano VL has both gente and arme. 

* se uoit con les autres FB: comme lautre FA: delautre Tlie idea seems to be that one could 
see down the great straight streets across the city from one gate to another, but by confusing 

part 
212 



mi: i)i;scxii>iioN oi im: wokij)^ ii . I'I.an and customs .85- 

idoiio tic l\)\K'ii, hy the rotuis. AnJ- everywhere idoii^ the itdei of each mam street are stalli in m 

iiiiJ shops of every kiiuL Aiui iIuto an- dhoiit the city m.my p.il.ucs hc.uii iliil an.i ^reat, iii ih 

aiui m.nn iH-.uitiliil mns. (^' m,uu' hiMiitiiiil Iioiisos in oreat abundance. And-all the fb r 

vieces of laud on whith the dwellini>s are huilt throuij^hout the city are sijuare and set out by 

line, and on cverv piece there arc spacious and threat palaces with corresponding courts and 

oardcns. And pieces oj land like these are given lo each head oj a house; that is, such a one oj 

such a clan would have this plot, and such a one oJ such would have that other, and so from 

hand to hand. And round each such sejuare plot are fine roads by which one walks. And tn 

this way all the city inside is laid out by sijuare, as a chessboard is, and is so beautiful and 

so skilfully planned that tn no way would it be possible to tell of it.- And in the nlld^.^lc of fb 

ilu- ciiy I hero is .i very large and high palace in which is a grcai town clock, that !<> a r l 

very great boll, which sounds three times at night; so that none may go about the ia v 

town after it shall have sounded three times every evening. For aher that bell has p 

sounded so man\' times as they have ordained none dares leave his house till day to p 

<^o through the town by night except the nurses who go for the needs of women in v s 

childbirth and physicians who go tor the needs oi sick men, and those who go for this VL 

good purpose must carry lights with them. And I tell you that it is ordered that each r r 

gate of the city be guarded at night by a thousand men who stay continually ; and do fb va v 

not understand that they stay on this guard, nor believe that such a thing is done, for v r 

fear that they may have ot any people, but thev do it for love only and honour and v v r 

excellency oi the great lord who dwells inside, and also because they do not wish 

the robbers^ to do harm to any in the town where he dwells. -For the great Kaan has lt va lt 

great care that -for his own honour • thieves and robbers -who are often found in the city -may va lt vl lt 

be restrained and caught. -They have, none the less, owing to the saying of the astrologers, I R 

knew not what suspicion of the people of Catai. Besides this the guards always ride through 

the city by nighty by thirty and by forty, searching and incjuiring if anyone is going about the 

city at an unusual hour, that is after the third sounding of the bell. And if they find anyone he 

is arrested and put in prison at once. And in the morning the o^icials deputed for this examine 

him, and if they fnd him guilty of any o^cnce they punish him, according to the degree of it, 

with more or less blows with a rod; by which they sometimes die. And in this way men are 

punished for their crimes, and they do not wish to shed blood among them because their bacsi, 



part and porte and in other vva)-s the MSS. have introduced a number of unimportant 
variations, con les autres perhaps "with the others"? VL: "that you may see a fire from one 
end to the other." 

^ lairons FA: barrens FB: barons VA: li tartarj R gives very slight mdirect support to 
barons; others have robbers or omit. 



213 



85- THE WICKED TYRANNY OF ACM AT THE BAILO ^MARCO POLO 

that is learned astrologers^ say that it is wrong to shed human blood. It has been told then 
about the contents of the city of Taidu. Now we shall say how the Cataians wished to rebel 
in the city. 

Of the treachery planned to make the city of CAMBALUC rebel, and HOIV THE 
AUTHORS irERE TAKEN AND PUT TO DEATH. Cap. 8. 

It is a true thing, as will he said below, that there are deputed twelve men who have the 
disposal of the lands and governorships and all the other things, as seems best to them. Among 
whom was a Saracen named Acmat, a clever and strong man, who had great influence and 
authority with the great Kaan beyond the others. And the lord was so fond of him that he had 
every liberty. For, as was found after his death, that Acmat so bewitched the lord with his 
spells that the lord gave the greatest belief and attention to all his words, and so he did all 
that he wished to do. He gave away all the governorships and ojfices and punished all the 
evildoers. And whenever he wished to put anyone whom he hated to death, whether justly or 
unjustly, he went to the lord and said to him. Such a one is worthy of death because he has 
offended against your Majesty like this. Then the lord said. Do what thou pleasest; and im- 
mediately he had him put to death. And so, when men saw the full liberty which he had and 
that the lord gave such full trust to his word that they did not dare to contradict him in anythi?jg, 
there was no one so great and of such authority that he did not fear him. And if anyone was 
accused by him to the lord on a capital charge, and wished to defend himself, he could not 
disprove it and use his arguments because he had no one with whom^he could do so'], for none 
dared to speak against that Acmat. And in this way he made many die unjustly. Besides this 
there was no fair lady whom, if he wanted her, he did not have at his will, taking her for wife 
f she was 7tot married, or otherwise making her consent. And when he knew that anyone had 
some pretty daughter, he had his ruffians who went to the father of the girl saying to him. 
What wilt thou do? Thou hast this daughter of thine. Give her for wife to the Bailo, (that is 
to Acmat, for he was called Bailo as one would say Deputy^ and we will make him give thee 
such a governorship or such an off ce for three years. And so he gave him his daughter. And 
then Acmat said to the lord. Such a government is vacant or ends on such a day; such a man is 
fttcd to rule it. And the lord answered him. Do what seems right to thee. And so he invested 
him immediately with such a governorship. In this way, partly through ambition for governor- 
ships and ojffces, partly because this Acmat was feared, all the fair ladies — he either took them 
for wives, or had them at his pleasure. He had also sons, about twenty-ffve, who were in the 
greater offices; and some of them, under the name and shelter of the father, committed adultery 
like the father, and did many other unspeakable and wicked things. This Acmat had collected 
much treasure, because each one who wished for some governorship or office sent him some great 
present. 



214 



rni-: dilsckiimion oI' iiih vvc^kld^ iiii- im.oi lo kiij. him .85 

I It- rt'ii>iu-ii then in this powtr for twenty-two years. Iinally the men of the LmJ, that is 
the Catalans, seeing the infinite injuries and unspeakable erinies whieh he committed heyond 
measure as wtll on their wives as on themselves, being unable by any means to bear it any 
longer, planned lo assassinate him and to rebel against the rule of the city. And amongst the 
rest was a Cataian named Ccnchu, who had under him a thousand men, whose mother, daughter, 
and wife the said Acmat had violated. Whence it was that full of indignation he spoke about 
the destruction oj' this man with another Cataian named Vanchu, who was lord of ten thousand, 
that they ought to do this when the great Kaan shall have stayed three months in Cambaluc 
and then departs and goes to the city of Ciandu, where he stays in the same way for three 
months; and in the same way Cinchim his son departs and goes to the usual places; and this 
Acmat remains for the custody and guarding of the city, and when any accident happens he 
sends to Ciandu to the ^reat Kaan, and he sends him his wishes in reply. These Vanchu and 
Cenchu, having made this plan together, wished to communicate it to the greater Catalans of 
the land and by common consent made it known in many other cities and to their friends, namely 
that having planned to do such a deed on such a day, that as soon as they saw the f re-signals 
they should kill all those who have beards, and make the signal with f re to the other cities that 
they should do the like. And the reason why it was said that the bearded ones should be massacred 
is that the Catalans are naturally without beard, and the Tartars and Saracens and Christians 
wear it. And you must know that all the Catalans hated the rule of the great Kaan because he 
set over them Tartar, and for the more part Saracen, rulers, and they were not able to bear it, 
seeming to them to be like slaves. And then the great Kaan had not the rule of the province\of] 
Catai by right, but rather had obtained it by force; and not trusting them he gave to rule the 
lands to Tartars^ Saracens, & Christians who were of his own household faithful to him, and 
were not of the province of Catai. Now the aforesaid Vanchu & Cenchu, when the date had 
been determined, entered the palace by night. And Vanchu sat on a seat and had many candles 
lighted in front of him, and sent a messenger of his to Acmat Ballo who lived in the old city, 
on behalf of Cinchim son cf the great Kaan who that moment was arrived by night, that he 
must come to him Immediately. And having heard this Acmat, much wondering, went Immediately 
because he feared him much; and entering In at the gate of the city he met a Tartar named 
Cogatai, who was captain of twelve thousand men with whom he kept continual guard over 
the city, who said to him, Where are you going so late? To Cinchim, who Is this moment come. 
Said Cogatai, How is it possible that he is come so secretly that I have not known it? And he 
followed him with a certain number of his people. New these Catalans said, If only we can kill 
Acmat we have no one else to fear. And the moment that Acmat came into the palace, seeing 
so many candles lighted, he knelt down before Vanchu, believing that he was Cinchim; and Cenchu 
who was there ready with a sword cut off his head. And seeing this, Cogatai who had stopped 



215 



85- CUBLAI'S ANGER AFTER THE DEATH OF ACM AT ^MARCO POLO 

in the entry of the palace said, Here is treason; and immediately shooting an arrow at Vanchu, 
who was sitting on the seat, killed him, and calling his people arrested Cenchu, and sent an 
order through the city that if anyone were found out of his house he would be killed on the spot. 
The Cataians seeing that the Tartars had discovered the thing and that they had no head, these 
two being the one dead the other captive, hid themselves at home, nor were they able to make 
any signal to the other cities that they should rebel as had been arranged. And Cogatai im- 
mediately sent his messengers to the great Kaan declaring to him in order all the things that 
had happened; who sent word back to him that he should examine them diligently and should 
punish them for their misdeeds according as they should deserve. When the morning was come 
Cogatai examined all the Cataians and destroyed and killed many of them whom he found 
to be among the leaders in the conspiracy; and so it was done in the other cities when it was 
known that they were sharers in such a crime. When the great Kaan was come back to Cambaluc 
he wished to know the reason why this had taken place, and found how this accursed Acmat, as 
well himself as his sons, had committed so many evils and of such enormity as is said above. 
And it was found that between him and seven of his sons (^for all were not bad^ they had taken 
numberless ladies to wife, besides those whom they had taken by force. Then the great Kaan 
made them carry into the new city all the treasure which Acmat had gathered in the old city, 
and put it away with his own treasure, and it was found that it was infnite. And he wished 
that the corpse of Acmat should be dug up from the grave and put in the street that it might be 
torn by dogs. And the sons of that man, who had followed the father in the evil works, he made 
them flay alive. And when it came to his memory about the cursed sect of Saracens, by which 
every sin has been made lawful to them and that they can kill whoever is not of their law, and 
that the cursed Acmat with his sons had not for this reason reckoned that they committed any 
sin, he despised it much and held it in abomination. Having called the Saracens to him he 
forbad them many things which their law commanded them; for he gave them an order that 
they must take wives according to the law of the Tartars, and that they must not cut the throats 
of animals, as they did, to eat the flesh, but must cut them in the belly. And at the time that 
this thing happened Master Marc found himself in that place. 
V Now I have told you of the town. Of the suburbs of the city & of his other grandeurs 
FB we shall tell you in another part of this book. After this we shall tell you of the men, 
FB how he holds court and of his other doings, that is of the great lord, as you will be 
able to hear. 

. 86 • T* TTOW THE GREAT KAAN HAS HIMSELF GUARDED BY TWELVE THOUSAND MEN 

R I I ON HORSEBACK. Now you may know that the great Kaan, as is clear to 

LT VA JL JL. everyone, for his grandeur and honour has himself guarded day and night with 

p V twelve thousand paid horsemen, and they are called in their tongue quesitan which 



216 



Till-: DiiscRiniON oi 1 1 II-; vvokij)^ c)u1:SITAN bc)I)yc;uari)s -86 

moans to .say m liciuli' knii;hts aiul \ ^^(i\ iiiisud duos' of tlic lord; ^uA he does 
it not lor lo.ii tliai in- may have ol any man, hut he does it Jor griindfur^ • rx,'-lUtuf, ■ iind lu k i i 
miii>nijicfnn-.- AnJ-thcy plan their wiUches thus. I hose ivvolvo thousand inon liavc lour JH i» 
captains, lor each o/' them is captani ol ihroo iliousand. And one captain with his-one \'\ i- i.i 
company who are those iliiee iliousand sta\' and ouard in the palace ol the groat lord i.i 
continually lor three da\ s auA [or three nights, _/br neither hy day nor by night do they R i. 
go out of the palace, and oat and drink in it at the expense oj the royal court, -and sleep i, i ia 
there. And so, it isjthat when these three thousand have guarded throe days and 
three nights then they go oil. and next come the second captain with his throe thousand va 
and guard other three days and three nights, and then these leave and the other three Fii 
thousand come hack to ouard; and so they do, always going on guard three hy three up to FB 
twelve thousand, until the\' have all boon on guard, and then they begin the guard R 
Ironi the beginning again, and so it goes hy turns all the year. By day certainly the i' R 
other nine thousand do not leave the palace, unless anyone goes for the business oJ the great 
Kaan, or for things necessary to them, granting however that it was allowed, and always 
with the leave of his captain. And ij there were any serious happening, as if the father or the 
brother or some kin of his were at the point of death, or indeed if some great loss had overtaken 
him so that he could not quickly return, it would he necessary to ask leave of the lord. But 
at night the nine thousand do indeed go home.^ 

And when the great Kaan keeps his table in his hall tor any great court & feast & va ta va 
rejoicing which he may wish to hold, he is seated* in this way. Vov frst the table of va f« p 
the great lord is set before his throne very high above all the others. He sits in the R v 
north part of the hall -with the shoulders towards tramontaine so that his face looks i* v 
towards middav, and his first wife sits beside him on the left side, and on the right 
side, hut at another table which is rather lower, sit his sons m lordly fashion,'' and \ a 



^ FA.FB: enfrancois V: al modo nostro VA: in nostra lingua Others have simply "that is". 

^ V: ehaualicri efcdeli Others: "trusted knights" omitting "and". 

^ This passage of R is also, in a shortened and partly corrupt form, xw \\ fol. 49VO: "And 
besides these 9000 sra)- there continually, who do not leave the palace except in the service 
of the great Kaan. And b)- night they do not go home." and ^still shorter in L, fol. i9rO: 
"The other 9000 however themselves too are on guard all da)- with the others, even though 
they do not stay at night." 

* FA,FB: il se siet TA: le tauole istanno LT: tahule stant P: curia tali ordine sedet R: gli 
hnomini segoono Vifano apariar la sua mensa 

^ se^fl^ au seinonorf Other texts omit au seingnorf. B. prints au seignors without note, 
but omits from his translation. L: flij eius depresius tamen domino Y: i fioli e neuodi del gran 
chan. Perhaps read les fil^au seingnorf and translate: "the sons of the lord". 



217 



86- THE ORDER AND MAGNIFICENCE OF FEASTING 5^ MARCO POLO 

L VL R likewise his grandsons, according to their agcs^ and his kindred and others who are connected 

R FB by blood, that is those who are descended of the imperial Hne, so low tliat I cell you that 

R their heads come to the teet of the great lord. None the less Cinchim his first son sits 

R VA rather higher than the other sons. And then the other barons and princes- & other people 

VL sit[at thejother tables still lower step by step according to their dignity, & state, and age. 

VA And it goes in the same way with the women, that at the feet of the first queen is the 

table of the other queens & of the other younger children of the great Kaan; for all the wives 

of the sons of the great lord and of his grandsons and of his kindred sit on the left 

L side, namely, of the empress, also more low; and next sit all the wives of the barons and 

of the [39^] knights, and they also sit lower. And they know each their place where 

R he ought to sit according to his rank and dignity in the place assigned to him and proper by 

L the ordering of the lord, so however that each is on the right side, & all their wives on the 

VA left, that is on the side of the empress. And the tables are arranged in the hall in such a way 

L VA that the great lord can see all the f casters, and they are always a very great number. 

R Do not believe that all sit at table; on the contrary the greater part of the knights and barons 

p eat in the hall on carpets, because they have not tables. And outside this hall are other halls 

at the sides; and in these royal banquets there sometimes feed more than forty thousand' 

p VA of them, beside those who are of the king's court -who always come in numbers to sing & to 

make various sport. And many times more than ten thousand persons eat at the tables which 

are outside the great hall. For many men come there with many great presents, and 

p R they are men who come from foreign parts with jewels and with strange things and 

VA unaccustomed to be seen, and some there arc who have had a domain or lordship and 

P VA wish one again, and jesters innumerable. And /or this reason so great a multitude of men 

R like these are wont always to come on days like these when the great Kaan holds 

R VA open court and makes feast. And in the middle of: this great hall where the great 

R lord keeps his table is a most beautiful structure, large and rich, made in the manner of 

a square chest, and each side is of three paces, cunningly worked with very beautiful carving 

of gilded animals; and in the iniddle it is hollowed out, and there is a great and valuable 

vessel in the shape of a great pitcher of fine gold which holds quite as much wine as 

FB L T L a common large butt of six barrels or of six salme, • & it is full of wine or of some other good 

VA R drink. And round the foot of this pitcher, that is in each corner of this chest, is a smaller 

VL R FB one of silver, 'Of the capacity of a grape-tub, -full of good spiced drinks, very fne and of great 

R value, ' in one of which is mares milk, and in another camels', and so with the others, according 

as there arc different kinds of drinks. And on the said chest stand all the vessels of the lord, 

' P: .xj.milia TA: san^a numero VL: quatro niillia Z,V,R omit. Others "more than 
40000". 

218 



Till- Dl-SCRIIMION OV I 111: WOKLD'^^^ A I lHli COURT OI- CUBLAI -86 

with which he is sitpplicJ with tirink. Aiul liDin ili.u l.ir^o one comes the wine, or 
Jrotti the Iwo small ones i\\c Jiinks nnIikIi aw m iliosc lesser ones.' I'he wine or ilu- ta 
dear drink wliuli may he there is Jravvn out of those Jour small ones and great golJcn va 
vessels very beautijul, which are called lacciiiered bowls are filled wiili it, winch an- R 
indeed such that they hold so much wine or other drink that eight men or ten' k 
would hax'e enough ol ii . And they are set one lacijucr howl between every two men k r 
who sit .11 table, and each ol these two men who arc at table have a ladle, and the ladles va r 
are made like a goLl cup with a foot and i^cldeii handle, And with that cup they take p 
wine from that great golden lacijuer bowl and arc able to drink. And likewise there are l 
between two ladies who eat at the court one oi those large ones and two cups, as the va 
[396] men have. And you ma\- know that lUc^c golden bowls and these things are of va 
great value; and 1 tell you that the great lord has so great & inestimable store oi vessels P 
ot oold and ot silver that all those who sec them are dumbfounded and there is not a man P 
who did not see them who could think or believe it. Also there are some barons deputed who LT R 
have to arrange ni their proper and suitable places the foreigners who come over, who do not 
know the customs of the court ; and these barons go continually here and there through the hall 
asking these who sit at table if they want anything, and if there are any there who wish for 
wine, or milk, or meat, or anything else they have it brought to them immediately by the 
servants. At all the doors of the hall, or of any place where the lord may be, stand two great 
men like gicints, one on one side and the other on the other, with a rod in hand; and this because 
no one is allowed to touch the threshold of the door, but he must stretch his foot beyond. And 
if by accident he touches it the said guards take away his clothes, and to have them again he 
must redeem them; and if they do not take his clothes they give him as many blows as are appointed 
him. But if they are foreigners, who do not know the rule, there arc certain barons appointed 
to introduce them and warn them of the rule. And this is done because if the threshold is touched 
it is held as a bad omen. But in coming out of the hall, because some arc overcome with drink 
nor could by any means control themselves, no such ban is required. And you may know 
that those who do the service of food and drink to the great Kaan at the sideboard va 
& at his table are many great barons, and I tell you that they all have their mouths p fb 
and their noses wrapped n\ beautiful veils or napkms of silk & of gold, so that R 
their breath nor their smell should not come into the vessels and fMp5[or]into the food lt 
and the drink of the great lord. And always when the great lord must drink, all R 

^ Et de eele grant uient le uin au beuraies que sunt en celle mendre For au read ou. FA.FB: Si 
que le vin de la grant vient au petites que li sont entour aussi (sont aussi pres) — & so VA.P. Just 
above, TA: da ongnj lato di questo vaso ne sono due piccholj and so here deglj due piccholj 

2 FA,FB, V: x TA.LT have 8 only. P: xviii L,R: 8 or 10 

219 



.86- CEREMONIES WHEN THE GREAT KAAN DRINKS ;^MARCO POLO 

p P those who wait on the king with the instruments of music, of which there are a vast 

R quantity ot all makes, begin to sound until he drinks. And when the great lord has 

FB R his cup in his hand, as soon as the hoy has presented it to him he retires backward three paces 

R LT and kneels, and all the barons and all the other people who are serving there kneel 

R down and make a sign of great humility; and then the great lord drinks. And 

when he has drunk, the instruments cease and the people rise. And every time when he drinks 

R LT it is done so as you have heard with this honour and reverence, -or when new food comes. 

p But oi the food which is brought to the tables I will tell you nothing, because each must 

p P FB believe that in so magnificent a court it is there in great and lavish abundance of every 

LT sort; -that he has dishes and viands many and various of different flesh of animals and birds 

wild and domestic and offsh, when it is the season for this and when he pleases, prepared in 

various and different ways most delicately as hefts his magnifcence and his dignity. Moreover 

G FB I tell you that no baron nor any knight eats there but brings his frst wite also, 

LT and but that she eats^ there with the other ladies. And when they have eaten and 

P the great Kaan has fnishcd his meal, and the tables are taken away, then all the harpers 

rise up and make sweet melody and there come into that hall before the great lord and 

R before all the other people inany persons, and amongst the others a very great multitude 

P VA VA of jugglers and ol acrobats and actors and soothsayers and men of many sorts who do 

several kinds of great per[39f]f:ormances, and all make great enjoyment and great 

p festivity before the great lord and the others who have eaten in his court, and the people 

make much joy of it and laugh at it and enjoy it much. And when it is all done, 

VA the people leave and each goes back to his lodging and to his house as he pleases. 

87- "TT HTERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT FESTIVAL WHICH THE GREAT KAAN MAKES 

R I I ON HIS BIRTHDAY. And you may know that all the Tartars and those who 

L JL Jk^ are subjects of the great Kaan -arc used to make festival ot their birthdays.'' 

FB P And the great Kaan'Cublai was born on the zS day of the moon of the month of 

TA LT LT September, on Monday, -the day of Saint Lucy and Geminianus.^ And every year on that 

LT FB LT R day he makes the greatest least that he makes -all the year for any purpose, except the -other 

p feast which they make at the beginning of the year on the kalends of February, which 

day they observe as the beginning of the year, for the month of February is with them the frst 



^ que ne moine sefeme & qe nei menuie LT: qui illuc non ducat snavi uxorem, et que non commedat 
^ I-A,I-B,P,V,L agree with this. TA.R say that the Tartars celebrate the Kaan's birth- 
day. LT: Quando magnus Kaan tiascitur omnes barones faciunt festum de die sue nationis 

^ P: XXV, die mensis dccembris TA: lunedi misunderstanding iors de la lune V (in a confused 
sentence): vintioto de setenhrio et fo de lutii Qubilai was born on the 28 day of the 8th moon 
(Wednesday, 23 September) 1215, the octave of the feast of St Lucy and Geminianus. cf. 
p. 193 above. 

220 



II li: DHSCKIPIION OF INI- VVORLi:)^ AND I IIS I'.IIMIII)AV IHAST .87 

anioiiii the months of the year, so as 1 shall n-Iaic 11 10 you alter tlus. Now \nni inav 

kni>w iliai he kcfps the Jeast of his tuUivity in this wiiy. lor on tlu' Jay ol lir^ hiiili i hr if 

o;rcat Kaan is Jrosi in the most i\oh\c cloih oi the purest bcaioii ^^okl that he has. And 111 i. in 

quite lu'dvo ilioiisauJ Itarons aiul kIligll(^' who are called the faithful companions of P 

the lord are dressed afterwards wiili liim m a colour aiul in a lasluon like iliat of the fb va 

robe ol (he threat lord; not that thev are so dear robes as those of the king, hut they are i.r 

ot one colour and all are cloth oi silk And ol gold, and all those who arc robed have FB fb 

^reat girdles ol oreat value, cf -leather worked with thread of gold and silver very cunningly, \> H k 

given them, and a pair of shoes -of leather worked with silver thread very skilfully. And the P 

^reat lord gives rheni all these robes which are of very great value. Moreover I cell you i. i- 

that, although the king's robe is more costly, yet there are some ol these robes which are P 
worth, the precious stones and the pearls which were on iheni are worth, more 

than 10000 bezants of gold." And there are many like this, as are those of the barons R 
who for loyalty arc nearest to the lord and are called (jucsitan. And you may know that 

rhirrccn times' a year, solely for the thirteen solemn feast-days which the Tartars keep with R 
great ceremony according to the thirteen moons of the year, the great Kaan gives rich robes 

adorned with gold pearls and precious stones with the girdles and shoes aforesaid, altogether P 
to the number of ijbooo, to those twelve thousand barons'* and knights, and he clothes 

them all with a like clothing with himselt and ot great value, so that when they are R 
dressed and thus richly adorned they all seem to be kings. And when the lord wears any robe 

these barons -and knights -are likewise dressed in one of the same colour; but those of the lord va r 
are of more value and more costly ornament. And the said robes of the barons are always ready; 
not that they are made every year, on the contrary they last ten years and more and less.- 

And so for each time one colour is distinct from the other. And from this vou can see that fb r 

it is a very great thing, the great excellency of the great Kaan, tor there is no other lord R 

in all the [39^] world who could do this nor continually keep it up, but he alone. R va 

ONCE MORE ABOUT THE FESTIVAL WHICH THE KAAN MAKES ON HIS BIRTHDAY. • 88 ' 

And you may know that on this same day of his birth all the Tartars of fa 
the world, all the kings & princes and barons who are subject to his jurisdiction, P 
and all the provinces and regions and cities which hold land ol: him^ make great feast l lt 

^ LT; duodecim harones, et duodecimmilia milites TA^: xii R; circa ventimila 

* que ualent les pieres presioses & les perles qe soure hi estoient uailent plus.de.x'".bifanf dor LT: 
que ualent cum lapidihus preciosis et perlis que sunt ihi ultra mile milia bifantis de auro So perhaps 
read con les pieres and omit uailent. 

' LT: duodecim uieibus 

* VA: dodexe haronj — and so below: but dodexe milia above 

^ munde & toutes les prouences & region qe de lui tenent tere & regions For the first & V,LT; de 

FA.TA, 

221 



• 88. THE FEAST AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR p^MAKCO POLO 

R and give him very great presents, each as is suitable to him who brings it, and 

FB accordingly as it is ordered. And there come many other men also, each with great 

VA FB presents on that day, -to ask favours of the lord; and they are those who wish to ask 

him to give them some domain. And the great lord has chosen twelve barons who 

FB FB are set over this affair, to give the domains to men like these according as they think it 

FB P is fitting to each. And again on this day all people of whatever faith they are, all the 

P FB idolaters and all the Christians or the Jews and all the Saracens and all the other races 

TA VA of" the Tartar people who are subject to the rule of the great Kaan must make great petitions 

FB FB FB and great assemblies and great prayers, each to the idols and to their God with great 

L R chants, and great lights, and great incense, that he 7nay be pleased to save and protect them 

LT P their lord, and that they give him long life and good and joy and health, and safety, 

and prosperity. In such manner as I have told you lasts that day the joy and the 

FB FB LT feasting of his nativity. Now let us leave speaking to you of this feast, for we have 

well told you of it, and we will speak to you of another great feast which he makes 

on their beginning of the year, which is called the white feast. 

•89- T" "¥'ERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT FEAST WHICH THE GREAT KAAN MAKES ON 

LT I I THEIR BEGINNING OF THE YEAR. It is true that the Tartars they make 

L JL jL their solemn feast which they name white at the beginning of the year in the 

p month of February, on the kalends, that is thefrst day of the year, by the Tartar computation. 

LT R And the great lord and his clan and all those [40^] who are subject to him, throughout 

p their districts, -wherever they are, make of it such a feast as I shall tell you. It is the 

FB FB custom that the great Kaan with all his subjects dress themselves all in white robes, so 

FB that on that day both men & women, small and great, when they have the power to do it, 

L are all dressed in new and white clothes. And they do it because white dress seems to 

them lucky and good, and therefore they wear it at the beginning of their year 

R so that they may take their good and have joy and comfort all the year. And on this 

FB FB day all the people and^ all the provinces and all the regions & kingdoms and countries 

LT which hold land and domains of him bring him very great presents according to 

R their ability of gold and of silver and of pearls and of many precious stones and of 

VA LT many very rich white cloths and of other things, as is fitting; and whatever presents are 

FB made are of white things and with white things. And they do it on that day that all the 

FA,TA,VA,R: & FB omits. The second & regions is omitted by FA,TA,LT which other- 
wise have exactly the same form of sentence, and it may be due to the influence of & region 
which comes just above it in the preceding line. 

^& TA,¥B,V,VA: de h: gentes.s.reges principes et harones ... similiter et omnes prouincie R: 
genti, prouincie, & regni Others express differently, cf. p. 221 n.5 above. 



222 



Tin: Dr.scKipnoNoi- ini-: woki.d'^ which rniiv cm. lwhitk .89- 

year rluMi' K)i\l m.n' li.ivr ircMsmc tiu)iu'Ii to spent! .inj ili.ii lie in.iy h.ivc joy nnil i' 

Ii;ij''ninoss. AnJ a^aiii I ii-II \ini ili.u ilic l^uons aiul ihc kmi;Iiis aiiJ all ilir lartar VA 

itcoplo ^i\'i' oiu- (o aiuxlur wliiti- things ami embrace ami kiss one anoilur anil make iii 

(lu'inseives very great ](>\' .ukI leasrin^, saying one to another (as also is said with us), w; i< 

Good luck to you this year and may everything which you do turn out well. Anci rliey ilo ihis 

iliai all ihe \ ear they nia\- lake their good auil thai ilu\ may have gooci luck. 

And attain v'ou nia\' know cuiiie truly thai on this Jay there come Jrom dijjerent places \\\ 

which have received orders more than looooi/ white camels and horses very bcaiitiiul i.i 

aiul line and dear, i^ivon to the i^reat Kaan. And if they are not altogether white, they are i.i n 

at least white for the greater part; and very many white horses are found in those countries. 

Then it is a custom among them, that in making of presents to the great Kaan all the provinces 

which can do so observe this way, that of each present nine times they present nine head; that 

is, if it is a province which sends horses, it presents nine times nine head of horses, that is 

eighty-one; if it presents gold, nine times it sends nine pieces of gold ; if cloths, nine times nine 

pieces of cloths; and so with all the other things, so that sometimes he will have by this count a 

hundred thousand horses.'^ And again on that day come all his own elephants, which l 

are quite five thousand,' all covered with beautitul cloths worked artificially and r 

richly in gold and in silk with many other beasts and with birds and I ions -embroidered; and v v r 

each* elephant has on his back two great [40^] coffers like safes, very good & beautiful va va va va 

and rich, and they are full of the great lord's gold and silver plate and of rich trappings l lt 

which are needed for that white-feast court. And /'// the same way a very great number of fb fb l 

camels come there also, covered too with very beautiful cloth of white silk, and they fb vl 

are all loaded with the things needed for that court and white feast, and they all fb va 

pass in front of the great lord adorned like this, and it is the most wonderful and r p 

beautiful sight to see that was ever seen in the world. • The coffer means to say in our fb ta 

language a safe. And again I tell you that the morning of that festival, before the 

tables are set, all the kings and princes and all the dukes and marquesses and all the l fb 

coimts, and barons, and knights, and astrologers, and philosophers, and phvsicians, and fb r fb fb r 

falconers, and many other officials of the king, captains and rulers of people and o^ va 

^ FA,FB,VA: 100000 TA': loooo TA'': iiooo LT: 5000 P,V,R: no number. 

^ The text of R seems to have some error and, as it has been differently prmted by 
Baldelli-Boni and by B., part of the original text of 1559 is here quoted: Adunque c consuetudine 
appresso di loro nelfar di presenti al gran Cane, che tutte le prouincie, che lo possonofar osseruino questo 
niodo, che di ciaseuno presente, none volte noue, present ano noue capi, eioe segli e vna &c.. The second none 
seems to be superfluous, and is omitted in the version. So V. Lazari Marco Polo p. 240. 

' TA: 500 P: 105000 Others 5000 or omit. 

* TA.LT: "one" 

223 



89- THE WORSHIP OF CUBLAI AT THE WHITE FEAST ^MARCO POLO 

VA R lands and of armies all conic into the great hall before the :^rcat lord, and those 

p FB who hy reason of the multitude do not achieve this stay outside the palace [rtM^]vvor5iip 

P P outside 'in the halls at the side, in such place that the great lord who sits on a throne can 

LT R L see them all well. And I tell you that they are all arranged in this way. For first 

R LT of all are his sons and his grandsons and all those ot his direct imperial line. Next 

V V VA fo these are the kings and next to the kings the dukes, then the barons & knights, and then 

P all the orders the one after the other so as it was suitable according to their ranks and 

R FB dignity of o_ffice. And when they are all seated each in his proper place, then a great 

L R P wise -ancient -man, as one might say a great prelate, stands up in the middle and says in 

P V V a very loud voice, Now all soever bow down and worship at once your lord. And as 

P P soon as he has so said they all rise up andhowthen'[se\vesin\medi3ite\y 3.ndhend the knee 

and put their foreheads on the ground and make their [40^] prayer towards the lord 

V R and worship him just as if he were their God. Then the prelate says, God save and keep 

our lord long with joy and gladness. And all answer, God do so. And the prelate says a second 

time, God increase and multiply his empire from good to better, and preserve all the people 

subject to him in tranquil peace and goodwill, and in all his lands may all things prosperous 

continue. And all answer, God do so. And ui such a way they worship him four^ times. 

FB R V P R And then, -this done, they stand up and go^ all in their order to an altar which is there 

VL very well adorned, and on that altar is a red tablet on which is written with letters 

VL of gold and of precious stones of great value the proper name of the great Kaan. And 

FB LT P there is also a beautiful golden -thur if er or censer made ready, in which is sweet incense, 

R L and they — the prelate on behalf of all — go up to this altar, & taking the censer incense 

L LT R that tablet of the great Kaan and the altar with great reverence to the great Kaan.- And 

FB then all do great reverence to the said tablet on the altar. Then each one goes back to his 

P L place. And when they have all done this wicked censing then the presents to the great 

Kaan are made, of which I have told you, which are of so very great value and so rich. 

And when the presents are all made and the great lord has seen all these things, 

V once more they worship the abovesaid great Kaan, and then the tables are set. And when 

FB LT the tables are set then the people sit down each in his place -to eat, in such order as 

V R I have told you before, and in the same way all the women -as well as the men. For the 
L great lord sits at his high table on the north side of the hall, & turning his face toward 

the midday is easily able to see all who are feasting together in the hall, and with him on 

L L the left side sits the empress, that is his first wife, and no one else sits there. But under 

the lord, that is lower, sit the sons & all who proceed from the imperial^^line'^. Then sit all 



»VA: "three" 

* R: d£tto Prelato va 



224 



THH l^I-SCRII'IION OV VlUi \VC)RLI)'=^ ROVAS ^ P,I:LTS & BOOTS 89. 

ilu- odurs 111 Muh a way aiul so anaiiiiCil as I Iiavr loKI \i)u; <o that all the nun stt i, 

oil the rii^ht siilc, namely on the side of the ^re at Kaan, ,iiul all ilu- lajios tlicmsclvi-s sit 

at tlu" sidr ol lUc ciihmoss just as I liavo loKI \()ii. And hriejly, at this Jeast he keeps l 

taMi' all in mkIi a \\ :\v as I lia\e Jcscribed to \i)u tin- oilur (inic. Aiul wUcn tliey 

liavo eaten, the musicians and -many jii^^lers and Imjjoons CDinr aiui anuise rlie coiiri k v v 

just as you have heatd the other imu-. And after they have done all this each goes ib 

hack \v«f/; ^rcat joy and oladness ii> his lod^in^ & ro his house. Now I have told \'oii ol v 

the rejoicing oj the white least ol the beginning ol ihe year. Now 1 shall tell you ol i/i 

a vei"\ nohle ihtng which the areat lord has done every year Jar the honour of his feast v 

aforesaid, who has ordained [40^] certain robes of various colours to be made for certain v 

barons to come to his appointed leasts of which I have told you. i"B 

HllKll in; TELLS or ihi-; twelve thousand barons who came to the -oo 

FEASTS. No\\' you may know again quite truly that the great lord has va 
ordained' his 12000 barons who arc called /// their own tongue quesitan, v 
which means to say //( our tongue the lord's nearest trusty ones, as I have told you before, v fb 
He has aiven to each of these iiooo men thirteen suits of rohes^ of great value^ each of a fb fb l 
colour diflerent the one from the other, that is to say that all the iiooo are of one fb 
colour^ and then the second liOOO of another, so that they are divided one from the other in 
thirteen varieties of colours; and they are decked with pearls and with precious stones fb 
and with other ^^rftif and rich things very nobly, and therefore they are of very extremely lt l 
great value. He has also given to each o{ these twelve thousand barons with each fb 
robe thirteen times a year a belt ot gold, of crimson cunningly worked with threads of gold v 
& of silver^ -very rich and very beautiful and of: great value. And again he gives to fb 
each a pair of boots of leather called camut, which is bourgal,-and a hat, worked very fb l fb vl 
cunningly with silver thread, which are very beautiful and dear. The\- all have 
ornaments so noble and so beautiful that it seems indeed when they have put them 
on that each one is a king. And he makes thirteen feasts in the year, so that those twelve vA 
thousand barons are robed thirteen times in the year, and at every feast the colours are changed.- 
And it is ordered that these twelve thousand be at each feast which the lord makes, and these v 
gentlemen are of the best that there may be.^ And at each feast of the thirteen of the year l 



* B. reads ordree[xiii festes a les quel^doient venir ks]sien . . . but with no MS. support, unless 
it is the sentences of VA,V below. 

^ TA.LT read "twelve barons" and LT "twelve robes", here & below. There seems to 
be some confusion between the 12000 guards (^quesitan, who were hardly barons) and these 
barons, whatever their number. VA: tredexemilia vestimenti alano per ^chadum 

^ B., p. clxxv, quotes this as one of the pitiful corruptions of V; and it may indeed be a 
misunderstanding of the following sentences. But it also gives some support to B.'s own 

addition 

225 



•90. THE GREAT KAAN'S ROBES & HIS TAME LION ^MARCO POLO 

L L it is ordered which of these thirteen robes must be worn, each namely to its ownjeast. 

FB FB And also the great lord has thirteen suits of them Hke those of his barons, that is in 

L colour; but they are more noble and of much greater value and better adorned/ 

L And so at any of the regular feasts when the lord is dressed in the prescribed robe he is always 

FB dressed in a hke one with his barons who are as it were his companions. Now I have 

told you of the thirteen robes which the twelve thousand barons have from their 

lord, which are among all 156000 robes so dear and of great value as I have told you, 

which are worth so great a quantity of treasure that [4K1] the number could hardly 

be told, without the belts & the boots which are also worth treasure enough. And 

VA the great lord has done all this that his court & his feasts may be more honourable 

LT and greater. And so the story is told of the robes which this emperor gives to these barons at 

FB this feast. And again I will tell you a thing which I had forgotten to relate, which seems 

VA a great wonder which is somewhat fit to relate in our book. For you may know that 

VA when the great Kaan mahs feast and ceremony as I have said above, a great lion is brought 

before the great lord. And as soon as he sees him the lion throws himself down lying 

before him and makes signs[of]great humility, and seems to know him for lord. 

R FB LT P He is so tame that he stays thus before him with no chain and not tied at all, -lying 

quietly at the king's feet like a dog; and it is indeed a thing which makes one wonder, 

FB which is very strange hearing for all those who have not seen it. Now let us leave you this 

FB thing of which I have told you all well and orderly, and we will tell you of the great hunt 

LT of wild animals which arc sent to the court, which the great lord causes to be made as 

FB FB you shall be able to hear, that he may have game as long as he stays in his capital city of 

Catai, which has Cambaluc to name. 

■91- FB X "yOW THE GREAT KAAN HAS ORDERED THAT HIS PEOPLE BRING HIM GAME.^ 

FB I I Now you may know truly that while the great lord stays in the chief city 

LT FB X. JL of Catai, that is in Cambaluc, these three months, they are to wit December 

R and January and February, in which is the great cold, he has determined that sixty^ 

addition to the first sentence of this chapter (p. 225, n.l above). 

* & un tel^ acmes No other text seems to have anything corresponding to these meaning- 
less words, except perhaps L: simili induitur vestimento, but the corrupt sentence in V mentioned 
above says et meio et piu richamente vestiti et adornadi, words which support B.'s conjecture: & 
miel^ aornes. 

* Comant le gran kan a ordree qe se( iens li ap. Kubrica. The same omission of portent uenoisons 
(presumably due to an ancient binder) is found in the table of contents, though that often 
seems to be taken from an independent source. 

^ FA.VA.P: "sixty" VL: x.x.x. Others "forty", and so below. FB (accidentally): 
septembre 

226 



Tiir. nnscRiiMioN oi- iiii-: woRi.n'^ rnr. hunting animals -91 

Jays in.uclu's idiiiuI ilu- ^^lixcc w lure In- is all in'oplc imisi luiiii aiu] caicli birds, 
and si'nds tl}osf who know how to ttikc the hii> iininiah. Aiul this is ilftiTinmcc] and ordcrccl, FB 
that cAcU \o\\\ ol pi'DpIc anJ ol lands liiai all lai\;i' animals' that arc taken, as arc va 
wilJ-hoai- aiul states aiul bucks aiul roc-dccr Aud bears, I tons, ounces, anJ otIuT sorts FB FA 
of large wilJ boasis which are oj similar si^',-and other birds, be broiiv^bt lo luiu, that va FA 
is 111 sa\' ilu- givaior pan ol iliosc large animals. And they observe this way in taking k 
them : each lord of the province makes all the hunters oJ the land come with him, and they go 
wherever the animals may be, hemming them in all round, and kill them with dogs and the 
greater part with arrows. And in such fashion did all the people hunt of which I have 
told you. And [41^] (^H those beasts which they wish to send to the great lord, ihey fb 
have all the entrails within the belly taken out, then they put them on the carts 
or on boats and send them to the lord. And those of whom I have told you at twenty and va lt fb 
at thirty days marchesyrom the great Kaan do this, and they are a very great number, va 
And those who are sixty^ days marches away do not send him the flesh because it 
is too long a way, but they send him all the skins made up and prepared, and others r 
which arc not dressed, so that the great lord may have made of them all his needs 
for the making ot arms and for the hosts. Now I have told you of the making of 
the chase, and then we shall tell you of the fierce beasts which the great lord keeps 
for the chase and to have his delight with them. FB 

'ERE HE TELLS OF LIONS AND OF LEOPARDS AND OF LYNXES WHICH ARE 



H' 
TRAINED TO TAKE ANIMALS, AND HE SPEAKS ALSO OF GERFALCONS AND OF 
FALCONS AND OF OTHER BIRDS. You may know again that the great 
lord has indeed fierce animals with which he hunts, namely -tame leopards enough which are l p 
all good at hunting with men and at taking animals. He has also a very great number p 
of lynxes which are all trained to beast-catching and are very good at the chase. 
He has many very large lions, much larger than those of Babilonie. They are of very 
beautiful skin and of very beautiful colour, for they are striped all over lengthwise l 
black and red and white, and they are too beautiful a thing to sec. -And they are very well va l l 
trained likewise to hunt with men and to take wild boar and the wild oxen and bears p 
and wild asses and harts and roe-buck and very many other wild animals. Moreover l va 
I tell you that it is a very fine thing to look at the fierce beasts that the lions take;- fb 



^ & est establi & ordree ce qe chascun . . . terres qe toutes grant bestes The old versions on the 
whole support the clumsy translation oiyen. E.g. V: et questo sono ordenado ai signori de le tere eke 
li debiafar chonzar le gran bestie Otherwise one might supply doit f aire and take ce qe naturally 
as "that which". VA simply: E che ^aschuno die portar al signior. . . 

• FA.FB omit. TA',LT,V,R "forty" P: ultra.xxx. TA^• in jo migla See p. 226 n.3. 



92 



227 



■92- THE CUIUCCI BROTHERS BAIAN AND MINGAN ^MARCO POLO 

R V to see when a lion takes such animals with what ferocity and speed it does so. -And when the 

FB p lord wishes to go hunting-with all his lions, [I tell you]thac they carry two of them on the 

FB P R covered carts^ in a cage, and with him is a little dog/or companion, -with which they are 

trained. And the reason why they are carried in cages is because they would he too ferocious 

and ravening in the chase of the beasts, nor could they be held. And it is necessary that they 

should be carried against the wind, because if the animals should perceive their scent they would 

flee at once and would not wait for them. He has also a great multitude of eagles which 

L L are very well trained to hunt; for they take [4 if] wolves and foxes and buck and roe- 

LT deer, hares and other small animals, and take plenty of them. But those which are trained 

to take wolves are very extremely large and of great strength, for you may know 

that there is no wolf so large as to escape before those eagles without being taken. 

Now I have told you of this which you have heard. Now I wish to tell you how 

L L the great lord has also a very large number of very good dogs kept . 

■ Oy IT "TTERE HE SPEAKS OF THE TWO BROTHERS WHO ARE OVER THE DOGS OF THE 

LT I I CHASE. It is true that the great lord has two great barons who arc 

JL jL real brothers who, the one has Baian tor name and the other Mingan, 

p P who are set over the royal hunting like this. They are called cuiucci in the Tartar tongue, 

VA R which means to say in our tongue those who are masters of the hunt, and they keep the 

R P hunting dogs and retrievers^ and greyhounds and the -great dogs which we call mastiff dogs, 

VA L Each of these two brothers has 10000 men under them^ controlling the dogs, and all 

R L the ten thousand who are under one of these are dressed in clothes of one colour and the 

R L L other ten thousand under the other are dressed in like clothes of another colour, that is 

FB FB L L the one in red and the others in -sky blue.^ And they do not always use these clothes, but only 

every time that they go with the great lord hunting they wear those clothes of which 

FB R I have told you, to be known, -and take with them sleuth hounds, greyhounds, & mastics. 

And among these ten thousand there are two thousand of them who each has a 

great mastiff dog or two or more,^ so that they are very great multitudes. And 



^ bestes qe les lions quil les portent sus le charethe FB: bestes que ces lyons prennent Car quant ll veult 
chacier a tout ses lyons.si les portent TA: le bestie saluatiche quando illione la prende che quando 
vanno . . . egli gli portano V: bestie che brancha questi lioni et quando el signer vol andar in cha^a chon 
li lioni li uien metudi LT combines TA with FB: quando leo capit bestias siluestres Quia quando 

2 da paisa Baldelli-Boni suggests da presa, which seems to mean retrievers. But paissa 
seems to be a Venetian word meaning game (selvatico. cf. BoERIo s.v.). 

^ P: Quilibet enim ipsorum decern milibus hominum preest.qui canes magnos nutriunt quos Mastinos 
dicimus propter quod vocantur lingua Tartarica. Canici.hoc est canum magnorum prefecti. 

* VA: biancho S: bianco VL: biauo 

^ VA: vintimilia . . . quatromilia . . . dui al pliu 

228 



II II-: Dl-SCKIi'llON Ol II W: WORIA)^ II II-: I IUNTINCj win I DOCiS -93. 

wluMi ilu' i;n'.u \oi\{ ^TDOs limiting; ilu-ii oiu- ol ihrsc l>rc)thcrs with h\s ten ihousaiui 
Mu'ii cj one rolcur aiul with cjuiio live thoiis.inii *.iogs (Jor there are Jew who have not i. R 
(/opi) ^ocs cm our siiio ol lum /o the ri^ht hatiJ,^ and tlu" otluT l)ro(licr with his own F li 
ten thousanJ of the other colour .uiil u iih iIumi «.logs goes on the other side, to the Icjt 1. ih 
oFhiin. The lord & bis barons stay in the iiiiilJli' on the oreat plain where this hunt is made, va 
rhe\' v;i'> .ill and jorm a lon^ line and place themselves through the breadth oj the fields the P 
one bcsicle the other at some distance so iliat they are so Jar extended that in breadth 1. 
the\- hold more tiian a da\s march oJ country, -they are so many; and then -when they are r v p 
rani>ed m (he ajoresaid order -they come drawing themselves together -one towards the other, -all v r.\ va 
comino towards the lord, -and sogojorward with the hunt, and loose the dogs which they hold at p 
the wild beasts, oJ which there is a very great number. Fhey find no wild beast [41^] which 
is nor taken, and ij some escape they arc Jew. It is too beautiful a thing and very delightjul va I' 
to those who take pleasure in these hunts, to sec the chase and the way of those dogs 
and of those hunters, for I tell you that when the great lord rides with his barons 
through the nudsr ol the open lands hawkmg, then you may see some of these 

oreat doos come chasing ajtcr bears, boars, and ajter stags and ajter other beasts and fb fb li fb fb fb 
taking them here and there both on one side and on other, so that it is a very beautiful 
siv^ht to see that chase with so many dogs, -and the great Kaan takes great delight in it.- v ia 
And these two brothers are bound by contract to give to the court oJ the great Kaan every day, R 
beginning Jrom the month oJ October until the whole of the month of March, a thousand head 
between beasts and birds, excepting quails, and also fshes as well as they can, reckoning to a 
head such quantity oJ fsh as three persons could eat at a meal and he satisfed. And then I 
have told you cj the hunting with dogs and of those who keep the hunting dogs. Now ta 
we shall tell you how the great lord goes the other three months. 

HERE HE TELLS HOW THE KAAN GOES HUNTING TO TAKE BEASTS AND BIRDS. •94- 

And when the great lord has stayed in such manner as I have told you ta 
three months in this city oJ Catai, the city oJ Cambaluc which I have named v lt 
to you above, and that was December and January and February, then he leaves 
this city the frst day in the month of March and goes into the country tov\'ards midday" fb p 
as far as the Ocean sea which is two days journeys distant Jrom the city. And he takes va 
with him quite ten thousand falconers riding, and carries^ quite five hundred R 

^ Pj which differs somewhat in form, as often, makes the total number of dogs on both 
sides "more than 5000", agreeing more or less with 2000 above. V: quatro milia ehani on 
each side. 

^ R: Greco P omits Others "south", 

^ por ee FA,FB: porte TA: porta VA: portano L as F LT: portat TA"': 12000 
falconers LT: 5000 gerfalcons VA: 600 gerfalcons 

229 



• 94- THE HUNT OFFICERS TOSCAOR AND BULARGUCI ?^MARCO POLO 

FB L gerfalcons, and peregrine falcons and saker falcons and other kinds of birds in very 

VL great abundance, _/or such creatures are infinite & good in his domains; and they also carry 

goshawks in great quantity to catch birds on rivers.^ But do not understand that 

L he keeps them all with him in one place, but he divides them here and there in 

TA FB many places by hundreds and by two hundreds and by more and by less, -as it seems 

FB P good to them. And these hunt birds always, -of which there are a vast number, releasing 

gerfalcons, goshawks, and falcons in pursuit of theni whenever they see them, and they bring to 

the great lord the greater part of the birds which they take. And I tell you that when 

LT FB the great lord goes hawking with [42^] his gerfalcons, goshawks, and with his other 

FB VA birds, he has about him quite ten thousand men who are arranged about the plain by 

FB V two and by two and are called in their tongue toscaor, which comes to say in our 

V FB language men who stay to watch the birds. And they do so, for by two and by two 

R they stay here and there, one party separated from another, so that they really control 
enough of the country; and each has a call and a hood so that they can call and hold 

V the birds. And when the great lord, & the others likewise who are with him, has his 
birds thrown there is no need that those who throw them should go after them 

TA because the men of whom I have told you above, who are standing in pairs here and 

there, watch them so well that they cannot go anywhere that these men do not go 

FB TA VA after[them,' and"\they are taken; and if the birds have need of help they that are nearest 

FB help them immediately. And all the birds of the great lord and also all those of 

R FB the other barons have a little tablet of silver tied on their feet /or recognition, on 

R which is written the name of him whose it is and who keeps it. And by this way the 

bird is known as soon as it is taken and is given back to him whose it is. And if 

R one does not know whose it is, or because he who has taken it does not know him personally 

FB though he knows the name, then- it is taken and carried to a baron who is called bularguci, 

V which means to say in our tongue the keeper of the things which find no master. 

V VA For I tell you that {{by chance one finds a horse or a sword or a bird or other thing that 

FB is lost or strayed and he does not find whose it is, [42^] then it is carried immediately 

P P to this baron, and he has it taken and carefully kept till it is demanded by its owner. And 

R LT he who finds it — anything which may be lost — is bound immediately to carry it to its 

owner, and if he does not do this he is held for a thief if he docs not carry it promptly 

TA VA to that baron. And those who have mislaid or lost the things go off to this baron and 

FB he, if he has it, has it given back to them quite immediately. And this baron 

VA always stays in the highest place of all the host^ with his ensign aloft, so that those 

* V: oxelar a li monti TA^: porta aghugle e astori di riuiere 
' VA: in quella chanpagnia 

230 



Tin: niLscRiPiK^N c^i- rni' wc^kij)'^ ii ii: kaan's i-alconry 94 

v\lui li.uc livsc or JohhJ ihc ihiiigs may sec liim clearly .\i oner x^here he is. AnA in i» fb va 
tins way no iliings can Uc lost wliicli an* not soon foiuui and given back. And when va 
the great lord goes iliis road which I have told yon near the Ocean sea, which is fb 
two days journeys J'roni his chuj city oj Cainhaluc, on that road one can sec many fine 
sights of taking beasts and birds in f^rcat plenty. There is no amusement in the world f-b 
which is eciiial to it. And the great lord always goes on two elephants or one, specially k 
when he goes hawkitig, for the narrowness oJ the passes which arc Jo unci in some places^ because 
two or one pass better than many; but in his other doings he always goes on four elephants, 
on which he has a very beautiful wooden room, which is all covered inside with cloth 
of beaten gold and outside it is wrapped round & covered with lion skins, in which- \. r 
rootn- the great Kaan always stays when he goes hawking because he is troubled with the gout.- va r 
And the room is covered over with cloths oJ silk & oJ gold. The great lord always keeps v 
there' twelve of the best gerfalcons that he has. And several barons, twelve oJ his r 
favourites -with twelve women, sta\- there also continually to make amusement and com- v v 
pan^' for him. Round these elephants ride other barons who accompany the lord. Moreover va 
1 tell you that when the great lord shall go in this room on the elephants and 
be talking to some of the other barons and knights who ride very close round him, who fb P fb P 
do not leave him, and, when they see pheasants or cranes or other birds pass, point them out 
to the falconers who arc with the king, and they immediately cry out\and\s2y to him, Sir, 
cranes are passing, and the great lord immediately has the room uncovered above and fb 
then sees the cranes, he has those gerfalcons taken [42^] which he wishes and lets 
them go after those cranes. And those gerfalcons often take the cranes and kill before lt fa 
him, 'fighting with them for a long time. And he sees it always sitting in his room lying on r fb 
his couch, and it is a very great amusement and great delight to him; and to all r 
the other barons and knights also who ride round the lord. And you may know r 
well in truth that there never was, nor do I believe that there is nor will be, any fb lt 
man in this world who c^nfnd so great amusement and so great delight as he does, fb 
nor who has the power to do it. And when he is gone hawking for some hours, so r 
far that he is come to a great plain, to a place of his which is called Caccia modun, va lt 
then he finds his pavilions and tents spread there in order and the tents of his sons ta l R 
and of his barons, knights, and falconers, and of his concubines and of theirs, which r fb 
tents are indeed more than ten thousand very beautiful and rich. And I will describe va 
to you how his pavilion is made; it is so large. First the tent where he holds his p 
court is indeeei so large rhat^ a thousand knights stay under there. And this tent 

1 il FA,FB: laiens LT: ibi 

^ fait son pauilon. il est si grant la tende . . . est bien si grant qe B. reads very plausibly il est si 

grant 

231 



•94- THE SPLENDOUR OF THE CACCIA MODUN CAMP ^MARCO POLO 

L L has its door towards midday. And in this hall like a porch the noblemen and barons 

and other people stay. And there is another tent which is joined with this and is 

L toward sunsettmg. And in this dwells the lord, for it also is like his private lodging. 

And this is joined to the first , and there is a passage from one to the other, and when he wishes 

LT to speak to any one he makes him come inside. And inside behind the great hall 

L is a great room and beautiful where the great lord sleeps, which itself too is joined 

to the said two tents. And there are also other rooms and other tents, but they are 

VA not joined with the great tent; and in them are halls & rooms, hut they are not made in 

FB this way. For you may know quite truly that the two large halls ot which I have 

FB told you and the chamber where he sleeps are made as I shall describe to you. Each of 

L R the said hAls has three [42^] posts^ ot spice wood very well worked and gilt. Then 

FB again these two halls and the chamber where he sleeps, they are all covered outside with 

FB lion skins which last for ever very beautiful, for they are all striped with black and 

p with white and with red. And they are the natural colours, for there are many lions so 

TA coloured in those regions. They are so well arranged that wind nor rain nor anything else 

L VA cannot hurt those inside nor do harm to that skin, because they keep it 0^ very well. And 

VA FB L inside those halls & rooms they are all lined with ermine and with sable skins. These 

are both the most beautiful furs and the most rich and of greater value than any 

VA furs that may be in the world. But indeed it is true that the skin of the sable, as 

V much as may be lining for one man's robe, the fine is worth quite 2000 bezants 

FB of gold, but the common is worth at the least 1000 bezants; and the Tartars call it 

VA LT in their tongue the king of skins. ^ And they are ot the size of the skin of a polecat. And 

FB with these two skins of which I have told you are these two great halls of the great 

FB VA P lord lined and worked and decorated so cunningly that it is a great wonder and a 

VA delight to see. And the room & the tent where the lord sleeps, which is joined with 

the two halls, is also of lion skins outside and of sable and ermine pelts inside, 

TA FB neither more nor less, and it is very nobly made and planned. And all the cords which 

FB hold the halls and the room are all ot silk. So that I tell you in truth that they are of 

FB so great value and cost so much, these three tents^ that is the two halls and the room, 

that a small king could not pay for them. And round these tents are alP the other 



grant com ie uos dirai. La tende The other texts consulted leave the words out. 

^ TA'/,V: quatro chollone Others "three". 

2 les roides pelames This, as ^'. pointed out, troubled the early translators. TA: leroide 
pehviie LT; lenoide pcllome \'A: lapelano . . . rondes P.* Animalia ilia de quihus huiusmodi 
pelles habentur dicuntur rodes R: regina delle pelli, & gV animal i, si chiamano Rondes I-A,FB,\' 
have it rightly. L oinits. 

'' ha & sunt toutes B.: ha ausint toutes supported by FA: st sent Others omit ha & 



n \V. DI'SCKIP I IC^N OV n II- WOKLD'^ I IAWKINC . I'NDS AT rASTHR -94. 

touts very will .umigovl .uul will mi up anJ rich. Ami tin* wives, sons, and coucuhmcs m \ i: v 

4)1 (lie liMil .///</ thi- other pcopli- Ii.nc iiuuty rich tents and pavilions also. Aiui again tin- m i \ ia 

i>crlalcoiis .uul ilir l.ilcons have many tents (and the gerfalcons have the more beautijul), and TA 

jIu' oilur birds |4^»] .uid .imm.ils also-and their keepers Ii.ivi- ttiiis 111 vast mnnbcrs, TA TB 

And wli.u sli.dl 1 (ill \ini .ilnnit ii ? You may know cjuiir iiuly that while the lord i. 

stays m this place ihcvc arc so ^rcat a poojilr lu this camp and so ^r eat quantity of tents l-B 

oj all kinds that u was a ^'mif marvel to believe; lor he really seems to be in the best va ta 

cit^■ that In- has, lor the ^rc<jf nuniher o/" people who are there and daily come there to fu 111 IB va 

that pleasure-makino irom a distance on all sides. For he also keeps all his escablishmcni ia 

abroad with him in that camp, and physicians & astrologers and falconers and other va 

ollicials enough and men of all other trades necessary for so large numher of people are also fb 

with him; and also because each is with his household, for so is their custom. All things arc FB 

there placed and arranged as orderly as thc\' arc in the midst oi his capital town of P P 

Cambaluc. And you may know that he stays in this place until the first awakcningrof 

Spring], which time is in that place about our Pasque oi the Resurrection' of our Lord L V 

fesus Christ. And in all this term he does not cease to go hawking round about there by fb 

lake and by river, of which there arc many, and some fine stretches of country, and they took fb fb 

cranes and swans, herons and other birds enough. And also his people who are R 

spread over man\' places around him do nothing but hunt and hawk and bring him each fb fb 

day venison and game enough & of all kinds. He stays there this term in the greatest FB 

enjoyment and in the greatest delight m the world, so that it is a wonder to tell, for fb 

there is not a man in the world who did not see it who could believe it, because 

it is much more, his arandeur and his btisincss and his delieht, than I should be able R 

to tell you. Moreover I tell you also another thina that is ordered, that no merchant R 

nor any crattsman nor anv citizen or villager nor any person, whoever he might be, dares p fb 

keep a.ny goshawk, falcon, nor hawking bird nor [43^] hunting dog for his pleasure- R pb 

through all the domain of the great Kaan. And this happens twenty days journey around R 

the place v\'here the great lord stays, and on one side five days journeys, and on one side R 

^ ittsijue austrime uoile qe est en celuj leu enter la pasque nostre de suresion FA: prime voile FB: 
prime veille TA: pasqua di risuresso LT: pasea resurctionis VA: tenpo della pasqua nostra della 
resuresione P omits. L: ad strime uoile V: el quarto di auanti la resure^on R: prima vigilia della 
nostra Pasqua The correction of strime to prime seems to be certainl)- right. Pauthier, followed 
by B., changed voile to voire with, apparentl)', no MS. support. Godefroy gives voile as a form 
of voire on the authority of this place only. R seems to have had prime voile (or veille) before 
him, and did not think it meant prima vera, but he (and V) can hardly be right in making it 
into a day oi the Church Kalendar. L copied the actual strime uoile, showing once more how 
certain clerical errors in F existed in an otherwise fuller and better copy. 

^33 



94- ALL HUNTING IS FORBIDDEN IN THE SUMMER f^MARCO POLO 

ten, and on another Jif teen. And no baron or knight or other noble whatever dares to hunt or 

hawk unless he is enrolled under the captain of the falconers, or has a privilege in this matter; 

VA but in all other provinces and parts of his land they are quite able to hunt & hawk 

and to do as they please with birds and with dogs. And again you may know truly 

that through all the lands where the great lord has rule no king nor any baron nor 

FB P FB any man, however bold he may be, dares by any means or trap to take or hunt these four 

kinds of animals, that is to say hares or fallow-deer or roe-deer or stags or such kinds 

R of animals as this, and large birds, which are breeding, from the month of March 

VA R until the end of October, that they may increase and multiply. And he who should do 

contrary to this would be made to repent of it mightily, because the lord has so 

R appointed it, and I tell you that his command is so obeyed that /or this reason the 

FB animals and birds multiply in the greatest numbers, -so that the land is quite full of them 

V and the lord has as many of them as he pleases; -and the hares and the deer and the other 

V animals which I have named to you often come right up to a man without fear, nor 
FB does he touch them nor do them any harm, and if one finds them asleep as he goes by 

the way he would not touch them for anything; but after this term which I have told you, from 

March to October, everyone can do as he wishes. In such way as you have heard the great 

lord stays in this place till about the Pasque of Resurrection. And when he has 

FB stayed there so long as you have heard from March till mid-May, in so great enjoyment 

as I have told you and said, then he departs thence with all his people and goes back 

FB L FB quite straight to the capital city of Cambaluc /row which he came, -that is the capital 

city of Catai as you have heard before, by that same road by which they were come 

VA VA to that place, and he goes always hunting and hawking with great pleasure and with 

VA great joy to the city, as I have said, of Cambaluc. 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN HOLDS GREAT COURT AND MAKES GREAT FEASTING. 
And when he is come to his principal town of Cambaluc he stays 
in his principal [43^] palace three days and no more. He makes very 
FB great feasting and keeps very great court and rich table. He makes great joy and great 
R P festivity with his wives and with all his people who are with him. -Then those who had 
FB been invited to this go home.- And then from this palace of Cambaluc he goes off to his city 
which he has caused to be made, of which I have told you above, which has Ciandu for name, 
in which is his park and his palace of cane, where he keeps his gerfalcons in mew and stays 
there the summer because of the heat . For that place is very fresh, so that he stays there from 
the frst day of May until the 26 day of August, on which he departs thence, when he sprinkles 
the milk of his white mares as is said here above. And he comes away back to his chief city of 
Cambaluc; and there he stays as I have told you the month of September to keep the feast of his 
birthday. And then October, November, and December, January, and February; in which 

234 



95 



Tin- ni'SCKiiMiON ov rnr. woiili:)^ Tin- kaan's journi-ys •95' 

month of' Ifhruary he iiiiikcs tht ^re at J cast of their day oj the year, which they call the White 
Feast, as I have toil you further hack all clearly in order. And then he leaves and ^oes oj^ 
towards the Ocean sea, huntinf^t* and hawkuiii, as I have related to you, from the first day of 
March until mid-May when he returns to his chief city for three days, as I have told you above. 
In which three days he makes oreat feasting with his wives, and holds great court and i>reat 
enjoyment . Vov I tell yi>ii that it is a wondcrliil thing to sec the i^reat ceremony which 
the great \oi\\ makes on these three days. Then he departs as I have told you. So that FB 
he dwells the whole year, thus divided: six months in his chief city of Cambaluc in his chief 
palace, that is September and October, November and December, January, February ; and then 
he leaves to go to the great chase on the great sea, and remains there March, April, May (sometimes 
all^, and then returns to his palace of Cambaluc; and then stays three days; and then goes 
off to his city of Ciandu which he caused to be made there, where is his palace of canes, and 
dwells there June, July, and August. And then returns thence to his chief city of Cambaluc 
again. Fhus he spends the whole year: six months in his city, and three months in the chase, 
and three months in his palace of canes for the heat; so that he leads his life in very great 
enjoyment. Fxcept that sometimes he goes elsewhere in his country this way and that, enjoying 
himself at his pleasure.'^ Moreover I tell you that in this city of Cambaluc there is so va 
great a number oi houses and ot people, between inside the town and outside; tor 
you may know that there arc as many suburbs or districts, outside the city at each gate, R 
as gates (these arc tu'clvc), which are very large so that the suburb of each gate touches R 
the suburbs of the gates on either side, and they extend for a length of three and four miles; 
that there is no man who could tell the number. For there are many more people fb 
ill those suburbs than in the town. And in each of these suburbs or districts for perhaps R R 
a mile distant from the city are many and fine factories in which stay and lodge the merchants 
and the travelling foreigners, of whom there are many from all parts to bring things as presents fa 
to the lord and to sell to the court, and all other men who come there for their business, 
who come there in very great quantity, between[those who come]for the court of the va 

* FA,FB: chantant Pauthier, presumably following FA^: chaicent 

* The above two long additions are taken from FB with some additions or slight 
modifications from FA. They are easily condemned as an editorial addition; but they may 
equally well be Marco Polo's own, or Rustichello's, attempt to summarise the great Kaan's 
annual migrations. In any case the work is not very successfully done. Most texts say that 
the Spring hunt lasted till Easter; FB says till mid-May, or sometimes till the end of May 
(FA omits this), and jet makes the Kaan reach Shang-tu on the first day of May; and again 
makes him stay at Shang-tu three months, namely June, July, and August. The fact that 
Qubilai spent the summer at Shang-tu is abundantly proved by the Yuan skih, but the dates do 
not tally exactly with Marco's memory, cf. pp. 186,187,215 above and PN. 



•95- PEOPLE CUSTOMS & VAST SIZE OF CAMBALUC ^MARCO POLO 

R lord (^and wherever he holds his court the people come there from every side for various reasons^ 

and for this that the town is in so good a market that the merchants and the other 

R men come there for their business. And to each kind of people one factory is set apart, as if one 

said one for the Lombards, another for the Germans, and another for the French. Moreover I 

tell you that there are as beautiful houses and as beautiful palaces in the suburbs as 

in the town, except those of the great lord. And you may know that no man who 

VB dies is allowed for anything in the world to he buried in the town. But it he is an idolater 

FB then he is carried to the distant place where the body must be burnt, which is 

FB outside the town and outside all the suburbs. And so it happens with the other dead 

FB Qf he is of another faith when it is right to bury him, as a Christian and Saracen and other 

FB FB FB manner of person^, who are also carried to he buried far outside all the suburbs in an 

R appointed place, so that the land is more valuable and more healthy in conse^juencc . -And likewise 

no evil deed is done in the city,^ but only outside the suburbs. And again I tell you another 

R thing, that inside the town dare live no sinful woman (unless it is secretly^ as is said 

before,^ these are women [43(^j of the world who do service to men tor money, 

R FB but I tell you that they all live outside in the suburbs. And you may know that there 

FB are so great a multitude ot them for the foreigners that no man could believe it, for I 

VB FB R dare tell you in truth that they arc quite twenty thousand^ (^reckoning those of the new 

FB city and those of the suburbs of the old city^ who all serve men for money, and they all 

fnd a living. Moreover I tell you that they are all wanted for the vast numbers of 

R R merchants and of other foreigners who come and go there every day /or the court. And 

they have a general captain, and there is a head for each hundred and for each thousand, and 

they are all responsible to the general. And the reason why these women have a captain is that 

whenever ambassadors come to the great Kaan for the things and affairs of that lord, and 

lodge at his expense, which is done for them in the most honourable manner, this captain is 

obliged to give to the said ambassadors and to each one of the retinue one harlot each night; 

and they arc changed every night, and they have no pay because this is the tax which they pay 

to the great Kaan. Then you can see if there is great abundance of people in Cambaluc 

VA since the worldly women there are as many as I have told. And again you may know 

VB quite truly that I believe there is not a place in the world to which so many merchants come & 

FB that dearer things and of greater value and more strange come into this town of 



* & parimente nessuno maUfcio si fa nella citta, Marsden: "There, likewise, all public 
executions take place." B. : Nessun sinistra spcttacolo e permesso nella citta 

^ R has this passage in full in his chapter 7 (p. 2M above, just before "Besides this the 
guards . . ") and repeats it briefly here. LT has this whole cliapter in the earlier position 
and omits it here. 

' VB: oltra miara xx R: vetUicin(^uemila 

236 



THli I)I:S(:R1IMI0N OV \\\\. VJORI.D^ and us (iRLAI* IKAlJli .95 

(^;inil\iliic from all siiies ili.ui imo .iiiv fii\' ol ilu- wdiIJ, anii i>r(iUfr ijuaiitity of all things, vk i v. 
and I will (ill \()ii wli.u. lust ol .ill 1 sli.ill idllyoii ih.it all iln- Acu ihmgs ili.it 
conic from liulic, tlic.sc mc precious stones aiul pearls, and silk and -all the spuery, va i. 
anJ .ill other Jeai ihiiii^s, are hroii^ht 10 this tovMi. And again .ill the beautiliil 
things .uul .ill the dear which are m the province ol C]atai tsr Jrom A/d/ig/ and from all va 
other provinces round about aie brought there also. And this happens because everyone va 1 k 
Jrom everywhere brings there [or the lord who lives there andjor his court and Jor the city in 
which is so great and for the ladies and for the barons and the knights of whom there are i\ 
so many and for the iTieai abundance of the iiuiltitudc of the people ot the armies 
oj the lord, which stay round about as well Jor the court as Jor the city, and of other people fa 
who come there b\ reason of the court which [44^] the great lord holds there, andjor ih 
one and for another ^-G' because the city is in too good a position & is in the middle oJ many va 
provinces. And tor this reast)n which 1 have told vou more dear things and of greater 
value come to this town and greater quantities than into any town in the world, 
and more v^oods are sold and bought there than in any other city, -so that so much oJ R f-b 
everything comes there that it is without end. For you may know in truth that among the L 
rest, almost each day in the year there come into this town more than a thousand carts^ fa 
loaded with silk alone, tor many cloths ot gold and of- silk are made there and many fb fb 
other things. And it is no wonder, Jor in all the provinces round there is no Jlax, so that it is 
convenient to make everything of silk. And yet it is true that they have cotton and hemp in 
some places, but not enough to satisjy them; but they do not make much oJ it, because oJ the 
great quantity which they have oJ silk, and cheap, which is better than -Jlax or cotton. And again fa 
this city oJ Cambaluc has round it injnitc villages and more than two hundred other fb R R 
cities both tar and near which come, the people ot these towns, Jrom a distance of ta 
100 miles to buy many things in this cit\', and from there they have the things which 
are needed tor them, and live Jor the most part while the court is here by selling the things R 
needjul to the city. And so it is not a great thing it as many things as I have told 
you come into this city of Cambaluc so that it is a city oJ very great trade. And since fb 
I have told you ot this vN'onder well and skilfully and have shown you the nobility oJ FB 
this city and oJ the lord, now I shall tell \ou oJ the government oJ the lord and ot the doings fb 
ot the mint and ot the money which is made in this same city ot Cambaluc, and 
we shall show you clearly how the great lord can do much more and spend more 
than I have told you; nor shall I tell vou ot it in this hook, Jor it could not be that fb 
you will be satisjed that I am speaking truth and reason." 

* FB: cent mille R; piu di millejra carrctte, & some di seda, 

* nc nc ikY dirai en ce liure Raison eomant FB: ne ne diray en eest liiire car il ne pourroit estrc si que 

vous 

237 



•96- PAPER SHEETS ARE MADE & SPENT AS MONEY ^MARCO POLO 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN CAUSES SHEETS TO BE SPENT FOR MONEY. It IS true 
that the mint of the great lord is in this said town of Cambaluc, and it is 
appointed in such [44^] a way that one can well say that the great lord 
FB has the alchemy perfectly, and I shall show it you now, the reason how. Now you may 
FB L know that he has such a money as I shall tell you made in this way. He makes men 
P P LT take the middle bark of the three harks of the trees which are called gelsus, that is of the 
FB FB mulberries of which the worms that make silk eat their leaves— ^/br there are so many 
R of them that all the country-sides are loaded and full of these said trees, and they take the thin 
FB FB skin^ which is between the thick outer bark and the wood of the tree and is white, • 
R R and they grind it and pound it and of that thin skin he makes them make then 
R with glue sheets like those o£ cotton paper, and they are all black. And when these 
R sheets are made he has them cut up in this fashion — in large portions and small, and 
they are forms of money, square and more long than broad. For he makes a little one which 
L FB is worth in their manner about a half of a small tornesel, and the next, a little larger, 
FB FB is of one tornesel, also small, and the next, a little larger, is of a half Venetian groat 
of silver,^ and the next of a groat of silver which is worth a silver groat of Venese, 
VA VA and the next is of two Venetian groats, & the next of five Venetian groats, and the 
FB next of ten groats, and the next of one bezant of gold, and the next two be^nts of 
FB gold, and the next of three he^nts of gold, and the next four he^nts of gold, and the next 
FB VA fve be^nts of gold, and so it goes up to ten bezants of gold. And all these sheets[or] 
VA L moneys are sealed with the mark and with the seal of the great lord, /or otherwise they 
R could by no means he spent. -And they are made with as much authority and formality as if 
they were of pure gold or silver, for many officials who are deputed for this write their names 
on every coin, placing there each one his mark, and when it is all done as it ought to be, the 
head of them deputed by the lord stains the seal entrusted to him with cinnabar and impresses 
it upon the coin so that the pattern of the seal dipped in the cinnabar remains printed there, 
and then that money is authorised. And if anyone were to counterfeit it he would be punished 
VL P with the last penalty -to the third generation. -And different marks are printed on them according 
VA to their future value. 'And this money is made in the city of Cambaluc by those who are deputed 
FB V for this by the king, & not by others. And each year he has so great quantity and supply 

vous en sere^ content que je dy voir et Raison. Comment le grant Kaan . . . FA to the same effect. 
TA': Et diroui in questo lihro chome So it is possible that we should translate "in this book. 
And I shall tell you the reason how.", instead of regarding the comant as due to the infection 
of the following comment. At the beginning of the long sentence ^.'s change of ie uof ai dit ce 
mostre into ie uof ai ce monstre is supported by FA,FB. 

^ bouces soutil V: et in suo lenguazo vien chiamato bu^an(f) 

* turient FA.FB: dargent Read darient 

238 



THH OFSCRIPIION OV Till- WORLD^^ PAPHR GIVEN I-OR GOf.D (jG 

oi ihom m.ulf in the city oj i'.atiibalui tli.u lu- wouKi y.xy vviih it for .ill the treasure v 
of the world, though it costs hun nothing.- And in almost all the kingdoms subject to hn m i' 
rule none is allowed to make or spend any other money. And when these sliects arc made 
in the way that I have told you, he has all ilic payments made with them, and has 
them distributed to each one ihrougli all the provinces and kin^^doms ijr through all i\ in 
his cities and lands where he has rule, & even lands which do not obey him which do not va 
spend this money; and none dare refuse them on pain of losing his life [44c] immediately ; • Mi 
and no one from other kingdoms can spend other money within the lands of the great Kaan. v 
Moreover I tell you that all the people and regions of men who arc under his 
rule very gladly take these sheets in payment, because wherever they go under the R fa 
rule of the great Kaan they take them and make all their payments with them both for fb 
goods and for pearls and for precious stones and for gold and for silver and for all lt 
other things which they carry and sell or buy, -of however great value; they can buy everything L 
with them, and they make payment with the sheets of which I have told you 
as if they were altogether of real gold or silver. Moreover I tell you that they are so light L FB 
that the sheet which is put for ten bezants of gold weighs not one. Moreover I tell fb 
you that many times a year the merchants come many together /rom Indie or from fb 
other parts with pearls and with precious stones and with gold and with silver and 
with other things, these are cloth of gold and of silk; and these merchants give all 
of these things to none in this city hut to the great lord.* And the great lord calls fa 
twelve wise men who are chosen[to bejover those things and who are very clever 
in doing this; and he commands them to look very carefully at those things which R R 
the merchants have brought and to have them paid with what it seems to them 
that they are worth. And those twelve wise men look at those things and when R 
they have valued them according to their knowledge they have them paid immediately with R 
interest that which it seems to them that they are worth, with those sheets of which 
I have told you. And the merchants take them very gladly because they know well fb 
that they would not have so much from any other, and secondly because they are paid for them 
at once, and also because they change them afterwards, as has been said, for all the things r 
which they buy both there and through all the lands of the great lord; and also it is fb fb 
lighter than anything else to carry by road.- And if they are from some place where these notes R 
are not used, they invest them in other merchandise good for their countries .IsAoreovev I tell 



* mereant toutes de eestes chouses present au grant kaan sire Perhaps, "these merchants all present 
of these things". The writer seems to have written kaan from force of habit and forgotten to 
erase it after adding sire. The regular substitution in F o{ sire for kaan from c.90 to c.113 (except 
in the rubrics, which seem to come from another source, and with one other exception in 
c.ioo) is to be noticed. 



239 



.96- ALL DEBTS AND WAGES ARE PAID WITH PAPER ;^MARCO POLO 

you without any mistake that many times a year the merchants brina so many 
VA VR thinas that they are well worth 400000 bezants of gold and the [44^] great lord buys of 
them each year so much that it is without end, and he has them all paid with those sheets, 
FB VB FB a thing which costs him -little or -nothing, as you have heard. And again I tell you that 
p many times a year an order goes through the town of Camhaluc that all those who 
FB LT have precious stones and pearls and gold and silver or any other dear things must bring 
FB P them to the mint of the great lord, & he will have them well and liberally paid- with 
FB that money according to the proper value. And they do it and bring them there very 
willingly, because they would not receive so much for them from any other, in so great 
p abundance that it is without number, and all are paid with sheets without delay or 
FB loss to them.- And he who should not wish to bring them, stays at home.^ And in this way 
the great lord has all the gold and the silver and the pearls and the precious stones 
of all his lands. And again I tell you another thing which does well to say. For 
R when one has kept these sheets so long that they are torn and are spoilt through too 
FB TA great age, - though they are very durable, then he takes them to the mint of the great lord 
and they are changed for new and clean ones, so, indeed, that he leaves three in 
VB a hundred of them for the stamp. And again I shall tell you a pretty fact which does 
FB FB well to tell in our book. For ii a baron or other man whoever he might be wishes to buy 
FB gold or silver or precious stones or pearls to make his vessels or his girdles or his other 
work,^ he goes off to the mint of the great lord and carries some of those sheets 
and gives them in payment for the gold and for the silver which he buys from the 
VB R P master of the mmt. And never is gold or silver spent, but -all his armies -and officials- 
R VB come to he paid with this sort of money - of paper (of which he has as much made as he pleases^, • 
R P of which the value is the same to them as if it were of gold or of silver ; - and everything necessary 
for the court is bought. Now I have told you the way and the reason why the great 
FB lord must have and has more treasure than any man of this world, and you have well 
VA heard how and in what manner ;-& it costs him nothing, so that he can well spend marvellous 
sums. And everyone is obliged to buy those moneys from him. Moreover I will tell you a 
P greater thing, that all the lords of the earth have not so great riches, treasures, and 
expenses as the great lord has alone. Now I have told you and described all the tacts 
how the great lord [45^] makes money of sheets; now I shall tell you of the great lord- 
ships which go out from this city of Cambaluc for the great lord. 

^ VB: ne per cossa del mondo alcuno ardiria star de portarlle 

2 FA which is here carelessly written, having e.g. aleuesque twice for a la seque, has autres 
couues chases which Pauthier prints as autres riches choses. FB omits the doubtful word, which 
should perhaps be chieres. 

240 



THE Dl^SCKir I ION OI" II Ii; worlds IIII: IWC^ CRIiAT COURTS -97. 

HI'Ivl' 111: 1 1:1 IS 01 I wi;lvi; bakdns who aki ovi.k ai i. noiNdS or imh 
(iUiAi K.AAN. Now \iMi may know iiiily ih.it ilic ^vcM lord has chosen 
t\\rl\c very ^rcai luui powi-ijul-wtsf tiicii iitiJ h.irons (as is saitl above j over K vr h 
whatever ^]uestlons may arise about the armies, thai is to change them Jroin the place where they 
are and to change the officers, or to send them where they see it is necessary, and what number of 
people the need requires, and more and less, according to the importance oj the war. Besides 
this they have to make the distinction oJ the valiant and manly fighters from those who are 
mean and abject, promoting them to greater rank, and on the other hand degrading those who 
are of little use and cowardly. And if anyone is a captain of a thousand and has behaved meanly 
in any action, the aforesaid barons, considering him unworthy of that command, degrade him 
and put him down to the command of a hundred. But if he shall have borne himself nobly and 
manfully, counting him fit and worthy of higher rank, they make him captain of ten thousand; 
doing everything however with the knowledge of the great lord. For when they wish to degrade 
and put anyone down they say to the lord, Such a one is unworthy of such an honour, and then 
he answers, Let him be degraded and made of lower rank; and so it is done. Rut if they wish 
to promote anyone, thus distinguishing his merits, they say. Such a captain of a thousand is 
fit and able to be captain of ten thousand; and the lord confrms it and gives him the tablet of 
appointment proper to such an office, as is said above; and then he has very great presents given 
to him to inspire the others to make themselves valiant. 

The government then of the said twelve barons is called Thai, which is as much as to say 
Greater Court, because they have not any lord over them except the great Kaan. And besides 
the aforesaid there are appointed twelve other barons -who are always with him, to whom it TA 
is committed that they be over all the necessary things \\'hich are needed in thirty- 
tour^ great provinces; and I shall tell you their \A-ay and their appointment. I tell fb 
you ijuite trvdy first ot all that these twelve barons live together -continually in a palace fb fb va 
inside the aforesaid town of Cambaluc, which is very larae and beautiful and rich, L fb 
and there are many rooms and halls and houses /or them and the ojficers & servants, and P p 
these barons have for each province which is under his rule a judge and very many writers va l l 
or notaries -under him, who all stay in this palace each m his house by himself. And lt l fb 
this judge and these writers do there all the things \\hich are needed for the province 
to which they are deputed, and they do it by the wish and by the command of the 
twelve barons of whom I have told you. Moreover when a complaint is made these fb 
twelve barons must report it to the lord, and then he does what seems to him best about it; but 
you may know cjuite truly that these twelve barons have so great authority ^s I 
shall tell you. For they choose the lords and rulers and officers of all those thirty-four p P fb 

^ LT (margin): 24 V: vintiquatro milia L: totum imperium Others "rhirt\'-four". 

241 



•97- THE AUTHORITY OF THE THAI & THE SCIENG ^MARCO POLO 

VA provinces, of which I have rold you above, and in their cities, to -which they send riders 

for the great Kaan. And when they have chosen them, such as it seems to them that 

they may be good and sujfficient, they make them known to the great lord, and the 

VA great lord confirms it and makes one give him a tablet of gold & of silver according 

FB to the usage oj his court^ such as is suitable to his domain. And again these twelve 

FB barons have somuch authority that they 2ive[^^b^ to provide where it is right for troops to go 

P VA every year • & to stay, and they send them where it seems good to them and that number 

TA which they wish; but it is always according to the wish and with the knowledge of the 

FB great lord/ And they do what they wish, as I have told you of those two things, 

with all the other things which are needed for all the provinces ol which I have 

R told you. These have also to superintend the collection of tribute and revenue, and about the 

VA control and spending of them, and all the other affairs ' which belong to the rule & to the domain- 

R LT of the great Kaan, excepting that which concerns the armies. And these twelve barons are 

LT LT called in the Tartar tongue scieng, which means to say officers of the greatest court 

TA of the great Kaan, because there is no court above them except the great lord. The 

FB palace where they live is also called scieng, the greatest court, in their language. And it 

V is indeed the greatest authority that is in all the court of the great lord, for each 

VB of those twelve, they have indeed the power to do great good and ill to whom they 

P will and to confer many benefits on many, for which reason they are held in great honour by the 

R people. • The one and the other then of the said courts, that is of scieng and of thai, have no lord 

over them except the great Kaan: nevertheless thai, that is the court deputed for the oversight 

of the armies, is counted more important and of more dignity than any other lordship. I shall 

FB not tell you now of the thirty four provinces by their names, because I shall tell 

FB you them clearly in our book; and we shall leave speaking to you of this and shall tell 

FB you how the great lord sends his messengers and his couriers and how they have 

FB horses prepared to go swiftly on errands. 

■98 • '1' T'OW MANY ROADS WHICH GO THROUGH MANY PROVINCES SET OUT FROM THE 

CITY OFCAMBALUC. The manner of the messengers of the great Kaan is wonderful . 

That it may be done here conveniently it is ordered like this. Now you may know 

L R for truth that many different -streets and roads^ leave this town of Cambaluc which 

VA L go through many different regions & provinces separately; that is to say that the one 

FB road goes to such a province, and this to such. And all the roads are distinguished 

FB with the name of the province where to they go. And it is a very wise thing. And you 

* It is clear that this sentence repeats part of what has been inserted above from R about the 
military board, and has somehow been put in here out of its proper place. It seemed better 
to give R as it stood rather than to try to fit it into this sentence. Z omits; others follow F. 

* TA: messaggi LT; nuncii 

242 



H 



THH n[:SCRi!niON ov Tin-: worlds vwii cri-at I'osr roads .98 

may kiiDvv ih.u wlun one i^ors oil lri)m C,.uiiI>.iIik' l>y .ill ilic ro.uls ol u'liicli I 

have ti)Id you (/ speak of those which arc the more principal and chief) an>l lie is gone k 

iwonty-fivc inilts or thirty, aiul more aiul less accorilini> to the distances of the cities, thrn i< 
(In- messengers c>l ilu'v;reai lorJ wlio have [45^] gone I liesc twenty-live miles they fmd 
a post which is called iamh 111 iluir language, anJ m oui' longiie means to say a 

post with horses. And at each post wherever they i^o the messengers lind a very great 111 

palace and InMuiiliil and rich where the messengers or envoys ol the great lord may ru i, 

lodv^e with dionity, and these lodgings have the rooms full oj very rich beds and very L l-fi Fii 
beautiful, furnished with rich silk cloths and have all the things which arc right tor 

exalted messengers and are required by thetn; and il a great king came there he would lt r 

yet be well lodged in any one of the like posts. They are provided with everything by the R 
neighbouring cities and villages; and some the court provides. And agam I tell you that at 

these posts where these palaces are the messengers of the great Kaan- change horses, for they lt lt ta 

find ciuite four hundred good horses at each which the great lord has appointed that r vb 

they always stay there and be ready for his messengers and ambassadors when he sends R 

them in any direction on his business, that they may be able to dismount there and leaving r 

the tired horses to take the fresh ones; -and at some there are three hundred, according as more FB 

are needed at one than at the other. -And when the lord desires horses he sends his messenger to vb 
these posts, & there are sent him as many horses as he demands. And again you may know 

that in this way at all ends of twenty-five miles or every thirty arc made ready these va ta ta 

posts of which I have told you, that is on all the main roads which go to all the va 

provinces ot which I have told you above. And at each of these posts the messengers fb 
find from three hundred horses to four hundred all ready for their orders. And again 

they find there so fine palaces or stations as I have told you above where the messengers vb ta 
lodge so richly as I have described to you above. And in this way it goes through all 

the principal provinces and realms, cities & places ot the great lord up to the borders of fb V P 

the neighbouring provinces. And when the messengers go by places off the road strange va 

& wild- and mountainous, where one finds no house nor lodging, where there are no R R 
villages and the cities are far off, yet the great [45^] lord has had posts made there m 

each place off the road as in the other places of which I have told you, and palaces and all fb 

the things as the other posts have, no more nor less, and horses, four hundred to a post, • fb r 

which are kept at the great Kaans own expense, and harness and all the other necessary things. L r 

But in those places they are not found so close together, but they are greater days marches va 

to ride, for they are made, the posts, at thirty-five miles and there are some at fb 

forty & sometimes more than forty^ (^for the others are at twenty-five to thirty miles)- distant l fb va 

* FA: de.xxxv.a.xlv. FB,R omit V (above): 25 to 40 LT: atit ad quadraginta ad plus, 
"at 40 at most"? TA.P: 35 to 40. 

243 



•98- SUPPLY OF MEN AND HORSES FOR THE POSTS ?=^MARCO POLO 

R one from the other, & some more;- and he sends people there who live there and work the land 

and serve those posts; and great villages are formed there. And in this way which you have 

R FB heard the messengers and ambassadors of the great lord go and come in all directions 

R through all the provinces and kingdoms and other parts under his rule, with great convenience 

VA and ease, -when they are sent by him, and have lodging and horses ready at every days 

L FB stage & every other necessary as they will, -that they may be comfortable wherever they go. 

FB And this is in truth quite the greatest pride and the greatest grandeur that any 

emperor has or might ever have, nor any king nor any other earthly man. For you 

may know quite truly that more than two hundred thousand^ horses stay at these 

R L L posts throughout his provinces, -all set apart specially tor his ambassadors & messengers, 

VA that they may be able to change when there is need. And again I tell you that the palaces 

FB are more than ten thousand^ which are all so provided with rich furniture as I 

have told you; and it is a thing so wonderful and of so great cost that it could 

R hardly be rightly told or written. And if anyone were to doubt how there are so many 

people to do so many duties, and on what they live, it is answered that all the idolaters and 

Saracens likewise take six, eight, and ten wives each, provided that they can pay the expense, 

and beget infnite sons; and there will he many men of whom each will have more than thirty 

sons, and all follow him armed; and this because of the many wives. But with us one has hut 

one wife, and if she is barren the man will end his life with her and beget no son, and therefore 

we have not so many people as they. And with regard to victuals they have plenty of them, 

because they use for the more part rice, panick, and millet; specially Tartars, Cataians, and 

of the province of Mangi. And these three grains yield in their lands a hundredfold for every 

measure. These people do not use bread, but only boil these three kinds of grain with the milk 

or flesh, and eat them. And wheat with them does not give so great increase; but what they reap 

they eat only as macaroni and other viands made of dough. With them no land which can be 

ploughed lies fallow; and their animals increase and multiply without end, and when they go 

to the f eld there is not one who does not take with him six, eight, and more horses for himself. 

From this it can be clearly understood for what reason there is so great a multitude of people in 

those parts, and that they have the means of living so abundantly . And again I will tell you a 

thing which I had forgotten which relates to our matter which I have now told 

FB you, which does well to tell and to recall. It is true that between the one post and the 

FB FB second on whatever road it may be they are planned and it is so done that every three miles 

R there is a hamlet which can have about forty houses^ and more and less, according 



* TA': iiij'" P: ultra decern tnillia VA by some confusion transposes the loooo & 200000. 
^ TA: xl huomini a piede LT: de quadraginta hominibus uel domibus P: domus patue 



244 



riiii i)i:sc;rii>iion o\- ihh worlds siM'HD oi iniiPOsiMiiN .98 

to the si^f of the hiinili'ls, in whicli Ijvc loix imii wlio also do iliis lucssagf work of 

the giTiU loiJ. .uul I slull tell yon liow. I lu-y wi'-w .i groat and broad gii\]K- all lull 1 1'. 

rounil [46<i]alxHitol i^»n-<jr htdls, that is oj sounding Ih-||s, so that vvlu'iuhcygoihcy maybe i» 

hcarJ Irom i|iii(o lar; which halls we call sonagloscula. Aiui \v/,ym the ktng wishes to send i- i' 

a letter by courier, the letter is given to one of these runners and these go always running iii 

ai ^rcai spoc\l. and ihoy go not more than three nnles, that is from their post to another, h 

And the other who is ai the ciul ol liu' three nnles who hears Inni clearly by the i\ 

bells coming Irom alar, pirpairs himselj immediately & stays all ready prepared before va fb 

his arrival, furnished like him with bells; and as soon as that one is come he ^of5 to meet i.i 

him and takes the thine which he carries and takes a little ticket which the writer 

oj the place, -who is always ready to do this, gives him and sets himself running and goes i' ih 

as far as to the second three miles, until he too has reached another post, where he too l 

finds another ready, and docs just as the other had done, and so from place to place -they r i-b 

change at each three miles, -in every place where there are kings letters to be carried, -till he p va 

has reached the place to which the great lord sent him with the letter. And so I tell you that 

in this wa\' a great space is covered in a short time, and from these foot-men whom he P I"B 

has appointed in great numbers the great lord has news from ten days journeys in one 

day and in one night, '/or they go running by night as well as by day. For you may know fb 

that these foot-men go ten days journeys in one day and in one night, and in two 

days and two nights they bring ne^^'s from twenty days marches; and thus when fb 

there is need he would have news in ten da\s and in ten nights from a hundred 

days marches, which is a great feat. Moreover I tell you that men like these often fb 

bring such things as fruit or other rare things to the lord in one day and night from ten fb fb l 

days marches. And at the season of fruits, many times fruits are gathered in the city of R 

Cambaluc in the morning and the next day towards evening they are brought to the great Kaan 

in the city of Ciandu, which is ten days journeys distant. In each of these posts at three miles 

a clerk is appointed who notes the day and the hour that the runner arrives, and likewise the 

day and the hour that the other departs; and so it is done in all the posts. And there are some 

who have this charge, to go every month to examine all these posts, and to see those runners 

that have not used diligence, and they punish them. And the great lord takes no tax from 

men like these runners and from those who stay at the posts, but has them well provided R R 

with many things, both horses and other things, irom his own, and moreover they are very lt P 

well paid by the court for their labour. And about the horses of which I have told you 

that there are so many tor the posts to carry the messengers, I tell you quite truly 

^ grossis bullis id est sonaliis sonantibus 

* R: due giorni, & due notti VA: dentro in vno di e una note P: inter diem et noetem 

^45 



• 98- HOW EXPRESS HORSES ARE PROVIDED & KEPT ?^ MARCO POLO 

that the great lord has appointed them thus. For he says, Who is near such a post? 

FB Such a city. And he makes them see how many horses it csiugive and keep for [46^] the 

messengers, and one tells him a hundred; and they are ordered to put a hundred 

FB horses at such a post v^hich is also near to this. Then he sees all the other towns and 

FB villages— 5t<r^ a village^ such a large hamlet — how many horses they can keep, and those 

FB which they are able to keep, such and such numbers they are ordered to keep at the 

R post. And in such a way are all the horses which are kept at the said posts arranged so 

VA FA that the great lord spends nothing on them; but -all the posts are supplied by the cities & 

villages and towns which are around them^ excepting only so much that he has the posts 

R of the out of the way places supplied with his own horses in part, and in part the 

cities, castles, towns near them keep them there. And the cities are at agreement the one with 

the other, because between one post and the other there is at times a city which with the others 

places its share there. And these cities maintain the horses with the revenues which ought to go 

to the great Kaan, ordering such a man, supposing that he ought to pay so much as would keep 

a horse and a half, to keep it at the post near to him. But you ought to know that the cities do 

not keep four hundred horses at the posts continually; on the contrary they keep two hundred 

of them by the month to bear the fatigues, and in this interval other two hundred of them are 

being fattened; and at the end of the month the fat are put at the post, and the others are fattened 

in the same way; and they go doing like this continually. But if it happens that in any place 

there is some river or lake through which it is necessary for the runners and those on horseback 

to pass, the cities near by keep three and four boats always ready for this purpose. And if it 

is necessary to cross some desert of many days marches, in which no dwelling can he made, the 

city which is next to such desert is bound to give the horses to the lord's ambassadors as far as 

to beyond the desert, and the victuals with the escort. But the lord gives help to that city. 

FB FB Moreover I tell you further that at these hamlets of which I have told you there are men 

likewise furnished with great girdles full of little bells, and when there is need that messen- 

LT gers on horseback go expressly to tell the great lord quickly news from distant places 

FB Li of" any land, of any province or city, which may be in rebellion against him, or of any 

VA baron, or of the things which may be needed by the lord, they ride quite a hundred 

FB and two hundred miles in one day, or indeed two hundred and fifty, and also at 

LT night, and I will show you reason how. For when the messengers wish to go so 

expressly and so many miles in a day as I have told you, he has the gerfalcon tablet 

FB FB with him always as a sign that he wishes to go at express speed, so that, if at any time 

it happened that as it galloped on the road the horse broke down or had any delay, and he found 

whoever it might be on the road, he could unhorse him and take his animal, for none would 

dare to refuse it. So that they never have any but good animals and fresh for their needs. They 

LT R take horses from the post, where they are ready for them.' And if they are two and they start 

246 



rHI': DliSCKlPIlON Ol llll-; WOKLD'^ & CiO-CCLMILI^S A DAY (^8 

Jroni the .uiiiic pUuc, tlu'v mi oik Iroin {\u- place vvluic ilicy arc on two good horses 
strong and swilt andjrah; ilioy Imul up all iluir Inlly and chest with fine bands and ii i ii 
wrap up iluir heads, '^or otherwise they could not endure; and set themselves to ride at IB i ii 
tull g.dlop lo ilu' utmost ol iheir horses power, and gallop until they arc come to va 
the next post at twenty-five"'' miles, and when they are come near they sound a sort oj horn* k 
which is heard Jroni Jar, that they may prepare the horses; and then they find other two^oo^ LV 
horses ready, fresh, and rested, and swift. And those at the next post, who hear them coming fb 
by the bells, thus also have horses harnessed and men prepared like those who are now coming. 
They take what they have, either letter or other thing, and lUcy mount [46^] so quickly that they 
do not stop nor rest themselves neither little nor much. And when they are mounted LT 
they leave the others and set themselves immediately at Jull gallop as mCich as they can va fb 
get out of the horse, and do not cease to gallop till they are come to the next 
post; and there they find the other horses and men ready to change Jor the others and fb fb 
they mount as quickh' and set themselves[on]thc road. And so they do always, fb 
galloping from one post to the other and changing horses and men, -all the day till the evening, va 
so that they go a wonderful distance. And in this way which I have told you messengers fb 
hke these go quite two hundred and htty"* miles in one day^ to carry news to the great r 
lord speedily from distant parts, and his orders arc carried to distant places with much speed; p 
and also when there is need they go quite three hundred. And if it is a very grave r 
case they ride at night; and if the moon does not shine, the men of the post go running before 
them with torches to the next post. Nevertheless the said messengers do not go so swftly at 
night-time as by day, out of regard to those who run on foot with the torches, who cannot be 
so rapid. And messengers like these who can endure such a labour of running are much r 
prized & have great pay from the court. Now let us leave you this account of the va 
messengers and of these posts, of which indeed we have told and shown you clearly, fb fb 
But next I shall tell you of a great kindness which the great lord does to his men 
twice a year. 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN HAS HIS PEOPLE HELPED WHEN THEY HAVE SUFFERED • QO 

IN CORN AND IN ANIMALS. Now you may know also for truth that the 
great lord sends his trusty messengers and inspectors always every year -at va r va 
a certain time through all his lands and realms and provinces to know of his men, tf vb 

^ LT: caput & corpus TA': la testa elchapo 

- LT: trigintaquinque 

' FB: campanelles See just below. 

* V: duxento e quaranta 

^ LT: tota die & node 



247 



•99 • RELIEF OF SUFFERERS & PLANTING OF TREES ?^MARCO POLO 

any wrong has been done them and if they have had loss of their corn either through 

R VB failure ot VA'eather, that is by storms or by great rains and winds^-as often happens, or 

P P through locusts/ caterpillars, or through other pestilence that y.ar. And if he finds 

LT R that any of his people have had in any place such loss and that they have no corn, he 

LT does not take the tax from them which they ought to give for that season or that year 

LT p in which the plague was, but he gives them of his own coi'n from his granaries as much as 

VA they need, that they may have it to sow and to eat that year. And this is indeed a great 

V kindness of [46^] the lord. The great lord has this done in the summer, and in the winter 

FB he has just another such thing done to those who shall have had loss oi flocks. For 

LT R he has inquiry made, and it he finds in some province a man whose animals are dead of 

FB VB a mortality or pestilence which may be come upon them, or through cold, he has some 

R VA ot his own animals, which he has from the tithe of the other provinces, given to him & 

P sold to him cheaply and has him helped inore or less according as his loss has been, and has 

VA R no tax taken from him in that year, according as the loss requires.- And all his thought 

and chief anxiety is to help the people who are under him, that they may be able to live, work, 

and multiply their goods. But we wish to tell another characteristic of the great Kaan, that 

if hy accidental chance lightning strike some flock of ewes or sheep or other animals of whatever 

kind, which may belong to one or more persons, and be the flock as large as you like, the great 

Kaan would not exact the tithe for three years. And equally if it happen that lightning strike 

some ship full of merchandise, he does not wish any rent or share of it, because he thinks it a 

had omen when lightning strikes anyone's goods; and the great Kaan says, Cod hated him, 

therefore he has struck him with lightning. And so he does not wish such goods struck by the 

FB divine anger to enter into his treasury.- So that in such way as you have heard the great 

FB lord helps and supports his men every year. Now I have told you of this subject, 

and then I shall tell you of another matter. 

100 • T" yOW THE GREAT KAAN HAS TREES PLANTED BY THE WAYS. Now yOU may 

R I I know quite truly that the great lord has done another beautiful and con- 

VA P JL -1- venient thing, for he has arranged that by all those main roads through the 

province of Catai and through the neighbouring provinces, by which the messengers and 

the merchants and the other people go, he has had trees planted there beside the 

LT FB R ways on either side two or three paces distant the one from the other, which are of the 

sort which grow large and tall. And I tell you that they are so large that they can well 

FB be seen from very far. And the great Kaan has had this done so that each may see 

LT the roads, that the merchants may be able to rest there in the shade, and that they may not 

IB LT lose the way either by day or hy night -when they go through the desert places, lor you will 

^ FA,FB; tempesie V: lempesta 

248 



THE niiSCRlPIION OI 11 II-; \VORLD'=; WINH & COAL IN CAIAI -lOO- 

IiikI tliosc tiuiny lar^f trees In Innely ways, which .ire .\ very great help and cointori in lu k 

to (he merchants aiui to (he wa\larers, who would not know how to keep the road tf va 

there were not those trees. And they are on all the roads whieh need them,'oJ which I have l-B v 

told you, that is ihioiigh all provinces aiuI through all kmgdonis which are under his v 

rule; -provided that the place is suitable to he planted; hut in the sandy and desert places and h 

in the rocky mountains where the said roads pass, and it is not possible to plant them, he has 

other sionals put up of stones and pillars which show the way. And he has certain barons who 

have the duty of arranging that they may be always kept in repair. And beyond what is said 

above about the trees, the great Kaan has them planted the more gladly because his diviners and 

astrologers say that he who has trees planted lives a long time. Now I have rold you about 

the trees ot the roads, ilien 1 will tell you ol anoiher[thing]. 

HHKH Hii TLLLS OF rm: winc which the people of the kaan drink. • loi • 

And again you may know that the greater part ot the people ot the 
province ot Catai dnnk^^oo^ wine, and it is such a wine as I shall describe lt 
to you. For 'instead of wine they make a drink of rice, and they make the rice boil with /. p vb 
very many other good spices mixed together, and they make it'^ — the drink or wine — m l z z 
such a way and so well [47^] and with such ajtavour that it is better worth drinking than r 
any other wine of grapes, -and men could not wish better.' And it is very clear and sparkling- vb R z z 
& very fragrant and beautiful. And it makes a man become drunken sooner than vb z 
any other wine because it is very hot stuff, -and it is sweet. Now we will \e2i\-c speaking ta va ta' fb 
to you oj this and we will tell you another thing, how the stones are burnt like logs. FB 

HliKE HE tells of a kind of stones which are burnt like logs. It IS -loz- 

true again that through all the province of Catai there is found a kind of va l 
large black stones which are dug from the mountains as veins, which v 
burn and make Jlames like logs and consume away like charcoal. They keep up the fire l r 
and cook better than wood does. Moreover I tell you that it you put them on the l 
fire in the evening and make them catch well, I tell you that they keep fire all the 
night so well that one finds some in the morning.^ These stones make no Jlame except va r 
a little at first when they arc lighted, as charcoals do, and staying thus glowing they give great 
heat. And you may know that these stones are so good that nothing else is burnt through fb 
all the province of Catai as far as possible, though it is true that they have wood p 

^ FA begins this chapter word for word the same as F; FB does the same, only omitting de 
la prouenec, down to catay, but then inserts viuent et before boiuent. viuent may possibly be for 
vsent , "use & drink". 

^ lahoient TA'': lauorello LT: parant L: efficitur but Z: hthunt R: heuono 

* Frampton here inserts: "which I suppose be of the nature of oure Seacoles," 



249 



103 



O 

H 



I02- HOW GRAIN IS STORED UP AGAINST DEARTH ^MARCO POLO 

R enoiiah, that is logs. But so great is the multitude of people^ and stoves, and baths, which 
are continually heated, that the wood could not he enough, because there is none that docs not 
go to the stove and have hitnself bathed at least three times the week, and in winter every day 
if they can do so; and every noble or rich man has his own stove at home at which he washes 
himself, so that the wood would not be enough for so much burning, and these stones are found 
FB in very great quantity; and thcv burn plenty of these stones because they are worth more 
VA VB and cost less than wood does and are a great saving of wood. And they are^^not^used by 
the builders of houses, and moreover the said stones are of no value except for burning. Now I 
have told you of this heading and next we shall tell you of another heading/ how 
the great lord provides that corn may not be too dear. 

'OW THE GREAT KAAN HAS GREAT QUANTITY OF GRAIN GATHERED AND 

DISTRIBUTED TO HELP HIS PEOPLE. Now you may know that it is truth 

that the great lord in seasons when he sees that some of the grains are in 

great abundance and that there is great sale of them, he has a very great quantity 

R FB of them bought and gathered throughout all his provinces and has it put in great houses 

R which are appointed in each province, and has it so well watched that it is not spoilt \_47b] 

VB P for three years nor for four; and every three years it is changed.- And thus provision is 

carefully made of all grains that the kings barns may always he full, that he may be able to 

provide for the needy in time of barrenness. And you understand that he makes public 

R stores of all grains of the sort which they use, that is wheat and barley and millet and 

VA rice and panick and all other grains; and of these grains he makes them gather in 

R very great abundance. And in the said times when it happens that some grain fails 

and that the dearth is great, then the great lord makes them take out some of his 

FB R grain of which he has so much as I have told you, of that kind which they need, -to sell 

R for money; and if the measure is sold by others for one bezant, I am speaking to you 

R TA FB of wheat, he makes them give the buyers -three and four of it,^ or so much that they may 

FB have it cheap in common. And he takes out so much of it that all, who wish it for their 

food, can have some, so that each has wealth^ and abundance of grain. And in this 

LT way the great lord so provides that his men cannot have great dearth. And he has 

FB this done through all the lands where he has rule. For he has so much of it gathered 

in every place that everyone who has need of it may have it when he wishes. Now I have told 

you of this, and then we shall tell you of another heading, how the great lord does 

charity. 

* capitre . . . capiere 

2 V; se le se uende vno bixante le fano vender me^ 

' deuise 

250 



Till'. ni'SCRiPiiON ov II ii: worlds clophhs i'or Tin- poor .104 

How nil liKi-Ai KAAN iH>i;s (;in:Ai (iiARii Y ro ms poor pi-opi.r. Since 
I h.m- (i)kl you atul tirscrihcii Iiow tin- grc.u Un\\ has i>rfar vvtMlLJi ol .ill i ii iii 
thiiii^s in tiiiw of dearth in.ulc lt)r his people, hecause he provides himself in fh I'B 
time cj' chctipncss, now 1 slull leli you how he ».ioes great chanty and provision 'and alms n in 
U) (he poor people w Iu> are in ihe town ol C^ainhahic, another work worthy oj no P 
small praise. It is true (hat he has many lainilies chosen ironi[the|town of Cainbahu, 
iisf likewise in the suhitrhs and in the neighbourhood, who are poor anci who have nothing vb 
(o eat & cannot buy; and such a fanuly will be six in one house and such a one eight va fb 
and such a one (en aiul such a one more and such a one less, as they are, so that IB 
altooether it is a great number of people. The great lord has wheat and other corn given 
them yro;n his granaries, -to each family so much (h.ii (hey may have what to eat /or the P FB FB 
whole year. And he has (his done to very great numbers always every year. -When he FB R 
hears that some family of people honourable and of substance has become poor through some 
misfortune, or cannot work through some illness, and have no means of reaping any kind of 
grain; he causes to be i^iven to such families as these enoui>h for them to be able to pay their 
expenses for the whole year. And the said families go at the usual time to the ojficials who are 
appointed ever all the expenditures which are made by the great Kaan, who stay in a palace 
set apart for that cjfice, and each shows a note of how much was given them in the past year 
for living, and according to that they provide them that year. They provide them also with 
their clothes, because the great Kaan has the tenth of all the wool, and silk, and hemp, of 
which clothes can be made; and he makes them weave such things as these and make cloth in a 
house set apart for this, where they are stored. And because all crafts are obliged by bond to 
work for him one day a week, the great Kaan has clothes made of these stuffs, which he has 
given to the aforesaid families of poor people, according as is required in winter time and in 
summer time. He provides also clothing for his armies, and in every city he has woollen cloth 
woven, which is paid out of the tithe of that. And it is to be known that the Tartars according 
to their first customs, before they knew the idol law, did no alms. But when some poor man 
went to them they drove him away with abuse, saying to him, Go with the bad year which 
God give thee; for if he had loved thee as he loves me he would have done thee some good. But 
because the wise men of the idolaters, and specially the aforesaid bacsi, suggested to the great 
Kaan that the provision for the poor was a good work for him, and that their idols would 
greatly rejoice at it, he thereupon provides like this for the poor, as is said above. And [47^] 
again I tell you that all those who wish to go to the court for the lord's bread daily FB 
can have a hot loaf; it is refused to none, but some is given to all those who go, and va 
it is sold to none. And you may know that I believe I tell no lie, I believe that -the poor vb p 
men and women, more than thirty thousand of them go there every day /or bread;- P 
and there is not a day when there are not distributed and given away twenty thousand howls R 

251 



I04- KALENDARS OF THE DIVINERS OF CAMBALUC ?^MARCO POLO 

FB of rice, millet, and panick hy the appointed oficials. And he has this done all the days of 

the year; and it is a very great kindness ot the lord who has pity on his poor people. 

P R And because no poor man is denied bread, -for this wonderful and stupendous liberality, all 

the people are so fond of him that they worship him as God. Now I have told 

FB FB you and spoken of this ordinance, and then we shall tell you of another thing. 

z There are then in the city of Cambaluc about Jive thousand astrologers and diviners, between 
Christians, Saracens, and Cataians, for whom, as for the aforesaid poor, the great Kaan 
causes food and clothing to be provided every year; who use their art in the city continually. 
For they have their certain Astrology, in which are written the signs of the planets, the hours 
and minutes of the whole year. And so every year the aforesaid Christian, Saracen, and Cataiaii 
astrologers, namely each sect by itself, watch the course and arrangement of the whole year 
in this Astrology according to the course of each moon. For they see andfnd what sort of weather 
each moon of that year will produce according to the natural course and arrangement of the 
planets and signs and their properties. Namely, in such a moon there will be thunders and 
tempests; in such, an earthquake; in such, thunderbolts, lightnings, and many rains; in such, 
R z sicknesses and plagues & wars and infinite quarrels;^ and so with each -moon, -according as 
they shall fnd. And they will say that so it is bound to follow according to the course and 
R z R z reason of nature, -adding, -but God is able to do more and less -according to his will. -And so 
they will make many little pamphlets in which they will write everything which shall happen 
in each month that year; which pamphlets are called tacuini. And they sell one of these pamphlets 
for one groat to any who wishes to buy that he may know what may happen that year. And 
those who shall be found to have spoken more truly will be held more perfect masters in the art 
R z and will obtain greater honour. Again if anyone shall have proposed- in his mind-to enter upon 
R z some great work or to set out for some -distant -place for trade or for any other things which he 
must do, or shall have planned to do anything, and wished to foreknow the end of the business, 
R he will inquire of these. -He will go to fnd one of these astrologers and will say to him. See 
in your books how the sky stands just now, because I should wish to go to do such business or 
z R z trade, -telling him the year, -month, -day, hour, and minute of his birth; because every one 
as soon as he is born is taught, the frst thing that he is taught, about his nativity. For such a 
R way as this is observed a7nong them. For -the Tartars count the number of their years from iz 
Z to 11 &-thry mark twelve years with twelve signs; for the frst is marked with a lion, the second 
with an ox, the third with a dragon, the fourth with a dog, &c., proceeding like this up to the 
twelfth number; so that when one is asked when he was born, then he answers, In the course 
of the year of the lion, on such a day or night, hour, and minute of such a moon, or however 
R he was born, and under what year-sign ;-& the fathers observe this to have it carefully[noted'] 



* discordie infinite R: discordie, & insidie 
252 



5 



Ti \\i DiisauvvioN ov n ii- worlds good and p.ao customs .10+ 

/;/ if hwk.-AnJ when the yrars have run thnr course up to the jjjjm of the twelfth number, / 
then they be^in ai^ani from the first tnitnhrr, idways proreeJini^ ui thu order. And so when a 
man shall ask of the astrolooer or diviner what end his proposal shall ohtain, dr shall have first 
told him the day, hour, & minute of the moon of his birth (jr in the course of what year, then the 
diviner after inspecting the constellation and finding the planet under which he was born will 
foretell him everything which will happen to him on that journey in order, and how his proposal 
will prosper in all his doings, whether well or ill; namely, if he is a merchant, the planet which 
will then be in the ascendant will be opposed to his trade, so that he will wait until another 
hall reign propitious to him; or the sign which faces directly opposite to the ^ate by which he 
is to leave the city will be in opposition to bis own sign, so that he will be obliged to go out 
by another gate, or to wait until that sign is changed; again that in such a place or time he 
will fnd robbers; in such, rain will come upon him or tempest; in such, the horse will break 
a leg; m such, he will lose on his wares, or gain; and thus he will foretell about each separate 
point propitious as well as adverse, according to the signs propitious to him or opposed, until 
his return, -according to the disposition in which the sky shall be found to be.- R 

He found then the men of the province of Catai beyond other people endued with prettier z 
and more good manners, for they are always intent on study and learned exercises; but he found 
one horrible custom which he altogether forbad.^ 

They speak indeed prettily and in order, ^ they greet becomingly with cheerful and smiling 
face, they behave with dignity and cleanliness in eating; and so with each separate thing.- 
They bear great reverence to the father and mother. And if it is found that any son does anything R 
to displease them, or does not help them in their need, there is a public office which has no 
other duty but to punish severely ungrateful sons whom they know to have committed some act 
of ingratitude towards them. Malefactors of different crimes who have been taken and put in 
prison, if they have not been despatched^ when the time fixed by the great Kaan for the release 
of prisoners comes (which ts every three years^, then come out, but a mark has been made on 
them on one jaw, so that they may be recognised. 

^ The subject of inuenit(p. xxv) seems to be the great Kaan rather than, as has been assumed, 
Marco Polo. The sentences form apparently an introduction to the account of the good and 
bad customs which follows, though this would not have been clear if the paragraph about the 
"horrible custom" of "gaming and cheating", omitted by Z, had not fortunately been 
preserved by R. 

2 ordinate R(probably better): vn parlar ornato 

^ se non sono spacciati Whether spacciati means strangled (Marsden) or set free (Ricci) I 
cannot presume to say, though I incline to agree with Marsden. Purchas, Marsden, 
Baldelli-Boni, Yule, and Benedetto all seem to have used one of the later editions of R, 
which cause difficulty by the omission of se non. 

253 



I04- MANNERS & RELIGION OF THE MEN OF CATAI ?^MARCO POLO 

He Jorhadj this present great Kaan^ all the gaming and cheating, which were more usual 
with them than in any place in the world; and to take them away from them he said, I haxe 
conquered you arms in hand, and all that you possess is mine, and if you gamble you gamble 
with what is mine. He did not however Jor this take anything from them. 

I do not wish to fail to speak about the order and manner in which the people and barons 
of the great Kaan behave when they go to him. First the people remain humble, quiet, and calm 
for half a mile round the place where the great Kaan may be, out of respect for his excellency, 
so that no sound or noise nor voice of anyone who shouts or talks loudly is heard. And every 
baron or noble always carries a vase small and beautiful, into which he spits while he is in 
hall, for none would have the courage to spit upon[the floor off.he hall; and when he has spat 
he covers and keeps it.^ They have likewise certain beautiful slippers of white leather which 
they carry with them, and when they are arrived at the court if they wish to go into the hall, 
supposing that the lord asks for them, they put on these white slippers and give the others to the 
servants; and this, so as not to soil the beautiful and cunningly made carpets of silk, both of 
gold and of other colours. 
z And as we have said above, these people -are all idolaters. But in doing reverence to their 
gods they keep this manner. Each one has in his house a statue hung on the wall of a room 
R 7 R which represents the high-& sublime -god of heaven, or only • a tablet set high on the wall of 
z R his room with 'the name of the god written there. And -here every day with the thurible of incense- 
z R z they worship him thus and lift up indeed the hands-on high, -and at the same time gnashing 
R thrice their teeth they ask him to give them long life, happy and cheerful, -good understanding and 
z health, and they ask him nothing more. Then -also down on the ground they have another statue 
which is called Natigai, god of earthly matters, who only has to concern himself with earthly 
matters, and of things which grow on the earth. With this god is his wife and children; and- 
R ihey worship him in the same way with the thurible and gnashing the teeth and lifting the hands, 
and of this one they ask temperate weather and fruits of the earth, children, and similar things. - 
z They have indeed no consciousness and care of the soul, but are only devoted to nourishing the 
R body and getting pleasure for themselves .- About the soul, they hold it to be immortal in this 
Z way. -For they think that when a man dies he enters immediately into another body, and, 
according as in life he had borne himself well or ill, going on from good to better or from had 
R to worse; that is to say -if he shall be a poor man and if he have borne hin^self well and modestly 
in life, he will be born again after death of the womb of a gentlewoman and will be a gentleman, 
Z and then of the wojnb of a lady and will be a lord, -if he is the son of a knight and in life has 
borne himself well, at death he is born again of the womb of a countess; afterwards being dead 
again he is born again of the womb of a princess, and so always ascending until he is taken 



^ lo copre & salua Marsden: "and makes a salutation" B.: e lo nascondono 
254 



•105* 



Tiin ni:scRiPTiON or tmi-: v/orld^ kivf.r or i'ijusanciHin .io4' 

into Co./. AnJ so on the lontrary, -if hr shall have hehawJ til, bnnii the son oj a )}fntlrntun k 
he will he horn ii^iiin a son of a rustic, -Jrom a rustic he is made into a dog, always descending /. 
to lower -life. R 

A\u\ since we have finished speaking oj the rule and administration of the province oj Catai w 
and oj the city of Camhaluc and of the magnificence of the great Kaan, wc shall leave the 
cir\' oi Canibahic to speak of the other regions to which Master Marc went for the purposes R 
of the i^overnment of the great Kaan, and .shall cnicr into Caiai lo icll of the grcac 
thintjs and rich which arc there* 

HllRlL HI- Bl-GINS AliOUT THH GRIiAT PROVINCE OF CATAI AND Wt WILL TELL 

OF THi- RiviiR OI- PUi.iSANGHiN. Now you may know that / judge it to vb 

he worthy oJ memory not to be passed hy that-the said Master Marc^ Pol hiniseU fb fb 

who tells all this, the ^rear lord sends him as a messenger to the parts towards sunsetting. fb fb 
And he set out trom Camhaluc and went quite tour months' of days journeys 
toward sunsettin^;, and therefore we shall tell you all that he saw on that road, 

going and coming. When indeed one sets out from the town aforesaid, namely of z 7 

Camhaluc * and he is gone riding ten miles toward the sunsetting, then he finds a fb L 
great river which is called Pulisanghin, which river goes as far as to the Ocean 

sea. And here go many merchants[i>j]mfl7jy ships with very much merchandise to the va r va 

Ocean sea. And over this river is a very beautiful ^mif stone bridge, worthy of mention, vb vb 
For you mav know that there are few of them^ in all the world so beautiful, nor 

its ecjual. [And I shall show youjreason how. It is made like this. I tell you that it is fb 

quite three hundred' paces long and quite eight' paces wide, for ten horsemen* can well fb v 

go there the [47<^] one beside the other. And it has twenty-four arches and twenty- va 

four* piers in the water supporting them, and it is all of grey marble very well worked r 

and well founded. There is above on each side of the bridge a beautiful -curtain or fb R P 



^ The long passages in this chapter from Z and R have, more perhaps than any others in 
the book, something of the appearance of having been added later and out of their natural place. 
' V: nichollo 
^ VL makes the whole mission occupy fourteen months. 

* VB: "... Cambaluc, I reached a town very rich & fair in which I rested for some days, 
& at a distance of twelve leagues from this town is a river named pullicanzino ..." 

* qe poutna FB: pou en ya supported by FA,Z,V,R; while no MS. known to me supports 
the reading of 1824 (copied in B. without note), que potit n'a. 

" VA: bem quatro^nto 
' V: nuoue Others "eight" 
® TA: char re 

' TA.LT: 34 R: 24 ... 25 FA: • xxiij • arches 6- • xxn; • moxdins — followed by Pauthier 
& Yule ! 

255 



•105- A BEAUTIFUL BRIDGE & THE CITY OF GIOGIU ^MARCO POLO 

R R wall of flags of marble and of pillars artificially made so as I shall rell you. And in 

the ascent it is something wider than at the end of the ascent; hut then, when one is gone up, 

it is found equal throughout the length as if drawn by line. And at the head of the ascent of 

the bridge is a very large pillar and high, set upon a tortoise of marble. Near the foot of the 

pillar is a great lion. And there is fixed at the head oi the bridge a marble pillar, and 

FB below the pillar is a marble lion and above the pillar is another one, so that the 

pillar is on the back of the lion, which lions are very beautiful and large and well niade;^ 

R R and a pace and a halP from this pillar toward the ascent of the bridge is another very 

FB VA beautiful one made just the same as the frst, no more nor less, with two marble lions. 

L And on either side of the bridge are many small pillars, and under each pillar as if for its 

base is a lion, and likewise above its head another lion, and trom the one pillar to the other 

R it is closed in with a flag of grey marble all worked with different sculptures and mortised 

into the columns at the side, through the length of the bridge to the end, so that the people 

L who cross may not be able to fall into the water; and so it goes from length to length 

FB R on one side and on other, -all the pillars are distant one from the other by a pace and a half 

R so that it is quite a beautiful thing to see. And on the descent from the bridge it is as on 

LT the ascent. -And so there are altogether on the said bridge six hundred pillars with twelve 

hundred lions on one side and the other of the bridge, and all these are of very fne marble. 

FB Now we have told you of this beautiful bridge, and we will tell you of other new 

things. 

•Io6 • f T" ^^^ ^^ TELLS OF THE GREAT CITY OF GIOGIU. And when One sets out from 

VB I I this bridge aforesaid and he is gone thirty miles by the sunsetting, 

LT FB VA JL jL always finding beautiful trees, villages, and inns for food- & palaces and 

FB FB R VB FB beautiful vineyards and beautiful gardens and beautiful -very fruitful -cultivated fields and 

VA beautiful springs, then at the end of thirty miles he finds a city which is called Giogiu 

z VB z very great and beautiful. There are many abbeys of idolaters priests and monks- in it, 

LT VB • and the people of that country arc all idolaters . • And however they live by trade and by crafts, 

VB L as for the most part do all other people. -For many cloths of silk and of gold and beautiful 

R V V VB very fne sendals are made there. And there are very m3.ny fne inns or hostels in our 

VB manner, where the wayfarers lodge, because of the multitude of merchants & strangers who 

come there. And when one is departed [48^] from this town and gone one mile then 

one finds two roads which the one goes to sunsetting and the other to sirocco. 

R That of the sunsetting is the road by which one goes through the province of Catai, and 

TA that of the sirocco goes toward the great sea to the great provmce of Mangi. And you 

* V says rhar the top lion was larger. — desopra nesono vnaltro plu grando 

^ FA,FB,TA,LT,P,L: "one pace"; Ty\^ Z omit; V,R: "one pace and a lialf ". 

256 



Till- DliSCRIPIK^N OV rHI- WOKLi:)^ Nil KhAI.M Ol- lAlANI-U -lofj- 

may kiimv niiiii- iiiiK ih.it diu- rules by the siinsciung ihroiigh thf provmcc ot (.atai 

quite len'J.u.s journeys J'roni tht city of Ciogiu to tin- realm oj laianju. Aiul one alw.iys z 

^ln^.^s majiv heaiKiliil ciries ,\n^\ many hcaiiriliil villat^es, proplc ol v^rcat trade and o( vb 

i^rcat iiuliis(i\-, and fxiuis boaiiiiliil 6- well cullnuitcd hclds in which much silk is produced z vb z 

and heamifiil vinos and many trees, and they are all settled people & comjoriable- i.r z vb 

and very affable • lurause of the numher oJ the cities little removed one from another ;■ and the v j< z 

ways oJ those cities are so much freijuented ■ hy the inhabitants -that people are always found r z 

passin^i by, -because of the many i>oods which are continually carried from one city to the other; r 

and in each oJ them fairs are held. And from here the wine is carried into the province of Catai, 

because wine is not produced there. There are also many mulberry trees of which the inhabitants 

make much silk with their leaves. And at the end of five days journeys of the foresaid ten they 

say there is a city more beautiful and oreater than the others, called Achbaluch, to which in 

that direction approaches the boundary of the lord's hunting, where none dares go hunting except 

the lord with his retinue and whoever is enrolled under the captain of the falconers. But from 

that boundary forward one can go, provided that he is a nobleman. Nevertheless the great Kaan 

as it were never went hunting on that side; for which reason the wild animals were so much 

increased and multiplied, and specially the bares, that they destroyed the corn of the whole 

of the said province. And when this thing was made known to the great Kaan he went there 

with all the court, and animals were taken without numher. There is nothing which does 

to mention, so we shall tell you nothina about it. And then we shall leave this 

matter and shall tell you ot a kingdom which is called Taianfu. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE KINGDOM OF TAL\NFU. And when One has ridden the lt z -icy 
aforesaid ten days marches after he has left this city of Giogiu, then he lt 
finds a kingdom which is called Taianfu. And head of the province or z 
realm is this city where we are come which is likewise called Taianfu, which is very z 
large and beautiful," in which is done great trade and industry. For in this city is 
made a very great quantity of equipments which are needed for the troops of the 
great lord. There are many beautiful vines from which they have wine in great 
abundance. And in all the cities of the province of Catai' subject to the great Kaan wine is fb vb 

^ FB: xij Others "ten" 

2 appelles taianfu. & chief de laprouence ceste cite ou nos somes uenus qui est apeles tanianfu qe est mout 
grant & biele Z: nomine tayanfu. & capud prouincie siue regni est ciuitas quam intrauimus que 
nominatur similiter tayanfu est magna & pulcra ualde FB: appelle taianfu. et est chief de la province ceste 
cite ou nous sonimes venu^ qui aussi a nom. taianfu. TA: ehiamato taianfo. Et di chapo di questa 
provincia cue Noi siamo venuti e vna Citta chanome Tinafu The reading of R is to be noticed: 
nominate Tainfu, & c capo di questa prouineia, con vna citta, eke ha il medemo nome. 

' R: in tutta Tainfu L: in nulla enitn prouineia de Catay 

257 



■loy- WINE AND SILK • PIANFU • A CASTLE OF CAICIU p^MARCO POLO 

VA R not produced but in this district only, ^nd yet from this town it goes [486] through 

LT all the province5 around. There is also a very great quantity of silk, for they have 

VB VB VB mulberries upon those mountains and breed the worms which make silk in so great 

VB abundance that it is a marvel. And when one sets out from Taianfu he rides quite 

seven days journeys by the sunsetting in very beautiful country, in which he finds 

towns and villages enough in which trade and handicrafts enough are done; and 

z z FB there are many merchants in them who go in manv directions to Indie and to other lands 

R FB making their gain and profit. And when he has gone riding these seven days journeys 

LT then he finds villages and a city which is called Pianfu, which is very exceedingly 

R large and of great value, in which there are merchants enough. And they live by 

z trade and by crafts. Silk is made there in very great quantity. Now we will leave 

FB FB speaking to you of this and will tell you of a very great city which is called Cacionfu. 

But first oi all we shall speak to you of a noble castle which is called Caiciu. 

108 • nr "FERE HE TELLS OF A CASTLE OF CAICIU. And when One scts out ftom 

V I I this aforesaid city of Piantu and he goes by sunsetting two days marches 

V A JL then one finds a beautiful castle which is called Caiciu,^ which, according 
FB as they say, a king of that country who was called the King of Gold once made them 

VB R make in his time. And in this castle is a very beautiful and great palace in which is 

VB VB a very large hall where all the notable kings of that province who were become famous 

FB in old times are portrayed in gold and in other very beautiful paintings, and it is a 

FB very beautiful sight to see. And each o/" the kings who had reigned in that kingdom 

FB [of which I have told]you, [48^] one after the other, had had all this done. And of 

V VB this king who \K>as called of Gold I shall be content to tell you a pretty story which was 

between him and the Prester Johan, according to that which the people of that 

V VB R country say to me, for it is worthy in my opinion to be remembered .- He was a powerful and 

great lord, and while he stayed in the land, there were none in his personal service but very 

handsome young women, of whom he kept a great multitude at court. When he went through 

the castle in a little carriage for his amusement, the girls drew it, and it was easily taken along 

because it was small; and they did everything that was for the convenience and pleasure of the 

said king. And he showed his power in his government and behaved himself very nobly and 

justly. That castle was very strong beyond measure. It was true, according as those people 

R say, that this King of Gold had war with the Prester Johan. This King of Gold was 

subject to Uncan, who is he who we have said above is called Prester Johan, and in his arrogance 

and pride rebelled against him, and was in so strong a place that the Prester Johan, 

R V when he heard this thing, could not overcome nor hurt him. He had great grief and 

^ cacianfu 
258 



Till- ni'SCKiPiiON ov im; worlds im-: stokv oi- koi dor .108 

wi.uli Ih'imusc *>I 11. An<l tijtcr ionif tunc srvon' ticble knights, icrvanis in the court (jf VB VB va 

rhc SiiiJ Pn'stcr Jolian, went to jxtui him and idKI liiiii tli.u ilicy will have the courage vb k k 

tO'go to stay with that King oj Cold and will find a plan to bring info his hands his enemy v vh 

the Kiiii^ ol Ck)1J. ij he wished, all alivr to the best oJ their power, & ij not they will kill i.i vb 

him. Aiul ilu- Pii'sior Jolian loLi ilicni that lu" is very willing and iliac he will be 

very rhanklnl to iluin il they do this and promised them many riches & goods if they VB 

carried their promise into effect. And when the seven servants who were Jine young men v 

have laken leave ol the Prester johan their lord, they set out all together in a fair IB fa 

company ol escjiiires and went oil to find ihis King ol Gold and presented themselves R f-B 

to him;'& he asked them who they were. And pretending to be rebels against their lord they v vb 

told him that thev were con^c from a strange land -and far -to his court to serve him fb r va 

when he pleased. The king received them gladly for his pages & told them that they were lt va 

very welcome to him and that he will do them honour and service and pleasure, i.t 

and that their service pleased him very well, as one who thought of no evil. In such way fh 

as you have heard the seven bad servants ol the Prester johan set themselves very fb lt 

carefully to serve the King ot Gold with great joy, to win his favour. -Those seven knights va vb 

stayed for two years with that lord, keeping him very nobly and showing the greatest loyalty 

to that lord, so that they were very dear to that lord & he trusted them much, & they were 

always with him in everything, -and he always wished that when he went hunting they should be R 

near. And when they had stayed there about two years unable to carry out the evil p 

purpose of their heart, -thinking of nothing else but of treason, thev were much loved by fb 

the king for their good service which they did him. And what shall I tell you about it? i.t 

The kint!; trusted himself with them and treated them just as if they were all and eight^ lt 

his sons. Now you shall hear what these wicked servants do; and it happened 

because none can guard himsclt against the treacherous and disloyal. It was true 

that this King ol Gold went enjoying himselt riding one day -to the chase with a few va vb 

people, and among them there were these wicked thirteen servants as those in whom the lt fb 

king had great trust and kept them near. And when they have passed a river which [48^^] is a 

mile distant from the palace of which I have told you, leaving the rest of the company R 

on the other side, the thirteen servants, who saw themselves alone in a convenient place and R 

that the king had no company who could defend him against them, then said 

that now was the time that they could do that for which they were come[6r']/t<l/i/ fb \'B 

the promise made to their lord Prester Johan. Then having given the sign among themselves &- vb 



* FA,FB: xvij and so below. V: sie and omits below. 

^ VIII Here and above viii was written, corrected to vii in the first place and here accident- 
ally left; as was xim' just below. 



259 



.io8. ROT DOR TENDS SHEEP FOR PRESTER JOHAN p^ MARCO POLO 

R surrounding the King of Gold they laid hand to sword and said to the king, either he 

LT will go with them immediately or they will put him to death. When the king saw 

i-B LT it he was afraid and had great wonder at it and said to them, And how now can this 

LT he, fair sons, and what is it that you say ? Why do you treat me thus, and where do you 

LT FB wish me to come? You shall come with us -willy nilly, say they, to our master the 

V Prester Johan, say they. And they told him that he should not he so rash as to send for 

help; that they would kill them and that then he would cause the death of his own people. And 

if he came with them, truly he will have no harm and will not lose his kingdom. Then the King 

of Gold made commandment to his sons and to his people that they should not come near him, 

and left them that they should govern the kingdom until he returned.^ 

• lOO- y yOW THE PRESTER JOHAN MADE THEM TAKE THE KING OF GOLD. And 

FB VB V 1 I when the King of Gold hears this name of Prester Johan, • and saw that indeed 

JL JL he must go to the Prester Johan he has so great wrath that it wants but little 

LT that he does not die of grief, and he says to them, Ah, good sons; have mercy, fair 

FB FB sons, for God's sake. Now have I not honoured you enough in my lodging and loved 

LT LT you, you know well, -as my own sons? Yet you wish to put me into the hands of Prester 

FB FB Johan and of my mortal enemies. If you do this you will surely do great evil and very 

LT VB great villainy and great disloyalty. And they said that it must be so. And he prayed 

the knights rather to kill him. But when no prayer nor the reminder of his kindness availed 

anything, he was forced to go with them; and being near the border of his land he was soon in 

R FB the land of Prester Johan. And then they take him hack again to their lord the Prester 

R Johan by force, while none of his men could help him ever. And when the Prester Johan 

VB FB VB hears of the taking of his enemy and sees him he has very great joy at it. He received him 

with terrible and threatening words reminding him of the hencfts done and how much he had 

FB been loved by him and loved and honoured above all the rest. -And he tells him that he is ill 

FB FB come. The King of Gold he does not answer a word nor know what he ought to say 

LT VB about it, for the great fear which he had of him, 'but only begged for mercy confessing his 

VB fault. Then after many threatening words, while the King of Gold expected the sentence of 

FB death, the Prester Johan commands that this King; of Gold be taken immediately and 

VA VB led outside and that they make him watch his flocks, that he might be lord in command 

FB only of sheep and other animals, -and that he should be well guarded. And then the King oi 

R Fii LT Gold dressed in common clothes was taken and set to watch his flocks. And the Prester 

Johan made them do this to him for despite of him and to insult and to show that 

VB V he was nothing. And in that office the King of Gold stayed in very great misery -watching 



^ Part at least of this passage seems to be corrupt: — . . . tanto ardito chel mandasse per sochorso 
cheli lolzjderia eche puo elli lera per inorir dalaso ^nte . . . (fol. Gzr^) 

260 



Tnr: di^scripiion oi iiii- vvc^ri.d^ kcm dor is shi" i-khi- .log- 

the jiciks in this way two Jul I years. Aiul wluii lie li.ul u'.ucl)i\i [49<i| ihc flocks of l.T 
Vrester johiin-with the shephenh loi iwo yr.iis w///; </ very great guard so that he eould not P k 
escape, \\c i> in.uir (o voiiu' IxMon- ihr I'rcstcr Jolian dressed like a shepherd, • all Jull o/" vb R 
y<'<jr rtn<y treinhliiig, thinktng that he ineanl to make hiin die. But Llncan-said with a smile, VB 
Welcome, my shepherd; (L< how is the flock f^ To whom the King oj Ciold answered with very court- 
eous words, My lord, may thy most humhle servant /t commended to thee, fo whom the Prcsler 
Johan said, See how well thou, exalted to such pride, hast been humbled. See how lightly thou 
wast exalted to the greatest pride, and that against thy lord to whom thou wast obliged for 
the greatest benefits received from him. Thou wast Jull oJ the greatest ingratitude; thou hast 
presumed to rebel against me, forgetting my power & only judging thine own which was not 
well measured by thee. See how thou, thinking thyself so exalted a lord, hast been made my 
prisoner by only seven of my servants. Judge thyself the punishment of thy fault. To whom the 
King of Cold all trembling said, My lord, though I see that my fault full of ingratitude deserves 
every punishment, yet remembering thy clemency I pray thee send me back to thy flock, not as 
head but as the lowest servant to thy flock. To whom the Prester Johan said, King of Cold, not 
remembering any ungrateful fault of thine but only the love I have borne thee and the generosity 
of my rule, I command that the shepherd dress be taken off and that thou be clothed in thy former 
royal robes. The King of Gold, hearing the order of the lord, all astonished and unable to judge 
if it was for his health or for his death in royal dress, stood all trembling what should be the 
end. And he has rich robes like a king given him and does hin\ great honour. And then va fb 
he says to him, Lord King of Cold, thou canst now see well by experience that thou va p 
wast not a man oi power to war with nie;for thy power is nothing- in comparison of me, P va 
and there is no ecjuality with me, -since I have had thee taken in thy kingdom and have set thee P 
with the flocks for two years and could kill thee if I wished; no man could snatch thee from my 
hand. -I judge, King, that if 1 were thee I should make thee feel the pain of thy rebellion so VB 
full of ingratitude with the most bitter punishment of death. And even not like thee, but like 
a just judge, I ought to give that judgement . But wishing not to remember any of thy memorable 
ingratitude but only friendship and that I have honoured and raised thee above all the rest, I 
determine to send thee back to thy kingdom with this advice, that thou resolve to be grateful 
for so many benefts received frorn me thy lord; for if thou shalt be so thou shalt know that 
thou art bid fare well, and shalt live in thy kingdom honourably as that realm deserves, and with 
no less happiness received from it shalt leave it to thy sons. But if thou shalt he so rash as 
not to recognize or understand the inequality of thy power compared with that of thy lord, I 
remind thee that I have many thousands of servants of no less courage than are the seven who 
brought thee prisoner to me. And if in future thou commit a fault thou shalt have no occasion 
to fnd in me any remission of thy fault, but only justice, nor must thou hope to esc ap: from 
my hands. Bidding thee therefore fare well as our friendship constrains me, live in thy kingdom 

261 



.I09- CARAMORAN ITS GINGER PHEASANTS & CANES ^MARCO POLO 

happily and obedient to thy lord from whom in this hour thou hast life and lordship as a gift. 

LT VB Certainly, fair Sir, answers the King of Cold, falling prostrate on the earth, I know it 

V well and I always knew that there was not a man in the world who could contest 

LT VB with you.^ And I have home myself ill about you; -thy ungrateful servant deserves not so 

LT high a gift from thy lordship. -I repent much, and promise on my faith that I will always be 

VB your friend. -The gift of life as the lowest servant of thy flock was enough for me; but since 

the clemency of thy lordship is so great that by one stroke thou hast given me life and rule at 

once, I thank thee for it with this special promise^ that thou shalt have none for servant more 

faithful than me nor more grateful for gifts received from thee, nor shall I ever cease to pray 

P the gods to preserve thy tnost clement rule. And since thou hast said this and confessest 

with thine own mouth that thou art nothing in respect of 'me, says the Prester Johan, I 

LT FB ask nothing more of thee, king.^ / will make thee no more hardship and pain; -but in 

p future I shall do thee service and honour; and for victory it shall be enough for me that 

VA LT VA / could have killed thee. Then immediately the Prester Johan has many horses and arms 

LT and -much harness given to the Knig of Gold and gives him a very fine company and 

lets him go. And he sets out and goes back to his realm, and from that hour 

p forward was his friend and his vassal, giving Prester Johan honour and obedience in all 

R that he wished as long as he lived.' And this is as much as was told me of this King of Gold. 

FB FB Now let us leave telling you of this matter which befell the King of Gold, & we shall 

FB tell you of another matter to pursue our subject. 

IIO' X TTERE HE TELLS OF THE VERY GREAT RIVER OF CARAMORAN. And when one 

R FB I I sets out from this castle of Caiciu and he goes riding about twenty 

FB JL -1- miles by sunsetting then he finds a great river which is called Caramoran 

which IS so large that it cannot be crossed by a bridge, for it is very broad and 

K R FB FB deep with very strong current, and this river goes to the great Ocean sea which surrounds 

R the world, that is all the land, -as will be said below. And on this river are many cities 

LT FB and villages where there are many merchants and artisans, and upon this river great 

FB L FB trade is done there. For in all the country about this river much ginger is produced' 

L L and they have silk in very great abundance. There is so great a multitude of birds 

R that it is a wonder incredible, and specially of pheasants. For one would have three phea- 

FB VA sants there for one Venetian groat, that is [49^] an asper of silver which is worth little 

R more. An infinite number of thick canes, some of which are of a foot, others of a foot and a 

^ FA.FB: que ie nestoie pas TA: chio non era LT: non eratn V: non son signor al mondo che te 

possa far vera Others omit. 

2 ie ne te deinant plus rois B. suggests ren for rois. TA: non ti voglio piufare noia 

^ FB: Car sus ce Jlun fait len moult de marckandises. pour ce que en la contree enuiron croist gingenhre 

But TA,LT,VA,P,V,L,R agree with T. 

262 



n II' l)i;sc:i;il'l ION Ol I l ll-. VVORI.D^ CACIONIU & QUIiNGIANIU • I lO- 

half, i>/'Ow in thf pLicca tthcut this riwr, atul the inhahihuils make use of them m many necessary 

thmi^s. Anil w luMi oiu- li.is crossed this rivn aiiJ goes rtdtng two' Jays inarchos by Fii 

siinsi-ii my; I lull owe liiuls .1 nohk- ciiy ajoresaid which is callt\l Cacioiilu. I he pcoplr 1 1'. 

cj' that city arc all uK)laicis. And again I tell you that \i)ii may know also that all those l.i tb 

ol the province ol Catai arc all uiolatcrs c\c,-pt a Jew (^Jnistians and Saracens. It is a 111 k 

town ol vciy orcat importance and oj very ^rc.ii tiaJc aiul ol i^rcai industry. They have FK 

silk in very i^rcai abundance in that country, gmger, galingale, and spikenard, and many IB / 

other kinds of spices oj which none are brought to our parts. Many cloths ol gold and of 

silk and ol all other sons are made there. ThciT is nothing else which docs to mention, IB IB li 

and iherclcMc we shall set mil Irom here and shall go lorward and shall tell you of 

a noble and famous cit\' 0/ Ouengianju, which is head oi a kingdom which is called R k 

likewise by the said name c/ Quen^ianfu. R 

HHRli 111; SPt:AKS OF THM GRHAl CUV Ol QUENGIANFU. And whcH onc III- 

leaves the city & province oi Caciontu of whicli I have told you above he v 

rides eight" days journeys still by sunsetting always finding many villages vb 

and man\- cities _/«// of merchandise & of merchants &" ol great trade ;// cloth and of v fb 

great industry, and many beautiful gardens and houses and beautiful well cultivated lt vb 

fields are found. And again 1 tell you that all the country and the land is full of /. v 

verdure, that is of a very great number of mulberries, these are the trees of which the va 

worms that make silk live on their leaves, so that the whole land abounds very greatly vb 

in silk. The people are all idolaters; and there arc Ncstorian Christian Turks; there are z 
too some Saracens. There is chase enough of beasts and hunting of manv kinds of 

birds. And when one has now ridden these ciaht days journeys as I have told you, then '/ lt fb 

one finds this great city and noble of Quengianfu, so as 1 have told you, which is very fb 

great and beautiful. And it is the head of the whole kingdom of Quengianfu which fb 

anciently was a noble [49^] kingdom by itself And rich, great, and strong; and formerly vb z 

there \vere many good kings great and valiant, and noble knights. And now the son fb v 
of the great lord who is called Mangalai is lord of it and king, for his father has 

given him that kingdom and has crowned him king of it. It is a very great town of v 

great trade and of great industry. They have silk in very great quantity. For cloths fb fb 

of gold and of silk and of all kinds arc made there. And also-large and very fine hides v fb vb 
are found there in great abundance. All equipments which are needed for the armies 

of the great Kaan are made there; and they have all things which are necessary to the v v 

body of man for life in great abundance and very cheap. The whole town is at the lt 

1 VA.LT: "three" 

^ Z,\'',R: "seven" Others "eight" 

263 



Ill- PALACE OF MANGALAI & PROVINCE OF CUNCUN ^^MARCO POLO 

LT z sunsetting, and they^are all idolaters. Some there are Nestorian Christian Turks^ and 

R FB FB Saracens. And about Jive miles outside the town is the palace of the lord who is called 

FB king Mangalai, as I have told you above; and know that the crowned king is son of the great 

FB LT Kaan; which is so beautiful and so great as I shall tell you. For it is in a great plain 

R where there are rivers which run in & around it and lakes and pools and springs enough. 

LT FB LT And first of all it has a very great thick and high wall which is five miles round, and 

R VB that wall is all with battlements round about and well made; where are many wild 

animals and also birds of the chase; for none would dare to hunt or chase them except the lord, 

who takes great delight in it, and often dwells in this palace, and specially at the time of the 

R chase; -and there are most beautiful hunting parks and places for hawking. And in the middle 

FA of this wall is the palace of the king so large and so fair that none could devise it better. 

FB FB It has many beautiful halls and great and many beautiful large rooms all pictured & 

R FB VB painted with beaten gold, with finest azures, -and with other different colours, -and with 

FB VB infinite columns & marbles. This king Mangalai yo//ow2>j§ in the footsteps of his father 

FB V FB keeps his kingdom very well in great peace and in great justice and in very great right, 

FB VB VB VB and is much loved 6^ reverenced by all his people. And he is a rich 6" noble lord & takes 

much pleasure in grandeur & a noble court, so that his court is of great magnificence . The armies 

VA of the king Mangalai stay round the palace and they have great enjoyment there with 

LT V fowling and huntmg. And then we shall leave this palace & kingdom without telling 

FB you more about it, and we shall tell you [49^] of a.nother province which is much 

FB among mountains, which is called Cuncun; and it is a very troublesome road to travel. 

•112- nr T'ERE HE SPEAKS OF THE BORDERLANDS WHICH ARE BETWEEN CATAI AND 

z V FB I I MANGi. When however one leaves this city and the palace of Mangalai of 

VB A JL. which I have told you, he goes riding, still through the province of Catai, 

toward sunsetting three days journeys of very beautiful plain, always finding towns 

z L and villages enough in which are many people, for they are_/or the most part men who live 

L z by trade enough and by industry, and they have silk in very great abundance, as 

FB VB above. And at the end of these three days, at the border of this realm are the boundaries 

R VB between Mangi^ and Catai, & then one finds a region full 0/ great mountains & beautiful 

VB and great valleys which belong to the province of Cuncun. And from these mountains 

FB begins the province of Catai. There are many cities and villages in the mountains and 

p LT z in the valleys between the mountains. They all of that province arc idolaters. There are 

VB too some Christian Turks following Nestor is, and some Saracens. And they live for the 

7. FB greater part by work on the land and occupations in the great forests and by hunting. 

* R: Christiani, & Turchi 
2 zjngui 

264 



1II1-: Di'SCRii'iioN c^i' nil; worlds cuncunacbalhc manci hz 

I'\)r yoii m.i\ kiiDW ih.u iluii- .iir iii.niy i^)rr(i/ vv(.)oJ'. iti which ilwrc arc many wiM l-B 

bcasis; those .uc hoiis .uul he. us, wolves aiul lynxes and lallow-ili-cr .inj roc-iicer va 

ami siai^s and other .vor/5 o/' Lx'asis m pKniy, so ih.u tin- pi-oplc of ihc country catcli in 

ihi-m miuh ,uul havi- nukli gicai prohi from ihcm. And in tins way one riucs (juit: i. 

lu'cnty' il.iys ]oiiriu\s, ih.n is iluc)iii;h mountains .uul through v.illeys tsf through va 

plains anvl through woods, alua\s liiuhng towns .uul \ill.igis iind many j>oo(i Joresls IB 

and many good lari^e inns where the travellers are lodged in comfort. Now wc will v ia 
leave this laiul and will tell you ol another province so as you shall be able to 
hear below. 

HIiRl: Uli TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF ACBALEC MANdl. And whcn one has -113 

ridden (he twenty [50^1] days journeys aforesaid -toward sunsctting in the P L 
mountains and vallcys-oj the province of Cuncun of which I have told you / L 
above, then one hnds a province which is called Acbalec Mangi, which is all plain. 
There are cities and viUa^^es enough. And they Ate found in going towards the sun- fb z 
setting. And the people of that province arc all idolaters. And they live by trade and i.t lt lt fb 
by crahs. Moreover I tell you that so great quantity of ginger grows in this province^ 
that it is spread through all the great province ot Catai,^ and the men of the province 
have great gain trom it and great good. They have wheat and rice and barley and va 
all other corn in great plenty and very cheap, and it is a land very fruitful ot all 
good things. The capital city is called like the province, that is Acbalec Mangi which vb 
means to say in our tongue the white city of the border of Mangi.* This plain lasts vb r 
for two days marches so bcautitul as I have told vou, and with so many towns and 
villages. And at end o( these two days marches then one finds great mountains and fb 
great valleys and great forests enough, and riding by this way goes quite twenty days fb 
journeys by sunsetting always finding towns and villages enough. The men are all fb va 
idolaters. And they live on the fruit of the land and on game and on flocks. For fb fb 
there are many wild beasts, very large lions and bears and lynxes, tallow-deer, roc-deer, vb 

^ FB: viij. FA omits. Others, "twenty" 

2 FB: cite 

' LT: Catha siue Cathay 

* acmelec mangi qe uaut a dire le une de le confin dou mangi VA: ^oe adir vna dclle confine de mangi 
L: quod sonat vna ex confnihus de mangi V: che tanto vien a dire chomo vno di chonfni de mangin 
VB: uen a dir i conjjini di man^ leune is an easy corruption of lacite; B. suggests le uile, and does 
not notice the interesting agreement of VA.L.V with F, nor the repetition of the phrase in 
the next chapter. There is considerable MS support for some difference between the name of 
the city and of the province, but L: sicque nominatur eius principalis ciuitas, & VB are probably 
right, and in this case the name of the province has been repeated in place of Acmelec. cf. PN. 

26^ 



I I 3 • SINDUFU AND THE RIVER CALLED QUIANSUI ^MARCO POLO 

VA FB VB and stags and wolves; and there are also very great quantities o( ga^lles, that is those 
Httic creatures which make musk. Now we will leave this country and will tell 
you of the [50^] others well and in order so as you will be able to hear. 

114- "TT "yERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT PROVINCE OF SINDUFU. When One has gOnC 

FB FB I I riding the twenty^ days journeys in the mountains and valleys, of which 

L JL -£.1 have told you above, and always toward sunsetting, then he finds a 

VB TA great plain and a province which is also called one of the borderlands of Mangi, 

VA which is called Sindutu, and the capital city which once was very rich & great and 

z z noble has Sindufu also for name. And in old times there have been many very great 

VB and rich kings there, of great power & valour & famous for very great deeds. And it is 

quite twenty miles in circuit. But now it is divided in such a way as I shall describe 

FB to you. It was true that the king of this province/ormfr/jy, when he came to death, he 

VA FB z leaves three sons & to each his third part of the realm. And then by his order -before his 

FB death^ this great town was divided into three parts that each of his three sons might have 

FB P his share of it. Each of these three parts 15 separate and has a wall for itself, but never- 

p z theless all and three are inside the former -general surrounding walls ot the great city. 

FB And I tell you that all and three of these sons of that king were kings each by himself 

z for each had his city and each had in his share many and great lands and wealth enough, 

FB for their father was very powerful and rich, so that each by himself was a king. And the 

VA z great Kaan takes this kingdom & this city and disinherits and destroyed these three 

kings and holds the realm for himsell. And you may know that through the middle 

of this great town goes a very great river of Iresh water, in which fish are caught 

FB FB FB in plenty. It is quite half a mile wide; and it is very deep; and it is so long that it 

goes all the way to the Ocean sea, which is there more than eighty days journeys, 

FB or up to a hundred; and it is called Quiansui.* [50^] There are very great quantities 

^ VB: vna zornata 

- P says that the division was done by the sons after their father's death. VB says that the 
city was taken & ruled by Presrer John, instead of by the great Kaan. 

^TA'.LT: "miles" V: rnia sesanta tre P: octoginta dietas TA^VB: "more than 100 
miles" Others, 80 to 100 days journeys. 

* This passage is different in Z (closely followed by R), which reads: "Through this city run 
also very many great rivers which come down from the mountains far off and circle the city 
round about and through the middle, in very many directions. These rivers are some lialf a 
mile wide, some two hundred paces, some a hundred and fifty, and more and less, & the)- arc 
very deep; and over them are built \try many very beautiful & great bridges of stone, the width 
of which is eight paces and the length according to the width of the rivers, and more and less." 
The description of the bridge in the text of F is then applied, with small additions as noted, 

to 

266 



nil-: ni:s(:Rii>iiON oi- iiih wokij)^ im; hridcjI- oi- sindufu 114. 

ol cities .uul ol \ illn^i-s mi iliis river and ihtiHii^h the nirroutiding country. I'hcrc arc so / 
largo .ships, ili.u is si> l.ir^i' a nuiliiukii', thai ilicrc is no man's body or eyes whirh 

did not see iluiii <//ii/ hear it told which could hehcve it. Ic is so great, the inulutude i ii r b 
.\\\<.\ the great .ilnmdance ol the great inercliandise which the merchants carry up 

and down h\ this ri\ei to the Joresaid cities, tliai there is not a man in the world who / 
did not see it \\\\o could believe it. h is not like a river but a .sea, it is so broad, 

err- 0/1 the blinks iire very high ijf great mountains. And 1 will tell you o( a great bridge vn 

which is inside the town of Sinduju t)ver this i^reat ii\er. Ilu- brid^^e is all of stone va 

and is ciiiite eight' paces wide and ijuitr hall a mile long, just as I h.ive told you IB 

that the river is broad. I'lom length to length oi the bridge on each side are beautiful / 
pillars of marble, which pillars hold up the root oi the bridge. For I tell you that 

the bridge is covered /;om one end to the other very well with an exceedingly beautikil fb 

root ot timber all drawn out and painted with very beautiful rod painting, whose / /. 

covering is with tiles-oj black stones. And there are also many very beautiful little houses v / 

and stores on this bridge throughout the length in which they do and practise all sorts of '/ '/ z 

trade and handicrafts enough;' but then I tell you that these houses arc planned like lt 
this, they are made ot poles which arc brought \n the morning and taken away in 

the evening and folded up. And acain there is in one house which is larger than any of the P LT 

other hous''s the custom-house oi the great lord, that is where those sit who receive va va 

the revenue oi the lord, that is the duty on the goods which pass ov^r[or]were sold vb 

on the bridge. And I tell you that the duty ot that bridge is worth, as is said, quite P 

a thousand bezants ot gold each day,^ and more. The people indeed of the city and province fa z 
of Sindufu are all idolaters. And from this city one sets out and rides five days 

journeys through plains and through /dir valleys, and one finds villages and hamlets vb 

& towns enough. The men live on the return and profit which they take [sod'j from z z 

the land. There are found -domestic & wild beasts enough, lions and bears and very z vb z 

many other beasts such as stags and the like. They live also by industrw for some very l z va 

beautiful scndal and other cloths of gold and -of silk of several kinds are made there in ta fb va 

great quantity. They belong to the same Sindufu. And when one is gone riding these fb 

to all the bridges. And after the account of the revenue derived from the bridge R, but not Z, 
adds: "And when the said rivers leave the city they join together and make a vast river which is 
called Quian, which runs a hundred days journeys to the Ocean sea; of the nature of which one 
will speak below in the hook." 

1 \'B: "nine" 

^ VA: arte de stagnio et dellegniatne 

^ So FB,VA,P. LT: qiiolibet anno bene mile hifantos R: ogni giorno piu di cento bisanti TA' 
as F. TA\L omit altogether. Z,V,VB specify no amount or period. 

267 



114- THE HORRIBLE POPPING OF CANES IN TEBET ^MARCO POLO 
five days journeys of which I have told you above, then one finds a province much 

V wasted and destroyed, which is called Tebet; and we shall treat of it tor you below. 

115- IT fERE HE SPEAKS OF THE PROVINCE OF TEBET. After the five days journeys 
vii I I of which I have spoken to you, then one enters into a great province 

FB L X- JL. which one calls Tebet which is much laid waste by the scourge of the Tartars, 

R for Mongu Kaan has destroyed it by war which he had with it. And there are many 

R I. towns and many villages and hamlets in this province, -but all dilapidated and ruined. 

L And one passes for quite twenty days journeys through uninhabited places, through which a 

vast multitude of wild beasts roam, such as lions, bears, lynxes, and other kinds; for which 

reason the passage is dangerous. Nevertheless travellers have found a remedy like this. There are 

R VA found in that region, and specially near the rivers, -very wonderfully thick and large canes; 

and I shall describe to you how they are[so]thick that they are quite three^ palms 

V L round, and they are/rom ten paces to a good fifteen paces long, or there about. They have 

quite three palms from the one knot to the next. Moreover I tell you that the 

p merchants and other wayfarers who go through such^ country, when they wish to rest 

L I by night take some of those canes with them-& put them on a cart, and make a fire 

of them, because when they are in the fire they make so great crackling and so 

FB great report that the lions and the bears and the other fierce beasts of which there are 

VB so many about this devastated province have so great fear of it that when they hear those 

L terrible reports they fly as tar as ever they can, rather than follow, and they would not 

VA try to come near the fire for anything in the world. And the men make fires like 

FB this to protect themselves and their animals from the fierce wild beasts of which there 

FB FB are so many throughout that country and throughout that [51a] land that it is a 

FA wonder. -And it is because no people dwell there that these wild beasts are so much multiplied. 

And if it were not for these canes which make so great reports in burning that the beasts fly 

and have so great fear of them, otherwise none would be able to pass that way. Moreover 

I shall tcll you, because it does well to tell, how the reports ot these canes are heard 

afar and how they cause great fear, and what comes of it. Now you may know 

R that one takes some of these canes all gx:ztn\jind^makes great bundles of them in the 

R evening, and puts them on a fire of logs at some distance from the camp, and they are 

R many. And when these canes have stayed awhile in this great fire, th.cn feeling the 

V R TA heat they are twisted^ this way and that and are split m half, popping terribly -as they 

^ TA,LT: quatuor I: est ilia grossicies unius cuhiti antequam perueniatur ad foramen in medio 
VL: chane hrcgane . . . grosse diece spane luna S: canas que di^n berganegas of pp. 165,343. 
2 FA.rB: celle 
' R: si scorzano LT says that the men split the canes. 

268 



nir. nnscRiPTiON o\ iiii worlds drshrts & wild i'>i:a.sts .115 

''plit, ,iiu| ihiii in.iki' so i^iiMl .1 ri|>i)il ih.K il is luMlJ well irij' miles off Uy iiiv^lil . 
lor it (V such a soufui .rv n like an arliJuiaUy tihulr rrport . Aiiii you may know tli.u he i 
who IS not iisivl to lu'.u. lu- hecoim-s all tornficii ai i(, so liorrihli- a tliiiiy^ ii is to 
lu-ar. AtuI you nuiy know that if anyone wen- not accmtoincd to hear tbnn, and heard them, w, 
he tnif^ht easily lose his senses and die. But those who are accustomed to hear it pay no attention 
to it, because they are accustomed to hear them. And those who are not used to it are obliged at 
first to take cotton and thorou^^hly stuJJ up and stop the ears, and then to hind up well their 
head and their Jace and cover it with all the clothes which they haw, and thus one escapes at 
the hei^iniiiin^ until he is used to it. And I tell you also of the horses. And I tell you that the 
horses which have never heard it, when ihey hear if are so violently frightened that 
they break halters & all other ropes with which they are tied & fly from it; and this vv, 
happens to many, and in this way many travellers who were less cartful have lost many P 
animals in the past. But when they wish their anitnals also to be saved, -the merchants carry ni r 
iron shackles with them with which they fetter all four feet, when they have horses of which 
they know that they had never heard this. They have them well tied up and the head fb 
and their ears and their eyes bandaged so that they cannot hear, and have all their four i.r 
feet hobbled in such a way that when it hears the great report of canes, though it 
would wish to fly, iz cannot."^ In this way they escape. But when the horses are used to it v tb 
several times, they do not make so great ado. For I tell you that at the beginning it is the most 
horrible thing in the world to hear. And in this way again, as I have told you, the way- v vb 
fnring men escape by night, both they and their animals, from the Hons and from 
the ounces and from other evil beasts; & in the same way do the shepherds stay, and their VB 
animals escape from the said ferce wild beasts which are there in great abundance. And fb 
with all this some lions come sometimes or some hears and some of the other wild beasts, which 
do them harm; for there is very great plenty of them in the land. And when one has gone 
riding through this country quite twenty days marches one finds' no inns nor food, fb 
except perhaps at every third or fourth march, in which they are supplied with victuals, but z 
he must [51^] take w/(/j him all that they need and food tor himself and for his animals fb 
all these twenty days marches, always finding very many of these very fierce and most fb 
evil wild beasts, namely lions, bears, and others, which are very dangerous and to be z 
feared. But at the end of twenty days marches he then finds villages and hamlets enough z 
and towns, set in the steep places of the mountains. And there is such a pleasing custom of z vb 
marrying women as I shall tell you, an absurd and most detestable abuse coming from P 

* TA: cinque LT: quinque R: duoi VA: piuxor 

* VL: per questo i uiandanti ligano isuo cauali e somieri in le grote di monti 

^ FA: non trouuant f-B: et ne treuuent R: non trouando But TA,LT,V agree exactly with F. 

269 



115- THE ABSURD DETESTABLE CUSTOMS OF TEBET ^MARCO POLO 

FB the blindness of idolatry. It is true that no man of that country would take a maiden 
P for wife for anything ni the world, hut every man requires in her whom he wishes to take 
to wife that she shall frst have been known by many men, and they say that they are worth 
TB z nothing if they are not used and accustomed to lie with many men. For a woman or 
girl who has not been known by any man is said among them to he displeasing to the gods, 
wherefore for this reason men avoid them and do not care for them, because if they were pleasing 
FB to their idols men would desire them and love them. And so they arc espoused and act in 
VB p such a way. For I tell you that when they perceive that some caravan of merchants -or the 
people of other strange lands pass through that country and have stretched their 
FB VA FB tents for lodging as they pass -near by the city, -by a hamlet, or a village, or by any other 
VA dwelling-(& they would not dare to lodge inside those places, because it would not please the 
VA people of those regions^, then the old women of the fit/«[fl«^]villages and of the 
VA FB hamlets who have grown-vip daughters & maidens at home, -are ready with all their daughters 
FB or their kinswomen or their friends and go and bring their daughters with these maidens- 
TA z TA to the road and to the inns and to these tents; and these are sometimes -by ten, by twenty, 
TA z VA or by thirty, and by forty in one company, and by more and by less according to the number 
FB of the foreigners so that each one has his own; and give them to the men who will take 
R them, -one vying with another in begging the merchants to take her daughter and keep her at his 
pleasure as long as they stay there, that they may do their will with them and that they 
R may lie with them. And so the young women who are most successful are chosen by the 
merchants, and the others go home sorrowful. Then the men take them and enjoy them- 
selves with them and keep them as long as they wish there, but they cannot take 
z VA FB them with them to another place -nor to another district, forward or back\A-ard; and then 
they\return^them to the old women who brought them. And in this way the travellers as they 
go by the roads find them in twenties and thirties as many as they wish. And when they lodge 
with these people in their hamlets or in their villages they have as many of them as they wish, 
for the girls come there to beg them. And then when the men have done their will with 
z z FB them and they wish to depart to go their way, it is the custom for him to give some 
R R little thing, some jewel, a ring, or some other token to that woman with whom he has 
VA lain, so that she can show proof and sign when she comes to be married that she has 
z FB been loved and has had a paramour, and they do it for no other purpose. And in such a 
FB way it is the custom for each girl to have more than twenty such jewels or tokens 
on her neck to show [51^] that many paramours and many men have lain with her, 
VA z when she wishes to adorn herself, or -if she wishes to be taken to wife; and as soon as a girl has 
R VB won any token she hangs it on her breast -or on her back- & goes home very happy with her present ; 
&■ is received by her parents with joy & honour; & happy is she who can show that she has 
had more presents from more strangers. And those who have more tokens and can show 

270 



Ti li: DI'SCRIPIION OV II Ii: WORLDS ri.OTMIiS U SALT & MUSK 115 

ihai tli<\' h.ivo UixA inoii- p.u.miouis .md lU.n more men li.ivc lain vviih ihcin, tli.it 

one IS lu'Ll honci .ukI tlioy take Iiei more willingly anJ say that she is more gracious 

with the i>0({s than the others. Nor can they give more worthy dowries to the hmhands than i \'H 

the nuuiy presents which they have received from the wayfarers; -thinking them a great ^lory to k 

pri^e,-iior would she he valued hut rather even despised who should not show at least twenty vn 

tokens that she had been with twenty wayfarers; and at the celebrations oj their weddings they 

show the tokens tf gifts -to everybody; and the husbands bold them dearer, saying that their idols h 

have made them more pleasing to men. -And if she conceives by any of the said men[the child^ i 

is broui^ht up by him who takes her to wife, and is heir in the house with the others who are 

born. And when thev have taken wives like these in this way they hokl them very / 

dear & count it lor too ^reai an evil if one should touch the wife ot the other; 

& the\- all keep themselves trom this thing much. Now I have told you of this 

marriage, which it does well to tell & to say the manner of it. And into that country fb 

the young gentlemen from sixteen \ears to 24 will do well to go to have as many fb 

of these girls at their will as they should ask for and should be begged\to take^^without any 

cost. The people are idolaters and extremely treacherous and-cruel & wicked, for they / va 

hold n lor no sin to rob and to do evil, and / believe they are the greatest scoundrels vb 

and the i^rcnrest thieves in the world. They live by chase and by hunting, and on 

the flocks, and on their Jrruits which they get from the land. And I tell you quite 

truly that in that country are many animals which make musk, and in such numbers 7, 

that that scent is perceived through the whole country. For once every moon those animals 

discharge musk. For, as is said elsewhere, a pustule full of blood like a tumour is found near 

the navel of this animal, and that blood is musk. But that pustule from being too full discharges 

some of that blood every moon. And so because there are many such animals in those parts they 

discharge in many places, so that the whole province smells of it; and they are called in their 

language* gudderi, the flesh of which is very good. And these wicked men have very vb z 

many good dogs very swift -and large which are trained to catch them in great abundance, vb fb z 

and so they have much of this musk m areat quantity. They have no silver money fb l 

nor notes ot those'' ot the great Kaan, but they make mone\' ot sAi[^and^\they spend vb 

coral for their money. They dress very poorly, tor their clothes are of leather and of P 

the skins ot animals and of horses, and of canvas and ot coarse buckram; and thev have fb p 

a language ( 511^] for themselves. And they are called Tebet.^ And this Tebet is a 



^ LT: lingua tartariea 

- monoie ne carte de cele Perhaps read ne eele de carte R: inonett, ne aiiche di quelle di carta 
FB: monnoie de chartre du seel.du grant VA: ano moneta per si But most texts seem to support 
F as it stands. 

^ saprUent tebet P: ad prouineiam thebeth pertinent Perhaps read sapellent de tebet cf. p. 188. 



271 



115- SPTCE & CHARMERS DOGS & FALCONS OF TEBET ^MARCO POLO 
FB very great province, and I will tell you about it briefly again as you will be able to 

hear . 

116- FB X"*^NCE MORE OF THE SAME PROVINCE OF TEBET. This province of Tebet is 
FB I f "^ ^'^^y large province and they have a language tor themselves as I have 
VA ^<^^ told yovi, and are idolaters, and border with the great province of Mangi 

VA TA TA and with many other very large provinces. And they are many great robbers. And 

TA z it is^ so very great a province that there are eight large kingdoms in it and a very 

VB great number of cities and villages. There are in many places both very great rivers 

VA and lakes and mountains where grains of gold are found in great quantity. Much 

z ginger & cinnamon grows there in great abundance. And in this province amber and, • 

VR V z L as I have said, coral is spent for money, and it is very precious and- those who bring it sell 

VA z it very dear there, for they put it on the necks of all their wives with great joy and 

TA ot their idols, and hold it for a great jewel .^ Again I tell you that in this province 

z is camlet enough and other cloths of gold and of silk and of fustian made. And many 

L P kinds of the best spices grow there which are not brought to us & were not ever seen in 

z TA our land. And again I tell you that in that province they have many of the most clever 

z charmers and the best astrologers according to their usage that are to be found in 

all those provinces which are about them. For they do the most rare enchantments 

VB FB in the world and the greatest marvels to hear and to see^ and all by devils art, which 

it is not good to tell in our book because the people would be too much surprised. 

z R z For they bring on tempests and lightnings -with thunderbolts -whenever they wish and compel 

VA FB them wheneverlthey wish~\to cease, and do infinite wonders. They are bad men of very evil 

V VB [52^] habits. They have the very largest hairy mastiff dogs in the world, which are 

z z as large as asses and are very good at catching all sorts of wild beasts; and they 

R z R z are • specially • clever at catching wild oxen, -which are called beyamini.-The oxen are very 

FB large and force, and are many there.- And so they have very great numbers of them, as I have 

FA FB told you. They have also several other kinds of hunting dogs. They have also mountains 

z FB where very good lanner^ and saker falcons are bred which are very swift and hawk 

FB FB very' well. Now we will leave speaking to you of this province of Tebet, of which 

we have told you well in sum the facts, and we will speak to you of another province 

z which is called Gaindu. But of this Tebet you understand that it belongs to the 

domain of the great Kaan. And all other kmgdoms and provinces and regions which 

1 VB:/o ^fl — "it was once" 

2 ioie and so FA.FB V: alegre^ VA: ^ia P: gloriam TA: gioia (ambiguous) Z: 
gaudio . . . (oie VB,LT,L,R, omit. The version follows the interpretation of Z. B. prefers 

t i • t 9 

]oy . 

3 TA: pellegrini 

272 



rm-: dincripiion o\ iiii. wokij)^ nil-: ri-AULs ov oaindu iiO 

arc wiiKtii III I Ills l>ook l>i"Ioiig also id ilu- ^vcm Kaaii, cxrcpt only tliDsc provinces 

\vl)!t"lj aif .H (lit- hci^inniiij'^ ol out l>ook whicli l>i*long to tlu- son ot Argon the lord 1 1-, 

of the iir/jr/i ///{>, ju.st as I have wriiu-n \i)u, which all hfloiigs to the ^rcat Kaan, for he ib 

holJs his ItVhl cj him, itiiil ;v his wisstil and his hinsinan and of his imperial line. And so 

oiiisido those provinces all tlu- otluTs which arc written in this book belong kj 

the ^reat Kaan. AnJ therelore ij \'oii do not find the provinces written, yet voii i b tb fb 

understand' it in such a wa\' as I have toki \c)u. Now hencetorih let us leave this 

kind and ^ve will tell \ du oi the province oi Gaindu. 

Hl'Rli 111 ri;i.i.s Oi iiii: provinch of ciaindu. Gaindu is a province and i. -Iiy 

city toward sunset tm^, and has onl\- one king.' Formerly it was ruled by Fis R 
Its own liino^-hut after it had been subjected to the rule of the great Kaan he /. 
sends his own rulers there. -And do not understand by this speaking of sunsetting that the said R 
regions are in the lands oj the Sunsetting, but because we are going out Jroin the lands which 
are between sitnrisuig and the Greek wind coming towards sunset; and therefore we describe 
them as toward sunsetting. -The people oj this province, they are all idolaters and are '/ \'b 
subject to the rule cf the areat lord. And there are cities and villages enough subject v va vb 
to it, -and the chief city likewise is called Gaindu, which is built at the beginning of the r 
province.- And rhev have a large salt lake [526] where many pearls are found, which \v> r z 
pearls are quite white but not round; indeed they are as it were in knots, because four,' five, six, 
and more seem to be held together in one. But the great Kaan is not in any way willing z 
that anv one take them out, tor it he were to have as manv of" them taken out 
at will as one would find there, thev would take out so many of them that the\' z 
would be very cheap and would be worth nothing. But yet I tell \ou that when 
the great lord wants some ot them he makes them indeed take out some ot them 
lor him only alone, as many as he wishes at his pleasure. But without the king's leave fb p 
no other could dare to take any ot them without being immediately deprived ot lite, v fb 
so that all the pearls that are taken come into the hands of the lord. And again I tcli you \'B 
that there is also a mountain in which one would tind the mine cf a kind of stone r 
which one calls turquoise, which are very beautitul stones, and they are in very fb 
great tjuantities. But the great lord docs not allow them to be taken by any except fb z 
by his command; & they too all come into the hands of the lord, & some of them are sold \'B 
to merchants as he wills. And I tell you that m this province also there is such a very new z i. 
and strange custom with their wives as I shall tell you. For they do not regard it 
at all as villainy if a foreigner or other man who comes shames him at pleasure with fb z z 
his wite or with his daughter or with his sister or with any woman whom he ma\- 

^ & porcoi uo( neles proiiences si lentendes ^ VA: a oto re 

273 



117- THE EVIL DISHONEST BEHAVIOUR IN GAINDU ;?^MARCO POLO 

FB have in his house; but they regard it as a great good when one lies with them, and 

they say that for this deed their god and their idols do better tor them and give 

V them temporal things in great abundance. This they have from their idols which give 

them an answer saying that in that year they may have plenty of all good things. And therefore 

VK they make so great liberality of their wives to the foreigners especially, because being 

FB away from home they have no women, -and to all other people as I shall tell you. For you 

may know that when a man of this country sees that a foreigner is coming to 

him to his house to lodge, or, though he may not wish to lodge there, yet to enter 

FB into his house, he is so glad and joyful to receive him into his house. And as soon as he is 

z lodged,^ the master of the house he immediately [52^] goes outside and strictly commands 

z VA his wife and others of the house that all his will may be done for the stranger & for 

FB his companions completely. And then when he has said and ordered this he goes his way 

FB abroad either to his field or to his vines and does not come back there so long as 

the stranger stays in his house. And I tell you that many times he stays there three 

FB V FB days or four, -eight and sometimes ten, and lies in bed enjoying himself with the wife of 

FB z that wretch or his daughter or his sister or whoever he shall wish. And as soon as the man 

of the house is gone the stranger who is in the house makes this sign to show that 

FB z he is inside; for he has his hat or any other token hung up at the window or -over 

z the gate of the courtyard, and it is a sign that he is inside. And the cuckold wretch, so 

FB z long as he sees that token at his house, does not dare go back at all, knowing that the 

L stranger is still there, -lest he should hinder him in his pleasures. For whichever of the women, 

as well the wife, daughters, sisters as the others, or all whom he would wish to use, rejoice, 

believing that for that so liberal beneft done to strangers their gods and idols bestow on them 

VB more abundantly flocks and fruits of the earth. -And when the stranger is gone the master 

comes back & fnds his family all joyful and happy, and rejoices with them making them tell 

all the entertainment they made for the stranger, and all with joy give thanks to the gods. 

VA VA And they do this vile custom through all this province of Caindu, and do not take this 

z thing for a shame .- And they assign such a reason for this custom, for they say that because of the 

pleasures and conveniences which they bestow on foreigners of this sort their gods rejoicing with 

them provide them abundantly with temporal goods. But the great Kaan forbad them this 

custom. But they do not cease on this account to observe it, for they all willingly do it; there 

is not any to accuse another. There are some who live in the villages and houses on the 

rugged places of the mountains near the roads who have fair wives whom they allow to passers 

by at will, and the merchants give to the women a piece of some thin stu^, perhaps about half 

an ell, or other thing of little cost. After having his pleasure then the merchant mounts the 



^ V: quelle femene li menu al so ostello . 
274 



IHIi l)i:SC:i<IPIK)N C)l I 111. WORLI)*^ SAI.l M0NI:Y and CiOLI) 117 

horse iinJ Jcjuirts, Atui thin the nuni and wviihiii ntcckin^ htm cry iiftcr him saying, O thou, 
where gocst thou^ 5/;(nv what thou takesi with thee oj curs; prove to us, C) reprobate one, what 
thou hast gained. See what thou /.ms7 left to us which thou hast Jor gotten ; and shows that piece 
which they earned with him. We have this of thine, () wretch, and thou takest with thee 
nothing. And so they deride him; and this manner they observe. AnJ I tell you that ilicy luvc 
money im this province in such a way as I shall idl you. lor you may know that there va / 
is gold in bars, and ihcy weigh 11 \n sag^i oJ gold and it is valued according as it \'a 
weighs, and this they use J'or big money, hut they ha\'e no money with any mark coined i. /. 
with a die. And the small mone\', I will tell \'Ou what it is. The\' take salt water r 
with which they make salt, and have it boiled in a pan, and then, when it has boiled for va r 
an hour, it becomes stijj like paste, and they cast it into a mould, & it is made into shapes R 
oJ the amount oJ a two dinar loaf, which are flat on the underside and are round above, and 
it is ol the si/.e that it can weigh about a halt-pound. And when they are made they R 
are put on stones baked very hot near the fire, and there they dry and are made hard. And on 
this sort of money they put the seal of the lord; nor can the money of this kind be made by 
others than the ojjiccrs of the lord.- And some money is current in half a pound, and some in V 
one pound, and some less and some more according to their si^ and to the weight weighed in 
saggi. And fourscore^ of such salts as this which I have described to you is worth 
one saggio oi fine gold, that is one weight, and this is the small money which thev fb 
spend. But the merchants go with this money to those people who live in the mountains in R 
wild and unfrequented places and obtain a saggio of gold for sixty, ffty, and forty of those 
coins of salt, according as the people are in a place more wild and removed from cities and civilised 
people; because they cannot sell their gold and other things, like musk and other things, whenever 
they wish, because they have no one to whom to sell them, and therefore they sell cheaply; for 
they fnd gold in rivers and lakes, as has been said. And these merchants go through mountains 
and places of Tebet aforesaid, where salt money is used in the same way; and they make Viist 
gain and proft, because those people use of that salt in food, and also buy things which they 
need. But in the cities they use almost nothing but the broken pieces of the said coins in food, 
and spend the whole coins. The\- have a very great number of gudderi, the animals p 
which make musk, living in that country, from which they have very great proft, and the z 
hunters catch them and take the musk from them in great quantity. The\- have 
also fish cnouc^h and good, and thev rake them from the lake of which I have told z fr 
you above u-here [52^! the pearls are found. And those people live much by hunting, z \' 
They have in that country lions and l\-nxes anci bears and fillow-deer and stags and /. z 
roe-deer and hares and other wild animals in plcntw and they have birds ot all kinds \' 

1 VB: Ixx 

275 



117- WINE & CLOVES & GOLD OF THE RIVER BRIUS j^MARCO POLO 

in great abundance. They have no wine of the vine, but they make wine of wheat 

z VB and of rice with many spices mixed together, and it is a very clear and fragrant and 

pleasant and good drink. And cloves enough grow in this province. For it is a small 

VB VB tree which makes them/ which has twigs and leaves like a laurel in manner, something 

VB longer and more narrow. The said leaves of cloves look something like leaves of a laurel tree, 

FB L which leaves we call folio. The flower it makes white and small as is seen in the clove, 

VB R and when it is ripe it is dusky black. They have ginger also growing there in abundance, 

z L L and cinnamon as well and many other good spices enough unknown to us, which never 

come into our country, and therefore need not be mentioned. Now we will leave 

you this city^ of which indeed we have told you what was necessary, and we will 

FB tell you of the same country of Gaindu henceiorw^Lrd. And when one sets out from 

z z this city 0/ Gaindu and one rides quite ten' days journeys to the borders of the province, 

FB he finds always cities and villages and hamlets enough. The people are of those same 

R VA R manners and customs as those of Gaindu of which I have told you. They have places 

z of hunting of birds and of beasts enough. And when one is gone these said ten days 

journeys then one finds a great river which is called Brius, at which the province 

of Gaindu is ended. And in this river is found great quantity of gold dust. There 

z VA z is also cinnamon enough on this river; -and this river, it goes into the Ocean sea. 

FB FB Now let us leave speaking to you of this river where there is nothing which does to 

tell, and we shall tell you of [53^] another province which is called Caragian, just 

FB FB as you shall be able to hear and understand after this. 

118 • IT TTERE HE TELLS OF THE GREAT PROVINCE OF CARAGIAN. When One has 

z I I crossed this river aforesaid then one finds and enters into the province 

z z JL -jL of Caragian which is so large and broad that there are in it actually seven* 

z FB separate kingdoms. And it is towards sunsetting, and they are idolaters and are subject 

z z to the dominion of the great Kaan. But his son who has Esentemur for name is made 

1 qe il fait Z: que ipsos producis(sic) VB,R to the same effect; but other texts omit this 
phrase. The text of VB is: Ano questi garofali i qualli nascono su picholi arhori i quali anofronde efoie 
a modo de Rubage alquanto piui longe e piui strete parono le dite foie de garofali quaxi chomo foie de 
laurano le qualle foie nui apellemo folio i qual fano el fore biancho et pichollo chome garofallo et quando 
e maduro quelo e negro foscho This is not noticed by ^'ULE or B., though R reproduces part of it. 
Folio (Jolio d' India, etc.) is a Syrian or Indian tree of which the leaves produced the ointment 
malabathrum, the tree being variousi)- called malabathrum , folium , or laurus cassia Q^ocab. delta 
Cruse a s.v.). 

2 FA.FB.LT: "province" TA: contrata Others, "city" or oir.it. 

3 Z,R: "fifteen" Others "ten" 
* VB: viij VA: zj^que 

276 



THi{ i)i:sc:kiimion oi iiii-; world'^ oi' caragian and iaci mH 

kiiii^ c)l It. who IS .1 viTv i^riMt kin^^ .iiul luli .iiul powrrliil. I Ic kccj). his domain va 

<i/i(/ I.inJ well ill i^ii'.u justico, Km hi- is u i-.r .iiul /nur/; cxpcrionccii. One goes by / 

siiiisctliMg. when hi- is p.uiril hoin iht iivii n\ which I have loLl yon above, five' 

k.\a\s journeys, liiuhin^ cities .uul \ill.iges eiu)iii;ii wliere very good horses, the best \'K 

in those parts, are bieJ. They all hve on (locks aiul on ihe prolit whicli tliey get Ironi vb 

the land. IIicn' lia\'e .i langii.iv;e lor themselves aiul n is very hard lo understand. 

At ci\A o( these live da\ s jiniriie\s [Imu one hiuls the capital city and that which is 

head ol the kingdom 0/ Iaci,' which is called laci, which is very great and noble, v 

There are in it merchants and aiti/.ins enough. The people arc oi several sorts, for / fb 

there are very many people who worship Mahomet, and idolaters, and few Christians, / 

Turks, who are Ncsrorians, but the ehiej are worshippers oj idols. There is land fertile /. / / 

in wheat and rice enough, but it is a very unhealthy distriet. Therefore they eat no ta 

wheat bread because it is unwholesome in that province as they say. But they eat L 

rice, and make a drink of- rice with spices which is very good and clear and white vr 

and delicious to drink and, when taken, too quickly makes a man become drunken just as z 

our wine does. They have monc\- in such a way [53^] as I shall tell you, for they ta 

spend white cowries /or money, those which arc found in the sea and which arc z 

also worn on the neck for ornament and put on the necks of dogs, & oJ which they make \'b ta 

vessels; and the eighty cowries are worth one saagio of silver which are oJ the value z 

oJ two of our gold Venetian groats of Venese, which is twenty-four pounds. And you may v fb 

know that the eight^ ^aggi of fine silver arc worth one saggio ot fine gold. They 

have many salt wells also from which they make much salt in this city, and all those ta z ta va 

of the country live by this salt; and I tell you that the king has great revenue and z 

profit from it, from this salt. Moreover 1 tell you that they of this kingdom -have this z vb 

custom among them, they care nothing if the one touch the wife of the other, u-hen it 

is the wish of" the \\'oman,* nor is it reckoned a disgrace. -Otherwise it would be reckoned a L \'B 

great injury. Now we have told you of this kingdom, and we will tell you of the 

kingdom oi Caragian. But first I will tell vou a thing which I had forgotten. I tell 

you that in this region they have a lake which is quite a hundred miles round, in va 

which is found a very great quantity of fish of the best in the world. They are \'B 

very large and of all very fnc kinds. And again I tell you that the people of this country, fb fb fb 

they eat the raw flesh of fouls and oi sheep and of oxen and of buffalo and all other fb 

1 TA: sei 

^ V: vna ^itade maistra laqualle e chauo del reaine del ia^ 

' The MSS. have some small variations here. For 80 TA',V have 8, VB 30; for 8 VB 
has iiij. 
* V: del marido 

277 



• 1 i8. RAW FLESH & GOLD 6c COWRIES IN CARAGIAN ;^MARCO POLO 

\B 7 jlcsh'in this vjay, for the poor men go to the butchery & take and buy the raw Uver 

FB as soon as it is drawn our ot the animal and chops it small. And then he puts it in 

\B FB salt and in garlic sauce made with hot water & spices and eats it immediately. And so 

FB \' they do with all the other raw flesh. And //; this way all the gentlemen also eat raw 

y flesh, but thev have it minced small in this way aforesaid; then they put it in the 

IB garlic sauce mixed with good spice, and then they eat it as well as we do the cooked. 

\' FB Then let us leave this for the present and we shall tell you again of the province [53c] of 

Caragian of which I spoke to you above. 

IIC)- "l" T'E TELLS AGAIN OF THE PROVINCE OF CARAGIAN. When OIIC SetS OUt from 

FB FB I I the city oi laci* of which L have told you above and goes riding ten' days 

FB FB JL -1> journeys by sunsctting, then one finds 5t/7/ the 5fli^ province ol' Caragian, 

FB VB VB VB and the ot/;fr'no^/^ capital city of the kingdom w^/f/j is called Caragian as the province 

VB V is named .^ Thev are all idolaters and are subject to the rule of the great Kaan. And 

FB FB Cogacm who is another son to the great Kaan is king of it. Gold-dust is found in 

FB FB great profusion in this province, that is one fnds it in the large rivers and again it is 

VB z found there ni lakes; and also in the mountains gold from veins larger than dust. 

They have so much gold that I tell you that they give one saggio of gold for six 

of silver. And in this province also they spend the cowries of which I have told 

IB you above for money. And again I tell you that these cowries are not found in 

\B 7. that province, but they come there carried by merchants from Indie. And the very 

great adders are bred in this province, and those great serpents which are so much 

FB beyond measure that all men who see them have great fear of them and must wonder at 

z them, only to hear of their likeness, not to say see; and they are very hideous things to 

see and to examine. And I will tell you how large and thick they are. For you may 

TA FB know for truth that there are some of ten large paces long and some more and some 

FA FA less, which are quite as thick as a large butt, for they measure ten palms* round; and 

z FB z these of this si^ are the largest. And they have two short legs in front near the head, 

z z which have no feet except that they have three claws, namely two small and one larger 

L claw made sharp like a falcon's or a lion's. It has the head very large and the eyes" 



^ cite chiaci Read probably, with B., cite de iaci So most MSS, but note L: ciuitate deghiaci 
L T: ciuitate Chiaci ^ Z: xij 

^ In the chapter before we have had the province of Caragian with seven kingdoms, and 
the kingdom of Iaci, and the kingdom of Caragian. F seems to be too much curtailed here. 
FB: si treuue len encore de ceste dite prouince de caraian et treuue len aussi vne autre maistre cite de ccste 
maistre prouince qui a a nom caraian, 

* FA: .vi.paumes 

° TA': cielso . . . vise TA'': cic_ffo . . . nas.^ LT: posticus siue secessus . . . nasus 

278 



'nil-: i)i:s(i^iiM ION oi' mi-, wokld^j? an'd iMMiiNsi- shki^hnts i 19 

MiJi ill. 11 ilu\' .111- l.MvHi til. HI .1 Lir^c Id.iI of ours- worth Jour dinars, all shining; the IM fa c 

nioiitli so I.ih'i- ill. 11 It wiMilJ \\(II sw.illow ls?</] 'I man|or]<iM ox .it our nine. It / 

ii;i.s very l.ngi' (";./ s/'.///' ic-i-ih. And it is so very exceedingly hideous and great and v. PR rii 

lierce ili.ii tin re is iu> in. in nor woman nor beast in the world tli.u docs not fear to vv. \.\ v 

go near iliem. .uul ili.u li.is not drc.ul ol tluin. And again there arc smaller ones 

than these, th.it is ol eight paces long and ol si\ and oi live* The way that rhcy arc z 7 

c.uight /'v the hunters is this. You may know that ihey stay imder ground in caves v /. 

h\ i\\\\ because oi the ore.ii he.u . .uul at nii^hi ii comes out to leed and cat, and 

they sei/.e .ill ihe .inim.iLs {whether lions or wolves or others whatever they may be^ which k 

they can o\ertake^ (Lcr- eiit them all. -And when they have eaten it goes crawling into the n v. /. 

rivers and intc^ lakes and to springs to drink. It is so large and so heavy and so 

stout that when it i;oes crawling- in this way throut^h the sand to the rivers cither to /. R z 

cat or to drink, and this is by ni^ht, it makes on its way -owing to the exceeding amount jb z 

of its weight so y;reat a iurrow in the sand that it seems as if there is rolled a full 

butt oi wine.^ And the hunters who go specially to catch them, observing this, -catch i. fb 

them in such a manner. For they put a trap in the road by which they see that the 

adders arc usually gone towards the water, -because they know that they must pass there again. R z ib 

For they fix a very thick and strong wooden stake so deeply in the ground, that is z 

in the road of those adders, on some sloping hank by which the path descends, that as it z 

were none oj the stake is seen; in which stake is fixed a sword-iron made like a razor 

or like a lance-iron, and it projects about a palm above the stake, very sharp and /. 

cutting and always sloping slightly towards the approach of the serpents. And he covers it 

all with earth or sand so that the adder does nor sec it at all. And the hunters put l l 

very many of such stakes and of such irons there in many places, according to the many l z 

roads of many serpents. And when the adder, or rather the serpent, at the hour when it z 

hastens to the rivers for drink, comes down the micidle of that road where those irons 

are, flying along because of the slope of the bank, then it strikes on them with so great z 

force that the [54^] iron enters it bv the breast and rends it as far as the navel, so 

that the adder dies immediately. And when they see them dead the crows begin to clamour. • R 

And then one knows by the noise of the birds that the serpent is dead, and then he goes there -to z r 

find it; -otherwise he dares not go near there. -And when the hunters see the blood they follow z \'B 

that trace and fnd it dead. And in this way the hunters take it. And when they have 

taken it, skinning it immediately they draw out the gall from the bellv and sell it very z 

^ de via. piis & de V. & de v. Z.L,LT,R: 8.6.5 ^^- <.'"^"^ only 

- atendre with a written over between t and ^ in a later hand, and the e left uncancelled. 
So read ataendre FA: ataindre 

' Z: quasi una magna trahs iliac for et dedueta 

279 



119- HORSES & ARMOUR AND POISON IN CARAGIAN ^MARCO POLO 

VB dear. For you may know that it is much priced because great medicine is made of 

R V V it, and amongst the rest- it has three important virtues. For the first is, it a man is bitten 

FB FB by a mad dog^ and one gives him a little, as much as ■would he the weight of a small 

R V dinar, to drink in wine he is healed immediately. And again the second virtue, when a 

lady cannot give birth and has pain and cries aloud, then they give her a little of 

z z that serpents gall in drink and then the lady is set free from the pains and gives birth 

V immediately as soon as she has drunk it. The third virtue is that when one has any 

FB R eruption like a boil or other worse thing- which grows on the body, then one puts a little 

VB ol this gall on it, and then it is healed in a few days. And it is used in many of their 

R medicines -for many other things. And lor this reason which I have told you this gall 

ol this great serpent is held very dear in that province. And again I tell you that 

they sell the flesh of this serpent very dear because it is very good to eat and they 

FB FB eat It very gladly. Moreover I tell you that this serpent goes sometimes when it is 

V FB hungry to the places where the wolves and the lions and the bears and the other great 

FB fierce wild beasts bring forth their cubs and, wherever the cubs are found, it eats the 

FB large and the small, while their fathers and their mothers cannot defend them; and if it can 

FB catch them it eats the large also, for they make no provision to defend themselves from them. 

FB And again I tell you that great horses and good are bred in this province and they 

R carry them when they are young into Indie to sell. Moreover you may know that they 

R take out from all one joint, two joints, or three from the bone of the tail, so that 

the horse may not be able [54^] to swish the tail to strike him who is on it, or 

L R R move the tail -this way and that when it runs, but it remains hanging down. For it seems 

10 them too ugly a thing when the horse runs and swishes its tail. And again you 

z z may know that these people ride keeping the stirrups long like Frenchmen among us. 

And it is called long for this reason, because the Tartars and almost all other people carry 

them short for the sake of shooting, because when they shoot they raise themselves up straight 

FB on the horses. And they have armour covered with boiled buffalo hide, and they have 

VA lances & arrows and shields, and they have cross-bows, and they poison all the 

FB R z cross-bow quarrels. And it was told me for a sure thing- that all, as well women as men, and 

R z specially those who purpose to do evil, -always -carry poison with them so that, if by chance 

anyone is caught after something has been committed for which he ought to be put to torture, 

before he will bear the pains of the lash he puts poison into his mouth and swallows it, that 

he may die through it as soon as possible. But because the government is aware of this, dog's 

dung is always kept ready so that if anyone after being taken were to swallow poison for the 

said reason, one may immediately make him swallow the said dung in order that he may vomit 



1 de chien arahien 
280 



Till-: DhSCIUI' HON Ol rili:WORLl)^ MLJRI>I:R& CiOLI)i:NTKI:TH f i<) 

thf poison; so thai the i>ovf nunc lit has Jound Jor this -wickedness oj these scoundrels -a remedy n / 
cj' this ktnd, iind it is ,i thini> very often tried. Moreover I tell you another very -shameful lu / 
and wicked tliiiu'^ whicli ilu'\ Jui l>i-loic ilie great K.i.iii eonciuereil rliem. loi' this VlJ 
people had this eiistoin and opiiitoii, that il ii wcic lo li.ip|H-n ili.ii some stranger, a liaiulsoriic vii 
man an».l a oonlle ov \\lic)e\ei' else it niii^hi l>e who haJ a ^ood shadow and ^d \'H 
injtueiue-aiid valour, eanie to loj^^e ni (he house ol one ol these of this province, / 
they killed hini by niolu either b\ poison or lt\' oihn ihing so that he died. And 
do nor understand iliat ihe\ did it to take inone\' Iroin hini, nor Jor any haired which \A 
they had against hiiii, Inii ihe\ did it that the soul of that noble stranger might not leave the vb 
house, because ihe\ said that the good shadow and the good grace that lie had and 
the good J'ortune oj his knowledge and his soul stayed in his house where he died, -and /. ib i. 
from this they had good luck, - and that hy the staying oJ that soul in the house he kept all their things vb 
safe and sound with great happiness. And thcrejore each one oj those citizens could count himself 
blest when they could get the soul oJ some person; and the more noble and of better appearance, 
so much the more blest they reckoned themselves and so much the more happy in all their doings. 
And tor this reason they killed enough oi them before the great Kaan conquered 
them. Bur atter Cublai the great Kaan conquers them, which is about thirty-five years, p 
he took away that cursed custom from them, so that by reason oJ the great punishment which R 
has been inflicted they do nor make this evil happening nor this bad custom; and that is fb 
for fear oi the great lord w ho does not let them do it at all, [but]wholly extirpated P 
this impious folly from that land. Nov\' we have told you of" this province and we will 
tell vou below of another countrv so as vou shall be able to hear. fb 

HERE HE TELLS US. OF THE GREAT PROVINCE OF ^ARDANDAN. When One FB -IZO' 

sets out from the province of Caragian he goes riding bv sunsetting [54^^ / fb 
hve days journeys. Then one finds a province which is called (^ardandan, 
where they are idolaters and are subject to the great Kaan. The capital cit\- of this 

province is called Uncian. The people of that province all have teeth of gold, that is \'a 

that each tooth is covered with a thin plate of gold. For thev make a shape of gold R 

very cunningly made in the likeness of all their teeth, and cover the lower teeth as R ta 

well as those above, so that all their teeth seem to he of gold, -and it stays there always, ta r 
And the men do this and not the ladies.^ And the men arc all knights after their 

usage, and do nothing //) the world except to go to war and to go hunting and \'a 

hawking. The ladies stay at home and do everything which is necessary for the household^ l \a 

^ &■ ce font les homes & ties les dames Most texts seem to agree in making nes the same as ne or 
lion, so for example FA,FB,TA,VA,LT,L,V,VL; but P: viri et mulieres VB: 51 niascholi come 
fctncne R; gli buomini, & le domic Z omits the sentence. R inserts at this pomt a shortened 
form of the account of tattooing which F,Z, etc. give under Caugigu (p. 296 below). 

281 



I 2 0- A STRANGE CUSTOM AND GOLD IN gARDANDAN j^MARCO POLO 

R R FR and the other men^ whom they have bought & also taken in war and conquered /rom 

\'A other lands, whom they keep for slaves. And these do all their duties which the lorJs 

v command with their wives. And in this province the custom is that when the ladies have 

FA been confined and have given birth to a child, they wash him and wrap him up in 

\'B clothes, and the lord of the lady gets into the bed and keeps the infant that is horn 

VB with him and lies in the bed forty days'^ without getting u-pfrom the bed except for 

VR important necessary duties. And all the friends and relations come to see him and 

stay with him and make him great joy and entertainment. And they do this because 

they say that his wife has borne great fatigue in carrying the infant in her womb 

VA FB nine months & in giving birth to him, -so the husband must also have his share of suffering; 

TA and therefore they say that they wish her to rest and do not wish her to bear more 

LT of it in that term of forty days, except that she is obliged to give suck to the child. And 

VA his wife, as soon as she has given birth to her child, she gets up from the bed as 

R soon as she can and does all the dut\- of the house and waits on her lord, taking him 

VB z food and drink, -the time he is in the bed, as if he himself had borne the child. They eat of 

R FB all flesh both cooked and raw, as is said above.- And thev eat rice cooked with flesh^ 

VA & with milk and with other things according to their usage. They drink [54^] wine 

z which they make of rice and with admixture of many good spices, which is very good 

VB R and delicious to drink. Their money is gold which they spend by weight, and cowries are 

VB also spent there /or their small money. Moreover I tell you for truth that they give 

R one ounce of gold for fve ounces of silver and a saggio of gold for five of silver. And this 

R happens because they have much gold, but no silver mine nearer than five months of 

days journeys. And therefore* the merchants come there with much silver and 

^ & as autres honnies Read perhaps & les autres homwes (B.) Z: et alii homines Or perhaps 
translate "and with the other men" TA: chogli ischiavi L: vna cwn eortini semis FB: et 
leur^esclaues V: et i omcni liqualli i piano non i retien per stio semi mafano li sua hexogni chon le 
suo moier 

^ Z: circa xx dies uel plures Others, "forty" 

^ FB: Ris aiicc char cuite 

* argent ier propcs. a v. niois de iornee & por ce FA, FB,TA,VO),L support this strange reading, 
but LT: ad quincjue giornatas VA: apresso a molte zornade P,Z,VB,R omit the sentence. It 
seems to be possible that the text has become confused, and that the original ended a sentence 
with propes., and then said that the merchants came as far as a five months journey to buy 
this gold. In the text of V (et questo adeuien per che i nonna arzenti et vieno z^nque mcxi de zornade 
i marchadanti vanoli chon molto arzento'j arzenti et vieno looks like a corruption of arzentiera 
vicina. V would then be an exact version of F, \\-itli the important exception that it has 
nothing in place of & por ce after zprnade. 



282 



n Ii: I^IiSCRIPTION OV ll IP: WOKLD'^ mountains & MACilClANS .120- 

cluni;c it vviih iliosc iHDplf i*i^ give livi''^i/»<' silver sag^i of ii, and much las, lor one i» vh 

ol I'ltw gokl. Anvl lri>m this tin- imrcli.mis m.ike great pri)lit anei derive great gain IB IB 

fnvn this provinct' by this cxchiUnif.- But let us irttirn to the treatment of the proMiiuc i IB / 

(^Airiituuliui. )'oii may know then that ilu-se people have no idol nor church, hut they 

worship ilu- heaJ ol the house aiul s.i\ , Ol this one we are sprung. 1 hey have no 

letters nor do writing; and it is i\o wonder, lor they are born in very out ot the way 

will! -ami woodland places and in <^rcM iorests and m great mountains to which it is if. / / 

iinpossihle for men j'rom other places to go in summer lor anything in the world, i' 

because the air is so corrupt and bad, and especially in summer, that no foreigner \'B 

would escape Irom death there. For which reason they can have no dealing with the world, v 

But 1 tell vou that when the\- have to do the one with the other and wish to make k 

their honds or deeds oj it, which they must give and receive, they rake a small piece of wood 

either square or round and split it in the middle, and keep, the one the one half 

and the other with whom he has to do the other half, as we here do in our way on a tally, v vb 

Bur vet it is true that they first make two notches on it or three or Jour or as many v 

as the\' wish marking on it the amount of their dealing together. And when the time is R R 

come and thev come to pav one another the tallies being put together agree in the little P 

marks.- And when they have paid then he who muse give the money or other thing \' ta 

causes the half of the stick which that one had to be given back to him, and so they v r 

remain content and satisfied. Moreover I tell you that all these three provinces of which fb 

I have [55^] told vou have no ph\'sician, these are Caragian and Uncian and laci." 

But when they are ill they make their physicians, that is magicians come to them, v 

these are the devil-charmers and those who keep the idols^ (^and with these the province vb 

is well supplied^, -and ask them to foresee concerning the sick. And when these magi are l 

come they ask about the manner of the sickness; then the sick persons tell them the ills L 

which they have, and the magi, very many of them being gathered together, begin im- L 

mediateh' to sound their instruments of music and to sing and to dance and leap in fb l fb R 

honour and praise of their idols; and they continue this dancing, singing, and playing- all VB 

together for a long time until some one of these magicians fall all on his back on the 

ground or on the pavement or on the bed and with great foam at the mouth and seems v lt 

dead, and then they dance no more. And they say that it is that the devil is entered there R \'B fb 

inside his body, and he stays thus a great while, in such manner that he seems dead, lt ta 

And when the other magicians his companions, of whom manv were there, see that fb 

1 VB: sie 

- R: Ne in questa prouincia, ne in Caindu, Vociam, & laci, si trouano medici. ma come si ammala 
qiialche grande Imoino, le sue genti di casa, fanno . . . 
' P: qui ydola colunt So R. 

283 



I2 0- INCANTATIONS FOR THE SICK IN gARDANDAN ^MARCO POLO 

one ot them is fallen in such way as you have heard, then they begin to speak to 

TA him and they ask him \\'hat sickness this sick man has and why he has it. And that one 

L remaining in ecstasy answers, Such a spirit has smitten him because he did him some 

VB L VB great evil and displeasure, and he names some one. And the other magicians say to him, 

p L We pra\' thee that thou pardon him the fault and that thou accept and take from him 

FB lor recompense oi his blood those things^ which thou wishest to have, all at thy will. 

VB VB And when these magicians have said these and many other like words and have prayed 

VB much the spirit who is in the body of the magician who is fallen down, then that 

P spirit answers. And it it seems to the demon by the signs of the sickness that the sick man must 

V die in that sickness of his, he answers like this and says, This sick man has done so 

P much wrong to such a spirit and is so bad [55^] a man that the spirit will not be 

L pacijied by any sacriJice\j)rjpardon him tor anything in the world. Within so many 

P days he will die. This answer have those who must die. And it he shows^ that the sick 

VA man must be healed of that disease, then the spirit which is in the body ot the 

VA L magician^ answers these magicians and says, He has o^cnded much, but yet it shall be 

forgiven him. For it the sick man wishes to be healed let them take two sheep or 

FB VA three, and let them also make ten drinks or twelve or more, ver\' dear and good to 

FB FB drink- and with good spices. And they say again that the sheep may have black heads, 

L L or they describe them marked in another way just as they please to say. And he says 

FB that he make sacrifice of them to such an idol and to such a spirit — and he will 

VB name him, and that so many magicians and so many ladies, pythonesses, that is of 

FB those who have the spirits and who have the idols, may gather^ with them, and that 

FB FB they all must make great praises with great singing and with great lights and with good 

R odours and great feasting to such an idol and to such a spirit; and that in this way the 



^ qe tu en prenne por restorament de son sane celes couses FB: pour ton Restorement de son sang, ou de 
ses autres choses i.e., "that thou rake from him in reparation some of his blood or of his other 
things." P: orant ut deus ille cidpam eorwn remittat, promittens ei quod ipse ei de sanguine propria 
sacrijicium offeret & so VA LT: uolumus ut sihi parcas et da de tuo sanguine et sta in pace quamdiu 
restauraberis de illo This, though obscure, ratlier suggests that it should read restorament de sa 
sanle. B., remarking that the old versions have misunderstood it, explains "the restoration 
of his blood" as meaning "the restoration of his health" or "in exchange for his blood"; and 
translates 5fl/Mf^. All the texts have "blood" except Z, which omits the whole passage, and 
L: et in restaur at ionein o^ensse accipiat ct percipiat quicquid placet; nor is human blood in any way 
mentioned in the sequel. 

2 indicat R: giudica evidently reading iudicat V A: chrede 

^ V: chapo del amalado 

* enstuenl Very slight alteration would turn this into en soient or, less prol>ably, into sen uient 
FB: et que encore aient taut L: adsint VB; se aduneno B. reads estucnt and explains radunino 

284 



riii- niiscKiniON ov im: woiuj:)^ sackiiich and ii;asiing .120- 

i>0({ will he appeased toward the sick ;//.//!.' • ,l/i./ //;ms the spirit amwers them when the siek IH 
man iii\tst he healed. AikI wlirn tlu-sc hive li.ul iliis .iiisu'cr, ilu- litciul-. of the sick 

man iiisi.intly perform all that the demon eommanded and Jd so as ilic magicians (rll i' 

tliom to do, [or iUcv lake tin- sliocp si> Jcscrilnvi and of the colour as lie toLl thrm, t v. i u 

aiiJ ili{-\' make ready lUc Jiiiik oj spices such aiul so gooJ and so much as is appomu-J ik va 

lo ihcMH. ,1/;,/ that charmer who has said this will stand up. VUcy take and kill tin- sheep ic. iii 

dC sprinkle ihe l'»lo«.)>.l toward heaven m those places where they .ire loLl, lor honour 6C P 

tor sacrilice ol such a spirit as they pleased to name. And then they have the sheep cooked L 

in the house ol the sick man. anJ, if the sick man is to live, so many ol these magicians v 

and so man\' ol those magician laJies as was said to them by the man possessed come L va 

there." And when ihey are all come there and assembled and the sheep and the drmks f-b 

are all made read\', then thev begm lo play and to dance an>.l to smg their praise FB 

to the honour of the spirit or i>od. TUcv take and sprinkle into the air some of the broth i' h i I', p 

ot" the rtesh and oi that hevera^i^e and of the Jlesh also, going here and there -about the house, iv. i.\ 

and rhe\' have incense too and tnakc smoke of lign aloes and '^o censmg [55^] here and F' 

there and make a areat lioht throuoh all the house. And when thc\' have done like this ta 

C^ C o , 

awhile, then one ol them falls down again, and stays as if dead, and has foam at the FB 

mouth, -in the way I have said above, and the others ask hnn again if the idol is satisfied v P 

with this, {{ it is now forgiven the sick man. and il he is sure to be healed. He l 

answers that time and says sometimes Yes, and sometimes he answers that k is not yet FB 

fully forgiven him, and that they do such a thing also and such, as he shall choose to i. fb 
say, and then ir will be forgiven him. And those do it immediately. And the spirit 

answers, after the sacrifice and all the things commanded are done, that the spirit, or fb l 
such an idol, is satisfied, and that he is pardoned and that he will soon be healed. And 
when the\- have had this answer and have sprinkled both broth and drink and have 

made a great light and a great censing, believing that in this way they have given the L 

spirit his share, they say that the spirit is quite on their side at^d is quite appeased;- fb 

and they all joyfully send the sick man home, & he is made whole. And that flesh of the sacrifice VB 

is left for those magicians. And then the said magicians and the ladies, who still have R 

that spirit, who have not ceased to chant, sit down to table and eat the sheep and drink ii 

the beverages which were offered to the idol in sacrifice with great enjoyment and wizh P 

great feasting; & he who is fallen to the ground as if swooning rises and eats with them.- fb 

And they say that the spirit has consumed all the essence of that flesh. -When the work is finished VB R 

and they have -eaten and drunk- and received their pay, then they rise and each goes back fb r fb 

* Frampton (S missing^ adds: whiche is allfraude and guile of the inchanters for to gette victuals, 
by this nieanes all are damned unto Hell. VL: E questa e tuta opera de mcantatori per auer man^arie 
2 hiuient V: vieno B. corrects to hi uient 

285 



12 0- NESCRADINS CONQUEST OF MIEN & BANGALA ;=^MARCO POLO 

V FB to his house. And after all this is done the sick dies, or is healed and gets up quite well 

L immediately. These answers, even though they sometimes Jail, are nevertheless very ojten 

R true, they say. 'And if by God's providence the sick man is healed, they say that that idol to 

which the sacrifice was made has healed him. But if he dies, they say that the sacrifice has been 

cheated, that is that those who prepared the food tasted it before his part had been given to the 

idol. And these ceremonies are not done for every sick man, but once or twice a month for some 

great rich man. And this thing is practised also in all the province of Catai and of Mangi 

and by almost all the idolaters, because they have not many physicians. And in this way the 

demons mock the blindness of those unhappy people. Now I have told you the manner and 

FB FB the bad customs of these bad people and how these magicians know how to charm 

V FB FB the spirits of this people. Now we will leave telling you of these people and this 

FB province and we will tell you of the others as you will be able to hear and understand 

after this all clearly in order one after the other. 

121 • "¥' TOW THE GREAT KAAN CONQUERS THE KINGDOM OF MIEN AND OF BANGALA. 

FB I I Now you may know that we had forgotten to tell you of a very fine battle 

R VA FB X- JL which was in the aforesaid kingdom of Caragian and of Uncian which is in 

V the province of (^ardandan, which does well to mention in [55^] this our book. And so 

R before we go farther we will tell you quite clearly how it happened and in what way. 

It was true that in the 1272 year of the incarnation of Christ the great Kaan sends 

LT a great prince of his who was called Nescradin, with a great army into the kingdom of 

Uncian and of Caragian by which they might be guarded and saved, that other 

R FB R V stra77ge-evil people who anight wish to attack them, should do them no harm, because they 

are the borderlands of the great Kaan. For the great Kaan had not yet sent any of his 

FB VB sons there /or lord as he did afterwards; for he made Esentemur his grandson, who 

was son to his son who had died, king of it. Now it happened that the king^ of 

R Mien and of Bangala in Indie who was a very powerful king both in lands and in 

treasure and in people; and this king was not^ subject to the great Kaan,' but then 

not much time passes before the great Kaan conquers him and took from him 

both the kingdoms which I have named to you above; and this king of Mien and 

VA of Bangala, which borders on Caragian, when he knows that the army of the great 

VB P Kaan was at Uncian, was displeased at it and -terrifed, fearing that perhaps they were come 

R to invade his lands. He said to himself that it is necessary that he go there to fgkt 



^ P,LT have "kings", and the verbs plural, throughout. TA.Z.L omit the stoiy. 
2 e cestui roi cun cestui rois ne estoit FA,FB omit cim cestui rois, which nevertheless may just 
possibly mean "with this king[of Bangalaj". 
•'' FA,HB reproduce this ungrammatical sentence exactly. 



286 



Till' DliSCKIPTION OV I'HI' WORLH^^ PRr^PARING lOR BA ITLE -i^i 

ag.iinsi llicm to dcjcnd hiiiiu-lj wiih so great a pcopir dial Ik* sliall piii ilu'in all lo i.j 

cleat I> tn siuli a \\a\' ili.ii (he great Kaaii sliall never dare to liave a wisli to send another h 

army ii^ainst him there to his honlcrs. And then this king makes very great prcj>aration jb k 

0/ tirini\i men •and of elephants (for he always kept them without nitniher tn bis realms)- as vu \' vu 

quiekly as he eoiilJ, aiul I will tell you what. Now you may know t]uice truly that he 

had two ihousand' very lar>;o elephants well armed and prepared for war, and made Lr 

men make on each ol the>e elephants [56(1] a castle ot wood very stron^r & very 

well made and planned lor combat; and on each castle he had at least twelve men 

\vr// armed- to shoot arrows and to light, and m some there were fifteen or sixteen and fb k i.i 

in some more, who were able conveniently to fi^ht . And he had also gathered together h h 

beside these quire sixty thousand armed men on the ground, between those on horses — vb va 

and some were there on loot.'^ He makes indeed the preparation so jine that it well FB 

seemed that oi a powertul king and ol: a great, as he was. For you may know that it 

was indeed an army to make a great effort in battle. And what shall I tell you about 1 li 

it? This king, when he had made so great preparation as I have told you to fight fb 

with the Tartars, he makes no delay but all immediately sets himself on the road 

with all his people to go with the greatest speed against the arm\' ot the great Kaan vb 

which was then at the city 0/ Uncian which is in the kingdom of Cardandan, as L have told fb fb i-b 

you another time before this. Thev go without finding adventure which does to mention 

until they were come near by three days marches to the hosts of the Tartars, and there 

he pitched his camp to sz^y for some days and to rest himself and his people and his host, r fb fb 

HHRE HE TELLS of THE BATTLE WHICH WAS BETWEEN THE ARMY OF THE -122 

GREAT KAAN AND THE KING OF MIEN, And whcn in a fcw days the lord V 
ot the hosts of Tartars to whom the great Kaan had given the command of the vb 
army, knows certainly that this kina of Mien and Bangala was coming upon him r 
with so great a people he has tear indeed, because he had with him only twelve va 
thousand horsemen, but all proved men and expert in the art of war. But without mistake vb 
he was a very valiant man in his body and wise and practised in wars and in battles fb 
and a very good captain of troops, and he had Nescradin tor name. He showed no fear, fb fb r 
hut arranges and arms and exhorts his men very well. He exerts himselt to the utmost \' 
of his power to defend the country and his people and himself ; for he had very good fb 
men at arms with him -and valiant fghters ;- and went with his people to the pass. And \\hy P v 
should I make you [566] a long story of /'f? You may know quite truly that the fb 
Tartars all and twelve thousand horsemen together well mounted came off into the fb 
plain ot Uncian and waited there tor the enemy to come to the battle. And they 

^ R (below\ "about 1000" 

^ VB: xV" homenj armatj a ckauallo et moltj pedonj V omits the number. 

^87 



12 2- THE KING MOVES HIS ELEPHANTS TO BATTLE ^UAKCO POLO 

FB do this by great wisdom and by good leadership that they had. For you may know 

VA R that beside that plain where he set himself was a very great wood, strong and full of 

R VA very high trees. Aud he posted them beside that wood that he might he able to lead on his 

R enemies, because he knew that the elephants could not enter that wood with the castles; -intending 

that, if the elephants were to come with such fury that they could not resist them, they should 

VB R VB retire into the wood and shoot arrows at them in safety.- And calling- to him -all his horsemen 

he exhorted them with most eloquent words that they would not be of less might than they had 

been in the past, and that strength did not consist in numbers but in the valour of brave and 

R VB tried horsemen; and that the people of the king of Mien -and Bangala-were inexperienced in 

R arms and not practised- in war, in which they had not been engaged as they themselves had been 

VB so many times.- And therefore they must not fear the multitude of the enemy but trust in their 

R VB own skill which had already been long tried in many places -in so many enterprises -that their 

R VB name was feared -and dreaded- not only by the enemy but by all the world; so that they must be 

of that same valour as they had been. And he promised them certain and undoubted victory. 

In such way as you have heard the Tartars waited for the enemy on that plain. 

Now let us cease a little to talk of the Tartars, though we shall indeed soon come 

back to them, and we will talk of the enemy. Now you may know quite truly that 

V R when the king ot Mien had stayed awhile and rested some days with all his army and 

PB knew that the army of the Tartars was gone into the plain, they set out from there where 

V they were and put themselves on the road and go and draw near till they were come to 

the plain ol Uncian where the Tartars were all arrayed. And when they were come 

VB R into that plain to encamp at one mile from the enemy, he put his battalions in order and 

VB FB he posted his battalions of elephants and all the castles and the men above well 

R V armed for the fight in the front line. And behind he arranges his many men on horse and 

FB R on foot very well and very wisely, like a wise king that he was, but distant as it were 

in two wings, leaving a great space between. And there he began to inspirit his men, telling 

them that they should determine to fght bravely because they were sure of victory, being four 

to one,^ and having so many elephants with so many castles that the enemy would not have 

the courage to look at them, having never fought with such animals. And when he had 

R planned and settled all his affair and had caused infnite instruments to sound, Vv'ith great 

V FB vigour he set himself to go with all his host of his people toward the enemy to battle. 

VB And when the Tartars saw them come,^ not losing\_heartl^they do not make it seem 

that they are dismayed at anything but show that they are proved and mightily 

R brave. For you may know with no mistake that they stood still and did not move, but 

^ VB: tre per vno 

2 V, perhaps with some misunderstanding, adds: il (jualli veniano che apena iera sentidi 

288 



VWV. ni'SCRlPI ION Ol- I MI- W'OKII)^ I I II lAR lARS DISMOUNT -ijj 

Irt thou loiiir near tc their pout ion. Ihcu they came out iiiiiiuJialfly wnth great spirit to the 

encoiititir, and liicy sc( ilu'insi'lves [56f] on ilu- mvkI all (ov;cilicr well .iiul orderly 

anJ wisely iin\MrJ ilu- riuinv. Aiul wlini ilu*\' were near to ilu-in, and iliat ilicrc 

was noiluui^ wanting Inii lo JH-y^iii the haiile, ilien the horses ol the Tariars, when v 

ihe\' saw the elephants iv lar^c and with those castles, -which were in the Jront rank, (hey k p 

are \v;y oreatly teii ilieJ ni su^h a w.w ihai their riders ihe fariars canncji by any force v p p 

or skill -hold them, nor hi ni^ iheni to go -farther forward towards the enemy to battle; in va v i b 

hut the\' alwa\s (u!iu\l themselves hack in flight. AikI the king anJ all his people v r 

with the elephants went al\\a\s torwaid pursuing them. v 

HI'RI' Ml sPi-AKs AdAiN Ol- riu: SAMi: liMiiii. Now wheii the Tartars have v ' ^23 

seen this ihe\- have oieat vexation at it and did not know what they 
oiiohi 10 <\o, lor the\- see clearK' that it ihe\- cannot bring their horses 

lorward thev hold themselves to have lost all. Ikit /// the end rhey behave themselves v v 

very wisely, and I will tell you what they did. Now you may know that their- fb 

prudent -captain, -seeing this disorder come suddenly upon them, -did wisely and as one who k i-b r fb 
had thought of all this. Immediately he commanded that the Tartars, when they see that 
their horses were so terrihed, they all dismount from their horses and put them in 

the wood which was near them, -in which were great trees, and tie them to the trees; fb v 

and that they lay hands to the hows, of which they knew well how to make use, better than any fb 

people in the world. And then they do so immediately -and all go on foot against the front fb va 

///;:' which was that of the elephants, -and lav hands to the bows and cock the arrows fb 

and begin to let go ar the elephants which were advancing. They shot so many arrows r fb 

at them with so great vigour and shouting that it seemed a wonderful thing, and some of vb v v fb 

the elephants \\-ere severeh' wounded and killed in a short time, and many of the men fb 

also. And those who were in the castles with all the people of: the king drew arrows also r v 

on the Tartars ver\' liberally, and crive them a very vigorous attack. But their arrows r 
did not wound so gravely as did those of the Tartars^ which were drawn with greater strength; 

and the Tartars, who were sufficiently better men of arms & more used to battle than va 

J 

their enemies were and knew better how to draw their bows than those knew, defended fb 

themselves vcr\- bravcK-. And what shall I go telling you of itl You may know that fb 

so great was the number of arrows in this beginning, and all at the mark of the elephants (^for r 
so it was ordered by the captain^^ that they were wounded on every side of the body. And when 

the elephants were so ^^'ounded as I have told you. all the most[of them1, and felt fb 

the pain of the wounds of the pellets which came in such numbers like rain, -and were frightened vn 

by the great noise of the shouting, I tell vou that thev all turn themselves ; ^6d \ in rout & v va 

in flight towards the people ol: the king (while for nothing on earth would they go forward fb 
towards the Tartars^ with so great an uproar that it seemed that the whole u'orld 

289 



12 3- THE KING OF MIEN AND BANGALA IS DEFEATED f^MAKCO POLO 

VB VA must be rent, putting the army of the king of Mien into the greatest confusion.- And the 

R elephants set themselves to go -hither and thither till at last in terror they hide in a part of 

VA the wood where no Tartars were, -with such impetuosity that those who guided them could 

V not hold them nor bring them in another direction. They never stop themselves until 
VB \'B they arrive at the woods which were very thick with trees, and went inside the wood, 

VA V which was large and very dense, and break all the castles which they had on their backs- 

P VB against the trees of the wood, -with no small slaughter of those who were in the castles, and 

p ruin and destroy everything, for they were divided one from another in the wood & went 

V flying now here now there through the wood, making too great tumult from fright. 

V And when the Tartars have seen in truth that the elephants were turned in flight 
FB VB in such way as you have heard and that they will come back no more to the battle, -and 

the disorder in the army of the king, their courage increased and they make no delay but 

VA instantly left the elephants to go through the wood and running to their horses mount on 

VB P horseback with great order and discipline and go upon the kmg, who was not a little 

\'B frightened when he saw the line of elephants scattered, and upon his people with the greatest 

courage and with no less vigour, and entered into the midst of the enemy. The king encouraging 

his men, they stood frm in the battle. One army against the other began to fght with such 

vigour, with such slaying of men, with such spilling of blood, that it was a wonderful thing. 

V They begin the very cruel and most evil battle with their arrows; for the kmg and his 
V V people defended themselves very bravely. And when they have shot and drawn all 

V V R the arrows, they drew and laid hands on swords and lances and on the clubs of iron 

FB and run one upon another very fiercely. Huge blows were given. For the people 

of the king were very many more than the Tartars, but these were better men at arms and better 

practised in war. For otherwise the Tartars who were so few could not have stood agaimt 

V them, if it had not been for that. Now could one see hard & bitter blows given and received 
FB with swords and with clubs; now can one see knights and sergeants killed, and horses; 

V now can one see cut off feet and hands and arms, shoulders and heads; for you mav 

V know that many on the one side and on the other fell to the ground dead and wounded 
FB to death, so that they never rose again for the great press that was there. The cry and the 

noise there were so great that one did not hear God thundering. The fighting and 

the battle was very great and most evil on all sides; but yet you may know with no 

mistake that the Tartars had the better part ot it, for in an evil hour was it begun 

FB for the king and for his people, so many of them were killed and slain that day in 

that battle. And when the battle had lasted till afternoon then the king and his 

people [570] were so ill-handled and so many of them were killed that they can 

FB bear up no more against the force of the Tartars. For they see well that they are all 

VB dead if they stay there any longer. And therefore notwithstanding the persuasion of the 

290 



nil: I)i;SC'KiniON OF' rnr worlds EiLHPIIANTS AKIi CAUCiMT .123 

kifiii, who'ltkr i( hr,i\r ftii>tiUn rirklt-ssly-wcttt wherever -he saw that -the greater Jurjger wai,- K vb h vk 
cheerino &-prayiiiii them to >t,inJ firm and unmoved for the fii>ht, -and made the battalions n vb k 
from the rear which were Jresh come forward to help those which were tired, ilicy rcfuscci to 
srav tluMc lont;ir Intt soi ihcinsclvcs to (\y as last as ever they can. Ihtt at last the va 
kniii of Mien, -seeing that it was impossible to make them stand or to resist the attack oj the K 
Tartars, the i>reater part of his army being either wounded or dead and all the field Jull of 
blood and covered with slain horses and men, and that they were beginning to turn the back, 
he too set himself to fly with the remainder of his people. And when the Tartars saw that those 
were turned in (lii^hr they go beating and chasing and killing them so evilly that 
11 was a pitv to see, /or they were for the more part dead, the others not ceasing to chase and vb 
to kill them till the evening. -And the Tartars had the victory. And the reason was that the r 
king of Bangala and Mien had not his army armed like that of the Tartars; and in the same way 
the elephants, which came in the front rank, were not armed so that they might have been able 
to bear thefrst discharge of arrows from the enemy and to go over them and put them in disorder. 
But that which was of more importance, the said king ought not to have gone to attack the 
Tartars in that position which had the wood on the flanks, but to have waited for them in a wide 
plain where they would not have been able to bear the charge of the frst armed elephants; and 
then with the two wings of horse and foot he would have surrounded them and put them from 
the midst. ^ And when they have chased them :i great while they go chasmg them no v 
more and let them go; but being gathered together the Tartars -turn back and go for the woods v vb fb 
to catch some of the elephants which were fled in there. Moreover I tell you that they fb 
cut down the great trees to put in front of the elephants so that they should not 
be able to go forward. But it was all of no use to enable them to take them. But I fb 
tell you that the men of: the king themselves, who were taken, caught many of y 
them, because they had greater skill and the elephants understood the speech of these men- v 
better than the Tartars; because the elephant has greater understanding than any other fb 
animal that is. And by this means they took at last more than two hundred elephants va 
of them." And from this battle the great Kaan begins to have elephants in plenty fb 

^ That is, "destroyed them". — gli haueria messi di mez^. 

- VB, followed by R, has this passage rather differently: The Tartars being gathered 
together after the slaughter of the enemy returned toward the wood, and perceiving that the 
elephants were entered into it they entered into the wood to take them; and found that those 
people who were escaped on the castles had cut down trees and barred the way to make them- 
selves secure. But the Tartars immediately bursting through the defences which they had already 
made killed many of them, and many were already fled, and they took prisoners who knew how to 
manage the said elephants, by the help of whom they took about two hundred of those elephants. 
The rest were part dead and part escaped in the wood. (The words in italics are taken from R.) 

291 



.12 3- A GREAT DESCENT TO THE PROVINCE OF MIEN ;^MARCO POLO 

? for his armies, though before he had had none for the army. In such way goes this battle 

TB FB and this king was defeated by the wisdom and skill of the Tartars as you have heard and can 

R understand. -This days work was the cause of the great Kaan winning all the lands of the king 

cf Bangala & Mien, and making thetn subject to his rule. 

• 124- T" T'OW ONE GOES DOWN A GREAT DESCENT. When One leaves this province 

R p I I of (^ardandan^ oi which I have told you above, then one fnds and begins 

\A JL -1- to go down by a very great descent. For you may know quite truly that 

FB one goes riding quite two days marches and a half on the decline. And in all these 

FB R two days [57^] marches and a half descent there is no dwelling and nothing which does 

VA 1^ to mention except only that I tell you that in one place there is a great and broad 

VA P plain open space where a gre^it fair and market is held. For all the n\en from the great 

L R mountains of that country round about on every side come down to that open space 

FB R on so many stated days and fnd there their market, that is three days a week; and 

FB they used to change gold with silver, /or they have much of it, and give one saggio of 

FB FB gold for five of silver, & therefore the merchants who bring gold and silver come here 

p from other very distant parts and change their silver with the gold of these people 

TA and much merchandise, and it is a very great fair; and I tell you that they make great 

R profit from it and great gain. And the inhabitants arc not allowed to carry the gold out 

of the country, but they wish the merchants to come there with silver to take it, bringing the 

goods which they make for their needs. And the people oi that country who bring their 

FB gold to this market, you may know that none can go to their houses where they live 

R VA to do them harm except those of the country ; for they live in such very high & strong 

FB FB R and strange and wild places and out of the W2iy for fear of people .- And therefore they hold 

FB these markets in the said plain. And none knows where they live, because they wish that 

FB with them no one goes there but them. And when one has gone riding down these 

L two days journeys and a half, then one finds a great province which is toward midday 

FB L and is on the borders of Indie, and this province is called Mien. And through it one 

R goes fifteen days marches by very out oi the way uninhabited places and through 

TA many woods and great forests where there are elephants enough and unicorns enough 

TA FB and many lions and other strange wild beasts in great plenty of all sorts. There are no 

FB FB FB men nor dwellings, and so let us leave speaking to you 0/" these strange wild forests, _/br 

TA there is nothing to tell worthy of mention, and we will tell you a story of a country as 

you will be able to hear it. 

* VA,P: car ay am 



ii)i 



Tin; i)i:s(:kii>iion ov nwi wokld^ cioi.i) ^ sii.vi-.r iowhks -12^ 

Hl!l\|{ 111 III i.soi' mi ( II V 01 mii;n. Now you in.iv know ili.it when one 
Ii.is luKIrn ilu- (iliirii J.n > m.uclu's ol which I have told you above in 
so hiirtfti atiil iJi It were out ol (ho way places, and where one muit carry his vn rn 
victuals by the way because there is no Jwelling of men, as I have told you, then one fmds a 
beautiful city which is also called Mien, which is very great and nohlc and is head / FB 
ol the kingdom of Mien. The people are all idolaters and have a language [57^] for tb vb 
themselves. They are sulijeci 10 the rule of the great Kaan. And in this city is so v 
noble a thini; and so rich, ol which I shall tell you. I'or it was true that there was fb 
lormerly a very rich and powerful king in ihis city, and he was loved by all, -as I shall \'\ vb v 
tell you, according to what was said to me. And this king, when he came to death he v 
commands in his will -that there should be made him a monument like this, that on his lt va 
tomb, that is on his monument, /or burial of his body should be made two round vb \'b 
towers, /;/ the likeness of pyramids, one at one end and the other at the other, one of gold R 
and one ot silver very richly worked. -And those towers are made in such fvishion as I vb ta 
shall roll you. For the one tower was of beautiful stone. Then it was covered 
outside all over with -plates oj-gold. And the gold was quire one finger thick. The whole ta vb ta 
tower was so covered with ir that when one saw it it did not seem to be of anything ta 
but o{ gold alone. It was quite ten paces high, and just as^ thick as was suitable to 
rhc hcii^hc of which it was. It was round above, and at the top there was a round ball, r 
and all round the roundness it was all tull oi gilded bells which sounded with great ta vb 
sound every time the wind struck among them; and it is a great triumph to see and to vb 
hear. And the other tower of which[I have told you]above was all covered with fb 
silver, and was altogether like and made in such fashion as that of orold, no more ta 
nor less, -so that it seems all of silver; and of that size and of that shape both in quantity fb z 
& height; likewise with little bells -of silver. -And between these towers he caused his tomb va lt 
to he made, where he is now buried.- And in the same way the tomb was covered partly with r 
plates of gold and partly with silver. And that king had these made for his grandeur 
and for the honour of his soul, that there should be memory oj him after his death. And I P va 
tell you that they were the most beautiful towers in the world to see, and they were 
also well made and noble and of very exceedingly great value. And when the sun touches fb fb 
them then a great glory issues from them and they are seen from very far. Moreover I tell 
you that the great Kaan conquers this province in such a new and mocking way as I L 
shall tell you.^ It was true that at the court of the great Kaan, when he planned to R 

^ V: quatro perhaps for qiianto 

^ V introduces this story thus: "Now this about the beauty of these towers reached the 
ears of the great Kaan, and it was told him by certain of his court called falconers (ostorinC), 
that IS hunters (chuxatori)." 

293 



12 5- HOW JESTERS CONQUER THE PROVINCE OF MIEN ?^MARCO POLO 

L L take that city, were a very great number of jesters [57^] and of acrobats of every sort. 

L P FB And to remove them from the court the great Kaan calling them together to him said to them 

P o?u day that he wishes them to go in conjunction with another army to conquer the 

FB FB FB K province of Mien, and that he will give them a good captam and good help/ For the 

king of Mien was not worthy that soldiers should go there to take the land Jrom him, since he 

had been so foolish that he had rebelled against the great Kaan. The jesters said that they 

VA FB were gladly willing to obey all his commands. -So the lord had what was needed for an army 

made ready for them, and gave them a company of men at arms. And then they set themselves 

on the way with that captain and with that help which the great Kaan gives them 

FB P and rode so far that they came to this province of Mien -as he commanded them, that they might 

conquer it and subdue it to his rule. And what shall I tell you about it? You may know 

FB that these jesters with those people who went with them conquer all that province 

VB of Mien. And when they have conquered it and are come to the siege of this noble 

VB VB city they took it in a short time and, being entered into the said city of Mien, when they find 

FB FB these two towers of which I have told you so fair and so rich, they were all very greatly 

P astonished at them and dared not destroy them without having frst obtained the leave of 

the great Kaan, and send to tell the great Kaan where he was the likeness of these 

V FB two towers and how they were beautiful and of very great value, and what did he wish 

them to do, for the great wealth which was upon them; and that if he wishes they will 

take them down and send him the gold & the silver. And the great Kaan, who knew 

VB VB that that king who had been loved by them in the past had had them made for his tomb 

VB and soul and that one might have remembrance of him after his death, he immediately 

made commandment and said that he did not wish that they should be taken down at 

VB all, but says that he wishes them to stsiy guarded and respected in such manner as that 

VB king who had had them made had planned them and appointed; because it was not a 

laudable thing that the name of the lords worthy of fame and glory should be damaged & 

broken, and to this day the towers are adorned and well guarded. And it was no wonder, 

FB because I tell you that no Tartar in the world ever touches a thing of any dead man, 

z nor anything clse[which~\might be struck by thunderbolt or lightning or plague, which might 

V ■/ VB happen through divine judgement; nor -would he -take any tribute from them. -And this is a 

custom with the Tartars who think it a very great sin to move anything belonging to the dead. 

'/. VB They of this province have [58(7] elephants enough & large and wild oxen'^ large and 

z beautiful; stags, fallow-deer, roe-deer, and all kinds of animals have they in great 

abundance. Now I have told you of this province of Mien. Now we will leave you 



^ LT: et darct eis in socios illos de cancica, et illos de doyde. 
^ VB: homent saluatichi 



294 



II ii'! DiiscRinioN oi nil'; woRij)^ ini-: slaves ov bancjAI.a .i2'5- 

ihon .uul will till you ol a piDviiicc uliuh is called Bangala as you shall b( able below ih 
to hoar. 

Hl'kl' 111; iLi.LS Ol nil- GRP.AT PROViN( I;' OI iiANCAi.A. Baiigala is a provincc • 126- 

towaiJs midt.la\' uhich iii ihc 1291) year Irom the [)irih o( J rsus Ghn^i, lA 
wlu'n I M,u\ l\4 wwsjirsl ,11 I hi" (.(uiii ol (he ^eai Kaan, he still ha^^ not / / 
coiu[iuMi\l. iUit ne\ertheless ihr .iiiny aiul his people wcvc gone there to concuier it,- if, FB 
iitiil It was iohiIuchJ by him aiui put under his rule while I was at the eourt ; and his army VB 
stayed a loiio tune at the siege of it, because it is a strong country. But I tell you (hat these 
provinces have kings ^or rulers aiul a language lor themselves. They arc very bad VB 
idols — understand this idolaters.^ I hey arc on the borders ol hidie. There arc many 
eunuchs' who are castrated; and all the barons and all the lords who are about that 7 fb 
province have many 0/" them from there, whom they keep to guard their ladies. The oxen z / 
also there -are tall as elephants but not so stout. They of the province all live Jor the /. fb p vb 
more part on tlesh and on milk and on rice, oj which they have great quantity. They have vb 
cotton enough, in which they do great trade; and they are very great merchants, for they fb l 
have spikenard and galingale ;/; great quantity -and pepper* and ginger and sugar in vb l vb 
great abundance, & many other dear spices of many other kinds. The Indians come* fb 
there and buy there ot the eunuchs of which J have told you and slaves, who are /. 
found there in very great numbers; for all the men who are captured by those people are im- 
mediately castrated and afterwards sold. And they buy slave-girls also there in plenty. 
For you may know that the merchants buy these slaves and eunuchs and slave-girls z 
enough in this province which they have from other provinces and sell them to the Indians fb fb 
and to the other merchants who then take them to sell in many [58^] other places about fb 
the world. -And the women of this[provincc'\wear trousers. Now in this province there is v 

* cite corrected in the margin to gran prouenee 

* pesimes ydres ee entendes ydules ydres very generally means idolaters, but just below (see 
n. 5) it has taken the place of "Indians" (¥E: yndyens Z: Jndi'), as ydules also has in c. 128 
(p. ZC}7)(FB: yiidiens Z: Jndis). If it is not a mere matter of scribe's error in all three cases, 
it seems to be just possible that ydres or ydules had become almost a synonym for Indians; but 
in any case this present phrase is very difficult and, as far as I know, is not repeated by any of 
the old versions. 

' cseuilcs The old mistranslations of this word range from "lions"(\': lioni'^ to "schools" 
(VB: seuolle\ VB (followed and improved by R) says: "They have craftsmen and keep 
schools and they teach their incantations and idolatries, and this teaching is very widespread 
to all; they speak even among the lords and barons." 

* piper is in L (at Ferrara) but not in L' (at Venice). 

* il hi uiuent les ydres But FB: les yndyens y viennent possibly represents the true text, 
supported as it is by FA,TA,LT,VB,V,L,Z,R. ¥ov ydres see n. 2 above. 

295 



12 6- SPICERY & BEASTS & TATTOOING IN CAUGIGU ^MARCO POLO 

nothing else which does to mention, and therefore we will leave it you and will 

tell you of a province which is toward sunrising and is called Caugigu/ 

127- X "IT ERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF CAUGIGU. Caugigu is a province 

VB P I I toward sunrising near to the aforesaid. It has a king to itself. The people 

VB JL JL. are all idolaters and have a tongue tor themselves. They gave themselves 

VB FB V up however to the great Kaan and pay him great tribute each \'ear. Moreover I tell 

z you that this king of this province is so self-indulgent that he has quite three hundred 

TA '/. women for wives; for when he knows that they have any fair woman in the country, 

z TA he takes her immediately to wife. Gold enough is found in this province and precious 

z stones. They have also much dear spicery of many makes in great abundance, but they 

R L are inland and very far from the sea, and so their aoods are of no value but are sold 

L G VB very cheap there. They have elephants enough in this province •& wild asses & many 

VB G other w/7^ beasts of many kinds. They have hunting enough. There grows much rice; 

they live on flesh & on milk & on rice. They have no wine from vines, but they 

z P z V make it very well from rice & from many -delicate spices mixed together, -which is very 

P z good. The people all in common, men and women, of that province are painted or 

FB pricked -with the needle all over their flesh in such way as I shall tell you. For they 

V TA make themselves pictures with needles in a colour of blood- on their faces and all over their 

V z z flesh of cranes and -of eagles, of lions and of dragons and of birds and of man\' other 

z likenesses di^erent and strange, so that nothing is seen not drawn upon and not scratched. 

VA And they are made with the needles very cunningly & in such a way that they never 

VB go off by washing nor by other way. They also make them on the face^ and on the 

FB z neck and on the belly and on the breast and on the arms and on the hands and on the feet, 



1 This little chapter is surprisingly full of corruption and difficulty. After telling us, as of a 
thing which he had forgotten, of the great battle between Nesoradin and the king (or kings^ of 
Mien and Bangala in 1272 (? 1277 or 1279) as the result of which "both the kingdoms which 
I have named" (in R Mien & Bangala, but in F perhaps Caragian & (^ardandan) were 
added to the Mongol empire, he proceeds to tell us of Mien and then of Bangala, 
saying that in 1290 it had not yet been conquered. But a careful comparison of the 
valuable texts Z and VB with the standard text of F makes it seem to be possible that rlie 
original said that Bangala had not yet been conquered when Marco Polo wcls first at the court, 
but that the Kaan's armies were already there, and that after a long time it \\as (or ? iiad 
been) conquered in 1290. The date 1290 is given without \ariation by F,FA,FB,TA', 
TA',LT: and omitted by Z,P,VA,L,V,VB,R. V omits mention of Marco; L omits the whole 
sentence; VB (followed by R) omits "not"; Z alone adds "first" (^primitus). See also PN. 

* ne ne uont Ce ausi le (/ written over c)font nu nix FB: nc sen va. et si ont cestc ocnure par la 
chiert So B. reads; ne s'en vont. Ce ausi se font. For tlie last words Et ausi ce (ox I e') font is 
perhaps as good. 

296 



mi i)i;sc:riimic)n oi iiii: worlds CiOLU banglbs in amu .127. 

Ki;s. .uul .ill o\cv ilu- hodv in this\\vay\. Iinl iiuiceii one will cause the shapes of patterns, /. 

so /riiiMv <!"'/ >i'i/; i/.s /y ihaW please, to he thawii with hlack over the whole bo,ly. And this 

done he will he hound feel and hands and two or more will hold him, and then the master, -who K 

practises no other art, -will take fh'e needles, four of them tied together as a square and the fifth / 

placed in the middle; and with these needles he goes pricking him everywhere according to the 

drawiiiii 'V ^^-^ patterns : and when the pricks are made ink is immediately drawn over, and 

then the figure that was drawn appears m those pricks. But men sujfer so much pain in this 

that it might he thought enough Jor them for purgatory . And ihcy paint the garments and all, lA 

and thex do ihis lor e'l^^r \'>^c\ eciuiliiv, and he who has more of these pictures 

is held as superior and as more gentle and beautilul by the others.- And very many ta va / 

oj them die while they are heing so painted, for they lose much blood. Now we will leave you 

then from this province and from the men who are painted with jlowers and with animals, fb 

and will tell you of another province which has Amu for name, which is toward 

sunrisuiv;. 

HliRB HiL iiiLLS ov rni; PROViNcii of amu. Amu is a province which is v -izS- 

toward sunrising where they are subject to the great Kaan. And they are fb 

idolaters. They have great jlocks of animals and live on flocks and the profit i' 

of the land. Thcv have a king and a language lor themselves. The ladies wear ta 

anklets on the leas and on the hands and arms bracelets of- gold and of silver with vb z k 
pearls and stones of the greatest value. And the men wear them also, and better than 

the ladies and much more dear.^ And they have moreover horses plenty and good,* fb v z 

of which they take and sell them in vast quantity to the Indians,^ who make great V 
trade of them. They have also too great abundance oi buffaloes and of oxen and oi 

cows, and this because it is too good a place and one of vast and good pasture. They v r 

have great abundance also oi all thuigs tor lite. And you may know that from this z 

province of Amu as far as to the province of Caugigu which is behmd more to the west z z L 

is fifteen* days journeys, and from Caugigu to Bangala which is the third province fb 

back more to the west is thirty'^ days journeys. Now w^e will set out from this Amu, and l fb 

will go riding to another province which has Toloman for name, which is quite v 

eight® days marches distant from this, still toward the sunrising. fb 

^ R: ma quelli, che portano le doiine, sono di maggior valuta. 

^ asef & huens This was anciently misunderstood, e.g. FB: assez^ et beuf^ V: chauali e hoi 
VA: chauali axeni into R(i559): molti caualli, & buoni but later editions: buoi, so Marsden: 
and oxen . 

^ a les ydulcs FB: aux yndiens Z: Jndis V: inindia cf. p. 295 n. 2,5 above. 
* R: "twenty-five" 
5 TA.LT: "twenty" 
® V; "seven" 

297 



12 9- BURIAL CUSTOMS GOLD & COWRIES IN TOLOM AN ;=^M ARCO POLO 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF TOLOMAN. Toloman IS a provincc 
toward the sunrising. The people of this province are idolaters and have 
a language for themselves and belong to the rule of the great Kaan. They 
R are very beautiful people and tall and are not [58^] at all quite white, but brown 
FB VB z people. They are truly all -proved and valiant men of arms. They have cities enough 
\'B V and lands subject to them -in this province, but castles they have in great quantity in 
z very great and steep mountains and fastnesses. And when they die, they have the 
corpses burnt^ and they take the bones which remain which cannot be burnt and 
VA put them in little caskets of wood. And then they carry them into great mountains 
z z and high and put them in steep places of great caves, hung high in such a way that 
R V z neither man nor beast can go to touch them. And gold enough is found there also 
L in that province .- For their money is gold, and the money which they spend in small 
VA V sums is of cowries/rom Indie in such way as I have told you ahove. And likewise all 
z these provinces spoken of ahove, that is Bangala and Caugigu and Amu, spend gold 
z and cowries. There are few^ merchants, but those who are there are very rich and 
FB V carry much wealth in their merchandise. They live on flesh and on milk and on rice, 
z V V They have indeed no wine from vines, hut make -drinks of rice and of spices which are very 
VB good, like the other provinces ahove. Now we will leave you this province, where there 
is nothing else which does to mention, and we will tell of a province which is 
called Cuigiu toward the sunrising. 
130 • VB X T" ERE HE SPEAKS OF THE PROVINCE OF CUIGIU. Cuigiu IS a city and province 

V VB I I which is toward the sunrising twelve days journeys distant from Toloman. 

FB A. JL For when one sets out from Toloman he goes riding twelve days journeys 
upward by a river where he finds towns and villages enough, but there is nothing 
TA VB else which does to mention. And when one is gone [59*3] other twelve days journeys 
TA z upward by this river then at the end one finds the said city of Cuigiu which is very 
VB VB R beautiful and great and noble. ^ They are all idolaters and are subject to the rule of 
the great Kaan. They live hy trade and by handicrafts. Moreover I tell you that 
L TA they make cloths of: the bark of certain trees and they are very beautiful, and indeed 

1 V: molti 

2 The opening words of the chapter in V arc : "Starting from Toloman one rides twehc 
marches and arrives at a river, where are found many cities and villages, and in them is nothing 
to say; and passing this river twenty-two marches one finds at the end of this Ougni which is 
a very great & noble city." And in VB: "Vinti uui is a cky and province toward the sun- 
rising, distant from Toloman by twelve marches, and it is set on a river, and has cities and 
villages enough upon it; and travelling up h)' the river other twelve marches one finds the 
beautiful and great city called Singul." 

298 



THi<: ni':sc:KiiMioN oi ini: world'^ mi-: lions ov cuigiu .130- 

rhcy wo.u ihc.so cKxIis in siiinnui' tiiiu-, both nii-n lUtd women. I hey arc almost all-very K vb v 

valiant nun ol arms. I Iiov li.ivr no inoncv Init only flu- norcs with the seal ol the grcit v vb 

Kann, of which I Ii.ur lolJ y^>i' hf/otr. Voi 1 ull you that henceforth we are in the v 

lands whoiv tlioy sjhiuI lUc notes ol ihe v^icat Kaan. There arc so many hons that 

It ts a great marvel and no man \:An dare to sleep at niglit outside the house' /or yirar ia / u 

oj them, for the hons would eat him immediately. Moreover 1 tell you another thing, 

that when the men go by this river oJ which I have spoken above, on which much mer- va 

chandise is carried, and stay the ni'^Ui at any place and rest on the river, if they did not /. 

sleep quite far from the land the lions go to them, jumping into the water and swimming vb 

up to the boat, and take a man from it by force and go their way and eat him; and r v 

ij anyone lies near the land by night the lions go to the boat very softly so that they do not 

perceive them, and eat all the men they find, who cannot keep them oJ'.-But they anchor in r 

the middle of the river which is very broad, and so they are safe. But yet I tell you that the 

men know well how to protect themselves from them. And if it were not for a help fb 

which they have, none could journey through this province for the great number of the lions 

which are there. And I tell you that they are^ very large lions and dangerous; but 

yet you may know that I shall tell you a wonder. For I tell you that there are 

many dogs in this country which are more large and the fercest that can be said, and they FB VB 

have the courage and strength to go to attack the lions. But yet thev like to be two, vb 

so that whenever the men travel they take two of them. For you may know that a brave fb va 

man on horseback and two of those dogs kill a fercc and very great lion, and I shall tell z z v 

you how. When a man rides alone by a road through the forest with bow and with vb va 

arrows and takes with him two of these good huge do^s they go safely, and when it happens vb ta ta vb v 

that they find a great lion, the dogs [59^] which are brave and strong, as soon as 

they see the lion they run upon him very bravely, encouraged by the man and incited, -one \'b ta 

in front and the other behind.- And the lion turns itself towards the dogs, but the dogs are v ta 

trained-so well to protect themselves • and so agile that the lion docs not touch them;-and the fb ta ta 

lion looks at the man and not at the dogs.- And so the lions go flying. But the dogs, as soon fb 

as they see that the lion is going off, they run behind him barking and howling and fb 

bite him in the legs or in the tail or wherever they can reach him, and the lion turns fb 

himself very ficrcel\- and would kill them, but cannot catch them, because the dogs fb 

know well how to protect themselves. And what shall I tell vou about it? The lion 

is much frightened by the great noise which the dogs make, and then he sets himself 



^ TA' adds elle sono cierte file traghono delle dette ischor^ - VB,R: citta 

' & uo( di car il sunt At first it seemed best to supply cement after di, as B. afterwards did, 
but in that case we should probably have had dirai. 



299 



I 30- THE MANNER OF HUNTING LIONS WITH DOGS ^MARCO POLO 

FB VA on the road, escapingjrom the noise of the dogs^ to go into some thicket or to find some thick 

lA FB tree against which he can lean his back, to show his face to the dogs so that they cannot 

VB worry him from behind -but that both may stay in front of him. And therefore he goes 0^ step 

R by step — nor by any means would he run — because the lion is not held by fear, -so great is his 

VB pride and the height of his spirit. And while the Hon is going off in this way by degrees 

VB the dogs go biting him all the time behind, and the man with the bow shooting at him; 

VB VB and when he feels himself bitten the lion turns himself now this way now that towards 

the dogs, but the dogs being able to draw back, the lion returns to pass on his way. And when 

TA FB one sees this he follows them and lays hand to his bow (^for they are very good archers^ 

and gives him some arrows, both one and two and more and so many that the 

\'B lion is so much wounded with the arrows and weakened by loss of blood that he falls dead 

\'B P before he has found a refuge; -for he is so intent on the dogs that the man can shoot freely. 

FB And in this way the wayfarers save themselves from the lions which they find, \_and'\t]ney kill 

many of them, for they cannot defend themselves against a man on horseback who 

L V has two good dogs. Nevertheless they hunt the lion with caution.^' And these of this province, 

VL they have gold & silk enough and goods of all makes in great abundance, which are 

FB LT VB carried up and down by the branches of this river into many regions and lands of great 

industry^ and of great trade. And you may know quite truly that upwards by this river 

FB one goes riding yet again tv/elve^ days journeys and one finds at all times cities and 

z VB \' villages in great abundance, the people of which are all idolaters and are subject to the 

L L rule of the great Kaan. And their monies too are of notes, that is the money of the 

V L V L great lord. They live by trade and by industries, and some are -valiant -men at arms. 

V FA And at the end [59^] of these twelve days journeys then one finds the city of Sindufu 

of which this book speaks above. And from Sinduhi one sets out and rides quite 

V FB seventy* days journeys through cities and provinces & through lands in which we have 
FB FB been, and have written them in our book above all clearly in order. At end of these 

seventy days journeys one finds Giogiu where we have been. And from Giogiu 



^ VL, where these chapters are much shortened and perhaps corrupt, has here : "And also 
there are found unicorns. When they wish to catch the elephant they seek it {cerchano — 
Frampton : they do compasse him) with the dogs and chase it till they find it resting. 
And when they rest they stand on the feet leaning against a tree, because they cannot rest 
lying down, through not having jointed knees. The dogs stand round it and bark but dare 
not go up to it. But it stands alwa)'s with the face towards the dogs which bark at it. 
Then the hunters expert at this shoot and kill it ni that way." 

* paixe repeated by mistake, from paixe e tere just above. 
' sus per cest fluti^ alon^ & encore. xii. 

* VB,R: " twenty " cf V (p. 298 n. 2 above). 

300 



Tiin onscRiPTiON ov I'lii-: worlds cacanhij and CIANC^LU .130- 

one sets out aiui goes ri(///;t» lour days joiinicys fiiuling cities and villages enough, v 

Tlu- pei^ple aie tif vjreat trade aiul ol gre.it industry, and they are idolaters and have v 

money i^l" the great Kaan their lord, that is notes. And in tlu* end ol thac four days v r» 

iourne\'s owe iuuU the city ot Cacanlu uhieh is toward nudday, going back by the R 

other side oj the province, and is the most noble and greatest city in ail the province of Caiai. vb vb 
And we shall (ell \oy\ ol it, ol this Cacanlu, its circumstances as you shall be able 

to hear below. FB 

HKKH HI- TOLLS OF THE CITY OF CACANFU. Cacanfu is a gicat city of Catai • 131 • 

and noble, and it is toward midday. The people are all idolaters and VB 

have the bodies of their dead burnt when they die. There loo arc some Christians VB / 

who have a Church in the aforesaid city. They arc subject to the rule of the great Kaan v 

and have the money of notes with the stamp of the great Kaan. They live by trade and vn 

by crafts, for the\- have silk enough in great abundance of which they make cloths of i-B 

gold and of silk and the f nest sendal in great abundance. This city has other cities r z 

and villages enough under her rule. A certain great river passes through the middle of the z 

city, by which much merchandise is carried over to the city of Cambaluc, for with many R 
channels and ditches they make it run right up to the said city. But now wc will depart 

from here and will go riding torward by midday three days marches and shall yin^ i-B fb 
there and tell you of another city which has the name of Cianglu. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF CIANGLU. Cianglu is also [59^] a very great •132- 

city and is toward midday, and it is subject to the great Kaan, and it v fb l 
also is in the province of the great Catai. Their money is of notes, 

namely money •[with]t he stamp -of the great Kaan; -and they are idolaters, and these too l vb l fb vb 

have the dead bodies burnt when they arc dead. And you may know that salt is made ta 

from earth in this town^ and district in very great quantity, and I vN'ill tell you how. vb z 

It is true that they take a kind of vein ot earth which is very salt, and of this earth L 

they dig and make very great" mounds; and over these mounds they throw water l ta 

in plent\', so much that the waiter penetrating through them -goes to the bottom of the mound l fb 

of earth, 'and then they take and collect that -poured on- water which comes out of that earth,- fa z fa 

when it has taken up salt from the virtue of the earth, through conduits and put it in great z 

jars and in great and broad cauldrons of iron not more than four fngers deep, and make z r 

it boil enough. And then, -when it is well boiled -and pur if ed by the force of the f re, -they fb z \b fb 

leave it to cool, and then the water thickens & they take it and salt is raa.de from it very \'b z 

beautiful and white and fine. Moreover I tell you that they make so much of it that it yb 
not only suffices for the city & region but some of this salt is carried through many 



* V: prouin^ia VB: paixe 
' L: parua VB: montesselli 



501 



13 2- CIANGLI & TUNDINFU • SHIPS & MERCHANDISE ^MARCO POLO 

VB z ether countries round, and they have, those people, infinite great wealth from it, 

z R and the great lord receives much revenue and profit from it. Very large peaches -very good. 

z and well-flavoured -grow there, which weigh for each quite two small pounds. Now we will 

leave this city where there is nothing else which docs to mention and will tell you 

of" another city which is called Ciangli which is towards midday, and we will tell 

you of its doings. 

133- IT T' ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF CIANGLI. Ciangli is a City of Catai towatds 

FB z I I midday, and it is subject to the great Kaan; whose people they are idolaters 

VB X. JL and have money of notes of the lord. It is five days journeys distant from 

L the aforesaid city of Cianglu, and in these five days journeys are found towns and 

V villages enough which are all subject to the rule of the great Kaan. And they are lands 

VB z for the more part of great trade and handicrafts and are very profitable to the great lord. 

VB And you may know that through the middle of the city of Ciangli goes a very 

z VA great river and broad and deep, -on which go many ships, by which are carried both 

VB VB upwards and downwards very great quantities of all merchandise, of cloth of silk 

V VB and of gold and many silks [6o(j] and of spicery and o{ many other dear things which 

pay great duty to the lord. Now we will leave Ciangli that we shall tell you no more 

about it, and we shall tell you of another city which is six days journeys distant 

from here towards midday and is called Tundmfu. 

134. ^ T' fERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF TUNDINFU. When onc sets out ftom the 

FB 1 I city of Ciangli he goes riding these six days journeys towards midday and 

VB JL JL always finding cities and villages enough apt for trade and of great value 

FB z VB VB and of great nobility and of great affairs ;• whose people they are all idolaters along this 

FB V road, and burn the dead bodies. And they are subject to the rule of the great Kaan 

z VB FB FB and have also -their money of notes, and they live by trade and by crafts, and they 

V z have all things for life m great abimdance; but in this there is nothing else which 

FB FB does to mention, and so we will tell you ot the city of Tundinfu. And you may know 

VB that- at the end of the said six days marches is found the noble & great city called Tundinfu. 

VB Tundinfu is a very nohle and large city, and once upon a time before it was a great 

z V kingdom and nohle, but the great Kaan besieged it & conquers it by force ot arms. 

FB But nevertheless I tell you that it is the most noble city that is in all that country. 

z There are very great merchants who do great trade. And they have so great abundance 

FB V FB of silk that it is a great wonder. And round this city there are -also many beautiful 

V z R gardens and delectable which are full of all manner of-fne and good fruits. And you 

may know quite truly that this city of Tundinfu has eleven^ imperial cities under 

1 FA,FB,P,Z,L,R: 11 V: 10 VA.VB: 12 TA'.LT: 15 TA': 16 See PN. 
302 



Tin- nnscRiPiioN of thi-: worlds rfju-llion oi uhan .134. 

us rule, ih.u IS 10 say tli.u they arc miblc and great aiui ail c/^rcai value, lor they arc V rn 
eiiies of great iraJe aiul ol greai prolii , lor iliey have silk bcyoiul measure, and v 
thfttjore there are many merchants in this city. And 1 lell you ihai it used to have a king v 
hejore it was made subject to the great Kaan. In the 1272' year (606J ol the incarnation ol 
C^hrisi (he gre.u K.i.in had sent a baron ol his who had Liiran Sangon tor name to I A 
go 10 ihis cit\' and 10 ihis province that he should rule and guard and keep it sale, vb 
Moreover he gives eiglu\' thousand" iiorsemen to this Liitan to keep this watcli. 
And when this Liuan has stayed with all these people in this province awhile, i li ik 
then, -seeing himselj at the head of so tnany men and of so rich andjertile a land, growing proud vb 
and -considering his ability to rule, he was injected with imaginations oj treason and like a / 
traitor lie thinks ol doing a very great disloyalty, and you shall hear what. He was 
speaking wiiii all the wise men of all these cities and led them away with the deceitful '/. 7. 
proposal, and plans with them that they should rebel against the great Kaan. And 
they Ao it with the consent and goodwill ol all the people of the cities and villages of z h 
the province, tor they rebel against the great Kaan and were willing to obey him in fb 
nothing, and made their captain that Liitan who was come from the lord to guard and protect fb 
them. And when the great Kaan knows this he orders there immediately two of his fp> 
most noble barons who had for names the one Agiul and the other Mongatai, and with vb fb fb 
them he sends quite a hundred thousand horsemen and many on foot. And why should vb 
I make you a long story? You may know cjuite truly that when Liitan Sangon knew vb 
of the coming of the said two captains with so great an army he too made ready his people, and 
with no less number than that of the great Kaan, and came as fast as he could to the encounter; 
and when the two armies had found one another these two barons with all their people fb 
fought with Liitan who was a rebel and with all the people on his side whom he can fb 
assemble/rom the country round, who were indeed about a hundred thousand horsemen fb 
and a very great quantity of men on foot. They were fghting hand to hand with great VB 
slaughter on one side and on the other; but such was the luck' that in the end Liitan lost v 
the battle and was killed there with many others in the battle. And when the captain vb 
was dead the whole host took to flight, and as the Tartars followed them a great quantity were 
killed and many taken. -And so the two barons whom the lord had sent had the victory, -and fb z 
they quickly defeated Liitan with his army. -And when the great Kaan knew this he was very FB 
glad because of it. And after that Liitan was discomfited and dead the great Kaan 

1 VB.R: 1272 FA,FB,TA,LT: 1273 V,\'A,P,Z,L omit. 
^ VB: 70000 V: rnolti iniera — and so for looooo &c. below. 

* lautature tor lauenture Note that this is exactly the corruption which is suegested on 
p. 75 above, autaesse for a uenesse. 



303 



134- THE MODESTY OF MAIDENS OF CATAI & MANGI ^MARCO POLO 

made then inquisition of all those who had been guilty of doing such treachery 

7 VB and were the chief supporters of this crime. And they all being brought into the presence of the 

/. great Kaan all those who are found [6of] guilty were by his order cruelly put to death 
FB FB by the two barons. And all the other lesser people he pardons and did them no harm 
VB FB and took them into his army; and afterwards they were always very faithful to their lord.- 

z You ought to learn too that the girls of the province of Catai are beyond others pure and keep 
the virtue of modesty. They do not indeed skip and dance, they do not frolic, they do not fly 
into a passion, they do not stick at the windows looking at the faces of passers nor showing their 
own faces to them, they give no ready hearing to unseemly talk, they do not frequent feasts and 
merry-makings. And if it happens that they go to some proper place, as perhaps the idol temples 
[orjto visit the houses of kinsfolk and relations, they would go in the company of their mothers, 
not staring injproperly at people but wearing on the head certain pretty bonnets of theirs which 
prevent an upward look, so that in walking they always direct the eyes on the road before the 
feet. Before their elders they are modest; they never speak foolish words, nor indeed any in their 
presence, except when they have been asked. In their rooms they keep at their tasks and rarely 
show themselves to fathers and brothers and the elders of the house. And they pay no attention 
to suitors. And we say in the same way of the boys[_and'\young gentlemen that they never 
presume to speak in the presence of their elders unless they are asked. And what more? So great 
is the modesty between them, namely between kindred and relatives that in no way would two 
try to go to the baths or stoves together. If however anyone wishes to give a daughter in marriage, 
or she is asked for himself by another, the father offers the daughter to the future spouse as a virgin. 
And in this point the father and spouse will agree together with obligations and bonds; for if 
the opposite were to be found the marriage would not hold. When the bonds also and agreements 
have been duly made between them and confirmed, the girl is taken for the testing of her virtue 
to the baths or stoves, where there will be the mothers and relations of herself and of the spouse, 
and on behalf of either party certain matrons specially deputed for this duty who will first 
examine the girl's virginity with a pigeon's egg. And if the women who shall be en behalf cf 
the spouse are not satisfied with such a test, since a woman's luitural parts can well be contracted 
by medicinal means, one matron of the aforesaid will cunningly insert a fnger wrapped in 
white and fne linen into the natural parts and will break a little of the virginal vein so 
that the linen may be a little stained with virginal blood. For that blood is of such a nature 
and strenoth that its stain can be removed by no washing from cloth where it is fxed. And 
if it he removed it is a sign that she has been defiled, nor is that blood of her proper nature. 
When the test has been made also, if she is found a virgin the marriage Is valid; hut if not, not. 
And the father of the girl is punished by the government^ according to the agreement which he 



^ dominium The Milan copy reads denaritwi. 
304 



nil'; Di-scRin ic>N c^i nil' worlds idols c^^' rni;iK okaci.iis .134. 

has tiiiiJr. And you ou^ht to know that for thf keeping oj this virginity maiiinis always step so 
gently in the progress of their wtdk that one foot never goes before the other by more than a 
Jitigcr, because the privy parts oj a virgin are very ojlen opened if she take herself along too 
wantonly. Moreover this is to be understood of those who spring from the province of Catat. For 
the Tartars do not care about this sort of convention; for their daughters ride with them, and 
their wives, whence it may be believed that to some extent they suffer harm. I he people of the 
province of Mangi observe the custom with Catai. 

Another thin^ again is done in (.\Uai which you ought to know; that among the idolaters 
there are eighty-four idols, each named with its own name. And the idolaters say that an appro- 
priate power has been given to each idol by the supreme Cod, namely to one for the finding of 
things lost; to one for the provision of fertility of lands and showing them seasonable weather; 
to one for the keeping of flocks; and so with regard to each thing, as well in prosperity as in 
adversity. And each idol is named by its proper name; and they know and say that such is the 
duty and power of whichever idol you please. The idols indeed to whom it belongs to fnd lost 
things they set up as two small statues of wood in the likeness of boys who are of twelve years, 
and they decorate these with beautiful ornaments. And in their temple an old woman continually 
stays with them as sacristan. If however anyone has lost anything, either because someone has 
stolen it or because he does not know where he put it down, or in any way cannot find it, he 
will go or send to the aforesaid old woman to inquire of those idols about the thing lost. The old 
woman will tell him that he must incense the idols, and he will burn incense. When the 
incense has been provided the old woman will then ask about the thing lost, and they will answer 
her about it as it shall be. Then the old woman will say to him who has lost the thing. Look 
in such a place and you shall fnd it. And if anyone has taken it she will say, Such a one has 
it, tell him to give it you. And if he shall deny, come back to me. For I will make him certainly 
restore it to you. Otherwise I will bring it about that he shall cut o_ff a hand or afoot, or shall 
fall and break an arm or leg^ or that he meet with an accident in some other way, so that he 
will be compelled by force to restore it to you. And so it is found by experience that if any person 
has stolen anything from anybody and, after the order has been given him, has denied it and 
neglected to return it; if it is a woman^ while she is at some work with a knife in the kitchen 
or doing something else, she cuts off her hand or falls into the f re or another misfortune happens 
to her. If it is a man, he cuts of[ his foot too in the same way while he is cutting logs, and breaks 
arms or legs or another limb. And because men now know by experience that this happens to 
them because of denials of thefts, they give back what they have stolen immediately . But if they 
do not answer immediately, then the old woman will say. The spirits are not here. Go away and 
come back at such hour, because they will come in the meanwhile and I shall ask them. He will 
come back then at the hour given him, and the spirits meantime will have given an answer to 
the old woman; which answer they produce whispering in a sort of thin and low voice like a 

305 



.134- THE RIVER & MERCHANDISE OF SINGIU MATU ^MARCO POLO 

hissing. Then the old woman\ gives^them many thanks in this way. For she raises her hands before 
them, she will gnash the teeth three times, saying something like, Oh how worthy a thing, how 
holy, and how virtuous. And she will say to him who has lost horses, You may go to such a 
place and there you shall find them; or, Robbers found them in such a place and are leading them 
away with them in such a direction, run and you shall fnd them. And it is found exactly as 
she has said. So that in this way nothing is lost which cannot be found. And when the lost 
things are found, then men reverently and devoutly o^ffer to the idols perhaps an ell of some fne 
cloth, as it might be of sendal of silk, or gilded. And I Marc found in this way a certain ring 
of mine which was lost; but not that I made them any offering or homage. 

V Now we will leave this city and this matter, since we have told it you in order, 
FB and we will tell you of another country^ which is towards midday and is named 

Singiu. 

•135 • "I" "TTERE HE TELLS OF THE NOBLE CITY OF SINGIU MATU. When one setS OUt 

FB I I from Tundinfu he goes riding three^ days marches by midday, always 

z VB JL JL finding many cities & villages noble and good and rich and of great trade 

VB R and full of merchants, and of great crafts. They are idolaters and subject to the great Kaan. 

V V And there is chase and hunting and hawking enough of bears, stags, and every animal, 

z VB and all kinds of birds and beasts.- And it is very fertile country, and they have of all 

TA FB VB things for food m great plenty. And when one is gone riding these said three days 

journeys then one finds the noble city of Singiu matu which is very great and rich 

TA VB and beautiful, -full of merchants and of merchandise, and of great trade and of great arts. 

VB VB They are all idolaters and are subject to the rule of the great Kaan. They have their 

money of notes. Moreover I tell you that they have a river from which they have 

z great proft, and I shall tell you how. It is true that this great river comes from 

L towards midday as far as to this city of Singiu matu. And there the men of the town 

V have made of this great river two of them; for they make the one half go toward 

V sunrising and the other half go toward sunset, and these go through di£erent regions, 
that is that one goes to Mangi and the other through Catai. Moreover I tell you 

FB for truth that this town has so great boats, that is so great quantity of boats, that 

FB there is no one who did not see who could believe if he heard it told by another. Do 

z not understand [60^] that they are large ships, but they are such as can be steered^and^ 

V are needed for large rivers. Moreover I tell you that these boats carry and come to 
V VA Mangi and through Catai and take so very great abundance of goods that it is a 

^ TA: chontrada corrected to citta V: 2^tade 

2 Z,R: "seven" — and so below. VA gives the distances of Ciangli, Tundinfu, & Singiu 

all as 

306 



THH nnscRiiTioN OF THI-: vvoRi.n\ nin jdjubrs of- lingiu .135. 

^trat Wiiwdci, .uul du'ii wluii tlicv come back ilu-y rciiirn londc*.! again with other va fk 
Ijoo./.v, and so ir is a marvellous iU\n<^ to sec the morclianJise which is carried uj) 
and down hy ihai iiver.' Now we will leave tins city Singm main ami will tdl you v 
ol another country,'" and ii is toward midday. ^^'i<~\ this will in- ol a greai province 
which IS called Lingiu. 

HliKl: m- iiiLLS OF thh ciRr.Ar city op lingiu.^ When one sets out from •136- 

this ajorcsaiii town of Singiu tiiatii he goes riding toward midday eight* / vb vb 
days journeys in which one always linds cities and villages enough which 
are very noble and great and rich, full of tiicrchandisc and merchants, and of great vb 
trade and of great industry; whose people they arc all idolaters, and these too are used to / vb vb 
have their dead bodies burnt, and are subject to the rule 0/ the great Kaan, and their v fb 
money is of the lord's notes. And at the end of these eight days journeys one finds vb fb 
a city which is called Lingiu as well as the province, and it is head of the province vb 
and kingdom. It is a very noble city and rich. And the men of it, tlicy are /or the more /. vb 
part •valiant men of arms, though it is true that great trade is done there also and v fb 
great handicrafts. They have hunting of wi7^ beasts and of birds in great abundance. '/ v 
And they have much corn and of all things to eat and to drink in great plenty and ahund- fb vb ta fb 
ancc- They have also through the whole country a multitude of jujubes which are twice as large z 
as dates, and the people of that province eat bread of the jujubes. It is also on the river 
which I named to you above, and so there is a very great multitude of ships. -And they l fb 
have larger^ ships than the [6ia] others of which I have told you and rich, in which vb 
many goods and dear are carried. Now we will leave you this province and city, 
and we will tell you again of other new things in front. We shall treat' of a city 
which is called Pingiu, which is very great and rich. 

all as from Cianglu. 

^ VB: "With the said ships are carried from these two provinces, that is the one to the other 
and the other to the one, all the things necessary for all those regions; so that it is a 
marvellous thing to see the multitude and the greatness of the ships sailing continually 
through this river loaded with all merchandise and with very great wealth." FB: ces ij fluns 
for "that river". 

- FB: prouince 

^ The cities of chapters 136, 137, 138 are, in the rubrics, lingiu, lingiu, pingiu respectively; in 
the table of contents, Ligiu, Pangiu, Cingiu; but in the text, lingiu, pingiu, ctugiu, with some 
variants. 

* VA,P.R: 16 — but jumping direct to the Caramoran, p. 309 below. 

* VB: minor 

* traieteron probably, as B., for traicteron 



307 



•13 7' PINGIU AND CIUGIU GREAT AND NOBLE CITIES ?^MARCO POLO 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF PINGIU. When One leaves the city of 
Lingiu he goes riding three days journeys by midday, and all the way 
finds cities and villages enough which are rich and good. They are all 
L z VB FB in the province of Catai, and the people are • everywhere idolaters and also have their dead 

V bodies burnt. And they are subject to the rule o/the great Kaan; and so are the others 
FB FB of whom I have told you above. And their money is of notes of the great Kaan, of 

z V whom it all is. And there is also the best hunting and hawking both of wild beasts and 

FB of birds that is in all the world. And they have great abundance of all the things 

FB VB for life. And at the end of these said three days journeys one finds a city which is 

FB VB called Pingiu which is very fair and great and noble, and a city of great trade and of 

FB V great industry. And they have silk in very great abundance. And this city is at 

VB the entry of the great province of Mangi, and is a very fair and delectable land, and 

at this town the merchants load the carts with many goods and carry them to 

V Mangi through many cities and villages; so that it is a city which pays great profit 
to the great Kaan. There is nothing else which does to mention, and therefore we 
shall leave it and tell you [6i^] of another city which is called Ciugiu, which is also 
to the midday. 

• 138 • TT "IT ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF CIUGIU. And when One sets out from the 

L FB TA I I said city of Pingiu he goes riding- through Catai two days journeys by 

V JL A midday through very beautiful country abounding in all fruits and wealthy 
L V in all good things, where there is very good hunting enough of all kinds of wild 

FB beasts and of birds. And at the end of these two days journeys one finds the city of 

FB Ciugiu which is very great and rich and noble both in trade and in crafts. The people 

z FB o/" it are idolaters and have their dead bodies burnt in the fire. And their money is 

VB V V of notes of the great Kaan, and they are subject to the rule of the great Kaan. And 

this city is in a fair province, and it has exceedingly beautiful plains and beautiful 

VB fields and they have great abundance of all good fruits and of wheat and of all grains, 

but other things which it does to mention there are none. And so we will leave it 

V and go forward and will tell you of other lands in front. And when one leaves this 
FB town of Ciugiu he goes riding quite three^ days marches by midday where one 
FB finds beautiful country and beautiful villages and beautiful hamlets and beautiful 

L FB z farms very well cultivated -both of lands and of fields,^ with beautiful hunting and chase 

z FB TA FB enough, and they have -great abundance of wheat and oi all grains, as those above. -And 

FB they are idolaters and are subject to the great Kaan. And their money they have of 

IV; do 

2 gaagnaries de teres & de cans 

308 



IHIi l)i;S( KlIM K^N e)l' nil-: worlds l\ ll- CiRI-AT KAAN'S NAVY I.^S- 

notes. Aiul thai .u iho ciul t)l these two' days journeys i)nc fnuls tlic noble and grc.it ib vij 

river ol C^ar.unor.ui uliuli passes t/;roi<i>/)[ (iM(/]conu*s Iroin ilic lanii of Aiifu uniier the rule z vb 

of that kiii^ who is tallt-J IVestiT joli.in, the ojt-nientioned Uncan, which is very great v / 

and deep and InoaJ. I'or you may know thai in my judgement it is a mile' broad, / VB 

and it is veiy deep so that very large ships oj no less si^e then our trawlers,' but made /. vr, vr 

in the tnanner oJ ships of their itianner, can go there well with their cargoes. There arc P 

fish enouv^h and largeyoH//(/ ;// it . • You may know that there are [6ifJ on this river quite /. fb 

litteen thousand' ships which all belong to the great K^an—and not only in this place, z 

hut in many others, wherever cities are built by the aforesaid river — which ships are to carry 

his armies to the islands oJ Indie of the Ocean sea whenever there is need, • ij they rebel; or fb r z r 

to any remote and distant region. For I tell you that the sea is there near to this place 

where we arc at present, one days journey. And I tell you that these ships, one with z fb 

another, -are so large that they need twenty^ sailors each and more, and carry each about P z fb 

fifteen horses with the necessary men and with their food and their trappings. And z fb 

where those ships are kept -on the said river, that is at the mouth, are two cities; there is one P vb 

city on this side and one on that, that is opposite the one to the other. The one 

has the name Coigangiu and the other has the name Caguy, which the one is a great 

city and the other is small. And henceforth when one crosses this river then he 

enters into the great & noble province ot Mangi, and I will tell you how the great va 

Kaan conquers this province of Mangi as you will be able to hear below. -But do not fb z 

believe that we have treated of the whole province of Catai in order, not indeed of a twentieth 

part; but only as I Marc vised to cross through the province, so the cities which are on the way 

across are described, passing by those which are at the sides and through the 7niddle, to tell of 

which would be too long. 

HOW THE GREAT KAAN CONQUERS THE GREAT PROVINCE OF MANGI. It was '^39 

true that the great province of Mangi is the noblest and most rich in all the vb 
East; and in izbg master and lord of it was a king who was named Facfur, va 
who was a very great king and powerful in treasure and in people and in lands, so 
that there was hardly a greater for a century of years past known to have been in the r 
world, and certainly there was none more rich and more strong if it was not the 
great Kaan. But yet you may know that they were not men at arms; for all their delight fb 
was in women, and especially the king above all the others, so that he was not a valiant man 

^ FA.FB: III agreeing with "three" above. V,LT,Z "two" TA omits. 

* VA: bem sete meglia TA^: questofume ellaghofu chiamato illagho uermiglo 
' choche 

* Z: tot naues quod timeo dicere numerum ne dicar mendax and so V. VA: vmtimilia 
^ VA: hem t rent a 

309 



139- INVASION OF THE FENCED CITIES OF MANGI ;^MARCO POLO 

FB VB ot arms uor had he any other care, but his delight was with women, and he was a quiet 

FB and peaceful ruler and a man who greatly did good to poor people. And know that in 

FB all his province were no horses, nor were they used to battle nor to arms nor to 

VB troops; nor did he believe that any ruler in the world could harm him, because this province 

L TA of Mangi is a very exceedingly strong place and of very strong passes, • that he who 

p wished might defend it against the world; -and it was considered impregnable, nor did any dare 

p p to invade it. For [61^] all the cities of the kingdom are surrounded with ditches full of 

water broad and deep, so that there is no city which has not water round it more 

than a cross-bow shot wide and very deep, so that I tell you that if the people 

TA TA had been men of arms to defend the entrance they would never have lost it, nor would 

the great Kaan ever have taken it. But they lost it because they were not valiant nor used 

FB to arms. For I tell you that into all the cities the entry is by this bridge.^ Now 

it happened that in the 1268 year of the incarnation of Christ the great Kaan who 

VB now reigns, that is Cublai lord of the Tartars, a man of the contrary nature to king Facfur, 

who took delight in nothing hut in war and in conquest and in making himself a great lord, 

R VB thought after his vast conquests -of many provinces and kingdoms -to conquer the province of 

VA Mangi, and he sends there a baron of his who was a very valiant knight who had Baian 

VB Cingsan for name, which means to say in our tongue Baian Hundred Eyes. Moreover 

FB I tell you that the king of Mangi found by his astronomy that he cannot lose his 

FB kingdom except by a man who should have a hundred eyes. So he held himself to 

he very safe, because he could not think that any natural man could have a hundred eyes. But 

he was deceived in this because he did not see the name of this man. This Baian came away to 

VA conquer that province of Mangi with a vast people whom the great Kaan gives him on 

FB FB horseback and on foot. And then he had a great number of men and of boats which 

VB carried the horsemen and men on foot when he required. The king Facfur, having 

always in his days kept his country in peace, and his people not ftted for war, though he might 

have had a much greater number of people, gathered together a great multitude of troops and set 

himself to meet the enemy. When he could not withstand the vigour of the armies of the Tartar, 

they, entering into the country, conquered a great part of the country in a very short time; 

and the king Facfur retired to his city called Quinsai. And when Baian was come with all 

his people to the entry ot Mangi, that is to this city of Coigangiu where we arc 

now and oi which we will tell you all afterwards, he told them that they should 

FB give themselves up to his lord the great Kaan. They answer that they would do 

* FB: ce pont i.e., apparently, the entry into Mangi at Coigangiu. Rustichello perhaps 
thought that the Caramoran was crossed by an actual bridge, forgetting what he had written 
in c. no. Tlie natural meaning of the text (sentre por pont) is that every city, having a 
moat, is entered by bridge. V: poncnte 

310 



Till- nrisc:RiprioN ov Tnii wori.d'^ i'.y kaian HUNDiuin i:yi-:s -i v^ 

none o[ 11. Aiui then whoii li.uaii sees this he [62fl] goes forward and finds agnin ib 
aiiotlur ciiy, and again it nliisod to suncndcr, and lie scis himself on the road 

a^ain loiward to the third; nt-\t to the fourth; aftrrwarJs to the fifth; Jrom all which he P 

received a like answer.^ And he *.lid this, not ajraid'^ to leave cities of the enemy behind htm, v 
because his army was j>reat and very ^ood, for he had with him men who were most vigorous 
fighters, atid Ihwxusc \\c knew thai the great Kaan was sending again a great army 

behind him. And wliai sliall 1 tell you about it? You may know that he goes to five fb 

cities, nor can he take any, because he was unwilling to fight nor would any surrender. FB 

Now it happened that the si.xth city, Baian took it by force and skill, causing all who R 
were found in it to be killed;^ and then he took another of them, and afterwards the 

third, and afterwards the fourth, so that I tell you that it happened in such a way that FB 

he took twelve cities the one alter the other by force of arms- in a short time. Then the fb p 

hearts of the men of Mangi trembled -when they heard this news. And why should I make you va 
a long story? You may know quite truly that Baian, when he had taken so many 

cities as I have told you, he goes off quite straight with both the armies to the capital r 

city ot the kingdom of Mangi which is called Quinsai, in which the kmg and the ta v 

queen were & their court, -and there he drew up his army in order before it. The king, when va p 

he saw Baian with all his army so great, -and heard of the valour and strength of the Tartars, fb fb p 

he has great fear like one unused to this sight. -And he sent for his astrologers, not knowing fb v 
the name and the nature of Baian; and he sent also his spies to inquire into his nature and power, 
and it was told him by his army that he was named Hundred Eyes.* And when the king 
understood this he feared greatly and he left that city with many people and enters 

into ships, so that he had in his company quite a thousand ships loaded with all his goods va vb 

& wealth and set out and flies into the great Ocean sea among the impregnable islands fb fb p 

of Indie, -leaving the city of Quinsai to the care of the queen, -with orders to defend herself as ¥B p VB 
well as she could, for being a woman she would have no fear of death if she fell into the hands 
of the enemy. And the queen who was left in the city with a great people bestirred 

herself w/fi her barons to defend it as well as she could like a valiant lady as she was. P fb 

Now it happened one day that the queen being daily more straitened & yet remaining fb vb 

with great hope that she could not lose the country, asks the astronomers who would win, and fa 

how he was named who was warring there. And then one tells her that he was called FB 

^ TA"*: e per queste lasciaua giente a chonbattere 

' R: non volendo 

^ R adds: la qual cosa vdita da tutte I'altre, fu di tanto spauento, & terrore, che spontaneamtnte 
tutte vennero all'obedien^ sua. 

* V by some confusion has homeni in place of "eyes" in this passage. VA makes it into one 
word, cogi. 



139' THE GREAT CHARITY OF THE KING OF MANGI j^MARCO POLO 

VB Baian, that is Hundred Eyes. And when the queen hears chat this man had Hundred 

P Eves for name her strength Jailed altogether, for it immediately makes her remember 

TA P the aforesaid astrology which [62^] said that none ever hut a man who should have 

p an hundred eyes must take the kingdom from them. Then, having called the leader 

FB FB of the Tartar army and learnt his name, the queen gave herself up immediately to the 

VA FB said Baian. And after the queen was surrendered to the great Kaan,-and the chief city 

FB FB of the kingdom, all the other cities and villages and all the remainder of the kingdom, 

p p when they heard it, gave themselves up without ever making any defence, except the 

city of Saianfu which for three years scorned to he obedient. And it was a very great conquest 

FB because I tell you that in all the world there was no kingdom which was worth the 

FB FB half of this; for ^om may know that the king had so immensely much to spend that it 

FB VB wasamojt wonderful thing. Moreover I will tell you some among the rest of the noble 

VB acts which he did worthy of memorial, who was loved by all his people more than any lord 

in those parts had ever been, and this because of the great mercy and justice of which he was 

VA master. 'And he was very kind to the poor persons. And you niay know that each year he 

VA had quite twenty thousand^ little children cared for of those who were cast out and left 

by the mothers, and I will tell you how. In that province they cast them out the child 

VA as soon as he is born. And the poor women who cannot feed them nor bring them 

up for poverty do this. And the king had them all taken, and caused to be written 

FB for each one in what constellation and in what planet he was born. Then he had them 

brought up in many directions and in many places, for he has nurses in great 

VA VB abundance. And when a. great or rich man had no child and wanted any of these children, 

hoys or girls, he went to the king and had himself given as many of them as he wished 

VB and those who pleased him most, promising the lord to have and keep them as his children 

V and to treat them well. -And if the father or the mother wished to redeem the son who was of 

age, it was necessary to show by writing how he was their son; and he had him given back to 

VA R them. And again, /or those for whom none had asked, the king when they were grown up 

had them set to work at some trade, or, when the boy and the girl were of age to marry, 

he gave the girl to the boy for wiie, and gave them so much that they could well live 

FB lA in comfort. And in this way the king had these cast out boys & girls rescued and he brought 

up between male and female quite twenty thousand of them every year. And again 

VB this king did another thing very pleasing to the people; that when he rides by any road 

FB VB V in the city -or through the lands, and it happened that he found two beautiful great 

V VB houses, and between these there might be a [62c] small one either ruined or in bad order; 

VB FB then the king asks whose that house was and- the reason why that house is so small 



LT: quindecim milia 
312 



run nnscRTPTiON or riii- woRi.n^ rm: city ov c:oigangiu .139. 

and is iu>[ .so lari;o as tUosi- two oiIkts. AikI om- told liini ihat ihai small house V 

bcloivs [o a j>ooi man wlu) lias not the powci to make it iar^^cr like the others. I lien ill 

the kmv^, (.(Mmiiaiids iinincJuilfly that thai Iiiilc lioiisi- which was between those other i ii v 

two ma\' he maJc as iHaiiiiluI aiul as hi^li as were iliosc two others which were beside v 

It, lUiJ he piUil the cost. Aiul \j it happencJ that the little house belonged to a rich man, then he FB 

comuuvukil him immediately to cause it to be taken away. And by his command there was not 

in his capital city of the realm of Maiigi, which was named Oitinsai, any house which was not 

both bcautij'ul and great, besides the great palaces and the great mansions oj which there was 

oreat plenty about the city. And again I tell you that this king had himself 6^ his court v\ 

waited on at all times by more than a thousand between boys and girls most beautiful, • r 

who were all clothed in robes fair and rich. So that he spent his life very nobly and in great i-B 

ease and in great enjoyment. He loved peace and strictly maintamed his kingdom in so R 

great justice that none was found there who did evil or theft- to any there, and the city fb vb v fb 

was so safe that the doors of the houses and shops and stores full of all very dear merchandise fb fb 

often stayed open at night as by day and nothing at all was found missing there. For va vb 

one could oo freely through the whole kingdom safe and unmolested by night also as by day. i' 

It would be nnpossible to tell oi the great wealth and the very great goodness which is fb 

in this kingdom so that[thc king]was loved by all with very great reason. Now I have vb 

told you of the kingdom. Now I will tell you of the c]ueen of this king. -You may ia fa 

know that -this queen who surrendered to Baian was taken to the court of-Cublai the great v va vb 

Kaan. And when the great lord saw her he received her honourably and had her honoured vb 

and waited upon in costly fashion like a great lady as she was. But of the king Facfur fb vb 

her lord who was fled to the islands it came about that he never left the island of the va 

Ocean sea. So he stayed there a long time and died; so that in this way the great Kaan had v v 

this province. And so we will leave you him and the queen his wife and this matter, fb 

and will come back from them to tell of the great province of Mangi. And we shall fb 

speak of all their manners and of their customs and their deeds well and in order 

so as you will be able to hear clearly. And we shall begin from the beginning, that 

is from the city of Coigangiu, which we left to tell you how the said province of Mangi fa 

was conquered. 

HERE HE TELLS of THE CITY OF COIGANGIU. The frst city which meets those P -140 

who enter the province of Mangi is called Coigangiu which is a very beautiful and p a 
large city and noble and rich, as I have told you above, which is at the entry fb 
ol: the province of Mangi and is towards the sirocco and sunrising.-\^6zd] All the vb p 
people of this city and of the whole province of Mangi are idolaters and have their dead p 
bodies burnt, and they are subject to the rule of the great Kaan. And in it there are v v v 
always very great cjuantities of: boats, as I have told you before, -which sail on the river; R fb vb 

313 



I40- SALT AND THE CITIES OF PAUGHIN & CAUYU ?^MARCO POLO 

z z for you know as I have told you above that it is situated on the great river which is 

called Caramoran. Moreover I tell you that into this city come goods in the 

VB greatest abundance, because of the good position of the land which marches very well with 

many other countries and because it is the head of the kingdom of that region, for 

V many cities have their goods, both salt and many other things which are made there, 
FB FB brought there into this city because it is on the river, and they are distributed by that 

FB river to many other cities wherever one wishes. And again I tell you that salt is made 

L FB z in this city in very great quantity, and they give of it to quite forty other cities and 

VB more, enough for their use, -and all the countries round about. And for this reason many ships 

VB z are employed; whereby the lord great Kaan has a very great revenue and projit from this 

z city between from the salt and from the duty on the other great trades which are 

VB done there, and on the many goods which travel by land. Now we have told you of this 

city; then we will leave it and will tell you of another city which is called Paughin. 

141 • ^ X" HTERE HE SPEAKS OF THE CITY OF PAUGHIN. When One leaves this aforesaid 

FB I I city oj Coigangiu he goes riding towards the sirocco one days journey by 

JL JL. a causeway which is at the entry of Mangi. And this causeway is made 

TA all paved of very fine stones, and beside the causeway both on the one side and on 

z the other is water, namely on one side vast marshes but on the other side marshes and deep 

VB z water through which boats sail, and therefore one cannot come into the province by 

z R other way except by this causeway, unless it is entered by sailing- as the great Kaan s 

L captain did, who dismounted there with all his army; for such is the entry of the province of 

VB Mangi.- So that for one days march many people are found on this road, and at the end of this 

days march one finds a city which is called Paughin which is a very beautiful city 

VB FB and great. All the people, they are idolaters and have their dead bodies burnt. And they 

L VB VA are subject to the great Kaan. And they have their money of the lord's notes which 

z are made at the court of the great Kaan.- And there are some Nestorian Christian Turks in it, 

V L who have a church in the said city. -And they live by trade /or the most part and by crafts. 

V L And silk they have in great [63^] abundance, _/or cloths enough of silk and oi gold 
z z FB V and of many other -and beautiful sorts are made there. And they have the things of 

life in great plenty, but there is nothing else which does to mention, and so 

V we will leave this and will go forward and will talk to you of another city which is 
called Cauyu. 

142- L "TT "TTERE he speaks of the city of cauyu. When one leaves the aforesaid 

FB I I city of Paughin one goes riding by the sirocco one days journey. Then 

A^ JL one finds a city which is called Cauyu, which is very great and noble. 

FB V VB VB And I tell you that -the people of it they are also all idolaters and have money of the 

VB V lord's notes, and are subject to the great Kaan, and they burn the bodies of their dead. -And 



314 



THH Diisc:RiPriON ov nil: vvorld'^ hgiu cingiu & yangiu .142- 

they live Mhlecd by ir;uio .iiul by u.ilis. And dicy have very great alnitiviancc o( all / i r. vii ih 

l^iI1i;^ ol liiV. rlu-y \\a\c iisli .i/.so lu-yDiul measure. And liiey have very good / i ii i. 

chase .uui luiming ol uw7</ beasis aiul (^1 hirJs in vast quantities. For I rcll you tii.u h 

pheasants are in surh niinihcrs there that om- ui)nKl have three very good pheasants there f i' 

tor one coin as much as one Veneti.m grt)ai ol silver, which pheasants are as large as a vii vii 

peacock. Then we will leave this cii\' and m'iU gojorward and will tell von c^l another lu 
city which is called Tigiu. 

H\i\\\l III- TiiLLS or rm- city or tic.iu. Now you may know that when ' M3 ' 

one leaves the aforesaid city ol Cauyu he goes riding one stnall days i. in I' 

march, linding always many houses, namely hamlets enough and villages /. z 

and many plow^hed fields and/d/r larms and woods, and then at the end cj the march- i-b v z 

one finds a city which is called Tigiu w'hich is by no means too large, but it is fb 

very fertile and rich in all good things of the earth. And the people oj it arc idolaters i. IB z 

and have money of notes of the great Kaan, and are subject to the great Kaan. And z v 

they live also by trade and by craits, lor great profit and great gain is made there z 

from several trades. And this city, it is towards [636] the sirocco. And they have ships z fb 
enough /rom the said great river, 8d they have many animals and -fine hunting enough of fb vb z 

wild beasts and ot birds. And again you may know that on the left side oJ Tigiu, vb l 

namely toward sunrising, three days journeys distant from here is found the Ocean vb 

sea, and vast quantities of salt are made in every place in these three days journeys l 

from the Ocean sea to this city here, /or there are very good salt beds. And on that road z fb vb 
there is a city which is called Cmgiu which is very great and rich and noble; and 

at this city is made all the salt for all the province to have enough ol it for its use. fb z 

Moreover I tell you quite truly that the lord great Kaan has so great revenue and \'b fb z 

tribute Irom it, and it is so m2irv tllous great that one would hardly be able to believe fb fb 

it it he did not see it himself. They are idolaters and have money of notes and are z 

subject to the rule 0/ the great Kaan. And then we will leave this and will return to v 
Tigiu, and again we will leave you Tigiu, of which we have told you well, and 
will tell ot another city which is called Yangiu. 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF YANGIU. When One leaves indeed the city of z • 144- 

Tigiu aforesaid he goes riding by the sirocco one days march through \' fb 

very beautiful country where there are cities and villages and hamlets z 

enough, and then finds a fair and noble city and vt'ry great, which is called Yangiu. ta l 

And you may know that it is so great and so powerful a city that it has indeed under fb 

its rule twenty-seven cities all great and noble and very good and rich, and of great ta fb fb ta 
trade. And in this city one of the twelve barons ot the lord great Kaan, governors of fb vb vb 

the provinces named above, -who are in the higher ranh of dignities, dwells or has his seat, z 

315 



144- MARC POL IS RULER OF YANGIU THREE YEARS ^MARCO POLO 

V z for it is chosen for one of the twelve seats^ of the great Kaan.'The people of this city 

FB V they are idolaters, and they have their money of notes, and they are subject to the 

FB rule of the great Kaan. And I tell you also that the said Master Marc Pol himself, he of 

FB whom this book treats, rules this city of Yangiu, dwelling in it hy command of the great 

FB R Kaan, for three full years continually, in place of one of the said barons.^ They live by 

VB trade and by crafts; for much arms and battle harness [63c] of knights and of men of 

arms is made there in vast quantities. For I tell you quite truly that many men of 

FB z arms whom the lord makes to dwell there stay in this city and around the city and in its 

V dependencies. There is no other thing which does to mention, and therefore we will 
FB set out from here and will proceed with the story and will tell you of two great provinces 

which are in the same Catai.^ They are toward the sunsetting,* and because there 
is much to tell we shall tell you of them all their customs and their usages. And 

V we shall tell you first of the one city which is called Namghin. 

145 • P T" "IT ERE HE TELLS OF THE PROVINCE OF NAMGHIN. Namghin is a region in 

L z VB I I a province toward sunsetting; and is none the less • on the borders -and in the 

z JL -L domains of the same Mangi; which is a very noble province and large and 

V L V VB rich, the people of which, they are idolaters and also have their money of notes of the 

V great Kaan, and are subject to the rule of the great Kaan. They live by trade and by 
VB FB z crafts, and it is a place of great merchandise. They have silk in great abundance. More- 

VB V L over they make rich cloth of gold and of silk and of all sorts. And briefly they have 

great plenty of all grains and of all things of life, for it is a very fertile province. 

z V They have di^erent hunting and chase enough. And they have their dead bodies 

V L z FB burnt. And they have also excellent lions enough dwelling in that country. -And there are 

FB z mdiny great & rich merchants, /ronj whom the great lord has great tribute and great 

FB revenue from it, from the duty on the goods which they buy and sell. Now we will depart 

from here, for there is nothing else which does to mention, and then we will tell 

you of the very noble city of Saianfu which does well to tell in our book, because 

FB It is too great a deed to tell of its affair. [63^] 

146- ^ T "TTERE HE SPEAKS OF THE CITY OF SAIANFU. Saianfu is a Very great city and 

VA I I noble which indeed has under her rule twelve good cities both great and 

FB X. JL rich, and it is also in -the province of -Mangi toward sunsetting. -And moreover 



L R L 



^ saies FB: sieges V: sedie Z: sedibus 

2 The mention of Marco Polo is omitted from this chapter by V,VB,L,Z. It is inserted 
very briefly by TA.LT, and put in the first person by VA.P.VL. P: habui officium prefecture 

3 catai V: chataio FA,FB,TA',LT: mangi as seems to be required. TA^VB,VA,P,L, 
Z,R omit. 

* TA': leuante 

316 



THI- DbSCiRIIMION OF T\\\i WORLDS 1H1: SIFGR OV SAIANFU .146 

arcM M.ulf and great handicralts arc Aonc there. The people of which, they arc idolaters, v 

aiul h.ni- inoiiev o{' notes, and have (heir dead bodies hiirnf, and they arc subject FB 

10 the rule of tlie great Kaan. And they liave silk enough and niake much cloth of v v v 

gold and of silk ol many sorts very heimtiful .-And they luvc fine hunting ami chase /. Mi v R 

enough. And in short it has all the noble things which belit a noble city to have. i. vv. 

Moreover I tell you quite truly that ^om wj7/ know that -through its power this cizy was / r 

held lor three years while it refused to surrender to the great Kaan,-and defended itself a h z 

Lvio tunc after all the province oj Mangi was surrendered. And the reason was this, that /. r 

at all times there was a great army ot the great Kaan above it, but it is not able to 

stay' there except on the one side, and that was towards tramontaine ; for on all 

the other sides there was a great lake and deep and pools -by which ships were able to z v 

go into it and come out from it, -whence victuals enough were brought to the city by water- z 

at their pleasure, -nor could the army forbid it.^ And the army of the great Kaan can only fb 7. 

besiege it on that side of tramontaine. And they had provisions enough by all the 

other sides, and they had this by water. And thus I tell you that he never would 

have had it by hunger if there had not been a thing which I shall tell you. Now you ta 

may know that when the army of the great Kaan had stayed at the siege of this 

city three years and they could not take it, they were greatly enraged thereat. And 

when the army wished to leave with great wrath, then Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu ta 

and Master Marc Pol said, We will find you a way by which the town will surrender ta 

itself im[64rt]mediately. And those from the army said^ that they wish it with a 

will. And all these words were said before the great Kaan, for the messengers of v 

those from the army were come to say to the great lord how they could not have 

the city by siege, and that they had provision from a quarter such that they could 

not hold it. And when this was told to the great Kaan, he was taken with an extreme dis- R 

pleasure at it, that when all the province of Mangi had come to his obedience this one alone should 

^ demorer Z: permanere TA: stare V: romagnir B.: fermarsi FB: assegier VA: asediar 
R: approssimar RR.: "approach" 

- Z omits the rest of this chapter. L omits all mention of the siege. V gives the whole stor)- 
of the siege, following F very closely in other respects but omitting all allusion to the interven- 
tion of the Polo family. This omission in V is done, as far as I can judge, without any clumsy 
connexions or other signs that the text has been consciously changed. In the same way in the 
chapter on Yangiu Marco Polo is omitted from the summaries of Z and L and from the full 
story of V. Thus these embarrassing references to Polo in connexion with Yangiu and 
Saianfu are absent from the important and related group of texts, Z.L,\'. cf. pp. 26, 316 n.2. 

^ V: allora una christian nostorino disse andiamo et siamo alemani che troueremo muodo per lo qual nut 
aueremo presto la jQtade all qual quello de lo exer^ito disse . . . For the phrase siamo alemani cf. \' 
fol.34v*^: esser alenian chon lui 



1 46- NICOLAU MAFEU AND MARC MAKE MANGONELS ;^MARCO POLO 

continue this resistance. The great lord said, It must be done in such a way that that 

FB city may be taken. Then the two brothers^ Master Nicolau Pol and Master Mafeu his 
FB R brother and their son Master Marc, those of whom this hook is written, -who were at the 

FB court of the great Kaan, when this came to their ears went immediately to him and-said that 
they would fnd such a sort of device and engine that the city would be taken and that it would 
surrender itself perforce ; (which device and engines one calls them mangonels, very fine engines 
and very noble which would throw into the town so great and so heavy stones and from so far 

R that they would confound all that ever the said stones should reach, -killing the people and 

FB ruining the houses. -When the great lord and the other barons who were there all round about, 
and likewise the messengers of the army to the lord who were come there to tell him news that 
the city would not surrender itself, heard these news they all wondered greatly because I tell you 
that in all those parts they do not know what mangonels are nor engines nor trebuchets, for they 
did not use them nor were accustomed to use them in their armies, all the less because they did 
not know what it was, nor had they ever seen any of them; so were they very glad and much 
astonished at themy They said, Great lord, we have with us in our household men 

R who will make such mangonels in the manner of the West as shall throw so great 

stones that those of the city will not be able to endure but will give themselves 

up immediately when the mangonel, that is the trebuchet, shall have thrown in 

FB FB there. And the great lord, when he heard it, was very glad for it and said to Master 

FB Nicolau and to his brother and to his son that he wished it very willingly and that 
it pleased him much, and said that they should have that mangonel made as soon as 

FB they could. For the great Kaan and all the others who were there about had a very great 
desire to see it, and especially because it was a new and strange thing and one of which they 

TA had never seen any. Then these Venetians Master Nicolau and his brother & his son, 

FB FB FB who had with them in their household two men, one an Alamainz /rom Alemaigne, a 

FB FB Christian, and the other was a Nestorian Christian, who knew and were good masters 

of this work,^ told them that they should make two mangonels or three which 

^ V: quel christian 

2 VA: E feno far a do maistrj dellegniame che era nati de soa fameia Lt erano xpistianj R: & suhito 
ordinb, che li fussero dati fabri eccellenti, & maestri di legnami, de quali, ne erano alcuni christiani 
Nestorini, che sapeuano henissimo lauorare. It seems to be clear that neither VA nor V(p. 317, note 3 
above) understood alamain^ to mean either an Alan or a German; while R almost indicates 
a way of reconciling Marco Polo with the Chinese stor)', though it does not remove the 
difficulty of the date. VL : Alora Jo Marcho polo el qual tolsi in mi questa Jaticha congregai certi 
venetiani i quali trouai in quele parte docti e discreti nel Jato dele arme e feci Jabrichare tre gran 
mangani 1 quali gitaua libre mille di peso per ^xscuno . . . S goes so tar as to attribute the first 
report that the city could not be taken to Marco. 

318 



THi: 1)1 ASCRIPTION Oi" Tin: WORLI)'^ TO CAITIlRi: SAIANFU 
s1u)ii1lI ihiovv stDiu's oi rlirrc liundicil pDumls. And all tmineJiately the three iijoreiaii FB 
caused some timber which was very good Jor making this to he brouglit at their will. And in u 
a Jew days these two ijr the other three ajoresaid made three of them, very great and very i r, 1 1*, 
fine nianc;onels accordino to the orders of the said brothers, -each of which threw the stone u 1 1', 
which weighed more than yxj pounds each, and one saw it Jly very Jar; oj which stones there 
were more than sixty rounds which weighed one as much as the other. ^ And when they were 
made and Jurnished the lord and the others saw them very willingly, and they caused several IB 
stones to be thrown Jrom them in their presence, whcreoj they made themselves very great wonder 
and much praised that work. And the great lord had them immediately put on boats and R 
carried to his armies which were at the siege of the cit\' of Saianfu, and which 
[64/)] could not take it. And when the trebuchcts were come to the army they have 
tliem set up, and they seemed to the Tartars the greatest wonder of the world 
because they were not accustomed at any time to see a requisite so made, -and this was the Jirst fb ia' 
which had ever been among the Tartars. And what shall I tell you about it? When the 
trebuchets were set up bejore the city oJ Saianju and drawn, then each one throws a r fb 
stone of ^00 pounds into the town. The stone which the mangonel Jrst shot struck into ta^ r 
the houses and broke and ruins everything, & made great noise and great tumult. 
And every day they threw a very great number oJ stones, by which many were killed. And VB 
when the men of the city saw this misfortune which they had never seen nor heard, fb 
they were so much dismayed at it and so much alarmed that they did not know 
what they ought to say nor do, and made themselves great wonderment how this could be. fb 
They were in counsel together, and did not know how to take counsel how they 
could escape from these trebuchets and dcjend themselves against these great stones which fb 
came upon them; and they believed that this was done to them by enchantment, -Jot it seemed R 
that the holts came Jrom the sky. -Not knowing how to resist this new way oJ fghting, and vb 
seeing themselves killed every day by the stones, they said that they are all dead & would p 
perish under the ruin of the houses if they do not give themselves up. And then they 
took counsel & each one agreed that they will surrender themselves by all means; fb 
and then they send messengers to the master of the army and said thus, that they wish fb fb 
to give themselves up in the way that the other cities of the province oJ Mangi had R 
done, and that they were^ willing to be under the rule of the great Kaan. And the 
lord of the army was very glad at this & said that he was quite willing for this. And fb 
then he received them, and those of the city gave themselves up like the other cities, fb 

^ desquelj:^ chascun gettoit la pierre qui pesoit plus de iif liures chascune. et la vecit len voler moult 
loing Desquelles pierres il en yauoit plus de Ix.Rontes.que tant montoit lune comme lautrc. 
* V adds non I 



319 



H' 



146- THE MANY SHIPS AT SINGIU ON THE QUIAN ^MARCO POLO 
FB And that happened by the kindness of Master Nicolau and Master Mafeu his 

FB R brother and Master Marc Pol son oj the said Master Nicolau Pol, as you have heard. -This 
solution so quickly made increased the fame and credit of these two Venetian brothers in the 
sight of the great Kaan and all the court. And it was not a small thing, for you may 

FB know that this city and its province was and still is quite one of the best which the 
great Kaan has. For he has from it great [64^] revenue and great profit. Now I 

FB have told you of this city how it gave itself up through the trebuchets which the 
three aforesaid Master Nicolau had made and Master Mafeu and Master Marc. 
Now we will leave you this matter & will tell you of a city which is called Singiu. 

147- "T "TTERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF SINGIU. Now you may know that when 
z I I one sets out from the above-said city of Yangiu^ and he goes fifteen 

FB JL JL miles by the sirocco, then he finds a city which is called Singiu, which 

L z is not at all too large, but it is of marvellous great shipping and of great trade. And 

FB V many wares are brought to it from di_fferent sides because it is a port .- And • the people of it, 

V V they are idolaters and are subject to the rule of the great Kaan, and their money is 
V of notes. And you may know that it is built on the greatest river that is in the 

z V world, which is called Qiiiansui . • And it is in some places ten miles broad, and in 

TA^ z some eight, and in some (the most narrow^ six, and pursuing its course it is more 

z z than a hundred and twenty days journeys long before it enters the sea. Into which river 

R z R z enter infnitC' other -rivers, -all navigable, -which run from different directions and swell and 

R increase it in their turns -to such a size. And by reason of this river this city has a very 

exceedingly great number of boats which carry many things and many goods by 

z this river, because from wherever goods may be brought they call and arrive at this city as 

FB at a port. And thus it is a good town from which the great Kaan has great revenue 

V V and great tribute from it. Moreover I tell you that by this river one goes so far and 

through so many regions, and there are so many cities upon it that I tell you truly 

V FB that more boats & loaded with more dear things and of greater value go and come by 

L FB this river than go by all the rivers of Christians together nor by all their seas. And 

according to what is said Master Marc Pol related that he heard from those who keep the account 

for their lord in this city, that they related to him for truth that more than ships 

pass each year, which all go up stream, without the others which come back. And thus the said 

Master Marc saw there at one single time together and in one place. For I tell you[he 

R R TA saysjthat I saw there at one time when I was at this city of Singiu quite IjOOO^ boats 

^ angiu L: angiu 7.:yanfu VA,P,VB,R: "saianfu" TA: diqui LT : hinc FE: maiighiii 
2 LT also has 15000, with the marginal note: alia litera dicit quinque milia. P,VL,R : 5000 

deri\:ed perhaps from VA: hem ^inque milia. FB'.FB": plus de x"' FB* omits the number rvvice. 

TA^Z,V,L,VB omit the sentence. Baldelli-Boni (I. p. 135) reads TA' as 1500. 

320 



ri Hi i)i:s(:i<ii>i ION o\- w wi world^-^ i i ii-.ir si/i: and kk.CjING .147. 

M oiuc wIhcIi .ill s.iil [(Kp/j In tins nvor, which is so hroad that it docs not seem to he a \\: 
river /'!(/ \(i/, // /.s vo broad. Now I lion yoii can well ilimk, since ihis city which is 
not .11 ,ill ic)i) I'ligi" li'i"^ so in. my ships, how many arc the others. I'or I tell you 
thai /'v this ii\ir otic gt)es iliroiigli more ih.m sixteen provinces, and also there are v v 
nuMc ili.m I wo luinilred very large cities upon it, without the towns and the villages, i. VR 
which >irc ill! liiri^cr than this of Singiu and all h.ive more boats than this, not counting v\ /. 
the cities and lands which are situated on the rivers which Jlow down into this main river, 
which likewise have much shipping; and all the ajoresaid ships bring merchandise to this city 
oj Singiit and carry it back; and the chief merchandise which is carried on this river is salt, 
which the merchants load in this city and carry through whatever regions are upon this river, 
& also inland, leaving this main river and sailing by the rivers which enter it, filling all 
the regions around those rivers. For for this reason salt is carried to this aforesaid city of Singiu 
from everywhere about the sea shore, and there the ships loading carry of it through the foresaid 
places. Ihey also carry iron. But when the ships come down by the river they bring to this 
city wood, charcoal, hemp, and many other different wares with which the regions near the 
sea shore are supplied. And yet the shipping is not enough to carry the aforesaid things; indeed 
many goods are carried on rafts. -And all the large ships of this river -are made as I shall tell l va z fb 
you. They are covered with only one deck and have only one mast with one sail, but they v l r 
arc of great tonnage, for I tell you that they carry cargo for the most part from 4000 r 
cantar up to 12000 (which some of them carry^ in weight by the count of our country R 
of Vcnese, -varying between the said numbers according to the si 2^ of the ship. Now there is r p fb 
nothing else which does to tell, and so we will depart then from here, of which we have 
well told you the tacts, and afterwards we will tell you of another city which is 
called Caigiu. But first I wish to tell you a thing which I had forgotten to write fb 
because it docs well for our book to tell. Now you may know that all the ships fb 
have not all the tackle of ropes ol: hemp, except indeed that they have the masts and z 
the sails rigged with them. But I tell you that they have the hawsers or, to speak va 
plainly, tow-lines -of nothing else hut of canes, with which the ships are towed upstream fb 
by this river. You may know that these ships which go on this river, those which go against fb 
the current of the water are towed because the current of the water is strong, otherwise they 
could not go. And you understand that these canes are the thick and long canes of z 
which I have told you in this book above, which are quite fifteen paces long. They fb 
take these canes and split them from one end to the other into many thin strips and bind them fb r 
the one end with the other and make them ropes as long as they wish, -twists quite z fb r 
three hundred ells, that is paces, long; and it is much stronger than hempen ropes lt z \'a 
would be, with so great care are they made. -And each of these ships has eight or ten or twelve r z 
horses which tow it through the river- against the stream, and also with it. -At many places r z 

321 



.147- THE WATERWAYS FROM CAIGIU TO CAMBALUC ^MARCO POLO 

in this river there are hills and little rocky mounds on which monasteries of idols are built 
FB and other dwellings. Now I have told you of it, so we will leave you this and will come 
TA FB back to tell of 'the city of Caigiu. 

• 148- TT "1" ERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF CAIGIU. Caigiu IS a little city and is towards 

V V I I the sirocco; and the people of it, they are idolaters [65^] and are subject 

V z A JL to the rule of the great Kaan and have money of notes; and it is on the 
L VB P said river of Quian, and at this city is collected every year a very great quantity of corn 

z and of rice. And from this city it is carried, this grain, as far as to the great city of 

Y R z L the Tartars called Cambaluc, to supply the court of the great Kaan, to wit -in ships 

z L by water; and do not understand by sea, but by rivers and by lakes; though there 

FB is not a well-defned stream} And you may know that of the corn which comes out 

z of this city unto this city of Camhaluc, a great part of the court of the great Kaan lives 

on it. Moreover I tell you that the great Kaan has had those waterways from this 

FB city as far as to Cambaluc made and set in order. For he has made very great channels 

FB both broad and deep from the one river to the other and from the one lake to the 

FB other, and makes the water go through the channels so that they seem a great river, 

V FB and quite large ships go there with the said grain -loaded from this city of Caigiu up to 

L the city of Cambaluc in Catai. And in this way one goes conveniently through continuous 

R rivers and lakes and channels from Mangi to the city of Cambaluc without going by sea. 

z And again I tell you that they can also go as well by land. For beside those water- 

L z FB ways and elsewhere goes the great and fne causeway by land, /or the earth which is taken 

from the channels and is put on one side and on the other is high, so that one walks upon it; 

and in this way it is possible to go both by water and by land as you have heard. 

FB z FB And you may know that in the middle of this river opposite this aforesaid city of 

R R Caigiu is an island all of rock on which is built a great temple and a monastery of 

R FB VA idolaters in the manner of monks serving idols, where there are quite two hundred of 

FB those brothers. And in this great monastery is also a very great number of idols. 

FB R And you may know that this monastery is head of a very great many other temples 

p and monasteries of those who serve idols, so that it is just like an archbishopric. 

Now we will leave this and will cross the river and will tell you of a city which 

is called Cinghianfu. [^^b] 

• l^Q. T" "ITERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF CINGHIANFU. Cinghianfu is a city of 

FB V R V I I Mangi. And the people of it are all idolaters and are subject to the rule 

FB JL -1- of the great Kaan and have money of notes. And they live by trade and 



1 L ': non quod sit tertninatum jlumeii L adds mercatorum after sit. Tlic meaning in cither 
case seems to be obscure. 



322 



ri iR i^nscKiPiioN oi" n in worlds a iurci irs in cinchiani-u .i4'j- 

by cralts. Ami they li.ivc silk tiioiiv^li; anJ clu-y make o/' »/ ciotli oi gold .uid of silk FB lu i ii 
<iM./ol many kinds. /1m</ (luMr an- i uii morcliaius and grcai . AnJ it is aland of pUasur:- / ir. u 
and lUcy liavr lunnin^ anvl cliasi- onoiigli ol <»// sorts of Ihmms and <>1 l>irds. And i-B h i-h 
lUcv \\A\c v'liMt pliMU\' /v//.' ol roiii ami ol du* other ilimi^s ol Iilc. /!/;</ tlicrr arc / i iv, 
also in this city [\\o ilunilus ol Ncstonan C!iuis[ lans. And (Ins camr about Irom / 
the 1278 \iMi' Iroin ilu* nKMiiiaiion oi C.lnisr our Lord onward, and I u'dl icll you rA 
how it happened, li was nuc that tiicro had never been a monasicry oi (dirisrinns 
there nor had there been Cdiri.srian Cjod' unid that time; Jor-it happened in the v FB 
1278 year of the SciiJ incarnation that the lord sent there ior three \ears a baron who fb fb 
had for name Marsarchis, who was a Nesrorian Christian,^ who was to be governor fb fb 
there lor the threat Raan. And this Marsarchis did so; and while he dwelt there three fb 
years Jor the lord he liad tliose two Christian churches, oj which I have told you, made fb fb 
there, and Irom that lime onwards there have been churches where Nestorian vb 
Christians dwell, though before there was no church, nor Christian dwelt there. Now vb 
wc will leave speaking to you of this matter^ And will cell \ou of another city very fb 
v^reat, which is called Cianaiu.'* 

HERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF- CIANGIU. When onc le.ivcs thc aforesaid v -150 

citv of Cinahianfu he goes riding three days journeys towards the fb 
sirocco alwa\ s hnding cities and villages enough of great trade and of 
great handicrafts. The people of which, they are all idolaters, and are subject to the v v 
rule of the great Kaan, and have money of notes. And at the end o{ these three days fb 
journeys then one finds the city of Ciangiu which is very great and noble & good & ta 
beautiful, full of artisans and merchants. And the people [65^] of it are idolaters and v 
are subject to the rule of the great Kaan, and their money is of notes. And they live v fb fb 
by trade and by crafts. And there is silk enough; and they make cloth of gold and fb fb 
of silk in great .quantity and of many makes and very beautiful. It is a country of v R 
great delight. They have moreover fine chase and huntina enough both of various beasts z z 
& of birds. And they have great abundance of all things of life, for it is a very fb v 
fertile land. Moreover the inhabitants are very bad people and of evil nature. I will tell R 
you a very great wonder and an evil thing which those of that city did and how they fb 
bought it dearly. It was true that when the province of Mangi was taken by the 
men of the great Kaan and Baian (that is, Hundred Eyes) was their head of it for the R fb 

^ ne neis en dieu cristienf B. conjectures ne neisun ereant eu dieu cristienc, which at least makes 
good sense, "nor any believer in the Christian God". 
^ VA: marsackis veschouo 
^ maiuerie Z: de ista materia 
* tinghinoiu See PN. 



I50- THE TREACHERY AND MASSACRE AT CIANGIU ?^MARCO POLO 

TA FB great Kaan, it happened that after he had taken the chief city this Baian sends a great 

VA FB part of his people who were called Alain, who were Christians, to this strong city 

R to take it. The city had two circuits of wall. Now it happened that these Alains 

VA P attacked the city and took it and entered peacefully, without hurting any man more, into 

R VA P the first city; because the people of the place surrendered themselves to these Alain, -and those 

who were in the city heing overcome by the valour of the attackers freely gave the city over to 

VB VB them. And they find there such a quantity of good wine (zn which that city greatly 

VB abounds^ that they, heing eager for such drink after the stress of the weariness and wounds 

VA received, set themselves without any thought to drink so much of it that in the evening 

they were all drunken so that they slept in such a way that they perceived neither 

FB P good nor bad and all lay down as dead, -and kept no guard in the city at all. And when 

R P the men of the city who were in the second circuit, -who had received them in peace, saw 

that those who had taken it were so transformed that they resembled dead men, 

VB FB all drunken and sleeping, lying on the earth like swine, they make no delay nor did anything 

else but all immediately in that night they killed them all so that never a single one 

V of them escapes. And when Baian, that is the lord of the great army, knows that 

FB those of this city had killed his men so treacherously he sends there another commander 

of his with enough of his men and they take it by force. And also I tell you quite 

P truly that when they took it [65^] he commanded that all the citi^ns should he killed 

as a mark and in vengeance for that treachery and faithlessness . And as he commanded, so it 

V FB TA was done. They handled them evilly and killed them of the city all with the edge of the 

FB VA sword 50 that none of them escaped who vjas not killed, -in revenge for that which they had 

done with those Alains. And in such a way as you have heard were so many men dead 

in this city. Now we will depart from here and will go forward and will tell you 

FB of a very great city which is called Sugiu. 

1 5 1 • IT TTERE HE TELLS OF THE CITY OF SUGIU. Sugiu is a vcry noble city and great, 

V V V I I the people of which they are idolaters and are subject to the rule of the great 

FB JL JL Kaan, and have money of notes, and they have silk in very great quantities. 

FB FB FB And they live by trade and by crafts, and they make many cloths of gold and of silk 

R FB z for their clothing, /or all go clothed in silk; and they also sell it. -And there are in it 

TA TA z z great merchants and very rich citi^ns.-The city it is so large in its circuit that it is 

FB z forty^ miles round. And it has so very great quantity of people in it that no one 

FB could know their number. Moreover I tell you that if they were men of arms, and 

L P those of the province of Mangi, they would easily conquer and be bound to defeat all 

1 VB.TA: "forty" FA,LT,VA,P,V,L,Z: "sixty" FB: "nine" R: "twenty" 



324 



nwi nnscRii» i ion of n iii worij)*=; from sugiu to ciangan .151 

(lu- rest ol the worKI.' Bin ihcy arc itiCiiii men tiiiJ noi iin.ii med to the exercise ot arms; / / 

Inii I loll you thai liuy aio lKmt tiiiil discreet mcrcliaius and cunning men of all i. 

crafts, aiul also ilicrc arc v;ic.it very wise- men cdlled Sages, like our philosophers, and / H 

great naiuial physicians who know naiure very well and recognise diseases and give the r 

dtic remedies J'or them; -there are also many -others called -magicians and diviners. Moreover / i' / 

1 icll you ijiiiic iiuly ihai ihcrc are quite six ihousand bridges all of stone in this fb 

city, below the greater part of which one galley and two would well pass. And again / 

I toll you ihat in those mountains o( this icnvn ihc rhubarb grows there in the r 

utmost pcrjection, and it goes through the whole province, and ginger also grows there m very r l 

great abundance. I'or it is so cheap there that I tell you that for as much silver as is a r va 
Venetian groat you would have quite forty^ pounds of fresh ginger which is [66fl] 

very good. And you may know that it has sixteen^ very large important cities and z 

ot great trade and of very great industry under its rule. And you may know that fb 

the name oi this city which is called Sugiu means to say in French* city of the R 

Earth, and the name of another city named Quinsai which is near here is called city of z z R 

the Heaven. And they have these names given for their great nobility and power, z z 

And we shall tell you ot the other noble city which is called Heaven after this, z 

Now we will leave Sugiu and will go forward to a city which is found, called Vugiu. fb z 

And you may know that this Vugiu is one days journey distant from Sugm. And fb 
it is a very great city and good and of great trade and of great industry. And because 

there is nothing ot novelty which does to mention we will leave it and will go and v 
will tell you ot another city which is called Vughin. And this Vughin is also a 

very great city and important, the people of which they are idolaters and subject to v 

the rule of the great Kaan, and have money of notes. And there is great quantity of v fb 

silk and of many sorts of other costly goods. And they are clever merchants and z fb 

clever at handicratt. Now we will leave this city and will tell you o^ another city also, z 
named the town ot Ciangan. Now you may know that this city of Ciangan is very 

great and noble and rich. They are idolaters and are subject to the great Kaan, and l 

have money of notes, and they live by trade and by handicraft. Very fne sendals of fb r 

many fashions are made there [66^] in very great quantity, and are carried through r 

^ VB: sefosseno auda^ et uerjlj et atj ale bataglie njuno dubita che ala moltjtudene de giente i sono non 
ehe ifoseno domjnatj ma conquisterebono tut a quela proujn^a et molto piuj oltra VA: non se poria chon- 
quistar da tuto el mondo 

2 TA.LT.VB.R: "forty" VXT(margm): "eighty" FA,FB,VA,L,V,Z: "sixt)- " 

3FA,FBTA'.VA,P,L.V,Z: "sixteen" TV: "fifteen" LT.VB: "t^velve" See PN. 

* VA: in nostra lengua latiiia VB: in latino Both are Venetian versions made, presumably, 
from a French original, cf. p. 45 3 • But Latin sometimes meant nothing more than European. 

325 



151- THE NOBLE & MAGNIFICENT CITY OF QUINSAI ;^MARCO POLO 

L L all the province. They have also extremely good hunting and chase enough both of beasts 

and of birds. There is nothing else which does to mention and so we will leave this 

and will go forward and will tell you of the other city, and it will be of the noble 

R R city of Quinsai which is the chief and capital town of the king of the province of 

Mangi. 

Ic2 • '^ T" "f ERE HE TELLS OF THE NOBLE AND MAGNIFICENT CITY OF QUINSAI. When 

FB I I one sets out from the city of Ciangan he goes riding three^ days journeys 

FA z z JL -K. through very beautiful country where there Site found many dwellings and cities 

FB and many villages of great miportance and of great wealth and of great activity, where 

V they live by trade and by crafts. They are idolaters and are subject to the rule of the 

great Kaan. They have money of notes. They have abundance of all victuals for 

FB man's body. And when one is gone riding these three^ days journeys then one finds 

R R the very most noble and magnifcent city which, for its excellence, importance, and beauty 

FB is called Quinsai, which means to say in French the city of Heaven, just as I told 

z R you before, for it is the greatest city which may be found in the world, -where so many pleasures 

may be found that one fancies himself to be in Paradise. And since we are come there so 

will we tell you all its great nobility, because it does well to relate, that it is without 

P fail the most noble city and the best that is in the world, and it is the principal in the 

z province of Mangi. And then we will tell vou of the state & nobility ol it according 

z as the queen ot this realm, as is said in the book above, sends in writing to Baian who 

z conquers this province, before it was taken by the army besieging it, that he should send 

z It to the great Kaan, declaring namely the whole nobility and being of it, so that he might 

z z know the great nohihty^^andynagnifcence of this city, whereby, being grieved that it 

VB should be destroyed, he should not cause it to be destroyed or ruined;^ and that letter 

FB z I Marc saw and read. And as it was contained in that writing I will describe to you- in 

FB FB order-just as it [66f] was truth, according to that which I the said Master Marc Pol 

^ Z: una, which may probably be right. VA,P have five days from Sugiu. LT(? alone); Quando 
homo recedit hinc.s.de vghin et vadit tres giornatas, so perhaps explaining the error in F,FA,FB,TA. 
The complete text may have specified one day from Sugiu to Vugiu, one day from Vugiu ro 
Vughin, rwo days from Vughin to Ciangan, one day from Ciangan to Quinsai; from which 
VA,P may have calculated five days from Sugiu to Quinsai, and LT three days from Vughin 
to Quinsai, while the other texts abbreviated with less careful attention. 

2 Z: una LT: trium VA,P do not repeat the number. 

^ L: ILius autctn nobilitas scita est in curia magni Kanis. dwn enim obsideretur ah exercitu magni Kanis. 
regina sperans (juod pietate motus magnits Kanis non sineret destrui tarn pulcram et nobilem ciuitatem. etus 
conditiones scribere propossuit in hunc inodum.j jCiuitas Quinsai circuit . . . giving the description 
like a quotation. 

326 



VHll DllSaUVWON OV IHH WORIJ)'^ S I RHH I S AND I'.RIIXiES .152 

saw aitiMw.uJs clo.irly wich my own eves ami knew it, «j.< / shall tell you.'\tor^Master / IB c 
Marc Pel was in this city many times and detcrmmeil with i>reat diligence to notice and under- 
stand all the conditions oj the place, describing than in his notes, as will be briejly here said 
below. It was contained in that writing lii^c oi all that the city ot Quinsai is so large v / fb 
that in circuit it is in the common belief ,\ luinJiod miles round or thereabout, -because the r fb k 
streets and canals in it arc very wiile and large. I hen there are S(]uares where they hold market, 
which on accoutit of the vast multitudes which meet in them arc necessarily very large and 
spacious. And it is placed in this way, that it has on one side a lake of Jresh water which is 
very clear, and on the other there is an enormous river which, entering by many great and small 
canals which run m every part oJ the city, both takes away all impurities and then enters the 
said lake, and from that runs to the Ocean. And this makes the air very wholesome; and one 
can go all about the city by land and by these streams. And the streets and canals are wide and 
great so that boats are able to travel there conveniently and carts to carry the things necessary Jor 
the inhabitants. And there is a story that it has 12000 bridges, between great and small, -for R R z 
the greater part oi stone— for some arc built of wood. And tor each of these bridges/ or z 
tor the greater parr, a great & large ship could easily pass under the arch of it; and z 
lor the others smaller ships could pass. But those which are made over the principal R 
canals and the chief streets are arched so high and with such skill that a boat can pass under 
them without a mast, and yet there pass over them carriages and horses, so well are the streets 
inclined to Jit the height. And let no one be surprised it there are so many bridges, 
because 1 tell vou that this town is all situated in water of lagoons as Venese is, and is z va 
also all surrounded by water, and so it is needtul that there may be so many bridges /or fb z z 
this, that people may be able to go through all the town both inside and out -by land; -and l ta R 
if they were not in such numbers you could not go from one place to the other -by land, but only va 
by boats. -On the other side of the city there is a ditch perhaps forty miles long which shuts it r 
in on that side, and is very wide and full of water which comes from the said river. And this 
was made by order of those ancient kings of that province so as to be able to draw off the river 
into it every time that it rose above the banks; and it serves also as a defence for the city, and 
the earth which was dug out was put on the inner side, which makes the likeness of a little hill 
which surrounds it. There arc ten principal open spaces, beside infinite others for the districts, 

^ la cite dc quin | sai gie cnuiron.c. miles. & ha.xii"'. | pot. de pieres e por chascun de cesti \pont It is 
tempting to guess that a line has dropped out, and to read something like: la cite de quin \ sai gire 
enuiroti.c.viiles.& ha.xii. | pote. & encore hi a plus de.iii'. grant \pct. de pieres e por chascun de cesti \ 
pent But there seems to he no manuscript support at all for such a correction, except G 
(with LA'.LA^) which reads und umme das hot si xij steynyne hruckin. The same extraordinar)' 
exaggeration is found in Odoric. but in that case there is a possible explanation of the cor- 
ruption to be found in one of the texts, cf. The New China Review IV, 1922, pp. 32-55. 

327 



.152- MARKET SQUARES BIRDS BEASTS FRUIT & FISH ^MARCO POLO 

-which are square, that is half a mile for a side. And along the front of those there is a main 
street forty paces wide, which runs straight from one end of the city to the other with many 
bridges which cross it level and conveniently ; and every four miles is found one of these squares 
such as have two miles (^as has been said^ of circuit. There is in the same way a very broad 
canal which runs parallel to the said street at the hack of the said squares, and on the near hank 
of this there are built great houses of stone where all the merchants who come from Indie and 
from other parts deposit their goods & merchandise that they may be near and handy to the 
squares. And on each of the said squares three days a week there is a concourse of from forty to 
ffty thousand persons who come to market and bring everything you can desire for food, because 
there is always a great supply of victuals; of game, that is to say of roebuck, red-deer, fallow- 
deer, hares, rabbits, and of birds, partridges, pheasants, francolins, quails, fowls, capons, and 
so many ducks and geese that more could not be told; for they rear so many of them in that lake 
that for one Venetian silver groat may be had a pair of geese and two pair of ducks. There arc 
too the shambles where they slaughter the large animals like calves, oxen, kids, and lambs, 
the which flesh the rich men and great lords eat. But the rest who are of low position do not 
abstain from all the other kinds of unclean flesh, without any respect. There are always on the 
said squares all sorts of vegetables and fruits, and above all the rest immense pears, which weigh 
ten pounds a piece, which are white inside like a paste, and very fragrant; peaches in their 
seasons, yellow and white, very delicate. Grapes nor wine do not grow there, but very good dried 
ones are brought from elsewhere, and likewise wine, of which the inhabitants do not make too 
much count, being used to that of rice and spices. Then there comes every day, brought from the 
Ocean sea up the river for the space of twenty-fve miles, great quantity offsh; and there is also 
a supply of that from the lake (^for there are always fshermen who do nothing else^, which is of 
different sorts according to the seasons of the year, and because of the impurities which come 
from the city it is fat and savoury. Whoever saw the quantity of the saidfsh would never think 
that it could be sold, and yet in a few hours it has all been taken away, so great is the multitude 
of the inhabitants who are used to live delicately ; for they eat hothfsh and flesh at the same meal. 
All the said ten squares are surrounded by high houses, and underneath are shops where they 
work at all sorts of trades, and sell all sorts of merchandise, and spicery, jewels, pearls; and 
in some shops nothing else is sold but wine made of rice with spices, for they continually go 
making it fresh and fresh, and it is cheap. ^ In other streets are stationed the courtesans, who are 

^ Here R inserts a paragraph about the pubHc baths, which cannot be at all well fitted into 
the text of F, as follows: "There arc many streets which open on to the aforesaid squares, and 
in some of these there are many baths of cold water, supplied with many men-servants and maids 
who are in waiting to bathe both men and women who go there; because from childhood they 
are used to be bathed in cold water at all times, which thing they say is much to be recom- 
mended for health. They keep also in the said baths some rooms with hot water for foreigners 

who 
328 



THH niiscRiPiiON oi ini; woRio'^ inr- tradhs in quinsai -i 52 

itt so Off at tiuiiihi-r that I dare not say it; ami not only near the sijuares, where places are usually 
assii^ncil to them, hut all over the city. And they stay very sumptuously with ore at perjuma and 
with matiy maid-servants, tsf the houses all decorated. These women are very clever and practised 
in knowino how to jlatter and coax with ready words and suited to each kind oj person, so that 
the fore ii^ners who have once induliiul themselves with them stay as it wer